No, go on.
The monastery is really a remarkable place. There are nice spots there which no one ever visits, somewhere between the mute walls, where there is nothing but grass and fallen stones and a lot of old, old litter. I love to linger there, especially at twilight, or on hot sunny days like to-day. I close my eyes, and I seem to look far, far into the distant past—at those who built it and those who first prayed in it. There they walk along the path carrying bricks and singing something, so softly, so far away. (Closing her eyes) So softly, so softly.
I don’t like the old. As to the building of the monastery, it was done by serfs, of course; and when they carried bricks they didn’t sing, but quarrelled and cursed one another. That’s more like it.
LIPA (opening her eyes)
Those are my dreams. You see, Savva, I am all alone here. I have nobody to talk to. Tell me—You won’t be angry, will you?—Tell me, just me alone, why did you come here to us? It wasn’t to pray. It wasn’t for the feast-day. You don’t look like a pilgrim.
I don’t like you to be so curious.
How can you think I am? Do I look as if I were curious? You have been here for two weeks, and you ought to see that I am lonely. I am lonely, Savva. Your coming was to me like manna fallen from the sky. You are the first living human being that has come here from over there, from real life. In Moscow I lived very quietly, just reading my books; and here—you see the sort of people we have here.
Do you think it’s different in other places?
I don’t know. That’s what I should like to find out from you. You have seen so much. You have even been abroad.
Only for a short time.
That makes no difference. You have met many cultured, wise, interesting people. You have lived with them. How do they live? What kind of people are they? Tell me all about it.
A mean, contemptible lot.
Is that so? You don’t say so!