They live just as you do here—a stupid, senseless existence. The only difference is in the language they speak. But that makes it still worse. The justification for cattle is that, they are without speech. But when the cattle become articulate, begin to speak, defend themselves and express ideas then the situation becomes intolerable, unmitigatedly repulsive. Their dwelling-places are different too—yes—but that’s a small thing. I was in a city inhabited by a hundred thousand people. The windows in the house of that city are all small. Those living in them are all fond of light, but it never occurs to anyone that the windows might be made larger. And when a new house is built, they put in the same kind of windows, just as small, just as they have always been.
The idea! I never would have thought it. But they can’t all be like that. You must have met good people who knew how to live.
I don’t know how to make you understand. Yes, I did meet, if not altogether good people, yet—The last people with whom I lived were a pretty good sort. They didn’t accept life ready-made, but tried to make it over to suit themselves. But—
Who were they—students?
No. Look here—how about your tongue—is it of the loose kind?
Savva, you ought to be ashamed!
All right. Now then. You’ve read of people who make bombs—little bombs, you understand? Now if they see anybody who interferes with life, they take him off. They’re called anarchists. But that isn’t quite correct. (Contemptuously) Nice anarchists they are!
LIPA (starting back, awestruck)
What are you talking about? You can’t possibly be in earnest. It isn’t true. And you in it, too? Why, you look so simple and talk so simply, and suddenly—I was hot a moment ago, but now I am cold, (The rooster crows-under the window, calling the chickens to share some seed he has found)
There now—you’re frightened. First you want me to tell you, and then—
Don’t mind me, Savva, it’s nothing. It was so unexpected. I thought such people didn’t really exist—that they were just a fiction of the imagination. And then, all of a sudden, to find you, my brother—You are not joking, Savva? Look me straight in the eye.
But why did you get frightened? They are not so terrible after all. In fact, they are very quiet, orderly people, and very deliberate. They meet and meet, and weigh and consider a long time, and then—bang!—a sparrow drops dead. The next minute there is another sparrow in its place, hopping about on the very same branch. Why are you looking at my hands?