Don’t embarrass the young lady, Mr. Tropinin. In the presence of a lady—
And furthermore, he doesn’t believe in God.
He is joking.
I don’t like such jokes. What have you come here for?
I am here by invitation.
I have some business with him.
LIPA (without looking at Savva)
What have you come here for?
For nothing that concerns you. You had better have a talk with him. He is a chap that possesses a great deal of curiosity. He’s not a fool, either, but knows what’s what.
LIPA (looking searchingly at Savva)
I know him well, I know him very well.
To my regret I must admit it’s true. I have the unenviable fortune of being known as a man who does not observe the outer forms of conduct. It is on account of that characteristic I was fired from my position as government clerk, and it’s on that account I am now frequently condemned to live for weeks on nothing but bread and water. I cannot act in secret. I am open and above-board. In fact, I fairly cry aloud whatever I do. For example, the circumstances under which I met you, Mr. Tropinin, are such that I am ashamed to recall them.
Don’t recall them then.
KONDRATY (to Lipa)
I was lying in a mud puddle in all my dignity, like a regular hog.
But I am not ashamed to speak of it; first, because many people saw it, and of course nobody took the trouble to get me out of it except Savva Yegorovich, and secondly, because I regard this as my cross.
A fine cross!
Every man, Miss Olympiada, has his cross. It isn’t so very nice to be lying in a mud puddle. Dry ground is pleasanter every time. And do you know, I think half of the water in that puddle was my own tears, and my woeful lamentations made ripples on it—
That’s not quite so, Kondraty. You were singing a song: “And we’re baptized of him in Jordan”—to a very jolly tune at that.
You don’t say! What of it? So much the worse. It shows to what depths a man will descend.