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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 146 pages of information about Savva and the Life of Man.

Don’t embarrass the young lady, Mr. Tropinin.  In the presence of a lady—­

SAVVA

And furthermore, he doesn’t believe in God.

KONDRATY

He is joking.

LIPA

I don’t like such jokes.  What have you come here for?

KONDRATY

I am here by invitation.

SAVVA

I have some business with him.

LIPA (without looking at Savva)

What have you come here for?

SAVVA

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.

KONDRATY

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.

SAVVA

Don’t recall them then.

KONDRATY (to Lipa)

I was lying in a mud puddle in all my dignity, like a regular hog.

LIPA (disgusted)

All right.

KONDRATY

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.

LIPA

A fine cross!

KONDRATY

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—­

SAVVA

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.

KONDRATY

You don’t say!  What of it?  So much the worse.  It shows to what depths a man will descend.

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