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

SAVVA

Don’t assume a melancholy air, father.  You’re quite a jovial fellow by nature, and the assumption of grief doesn’t go well with your face, I assure you.

KONDRATY

True, Savva Yegorovich, I was a jolly fellow; but that was before I entered the monastery.  As soon as I came here I took a tumble, so to speak; I lost my joviality and serenity and learned to know what real sorrow is.

[Tony enters and remains standing in the doorway gazing ecstatically at the monk.

SAVVA

Why so?

KONDRATY (stepping nearer and speaking in a lowered voice) There is no God here—­there’s only the devil.  This is a terrible place to live in, on my word it is, Mr. Savva.  I am a man with a large experience.  It’s no easy thing to frighten me.  But I am afraid to walk in the hall at night.

SAVVA

What devil?

KONDRATY

The ordinary one.  To you, educated people, he appears in a nobler aspect of course; but to us plain, simple people, he reveals himself as he really is.

SAVVA

With horns?

KONDRATY

How can I tell?  I never saw the horns; but that’s not the point, although I may say that his shadow clearly shows the horns.  The thing is that we have no peace in our monastery; there is always such a noise and clatter there.  Everything is quiet outside; but inside there are groans and gnashing of teeth.  Some groan, some whine, and some complain about something, you can’t tell what.  When you pass the doors, you feel as if your soul were taking leave of the world behind every door.  Suddenly something glides from around the corner.—­and there’s a shadow on the wall.  Nothing at all—­and yet there’s a shadow on the wall.  In other places it makes no difference.  You pay no attention to such a trifle as a shadow; but here, Savva Yegorovich, they are alive, and you can almost hear them speak.  On my word of honor!  Our hall, you know, is so long that it seems never to end.  You enter—­nothing!  You see a sort of black object moving in front of you, something like the figure of a man.  Then it stretches out, grows larger and larger and wider and wider until it reaches across the ceiling, and then it’s behind you!  You keep on walking.  Your senses become paralyzed.  You lose all consciousness.

SAVVA (to Tony)

What are you staring at?

TONY

What a face!

KONDRATY

And God too is impotent here.  Of course we have sacred relics and a wonder-working ikon; but, if you’ll excuse me for saying so, they have no efficacy.

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