He came across me in the forest the other day when I was-shouting “Ho! Ho!” “Ah,” said he, “you forest sprite with goat’s feet!” To-morrow after dinner, all right? (Walks away, sedately at first, but then with a sort of dancing step)
FAT MONK (approaches)
Well, young men, having a pleasant chat? Are you Mr. Tropinin’s son?
I am the man.
I have heard about you. A decent, respectable gentleman your father is. May I sit down? (He sits down) The sun has set, yet it’s still hot. I wonder if we’ll have a storm to-night. Well, young man, how do you like it here? How does this place compare with the metropolis?
It’s a rich monastery.
Yes, thank the Lord. It’s celebrated all over Russia. There are many who come here even from Siberia. Its fame reaches far. There’ll soon be a feast-day, and—
You’ll work yourself sick, father. Services day and night.
Yes, we must do our best for the monastery.
Not for the people?
Yes, for the people too. For whom else? Last year a large number of epileptics were cured; quite a lot of them. One blind man had his eyesight restored, and two paralytics were made to walk. You’ll see for yourself, young man, and then you won’t smile. I have heard that you are an unbeliever.
You have heard correctly. I am an unbeliever.
It’s a shame, a shame. Of course, there are many unbelievers nowadays among the educated classes. But are they any happier on that account? I doubt it.
No, there are not so many. They think they are unbelievers because they don’t go to church. As a matter of fact, they have greater faith than you. It’s more deep-seated.
Is that so?
Yes, yes. The form of their faith is, of course, more refined. They are cultured, you see.