Like yours? I am afraid of your eyes, Savva Yegorovich, especially in the dark.
Yes, like mine. And emancipated from everything, naked, armed only with their reason, they will deliberate; discuss, talk things over, and build up a new life, a good life, Kondraty, where every man may breathe freely.
It’s interesting. But men are sly creatures. Something of the old will be left over. They’ll hide it, or try some other trick, and then behold! back they slide to the old again, everything just as it was, just as of old. What then?
Just as of old? (Gloomily) Then they will have to be wiped clean off the face of the earth. Let there be no living human being on earth. Enough of it!
KONDRATY (shaking his head)
SAVVA (putting his hand on his shoulder)
Believe me, monk, I have been in many cities and in many lands, Nowhere did I see a free man. I saw only slaves. I saw the cages in which they live, the beds on which they are born and die; I saw their hatreds and their loves, their sins and their good works. And I saw also their amusements, their pitiful attempts to bring dead joy back to life again. And everything that I saw bore the stamp of stupidity and unreason. He that is born wise turns stupid in their midst; he that is born cheerful hangs himself from boredom and sticks out his tongue at them. Amidst the flowers of the beautiful earth—you have no idea how beautiful the earth is, monk—they have erected insane asylums. And what are they doing with their children? I have never yet seen parents that do not deserve capital punishment; first because they begot children, and secondly because, having begot them, they did not immediately commit suicide.
Good heavens, how you talk! Hearing you, one hardly knows what to think.
And how they lie, how they lie, monk! They don’t kill the truth—no, they kick her and bruise her daily, and smear her clean face with their dirt and filth so that no one may recognize her, so that the children may not love her, and so that she may have no refuge. In all the world—yes, monk, in all the world—there is no place for truth. (Sinks into meditation. Pause)
Is there no other way—without fire? It’s terrible, Savva Yegorovich. Consider what it means! It’s the end of the world.
No, it can’t be helped, partner. It must be. The end of the world must come too. They were treated with medicine, and it did no good. They were treated with iron, and it did no good. Now they must be treated with fire—fire!