I am sorry for the ikon. They say it appeared miraculously in the river, and that’s how it came to be here.
Nonsense. Don’t waste your feelings. It’s supposed to be a wonder-working ikon and hasn’t one miracle to its credit. Why, it makes one feel like a fool just to say it.
They say it has been replaced by the devil, so that it isn’t the real one.
So much the better. And yet you crack your heads in front of it and fool the people about it. There is no use wasting words, my friend. It’s agreed then.
You have to go now. The gate will soon be closed. And all of a sudden—
What “all of a sudden”?
And all of a sudden I’ll be going to the ikon, and it will strike me down with lightning and thunder. Won’t it?
Don’t be afraid. It won’t strike you. That’s what everybody thinks. They are all afraid they’ll be struck by lightning and thunder. But it won’t happen. Believe me, a man may blow up the ikon and no lightning will strike him. Do you need money?
Have you got any?
Where did you get it?
What business is that of yours? Suppose I killed a rich man, or cut somebody’s throat—are you going to report me to the police?
What are you thinking of, Savva Yegorovich? That’s your concern. As to your offer, of course, money always comes in handy. It will enable me to leave the monastery. I’ll tell you in confidence, I have long been nursing a scheme—it’s my dream—to settle somewhere along the road and start an inn. I like company. I am a talkative chap myself. I know I’ll succeed. It doesn’t hurt a host to have a drink now and then. The guests like it. With a jolly host you’ll spend every penny you have, and your pants besides, and you won’t notice it. I know by personal experience.
Why not? You can start an inn if you want to.
And besides, I am still in the full vigor of manhood. Instead of sinning here, I’d rather get legally married.
Don’t forget to invite me to the wedding. I’ll act as your godfather.