(With increasing caution and pedantry, shaking his finger as if imparting a secret)
All things tumble, vanish,
Death is sure to overtake
Outcast, tramp, and tiniest fly
Unperceived by naked eye.
Unperceived by naked eye,
Wheedling, coaxing, courting, wooing,
Death weds all to their undoing
And the myth of life is ended.
That’s all, Anthony.
Keep still, keep still. You have sung your song—now keep quiet.
[Lipa enters, opens the window, removes the flowers, and looks out into the street. Then she lights the lamp.
Who is it? Is that you, Lipa? Lipa, eh, Lipa, where are they going?
They are coming here for the feast-day. You had better go to bed, Tony, or father will see you and scold you.
Big crowds, aren’t they?
Yes. But it’s so dark, you can’t see. Why are you so pale, Mr. Speransky? It is positively painful to look at you.
That’s how I feel, Miss Lipa.
[A cautious knock is heard at the window.
LIPA (opening the window)
Who is there?
TONY (to Speransky)
Keep quiet, keep quiet.
KING FRIAR (thrusting his smiling face through
the window) Is Savva
Yegorovich in? I wanted to ask him to come with me to the woods.
No. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself, Vassya? To-morrow is a big feast-day in your monastery and you—
YOUNG FRIAR (smiling)
There are plenty of people in the monastery without me. Please tell Mr. Savva that I have gone to the ravine to catch fireflies. Ask him to call out: “Ho, ho!”
What do you want fireflies for?
Why, to scare the monks with. I’ll put two fireflies next to each other like eyes, and they’ll think it’s, the devil. Tell him, please, to call: “Ho, ho, ho!” (He disappears in the darkness)
LIPA (shouting after him)
He can’t come to-day. (To Speransky) Gone already—ran off.
They buried three in the cemetery to-day, Miss Olympiada.