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

SPERANSKY (dejectedly)

You are still joking.

SAVVA

The idea!  Who would joke about death?  No, when you die, I’ll follow your funeral and proclaim to all:  “Behold, here is a man who has come to know the truth.”  Oh no, I’ll rather hang you up as a banner of truth.  And, the more your skin and flesh decompose and crumble, the more will the truth come out.  It will be a most instructive object lesson, highly educative.  Tony, why are you staring at me?

TONY (sadly)

You have a very funny face.

YEGOR

What are they talking about?

SAVVA

Father, what’s the matter with your face?  Have you sooted it?  It looks as black as Satan’s.

YEGOR (quickly putting his hand to his face)

Where?

SPERANSKY

They are just making fun.  There is nothing on your face, Mr. Tropinin.

YEGOR

The fool!  Satan?  You are Satan yourself, God forgive me!

SAVVA (making a terrible face and holding up his fingers in the shape of horns) I am the devil.

YEGOR

By God, you are the very devil himself!

SAVVA (glancing round the room)

Isn’t the devil going to get any dinner to-day?  I have had all I want of sinners.  I am surfeited with them.  I should like to have something more appetizing now.

YEGOR

Where were you knocking about at the regular dinner hour?  You’ll have to do without dinner now.

SAVVA

I was with the children, father, with the children.  They told me stories.  They tell stories splendidly, and they were all about devils, witches, and the dead—­your specialty, philosopher.  They trembled with fear as they told them.  That’s why we stayed so long.  They were afraid to go home.  Misha was the only one who wasn’t scared.  He is a brick.  He’s afraid of nothing.

SPERANSKY (indifferently)

What of it?  He’ll die too.

SAVVA

My dear sir, don’t be so funereal.  You are like an undertakers’ trust.  Don’t be forever croaking:  “Die, die, die.”  Here, take my father, for instance.  He’ll soon die; but look at his face, how pleasant and cheerful it is.

YEGOR

Satan!  You’re the devil incarnate!

SPERANSKY

But since we don’t know—­

SAVVA

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