My good friend, life is such an interesting business. You understand—life. Come, let’s have a game of jackstones to-morrow. I’ll provide the jacks, first-class jacks. (Enter Lipa, unnoticed) And then you should take gymnastic exercises. I mean it seriously. See how sunken your chest is. You’ll choke of consumption in a year or so. The deaconess will be glad, but it will create consternation among the dead. Seriously now. I have taken gymnastic exercises. Look. (He lifts a heavy chair easily by the leg) There, you see!
LIPA (laughing aloud)
Ha, ha, ha!
SAVVA (putting the chair down, with a touch of embarrassment)
What’s the matter? I didn’t know you were here.
You, ought to join the circus as an acrobat.
Don’t talk nonsense.
Are you offended?
SAVVA (suddenly bursting into a good-natured, merry laugh) Oh, a trifle! All right, the circus, why not? We’ll both join it, Speransky and I. Not as acrobats though, but as clowns. How about it? Can you swallow hot junk? No? Well, I’ll teach you. As for you, Lipa, won’t you please let me have something to eat? I haven’t had anything since this morning.
A regular Satan, a regular Satan! Hasn’t had anything to eat! Who has ever heard of eating at this hour of the night? Who has ever seen such a thing?
I’ll give you a chance to see it now. It’s very interesting. Wait, I’ll teach you also how to swallow hot junk. I’ll make you an expert. You’ll be a wonder.
Me? Fool, you can’t teach me anything any more. Tony, give me the whiskey.
The devil take you all! Brought up and fed a lot of—(Exit)
LIPA (handing him milk and dark bread)
You seem to be happy to-night?
Yes, I am, and you are happy too.
And I am happy. (He drinks the milk with avidity; the footsteps in the street grow louder, filing the room with their sound, and then die away again) What a treading and a tramping!
LIPA (looking out of the window)
The weather will be fine to-morrow. As long as I can remember the sun has always been shining brightly that way.