A monologue from the play by Maxim Gorky
NOTE: This monologue is reprinted from The Moscow Art Theatre Series of Plays. Ed. Oliver M. Sayler. New York: Brantanos, 1922.
LUKA: Some one has to be kind, girl — some one has to pity people! Christ pitied everybody — and he said to us: “Go and do likewise!” I tell you — if you pity a man when he most needs it, good comes of it. Why — I used to be a watchman on the estate of an engineer near Tomsk — all right — the house was right in the middle of a forest — lonely place — winter came — and I remained all by myself. Well — one night I heard a noise — thieves creeping in! I took my gun — I went out. I looked and saw two of them opening a window — and so busy that they didn’t even see me. I yell: “Hey there — get out of here!” And they turn on me with their axes — I warn them to stand back, or I’d shoot — and as I speak, I keep on covering them with my gun, first on the one, then the other — they go down on their knees, as if to implore me for mercy. And by that time I was furious — because of those axes, you see — and so I say to them: “I was chasing you, you scoundrels — and you didn’t go. Now you go and break off some stout branches!” — and they did so — and I say: “Now — one of you lie down and let the other one flog him!” So they obey me and flog each other — and then they began to implore me again. “Grandfather,” they say, “for God’s sake give us some bread! We’re hungry!” There’s thieves for you, my dear! And with an ax, too! Yes — honest peasants, both of them! And I say to them, “You should have asked for bread straight away!” And they say: “We got tired of asking — you beg and beg — and nobody gives you a crumb — it hurts!” So they stayed with me all that winter — one of them, Stepan, would take my gun and go shooting in the forest — and the other, Yakoff, was ill most of the time — he coughed a lot . . . and so the three of us together looked after the house . . . then spring came . . . “Good-bye, grandfather,” they said — and they went away — back home to Russia . . . escaped convicts — from a Siberian prison camp . . . honest peasants! If I hadn’t felt sorry for them — they might have killed me — or maybe worse — and then there would have been a trial and prison and afterwards Siberia — what’s the sense of it? Prison teaches no good — and Siberia doesn’t either — but another human being can . . . yes, a human being can teach another one kindness — very simply!Order now