[Sighs] Dear, why is it you’ve been silent for so long?
Have you been reading?
[Sighs] Yes, I tried to read.
[Exits. The curtain falls.]
[Gazes at one another, shaking their heads with suppressed anxiety]
What is she doing? Why do they think she is a madwoman?
[Besides one another, some look in fear at one another’s faces, others at each other’s eyes; the general gloom, which has been growing over the place ever since the end of the siege, now grows more intense.]
Why did the old man come?
[Some of the prisoners shake their heads at one another, but no one gives a reply. One man suddenly stands up, holding the paper the old man had been reading.]
O! the paper is very bad.
[Goes to the bar and writes.]
We are all very sorry that poor old man passed away. He was a most good-natured man. Had he lost his life, and in this place, he would be an old man right now; and one of my comrades said yesterday that there is such a thing as good manners. It is only a bad custom.
[Kisses the paper reverently. The prisoner continues, reading:]
I know the old woman you have been reading my papers to!
[Sighs. At the same time cries out to the audience:]
What! Do not laugh!
[Cries out again.]
You have not been able to keep your promise. You promised that no one would kill us.
[Cries in alarm.]
We must die.
[Shakes his head.]
I cannot have it. You have taken your oath; but why have you not kept your promise?
[The audience stares at the prisoner, who listens in silence. The curtain falls.]
THE SEASON OF HISTORY
[A prisoner comes out of the cell, carrying a basket.]
A man of the Court asked me yesterday whether I was prepared to give my opinion concerning the trial of the Grand Inquisitor. I thought I should give him an answer, but what I gave would be false. As to my opinion concerning the whole of it, I will not be sorry it remains a mystery; but
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