Mikhael Alexandrovich Berlioz Quotes in The Master and Margarita
The foreigner sat back on the bench and asked, even with a slight shriek of curiosity:
‘You are - atheists?!’
‘Yes, we’re atheists,’ Berlioz smilingly replied, and Homeless thought, getting angry: ‘Latched on to us, the foreign goose!’
‘Oh, how lovely!’ the astonishing foreigner cried out and began swivelling his head, looking from one writer to the other.
‘In our country atheism does not surprise anyone,’ Berlioz said with diplomatic politeness. ‘The majority of our population consciously and long ago ceased believing in the fairy tales about God.’
Any visitor finding himself in Griboedov’s, unless of course he was a total dim-wit, would realize at once what a good life those lucky fellows, the Massolit members, were having, and black envy would immediately start gnawing at him. And he would immediately address bitter reproaches to heaven for not having endowed him at birth with literary talent, lacking which there was naturally no dreaming of owning a Massolit membership card, brown, smelling of costly leather, with a wide gold border – a card known to all Moscow.
At the deceased’s desk sat an unknown, skinny, long citizen in a little checkered jacket, a jockey’s cap, and a pince-nez... well, in short, that same one.
‘And who might you be, citizen?’ Nikanor Ivanovich asked fearfully.
‘Hah! Nikanor Ivanovich!’ the unexpected citizen yelled in a rattling tenor and, jumping up, greeted the chairman with a forced and sudden handshake. This greeting by no means gladdened Nikanor Ivanovich.
‘Excuse me,’ he said suspiciously, ‘but who might you be? Are you an official person?’
‘Eh, Nikanor Ivanovich!’ the unknown man exclaimed soulfully. ‘What are official and unofficial persons? It all depends on your point of view on the subject. It’s all fluctuating and relative, Nikanor Ivanovich. Today I’m an unofficial person, and tomorrow, lo and behold, I’m an official one! And it also happens the other way round – oh, how it does!’
‘Mikhail Alexandrovich,’ Woland addressed the head in a low voice, and then the slain man’s eyelids rose, and on the dead face Margarita saw, with a shudder, living eyes filled with thought and suffering.
‘Everything came to pass, did it not?’ Woland went on, looking into the head’s eyes. ‘The head was cut off by a woman, the meeting did not take place, and I am living in your apartment. That is a fact. And fact is the most stubborn thing in the world. But we are now interested in what follows, and not in this already accomplished fact. You have always been an ardent preacher of the theory that, on the cutting off of his head, life ceases in a man, he turns to ashes and goes into non-being. I have the pleasure of informing you, in the presence of my guests, though they serve as proof of quite a different theory, that your theory is both solid and clever.
However, one theory is as good as another. There is also one which holds that it will be given to each according to his faith. Let it come true! You go into non-being, and from the cup into which you are to be transformed, I will joyfully drink to being!’
Woland raised his sword. Straight away the flesh of the head turned dark and shrivelled, then fell off in pieces, the eyes disappeared, and soon Margarita saw on the platter a yellowish skull with emerald eyes, pearl teeth and a golden foot. The lid opened on a hinge.