Emma Watson Pussy
War And Peace
down in the
register, and his new boots creaking jauntily over the flagstones
of the empty church, he went to the altar. A moment later he
peeped out thence and beckoned to Levin. Thought, till then
locked up, began to stir in Levins head, but he made haste to
drive it away. "It will come right somehow," he thought, and
went towards the altar-rails. He went up the steps, and turning
to the right saw the priest. The priest, a little old man with a
scanty grizzled beard and weary, good-natured eyes, was standing
at the altar-rails, turning over the pages of a missal. With a
slight bow to Levin he began immediately reading prayers in the
official voice. When he had finished them he bowed down to the
ground and turned, facing Levin.
"Christ is present here unseen, receiving your confession," he
said, pointing to the crucifix. "Do you believe in all the
doctrines of the Holy Apostolic Church?" the priest went on,
turning his eyes away from Levins face and folding his hands
under his stole.
"I have doubted, I doubt everything," said Levin in a voice that
jarred on himself, and he ceased speaking.
The priest waited a few seconds to see if he would not say more,
and closing his eyes he said quickly, with a broad, Vladimirsky
"Doubt is natural to the weakness of mankind, but we must pray
that God in His mercy will strengthen us. What are your special
sins?" he added, without the slightest interval, as though
anxious not to waste time.
"My chief sin is doubt. I have doubts of everything, and for the
most part I am in doubt."
"Doubt is natural to the weakness of mankind," the priest
repeated the same words. "What do you doubt about principally?"
"I doubt of everything. I sometimes even have doubts of the
existence of God," Levin could not help saying, and he was
horrified at the impropriety of what he was saying. But Levins
words did not, it seemed, make much impression on the priest.
"What sort of doubt can there be of the existence of God?" he
said hurriedly, with a just perceptible smile.
Levin did not speak.
"What doubt can you have of the Creator when you behold His
creation?" the priest went on in the rapid customary jargon.
"Who has decked the heavenly firmament with its lights? Who has
clothed the earth in its beauty? How explain it without the
Creator?" he said, looking inquiringly at Levin.
Levin felt that it would be improper to enter upon a metaphysical
discussion with the priest, and so he said in reply merely what
was a direct answer to the question.
"I dont know," he said.
"You dont know! Then how can you doubt that God created all?"
the priest said, with good-humored perplexity.
"I dont understand it at all," said Levin, blushing, and feeling
that his words were stupid, and that they could not be anything
but stupid in such a position.
"Pray to God and beseech Him. Even the holy fathers had doubts,
and prayed to God to strengthen their faith. The devil has great
power, and we must resist him. Pray to God, beseech Him. Pray
to God," he repeated hurriedly.
The priest paused for some time, as though meditating.
"Youre about, I hear, to marry the daughter of my parishioner
and son in the spirit, Prince Shtcherbatsky?" he resumed, with a
smile. "An excellent young lady."
"Yes," answered Levin, blushing for the priest. "What does he
want to ask me about this at confession for?" he thought.
And, as though answering his thought, the priest said to him:
"You are about to enter into holy matrimony, and God may bless
you with offspring. Well, what sort of bringing-up can you give
your babes if you do not overcome the temptation of the devil,
enticing you to infidelity?" he said, with gentle
reproachfulness. "If you love your child as a good father, you
will not desire only wealth, luxury, honor for your infant; you
will be anxious for his salvation, his spiritual enlightenment
with the light of truth. Eh? What answer will you make him when
the innocent babe asks you: Papa! who made all that enchants me
in this world--the earth, the waters, the sun, the flowers, the
grass? Can you say to him: I dont know? You cannot but know,
since the Lord God in His infinite mercy has revealed it to us.
Anna Karenina page 252 Anna Karenina page 254