Anna karenina, p.239
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       Anna Karenina, p.239

           graf Leo Tolstoy
 

  Chapter 19

  Going out of the nursery and being again alone, Levin went back at onceto the thought, in which there was something not clear.

  Instead of going into the drawing room, where he heard voices, hestopped on the terrace, and leaning his elbows on the parapet, he gazedup at the sky.

  It was quite dark now, and in the south, where he was looking, therewere no clouds. The storm had drifted on to the opposite side of thesky, and there were flashes of lightning and distant thunder from thatquarter. Levin listened to the monotonous drip from the lime trees inthe garden, and looked at the triangle of stars he knew so well, and theMilky Way with its branches that ran through its midst. At each flash oflightning the Milky Way, and even the bright stars, vanished, but assoon as the lightning died away, they reappeared in their places asthough some hand had flung them back with careful aim.

  "Well, what is it perplexes me?" Levin said to himself, feelingbeforehand that the solution of his difficulties was ready in his soul,though he did not know it yet. "Yes, the one unmistakable, incontestablemanifestation of the Divinity is the law of right and wrong, which hascome into the world by revelation, and which I feel in myself, and inthe recognition of which--I don't make myself, but whether I will ornot--I am made one with other men in one body of believers, which iscalled the church. Well, but the Jews, the Mohammedans, the Confucians,the Buddhists--what of them?" he put to himself the question he hadfeared to face. "Can these hundreds of millions of men be deprived ofthat highest blessing without which life has no meaning?" He pondered amoment, but immediately corrected himself. "But what am I questioning?"he said to himself. "I am questioning the relation to Divinity of allthe different religions of all mankind. I am questioning the universalmanifestation of God to all the world with all those misty blurs. Whatam I about? To me individually, to my heart has been revealed aknowledge beyond all doubt, and unattainable by reason, and here I amobstinately trying to express that knowledge in reason and words.

  "Don't I know that the stars don't move?" he asked himself, gazing atthe bright planet which had shifted its position up to the topmost twigof the birch-tree. "But looking at the movements of the stars, I can'tpicture to myself the rotation of the earth, and I'm right in sayingthat the stars move.

  "And could the astronomers have understood and calculated anything, ifthey had taken into account all the complicated and varied motions ofthe earth? All the marvelous conclusions they have reached about thedistances, weights, movements, and deflections of the heavenly bodiesare only founded on the apparent motions of the heavenly bodies about astationary earth, on that very motion I see before me now, which hasbeen so for millions of men during long ages, and was and will be alwaysalike, and can always be trusted. And just as the conclusions of theastronomers would have been vain and uncertain if not founded onobservations of the seen heavens, in relation to a single meridian and asingle horizon, so would my conclusions be vain and uncertain if notfounded on that conception of right, which has been and will be alwaysalike for all men, which has been revealed to me as a Christian, andwhich can always be trusted in my soul. The question of other religionsand their relations to Divinity I have no right to decide, and nopossibility of deciding."

  "Oh, you haven't gone in then?" he heard Kitty's voice all at once, asshe came by the same way to the drawing-room.

  "What is it? you're not worried about anything?" she said, lookingintently at his face in the starlight.

  But she could not have seen his face if a flash of lightning had nothidden the stars and revealed it. In that flash she saw his facedistinctly, and seeing him calm and happy, she smiled at him.

  "She understands," he thought; "she knows what I'm thinking about. ShallI tell her or not? Yes, I'll tell her." But at the moment he was aboutto speak, she began speaking.

  "Kostya! do something for me," she said; "go into the corner room andsee if they've made it all right for Sergey Ivanovitch. I can't verywell. See if they've put the new wash stand in it."

  "Very well, I'll go directly," said Levin, standing up and kissing her.

  "No, I'd better not speak of it," he thought, when she had gone inbefore him. "It is a secret for me alone, of vital importance for me,and not to be put into words.

  "This new feeling has not changed me, has not made me happy andenlightened all of a sudden, as I had dreamed, just like the feeling formy child. There was no surprise in this either. Faith--or not faith--Idon't know what it is--but this feeling has come just as imperceptiblythrough suffering, and has taken firm root in my soul.

  "I shall go on in the same way, losing my temper with Ivan the coachman,falling into angry discussions, expressing my opinions tactlessly; therewill be still the same wall between the holy of holies of my soul andother people, even my wife; I shall still go on scolding her for my ownterror, and being remorseful for it; I shall still be as unable tounderstand with my reason why I pray, and I shall still go on praying;but my life now, my whole life apart from anything that can happen tome, every minute of it is no more meaningless, as it was before, but ithas the positive meaning of goodness, which I have the power to put intoit."

 
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