War And Peace

CHAPTER X

Chinese

HE KEPT UP his diary and this was what he was writing in it at that time:

November 24.—I got up at eight o'clock, read the Scriptures, then went to my duties” (Pierre by the advice of Osip Alexyevitch was serving on one of the government committees), “came back to dinner, dined alone (the countess had a lot of guests whom I did not care for), ate and drank with moderation, and after dinner copied out passages for the brothers. In the evening I went down to the countess, and told a ridiculous story about B., and only bethought myself that I ought not to have done so, when every one was laughing loudly at it.

“I went to bed with a calm and happy spirit. Great Lord, help me to walk in Thy paths: (1) to flee anger by gentleness and deliberation; (2) to flee lust by self-restraint and loathing; (3) to escape from the turmoil of the world without cutting myself off from (a) the duties of my political work, (b) the cares of my household, (c) relations with my friends, and (d) the management of my finances.”

November 27.—I got up late and lay a long while in bed after I was awake, giving way to sloth. My God, help me and strengthen me that I may walk in Thy ways. Read the Scriptures, but without proper feeling. Brother Urusov came: talked of the cares of this world. He told me of the Tsar's new projects. I was beginning to criticise them, but remembered my principles and the words of my benefactor, that a true mason ought to be zealous in working for the state, when his aid is required, but should look on quietly at what he is not called upon to assist in. My tongue is my enemy. Brothers G.V. and O. visited me; there was a conversation preliminary to the reception of a new brother. They lay upon me the duty of rhetor. I feel weak and unworthy. Then there was talk of the interpretation of the seven pillars and steps of the Temple, of the seven sciences, the seven virtues, the seven vices, the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit. Brother O. was very eloquent. In the evening the reception took place. The new decoration of the building added a good deal to the magnificence of the spectacle. Boris Drubetskoy was admitted. I had proposed him, and I was the rhetor. A strange feeling troubled me all the time I was with him in the dark temple. I detected in myself a feeling of hatred, which I studiously strove to overcome. And I could sincerely have desired to save him from evil and to lead him into the way of truth, but evil thoughts of him never left me. The thought came to me that his object in entering the brotherhood was simply to gain the intimacy and favour of men in our lodge. Apart from the fact that he several times asked me whether N. or S. were not members of our lodge (a question I could not answer), he is incapable, so far as my observation goes, of feeling a reverence for our holy order, and is too much occupied, and too well satisfied with the outer man, to care much for the improvement of the spiritual man. I had no grounds for doubting of him, but he seemed to me insincere; and all the time I stood face to face with him in the dark temple I kept fancying he was smiling contemptuously at my words, and I should have liked really to stab his bare chest with the sword I held pointed at it. I could not be eloquent, and could not sincerely communicate my doubts to the brothers and the Grand Master. O Great Architect of Nature, help me to find the true path that leads out of the labyrinth of falsehood!”

After this three pages of the diary were left blank, and then had been written:

“I had a long and instructive conversation with brother V., who advised me not to abandon brother A. Much was revealed to me, unworthy as I am. Adonai is the name of the creator of worlds. Elohim is the name of the ruler of all. The third name, the name unutterable, has the significance of the All. Talks with brother V. strengthen and refresh me and confirm me in the path of virtue. In his presence there is no room for doubt. I see clearly the distinction between the poor doctrine of mundane science and our sacred, all-embracing teaching. Human sciences dissect everything to understand it, and destroy everything to analyse it. In the sacred science of our order all is one, all is known for its combination and life. The trinity—the three elements of things—are sulphur, mercury, and salt. Sulphur is of an oily and fiery nature; in its combination with salt by its fiery quality it arouses a craving in it, by means of which it attracts mercury, fastens upon it, holds it, and in combination with it forms various substances. Mercury is the unsubstantial, floating, spiritual essence—Christ, the Holy Ghost, Him.”

December 3.—I waked up late, read the Scripture, but was unmoved by it. Afterwards I went down and walked up and down the big hall. I tried to meditate; but instead of that my imagination brought before me an incident which occurred four years ago. Dolohov, meeting me after my duel in Moscow, said to me that he hoped I was now enjoying complete mental peace in spite of my wife's absence. At the time I made him no answer. Now I recalled all the details of that interview, and in my mind made him the most vindictive and biting retorts. I recovered myself and drove away that idea, only when I had caught myself in a passion of anger; but I did not repent of it sufficiently. Afterwards Boris Drubetskoy came and began describing various incidents. The moment he came in I felt amazed at his visit and said something horrid to him. He retorted. I got hot, and said a great deal to him that was disagreeable and even rude. He did not reply, and I checked myself only when it was too late. My God, I cannot get on with him at all. It is myself too that is to blame for it. I set myself above him, and so I become far inferior to him, for he is lenient to my rudeness, while I nourish a contempt for him. My God, grant me that in his presence I may see more clearly my own vileness and act so that it may be profitable to him too. After dinner I went to sleep, and just as I was falling asleep, I distinctly heard a voice saying in my left ear: ‘Thy day.'

“I dreamed I was walking along in the dark and was all of a sudden surrounded by dogs, but I went on undismayed; all at once one small dog seized me by the thigh with its teeth and would not let go. I tried to strangle it with my hands. And as soon as I tore it off, another, a bigger one, began to bite me. I lifted it up, and the more I lifted it up, the bigger and heavier it became. And suddenly brother A. came up, and taking me by the arm, led me away with him and brought me into a building, to enter which we had to pass over a narrow plank. I stepped on it, and the plank bent and gave way, and I began clambering on the fence, which I just managed to get hold of with my hands. After great efforts I dragged my body up, so that my legs were hanging over on one side and my body on the other. I looked round and saw brother A. standing on the fence and pointing out to me a great avenue and garden, and in the garden a great and beautiful building. I waked up. Lord, Great Architect of Nature, help me to tear away these dogs—my evil passions and especially the last—that unites in itself the violence of all the former ones, and aid me to enter that temple of virtue, of which I was vouchsafed a vision in my sleep.”

December 7.—I dreamed that Osip Alexyevitch was sitting in my house, and I was very glad to see him and eager to entertain him. But in my dream I kept chattering away incessantly with other people, and all at once I bethought myself that this could not be to his liking and I wanted to come close to him and to embrace him. But as soon as I approached him, I saw that his face was transformed, and had grown young, and he said something to me softly, some doctrine of our order, but so softly that I could not catch it. Then we all seemed to go out of the room, and something strange happened. We were sitting or lying on the floor. He was telling me something. But in my dream I longed to show him my devotional feeling, and, not listening to his words, I began picturing to myself the state of my own inner man, and the grace of God sanctifying me. And tears came into my eyes, and I was glad that he noticed it. But he glanced at me with vexation, and jumped up, breaking off his conversation with me. I was abashed and asked him whether what he had been saying did not concern me. But he made no reply, but gave me a friendly look, and then all of a sudden we found ourselves in my bedroom, where stood a big double bed. He lay down on the edge of it, and I seemed to be filled with a desire to embrace him and to lie down too. And in my dream he asked me, ‘Tell me the truth, what is your chief temptation? Do you know it? I believe that you do know it.' Abashed at this question, I answered that sloth was my besetting temptation. He shook his head incredulously. And even more abashed, I told him that though I was living here with my wife, I was not living with her as a husband. To this he replied that I had no right to deprive my wife of my embraces, and gave me to understand that this was my duty. But I answered that I should be ashamed of it, and suddenly everything vanished. And I waked up, and in my mind there was the text of scripture: ‘And the life was the light of man, and the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not.'

“The face of Osip Alexyevitch had been youthful and bright-looking. That day I received a letter from my benefactor, in which he wrote to me of my conjugal duties.

December 9.—I had a dream from which I waked up with a throbbing heart. I dreamed I was in Moscow in my own house, in the big divan-room, and Osip Alexyevitch came out of the drawing-room. I dreamed that I knew at once that the process of regeneration had begun in him, and I rushed to meet him. I kissed his face and his hands, while he said: ‘Do you notice that my face is different?' I looked at him, still holding him in my arms, and I dreamed that I saw that his face was young, but he had no hair on his head and his features were quite different. And I dreamed that I said to him: ‘I should have recognised you if I had met you by chance'; and thought as I said it, ‘Am I telling the truth?' And all at once I saw him lying like a dead body; then he gradually came to himself again and went with me into the big study, holding a big folio book of manuscript. And I dreamed I said: ‘I wrote that.' And he answered me by an inclination of the head. I opened the book, and on all the pages were fine drawings. And in my dream I knew that these pictures depicted the soul's love adventures with its beloved. And I saw a beautiful presentment of a maiden in transparent garments and with a transparent body flying up to the clouds. And I seemed to know that this maiden was nothing else but the figure of the Song of Songs. And in my dream, as I looked at these pictures, I felt I was doing wrong and could not tear myself away from them. Lord, help me! My God, if Thy forsaking me is Thy doing, then Thy will be done; but if I am myself the cause, teach me what I am to do. I perish from my vileness as though Thou wast utterly forsaking me.”

Contents

PreviousChapter

NextChapter


Back Home

旺旺英语--名著对译