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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWar And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 12
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War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 12 Post by :dollarware Category :Long Stories Author :Leo Tolstoy Date :December 2010 Read :1017

Click below to download : War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 12 (Format : PDF)

War And Peace - Book Five : 1806-07 - Chapter 12

In the evening Andrew and Pierre got into the open carriage and
drove to Bald Hills. Prince Andrew, glancing at Pierre, broke the
silence now and then with remarks which showed that he was in a good
temper.

Pointing to the fields, he spoke of the improvements he was making
in his husbandry.

Pierre remained gloomily silent, answering in monosyllables and
apparently immersed in his own thoughts.

He was thinking that Prince Andrew was unhappy, had gone astray, did
not see the true light, and that he, Pierre, ought to aid,
enlighten, and raise him. But as soon as he thought of what he
should say, he felt that Prince Andrew with one word, one argument,
would upset all his teaching, and he shrank from beginning, afraid
of exposing to possible ridicule what to him was precious and sacred.

"No, but why do you think so?" Pierre suddenly began, lowering his
head and looking like a bull about to charge, "why do you think so?
You should not think so."

"Think? What about?" asked Prince Andrew with surprise.

"About life, about man's destiny. It can't be so. I myself thought
like that, and do you know what saved me? Freemasonry! No, don't
smile. Freemasonry is not a religious ceremonial sect, as I thought it
was: Freemasonry is the best expression of the best, the eternal,
aspects of humanity."

And he began to explain Freemasonry as he understood it to Prince
Andrew. He said that Freemasonry is the teaching of Christianity freed
from the bonds of State and Church, a teaching of equality,
brotherhood, and love.

"Only our holy brotherhood has the real meaning of life, all the
rest is a dream," said Pierre. "Understand, my dear fellow, that
outside this union all is filled with deceit and falsehood and I agree
with you that nothing is left for an intelligent and good man but to
live out his life, like you, merely trying not to harm others. But
make our fundamental convictions your own, join our brotherhood,
give yourself up to us, let yourself be guided, and you will at once
feel yourself, as I have felt myself, a part of that vast invisible
chain the beginning of which is hidden in heaven," said Pierre.

Prince Andrew, looking straight in front of him, listened in silence
to Pierre's words. More than once, when the noise of the wheels
prevented his catching what Pierre said, he asked him to repeat it,
and by the peculiar glow that came into Prince Andrew's eyes and by
his silence, Pierre saw that his words were not in vain and that
Prince Andrew would not interrupt him or laugh at what he said.

They reached a river that had overflowed its banks and which they
had to cross by ferry. While the carriage and horses were being placed
on it, they also stepped on the raft.

Prince Andrew, leaning his arms on the raft railing, gazed
silently at the flooding waters glittering in the setting sun.

"Well, what do you think about it?" Pierre asked. "Why are you
silent?"

"What do I think about it? I am listening to you. It's all very
well.... You say: join our brotherhood and we will show you the aim of
life, the destiny of man, and the laws which govern the world. But who
are we? Men. How is it you know everything? Why do I alone not see
what you see? You see a reign of goodness and truth on earth, but I
don't see it."

Pierre interrupted him.

"Do you believe in a future life?" he asked.

"A future life?" Prince Andrew repeated, but Pierre, giving him no
time to reply, took the repetition for a denial, the more readily as
he knew Prince Andrew's former atheistic convictions.

"You say you can't see a reign of goodness and truth on earth. Nor
could I, and it cannot be seen if one looks on our life here as the
end of everything. On earth, here on this earth" (Pierre pointed to
the fields), "there is no truth, all is false and evil; but in the
universe, in the whole universe there is a kingdom of truth, and we
who are now the children of earth are- eternally- children of the
whole universe. Don't I feel in my soul that I am part of this vast
harmonious whole? Don't I feel that I form one link, one step, between
the lower and higher beings, in this vast harmonious multitude of
beings in whom the Deity- the Supreme Power if you prefer the term- is
manifest? If I see, clearly see, that ladder leading from plant to
man, why should I suppose it breaks off at me and does not go
farther and farther? I feel that I cannot vanish, since nothing
vanishes in this world, but that I shall always exist and always
have existed. I feel that beyond me and above me there are spirits,
and that in this world there is truth."

"Yes, that is Herder's theory," said Prince Andrew, "but it is not
that which can convince me, dear friend- life and death are what
convince. What convinces is when one sees a being dear to one, bound
up with one's own life, before whom one was to blame and had hoped
to make it right" (Prince Andrew's voice trembled and he turned away),
"and suddenly that being is seized with pain, suffers, and ceases to
exist.... Why? It cannot be that there is no answer. And I believe
there is.... That's what convinces, that is what has convinced me,"
said Prince Andrew.

"Yes, yes, of course," said Pierre, "isn't that what I'm saying?"

"No. All I say is that it is not argument that convinces me of the
necessity of a future life, but this: when you go hand in hand with
someone and all at once that person vanishes there, into nowhere,
and you yourself are left facing that abyss, and look in. And I have
looked in...."

"Well, that's it then! You know that there is a there and there is a
Someone? There is the future life. The Someone is- God."

Prince Andrew did not reply. The carriage and horses had long
since been taken off, onto the farther bank, and reharnessed. The
sun had sunk half below the horizon and an evening frost was
starring the puddles near the ferry, but Pierre and Andrew, to the
astonishment of the footmen, coachmen, and ferrymen, still stood on
the raft and talked.

"If there is a God and future life, there is truth and good, and
man's highest happiness consists in striving to attain them. We must
live, we must love, and we must believe that we live not only today on
this scrap of earth, but have lived and shall live forever, there,
in the Whole," said Pierre, and he pointed to the sky.

Prince Andrew stood leaning on the railing of the raft listening
to Pierre, and he gazed with his eyes fixed on the red reflection of
the sun gleaming on the blue waters. There was perfect stillness.
Pierre became silent. The raft had long since stopped and only the
waves of the current beat softly against it below. Prince Andrew
felt as if the sound of the waves kept up a refrain to Pierre's words,
whispering:

"It is true, believe it."

He sighed, and glanced with a radiant, childlike, tender look at
Pierre's face, flushed and rapturous, but yet shy before his
superior friend.

"Yes, if it only were so!" said Prince Andrew. "However, it is
time to get on," he added, and, stepping off the raft, he looked up at
the sky to which Pierre had pointed, and for the first time since
Austerlitz saw that high, everlasting sky he had seen while lying on
that battlefield; and something that had long been slumbering,
something that was best within him, suddenly awoke, joyful and
youthful, in his soul. It vanished as soon as he returned to the
customary conditions of his life, but he knew that this feeling
which he did not know how to develop existed within him. His meeting
with Pierre formed an epoch in Prince Andrew's life. Though
outwardly he continued to live in the same old way, inwardly he
began a new life.

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