The Karamazov Brothers

By Fyodor Dostoevsky; Ignat Avsey | Go to book overview
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BOOK FOUR
Crises

1
FATHER THERAPON*

ALYOSHA awoke early, before sunrise. The starets was already up; he was feeling very weak, but nevertheless had decided to move from his bed to his chair. He was in full possession of his faculties. Though he looked very tired, the expression on his face was bright, almost joyful, and the look in his eyes was cheerful, kindly, and welcoming. 'Perhaps I shall not live to see the end of this day,' he said to Alyosha; then he expressed a desire to make his confession and take Holy Communion immediately. His confessor was always Father Païsy. Following these two sacraments, Extreme Unction was administered. The hieromonks gathered in the cell, which then gradually began to fill with other monks. It was now past daybreak. Monks from the monastery also began to arrive. After the service was over, the starets expressed a desire to bid farewell to all, and he kissed everyone. Because of the cramped conditions in the cell, those who had come first left to make room for the others. Alyosha stood next to the starets, who by now had returned to his chair. Then he began to speak and to preach as best he could in a voice which, though weak, was still quite firm. 'I've been teaching you for so many years, and consequently have spoken out loud so much, that speaking--and in speaking, my dear brethren, teaching you--has almost become a habit with me, so much so that even now, weak as I am, to remain silent would be more difficult than to speak,' he joked, looking benignly at those who were crowding around him. Alyosha was later to recall some of the things the starets said on that occasion. But though he spoke clearly and his voice was firm enough, his discourse was quite disjointed. He spoke about many things, evidently wishing before

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