A Year of War and Peace+ Day 20

In which Pierre contemplates death and so do we

Playlist

War and Peace — Book One, Part One

Chapter Twenty

Pierre well knew this large room divided by columns and an arch, its walls hung round with Persian carpets. The part of the room behind the columns, with a high silk-curtained mahogany bedstead on one side and on the other an immense case containing icons, was brightly illuminated with red light like a Russian church during evening service. Under the gleaming icons stood a long invalid chair, and in that chair on snowy-white smooth pillows, evidently freshly changed, Pierre saw — covered to the waist by a bright green quilt — the familiar, majestic figure of his father, Count Bezúkhov, with that gray mane of hair above his broad forehead which reminded one of a lion, and the deep characteristically noble wrinkles of his handsome, ruddy face. He lay just under the icons; his large thick hands outside the quilt. Into the right hand, which was lying palm downwards, a wax taper had been thrust between forefinger and thumb, and an old servant, bending over from behind the chair, held it in position. By the chair stood the priests, their long hair falling over their magnificent glittering vestments, with lighted tapers in their hands, slowly and solemnly conducting the service. A little behind them stood the two younger princesses holding handkerchiefs to their eyes, and just in front of them their eldest sister, Catiche, with a vicious and determined look steadily fixed on the icons, as though declaring to all that she could not answer for herself should she glance round. Anna Mikháylovna, with a meek, sorrowful, and all-forgiving expression on her face, stood by the door near the strange lady. Prince Vasíli in front of the door, near the invalid chair, a wax taper in his left hand, was leaning his left arm on the carved back of a velvet chair he had turned round for the purpose, and was crossing himself with his right hand, turning his eyes upward each time he touched his forehead. His face wore a calm look of piety and resignation to the will of God. “If you do not understand these sentiments,” he seemed to be saying, “so much the worse for you!”

A Year of War and Peace — Day 20

NIL IGITVR MORS EST AD NOS

Approach of the Kneaded Clod (Bezúkhov Smiles)

Pierre enters his father’s room. It’s a solemn scene of lighted taper candles, gathered grievers, priests in vestments, and a dying man propped up in a chair under a collection of red-lighted icons. In the air above them all hang the haunted ghosts of sacramental chanting.

Daily Meditation

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