The Brothers Karamazov HTML version

Part II
Book IV: Lacerations
1. Father Ferapont
ALYOSHA was roused early, before daybreak. Father Zossima woke up feeling
very weak, though he wanted to get out of bed and sit up in a chair. His mind was
quite clear; his face looked very tired, yet bright and almost joyful. It wore an
expression of gaiety, kindness and cordiality. "Maybe I shall not live through the
coming day," he said to Alyosha. Then he desired to confess and take the
sacrament at once. He always confessed to Father Paissy. After taking the
communion, the service of extreme unction followed. The monks assembled and
the cell was gradually filled up by the inmates of the hermitage. Meantime it was
daylight. People began coming from the monastery. After the service was over
the elder desired to kiss and take leave of everyone. As the cell was so small the
earlier visitors withdrew to make room for others. Alyosha stood beside the elder,
who was seated again in his arm-chair. He talked as much as he could. Though
his voice was weak, it was fairly steady.
"I've been teaching you so many years, and therefore I've been talking aloud so
many years, that I've got into the habit of talking, and so much so that it's almost
more difficult for me to hold my tongue than to talk, even now, in spite of my
weakness, dear Fathers and brothers," he jested, looking with emotion at the
group round him.
Alyosha remembered afterwards something of what he said to them. But though
he spoke out distinctly and his voice was fairly steady, his speech was somewhat
disconnected. He spoke of many things, he seemed anxious before the moment
of death to say everything he had not said in his life, and not simply for the sake
of instructing them, but as though thirsting to share with all men and all creation
his joy and ecstasy, and once more in his life to open his whole heart.
"Love one another, Fathers," said Father Zossima, as far as Alyosha could
remember afterwards. "Love God's people. Because we have come here and
shut ourselves within these walls, we are no holier than those that are outside,
but on the contrary, from the very fact of coming here, each of us has confessed
to himself that he is worse than others, than all men on earth.... And the longer
the monk lives in his seclusion, the more keenly he must recognise that. Else he
would have had no reason to come here. When he realises that he is not only