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purposes of the creation, speaking in a tongue unintelligible but to the spirit, but full of significance.
Oh! how marvellous was the light of that night, with its rainbow colours reflected from the mica-slate windows of the church, and from that gold cross raised high on its cupola! How the strongest rays of light were concentrated around it, insomuch that it alone was seen above, as in the clouds, shedding the brightest light on all this earth around. The view sunk deep into my soul, awakening an infinity of associations and feelings which it is difficult to give an account of. My thoughts plunged into this abyss, seeking after the unfathomable future; but I soon perceived how incompetent I was to pursue the subject, and how it teemed with mystery and doubt. Soon indeed I felt that my reflections were becoming confused. I fell on my knees, tears gushed in a torrent down my cheeks, and my feelings burst forth in prayer. Then I learnt how feeble and yet how presumptuous is man, and was taught to seek all my light and all my solace only from on high.
More than two hours I remained on this lonely spot, before I became sensible that it would be imprudent to stay longer, and that I must now return home. But it was hard, I thought, to suffer this interruption, to be obliged to tear myself away from objects so much in keeping with my thoughts--the sombre trees, the murmuring stream, and the vast wilderness-a world which was so beautiful and so divine, and in which every one of the created things addressed the mind in harmonious accents, in that spiritual language in which the Creator is wont to speak to His creatures, clearly and truly, though so silently. It was hard to exchange such a world for one of man's contrivance, so narrow, so distorted, and so odious.
In order to prolong the pleasure of these agreeable impressions, and not to sink them at once in the turbid pool of common place life, instead of taking a direct way to the town, I proceeded farther beyond the cemetery, and traversed the woodlands extending along the banks of the Soswa to its confluence with the Waygulka, forming part of the great forest by which Berezov is encompassed. The whole of these
environs is overgrown with underwood, bushes of juniper, dwarfish larches, and diminutive firs and cedars. The trees here are constantly felled for the use of the inhabitants, and from being invaded by man, have evidently lost their naturally graceful form, and degenerated into defective crooked stumps. Their appearance contributed much to cool my imagination, which shortly before had perhaps been too much exalted.
After I had wandered awhile through the bush, I began at last to feel, as my companion did before, that it was too cold and too dark to prolong my ramble, and turned my steps towards the town. Soon I perceived the glimmering of lights from the windows of the houses, and almost regretted that home was so near, as it brought me again within the range of human habitations. Finally, I found myself within the four walls of my dwelling. Instead of the deep-blue firmament strewn with stars, I saw overhead only wooden planks—our humble ceiling. Instead of the nocturnal beacon of the sky, pouring a silvery stream of light on all quarters of the horizon, a, tallow candle stood on the table. Instead of the freshness of the balmy
air perfumed with odorous exhalations from the larches and the cedars, a disagreeable rancid smell from some fat dish placed in the oven to be warmed, saluted my olfactory nerves. Instead of the calm whispering murmur of the river rolling its stream of water over its narrow bed, the murmur of countless hosts of cockroaches, which at night come out of their hiding-places and cover the walls, made my ears tingle, while the sound of their crawling movements resembled a pelting thunder-shower.
But this was not all—I was overwhelmed with questions. Where had I been? What had I been doing?
And in the end, I got admonished for my indiscretion, and, I must own, most deservedly. No one should outstep the bounds of the circle within which it is his destiny to move. What matter to him, though some other world fit for a moment before his mind's eye? Can that short moment of enchantment compensate for the bitterness of every day's experiences ?—a life intertwined with our manners, and wrought out amidst circumstances familiar from infancy?
Despite the unwillingness with which I crossed
the threshold, on entering the room, I did not find the genial heat of the stove at all too much, my limbs being benumbed with cold; and even the smell which at first had so disagreeably affected me, ceased gradually to be offensive, after I had appeased my hunger with the savoury food taken out of the stove; so that we speedily become reconciled to the routine of existence.