"But I say," Stepan Arkadyevitch said to him one day after he had
come back from the country, where he had got everything ready for
the young people's arrival, "have you a certificate of having
been at confession?"
"No. But what of it?"
"You can't be married without it."
"Aie, aie, aie!" cried Levin. "Why, I believe it's nine years
since I've taken the sacrament! I never thought of it."
"You're a pretty fellow!" said Stepan Arkadyevitch laughing, "and
you call me a Nihilist! But this won't do, you know. You must
take the sacrament."
"When? There are four days left now."
Stepan Arkadyevitch arranged this also, and Levin had to go to
confession. To Levin, as to any unbeliever who respects the
beliefs of others, it was exceedingly disagreeable to be present
at and take part in church ceremonies. At this moment, in his
present softened state of feeling, sensitive to everything, this
inevitable act of hypocrisy was not merely painful to Levin, it
seemed to him utterly impossible. Now, in the heyday of his
highest glory, his fullest flower, he would have to be a liar or
a scoffer. He felt incapable of being either. But though he
repeatedly plied Stepan Arkadyevitch with questions as to the
possibility of obtaining a certificate without actually
communicating, Stepan Arkadyevitch maintained that it was out of
"Besides, what is it to you--two days? And he's an awfully nice
clever old fellow. He'll pull the tooth out for you so gently,
you won't notice it."
Standing at the first litany, Levin attempted to revive in
himself his youthful recollections of the intense religious
emotion he had passed through between the ages of sixteen and