Father Sergius by Leo Tolstoy
Trans. Louise and Aylmer Maude
In Petersburg in the eighteen-forties a surprising event
occurred. An officer of the Cuirassier Life Guards, a handsome
prince who everyone predicted would become aide-de-camp to the
Emperor Nicholas I and have a brilliant career, left the service,
broke off his engagement to a beautiful maid of honour, a
favourite of the Empress's, gave his small estate to his sister,
and retired to a monastery to become a monk.
This event appeared extraordinary and inexplicable to those who
did not know his inner motives, but for Prince Stepan Kasatsky
himself it all occurred so naturally that he could not imagine
how he could have acted otherwise.
His father, a retired colonel of the Guards, had died when Stepan
was twelve, and sorry as his mother was to part from her son, she
entered him at the Military College as her deceased husband had