The Arousing of Thought

“Either do nothing—just go to school—or do something nobody else does.”

Whereupon she immediately, without hesitation, and with a perceptible impulse of disdain for all around her, and with commendable self-cognizance, gave up her soul directly into the hands of His Truthfulness, the Archangel Gabriel.

I think it will be interesting and even instructive to you to know that all this made so powerful an impression on me at that time that I suddenly became unable to endure anyone around me, and therefore, as soon as we left the room where the mortal “planetary body” of the cause of the cause of my arising lay, I very quietly, trying not to attract attention, stole away to the pit where during Lent the bran and potato skins for our “sanitarians,” that is to say, our pigs, were stored, and lay there, without food or drink, in a tempest of whirling and confused thoughts—of which, fortunately for me, I had then in my childish brain still only a very limited number—right until the return from the cemetery of my mother, whose weeping on finding me gone and after searching for me in vain, as it were “overwhelmed” me. I then immediately emerged from the pit and standing first of all on the edge, for some reason or other with outstretched hand, ran to her and clinging fast to her skirts, involuntarily began to stamp my feet and why, I don’t know, to imitate the braying of the donkey belonging to our neighbor, a bailiff.

Why this produced such a strong impression on me just then, and why I almost automatically manifested so strangely, I cannot until now make out; though during recent years, particularly on the days called “Shrovetide,” I pondered a good deal, trying chiefly to discover the reason for it.