This is complicated, so I won't delve to deeply, but Pierre is brought into the brotherhood of the masons. There is a complicated ceremony and explanation, having to do with virtues that he will cultivate, much symbolism, and many questions about his intentions. Then he is asked what his main predeliction is that kept him from living a virtuous life, and he says "Women". And when he does, and gives himself over, he feels joy.
He know not only believes in god, but he's a freemason.
My favorite line is that they went in to a small room in a big house where they had to take off their fur coats "without the help of servants". That's quite austere and serious. I can't imagine today what that would signify, but I gather it means that this is truly bare-bones. Speaking of, he goes into a room with the gospels, a light lit in a skull, and a coffin with bones. The masons apparently encourage one to think often about death. That sounds like what Pierre needs. They certainly have a sense of theatre and self-gravity.
6 months ago