From “The House of the Dead”

From “The House of the Dead” July 23, 2012

As the sixth week of Lent came I had to go through my religious exercises, for the convicts were divided by the sub-superintendent into seven sections–answering to the weeks in Lent–and these had to attend to their devotions according to this roster. Each section was composed of about thirty men. This week was a great solace to me; we went two or three times a day to the church, which was close to the prison. I had not been in church for a long time. The Lenten services, familiar to me from early childhood in my father’s house, the solemn prayers, the prostrations–all stirred in me the fibres of the memory of things long, long past, and woke my earliest impressions to fresh life. Well do I remember how happy I was when at morn we went into God’s house, treading the ground which had frozen in the night, under the escort of soldiers with loaded guns; the escort remained outside the church.

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