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Sunday 14 September 2008

2nd Excerpt from "Most Beautiful Princess"

....“Murder?” she thought, “Can murder ever be justified….Thou shalt not kill….” And yet, when the whole of Europe was engaged in such bloody slaughter, the removal of one dangerous man, one source of evil, seemed so small a thing. Had all this bloodshed and horror hardened her heart, she wondered. Five, ten years ago it would have been unthinkable to even entertain such a notion but now…desperate times, desperate remedies. She flicked through the pages of her Bible to the Gospel of St. John: “It is better that one man should die for the people, rather than that the whole nation should perish…”
“Matushka,” Mitrophan gently tapped her shoulder, “forgive me, but you look so troubled.”
“I am troubled, Father, deeply troubled.”
He knelt down beside her, “Is there anything I can do?”
“It is better that one man should die for the people, rather than that the whole nation should perish…” she read aloud. “That’s what they said of Christ. Those who killed him believed they were acting for the common good. Do you think that the death of one man could prevent the destruction of a nation?”
“Every nation chooses its own scapegoats. It is easier to lay the responsibility for all our ills at the feet of someone else than to accept that we have brought calamity onto ourselves.”
“But if one man were truly destroying the country and…”
“Could one man do that without the tacit consent of all his fellow countrymen? Evil is like a plant - it can’t flourish unless it is fed and watered.” He gazed towards the infant in the crib, “By our carelessness and selfishness, we all contribute to its growth and then when we see what a monster we have created, we attempt to destroy it as though it is external to ourselves.”
“Something terrible is about to happen,” she whispered. “I have neither condemned nor condoned it but in my heart I think it’s the only way.”
“With or without your agreement, this terrible thing will happen anyway?”
She nodded.
“Then it’s out of your hands and all you can do is place it in the hands of God. Pray that if it is his will, this thing might be averted but, if there is no other way, pray for everyone involved.”
She stared at the serene expressions of the statues in the crib. How she longed for peace, for an end to all this horror, and a return to the beauty that was once her sole preoccupation.
“There was time once,” she murmured, “to contemplate everything; to reflect, to feel..."

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