"Don't I know that the stars don't move?" he asked himself,
gazing at the bright planet which had shifted its position up to
the topmost twig of the birch-tree. "But looking at the
movements of the stars, I can't picture to myself the rotation of
the earth, and I'm right in saying that the stars move.
"And could the astronomers have understood and calculated
anything, if they had taken into account all the complicated and
varied motions of the earth? All the marvelous conclusions they
have reached about the distances, weights, movements, and
deflections of the heavenly bodies are only founded on the
apparent motions of the heavenly bodies about a stationary earth,
on that very motion I see before me now, which has been so for
millions of men during long ages, and was and will be always
alike, and can always be trusted. And just as the conclusions of
the astronomers would have been vain and uncertain if not founded
on observations of the seen heavens, in relation to a single
meridian and a single horizon, so would my conclusions be vain
and uncertain if not founded on that conception of right, which
has been and will be always alike for all men, which has been
revealed to me as a Christian, and which can always be trusted in
my soul. The question of other religions and their relations to
Divinity I have no right to decide, and no possibility of
"Oh, you haven't gone in then?" he heard Kitty's voice all at
once, as she came by the same way to the drawing-room.
"What is it? you're not worried about anything?" she said,
looking intently at his face in the starlight.
But she could not have seen his face if a flash of lightning had
not hidden the stars and revealed it. In that flash she saw his
face distinctly, and seeing him calm and happy, she smiled at
"She understands," he thought; "she knows what I'm thinking
about. Shall I tell her or not? Yes, I'll tell her." But at the
moment he was about to speak, she began speaking.