Three worlds

Three Worlds

“There are occasions,” he intoned, “when ’tis better to believe insincerely than to doubt sincerely” and rapt the congregation listened to this man of the new church, old Mrs. Greeley blowing her nose loudquiet with a floral kerchief the way folks do when trying (heartily, hardly) at quiet. That yellow in her hair comb, a quaint instrument it was, reminding him, yellowing him back to the yellow of that Bulgarian countryside when they visited the monastery, footoverfoot upmountain handclasping the cold rock. There the crosses were lacemetaled, the halos round saints’ faces thickly silverworked, to be shined clean with clean linen round three o’clock every afternoon. And hushly on the return the yellowy brush the fieldy expanses speeding sleevelike past (a deft motion enabling the driver, he, to pull off his faithful old coat with two pinched fingers whilst holding the steering with the other). A natural disorder, pure and unmade it was. As Mrs. Greeley brushed the hairnet ’neath her comb with one carton-pierre finger the netted dotted designs appeared so like the white flowers on that tree by the railing in V—–a. And it was then that he lifted his eyes to the preacher—and above, lifted his pen meditating—and over, looked to the wires extending crosslike from plumb telephone poles and the buildings further out, diffuse with the white specks of windows or people or—perhaps—the small grains of doubt.

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