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For a week in Petersburg, Pierre reads some religious books and meditates about how he’s wasted his life and money on stupid nonsense and depraved behavior. We’ll take it for granted that this is true, since we’ve never actually seen Pierre being all that wild. He’s mostly described as pudgy and shy.
Finally, Willarski shows up and tells Pierre that, thanks to a powerful man’s influence, he can be inducted into the Freemasons early. All ready to go? Pierre is, so off they go to the lodge.
Apparently Tolstoy read a bunch of papers from a Masonic society, which is where this next part is coming from.
Pierre undergoes a long initiation ceremony, featuring lots of blindfolding, symbolism, and questions about how ready he is to join the order. (Answer? Very ready.) Then there is some confusion among the brothers about exactly how the ceremony is supposed to go.
In any case, after the ceremony and explanations of Freemasonry are over (long story short: it’s an order devoted to helping fellow brothers and fighting evil on earth), Pierre confesses that his number one vice is women. (Again, huh? We’ve only ever seen him with Helene. For him, apparently, his having married her out of lust rather than love now seems like a huge sin.)
He feels great and is full of hope for the future of his soul.