1914: “There was a time on the limits of two epochs in human history whence one could more easily see the end of that epoch which was closing than the beginning of the new one which was opening.”

“Stikovic was a born egoist and a monster, a man who could love no one and who as long as he lived, himself tormented and unsatisfied, would torture all those whom he deceived and who were near to him. Glasicanin did not speak much of his own love, but it was evident in every word, every glance and every movement. The girl listened to him, remaining silent for the most part. After every such conversation she felt more serene, more at peace with herself. For the first time after so many months she had moments of respite from her internal storms and for the first time succeeded in looking at herself as othes only an illusion even as her dream of love the previous summer had only been an illusion.”

——

“So be it, thought the hodja. If they destroy here, then somewhere else someone else is building. Surely there are still peaceful countries and men of good sense who know of God’s love? If God had abandoned this unlucky town on the Drina, he had surely not abandoned the whole world that was beneath the skies? But who knows? Perhaps this impure infidel faith that puts everything in order, cleans everything up, repairs and embellishes everything only in order suddenly and violently to demolish and destroy, might spread through the whole world; it might make of all God’s world an empty field for its senseless building and criminal destruction, a pasturage for its insatiable hunger and incomprehensible demands?”

“Anything might happen. But one thing could not happen; it could not be that great and wise men of exalted soul who would raise lasting buildings for the love of God, so that the world should be more beautiful and man live in it better and more easily, should everywhere and for all time vanish from this earth. Should they too vanish, it would mean that the love of God was extinguished and had disappeared from the world. That could not be.”