a good deed in reality

“A sentimental society lady of genuinely good disposition in many respects” makes this statement to Elder Zosima: “I so love humanity that—would you believe it?—I often dream of forsaking all that I have, leaving Lise, and becoming a sister of mercy. I close my eyes and think and dream, and at that moment I feel full of strength to overcome all obstacles. No wounds, no festering sores could at that moment frighten me. I would bind them up and wash them with my own hands. I would nurse the afflicted. I would be ready to kiss such wounds.”

Elder Zosima replies: “It is much, and well that your mind is full of such dreams and not others. Some time, unawares, you may do a good deed in reality.”

From The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, book II (“An Unfortunate Gathering”), chapter 4 (“A Lady of Little Faith”):

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