The atheist's mass
"The Atheist's Mass" is a short story from the "Scenes From Private Life" section of Honore de Balzac's story cycle The Human Comedy. One day, the narrator happens to see one of his acquaintances, a prominent doctor, attending mass. Since he knows that Dr. Desplein is an avowed atheist, the narrator's curiosity is piqued. When the same scene unfolds again months later, he decides to get to the bottom of the mystery and confronts Desplein.