Leo Tolstoy: His Life and Work/Chapter 11
The First Journey Abroad—Life in Moscow—Bear Hunting
January 29th  Tolstoy left Moscow and traveled by mail post to Warsaw and from Warsaw by rail to Paris, where he arrived on February 21 .
There turgenev awaited him. As early as January 23rd the latter wrote to Druzhinin:
Tolstoy writes that he intends coming over here, and then going in the spring from here to Italy. Tell him to make haste, if he wishes to find me. Anyhow, I will write to him myself. Judging from his letters, I see that he is going through most beneficial changes, and I am rejoicing at it like an "old nurse". I have read his "A Russian Landowner" which pleased me very much by its frankness and almost full freedom of conviction; I say "almost", because in the way he states the problem to himself lies (perhaps unknown to him) a certain prejudice. The essential moral impression of the tale (I don't speak of the artistic one) is this, that until serfdom ceases to exist, there would be no possibility of rapprochement and mutual understanding in spite of the most disinterested, honest desire to meet, and this impression is good and true; but side by side with it runs another secondary impression -- namely, that on the whole, teaching the peasant or improving his position is useless, and I cannot agree with this impression. But his mastery of the language, of the tale, of characteristics is very great.
After meeting Tolstoy, Turgenev wrote to Polonskiy:
Tolstoy is here. A change for the better has taken place in him, and a very considerable one.
This man will go far and will leave a deep trail after him.
In a letter to Kalbasin dated March 8, 1857, from Paris, Turgenev said:
I very often see Tolstoy here, and I had the other day a very nice letter from Nekrasov dated from Rome.
But I cannot become intimate with Tolstoy, we take such different views.
This is Tolstoy's estimate at that time of Turgenev and Nekrasov, whom Tolstoy found in Paris, as quoted by Botkin in his letter to Druzhinin of March 8, 1857.
Tolstoy writes thus about his interview with him:
They are both roaming in a sort of darkness, they are dejected and complain of life, do nothing, and apparently both feel the weight of their mutual relations.
Turgenev writes that Nekrasov suddenly went away again to Rome. Tolstoy's letter is only a page but full of vitality and freshness. Germany interests him very much and he intends to study that country more fully by-and-by. In a month's time he starts for Rome. 
This correspondence shows that the relations between Tolstoy and Turgenev were always unsatisfactory, and that with all their efforts, they could not become cordial friends.
In March, Tolstoy and Turgenev made a journey to Dijon and spent a few days together there. While there, Tolstoy wrote the tale about the musician Albert. Then they came back to Paris, where Tolstoy witnessed an execution which he described in his "Confession," and which made an indelible impression upon him, of which he made a brief entry in his diary:
6th April 1857: I rose before seven and went to see an execution. A stout, white, health neck and breast: he kissed the Gospel and then--death. What a senseless thing! It made a strong impression, which has not been in vain. I am not a political man. Morality and Art I know that I love and can...The guillotine for a long time prevented me from sleeping, forcing me to look round.
This is what he says on the subject in "How I Came to Believe":
thus, during my stay in Paris, the sight of a public execution revealed to me the weakness of my superstitious belief in progress. When I saw the head divided from the body and heard the sound with which they fell separately into the box, I understood, not with my reason, but with my whole being, that no theory of the wisdom of all established things, nor of progress, could justify such an act; and that if all the men in the world from the day of creation, by whatever theory, had found this thing necessary, it was not so, it was an evil thing. and that, therefore, I must judge of what was right and necessary, not by what men said and did, not by progress, but what I felt to be true in my heart.
Tolstoy put off his journey to Rome till the autumn, and in the spring set out from Paris for Geneva, from which place he writes to his aunt Tatyana:
I have passed a month and a half in Paris, and so pleasantly that I say to myself every day that I did well to come abroad. I have gone very little either into society or the literary world, or the world of cafes and public entertainments, but nevertheless, I have found so much here that is new and interesting to me that every day, when I go to bed, I say to myself: "what a pity it is the day has passed so quickly!" I have not even had time to work as I intended.
Poor Turgenev is very ill physically and still more so morally. His unfortunate connection with Madame V. and her daughter keeps him here in a climate which is very bad for him, and it is piteous to see him. I should never have thought he could so love!
From Geneva, Tolstoy went on foot to Piedmont with botkin and Druzhinin, who had come there; after that he settled down on the banks of Lake Geneva at the little village of Clarens, from which he wrote an enthusiastic letter to his Aunt Tatyana:
I have just received your letter, dear Aunt, which has found me, as you must know by my last letter, in the neighborhood of Geneva, at Clarens, in the same village as that in which rousseau's Julie lived....I will not attempt to describe the beauty of the country, especially at the present time, when all is in leaf and flower; I will merely tell you that it is literally impossible to tear oneself away from this lake and these shores, and that I pass most of my time in gazing and admiring as I walk about, or else merely as I sit by the window in my room. I do not cease to congratulate myself on the idea I had of leaving Paris and coming to pass the spring here, although it brought upon me your reproach of inconsistency. I am really happy, and I begin to feel the advantages of having been born with a sliver spoon in my mouth.
There is here a charming society of Russians -- Pushkins, Karamzins, and Meshcherskiys; and all, God knows why, have taken affectionately to me. I feel this and the month I have passed here so pleasantly, and I am so well and hearty that I am quite in low spirits at the thought of leaving.
Besides these friends in the neighborhood of Geneva, there lived at that time in the village Baucage, near the lake, Tolstoy's friend, the Countess A. A. Tolstaya, who was maid of honor to the grand duchess Marya Nikolayevna, who there gave birth to a son Count Stroganov. It was a very great pleasure to Tolstoy to visit them.
He spend about two months at Clarens and resolved to continue his journey on foot. Having made the acquaintance of a Russian family there, he invited one of them, a boy named Sasha, of the age of ten, to go up the mountains with him. At first they were to have walked to Friburg, crossing the gorge Jaman, but after having crossed it, they changed their minds and turned in the direction of the Chateau d'Oex, from which they proceeded to Thun by the mail post.
Among the unpublished manuscripts of Tolstoy are his notes of this journey, from which a few descriptions of Swiss landscape may be quoted. He first of all went by steamer from Clarens to Montreux.
15th May 1857. the weather was clear, the light blue and brilliantly dark blue Leman, spotted white and black with sails and boats, shone before our eyes almost on three sides of us; behind Geneva, some way from the bright lake, the hot atmosphere trembled and darkened; on the opposite shore the green Savoy mountains rose abruptly, with little white houses at their base and with jagged rocks, one of which looked like an enormous white woman in an ancient costume. To the left, near the red vines in the dark-green thicket of fruit trees, was distinctly seen Montreux with its graceful church standing half-way down the slope, Villeneuve on the Vevey shore with the iron roofs of its houses brightly shining in the midday sun, the mysterious cleft of the Vallais with its mountains heaped one upon another, the white Col de Chillon over the water near Vevey, and the much- belauded little island artificially yet beautifully placed in front of villeneuve. The lake was slightly rippled, the sun beat down perpendicularly upon its blue surface, and the sails, scattered about the lake, appeared motionless.
It is wonderful how, having lived in Clarens two months, still each time, when in the morning and still more in the evening after dinner I open the shutters of the windows already in the shade and look out on the lake and the distant blue mountains reflected in it, their beauty blinds me and startles me with a thrill. I immediately wish to love and even feel the love of others for myself, and regret the past, hope for the future, and feel it become a joy to be alive. I desire to live long, very long, and the thought of death fills me with a childish, poetic awe. Sometimes, sitting alone in the shady little garden and gazing, as I constantly do, on these shores and this lake, I even feel, as it were, the physical impression of their beauty pouring into my soul through my eyes.
Again, as they climbed up the mountains:
Above us the wood birds were pouring out their songs such as are not heard on the lake. Here one feels the smell of the damp of the forest and of felled pine trees. The walk was so pleasant that we were loath to hurry on. suddenly we were struck by a curious, delightful spring smell. Sasha ran into the wood and gathered some cherry blossom, but it was almost scentless. On both sides were seen green trees and shrubs without bloom. The sweet overpowering odor kept on increasing. After we had advanced a hundred yards, the shrubs opened to the right and an immense sloping valley, flecked with white and green, with a few cottages over it, was disclosed before our eyes. Sasha ran to the meadow to gather white narcissus with both hands, and brought me an enormous bouquet, with a very strong scent, but, with the love of destruction natural to children, he ran back to trample and tear the tender and beautiful young succulent flowers which gave him so much pleasure.
They passed the night at Avants. After the ascent, Tolstoy wrote the following reflections:
16/28 May : what I was told is true -- the higher you ascend the mountains, the easier it is to advance. We had already been walking more than an hour and neither of us felt either the weight of his bags or any fatigue. Although we did not yet see the sun, it threw its rays over us on to the opposite height, touching on its way a few peaks and pines on the horizon. The torrents beneath were all audible where we stood, close to us only snow water soaked through the soil, and at a turning of the road, we again saw the Lake Valle at an appalling depth beneath us. The base of the Savoy mountains was completely blue, like the lake, only darker; the summits, lighted by the sun, were throughout of a pale pink. There were more snow-clad peaks, which seemed higher and of a more varied shape. Sails and boats like scarcely visible spots were seen on the lake. It was a beautiful sight, beautiful beyond measure, but this is not Nature, although it is something good. I do not like what are called glorious and magnificent views - - somehow they are cold.
...I like Nature when it surrounds me on all sides, and then unfolds in infinite distance -- but still when I am myself in it. I like it when the warm air is first all about me and then recedes in volume into infinite distance; when those same tender leaves of grass which I crush as I sit on them give their greenness to boundless meadows; when those same leaves which, stirred by the wind, move the shadows about my face, give their hue to the distant wood; when the very air you breathe makes the dark blue of the limitless sky; when you are not rejoicing and revelling in the inanimate Nature alone; when round about you buzz and dance myriads of insects, lady-birds crawl, and birds are pouring out their songs.
But this is a bare, cold, desolate, gray little plateau, and somewhere there something veiled with the mist of distance. But this something is so far off that I do not feel the chief delight of Nature -- do not feel myself a part of this infinite and beautiful distance. I have nothing to do with this distance.
Continuing his journey, in July  Tolstoy reached Lucerene, from which he wrote to his aunt:
"Lucerne, July 8 : I think I have told you, dear Aunt, that I have left Clarens with the intention of undertaking rather a long journey through the north of Switzerland, along the Rhine, and from Holland to England. From there I intend again passing through France and Paris, and in August making a short stay at Rome and Naples. If I can stand the sea crossings which I shall encounter in going from The Hague to London, I think of returning by the Mediterranean, Constantinople, the Black Sea, and Odessa. But all these are plans which I shall perhaps not carry out owing to my changeable disposition, with which you, my dear Aunt, justly reproach me. I have arrived at Lucerne. It is a town in the north of Switzerland, not far from the rhine, and I am already postponing my departure, so as to remain a few days in this delicious little town....I am again all alone, and I will confess to you that very often this solitude is painful to me, as the acquaintances one makes in hotels and trains are not a resource; yet this isolation has at least the advantage of prompting me to work. I am working a little, but it advances badly, as it usually does in summer.
During his stay at Lucerne, he had an adventure, which he describes in "The memoirs of Prince Nekhludov". The tale referred to the year 1857 and is therefore connected with his own journey.
In this tale, as we know, the lovely description of Swiss nature is interrupted by expressions of indignation at the way in which its harmony is spoiled in order to please the well-to-do tourists, chiefly English.
What strikes him especially is the contrast between the dull respectability of the "table d'hote" and the wild, but soft and exhilarating beauty of the lake. The feeling is intensified in him when he hears the song of a street singer with a harp. As if by magic, this song attracts general attention and strikes a chord in his soul to which he is unable to give tone.
All the confused and involuntary impressions of life suddenly received meaning and charm for me, as though a fresh and fragrant flower had bloomed in my soul. Instead of the fatigue, distraction, and indifference for everything in the world which I had felt but a minute before, I suddenly was conscious of a need of love, a fullness of hope, and a joy of life, which I could not account for. "What is there to wish, what to desire?" I uttered involuntarily. "Here it is -- you are on all sides surrounded by beauty and poetry. Inhale it in broad, full draughts with all the strength you have! Enjoy yourself! What else do you require? All is yours, all the bliss."
The same dull, respectable English surround this beautiful flower of poetry like a black frame.
The singer finished and held out his hat beneath the windows of a grand hotel, on the veranda of which stood a crowd of smartly dressed listeners, who non of them gave him anything.
Amazed at the stony indifference of these people, Tolstoy ran after the musician and invited him to the hotel to partake of a bottle of wine. This defiant action created a sensation in the hotel, but that was precisely what he wanted. His object was to wound those self-satisfied tourists; he wanted to express his indignation at their heartlessness. However, the sensation passed away and was almost forgotten, leaving the author with a bitter feeling against the injustice of men and their incapacity to understand the highest happiness, the simple, humane, and at the same time sympathetic attitude toward nature.
How could you, children of a free, humane nation, you Christians, you, simply men, even, answer with coldness and ridicule to a pure enjoyment afforded you by an unfortunate mendicant? But no; there are refuges for beggars in your country. There are not beggars, there must not be, and there must not be the feeling of compassion upon which beggars depend.
But he labored, gave you pleasure; he implored you to give him something of your superabundance for his labor, which you made use of, and then you looked down at him with a cold smile from your high, shining palaces, as at a curiosity, and among hundreds of you, happy and rich people, there was not found one man or woman to throw anything to him! Put to shame, he walked away from you - - and the senseless crowd pursued and insulted with its laughter, not you, but him, because you are cold, cruel, and dishonest; because you stole enjoyment from him, which he had afforded you, they offended him.
On the 7th of July 1857, an itinerant singer for half an hour sang songs and played the guitar in Lucerne in front of the Schweizerhof, where the richest people stop. About one hundred persons listened to him. The singer three times asked all to give him something. Not one person gave him anything, and a great many laughed at him.
This is not fiction but a positive fact, which those who wish may find out from the permanent inmates of Schweizerhof, and by looking up in the newspapers who the foreigners were on the 7th of July stopped at the Schweizerhof.
This is an occurrence which the historians of our time ought to note down with fiery, indelible letters.
An outcry of astonishment broke forth from his heart in the presence of the riddle of the tangled chain of men's relations to each other and their petty feelings as compared with the harmonious grandeur of sovereign nature. The author expressed his feelings in a pathetic artistic form and thus finished his tale:
What an unfortunate, miserable being is man with his need of positive solutions, cast into this eternally moving, endless ocean of good and evil, of facts, of reflections and contradictions! Men have been struggling and laboring for ages to put the good all on one side and the evil on the other. Ages pass, and no matter what the unprejudiced mind may have added to the scales of good and evil, there is always the same equilibrium, and on each side there is just as much good as evil.
If man could only learn not to judge, not to conclude sharply and positively, and not to give answers to questions put before him only that they might always remain questions! If he only understood that every idea is both just and false! False -- on account of its one- sidedness, on account of the impossibility of man's embracing the whole truth; and just -- as an expression of one side of human tendencies. They have made subdivisions for themselves in this eternally moving, endless, endlessly mixed chaos of good and evil; they have drawn imaginary lines on this sea, and now they are waiting for this sea to be parted asunder, as though there were not millions of other subdivisions from an entirely different point of view in another plane. It is true -- these new subdivisions are worked out by the ages, but millions of these ages have passed and will pass yet.
Civilization is good, barbarism evil; freedom is good, enslavement evil. It is this imaginary knowledge which destroys the instinctive, most blissful primitive demands of good in human nature. And who will define to me what freedom is, what despotism, what civilization, what barbarism? And where are the limits of the one and of the other? In whose soul is this measure of good and evil so imperturbable that he can measure with it this fleeting medley of facts? Whose mind is so large as to embrace and weigh all the facts even of the immovable past? And who has seen a condition such that good and evil did not exist side by side in it? And how do I know but what I see more of the one that of the other only because I do not stand in the proper place? and who is able so completely to tear his mind away from life, even for a moment, as to take an independent bird's-eye view of it?
There is one, but one sinless leader, the Universal Spirit, who penetrates us all as he does one and each separately, who imparts to each the tendency toward that which is right; that same Spirit who orders the tree to grow toward the sun, orders the flower to cast seeds in the autumn, and orders us to hold together unconsciously.
This one, sinless blissful voice is drowned by the boisterous hurry of growing civilization. Who is the greater man and the greater barbarian -- the lord, who upon seeing the singer's soiled garment angrily rushed away from the table, who did not give him for his labor one-millionth of his worldly goods, and who now, well-fed and sitting in a lighted, comfortable room, calmly judges of the affairs of China, finding all the murders committed there justified, or the little singer, who, risking imprisonment, with a franc in his pocket, has for twenty years harmlessly wandered through mountains and valleys, bringing consolation to people with his singing, who has been insulted, who today was almost kicked out, and who then, there, hungry, humiliated, went away to sleep somewhere on rotting straw?
Just then I heard in the town, amid the dead silence of the night, far, far away, the guitar and the voice of the little man.
No, I involuntarily said to myself, you have no right to pity him and to be indignant at the lord's well being. Who has weighed the internal happiness which lies in the soul of each of these men? He is sitting somewhere on a dirty threshold, looking into the gleaming, moonlit heaven, and joyfully singing in the soft, fragrant night; in his heart there is no reproach, no malice, no regret. And who knows what is going on now in the souls of all these people, behind these rich, high walls? Who knows whether there is in all of them as much careless, humble joy of life and harmony with the world as lives in the soul of this little man?
Endless is the mercy and all-wisdom of Him who has permitted and has commanded all these contradictions to exist. Only to you, insignificant worm, who are boldly, unlawfully trying to penetrate His laws, His intentions, only to you do they appear as contradictions. He looks calmly down from His bright, immeasurable height and enjoys the endless harmony in which you all with your contradictions are endlessly moving. In your pride you thought you could tear yourself away from the universal law. No, even you, with your petty little indignation at the waiters, even you have responded to the harmonious necessity of the endless and the eternal.
From Lucerne Tolstoy continued his journey up the Rhine, Schaffhausen, Baden, Stuttgart, Frankfort, and Berlin.
On August 8th  he was in Stettin, and from there arrived in St. Petersburg by boat on August 11th (July 30th, O.S.).
He remained in St. Petersburg a week, visited the circle of "The Contemporary", called on Nekrasov and read to him his tale "Lucerne", which was printed in the September number of "The Contemporary" in 1857. On August 6th he left for Moscow and then went straight on to tula.
Soon after his arrival at Yasnaya Polyana he plunged into business in connection with his estate.
In his diary of that period the following entry is found:
This is how during my journey I divided my day: I put, first of all, literary work, then family duties, then the estates; but the estates I must leave in the hands of the steward as much as possible; but I must educate and improve him, and I must only spend two thousand rubles, the rest should be used in the interests of the peasants. My great stumbling block is the vanity of Liberalism. One should live for oneself and a good deed a day is sufficient.
A little later he wrote:
Self-abnegation does not consist in saying, "Take from me what you like"; but in laboring and thinking in concert with others, so as to give oneself to them.
August  he devoted to reading and studied two remarkable subjects, Homer's "Iliad" and the Gospels. Both produced a strong impression upon him.
"I have finished reading the inexpressibly beautiful conclusion of the `Iliad'." Thus he expresses himself, and the beauty of both these subjects makes him regret that there is no connection between them. "How could Homer fail to know that the only good is love?" he exclaims, mentally comparing these two books. And he himself answers: "He knew of no revelation -- there is no better explanation."
In the middle of October , Tolstoy moved to Moscow, together with his eldest brother Nikolay and his sister Marie. His diary shows that he arrived there on the 17th. On October 23 , he left that city for St. Petersburg, intending to stay there a few days.
His tale "Lucerne" (Memoirs of Prince Nekhludov), printed in "The Contemporary", was not appreciated by the critics and therefore made no impression.
The silence of the critics gives striking and obvious proof how narrow-minded, short-sighted, and incapable they were. On the whole, from 1857 up to 1861, according to the opinion of Zelinskiy, who published a collection of critical essays on Tolstoy, there were no criticisms on Tolstoy's works in spite of the fact that during that time he printed such remarkable works as "Youth," "Lucerne," "Albert," "Three Deaths," and "Family Happiness."
Tolstoy was aware of the indifference of the critics, and after his return from St. Petersburg in October 1857, he wrote in his diary:
St. Petersburg at first grieved and then put me right. My reputation has fallen or just lingers, and I have been much grieved inwardly; but now I am at peace. I know that I have got something to say, and the power of saying it strongly; as for the rest, the public may say what it likes. But it is necessary to work conscientiously, to lay out all one's power, then...let them spit on the altar.
Tolstoy returned to Moscow on October 30 . During his stay there, he very often saw Fet, who in his Reminiscences thus described his visits:
One evening while were taking tea, Tolstoy appeared quite unexpectedly and informed us that they, the Tolstoys, i.e., his elder brother Nikolay and his sister Countess Marie, had all three settled in the furnished rooms of Verighin, in Pyatnitskiy Street. Before long we all became intimate.
I don't know how the Tolstoy brothers, Nikolay and Lev, became acquainted with S. Gromeka; it occurred probably in our house. All three very soon became great friends, being all of them enthusiastic sportsmen. 
The Moscow life of Tolstoy at this period (the end of the 1850s) had no remarkable feature. At this time his physical nature was in full glow and strength and drew him in the direction of ambitious enterprises, amusements, and society life in general.
Fet relates that sometimes in the evening they had concerts in which Countess Marie Tolstaya joined, herself a pianoforte player and a lover of music. Sometimes she would arrive accompanied by Lev and Nikolay, sometimes by the latter only, who would say, "Lev has put on his evening suit again and gone to a ball." [A. Fet, "My Reminiscences, 1848-1889", Part I, p. 216]
Fet gives the following account of these recreations:
I.P. Borisov had known Tolstoy in the Caucasus, and being himself far superior to the average man, he could not, from their first meeting in hour house, resist the influence of that giant. But at that time, Tolstoy's love for gaiety was more striking, and when he saw him going out for a walk in his new coat with a gray beaver collar, his dark curly hair showing under a fashionable hat worn on one side, with a smart cane in hand, Borisov quoted these words from a popular song: "He leans on his stick, and he boasts that it is made of hazel."
Gymnastics were very popular with the fashionable young people at that time, the favorite exercise being that of jumping over a wooden horse.
If anyone desired to get hold of Tolstoy between one and two in the afternoon, he had to go to the gymnasium hall at the Great Dmitrovka. It was interesting to watch how Tolstoy, in his tights, eagerly tried to jump over the horse without catching the leather cone stuffed with wool and placed on the horse's back. No wonder that the active, energetic nature of a young man of twenty-nine demanded such violent exercise, but it was strange to see next to him old men with bald heads and protruding stomachs. One young man would wait for his turn and every time run and touch the back of the horse with his chest, then quietly go aside, giving way to the next one. 
In the beginning of January 1858, Countess Aleksandra Alekseyevna Tolstaya, a friend of Tolstoy in his youth, paid a visit to Moscow. He saw her off to Klin by the Nikolayevskiy railway, and then went to stay at the house of the Princess Volkonskaya, whose name was introduced in the chapter of Tolstoy's forefathers on his mother's side. This Princess Volkonskaya was the cousin of Tolstoy's mother; she used to pay long occasional visits at Yasnaya Polyana, and she was able to tell Tolstoy many things of great interest about his father and mother.
Tolstoy cherished a most pleasant remembrance of this visit; it was during his stay that he wrote the tale "Three Deaths".
The idea of death began seriously to absorb his attention, and, as usual, his desire was to make the solution of the great problem consist in a harmony of the human soul with nature. Any divergence from this solution involves unutterable suffering; its attainment, eternal good; "the sting" of death therefore then disappears.
He returned to Yasnaya Polyana in February . Then he went again to Moscow, and in March to St. Petersburg for a fortnight. In April he again returned to Yasnaya Polyana, and he remained there the whole summer. During this period, Tolstoy devoted much of his time to music, and in Moscow, in association with Botkin, Perfilev, Mortier, and others, founded a Musical Association. Madame Kareyevskaya lent her hall for the concerts got up by this association, which eventually resolved itself into the Conservatoir of Moscow. In the same year, while in Moscow, Tolstoy became very intimate with the family of S. T. Aksakov, the elder.
Springtime generally exhilarated Tolstoy. The influx of energy which he experienced is well described in a letter to his aunt, A. A. Tolstaya, written in 1858.
Auntie, it is spring....For good people it is very good to be alive on earth; even for such as me it is sometimes good. In nature, in the air, in everything -- hope, future, and exquisite future...sometimes one is mistaken and thinks that it is not only for nature that a future and happiness wait but also for oneself, and then one feels happy. I am now in such a state, and with the egotism peculiar to me, I hasten to write to you about things interesting only to myself. I very well know when I bethink myself that I am an old frozen-out potato, boiled with sauce into the bargain; but spring so acts upon me that I sometimes catch myself in the full swing of visions that I am a plant which, together with others, has only just opened and will peacefully, simply, and joyously grow in God's world. Accordingly at these times, there takes place such an inner elaboration -- a purifying and an ordering of which no one who has not experienced this feeling can form any idea. All the old -- away! All worldly conventionalities, all laziness, all egotism, all vices, all confused, indefinite attachments, all regrets, even repentance -- all this, away! ... give place to a wonderful little flower which is budding and growing along with spring...
This letter is rather long but very interesting. It would, in fact, be interesting for its close alone, at which Tolstoy makes the following request:
Goodby, dear Auntie, do not be angry with me for this nonsense, and answer me with wise words imbued with kindness -- and Christian kindness. I have long ago wished to write to you that it is more convenient for you to write in French, and for me feminine thought is more comprehensible in French.
During this spring, Fet and his wife, while on their way through Moscow to their country abode, paid a visit to Tolstoy in Yasnaya Polyana.
In his Reminiscences, Fet thus described this visit, giving at the same time an interesting notice of Tolstoy's aunt, Tatyana Aleksandrovna Yergolskaya:
Having bought a warm and comfortable kibitka [Kirghiz tent] covered with matting, we started, in company with Mariushka (idealized by Tolstoy in his "Family Happiness"), by mail post for Mtsensk. Nobody dreamed of a railway at that time; as to the bare telegraph posts along the roads, people said the wire would be first attached and after that freedom for the serfs will be sent down the wire from St. Petersburg. By this time we were on such good terms with Tolstoy that it would have been a great deprivation to us not to call on him and stay for a day at Yasnaya Polyana to rest a little. There we were introduced to the charming old lady, Tolstoy's aunt, Tatyana Aleksandrovna Yergolskaya, who received us with that old-fashioned hospitality which at once makes the entrance under a new roof so pleasant. Tatyana Aleksandrovna was not absorbed in the things of the past but fully shared the life of the present.
She mentioned that Seryozhenka Tolstoy had gone to his house at Pirogovo and Nokolanka might yet stay on for a while in Moscow with Mashenka, but Lyovochka's friend D., she said, came in the other day and complained of his wife's neuralgia. In any difficulties she always used to consult Lyovochka and was quite satisfied with his explanations. Thus, driving in the autumn with him to Tula, looking out of the carriage window, she suddenly asked, "Mon cher Leon, how is it people write their letters by telegraph?" "I had," said Tolstoy, "to explain as simply as possible the action of a telegraph instrument similarly arranged at both ends of the wire, and as I was concluding, I heard her say, `Oui, oui, je comprends, mon cher.'"
Having kept her eyes fixed on the wire for more than half an hour, she at last asked, "Mon cher Leon, how can this be? For a whole half-hour I have not seen a single letter pass along the telegraph?"
"Sometimes," relates Tolstoy, "we used to sit at home with my aunt for a whole month without seeing any one, and suddenly, while serving the soup, she would begin, `But do you know, dear Leo, they say ---'"
The long autumn and winter evenings have remained for me as a wonderful recollection. To these evenings I owe my best thoughts and best impulses of my soul. I sit in an armchair reading, thinking, and at times listening to her conversation with Natalya Petrovna or Dunechka the maid, which was always good and kind; I exchange a few words with her and again sit and read and think. This wonderful armchair still stands in my home, though it is not what it was, and another couch on which slept the kind old woman Natalya Petrovna, who lived with her, not for her sake but because she had nowhere else to live. Between the windows under the looking glass was her small writing table, with little china jars and a small vase, in which were held the sweets, cakes, and dates, to which she treated me. By the window tow armchairs, and to the right of the door a comfortable embroidered armchair, on which she liked me to sit of an evening.
The chief delight of this life was the absence of material worry, the affectionate terms on which we all were, in the strong mutual attachment free from all doubt and misgiving by which close kinsfolk and household were bound together, and the consciousness of the flight of time.
Indeed, I was truly happy when seated in that armchair. After leading a bad life at Tula, playing cards with the neighbors, after the gypsy singers, as well as my shooting and hunting -- silly vanity -- I would return home, go to her (my aunt) by old habit and we would kiss each other's hands, I -- her dear, energetic hand; she -- my impure, vicious hand; and having greeted each one in French, also by old habit, one would exchange a joke with Natalya Petrovna and seat oneself in the cozy armchair. She (my aunt) knows all I have been doing, regrets it, but never reproaches me, always treats me with the same love and affection. Seated in my armchair, I read and meditate, and I listen to her conversation with Natalya Petrovna. They either recall old times, or play at Patience, or make prognostics, or joke about something, and both old ladies laugh -- especially auntie, with her dear, childlike laugh, which I can hear at this moment. I tell them how the wife of an acquaintance ha been unfaithful to her husband, adding that the husband must have been glad to have got rid of her. And suddenly auntie, who has just been talking with Natalya Petrovna about an excrescence of wax droppings on a candle foreshadowing a guest, raises her eyebrows and says, as a thing long settled in her soul, that a husband should not feel thus, because he would quite ruin his wife. Then she tells me about a drama among the servants, of which Dunechka has told her. Then she reads out a letter from my sister Mashenka, whom she loves, if not more, at least as much as myself, and speaks about her husband, her own nephew, without condemnation, yet grieving over the suffering he has caused Mashenka. Then I again read, and she examines her little collection of sundries -- all souvenirs.
But the chief feature of her life which involuntarily insinuated itself into me was her wonderful, universal kindness to everyone without exception. I try to recall any one case when she got angry or said a rough word or condemned anybody, and I am unable to do so. I cannot call to mind one such word during thirty years. She spoke well of another aunt of ours who had cruelly hurt her feelings by taking us away from her; and she did not condemn my sister's husband, who had acted so badly. as to what her goodness was to the servants, it goes without saying. She grew up with the knowledge that there are masters and servants, but she used her own position only to serve others. She never reproached me directly for my bad life, although she was pained at it. Neither did she reproach my brother Sergey, whom she also warmly loved, when he formed a connection with a gypsy girl. The only indication of anxiety which she gave on occasions when he was very late in coming home was that she used to say, "What's the matter with our Sergey?" Instead of Seryozha, merely Sergey. She never in words taught how one should live; she never moralized. All her moral work was worked out within her, and externally appeared only deeds -- indeed, not deeds -- there were none of these, but all her peaceful, humble, submissive life of love, not an agitated self-admiring passion, but a quiet unobtrusive love.
She fulfilled the inner work of love, and therefore she had no cause to hurry anywhere. And these two features, love and repose, imperceptibly attracted one into her society and gave a special delight to intimacy with her.
And, as I know no case when she hurt any one, so also I know no one who did not love her. She never spoke about herself; never about religion, as to what one should believe or what she herself believed and prayed for. She believed all, save that she repudiated one single dogma -- that of eternal punishment. "Dier, qui est la bonte meme, ne peut pas vouloir nos souffrances."
Except at Te Deums and Requiems, I never saw her pray. Only through a special affability with which she sometimes met me when I, occasionally late at night, after having said goodby, returned to her, did I guess that I had interrupted her prayer. "Come in, come in!" she used to say. "And I had just been saying to Natalya Petrovna that Nicolas would look in again." She often called me by my father's name, and this was specially pleasant to me, as it showed that her conceptions of me and of my father were blended in one love of both. At this late time of the evening, she was already in her nightdress, with a shawl thrown over her shoulders, with little spindle-like legs, in her slippers -- Natalya Petrovna was in a similar negligee.
Sit down, sit down," she used to say when she saw that I could not sleep or was suffering from solitude. And the memory of these irregular late sittings-up are especially dear to me. It often happened that Natalya Petrovna, or else myself, would say something funny, and she would laugh good-naturedly, and immediately Natalya Petrovna would laugh too, and both old ladies would laugh for a long time, themselves not knowing at what, but like children, merely because they loved everyone and felt happy.
It was not only the love for me which was joyous. The atmosphere was joyous, an atmosphere of love to all present, absent, living and dead, and even to animals.
I will, if I have occasion to dig up my past life, say a good deal more about her. Now I will mention only the attitude of the poor, of the peasants of Yasnaya Polyana toward her, as manifested at her funeral; when we carried her through the village there was not one homestead among the sixty from which the dwellers did not come out and demand a halt and a requiem. "She was a good lady, she did no one any harm," said all. and for this she was loved, greatly loved. Laotze says that things are valuable through what is absent from them. So also with life -- the best feature it can have is that is should not contain evil. In the life of my aunt Tatyana Aleksandrovna there was no evil. This is easy to say, but the character is difficult to exemplify. And I have known only one individual who exemplified it.
She died quietly, gradually falling asleep, and died as she wished to die, not in the room where she lived, so as not to sadden it for us.
In her last moments she recognized scarcely any one. Me she always recognized, smiling, and her face glowing like a lamp when the button is pressed, and sometimes she moved her lips endeavoring to pronounce the name "Nicholas" thus, just before her death, quite inseparably uniting me with the one she had loved all her life.
And it was to her -- to her -- that I refused that little joy which dates and chocolates afforded her, and that not so much on her own account as for the pleasure she took in treating me to them -- and refused her the possibility of giving a little money to those who asked from her. I cannot recall this without an acute pang of conscience. Dear, dear Auntie, pardon me. "Si jeunesse savait, si viellesse pouvait" -- not in regard of the welfare which one has missed for oneself in youth but of the welfare one has not given -- of the evil one has done to those that are no more. 
The scanty but valuable information which Tolstoy gives about the servants who surrounded him during his childhood is exceedingly interesting. This information may serve as a supplement to what is described in his published story "Childhood". We find this description in his Reminiscences as well.
Though Tolstoy did not spend the whole of the summer of 1858 in Yasnaya Polyana, being often away in Moscow, yet peasant life interested him more and more, and he made an effort to get in touch with "common" people.
In his Reminiscences Fet quotes the words of Tolstoy's brother Nikolay, full of fine humor concerning those efforts:
In answer to our inquires, the Count gave with undisguised delight the following account of his beloved brother: "Lyovochka," he said, "tries hard to become better acquainted with the life of the peasant and his way of managing his land, of which we all know very little. However, I really cannot tell how far the acquaintance will go. Lyovochka desires to take in all, not to miss anything, not even gymnastics. That is why there is a bar placed under the window of his study. To be sure, setting aside prejudices with which he is so much at war, he is right; the gymnastics don't interfere with his estate affairs, but his bailiff views the matter somewhat differently. `I would come,' he said, `for orders, but the master had got hold of a perch with one knee and was hanging in his red tights with his head downward swinging, his hair falling down dishevelled, and his red face bursting. I did not know whether to listen to his orders or to stand and wonder at him.' Lyovochka was pleased to see how Yufan would spread wide his arms when he was ploughing. And now Yufan became the emblem of the country's power, something like Mikula Selyaninovich. Spreading out his elbows, he too stuck to the plough and tried to imitate Yufan."
In May of the same year , Tolstoy wrote to Fet from Yasnaya Polyana:
Dearest Old Fellow -- I am writing two words only to say that I embrace you with all my might, that I have received your letter, that I kiss Maria Petrovna's hands, send a greeting to all yours. Auntie is very thankful for your remembering her and she greets you; and so does my sister. What a splendid spring it has been and is still. In my solitude I have enjoyed it immensely. My brother Nikolay must be at Nikolskoye; catch him there and do not let him go. This month I intend coming to see you. Turgenev has gone to Winzig until August to treat himself. The deuce take him! I am tired of loving him. He will not cure himself, but us he will deprive of his company. With this, goodby dear friend. If before my arrival you will write no verses, I will manage to squeeze them out of you. Yours, Count L. Tolstoy."
What a Whitsuntide we had yesterday! What a service at church, with fading wild cherry blossom, white hair, bright red cretonne, and a hot sun!
And then another:
Hallo, old man! Hallo! First, you yourself give no sign of life, when it is spring and you know that we are thinking of you, and that I am chained, like Prometheus, to a rock, and nevertheless thirst to see and hear you. You should either come or write, decidedly. Secondly, you have appropriated my brother, and a very good one. The chief culprit, I think, is Maria Petrovna, to whom I send my best greetings, and whom I beg to return my own brother. Joking apart, he sent to say he was coming back next week. And Druzhinin will also be here, so do come too, dear old fellow.
After discharging his summer duties at the estate, Tolstoy would take his share in works of public interest.
A meeting of noblemen of the Tula province was held in the autumn of 1858, from September 1 to September 4, for the election of representatives to the Tula Committee for the Improvement of the Status of the Peasantry. At that meeting, in virtue of the statute regulating elections, by which the nobles have a right to express their opinion on the wants of their province and on provincial affairs generally, a hundred and five noblemen handed over to the Tula Marshal of nobility the following resolution, to be presented to the Provincial Committee:
Having in view the improvement of the status of the peasant, the security of the landowner's position in respect of his property, and the safety of both peasants and landowners, we, the undersigned, are of opinion that the peasants ought to be liberated and a certain amount of land allotted to them and their descendants, and that the landowners should be compensated fully and fairly in money by means of some financial operation which will not result in compulsory relations between landowner and peasant; all such relations the nobility consider should be abolished. (There follow the signatures of a hundred and five noblemen of Tula Province, among which, of course, was the name of the Krapovna landowner, Count L. N. Tolstoy.) 
We must return to Fet's Reminiscences.
Since my wife and I left Moscow in the autumn of 1858, Tolstoy contrived, as may be seen from the following letter to me forwarded from Novoselki to Moscow, to go out hunting with Borisov, who lent Tolstoy his whipper-in, together with a horse and dogs.
October 24th  he wrote from Moscow:
Dearest old chap, Fetinka -- Indeed you are a dear fellow, and I love you dreadfully. That's all. To write stories is silly - - a shame. To write verses...well, you may do so; but love a good man is very pleasant. And yet perhaps against my will and consciousness, it is not myself but an unripe story working in me, that makes me love. I sometimes think so. However, one may avoid it, still from time to time between manure and this Kapoemon, one finds oneself writing a story. I am glad, however, that I have not yet allowed myself to write, and will not. Thank you most heartily for your trouble about the veterinary, etc. I have found the Tula one, and he has begun the treatment. What will come of it I don't know. And the deuce take them all. Druzhinin requests me to write a story for him like a friend. And I really intend to compose one. I will compose such a one that there will be nothing in it: The Shah of Persia is smoking a pipe, and I love you. That will be a poser. Joking apart, how is you "Hafiz"? Whatever may be said, the height of wisdom and firmness for me is to rejoice at other people's writing, but not to let one's own out into the world in an ugly garb, but to consume it oneself with one's daily bread. Yet sometimes one suddenly feels such a desire to be a great man, and so annoyed that hitherto this has not been realized. One even hurries to get up, or finish one's dinner in order to begin. One couldn't express all one's frivolous thoughts, but it is pleasant to communicate at least one to such a dear old fellow as you are, who lives entirely in such frivolity; send me one of the longest pieces of poetry by "Hafiz" you have translated, me faire venir l'eau ... la bouche, and I will send you a sample of wheat. Sport has bored me to death. The weather is excellent, but I do not go hunting alone.
In December 1858, during a hunting expedition, Tolstoy met with an accident which nearly cost him his life. Fed describes it this way:
Gromeka wrote on December 15, 1858: "As you desired me, I hasten to inform you, deaf Afanasy Afanasyevich, that one of these days, about the 18th or 20th, I mean to go out bear-hunting. Tell Tolstoy that I have bought a she-bear with two young ones, and that if he cares to take part in the hunt, he must come to Volochok about the 18th or 19th, straight on to my place, without ceremony, and that I will meet him with open arms, and a room will be ready for him. If he is not coming, please let me know at once.
"I think the hunt will certainly take place on the 19th. It will be best, therefore, indeed necessary, to come on the 18th.
"If Tolstoy would like to put off to the 21st, then let me know; it would be impossible to wait longer."
For greater inducement, the well-known leader in hear hunts, Ostashkov, paid Tolstoy a visit. On his appearance in the hunting field, the scene can only be compared to the plunging of a red-hot iron into cold water. Wild excitement and uproar followed. Seeing that each bear hunter must possess two guns, Tolstoy borrowed my German double-barrelled gun, intended for small shot. At the appointed day, our hunter Lev Nikolayevich started for the Nikolayevskiy railway station. I will try to repeat correctly all I heard from Tolstoy and his companions in the bear hunt.
When the hunters, each carrying two loaded guns, gook their places along the meadow running through the wood, which looked like a chess board from its openings, they were advised to tread the deep snow as wide as possible round them so as to get more freedom of movement. But Tolstoy remained at his post in snow almost up to his waist, declaring that there was no need to tread the snow at all, as they were going to shoot the bear and not to fight her. Accordingly, the Count placed one of the guns against the trunk of a tree, so that when he had fired off the two charges of his gun, he could throw it away and, holding out his hand, catch mine. Presently the she-bear was startled out of her den by Ostashkov and made her appearance. She rushed out down the valley along which the hunters were placed in a direction at right angles to it, by one of the openings. This alley opened on to the spot where was standing the hunter nearest to Tolstoy, so that the latter could not even see the approach of the bear. But she, probably scenting the hunter she was after all the time, swiftly rushed to the cross opening and suddenly appeared at a very short distance from Tolstoy and quickly flew at him. Tolstoy deliberately aimed and pulled the trigger, but probably missed, for in the cloud of smoke he saw something huge approaching. He gave another shot almost face to face, and the bullet hit the bear's jaw, where it stuck between the teeth. The Count could not move aside, the untrodden snow giving him no room, and he had no time to snatch my gun, for he was knocked down and fell with his face in the snow. At a run the bear crossed over him. "There," thought the Count, "all is over with me. I missed now and shall have no time to shoot at her again!"
At this moment he saw something dark over his head. It was the she-bear, who had instantly returned, and who tried to bite the head of the hunter who had wounded her. Lying with his face downward in the thick snow, Tolstoy could only offer passive resistance, trying as much as he could to draw his head between his shoulders and expose his thick fur cap to the beast's mouth. Perhaps in consequence of these instinctive maneuvers, the bear, being twice unsuccessful, managed to give only one considerable bite, with her upper teeth tearing the cheek under his left eye, and with the lower the whole skin of the left part of his forehead. At that moment Ostashkov arrived near, and running up with his small switch in his hand, he approached the bear with his usual "Where are you getting to? Where are you getting to?" At the sound of this exclamation, the bear ran away as quickly as she could. It seems the next day she was surrounded and killed.
The first words of Tolstoy, when he got up with the skin hanging down his face, which had to be bandaged with handkerchiefs on the spot, were: "What will Fet say?" I am proud of it still. 
Having got over the shock, Tolstoy hastened to inform his aunt of the incident and, in his letter of December 25th  thus described what had happened.
First of all I congratulate you, secondly I am afraid that news of an adventure I have had may in some way reach you in an exaggerated form, and therefore I make haste to inform you of it myself.
I have been hunting bears with Nicolas. On the 21st I shot a bear; on the 22nd, when we again went out, an extraordinary thing happened to me. The bear, without seeing me, charged me; I shot at it at a distance of six yards, missed it the first time, the second mortally wounded it; but it rushed at me, knocked me down, and while my companions were running up, it bit me twice in the forehead over the eye and under the eye. Fortunately, this lasted only ten or fifteen seconds; the bear made its escape and I rose up with a slight injury which neither disfigures me nor causes pain; neither the skull nor the eye is injured, so that I have escaped with merely a little scar, which will remain on my forehead. I am now in Moscow and feel perfectly well. I am writing you the whole truth without concealing anything, so that you may not be anxious. Everything is now over, and it only remains to thank God, who has saved me in such an extraordinary way.
This episode served as a subject for his tale "The Wish Is Stronger Than Bondage", published in the "Books to Read". There are many artistic details left out by Fet with which the fancy of the artist adorned the real facts of the incident. That is why, in relating it, we preferred to use the reminiscences of Tolstoy's friend and his own letter, as better serving our purpose.
The early months of 1859 Tolstoy spent in Moscow, and in April he went to st. Petersburg, where he spent ten days in the company of his friend A. A. Tolstaya. He cherished the most grateful memories of this visit.
At the end of April , Tolstoy was again at Yasnaya Polyana, and there he remained for the whole summer.
During the summer, Tolstoy paid a visit to Turgenev at his house at Spasskoye.
In verses sent to Fet on July 16, 1859, Turgenev wrote:
Embrace, please, Nikolay Tolstoy, And give to Lev Tolstoy my compliments, and to his sister too. He rightly says in his postscript: I have "no cause" to write to him. I know He loves me slightly and I love him slightly-- Too different in us are our elements, But many are the roads across this world, We need not stand in one another's way.
These lines show that their relations continued mutually respectful and amiably cold.
However, the visit went off smoothly. In his letter to Fet of october 9th of the same year , Turgenev thus speaks of their meeting:
Our ladies send their best greetings to all of you. I had a quiet talk with Tolstoy, and we parted on friendly terms. It seems there can be no misunderstanding between us, because we know each other too well, and we understand that it is impossible for us to become intimate. We are modelled in different clay.
In August , Tolstoy is again in Moscow, where he spent the autumn.
The year 1860 found him again in a perturbed mood.
Yet during the winter of 1859-60 he enjoyed rest and pleasure in his schools. In his "Confession" he speaks of that time in the following terms:
On my return from aborad, I settled in the country and occupied myself with the organization of schools for the peasantry. This occupation was especially grateful to me, because it was free from the spirit of imposture which so strikes me in the career of a literary teacher.
Here again I acted in the name of progress, this time I brought a spirit of critical inquiry to bear on the system on which the progress rested. I said to myself that progress was often attempted in an irrational manner, and that it was necessary to leave a primitive people and the children of peasants perfectly free to choose the way of progress which they thought best. In reality, I was still bent on the solution of the same impossible problem, how to teach without knowing what it was I had to teach. In the highest sphere of literature I had understood that it was impossible to do this, because I had seen that everybody had his own way of teaching, and that the teachers quarrelled among themselves, and scarcely succeeded in concealing their ignorance. Having now to deal with peasant children, I thought I could get over this difficulty by allowing the children to learn whatever they liked. It seems now absurd, when I remember the experiments by which I carried out this whim of mine as to teaching, thought I knew in my heart that I could teach nothing useful, because I myself did not know what it was necessary to teach.
This constant feeling of dissatisfaction with himself, this searching for the meaning of life, was a permanently active force, leading him forward on the path of his moral progress.
In February , Tolstoy was admitted a member of the Moscow Society of Admirers of Russian Literature.
On February 4, 1859, a meeting of the Society was held, under the presidency of A. S. Khomyakov.
Tolstoy was present at this meeting and was one of the newly elected members; and, in accordance with the rules of the Society, he had to make an inaugural address. In it, as stated in the records of the Society, he mentioned the advantage of the purely artistic element in literature over all temporary tendencies. Unfortunately, this speech has never been preserved. In the minutes of the sitting it is stated that at first it was resolved to have the address printed, together with the works of the Society, but afterward, the works not being published, the speech was returned to the author, who has probably mislaid it along with useless papers. 
We can get some idea of this speech from the excellent reply made by A. S. Khomyakov, which we quote in toto:
The Society of the Admirers of Russian Literature, in adding you, Count Tolstoy, to the number of its members, bids you welcome as a worker in the field of pure art. In your address you defend the tendency of pure art, placing it above all other temporary and casual tendencies of literary activity. It would be strange if the Society did not sympathize with you, but I beg leave to say that the justice of your views, so skillfully expounded by you, does not exclude the rights of the contemporary and the casual in the domain of letters. That which is always just, that which is always beautiful, that which is unchangeable like the fundamental laws of the soul -- that undoubtedly occupies, and must occupy, the foremost place in the thoughts, in the impulses, and therefore in the words of man. That, and that alone, is handed down from generation to generation, from nation to nation, as a precious inheritance, always being multiplied and never forgotten. But, on the other hand, there exists in the nature of man, and in the nature of society, as I had the honor to state, a constant demand for self-exposure; there are moments, important moments, in history when this self-denunciation acquires special decisive rights, and comes forward in the domain of letters with greater precision and greater sharpness.
In the historic process of the life of a nation, the temporary and the casual acquire the significance of the universal, of the all-human, if only for the reason that all generations, all people, can and do understand the painful cries and the painful confessions peculiar to a particular generation or a particular people. The rights of literature, as subordinate to eternal beauty, do not annihilate the rights of literature as the instrument of criticism and of the disclosure of human defects, while at the same time they help to heal social sores. There is boundless beauty in the serene truth and harmony of the soul; but there is also true and high beauty in the penitence which restores truth and guides men or communities to moral perfection. Let me add that I cannot share the one-sided views (as they seem to me) of German aesthetics.
Of course, art is quite free: in itself it finds its justification and its aim. But freedom of art, abstractedly understood, has nothing to do with the inner life of the artist.
The artist is not the theory, not the domain of thought and intellectual activity: he is a man, and always a man of his time, usually its best representative, steeped in its spirit, and that both in its established and its still developing tendencies.
By the very sensitiveness of his organization, without which he could not be an artist, he, more than others, enters into all the painful as well as joyful sensations of the world which surrounds him.
By always devoting himself to the true and the beautiful, he involuntarily reflects in word, thought, and imagination the contemporary epoch in its mixture of truth, which gladdens a pure heart, and falsehood, which perturbs its harmonious repose.
Thus flow together the two streams of literature of which we spoke; thus a writer, a servant of pure art, becomes at times a trenchant social critic, and that unwittingly and sometimes even against his will. I beg leave, Count, to take you as an example. You are treading the particular path of literary art unflinchingly and rightly, but are you really quite alien to the tendency which you call denunciatory literature?
Now in the picture of the consumptive driver dying on the stove in the midst of a group of comrades, who are evidently indifferent to his sufferings, is it not possible that you revealed some social disease, some kind of vice? In describing this death, did you not feel pain at the callous indifference of those good-natured but unawakened human souls? Yes, and therefore you were and must be an involuntary teacher. I wish you good speed on the grand path you have chosen.
Success be with you in the future as it has been hitherto, or let it be still greater, for your gift is not a transitory gift, not one to be soon exhausted. But, believe me, in letters the eternal and artistic constantly absorb the temporary and transient, developing and ennobling them, and all the various streams of the domain of human letters constantly flow together, forming one harmonious current. 
The prophecy of Khomyakov was fulfilled. Apart from the denunicatory element of all Tolstoy's work of the first period, twenty years later Tolstoy came forward with his own penitence, and then with his denunciation of contemporary evils. And in this cause he has concentrated all his powerful artistic gifts.
- From papers by Druzhinin, "Twenty-five Years' Manual", St. Petersburg, 1884.
- A. Fet, "My Reminiscences, 1848-1889", Part I, p. 214
- A. Fet, "My Reminiscences, 1848-1889", Part I, p216
- From Tolstoy's Manuscript Memoirs
- "The Contemporary" 1858, vol. lxxii, p300
- A. Fet, "My Reminiscences, Part I" p226
- A. Fet, "My Reminiscences, Part I" p305
- The Moscow Society of Admirers of Russian Literature, "The Collection of Minutes." One of the few remaining copies is in the British Museum.
- "Russian Archive", 1986, No. 11 p491. Article of V. N. Lyaskovskiy, "A.S. Khomyakov: His Biography and His Teaching."