Page:Rolland Life of Tolstoy.djvu/17

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


TOLSTOY



CHAPTER I

CHILDHOOD

Our instinct was conscious then of that which reason must prove to-day. The task is possible now, for the long life has attained its term; revealing itself, unveiled, to the eyes of all, with unequalled candour, unexampled sincerity. To-day we are at once arrested by the degree in which that life has always remained the same, from the beginning to the end, in spite of all the barriers which critics have sought to erect here and there along its course; in spite of Tolstoy himself, who, like every impassioned mind, was inclined to the belief, when he loved, or conceived a faith, that he loved or believed for the first time; that the commencement of his true life dated from that moment. Commencement—recommencement! How often his mind was the theatre of the same struggles, the same crises! We cannot speak of the unity of his ideas, for no such unity existed; we can only speak