Page:Rolland Life of Tolstoy.djvu/228

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224 TOLSTOY

Many things must have changed within him during the last few years. Did he not modify his opinion of revolutionaries ? Who can even say that his faith in non-resistance to evil was not at length a little shaken ? Even in Resurrection the relations of Nekhludov with the condemned " politicals " completely change his ideas as to the Russian revolutionary party.

" Up till that time he had felt an aversion for their cruelty, their criminal dissimulation, their attempts upon life, their sufficiency, their self- contentment, their insupportable vanity. But when he saw them more closely, when he saw how they were treated by the authorities, he understood that they could not be otherwise."

And he admires their high ideal of duty, which implies total self-sacrifice.

Since 1900, however, the revolutionary tide had risen ; starting from the u intellectuals," it had gained the people, and was obscurely moving amidst the thousands of the poor. The advance- guard of their threatening army defiled below Tolstoy's window at Yasnaya Polyana. Three tales, published by the Mercure de France, 1 which were among the last pages written by Tolstoy, give us a glimpse of the sorrow and the perplexity which this spectacle caused him. The years were indeed remote when the pilgrims wandered through the countryside of Toula, pious and simple of heart. Now he saw the invasion of starving wanderers. They came to him every day. Tolstoy, who chatted 1 December 1, 1910.

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