. . . But in the latter period of our life, in the last fifteen years, our paths have lain apart. I cannot believe that I am the guilty one; I know that I have changed; it was not your doing, nor the world's; it was because I could not do otherwise. I cannot blame you for not having followed me, and I shall always remember with love what you have given me. . . . Goodbye, my dear Sophie. I love you."
"The fact that I have left you." He did not leave her. Poor letter! It seemed to him that it was enough to write, and his resolution would be fulfilled. . . . Having written, his resolution was already exhausted. "If I had gone away openly there would have been supplications, I should have weakened." . . . There was no need of supplications, of discussion; it was enough for him to see, a moment later, those whom he wished to leave; he felt that he could not, could not leave them; and he took the letter in his pocket and buried it among his papers, with this subscription:
"Give this, after my death, to my wife Sophie Andreyevna."
And this was the end of his plan of departure. Was he not strong enough? Was he not capable of sacrificing his affections to his God? In the Christian annals there is no lack of saints with tougher hearts, who never hesitated to trample fearlessly underfoot both their own affections and those of others. But how could he? He was not of their company; he was weak: he was a man; and it is for that reason that we love him.
More than fifteen years earlier, on a page full of