Page:Rolland Life of Tolstoy.djvu/37

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CHAPTER III

YOUTH: THE ARMY

Tolstoy, in the year 1850, was not as patient as Nekhludov. Yasnaya Polyana had disillusioned and disappointed him. He was as weary of the people as he was of the world of fashion; his attitude as benefactor wearied him; he could bear it no more. Moreover, he was harassed by creditors. In 1851, he escaped to the Caucasus; to the army in which his brother Nikolas was already an officer.

He had hardly arrived, hardly tasted the quiet of the mountains, before he was once more master of himself; before he had recovered his God.

"Last night[1] I hardly slept. I began to pray to God. I cannot possibly express the sweetness of the feeling that came to me when I prayed. I recited the customary prayers; but I went on praying for a long time. I felt the desire of something very great, very beautiful. . . . What? I cannot say what. I wanted to be one with the Infinite Being: to be dissolved, comprehended, in Him. I begged Him to forgive me my trespasses. . . .

  1. The 11th of June, 1851, in the fortified camp of Starï-Iourt, in the Caucasus.