Page:Rolland Life of Tolstoy.djvu/53

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.


CHAPTER V

SEBASTOPOL: WAR AND RELIGION

In November, 1853, war was declared upon Turkey. Tolstoy obtained an appointment to the army of Roumania; he was transferred to the army of the Crimea, and on November 7, 1854, he arrived in Sebastopol. He was burning with enthusiasm and patriotic faith. He went about his duties courageously, and was often in danger, in especial throughout the April and May of 1855, when he served on every alternate day in the battery of of the 4th bastion.

Living for months in a perpetual tremor and exaltation, face to face with death, his religious mysticism revived. He became familiar with God. In April, 1855, he noted in his diary a prayer to God, thanking Him for His protection in danger and beseeching Him to continue it, "so that I may achieve the glorious and eternal end of life, of which I am still ignorant, although I feel a presentiment of it." Already this object of his life was not art, but religion. On March 5, 1855, he wrote:

"I have been led to conceive a great idea, to