Page:Rolland Life of Tolstoy.djvu/59

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same great law of love and of sacrifice, do not, when they perceive what they have done, fall upon their knees repentant, before Him who in giving them life set within the heart of each, together with the fear of death, the love of the good and the beautiful. They do not embrace as brothers, with tears of joy and happiness!"

As he was completing this novel—a work that has a quality of bitterness which, hitherto, none of his work had betrayed—Tolstoy was seized with doubt. Had he done wrong to speak?

"A painful doubt assails me. Perhaps these things should not have been said. Perhaps what I am telling is one of those mischievous truths which, unconsciously hidden in the mind of each one of us, should not be expressed lest they become harmful, like the lees that we must not stir lest we spoil the wine. If so, when is the expression of evil to be avoided? When is the expression of goodness to be imitated? Who is the malefactor and who is the hero? All are good and all are evil. . . ."

But he proudly regains his poise: "The protagonist of my novel, whom I love with all the strength of my soul, whom I try to present in all her beauty, who always was, is, and shall be beautiful, is Truth"

After reading these pages[1] Nekrasov, the editor of the review Sovremennik, wrote to Tolstoy:

"That is precisely what Russian society needs to-day: the truth, the truth, of which, since the

  1. Mutilated by the censor.