Page:Rolland Life of Tolstoy.djvu/69

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for it is not what men say or do that decides what is good or bad, but my own heart."[1]

In the month of July the sight of a little perambulating singer at Lucerne, to whom the wealthy English visitors at the Schweizerhof were refusing alms, made him express in the Diary of Prince D. Nekhludov his contempt for all the illusions dear to Liberals, and for those "who trace imaginary lines upon the sea of good and evil."

"For them civilisation is good; barbarism is bad; liberty is good; slavery is bad. And this imaginary knowledge destroys the instinctive, primordial cravings, which are the best. Who will define them for me—liberty, despotism, civilisation, barbarism? Where does not good co-exist with evil? There is within us only one infallible guide: the universal Spirit which whispers to us to draw closer to one another."

On his return to Russia and Yasnaya he once more busied himself about the peasants. Not that he had any illusions left concerning them. He writes:

"The apologists of the people and its good sense speak to no purpose; the crowd is perhaps the union of worthy folk; but if so they unite only on their bestial and contemptible side, a side which expresses nothing but the weakness and cruelty of human nature."[2]

Thus he does not address himself to the crowd, but to the individual conscience of each man, each child of the people. For there light is to be found.

  1. Confessions.
  2. Diary of Prince D. Nekhludov.