Page:Rolland Life of Tolstoy.djvu/81

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77
"FAMILY HAPPINESS"

the early days of marriage; the egoism of lovers, "the incessant, causeless joy," then the approaching weariness, the vague discontent, the boredom of a monotonous life, the two souls which softly disengage themselves and grow further and further away from one another; the dangerous attraction of the world for the young wife—flirtations, jealousies, fatal misunderstandings;—love dissimulated, love lost; and at length the sad and tender autumn of the heart; the face of love which reappears, paler, older, but more touching by reason of tears and the marks of time; the memory of troubles, the regret for the ill things done and the years that are lost; the calm of the evening; the august passage from love to friendship, and the romance of the passion of maternity. . . . All that was to come, all this Tolstoy had dreamed of, tasted in advance; and in order to live through those days more vividly he lived in the well-beloved. For the first time—perhaps the only time in all his writings—the story passes in the heart of a woman, and is told by her; and with what exquisite delicacy, what spiritual beauty!—the beauty of a soul withdrawn behind a veil of the truest modesty. For once the analysis of the writer is deprived of its cruder lights; there is no feverish struggle to present the naked truth. The secrets of the inward life are divined rather than spoken. The art and the heart of the artist are both touched and softened; there is a harmonious balance of thought and form. Family Happiness has the perfection of a work of Racine.

Marriage, whose sweet and bitter Tolstoy pre-