Page:The life of Tolstoy.djvu/106

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THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY

Tolstoy, whilst hunting, was thrown by his horse and broke his right arm. Rendered unconscious by the pain, he found, on regaining his senses, that his horse had run away. Though suffering greatly, he crept to the high road, where he lay down until some passers-by conveyed him home on a cart. It is difficult to imagine such a tragic picture: the future creator of "War and Peace" lying helpless, with a broken arm, on the high road, waiting to be picked up by a chance passer-by.

Deprived for a while of the use of his right hand, Tolstoy continued his work by dictating to his sister-in-law. He was also obliged to separate himself temporarily from his family, as the treatment for his arm obliged him to go to Moscow. Already, after a month, he writes jokingly to Fet:

"I must tell you something surprising about myself. When the horse threw me and broke my arm, upon regaining consciousness, I said to myself, 'I am a literary man.' Yes, I am a literary man, but in seclusion and hiding. In a few days the first instalment of the first volume of '1815' will appear. Please write me your opinion in detail. Yours, and that of a man whom I love more and more with advancing years (Turgenef) are dear to me. He will understand. What I wrote previously I consider only as a trial of my pen.