Page:The life of Tolstoy.djvu/165

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advantages of a sober life; and I will gain members for our society. We beg all agreeing with us to keep this form, to write down on it the names of new members, and to communicate with us. If any intend to give up this pledge, we beg him to communicate with us."

These forms were distributed promptly and covered with signatures, and towards the end of the first year there were over a thousand members. It is understood that Tolstoy himself was the first to set the example. He gave up smoking, and neither meat nor wine appeared again on his table.

Especially, however, he devoted his pen to the fight against sexual excess. This question, in its general aspect, he had touched already in his drama, "The Power of Darkness," in which crime is committed by a man not evil by nature, but who has become entangled in an illicit alliance. With special vigour he drew in "The Kreutzer Sonata" a picture of the dreadful consequences of such sinful relations. He presents to his readers three stages in those relations. The first is the full submission of woman to man, in whose sensual power she is, and who exacts from her absolute chastity; the second is the antithesis of the first—a liberal recognition of the equal rights of woman in sin; and the third is the semi-patriarchal res-