Page:The life of Tolstoy.djvu/166

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



pectability which is the hypocritical family morality practised by the majority of married persons in the middle and upper classes, and at the bottom of which lies, not spiritual union between man and woman, but crude sensuality in the guise of conventionality. This sensuality begins to manifest itself in youth, and poisons the purity of the relations between man and woman. Hence jealousy, unfaithfulness, and often tragedies. There is only one way of salvation—absolute chastity, and "let him who can practise it, do so." The most a Christian ought to permit himself is monogamy. The artistic form of this story, the dialogue, and the first person being employed throughout, misled not a few readers into the belief that it was an autobiography. Needless to say, this belief is absolutely unjustifiable.

At the end of 1889, Tolstoy finished his comedy, which at first he had called "Too Cunning," but rechristened "The Fruits of Enlightenment." In this comedy he again ridiculed the indolence of Russian high society and the would-be scientific solemnity with which they treat trivial affairs. The last touches to the comedy were given by Tolstoy at the request of his daughter, who wanted the piece for a performance at home, in Yasnaya Polyana. Tolstoy took great interest in the work, assisted