Page:The life of Tolstoy.djvu/175

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he considers the tragi-comedy of the Franco-Russian Alliance. This he followed up by "Non-activity," which he wrote à propos of Zola's and Dumas' letters, the former of whom preached work without giving any conception of life or the aim of work, and the latter the necessity for a religious conception of the ideals of brotherhood and love amongst all men. Tolstoy points out that work itself cannot be an aim—that it is only an obligatory, unavoidable condition of life. If man has no true conception of the meaning of life, does not know where to go and what to do, it would be better for him to be in a state of non-activity and to think over his life and find its meaning; then, whatever work he undertakes will become productive and sacred.

At the same time Tolstoy was translating Guy de Maupassant, Bernardin de St. Pierre, Amiel, Mazzini, and other authors, for the publications of the Posrednik. In 1895 "Master and Servant" appeared, in which, in an original way, but in a truly Christian spirit, the question of the relation between masters and men is solved. In order to help and to save his worker, the master must sacrifice his own life; the worker spends his whole existence for his master, and consequently justice and equality can only be