Page:The life of Tolstoy.djvu/55

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

MILITARY SERVICE

31

The great natural beauties of the Caucasus, the wild mountaineers, the no less wild Russians, the Cossacks of the Terek—all this new, or rather regenerating, condition of life had such a beneficial influence on Leo Tolstoy that he threw off, like a dirty shell, all the worldly, infected atmosphere of the life in Russia in which he had so nearly perished. And this regenerating and vivifying process awakened in him two great forces: religion and creative power. In his diary we find the following note on his religious awakening:

"I scarcely slept the whole of last night; after having written a little in my diary, I began to pray. I cannot express the feeling of bliss during that period. I repeated my usual prayers, 'Our Father,' 'To the Virgin Mary,' 'To the Trinity,' 'The gates of Mercy,' and 'Appeal to the Guardian Angel,' and then I still remained in prayer. If praying means to petition or to thank, I did not pray. I longed for something high and good, but what—I cannot convey, though I clearly felt, what I desired. I longed to be absorbed in the all-enfolding Being. I prayed Him to forgive my sins—but no, I did not ask that, because I felt that by giving me these blessed moments He had pardoned me. I prayed, and at the same time felt that I had nothing to ask for, that I could