Page:The life of Tolstoy.djvu/67

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LITERARY AND SOCIAL ACTIVITY

41

Arsenef, the young daughter of a neighbouring nobleman. In order to test whether this sudden sentiment was not a mistake, he courageously separated himself from her and returned to St. Petersburg, whence he corresponded with the girl, whom he already regarded as his betrothed. These letters form quite a novel, in which a man desires to educate and prepare a young, inexperienced girl to become a good, loving wife, mistress, and mother. But their attachment was not strong enough to develop at such a distance. The letters began gradually to be cooler, and as soon as they realised that there was no true affection between them the correspondence ceased, and farewell letters were exchanged expressing mutual respect and restoring to each full liberty.

In January, 1857, Tolstoy started for Europe. He went by mail-coach to Warsaw, and thence by railway to Paris.[1]

In Paris he saw much of Turgenef, with whom he became more intimate. There, too, he had a trying experience. It seemed as if fate itself always led him into a situation where he had to protest against contemporary civilisation. He had gone

  1. At that time there existed only two lines in all Russia: that from St. Petersburg to Moscow, with a small branch from St. Petersburg to Tsarskoye Selo; and the route from Warsaw to Berlin.—Translator.