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52

THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY

King; thrashings; all is learnt by heart. Frightened and unnatural children."

At the same time Tolstoy gave a good deal of his time to the reading of philosophical, historical, and educational works of the best known authors of that time: Riehl, Fröbel, Diesterweg, and others.

At last he reached Soden, where he found his beloved brother Nicolas in a very bad state of health. They hurried to the south of France to lengthen his life as much as possible, settling at Hyères, by the seaside, in that mild, beautiful climate. But it was too late. On September 20th, 1860, Nicolas died in Leo's arms. This death made a strong, ineffaceable impression on Tolstoy, and gave a new direction to his thoughts. Writing to his friend Fet on the death of his brother, he says:

"He was quite right in saying that there is nothing worse than death. Considering that death is the end of all, life in that case appears worse than anything. What is the use of striving and struggling if from what was Nicolas Tolstoy nothing remained for himself? He did not say that he felt the approach of death, but I know that he watched every step of it, and that he knew for certain what was left to him. A few moments