Page:Tolstoy - Tales from Tolstoi.djvu/17

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.


BIOGRAPHY.

Lev Nikolaivich Tolstoi was born on September 9th, 1828, at his father's estate, Yasnaya Polyana, in the Government of Tula. His family is said to have been of German descent, originally bearing the somewhat plebeian name Dick,[1] which they changed for its Russian equivalent Tolsty, when they migrated to Muscovy at the beginning of the seventeenth century. The first eminent member of the stock was Peter Andrievich (1645-1727), one of Peter the Great's most famous "fledgelings," renowned for his energy, versatility, and diplomatic finesse, whom his master richly endowed and raised to countly rank. It was this sinister sleuth-hound who hunted down the unfortunate Tsarevich Alexis in his Neapolitan retreat, and thus drew down upon himself the well merited hatred of the Russian people, who regarded the murdered Prince as a martyr for orthodoxy. Another ancestor, Peter Aleksandrevich (1769-1844), was a notable warrior, who, after fighting the Poles and Turks under Suvorov and Napoleon under Bennigsen, crushed the Polish revolt of 1831, and quitted the army with the rank of a Field-Marshal.

  1. Stout.

ix.