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Page:Complete Works of Count Tolstoy - 02.djvu/21

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Fragment from an Unfinished Novel, "A Russian Proprietor"


Prince Nekhlyúdov was nineteen years old when he came from the Third Course of the university to pass his vacation on his estate, and remained there by himself all summer. In the autumn he wrote in his unformed childish hand to his aunt, Countess Byeloryétski, who, in his opinion, was his best friend and the most brlliant woman in the world. The letter was in French, and ran as follows:

"Dear Aunty: — I have made a resolution on which the fate of my whole life must depend. I will leave the university in order to devote myself to country life, because I feel that I was born for it. For God's sake, dear aunty, do not laugh at me! You will say that I am young ; and, indeed, I may still be a child, but this does not prevent me from feeling what my calling is, and from wishing to do good, and loving it.

"As I have written you before, I found affairs in an indescribable disorder. Wishing to straighten them out, and to understand them, I discovered that the main evil