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This moral revolution of Tolstoy's met with little sympathy from his immediate world; his family and his relatives were appalled by it.

For a long time Countess Tolstoy had been anxiously watching the progress of a symptom against which she had fought in vain. As early as 1874 she had seen with indignation the amount of time and energy which her husband spent in connection with the schools.

"This spelling-book, this arithmetic, this grammar—I feel a contempt for them, and I cannot assume a semblance of interest in them."

Matters were very different when pedagogy was succeeded by religion. So hostile was the Countess's reception of the first confidences of the convert that Tolstoy felt obliged to apologise when he spoke of God in his letters:

"Do not be vexed, as you so often are when I mention God; I cannot help it, for He is the very basis of my thought."[1]

  1. The summer of 1878.