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During the first period of his married life Tolstoy's days were filled with domestic happiness. In a letter to his friend, Fet, he says: "I am married and happy; I am a new—quite a new—man." But his rapturous delight did not interfere with his literary work. He completed the first part of "The Cossacks"—the second part of which, unhappily, he never finished—and, at the same period, prepared and published a sketch called Polikushka, Tolstoy himself, in a letter to Fet, gives the following opinion of these works:

"I live in a world so far away from literature and critics that on receiving a letter like yours my first sentiment is astonishment. Who wrote 'The Cossacks' and Polikushka? And what may be said on their account? Paper is patient, and the publisher pays for and prints everything. But that is only the first impression. When I begin to look into the meaning of the words and to search my mind, somewhere, in a corner amongst