THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY
the other hand, the conservative critics saw in the description of battles only patriotic tendencies; and even so refined an author as Turgenef, and a literary connoisseur and friend like Botkin, were not immediately captured by "War and Peace." But if the victory gained by this work was slow it was all the more complete, its influence increasing by degrees as successive instalments appeared.
The writer considers "War and Peace" to be the highest development of Tolstoy's artistic creative power, and therefore purposes to dwell a little longer on this work, which nearly approaches perfection. The descriptions of nature, of the movement of crowds, the fine moral analysis—all these are intermingled in exquisite harmony and proportion. The terrible collision of army corps, the streets of noisy towns, the country houses of the nobility, with their surrounding villages, the drawing-rooms of high society, the nursery of a happy mother, the romantic intrigues of loving young people, the execution of a military prisoner, the psychology of the crowd, and the smallest detail of the suffering soul of the hero, the snow-covered plains of Russia, and the silent field of Austerlitz, covered with corpses and abandoned wounded, with the all-forgiving, starry sky overhead—all these are described with a simplicity and truth