THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY
Thus he saw in a new light all his surroundings and his own conduct. But life went on in the same way, and his new relation to it inevitably led to a series of collisions. Such collisions he could not avoid, even in his own family life, till then happy and tranquil, nor among his literary friends and his acquaintances in the high society to which he himself belonged. Finally, the conflict between his new conceptions and his surroundings extended itself to the State.
The events of Russian life at that period require special attention. The fundamental breaking up of the old order had begun, and the first thunderbolt fell on March 13th, 1881. The Revolutionary Executive Committee condemned Alexander II. to death, and carried out the sentence. This event shook the whole Russian nation, and made a deep impression on Tolstoy. It appeared to him as a confirmation of his conviction that the Russian State and society had lost the very foundation of Christian morality, but, on the other hand, the two hostile camps awakened in him boundless pity as he saw their profound error.
He addressed a long letter to the Emperor, Alexander III. He pleaded to the Tsar to pardon the culprits for the sake of Christ's teaching, as he considered the only way of Russia's salvation lay