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THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY

a few days, inflammation set in and, later, a wound appeared which began to involve the bone. Tolstoy was obliged to keep his bed for a whole month, after undergoing a serious surgical operation which had become necessary in order to prevent blood-poisoning.

He bore his illness patiently, though before the danger was over he told his visitors, simply and seriously, that he might die from his wound, and rejoiced that his illness allowed him a few leisure hours for thoughts of life and death. During his convalescence—and for a very long time Tolstoy could not go out—he conceived the idea of writing a popular drama, and the same autumn he wrote The Power of Darkness, What befell the piece could only happen in Russia. Authorised by the censor for publication, with a few omissions, the drama was staged at the Imperial Theatre. When everything was prepared, the rehearsals concluded, the costumes and scenery ready, the Government prohibited the play in all theatres. Only after many years was the authorisation given for representation.