Page:The life of Tolstoy.djvu/152

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Simultaneously with the wider dissemination of Tolstoy's works, there began to pour into Yasnaya Polyana books and manuscripts from people more or less in sympathy with his views. Later, visitors from countries far and near made pilgrimage to his home, and Tolstoy began to be the centre of a definite and widespread phase of spiritual life.

One of the first of these new acquaintances was a sectarian, Sutaieff, to whom earlier reference has been made. He was a typical Russian religious personality. Basing his views on the Gospel, he preached personal life in harmony with the inner voice of conscience, and communism and brotherhood in social life. Tolstoy visited Sutaieff in his village, Shavelino, in the Tver province, and Sutaieff paid a return visit to Tolstoy in Moscow. Afterwards they met once more in Yasnaya Polyana. Each meeting with Sutaieff accentuated the favourable impression he had made upon Tolstoy. During Sutaieff's stay in Moscow, according to Tolstoy's own words, he greatly helped the latter to elucidate his ideas upon charity. Sutaieff startled Tolstoy by his daring thought: his project to abolish poverty—to distribute the poor among the well-to-do people in order that together they might lead useful, productive lives.