LITERARY AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
at the rehearsals, and gave his advice to the actors. When he was alone, however, he felt depressed by the extravagance and futility accompanying those preparations. The whole house was topsy-turvy with the great number of guests, the performance, and the entertainment of the young people. He wrote in his diary at that time:
"I am ashamed of all these expenses in the midst of poverty."
The painter Gay, more and more carried away by Tolstoy's conception of Christianity, sought to express it in pictures. The first of these was "Christ and Pilate," with the motto, "What is truth?" In this picture, very highly appreciated by Tolstoy, the idea was expressed that Pilate's words "What is truth?" were not a question directly addressed to Christ, but an ironical observation of Pilate's implying that it is not worth while to speak the truth as Christ preached it. Indeed, looking at the figure of the well-fed Roman patrician, and then on that of Christ, exhausted by a whole night of torture, his feverish, brilliant eyes full of thought, it becomes clear that for Christ truth is everything, for Pilate nothing.
So Tolstoy's days were passed. But the dark years of threatening famine were approaching to call forth his practical activity.