Page:The life of Tolstoy.djvu/191

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

THE JUBILEE OF 1908

143

Tolstoy began to revise the book, simplifying, explaining, and rearranging the order of the thoughts of the sages of mankind. Simultaneously he wrote a number of articles, and in one of the longest he dethroned Shakespeare. In another he explained for children the teaching of the New Testament, and with fresh energy he wrote on Single Tax, and a new essay, "The Law of Violence and the Law of Love."

The endless executions of late years were at this time weighing on the Russian people like a nightmare. Tolstoy could no longer witness the suffering, and his bitter cry of protest, "I Cannot be Silent," resounded through the world.

So Tolstoy reached his fourscore years. The Russian nation was preparing to celebrate the anniversary of the birth of their beloved "Grand Old Man," but the day of rejoicing was darkened by the attitude of the Government. Long before the date, articles in the reactionary Press appeared denouncing the honouring of a wicked heretic. Fanatic priests delivered grossly insulting sermons, profaning the very walls of the churches by their vulgar abuse. The Government sent circulars to the local authorities prohibiting the celebration of Tolstoy's anniversary as that of a teacher of morality. Permission alone was given to speak of