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THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY

Countess Sophie, written in 1897, which, however, he never sent to her. It bears the inscription, "To be delivered after my death." This letter explains so clearly and calmly the reasons for his departure that it is necessary to quote it in full:


"Dear Sonya,—Already for a long time I have been tortured by the contradiction existing between my life and my religious convictions. I could not oblige you to change your life—the habits to which I myself accustomed you—neither could I leave you till now, lest I should deprive the children whilst they were young of such small influence as I had on them, and grieve you. But I cannot continue living as I have lived these sixteen years, sometimes quarrelling with and irritating you, sometimes submitting to the comfort to which I am accustomed and with which I am surrounded; and now I have decided to carry out that which for a long time I have wished to do—to go away; firstly, because with my advancing years this life grows more and more trying, and I long for isolation; secondly, because the children are grown up, my influence at home is no longer necessary, and you all have more absorbing interests which will make my absence unnoticeable. But especially, like the Hindus who at the age of sixty retire to the forests,