Page:The life of Tolstoy.djvu/24

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father lived till his death in 1821. My grandfather was considered a very severe landlord, but I never heard any stories of cruelty or punishment, so usual at that time. I think these existed, but the house servants and peasants, though they freely criticised my father, when I questioned them about my grandfather appeared so deeply impressed by his imposing personality and his intelligence that I heard nothing but praise of his intellect, his management of the estate, his care of the peasants, and especially of the house servants.

"Evidently he was a man of extremely refined tastes. All the buildings he constructed are not only solid and comfortable, but exceedingly handsome. The same may be said of the park laid out by him in front of the house. It seems that he was also very fond of music, as he kept a small but good orchestra entirely for his own and my mother's pleasure.[1] During his morning walks in the park, this private band used to play for him. He hated hunting, bat was a great lover of flowers and exotic plants."

  1. An orchestra of serfs. Until the middle of the last century aristocratic families used to send their serfs to Moscow and St. Petersburg to learn arts and crafts. Returning often as accomplished artisans and even artists, they nevertheless had again to take their places as serfs.—Translator.