THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY
mother loved me very much and used to call me 'mon petit Benjamin.' She appeared to me such a pure, moral being, that often in the middle period of my life, when I was seized by doubts, I prayed to her soul for assistance, and that prayer always helped me."
Such is the spiritual image of Tolstoy's mother. His father also died early, when Leo was only nine years old, and the children—four brothers and one sister—were left in the care of an aunt.