CHILDHOOD, BOYHOOD, YOUTH
studies. Often he missed lectures which he disliked, and once even was put in the University gaol. At repetitions and examinations he received bad marks. But a sympathetic subject once found, he gave himself up entirely to its study, thoroughly thinking it over. Such a subject usually aroused his creative power, and some literary work, of which the manuscripts still exist, was the result—such as, for instance, an essay comparing Montesquieu's "De l'Esprit des Lois" with Catherine's "Instructions" (Nakaz). This was a university thesis chosen by the noted professor of the Kazan University, Meyer, one of the few who had an influence on him.
At that time Leo Tolstoy was already writing a diary, and attempting to describe his observations on his surroundings and the exposition of his philosophic ideas. All these writings are imbued with high moral sentiments. In March, 1847, for instance, he wrote as follows:
"I have changed much, but I have not yet reached the degree of perfection (in my studies) which I want to attain. I do not carry out what I decide to do; what I do, I do not well; I am not training my memory. For that purpose I write down a few rules, which, it seems to me, will greatly help if I keep to them: