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Tolstoy's elder brother, Nicolas, having finished his university studies, entered the military service and joined the artillery in the Caucasus. In April, 1851, just when the turbulent period in Leo Tolstoy's life had reached its greatest height and threatened to ruin irremediably his moral life, already blossoming with promise—just at that moment his brother Nicolas arrived on leave from the Caucasus. He saw at once the danger of the situation, and persuaded Leo to return with him to the Caucasus. It was not difficult to persuade Leo; he was consumed by passions, and seized his brother's proposal as a last means of salvation.

That same spring they started for the south. Both young men liked to be rather original, and they did not follow the usual route from Moscow straight to Voronesh, but first they went east, to Kazan, where they spent a few days with their guardian Yushkoff. Here Leo Tolstoy fell in love with a young girl, Zenaïde Molostoff, and in