Page:The life of Tolstoy.djvu/58

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.



against the mountaineers. For the winter he went to Tiflis to pass his examination in order to enter the artillery service. In Tiflis he began to write his first novel, "Childhood."

After a successful examination he returned to his brother, wearing military uniform, and was appointed as a non-commissioned officer to the 4th battery of the 20th artillery brigade.

In July he finished the novel and, signing it modestly with the initials, "L. N. T.," sent it to the Sovremennik.[1] Towards the end of August he received an answer from the editor, the poet N. Nekrasoff—who recognised talent in the unknown author—announcing that the novel would be published, and it duly appeared in the September number of the review, 1852.

This was the first step in the literary career of Leo Tolstoy, and from that time he realised that he had found his vocation. Shortly before the event he wrote in his diary:

"Something within me makes me think that I am not born to be as others."

Yet at that time his inner consciousness vaguely

  1. The "Contemporary"— a leading, advanced, St. Petersburg monthly review. Amongst its contributors were the best Russian authors of that time, such as Turgenef, Tchernichevsky, etc.—Translator.