Page:The life of Tolstoy.djvu/96

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

64

THE LIFE OF TOLSTOY

In the spring of 1862, Tolstoy felt exhausted by his labour as teacher, editor, Mediator, and many other occupations to which, with his impulsive nature, he devoted himself always so wholeheartedly. He began to be unwell, to cough, and the doctors ordered him to go for some time to the steppes to follow a Kumiss[1] cure. In the month of May he started, accompanied by two boys from his school. The air and nature of the steppes, combined with the invigorating influence of the Kumiss, soon restored his health.

During his absence from Yasnaya Polyana an absurd, though revolting, incident occurred. By the anonymous denunciation of a half-literate spy, Yasnaya Polyana was searched by the police. Ridiculous and outrageous as was the search, the authorities who carried it out made it worse by their usual brutality, which caused the greatest commotion amongst the peaceful inhabitants of Yasnaya Polyana, the aunt and sister of Tolstoy being especially alarmed. Of course, the authorities did not find anything incriminating. The quiet order of life at Yasnaya Polyana, however, was so disturbed that it required great efforts to re-establish tranquillity; but even then it was of short duration, and the school was closed.

  1. Fermented mare's milk.—Translator.