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sary. It is all so easy. It is simply obedience to the words of Christ. Your first business," he said, “is to yourself. You must obey even if others will not obey. You are not here, first of all, to reform society, but first of all to reform yourself. The fact is,” he continued, “ you have no right to teach Christianity until you are a Christian yourself; and from what you told me, you are only struggling to be one. You people in America organize societies and appoint committees to reform the world, and you leave yourselves, your leaders, unreformed. You can have no Christian society until you have Christian individuals, and then no organization is necessary." I ventured to say that it is easy to teach such a theory but hard to practice it, and he
answered : “ You are mistaken; THE SCHOOL-HOUSE ON TOLSTOÏ'S ESTATE
it is just the opposite. It is that memory! that memory! Yes, I have hard to teach it, as I have found. Just as it : « Thou shalt not commit adultery. soon as you announce such a theory, then Out of the ten commandments,” he con- all will come, saying, · You say you don't tinued, “you keep one or two; pick out the easiest, and make believe that you obey God.
“ And you have entered the ministry ?” he said abruptly, and fixed his gray eyes upon me, which searched me in a disapproving way. “ That is bad," and he shook his head. " That is not Christian ; you disobey Christ's commandment. He said, Call no man teacher.'”
Of course he is no friend of priests and churches; in fact, they are outspoken enemies ; but his condemnation is much too sweeping, and he seems to have no idea of the churches and the ministers that are working and struggling to obey Christ, and to lead their flocks toward the Christian ideal. I told him that I could mention the names of many Christian leaders with whom he seemed well acquainted, but he replied, “ There is no struggle neces
PEASANT HOUSE ON TOLSTOÏS ESTATE
want any property: give it to me.'” “And what then ?" I asked. Then the Count answered slowly, “ You must persuade them not to want your property. You must teach them to work, to sacrifice, to give and not to take.” “ And then ?” I continued, querying. “ Then, if he will not be persuaded, you give it to him. There is the easiest part of it. The hardest part is the teaching of Christianity. The easiest part is the practicing." “ But what about my own ? In how far may I give away all I have without regard to my wife and children?” And quickly and sharply he replied, “ Why your wife and children more than another man's wife and children? Are you not under the same obligations to all men ? You say,” he said, rather urgently, “you are a Christian minister, and that you keep property. You help your Government to kill the Filipinos. If you do that, you are not a Christian, and you teach your
AT THE RAILROAD STATION IN TILA people a lie. Christ,” said he, “came to bear witness to the truth, and the truth, but that is an impossibility. you must, regardless of your own welfare, They have no right to teach thus, and witness for the truth. Of course," he they are like the blind men who led the went on, “we may be inconsistent in blind.” The Count seemed thoroughly our practice, and must be perhaps, but acquainted with our social conditions in in our teaching we have no right to be America, and he said that our millionaires inconsistent. For instance, if you should will bring about a revolution in America ask me, · Where is Tula ?' and I answered much more quickly than kings and armies that Tula is south of here, I would tell will in Europe. He thinks our position you a lie, for it is north of here; but at the present time very grave and deliif I would lead you to Tula, I should cate, and deplores very much the lack of first have to go a little south, then per- thoroughly consecrated leaders among the haps turn west, and at last north, and laboring men. finally, in spite of my wrong leading, lead How thoroughly acquainted with us he you right to Tula. The great trouble,” is, is proved by the fact that he knows of he said, “ with men like Dr. Herron and Mayor Jones, of Toledo, and his platform, others of the same class," and he seemed that he has followed the development of to know them thoroughly, “is that they the single-tax idea, and, strangest of all, are willing to teach things which are not understands the political platforms of both absolutely true, in order ultimately to reach great parties and is acquainted with the personalities of the leaders. He asked said, “ Not I, but you. I know the path, me a torrent of questions in regard to and I will find it again. Sometimes I everything of importance in America, in lose it, for I am only a man. The path regard to everybody, and I wondered all out of the woods is the commandment of the time who was the interviewed and Christ. Get on to it, young man, just as who the interviewer. Nothing seems to fast as you can." It took the Count a have escaped his notice, for he knows our long time to find that path, and as Bialok, prominent sects and societies, the Quakers, his Siberian dog, was dancing anxiously Shakers, Mormons, and the Social Settle- about us, the Count called my attention ments, University Extension courses, and to him. “This dog," he said, “ was once Cooper Institute lectures, and I had to a slave. He pulled sleds over the plains describe in detail every new agency which of Siberia. But now he is free. I like I mentioned which was put forth to help to look at him, and think of his people, the masses. His sympathies, politically, who now are slaves, and whom I long to are with the Prohibition party, which he make free." says " is a paradox, but,” he adds, “ liquor We entered the Count's study, a plain, is such a curse that, if I voted at all, I narrow room in which a crowded table, a would vote it out of existence.”
chair, and a narrow bed are the only It is not difficult to judge where he pieces of furniture except the bookcases, stands upon the question of so-called which are full to overflowing. The literaimperialism, and he gave me the follow- ture of the world seems to have poured ing peppery sentence: “You Americans all its output into this little chamber, and are worse than the Mohammedans. They the old friends from America shine out preach war, and they fight. You preach conspicuously from the rest. Emerson's liberty and peace, and you go out to con- Essays is a well-nigh worn-out book; Miss quer through war.” The world's politics, Willard's Life, Henry George's “Progress the struggle for supremacy, have no inter- and Poverty,” Herron's “Larger Christ," est for him, for to him there is neither are among the many books which have Russian nor Anglo-Saxon. To him there seen hard usage. The Count showed me is only one nation, Christian people. What the manuscript of his new book, which we call patriotism is a very abhorrent in Russian bears the name “ The New word to him.
Slavery," and also an article which had From the discussion of politics, which just been returned from Moscow, called stirred us both in an uncomfortable way, “Thou Shalt Not Kill," which had not we turned to literature.
passed the censor, and will have to be “You had a wonderful pleiad in litera- sent to England to see the light of day. ture,” said the Count, “ about the time of The Count told me of his method of the war of secession. What wonderful work. He begins his literary labors at men they were! Emerson, whom I love ten o'clock in the morning, and remains and to whom I owe very much, Lowell undisturbed until two o'clock, while his and Whittier, Theodore Parker, Thoreau, mighty pen moves swiftly over the pages. Longfellow. Now,” he said, “whom have The manuscript is then copied by any one you ? Nothing and nobody. I have sent who happens to be enjoying the hospitality to me your magazines. They are beauti- of this city of refuge, which person at the ful picture-books, but they are not litera- present time is called Mr. Alexandrov. ture. Oh, yes,” he said, “ there is How- I was told by Mr. Alexandrov that some ells; and I suppose there are others, $17,000, which were the profits from the whom I do not know," and then followed Count's book, “The Resurrection," had a general discussion upon our modern been turned over to the account of the literature.
Duchobors, and that he felt grateful to We then drifted again into the subject the American publishers, and especially of theology, and dwelt especially upon the to Mr. Ernest Crosby, of New York, who person of Christ; and as we walked into had this matter in charge. the thick forest, which grew gloomy and We were soon shaken out of our rather pathless, “ I fear I have lost the way," solemn conversation by a crowd of gay said the Count. “Yes,” I said, "we are young people, and in their chatter about in the woods ;” and he understood me, and tennis and gathering mushrooms we for
got the world's woe and its great prob- One of the agreeable things one dislems.
covers in associating with him is the man's At nine o'clock, regularly, dinner was humility and patience. He plays no rôle, served ; around the table gathered the does not assume the office of a prophet, Count's numerous household, among whom does not talk of himself as an apostle, is there were men and women with faces which not flattered by praise nor displeased by spoke of much suffering and hardship. censure. His face is much more delicate There was no formal introduction to these than his pictures show, and though he is nameless guests, and that careless sort distinctly homely, there is a strange fasciof informality characterized every meal. nation about him. He is not essentially Dinner was served in the large dining- a Slav, as one might think from his strong room upstairs, where signs of comfort and features. It has often been said that he even of luxury are not wanting. There lacks the sense of humor, which is perilous are a large piano, handsome lamps, well- for a reformer; but this cannot be proven bound books, and other such luxuries from his writings, and is contradicted which we have not been in the habit of by his sparkling conversation. He never associating with the Count and his family. talks nonsense, but he does see the funny
The Countess sat at the head of the side of things. His greatest lack, it seems table; at her right the Count, and the to me, is that he does not see the past, its rest of the family was scattered among developments and its lessons; that his the strangers. Before the Count stood a supreme individualism has separated him brass kettle of “ kascha," an oatmeal from the wholesome lessons which other mush. From that he helped himself lib- men have taught. He is, of course, a erally, while a few of us ate meat and strong rationalist, but also a man of potatoes and were served with delicious deep feeling. The common labor which kwass. Besides his kascha the Count had he performs, which now in his old age some poached eggs; he displayed a good must be very arduous, is the link which appetite, sparkled with good humor, and holds him to the common people. It was a royal host.
is his “mortification of the flesh.” Of the crudities and oddities which are There is nothing assumed, nothing false, ascribed to him and his family I noticed about him, whether you meet him as none at all, and the intellectual and spir- an author, count, or farmer. The fact itual atmosphere which permeates every- is, he does not want to preach, but thing makes one forget certain luxuries simply to help men to be happy, for he on other men's tables, and the lack of a thinks it is easy to be happy through certain kind of table etiquette which we reason and sacrifice. In his presence one think essential to good breeding.
feels the burning desire to be better, to do The conversation at the table was very better. There is a spiritual atmosphere animated, and the young people behaved around this rationalistic man. There is a as any young people might. There were shining halo about him, though he despises unrestrained laughter and good-natured church saintliness. Asking him for a joking and banter, and the Count's gray message for his many friends in the States, eyes danced joyfully in the common mer- he said, somewhat reluctantly, “Tell them riment; it was an atmosphere of health to be true, to be loving, to be simple;" which permeated everything, and the and that, I believe, is the message of Count's strong personality seemed to Tolstoï to the world. have nothing abnormal about it. The Reluctantly, I left Yasna Polyana. fact is that he so carries you with him There was another strong grasp of the into his thought and life that dissent hand, a long, searching, warm, and tender seems almost impossible, and criticism is look into the face of the stranger, one out of the question. His voice is soft and among the many who incessantly come still resonant. He grows eloquent but and go, and then the last farewell, which never angry, and his arguments never lingers like the sound of evening bells arouse antagonism. He listens to his upon my ears. We spoke about dying guest's most insignificant remark with just before we parted. “ Dying !" he said ; seeming pleasure; never interrupts, and “what about born again? I am ready to does not seem bored.
be born again."