I HAD been very unwell before we left St. Petersburg, and instead of going home we moved into a villa at a short distance from the city, where my husband left me while he went to see his mother. I was then quite well enough to accompany him, but he urged me not to do so, alleging as his reason my state of health. I quite understood that he was not really afraid of my health, but he was possessed by the idea that it would not be good for us to be in the country; I did not insist very strenuously, and remained where I was. Without him I felt myself truly in the midst of emptiness and isolation; but when he returned I perceived that his presence no longer added to my life what it had been wont to add. Those former relations, when any thought, any sensation, not communicated to him, oppressed me like a crime; when all his actions, all his words, appeared to me models of perfection; when, from sheer joy, we would laugh at nothing, looking at each other; those relations had so insensibly changed into something quite different, that we ourselves hardly admitted the transformation. But the fact was that each of us had now separate occupations and interests, which we no longer sought to share. We had even ceased to be at all troubled at thus living in entirely distinct worlds, and entirely as strangers to each other. We had become habituated to this thought, and at the end of a year there was no longer the mutual embarrassment when our eyes chanced to meet. His boyishness, his outbursts of light-hearted gaiety when with me, were gone; gone, too, was that indulgent indifference, against which I had so often risen in rebellion; nor had the penetrating look survived, which, in other days, had at once disturbed and delighted me; there were no more of the prayers, no more of the hours of exaltation which we had so loved to share, and indeed we saw each other only very rarely; he was constantly out, and I no longer dreaded remaining alone, no longer complained of it; I was perpetually engrossed, on my side, with the obligations of society, and never felt any need of him whatever.
About the Author
A Russian author of novels, short stories, plays, and philosophical essays, Count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) was born into an aristocratic family and is best known for the epic books War and Peace and Anna Karenina, regarded as two of the greatest works of Russian literature. After serving in the Crimean War, Tolstoy retired to his estate and devoted himself to writing, farming, and raising his large family. His novels and outspoken social polemics brought him world-wide fame.
Date of Birth:September 9, 1828
Date of Death:November 20, 1910
Place of Birth:Tula Province, Russia
Place of Death:Astapovo, Russia
Education:Privately educated by French and German tutors; attended the University of Kazan, 1844-47