A Russian Proprietor, and Other Stories : Part 01, Chapter 19

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1887

People

(1828 - 1910) ~ Father of Christian Anarchism : In 1861, during the second of his European tours, Tolstoy met with Proudhon, with whom he exchanged ideas. Inspired by the encounter, Tolstoy returned to Yasnaya Polyana to found thirteen schools that were the first attempt to implement a practical model of libertarian education. (From : Anarchy Archives.)
• "The Government and all those of the upper classes near the Government who live by other people's work, need some means of dominating the workers, and find this means in the control of the army. Defense against foreign enemies is only an excuse. The German Government frightens its subjects about the Russians and the French; the French Government, frightens its people about the Germans; the Russian Government frightens its people about the French and the Germans; and that is the way with all Governments. But neither Germans nor Russians nor Frenchmen desire to fight their neighbors or other people; but, living in peace, they dread war more than anything else in the world." (From : "Letter to a Non-Commissioned Officer," by Leo Tol....)
• "It usually happens that when an idea which has been useful and even necessary in the past becomes superfluous, that idea, after a more or less prolonged struggle, yields its place to a new idea which was till then an ideal, but which thus becomes a present idea." (From : "Patriotism and Government," by Leo Tolstoy, May 1....)
• "People who take part in Government, or work under its direction, may deceive themselves or their sympathizers by making a show of struggling; but those against whom they struggle (the Government) know quite well, by the strength of the resistance experienced, that these people are not really pulling, but are only pretending to." (From : "A Letter to Russian Liberals," by Leo Tolstoy, Au....)

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Part 01, Chapter 19

XIX.

"Where are those dreams?" the young man now asked himself as he walked home after his round of visits. "Here more than a year has passed since I have been seeking for happiness in this course, and what have I found? It is true, I sometimes feel that I can be contented with myself; but this is a dry, doubtful kind of content. Yet, no; I am simply dissatisfied! I am dissatisfied because I find no happiness here; and I desire, I passionately long for, happiness. I have not experienced delight, I have cut myself off from all that gives it. Wherefore? for what end? Does that make it easier for any one?

"My aunt was right when she wrote that it is easier to find happiness than to give it to others. Have my peasants become any richer? Have they learned any thing? or have they shown any moral improvement? Not the least. They are no better off, but it grows harder and harder every day for me. If I saw any success in my undertakings, if I saw any signs of gratitude, ... but, no! I see falsely directed routine, vise, untruthfulness, helplessness. I am wasting the best years of my life."

Thus he said to himself, and he recollected that his neighbors, as he heard from his nurse, called him "a mere boy;" that he had no money left in the counting-room; that his new threshing-machine, which he had invented, much to the amusement of the peasants,[79] only made a noise, and did not thresh any thing when it had been set in motion for the first time in presence of numerous spectators, who had gathered at the threshing-floor; that from day to day he had to expect the coming of the district judge for the list of goods and chattels, which he had neglected to make out, having been engrossed in various new enterprises on his estate.

And suddenly there arose before him, just as vividly as, before, that walk through the forest and his ideal of rural life had arisen,—just as vividly there appeared his little university room at Moscow, where he used to sit half the night before a solitary candle, with his chum and his favorite boy friend.

They used to read for five hours on a stretch, and study such stupid lessons in civil law; and when they were done with them, they would send for supper, open a bottle of champagne, and talk about the future which awaited them.

How entirely different the young student had thought the future would be! Then the future was full of enjoyment, of varied occupation, brilliant with success, and beyond a peradventure sure to bring them both to what seemed to them the greatest blessing in the world,—to fame.

"He will go on, and go on rapidly, in that path," thought Nekhliudof of his friend; "but I"....

But by this time he was already mounting the steps to his house; and near it were standing a score of peasants and house-servants, waiting with various requests to the prince. And this brought him back from dreams to the reality.

Among the crowd was a ragged and blood-stained peasant-woman, who was lamenting and complaining[80] of her father-in-law, who had been beating her. There were two brothers, who for two years past had been going on shares in their domestic arrangements, and now looked at each other with hatred and despair. There was also an unshaven, gray-haired domestic serf, with hands trembling from the effects of intoxication; and this man was brought to the prince by his son, a gardener, who complained of his disorderly conduct. There was a peasant, who had driven his wife out of the house because she had not worked any all the spring. There was also the wife, a sick woman, who sobbed, but said nothing, as she sat on the grass by the steps,—only showed her inflamed and swollen leg, carelessly wrapped up in a filthy rag.

Nekhliudof listened to all the petitions and complaints; and after he had given advice to one, blamed others, and replied to still others, he began to feel a sort of whimsical sensation of weariness, shame, weakness, and regret. And he went to his room.[81]

From : Gutenberg.org

Chronology

December 05, 1887 :
Part 01, Chapter 19 -- Publication.

February 18, 2017 19:06:12 :
Part 01, Chapter 19 -- Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.

May 28, 2017 15:35:46 :
Part 01, Chapter 19 -- Last Updated on http://www.RevoltLib.com.

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