Family Happiness

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(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.)
• "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....)
• "You are surprised that soldiers are taught that it is right to kill people in certain cases and in war, while in the books admitted to be holy by those who so teach, there is nothing like such a permission..." (From : "Letter to a Non-Commissioned Officer," by Leo Tol....)
• "There are people (we ourselves are such) who realize that our Government is very bad, and who struggle against it." (From : "A Letter to Russian Liberals," by Leo Tolstoy, Au....)


This document contains 10 sections, with 37,002 words or 206,350 characters.

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We were in mourning for our mother, who had died the preceding autumn, and we had spent all the winter alone in the country—Macha, Sonia and I. Macha was an old family friend, who had been our governess and had brought us all up, and my memories of her, like my love for her, went as far back as my memories of myself. Sonia was my younger sister. The winter had dragged by, sad and somber, in our old country-house of Pokrovski. The weather had been cold, and so windy that the snow was often piled high above our windows; the panes were almost always cloudy with a coating of ice; and throughout the whole season we were shut in, rarely finding it possible to go out of the house. It was very seldom that any one came to see us, and our few visitors brought neither joy nor cheerfulness to our house. They all had mournful faces, spoke low, as if they were afraid of waking some one, were careful not to laugh, sighed and often sh... (From :

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The spring came. My former ennui had disappeared, and in exchange I felt the dreamy vernal sadness, woven of unknown hopes and unslaked desires. But my life was no longer the existence I had led during the early winter; I occupied myself with Sonia, with music, with studies, and I often went into the garden, to spend a long, long, time in wandering alone through the shady walks, or in sitting motionless upon some quiet bench. God knows what I was thinking, what I was wishing, what I was hoping! Sometimes for whole nights, especially if it was moonlight, I would remain kneeling at my window with my elbows on the sill; morning would find me there; and sometimes, without Macha’s knowing it, I would steal down into the garden again after I was in my simple night-dress, and fly through the dew to the little pond; once I even went out into the fields, and spent the rest of the night roaming alone about the park. Now it is difficult for me to recall, still less to co... (From :

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One day, during the grain harvest, Macha, Sonia, and I, went into the garden after dinner, to our favorite bench under the shade of the linden-trees at the head of the ravine, whence we could see the fields and the woods. For three days Sergius Mikaïlovitch had not been to see us, and we looked for him all the more confidently to-day, as he had promised our intendant to visit the harvest fields. About two o’clock we saw him coming over the rising ground in the middle of a rye field. Macha, giving me a smile, ordered a servant to bring out some peaches and cherries, which he was very fond of, then stretched herself upon the bench and was soon fast asleep. I broke off a little linden bough, its leaves and bark fresh with young sap, and, while I fanned Macha, went on with my reading, not without turning every instant to watch the field-path by which he must come to us. Sonia had established herself on a linden root, and was busy putting up a green arbor for... (From :

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It was the Carême de l’Assomption, and consequently no one was surprised at my commencing a season of devotion. During this whole week Sergius Mikaïlovitch did not once come to see us, and far from being surprised, alarmed, or angry with him, I was content, and did not expect him before my birthday. Throughout this week I rose very early every day, and while the horses were being harnessed I walked in the garden, alone, meditating upon the past, and thinking what I must do in order that the evening should find me satisfied with my day, and proud of having committed no faults. When the horses were ready, I entered the droschky, accompanied by Macha or a maid-servant, and drove about three versts to church. In entering the church, I never failed to remember that we pray there for all those “who enter this place in the fear of God,” and I strove to rise to the level of this thought, above all when my feet fi... (From :

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There was no reason to delay our marriage, and neither he nor I desired to do so. It is true that Macha longed to go to Moscow to order my trousseau, and Sergius’ mother considered it incumbent upon him before marrying to buy a new carriage and more furniture and have the whole house renovated, but we both insisted that this could all be done quite as well afterwards, and that we would be married at the end of the fortnight succeeding my birthday, without trousseau, parade, guests, groomsmen, supper, champagne, or any of the traditional attributes of a wedding. He told me that his mother was unwilling to have the great event take place without the music, the avalanche of trunks, the refurnished house, which, at a cost of thirty thousand rubles, had accompanied her own marriage; and how, without his knowledge, she had ransacked for treasures all the chests in the lumber rooms, and held sober consultations with Mariouchka, the housekeeper, on the subject of certain new carpet... (From :

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The days, the weeks, two entire months of lonely country life slipped away, imperceptibly, it appeared to us; but the sensations, the emotions, and the happiness of these two months would have sufficed to fill a whole life. My dreams, and his, concerning the mode of organizing our joint existence were not realized exactly as we had anticipated. But, nevertheless, the reality was not below our dreams. This was not the life of strict industry, full of duties, abnegation, and sacrifices, which I had pictured to myself when I became his betrothed; on the contrary, it was the absorbing and egotistical sentiment of love, joys without reason and without end, oblivion of everything in the world. He would, it is true, sometimes retire to his study and occupy himself with something demanding attention; sometimes he went to the city on business, or overlooked his agricultural matters; but I could see how hard it was for him to tear himself away from me. Indeed, he himself said that whenever... (From :

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Our removal to St. Petersburg, a week in Moscow, visits to his relatives and to my own, settling ourselves in our new apartment, the journey, the new city, the new faces, all seemed to me like a dream. All was so novel, so changeful, so gay, all was so brightened for me by his presence, by his love, that the placid country life appeared to me something very far off, a sort of unreal thing. To my great surprise, instead of the arrogant pride, the coldness, I had expected to encounter, I was welcomed by all (not only by our relatives, but by strangers,) with such cordiality that it seemed as if they had no thought of anything but me, and as if one and all had been longing for my arrival to complete their own happiness. Contrary to my anticipations, in the circles of society, even in those which seemed to me most select, I discovered many friends and connections of my husband whom he had never mentioned to me, and it often struck me as strange and disagreeable to hear him utter seve... (From :

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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 insensib... (From :

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Our house at Nikolski, so long cold and deserted, came to life again; but the thing which did not come to life was our old existence. Mama was there no longer, and henceforth we were alone, we two alone with each other. But not only was solitude no longer to us what it had once been, but we found it a burden and constraint. The winter passed all the more drearily for me from my being out of health, and it was not until some time after the birth of my second son that I recovered my strength. My relations with my husband continued cold and friendly, as at St. Petersburg; but here in the country there was not a floor, not a wall, not a piece of furniture, which did not remind me of what he had been to me, and what I had lost. There stood between us, as it were, an offense not forgiven; one would have said that he wished to punish me for something, and that he was pretending to himself to be unconscious of it. How could I ask forgiveness without knowing for what fault? (From :

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Peasants attached to the household, and not to the soil. Russian cart, consisting of a flat frame-work of bark, between four wheels. This expression, peculiar to Russia, corresponds to what in Catholic countries is called: Making a preparatory retreat. In the Greek Church the staroste acts as church-warden, collector of alms, etc. Screen, upon which are the images. Strong Russian phrase, to express great poverty. Justice of the peace, of the district. Diminutive of Nicolas. Yvan. (From :


1859 :
Family Happiness -- Publication.

January 12, 2021 ; 4:26:13 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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May 14, 2021 ; 5:56:26 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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