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hillty of inordinate detail. Without pursuing a comparison too far, it must be said that Tolstoi sows with the whole sack, while Mr. Hardy often obtains as thrilling and even as panoramic an effect with the scattering of a handful.
No one had ever noted mental and nervous phenomena so delicately or so untiringly in the course of a historical romance as Tolstoi did in War and Peace, the final execution of which dates from 1870. But the eulogists of the Russian novelist must not forget that just forty years earlier a novel had appeared in France in which the psychological manner of Tolstoi was led up to in a very singular degree. lt is not necessary to pretend that Le Kouge et le Noir is a work of so much sustained power or of so persistent a historic consistency as War and Peace, but we may safely conjecture that if Stendhal had never written, the course of Tolstoi's talent would have been much hampered in the form of its expression. ln each of these amazing books the struggle of a nation against the dominating idea, or shadow, of Napoleon, is the theme; in one case it is the reaction in France under Charles X., in the other it is the resistance of Russia under Alexander. The parallel between Le Rouge et le Noir and the Waterloo episode of La Chartreuse de Parme on the one hand, and the epic of Tolstoi on the other, must not be pushed too far, but in asserting the extraordinary psychological delicacy with which the Russian novelist depicted Napoleonic history on a large scale, it must not be forgotten that Stendhal also had done wonderful things.
Two different aims are always at work in the spirit of Tolstoi. He is eagerly interested in the broad lines of the picture, in the military masses, the social paroxysms, and at the same time each individual, easily lost to sight and
thought in the huge upheaval, is ready at any moment to be brought into violent illumination and scrutinized under the microscope. Tolstoi is sensitive, not merely to the movements of nations, but to the palpitations of solitary souls; and he loves to show the slender vigor of a personality, rising in instinctive rebellion against a giant tradition or a storm of national enthusiasm. He records what we instinctively certify to be the absolute truth about his invented characters at moments of crisis. Where a hundred instances of this are forthcoming, it is enough to mention one. Prince Andre, thrilled with the magic of the lustrous Napoleonic legend, longs for an opportunity of meeting the great man whom, even though the natural enemy of his race, he cannot but adore as a demi-god. At length he is wounded in battle, and accident brings him for the first time face to face with his hero. The ordinary historical novelist would fill the mind and the mouth of Andre with a hundred fine sentiments, and would make him a rival of the dying trumpeter in De Quincey's magnificent burst of visionary rhetoric.
ls this Tolstoi's method? By no means. Prince Andre's brain, exhausted by hunger and loss of blood, slightly troubled by fever, refuses to respond to the young man's appeal to it for a generous movement. The veritable Emperor, an apparition so longed for and vouchsafed at last, proceeds along the line of wounded prisoners, and approaches Andre in due turn. He stops, he speaks, sympathetically and kindly, to the young Russian officer. Now, if ever, is the occasion for a truly heroic scene in the most tumultuous of military romances. But no:
Le prince Andre, les yeux fixes sur lui, gardait le silence. Tandis que, cinq minutes auparavant, le blesse avait pu echanger quelques mots avec les soldats qui le transportalent, maintenant, les yenx fixes sur l'Emperenr. 11 gardalt le silence! . . . Qu'etalent en effet les interets, l'orgnell, la jole triomphante de Napoleon? qu'etalt le heros lul-m6me, en comparalson de ce bean ciel, plein de justice et de bonte, que son flme avatt embrasse et comprls? Tont lul sembteit sl miserable, si mesquin, si different de ces pens^es solennelles et srvrivs qu'avalent fait naltre en lul l'epuisement de ses forces et l'attente de la mort!
Les yeux fixes sur Napoleon, ll pensalt a Tinslgnlflance de la grandenr, a, l'insignlfiance encore plus grande de la mort, dont le sens restait cache et impenetrable aux vlvants.
lt would be difficult to point to a passage of no greater length which illustrates more completely than this the qualities which make the best works of Tolstoi unique in their inevitable impression of life. He has these marvellous trouvailles, when, in a moment, all the conventions of speech, all the hollow compulsions of thought, are forced to disappear and give way to essential truth in some one or other of its most thrilling presentments. lt has been said that in Tolstoi's novels there is no central figure, although even this is scarcely true. But in War and Peace he set himself a task, the seriousness and difficulty of which no labor of a novelist has ever exceeded, namely, while devoting himself to the close observation of personal character, to describe the material and moral forces which dominated the entire surface of a lengthy and complicated epoch. Accordingly, in such a scheme, there is a central figure, but it is not that of Napoleon or even of Koutouzof, though a species of moral grandeur alternately gives a certain centralization to each of these. What is really the "hero" of War and Peace is the idea of Russian national character, exhibited under the stress of violent and perilous conditions. But in conducting this great theme
to its perfection, we see the genins of Tolstoi occupied in a subsidiary effort of a very unusual kind. Over this huge and incoherent landscape his imagination passes like a military searchlight. But it has frequently to pause, and wherever it rests for a moment illumination is instant and complete. lt may fall on a group of soldiers playing cards in a tent, on a drawing-room where Natacha is dancing for the fascination of Denissow, on a hillock guarded by a sleep-riddled hussar, on an emperor at the moment of conquest, —wherever it falls, the sense of reality, the vividness and genuineness of the phenomena, give us the shock which distinguishes the impact of truth from that of plausible make-believe. This is the secret of the almost blinding effect which certain descriptions of the inner working of the minds of persons in distress give us in Tolstoi's novels. lt is the secret of the amazing vitality of The Death of Ivan llyUch, of Memories of Secastopol, of the early pages of Resurrection.
Essential traits of character are observed by Tolstoi with an accuracy and delicacy which are beyond all praise, with what the French would call an astonishing "virtuosltfe." lt is here, rather than in the arrangement and formation of his books, that his peculiar gifts as an artist are exhibited. His episodes are better constructed than his epics, and he has not the power to build up a balanced, harmonious book like Madame Bovary. lt is not, indeed, with Flaubert that it seems natural to compare him, in spite of the passion for omniscience and for setting down the results of omniscience which so curiously affected both these great realists. lt is rather with George Sand that it is interesting to compare Tolstoi, and the reader who resists the first impulse of surprise at the contact of these two figures will perhaps find an agreeable pastime in noting the re
semblance between them. They are, in fact, remarkably alike, although, Heaven knows, in many things so unlike. Tolstoi, l conceive (how it handicaps a critic to be obliged to depend on a translation!) is not, in Russian, so beautiful a writer as George Sand in French. He has not, surely cannot have, that dignity and roundness, that serene full tide of melody, which make George Sand the first woman prose-writer of the world, without a rival within view. There must, moreover, always be the dlffer.ence which is natural between one who. like the author of Les Uaitres Sonu,-urx. approaches the life of simplicity from the centre of civilization, and one who, like the author of The Kreutzer Sonata, comes westward out of the frontiers of Asia, with his barbarous trappings still flung over his shoulders. Yet the likeness is, nevertheless, greater than the patent differences, and the recollection of George Sand should be a help to us in defining the position of Tolstoi. Each of them, essentially and intellectually, is a peasant of genins; each of them, that is to say, regards life not from the aristocratic and sentimental, but from the rustic and positive point of view. Tolstoi, though certainly to a less degree than George Sand, was born a natural and not a sophisticated being; each of them has written, not as one who discovers or patronizes nature, but as one who has been intimately familiar with it from his or her earliest hours of consciousness. George Sand was remarkable, among the great writers of her time, for her extreme sensibility to the various forms of French imagination and sentiment. lt is a like sensibility to all the manifestations of the Russian temperament, without selection, without exaggeration, which distinguishes Tolstoi from the other eminent Russian novelists who have painted Russian manners from aspects exclu
sively or pointedly their own. George Sand aspired, with pathetic intensity, after a new birth of society, and this has been Tolstoi's constant preoccupation. The two great writers are one in clinging to an obstinate assurance of the probity and charity of the peasant-class, that class with which they themselves have always been in closest sympathy. They are curiously similar in their method of treating landscape, which they seem hardly so much to describe to us, as to discover for us. George Sand opens a window, out of which we see the Creuse or the Indre winding through a fat landscape. So Tolstoi flings wide the shutters, and gray marsh-lands, lined with melancholy birches, stretch before us further than the eye can reach.
ln the case of Tolstoi, the effect is sometimes gained by means which George Sand would have thought inartistic. The student of style will find much to interest him in the curious early story (1853) called La Coupe en foret. The action begins in the early morning, before daybreak, in a camp of Russian soldiers on service in the Caucasian woodlands. The awakening and the departure of the battalion are described with astonishing vividness, with that searchlight effect which has just been referred to. Every little sensation and emotion of each halfawakened ordinary soldier is noted with the air of a medical report. The only objection is that the reader wants to come to the story, of which, through pages and pages, no sort of indication is vouchsafed. For Tolstoi the details are sufficient in themselves, and it is true that when we have proceeded far enough, and look back, we also admit that those details were, there in the outset, just what we required. The danger is that the impatient reader, or even the reader not unduly impatient but desirous of sound entertainment, may give up the adventure before the details settle into focus. All the early war-tales of Tolstoi,—most important as they are to the study of his genins, —have this peculiarity. They are studies of the lntimate temper of the Russian soldier, removed a little from his native surroundings, and placed in an environment of danger. Some of these tales are extraordinary improvisations, strings of minute notes of so heated, abrupt and unrelated a nature that they might be a series of feverish data jotted down on the spot by a soldier engaged with the others. To trace Tolstoi's formula to its source, we must go back to the stories he wrote before and immediately after his service at Sevastopol in 1854-55. The strained and sensitive calm of Captain Touchine in War and Peace, or of Khlopov in L'lncufsion, it is still beyond the power of any of Tolstoi's imitators to analyze. Even Zola's study of a common soldier under fire (in Les Qvatre Journtes fa Jean Gourdon), excessively clever and even convincing as it is. has something mechanical and artificial about it by the side of the impressions, sighed forth as it were involuntarily, through the pages of La Coupe en Foret or Sevastopol.
All Tolstoi's stories are curiously loose in construction. He follows every impulse from without or from within, and the spirit carries him whithersoever it will. ln the case of his two great romances, levity may recall the immortal judgment of Mr. Mantalini on the countesses and the dowager, and may admit that War and Peace has no outline at all, while Anna Karenina has a "demd" outline. Resurrection, so tense and brilliant in its opening, fades away in mere languor and boredom. The briefer tales retain their elasticity of form just so long as, and no longer than, the author retains his intense interest in their contents, and refrains from sarcastic moralizing. Perhaps the best composed
of all Tolstoi's stories is The Cossacks, a delicious example of his art, and one which is not among those which are most universally familiar. This is the best of the studies which Tolstoi has dedicated to life in the Caucasus in the middle of last century. At that time Caucasia was the manifest land of promise for unfortunate men of every sort and condition. It was the home, not of lost causes, but of causes that were just ready to be discovered, fabulous adventures which were to lead directly to glory and to gold.
The romantic revival of literature in Russian had been closely connected with the Caucasus. it was painted by travellers and by poets in marvellous colors, and a glamor hung over its semi-Asiatic race, whose very name was "linked with one virtue and a thousand crimes." Pouchkine, writing at the very moment when Byron was pouring his melodious lament over Europe, had given his giaours and his gipsies a setting of Caucasian snows, and had presented them to splendid Muscovites, dressed up as Chllde Harold, to strut over "the burning sands of Colchis." The sentiment of Pouchkine was taken up with passion by Lermontov, in whose poems the ravines of the Caucasus seemed to run, not with melted snow, but with eddies of glowing lava. A Russian critic has said that, under the pen of Lermontov, the landscape of Caucaslas seems "to tremble with the breath of love." The Caucasus now became, in the sphere of Russian literature, all and more than all that the Highlands had been in Scottish sentiment. Georgia was presented to the dwellers in the huge flats of Russia as the source of national romance, as an elfin country, brooded over by the eternal snows of Kasbek, and torn by deep and impetuous rivers, along the banks of which, in exquisite attitudes and folded in bewitching national costumes, stood Clrcasslan damsels of matchless beauty, ready to fall into the arms of the first adventurous cornet of hussars.
This ideal was roughly broken by Tolstoi in the studies of Caucasian life which he made during his long visit to the southern provinces. In 1851, after a ruinous season of gambling and carousing in St. Petersburg, he betook himself to the Caucasus, where his brother was serving as an officer in the frontier army, and settled at the foot of the mountains in the little town of Pyatigorsk. it was difficult to live there in any other capacity than that of a soldier, and Tolstoi was soon drawn into the army, which was engaged, with Tiflis as its centre, in repressing the rage of the Circassian bandits. He remained here for about three years, and it was during this time that all his earliest, and perhaps his freshest, works were written. The outcome of his Caucasian life is seen in many books, but there is one which provides us with a positive mirror of the young author's surroundings, conditions and aspiration. No production of Tolstoi's early period can be held to approach The Cossacks in its importance to the student of the author's intellectual character.
There is little attempt at concealment . There is an almost hysterical analysis of the character of Olfenine, who leaves Moscow after a whirl of selfish extravagance, precisely as Tolstoi left St. Petersburg in 1851. The approach to the mountains, the music of the rivers, the movement and force of the forests, are evidently noted with the freshness of the feverish exile who sees these cold wonders for the first time. The contrast between the social agitation of society in a great Russian city, and the extreme simplicity and power of savage life is as romantic in its essence as the Byronlsm of Pouchkine or Lermontov, but it is tempered by the sobriety of an eye fixed,
as Wordsworth said, upon the object . The student of Tolstoi's later books will see a taint of illogicality already patent in The Cossacks, but so fresh is the whole tenor of the book that it seems no more than the touch of our inevitable old friend, "the romantic fallacy." This fallacy is well avoided when the actual personages are depicted, and these deserve the reader's close attention.
The native characters in The Cossacks are romantically colored, and yet they avoid the Byronic falsity which had up to that time affected all similar pictures. We have not superhuman heroes of majestic mien, but interesting types of healthy barbarians. Very subtle, and perfectly novel, was Tolstoi's treatment of the principal Caucasian figures of his scene, the magnificent young man, Loukachka, and the no less splendid young woman, Marianka. They seem, at first , as though they were to be simple Byronic impossibilities, for so they appeared to the romance-blinded enthusiasm of Olenine. To depict the impenetrability of their savage minds, their lack of common ground with their Russian friend, the double disappointment which comes to him in attempting to win the actual, civilized friendship of Loukachka and then the love of Marianka, the distance at which these Caucasians ultimately leave stranded, on a reef of moral isolation, their ardent admirer and lover, all this demanded, in the condition of Russian sentiment regarding Circassia, an extreme independence of imagination, and displayed, in the mode in which it was carried out, a talent of the most original order. All of Tolstoi, all that is best and finest in his talent, is found wrapped up in embryo in the pages of The Cossacks. The marvellous scene at night in the church after the Easter service, that scene, so steeped in passion and in firmness of descriptive power, which is the jewel of