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Autobiography of Countess Tolstoy
written by "Tolstoy, Sophie Andreevna"
...ourite, extraordinarily like his father, a clever, sensitive child, not long for this earth, as people say of such children. This was the greatest sorrow of my life, and for long I could find neither peace nor comfort.{58} At first I spent whole days in churches and cathedrals; I also prayed at home and walked in my garden, where I remembered the dear little slim figure of my boy. "Where are you, where are you, Vanichka?" I used often to cry, not believing in my loss. At last, after having spent nine hours one day in the Archangel Cathedral—it was a fast-day—I was walking home and got soaked in a violent storm of rain. I became very ill and my life was despaired of, but on Easter night at the ringing of the bells I came to myself and rentered upon my sorrowful existence. Everybody about me, and particularly my husband and two eldest daughters, looked after me with extraordinary goodness and tenderness. This gladdened and comforted me. In the spring my sister, T. A. Kuzminskii, arrived and took me off with her to Kiev, and that disposed me still more to religion and made a strong impression on me.[K] My depression and loss of interest in everything continued during the summer, and it was only by chance and quite unexpectedly that my state of mind was changed—by music. That summer there was staying with us a well-known composer and superb pianist.{59} In the evenings he used to play chess with Leo Nikolaevich, and afterwards, at the request of all of us, he often played the piano. Listening to the wonderful music of Beethoven, Mozart, Chopin, and others, superbly executed, I forgot for a time my sharp sorrow, and I used morbidly to look forward to the evening, when I should again hear that wonderful music. Thus the summer passed, and in the autumn I engaged a music mistress and, at the age of fifty-two, began again to practise and learn to play. As time went on, I made little progress. But I went to...

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