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Leo Tolstoy – “Youth” (1856)

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Youth (Russian: Юность [Yunost’]; 1856) is the third novel in Leo Tolstoy’s autobiographical trilogy, following Childhood and Boyhood. It was first published in the popular Russian literary magazine Sovremennik. (Wikipedia)

Not a sound penetrated from without, and in the stillness the measured, friendly stroke of the clock’s pendulum seemed to beat quite loudly. The instant that I found myself alone in this calm retreat all other thoughts and recollections left my head as completely as though they had never been there, and I subsided into an inexpressibly pleasing kind of torpor. The rusty alpaca cassocks with their frayed linings, the worn black leather bindings of the books with their metal clasps, the dull-green plants with their carefully watered leaves and soil, and, above all, the abrupt, regular beat of the pendulum, all spoke to me intimately of some new life hitherto unknown to me-a life of unity and prayer, of calm, restful happiness.

“The months, the years, may pass,” I thought to myself, “but he remains alone-always at peace, always knowing that his conscience is pure before God, that his prayer will be heard by Him.” For fully half an hour I sat on that chair, trying not to move, not even to breathe loudly, for fear I should mar the harmony of the sounds which were telling me so much, and ever the pendulum continued to beat the same-now a little louder to the right, now a little softer to the left.

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