What a powerful book! I know nothing like it. And how I love everything Russian! And how funny I find Tolstoy's disdain towards everything French.
It must be loudly proclaimed that in revolutionary Russia the freedoms of speech, thought and the press are non-existent – that they exist to an even lesser degree than in the old autocratic Russia. The revolutionary democratic societal order demands a greater conformity of thought than the pre-revolutionary reactionary powers, which were too indifferent to every nuance of societal thought and incapable of making sense of it. See more
The censorship imposed by the revolutionary democratic societal set-up is more all-encompassing and pervasive than our old censorship. And it must be said that a censorship driven by rampaging popular masses is invariably more terrifying than that instigated by governmental authorities, whom much tends to elude. When the people themselves violate the freedoms of thought and speech, said violations are more terrible, more oppressive than those that might committed by governmental authorities: there is no escaping their effects.
There never was a good biography of a good novelist. There couldn’t be. He is too many people if he’s any good.
When it began to get very cold, and the large hall became impossible, we took refuge in the adjoining room, which was Their Maj esties' drawing-room, the only really comfortable apartment in the house. The Czar would often read aloud while the Grand-Duchesses did needlework or played with us. The Czarina regularly played one or two games of beziqueBezique is a French intellectual card game for two. with General Tatichtchef and then took up her work or reclined in her armchair.
Having no leaders, the Russian revolution must exhaust itself, smother itself to death, for it exhibits no consistent direction of development and has no idea behind it.
Dr Westfallen arrived at 10.30 and allowed me to have coffee and eat bread and butter. He was not happy with my state: I’ve been feeling pain again for the last three days.
The Grand Duke Boris Wladimirovitch and one of his best friends, Leon Mantachev, an oil magnate, also arrived from Petersburg.