The Forged Coupon
At this point one realises the gulf which divides the Slavonic from the English temperament. No average Englishman of seven-and-twenty (as Tolstoy was then) would pursue reflections of this kind, or if he did, he would in all probability keep them sedulously to himself.
To Tolstoy and his aunt, on the contrary, it seemed the most natural thing in the world to indulge in egoistic abstractions and to expatiate on them; for a Russian feels none of the Anglo-Saxon's mauvaise honte in describing his spiritual condition, and is no more daunted by metaphysics than the latter is by arguments on politics and sport.
To attune the Anglo-Saxon reader's mind to sympathy with a mentality so alien to his own, requires that Tolstoy's environment should be described more fully than most of his biographers have cared to do. This prefatory note aims, therefore, at being less strictly biographical than illustrative of the contributory elements and circumstances wh