Childhood by Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy

By Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy

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I too had thought that another head than the one at which I had been working would be a better gift; so, when we were told that Grandmamma's name-day was soon to come round and that we must each of us have a present ready for her, I had taken it into my head to write some verses in honour of the occasion, and had forthwith composed two rhymed couplets, hoping that the rest would soon materialise. I really do not know how the idea—one so peculiar for a child—came to occur to me, but I know that I liked it vastly, and answered all questions on the subject of my gift by declaring that I should soon have something ready for Grandmamma, but was not going to say what it was.

Yes, even the horrid Mimi I longed for. I longed for everything at home. —The tears rushed to my eyes again. Yet even this mood passed away before long. 47 Chapter 15 CHILDHOOD HAPPY, happy, never-returning time of childhood! How can we help loving and dwelling upon its recollections? They cheer and elevate the soul, and become to one a source of higher joys. Sometimes, when dreaming of bygone days, I fancy that, tired out with running about, I have sat down, as of old, in my high arm- chair by the tea-table.

I felt so ill and miserable that I would gladly have run away rather than bid her farewell. I felt, too, that when she was embracing Papa she was embracing us all. She clasped Woloda to her several times, and made the sign of the cross over him; after which I approached her, thinking that it was my turn. Nevertheless she took him again and again to her heart, and blessed him. Finally I caught hold of her, and, clinging to her, wept—wept, thinking of nothing in the world but my grief. As we passed out to take our seats, other servants pressed round us in the hall to say good-bye.

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