I say "tenderness" in contradistinction to heartiness. Heartiness he had and in a very high degree.
His description of the death of my Uncle Nikolai is characteristic in this connection. In a letter to his other brother, Sergei Nikolayevitch, in which he described the last day of his brother's life, my father tells how he helped him to undress.
"He submitted, and became a different man. . . . He had a word of praise for everybody, and said to me, 'Thanks, my friend.' You understand the significance of the words as between us two."
It is evident that in the language of the Tolstoy brothers the phrase "my friend" was an expression of tenderness beyond which imagination could not go. The words astonished my father even on the lips of his dying brother.
During all his lifetime I never received any mark of tenderness from him whatever.
He was not fond of kissing children, and when he did so in saying good morning or good night, he did it merely as a duty.
It is therefore easy to understand that he did not provoke any display of tenderness toward himself, and that nearness and dearness with him were never accompanied by any outward manifestations.
It would never have come into my head, for instance, to walk up to my father and kiss him or to stroke his hand. I was partly prevented also from that by the fact that I always looked up to him with awe, and his spiritual power, his greatness, prevented me from seeing in him the mere man--the man who was so plaintive and weary at times, the feeble old man who so much needed warmth and rest.