"in his soul he regarded himself as a worthless scoundrel"
Tolstoy aged 20
Public DomainTolstoy aged 20

 Tolstoy had a serious gambling problem in his youth. Far from being unusual, such a problem was accepted as almost inevitable for a young man from an aristocratic background, although Tolstoy's habit was considered extravagant, even by the standards of the day. In order to make good these debts of honour Tolstoy was repeatedly forced to sell parts of his inheritance - which involved selling both land and the serfs who worked it. At one point he lost so much at cards he was forced to sell the grand old house at Yasnaya Polyana, his family's estate, to a neighbour. His neighbour took the house apart and moved it to his own land (where it has not survived). The shame of losing his house this way stayed with Tolstoy for the rest of his life.