« PredošláPokračovať »
plot had always gone together. So the duties in Siberia. For hours he dispeasant had thought that his soul and cussed with me the problems that were his plot would be together freed. In rushing upon us. His words thrilled dull but growing rage he refused to like fire. Our excited voices rose steadleave his plot for the wretched strip. ily higher, until my mother begged me,
Masters,' he cried, “how can I nourish as my nurse had done before, to speak my little ones through a Russian winter ? low. The young prince is now an old Such land means death. This cry rose man in exile. His name is Peter Kroall over Russia.
potkin. “ The Government appointed in every “In St. Petersburg I entered the district an
'arbiter' to persuade the central group of Liberalists—men and peasants.
The arbiter failed. Then women of noble birth and university troops were quartered in their huts, training, doctors, lawyers, journalists, homes were starved, old people were novelists, poets, scientists, the most beaten by drunkards, daughters were highly educated people in Russia. Since violated. The peasants grew more wild, higher education for women was strictly and then began the flogging. In a vil- forbidden, they had already become lage like ours, where they refused to criminals by opening classes for women leave their plots, they were driven into in the natural and political sciences. line on the village street; every tenth All these classes I eagerly joined, conman was called out and flogged with stantly attending their secret meetings. the knout; some died. Two weeks later, Again my mother grew frightened, and
, as they still held out, every fifth man at last she took me home. During the was flogged. The poor 'ignorant crea- next three years, however, I returned tures still held desperately to what they again and again, traveled to other thought their rights; again the line, and cities, and met Liberal people all over now every man was dragged forward Russia. to the flogging. This process lasted “ Then my father called me home. five years all over Russia, until at last, Here I resolved to support myself and bleeding and exhausted, the peasants help the peasants. My father built me
a small boarding school for girls, and “I heard heartrending stories in through the influence of my relatives I my little school-house, and many more received many pupils. He built, too, a
. through my father, the arbiter of our cottage, in which I could teach the peas. district. The peasants thronged to our ants. I now drew closer to them. I house day and night. Many were car- began to realize the dull memory every ried in crippled by the knout; sobbing peasant has of flogging and toil from wives told of husbands killed before time immemorial. I felt their subcon
Often the poor wretches scious but heart-deep longing for freeliterally wallowed, clasping my father's dom. knees, begging him to read again the “ Three years later I married a manifesto and find it was a mistake, liberal, broad-minded landowner, who beseeching him to search for help in took deep interest in the zemstvos, our that mysterious region—the law court. district moot. He established for me a From such interviews he came to me peasants' agricultural school. Several worn and haggard.
of the younger landowners became in“I now saw how ineffectual were my terested in our work. We met together attempts. I felt that tremendous eco- frequently; and this was my last attempt nomic and political changes must be at Liberalist reform. made, but, still a Liberalist, I thought “He is a poor patriot who will not only of reform. To seek guidance, to thoroughly try his Government before find what older heads were thinking, I he rises against it. We searched the went, at nineteen, with my mother and laws and edicts ; we found certain scant sister, to St. Petersburg. Into our com- and long-neglected peasants' rights of partment on the train came a handsome local suffrage; and then we began showyoung prince returning from official ing the peasants how to use these rights
they already had. They crowded to those who had lived close to the peasthe local elections and began electing as ants. judges, arbiters, and other officials the “ We put on peasant dress, to elude Liberals who honestly held the peasants' the police and break down the peasants' interests at heart. But when the more cringing distrust. I dressed in enormous despotic landowners were ousted from bark shoes, coarse shirt and drawers, the zemstvo and lost their source of (to and heavy cloak. I used acid on my use your language) 'graft,' their leader face and hands; I worked and ate with denounced us to the Minister of the the peasants ; I learned their speech; I Interior as a band of conspirators. Sev- traveled on foot, forging passports ; I eral of us were exiled to Siberia, my lived illegally.' husband and I were put under police “By night I did my organizing. You surveillance, and my father was deposed desire a picture ? A low room with from office, without trial, as a dangerous mud floor and walls. Rafters just over man,' for allowing such criminals to be your head, and still higher, thatch. The at large. Punished as criminals for room was packed with men, women, and teaching the peasant his legal rights, we children. Two big fellows sat up on saw the Government as it was, the Sys the high brick stove, with their dantem of Corruption, watching jealously gling feet knocking occasional applause. through spies and secret police, that These people had been gathered by my their peasant victim might not be taught host-a brave peasant whom I picked anything that could make him think or out—and he in turn had chosen only act as a man.
those whom Siberia could not terrify. ss A startling event now occurred. A When I recalled their floggings; when Liberalist named Netcharjev had already I pointed to those who were crippled collected a revolutionary group. Dis- for life; to women whose husbands died covered and arrested, their trial in 1871 under the lash—then men would cry out was the first great event in the long so fiercely that the three or four cattle struggle for freedom. Along the Great in the next room would bellow and have Siberian Road the procession of politi- to be quieted. Then I told them they cals began. Meanwhile their revolution themselves were to blame. They had ary documents had been published. only the most wretched strips of land. Never again has the Government al- To be free and live, the people must lowed this blunder. Those documents own the land ! From my cloak I would were read by thousands of Liberals like bring a book of fables written to teach us. The spirit of revolution was kin- our principles and stir the love of freedled.
dom. And then far into the night the “I was at this time twenty-six years firelight showed a circle of great broad old. My husband, like me, had a whole faces and dilated eyes, staring with all life before him, and therefore I thought the reverence every peasant has for that it only fair to speak frankly. I asked mysterious thing—a book. him if he were willing to suffer exile or “ These books, twice as effective as death in this cause of freedom. He oral work, were printed in secrecy at said that he was not. Then I left him. heavy expense. But many of us had
“ I went to Kief, joined a revolution- libraries, jewels, costly gowns and furs ary group, and traveled from town to to sell ; and new recruits kept adding town, spreading our ideas among the to our fund.
We had no personal exliberals, both Jews and Russians.
As penses. our numbers swelled we resolved to “Often, betrayed by some peasant spy, reach the peasants themselves. We I left a village quickly, before completdivided into two groups—the Lavrists, ing my work. Then the hut group was who believed in slowly educating the left to meet under a peasant who could peasants to revolution ; the Bacuninites, read aloud those wonderful fables. So who believed in calling on the peasants they dreamed, until a few weeks later to rise for freedom at once. To the another leader in disguise came to them. Bacuninites I belonged, as did most of “In that year of 1874 over two thousand educated people traveled among sprang up covered with vermin. I the peasants. Weary work, you say. leaned against the walls and found them Yes, when the peasants were slow and damp. So I stood up all night in the dull and the spirit of freedom seemed middle of the hole. And this was the an illusion. But when that spirit grew beginning of Siberia. real, one felt far from weary. Then, too, “I awaited trial in a new St. Peterswe had occasional grippings of hands burg prison. My cell was nine feet with comrades. We could always en- long, five feet wide, and seven feet high. courage each other, for all had found It was clean, and a hole above gave the peasants eager; to own the land had plenty of air. My bed was
an iron been the dream of their fathers; their bracket, with mattress and pillow of eagerness rose, and stout words of cheer straw, rough gray blanket, coarse sheet were sent from one group to another. and pillow-case. I wore my own clothes. An underground system was started, a “In solitary confinement? No. I correspondence cipher was invented, the joined a social club. movement spread through thirty-six great “ On that first evening I lay in the provinces of Russia and became steadily dark telling myself that our struggle better organized. So the People's Party must go on in spite of this calamity, was established.
and yet fearful for it, as we fear for “The System, alarmed by their spies, things we love. I lay motionless, and made wholesale arrests. I was under a solitary confinement began to work on peasant's name in Podolia. In my wal- my mind, as the System had planned it let was our manifesto, also maps show- should. Suddenly I sat up quickly. I ing the places already reached and those could hear nothing, but as I started to next to be organized. A servant-girl lie down my ear approached again the spied them and told the servant of the iron pipe supporting my cot. Tick, local police agent. An hour later he tick, tickity, tick, tick. I felt along the came rushing in and jerked the mani. pipe, and found that it went through to festo from my wallet. His eyes popping the next cell. Again I heard. Tick,
. with excitement, he read the paper
in tick, tick, tickity, tick. I had once heard loud, thick voice. As that simple but a code planned at a meeting in Moscow, stirring proclamation of freedom, equal- but I could not recall it. At last I had ity, and love was read, the poor, igno
There are thirty-five letters in rant people thought it the longed-for the Russian alphabet. I rapped. Once ! proclamation from the Czar.
Then twice! Then three times! So spread. Men, women, and children on until for the last letter I rapped rushed up. The District Attorney came, thirty-five. No response. Again, slowly and he too read it aloud. Then sud- and distinctly. My heart was beating denly the chief of police arrived, glanced now. Steps came slowly down the corat the wild, joyous faces around, and ridor. The guard approached and passed seized the document. • What is this?' my door. His steps died away. Sudhe asked me, roughly. • Propaganda, denly—Tick !—Tick, tick !—Tick, tick, I replied, ' with which the attorney, the tick I—and through to thirty-five! Then gendarme, and the priest are viciously slowly we spelled out words, and by this inciting the people.'
clumsy code the swifter code was taught “In jail I was led down to the · Black After that, for three years, the Hole.' As I came down, two besotted pipe was almost always talking. How wretches were stumbling up.
fast we talked ! The pipe sounded pushed in, the heavy door slammed, and $0—"
- Her gray head bent over the bolts rattled in total darkness. At once table, her face was flushed, her eyes I was sickened by the odor.
I took a flashed back through forty years of step forward and slipped, for the floor danger and prison, and her strong, subtle was soft with filth. I stood still until, fingers rolled out the ticks at lightning · deadly sick, I sank down on a pile of speed. « Our club had over a hundred straw and rags. A minute later I was members in solitary confinement; some stung sharply back to consciousness, and in cells on either side of mine, some
below and some above. Did we tell to be tried, for the trial we knew was to stories? Yes, and good ones! Young be a farce; the jury allowed us by law was students, keen wits, high spirits !" She not given us; we had only a jury of seven, laughed merrily, becoming Babushka. of whom but one was a peasant. Our " How some of those youngsters made judges had been appointed by the Czar. love! A mere boy, two cells to my They divided us into groups of ten or right, vowed he adored the young girl of fifteen; the trials lasted half a year. nineteen five cells to my left on the floor When my turn came, I protested against above, whom he had never laid eyes on. this farce; for this I was at once taken I helped tick his gallant speeches and out and my prison term was lengthened her responses continually along. They to five years as hard-labor convict in the passed to the cell below hers, and were mines. This is the punishment given to ticked up the heating-pipe to her by a a murderer. My term served, I was a sad little woman who grieved for her Siberian exile for life. babies. Did they ever meet? Ah, Secretly at night, to avoid a demonSiberia is large as your States and stration, ten of us were led out. Other France and England and Germany all tens followed on successive nights. In together.
the street below were eleven ‘telegas'“Our club was not all a club of pleas- heavy hooded vehicles with three horses ure. Some died of consumption ; others each. Into one I was placed, a stout killed themselves, and others went in- gendarme squeezed in on each side, to sane. The pipe raved sometimes. It remain there two months. Just before spoke many sad good-bys to wives and niy knees sat the driver. We went off children. But the pipe was not often at a gallop, and our five-thousand-mile so, for a Revolutionist must smile though journey began. The Great Siberian the heart be torn. We older ones con- Road was feelingly described by Mr. tinually urged the young girls to be Kennan. A succession of bumps of all strong, for they told us how they were sizes; our springless telegas jolted and taken out and brutally treated to make bounced; my two big gendarmes lurched; them give evidence. A very few broke our horses continually galloped, for they down, but there were many young girls were changed every few hours; we who endured unshaken months of this bounced often a whole week without brutality.
stopping over ten minutes day or night; "From new prisoners we heard cheer- we suffered agony from lack of sleep. ing news. The fire of our Idea had Our officer ordered the gendarmes never spread among workmen well to leave us. At times we women held peasants; in the factories many were shawls between the gendarmes and our arrested, some were imprisoned here friends. Three wives who had come to and joined our club, but were soon con- share their husbands' exile were treated demned into exile. Still the Idea spread. the same. We were all dressed in conIn 1877 came that tremendous demon- vict clothes. The men had also heavy stration on the Kazan Square in St. chains on feet and wrists; their heads Petersburg Hundreds were impris- were partly shaved. Our officer kept oned ; again many joined our club and the money given him by our anxious were condemned, sent us last words of friends at home, and gave us each the cheer along the pipe, and so were rushed Government allowance of about five off to Siberia.
cents a day. For sleep we were placed “In 1878 we were tried. One hun. in the étapes [wayside prisons). Mr. dred had died or gone insane.
Kennan has well described the cellshundred and ninety-three were packed reeking, crawling, infected with scurvy, into a little hall. Over half had belonged consumption, and typhoid. They had to our club, and I had a strange shock log walls roughly covered with plaster. as I now looked at these clubmates with The air was invariably noisome; the whom I had daily talked. White, thin, long bench on which we slept had no and crippled, but still the same stout bedclothes. Through the ,
walls hearts! We nerved each other to refuse heard the endless jangling of fetters,