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only privation. Before the Revolution I had never known what it was to be cold indoors; wood, which was used for fuel in Petrograd, was plentiful and cheap. During my last two winters there, there was great suffering caused by lack of fuel. In Finland and parts of Russia there was plenty of wood, cut and ready to be sent to the cities; but the transportation system had broken down completely. This want of wood became more and more acute; many wooden dwelling-houses were pulled down, and all wooden fencing around gardens and wooden walks was utilized for fuel. More than once I was thankful when I could buy an old beam, tie a rope around my waist, and drag it home to be sawed up into short pieces. We were permitted to buy only a small quantity each month and had to show the paper with the date of the preceding purchase, which was compared with the entry in the official books. Often I have left the house in pitch darkness (no lights in the streets), at four o'clock on a winter's morning, to get my place in the queue at the wood-store, so as to be one of the first to be attended to when the office opened at ten o'clock. It was no joke to wait six hours with the temperature below zero. Sometimes the soldiers who were on duty would admit us to a room they had and permit us to warm ourselves for a few minutes. By ten o'clock there were hundreds in line, and when you reached the window you were given only a piece of paper which entitled you to receive the wood on a specified day. Think of what this meant to poor mothers who had to leave young children at home for hours! One poor woman in the queue one morning had a sick baby which she could not leave at home; it died in her arms before she reached the window.
The shortage of food and the other privations all helped to make us more sympathetic toward one another, and
we did all in our power to help one another. One of my pupils (for I was trying to keep body and soul together by teaching English) was a Russian naval officer; he used to bring me occasionally a small piece of bread which he had left over. He was serving under the Bolsheviki- under compulsion, like so many others. It was his plan to learn to speak English and then to try to escape from Russia. To my great sorrow, for he was my favorite pupil and could converse fairly well in English, he was arrested by his masters and sent away to Cologda. I never could find out the reason for his arrest or hear anything further about him. He once told me that, if he were arrested, he would take his own life; and I often wonder if he is still alive.
I was deeply touched one day by a workingwoman's bringing me a teaspoonful of dry tea. This was a wonderful present, as she had only a very small quantity, which had been given to her, and tea was at a premium. I did not wish to accept it, but she insisted, because sometimes I had helped her and her children with a little food, and had once procured a situation for her.
So in such ways we tried to cheer one another. Often, when one did show a little kindness, one was repaid fourfold or more. I remember that once, when crossing the Nicholas Bridge, I came upon an elderly lady struggling to carry a very heavy bag. I asked her in what direction she was going, and as it was not very far from my own destination, I carried the bag home for her. When she thanked me at parting, she said, 'I hope that, if ever you have to carry something that is too heavy for you, you also will meet some kind person to help you.' A few days later I had to bring to my home some wood which was very heavy. I tried to carry it on my back, but found it beyond my strength to do so, as my house was quite
a good distance away. Just as I was sitting on a doorstep wondering whatever I should do, a soldier came along, and I summoned up my courage to ask if he would help me, even for a short distance. He immediately picked up the wood, slung it on his back, and asked me where I lived. When I told him, he said, 'I can easily go by that street.' He took me right to the door of my house, and when I offered him money, he refused. 'I was only too glad to help you,' he said; 'I should not like to see my mother carry such a load.' The old lady's wish for me was not long in being realized.
On the streets one seldom encountered an old person, all having died from malnutrition. Some elderly people, unable to work and add to their small incomes, suffered terribly, as food prices were impossible. In the homes for old men and women, where, under the old régime, they were well fed, many deaths from starvation took place every week.
One thing the Bolsheviki tried to do was to feed the children. They had no use for old people and even said openly that they ought to die; but they had to think of the rising generation, for the future of the country. At the schools, children received a free dinner, which consisted of soup and a good piece of black bread, or often some cooked cereal. Of course, there was no fat in the food and little nourishment for growing children. Then the Bolsheviki tried to nationalize the children, asking the parents to give them up at a certain age, that they might be brought up and educated in colonies and trained in all the principles of Bolshevism. When I left, in 1920, they were trying to carry this out; but the parents objected, so I do not know what success they met with later. One mother said to me, 'Where is the joy of motherhood if I must give up my child whenever his infancy is over?'
With all my suffering I cannot but feel that God dealt mercifully with me. I will give you one instance of this. On Christmas Eve, 1918, I was alone and without a scrap of food in the house. As I thought back over my past happy life and the loved ones who had gone from me, I naturally felt much depressed. How I could manage to live to the New Year, I could not imagine. Before retiring to rest that night, I asked God to send me some food. The next morning, at eight o'clock, the back-door bell rang; and when I opened the door, I saw standing there an old servant who had served me faithfully for seventeen years, but whom I had had to dismiss several months previously because of my inability to feed her. Her people were farmers in Poland. She said that she had come to spend Christmas with me and that she had brought with her some provisions, such as black bread, flour, and a little bacon, and some sugar and potatoes. Truly, this was an answer to prayer. In those trying times we learned to live by the day and to rest on the promise, 'As thy days, so shall thy strength be.'
Many whom I knew, who were serving under the Bolsheviki, were merely doing so to earn a livelihood, and it was indeed hard for them to serve such masters. In fact, many were at the point of starvation when they accepted positions under the Soviet. As one put it, 'To all appearances we are Red, but we are just like red radishes; scratch us but a little and we are white underneath.'
Of course, you know that in Russia the custom of giving tips (or, as it is called there, tea-money) was carried to great lengths. If you dined with friends, or paid a call, you were expected to tip the servant who removed your overcoat or wrap. At Christmas and Easter the dvoriks, postmen, chimney-sweeps, and men who polished your floors, all called upon you, to receive their tea
money. I heard a very good story relative to this habit of tipping. After the Revolution, everyone was supposed to be on the same level no distinction of class. The working class was delighted with this equality. An officer who frequently visited at the house of some friends, had been in the habit of giving the house-porter a liberal tip each time. On his first visit after the Revolution, the porter met him with the greeting, 'Well, comrade, how are you?' and shook him by the hand. The officer, returning the handshake, answered, "Thank you, comrade, I am well.' At the conclusion of the visit, when the porter opened the door for the officer, the latter held out his hand and said, 'Good-bye. Of course, now we are comrades, it is impossible for me to offer you a tip.' The man was so taken aback that his hand dropped to his side and his jaw fell with astonishment. In this case, he did not appreciate the equality.
In 1919 quite a number of British and other subjects escaped without passes from the Bolsheviki, who had forbidden anyone to leave Petrograd. Those who escaped did so by the back door, as it was called in Russia, that is, illegally, through Finland. There was a secret society which, for large sums of money, arranged these escapes, taking the fugitives across the ice. It was a hazardous journey, and no one could undertake it with children, as they had long distances to walk, and often had to crawl on their hands and knees, or lie flat in a bog, while the Bolsheviki were throwing searchlights on the frontier. All fugitives had to wear some covering of white over their clothes, so as to be less liable to be seen on the white snow. I met one lady in Finland who had thus escaped. Her experiences had been so terrible that her eyeballs stuck out, from the nervous strain she had undergone.
Many and strange were the subter
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fuges employed to get out of Russia. A Scotch friend of mine, who had married a Russian and thus become a Russian subject, got permission to leave with her three little children, by going before the Soviet with her husband. There they asked to be divorced. A few questions were asked them, one of which was, if the mother wished the children. She answered 'Yes,' and a paper was written out, for which they paid the small sum of ten rubles, according them the divorce, and giving back to my friend her British nationality, so that she was able to leave the country with her three little ones in April, 1920. The husband, of course, had to remain behind; but it was easier for a man to get along alone, than if he had a wife and children to feed.
In the early part of 1920, when I saw different parties of British refugees finally being permitted to leave Russia while I was detained as a Russian subject because of my marriage, I lost all hope of ever getting away. By this time my health was much impaired; my feet and legs, and often my face, were badly swollen, and at times I felt so giddy that it was hard for me to get along. Owing to physical weakness, I suppose, I became quite apathetic and did not seem to care what became of me, although I realized that I could not live through another such winter as the last, since I had already parted with nearly all my belongings and would have nothing to supplement my earnings. Early in April we were told that the Bolsheviki were considering the advisability of allowing the British-born widows of Russian subjects to leave the country, and a few days later a decree was published according this permission. In five days we must leave with some other refugees. Permits and passes had to be obtained. No books or written matter of any kind could be taken with us, and I even had to get the Soviet stamp put
on my Bible, and on some photographs that I wished to take with me.
I cannot tell you all the details of my journey out of Russia, for it is a long story. About two in the afternoon of April 13, we finally approached the point near the frontier where persons and luggage were to be examined. The examination was very thorough: all the women were undressed, their shoes and stockings taken off, and even their hair taken down. Even so, many managed to smuggle their diamonds through, and I was able to slip into my box an old glove containing a pair of large solitaire diamond earrings belonging to a friend. I was fortunate in being one of the last to be examined, and so I was allowed to pass more easily.
After the examination we were taken by a train a little farther, to the frontier line, which is determined by a swift and narrow running stream. It is utterly impossible to describe our feelings as we stepped from the bridge on the other side and stood once again on free soil. Many hearts were full of thankfulness to God, who had delivered us from the power and tyranny of the Bolsheviki. It was difficult to realize the fact that now they could no longer harm us, and we need have no more fears, or nights of terror when sleep forsook our eyes from the dread of arrest. When we crossed the frontier, we were greeted by members of the British Red Cross, who congratulated us warmly on our escape. With them were some British and Irish officers who had just been released from prisons in Moscow. One of their number, belonging to a Highland regiment, wore tartan; and when I saw this bit of transplanted Scotland, my eyes filled with tears and my weak knees grew weaker with emotion. I doubt if the pipes of Lucknow created greater emotion in any breast than did that plaid in mine.
had come out of Russia with me after
There is little more to tell. From the frontier we were taken to Terioki on the Gulf of Finland, where we were all examined by a doctor and detained in quarantine for a month. At the end of the month we were taken to Helsingfors, the seaport of Finland, and there embarked on the transport Dongola for Southampton.
Just outside of London was a home for Russian refugees. To this home we were all taken, and here I remained for some weeks until I could inquire about my Scottish relatives and friends. I had not heard from them for years, and undoubtedly some of the letters they wrote to me were among the thousands that were stacked in a huge pile in the courtyard of the General Post Office in Petrograd and eventually burned. A small box contained all my earthly possessions, and, as I looked at it, I came more and more to realize the uncertainty of riches and the need of setting our affections on things above. After several months I finally received my naturalization papers and was again a British subject; and in January, 1921, I left England for America, to visit my only brother in far-off Montana.
Here, amid the changing majesty of these mountains, my mind often turns back to dear Russia, and the tears fill my eyes. I spent many years there in a happy home; and the soil in which I laid my loved ones to rest will ever be sacred. Now the newspapers are bringing tales of more suffering and more famine in that unhappy country. May the good God save Russia, and guide the hearts and hands that would rescue
I turned to Janet MacDonald, who her and bring her out of her distress!
A SUGGESTION ON COAL
BY WALTER L. BALLOU
IN his article 'What Shall We Do About Coal?' in the September Atlantic, Arthur E. Suffern has suggested a remedy through gradual extension of government control over the waste in natural resources and man-power which present mining methods entail. It is to be doubted whether many who are conversant with the industry will quarrel with his premise; there is every reason to know that there are many who, having the best interest of the industry at heart, will quarrel with his suggested remedy. Nor is the quarrel prompted exclusively by selfish motives-past experience has convinced many of the inadequate costliness of the Government's attempt to control the industry.
It is a truism that the history of American development has been the history of wasted natural resources. Man seldom thinks of conservation until the approach of total consumption of a natural resource prompts him to do so. This is true of forests, agricultural resources, and mines. It is true of man-power and the potential possibilities of man-power, to such an extent, that it has been said that in its treatment of men America is to-day wasting her greatest natural resource.
Conservation is out of the question without the moral support of the public that consumes the product to be conserved. As long as an industry dealing with a natural resource is operated on a competitive basis, so long must waste be the key-note of operation. One mine-operator is forced, for instance, to mine the cream of his potential output,
in order to meet the competition from another operator who is doing the same thing. He cannot mine 'clean,' because the cost of such mining will not permit him to meet the competition of the producer who does not mine clean.
The result is to be found in England, where to-day the pits have been worked far back, and each year sees an added cost of production, making more difficult the competition that the British producer has to meet. It is true that, if present mining methods continue in this country unchecked, America will eventually have to face the same problem.
There is no question as to the overproduction of coal in the country, caused by an over-development of mines. That, too, is the result of the basis of open competition that obtains. Good years in the industry call forth the opening of new mines, or the reopening of old ones that have been idle during dull years. What control, other than through government ownership, can the Government exercise, which will check the natural effort of one man to make money in a market where others are making it?
Admitting the evil, we believe there is a solution which, while at the further end of the social pole, will come nearer to being a solution than that proposed by Mr. Suffern. Let us first consider some of the evils which might be expected to accompany government control, and then state the suggestion.
During the 'tight' coal market of the summer of 1920, various attempts at control were made by the Government,