Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

only privation. Before the Revolution we did all in our power to help one anI had never known what it was to be other. One of my pupils (for I was trycold indoors; wood, which was used for ing to keep body and soul together by fuel in Petrograd, was plentiful and teaching English) was a Russian naval cheap. During my last two winters officer; he used to bring me occasionally there, there was great suffering caused a small piece of bread which he had left by lack of fuel. In Finland and parts of over. He was serving under the BolsheRussia there was plenty of wood, cut viki - under compulsion, like so many and ready to be sent to the cities; but others. It was his plan to learn to speak the transportation system had broken English and then to try to escape from down completely. This want of wood Russia. To my great sorrow, for he became more and more acute; many was my favorite pupil and could conwooden dwelling-houses were pulled verse fairly well in English, he was ardown, and all wooden fencing around rested by his masters and sent away to gardens and wooden walks was utilized Cologda. I never could find out the for fuel. More than once I was thank- reason for his arrest or hear anything. ful when I could buy an old beam, tie a further about him. He once told me rope around my waist, and drag it home that, if he were arrested, he would take to be sawed up into short pieces. We his own life; and I often wonder if he is were permitted to buy only a small still alive. quantity each month and had to show I was deeply touched one day by a the paper with the date of the preceding workingwoman's bringing me a teapurchase, which was compared with the spoonful of dry tea. This was a wonderentry in the official books. Often I have

ful present, as she had only a very small left the house in pitch darkness (no quantity, which had been given to her, lights in the streets), at four o'clock on and tea was at a premium. I did not a winter's morning, to get my place in wish to accept it, but she insisted, bethe queue at the wood-store, so as to be

cause sometimes I had helped her and one of the first to be attended to when her children with a little food, and had the office opened at ten o'clock. It was once procured a situation for her. no joke to wait six hours with the tem- So in such ways we tried to cheer perature below zero. Sometimes the one another. Often, when one did show soldiers who were on duty would admit a little kindness, one was repaid fourus to a room they had and permit us to fold or more. I remember that once, warm ourselves for a few minutes. By when crossing the Nicholas Bridge, I ten o'clock there were hundreds in line, came upon an elderly lady struggling to and when you reached the window you carry a very heavy bag. I asked her in were given only a piece of paper which what direction she was going, and as it entitled you to receive the wood on a was not very far from my own destinaspecified day. Think of what this meant tion, I carried the bag home for her. to poor mothers who had to leave young When she thanked me at parting, she children at home for hours! One poor said, 'I hope that, if ever you have to woman in the queue one morning had a carry something that is too heavy for sick baby which she could not leave at you, you also will meet some kind perhome; it died in her arms before she son to help you.' A few days later I had reached the window.

to bring to my home some wood which The shortage of food and the other was very heavy. I tried to carry it on privations all helped to make us more my back, but found it beyond my sympathetic toward one another, and strength to do so, as my house was quite

a

a

[ocr errors]

a good distance away. Just as I was sit- With all my suffering I cannot but ting on a doorstep wondering whatever feel that God dealt mercifully with me. I should do, a soldier came along, and I I will give you one instance of this. On summoned up my courage to ask if he Christmas Eve, 1918, I was alone and would help me, even for a short distance. without a scrap of food in the house. He immediately picked up the wood, As I thought back over my past happy slung it on his back, and asked me life and the loved ones who had gone where I lived. When I told him, he from me, I naturally felt much depresssaid, 'I can easily go by that street.' He ed. How I could manage to live to the took me right to the door of my house, New Year, I could not imagine. Before and when I offered him money, he re- retiring to rest that night, I asked God fused. 'I was only too glad to help you,' to send me some food. The next mornhe said; 'I should not like to see my ing, at eight o'clock, the back-door bell mother carry such a load.' The old rang; and when I opened the door, I lady's wish for me was not long in saw standing there an old servant who being realized.

had served me faithfully for seventeen On the streets one seldom encounter- years, but whom I had had to dismiss ed an old person, all having died from several months previously because of malnutrition. Some elderly people, un- my inability to feed her. Her people able to work and add to their small in- were farmers in Poland. She said that comes, suffered terribly, as food prices she had come to spend Christmas with were impossible. In the homes for old me and that she had brought with her men and women, where, under the old

some provisions, such as black bread, régime, they were well fed, many deaths flour, and a little bacon, and some sugar from starvation took place every week. and potatoes. Truly, this was an answer

One thing the Bolsheviki tried to do to prayer. In those trying times we was to feed the children. They had no learned to live by the day and to rest use for old people and even said openly on the promise, 'As thy days, so shall that they ought to die; but they had to thy strength be.' think of the rising generation, for the Many whom I knew, who were servfuture of the country. At the schools, ing under the Bolsheviki, were merely children received a free dinner, which doing so to earn a livelihood, and it was consisted of soup and a good piece of indeed hard for them to serve such masblack bread, or often some cooked ce- ters. In fact, many were at the point of real. Of course, there was no fat in the starvation when they accepted positions food and little nourishment for growing under the Soviet. As one put it, 'To all children. Then the Bolsheviki tried to

appearances we are Red, but we are just nationalize the children, asking the like red radishes; scratch us but a little parents to give them up at a certain age, and we are white underneath.' that they might be brought up and Of course, you know that in Russia educated in colonies and trained in all the custom of giving tips (or, as it is callthe principles of Bolshevism. When I ed there, tea-money) was carried to left, in 1920, they were trying to carry great lengths. If you dined with friends, this out; but the parents objected, so I or paid a call, you were expected to tip do not know what success they met the servant who removed your overwith later. One mother said to me, coat or wrap. At Christmas and Easter Where is the joy of motherhood if I the dvoriks, postmen, chimney-sweeps, must give up my child whenever his in- and men who polished your floors, all fancy is over?'

called upon you, to receive their tea

6

money. I heard a very good story rela- fuges employed to get out of Russia. A tive to this habit of tipping. After the Scotch friend of mine, who had married Revolution, everyone was supposed to a Russian and thus become a Russian be on the same level — no distinction subject, got permission to leave with of class. The working class was de her three little children, by going before lighted with this equality. An officer the Soviet with her husband. There who frequently visited at the house of they asked to be divorced. A few quessome friends, had been in the habit of tions were asked them, one of which giving the house-porter a liberal tip was, if the mother wished the children. each time. On his first visit after the She answered ‘Yes,' and a paper was Revolution, the porter met him with the writtenout, for which they paid thesmall greeting, 'Well, comrade, how are you?' sum of ten rubles, according them the and shook him by the hand. The officer, divorce, and giving back to my friend returning the handshake, answered, her British nationality, so that she was *Thank you, comrade, I am well.' At able to leave the country with her the conclusion of the visit, when the three little ones in April, 1920. The husporter opened the door for the officer, band, of course, had to remain behind; the latter held out his hand and said, but it was easier for a man to get along ‘Good-bye. Of course, now we are com- alone, than if he had a wife and childrades, it is impossible for me to offer

ren to feed. you a tip.' The man was so taken aback In the early part of 1920, when I saw that his hand dropped to his side and different parties of British refugees finalhis jaw fell with astonishment. In this ly being permitted to leave Russia while case, he did not appreciate the equality. I was detained as a Russian subject be

In 1919 quite a number of British and cause of my marriage, I lost all hope of other subjects escaped without passes ever getting away. By this time my from the Bolsheviki, who had forbidden health was much impaired; my feet and anyone to leave Petrograd. Those who legs, and often my face, were badly escaped did so by the back door, as it swollen, and at times I felt so giddy was called in Russia, that is, illegal- that it was hard for me to get along. ly, through Finland. There was a secret Owing to physical weakness, I suppose, society which, for large sums of money, I became quite apathetic and did not

I arranged these escapes, taking the fugi- seem to care what became of me, altives across the ice. It was a hazardous though I realized that I could not live journey, and no one could undertake it through another such winter as the last, with children, as they had long distances since I had already parted with nearly to walk, and often had to crawl on their all my belongings and would have nothhands and knees, or lie flat in a bog, ing to supplement my earnings. Early while the Bolsheviki were throwing in April we were told that the Bolshesearchlights on the frontier. All fugi- viki were considering the advisability tives had to wear some covering of of allowing the British-born widows of white over their clothes, so as to be less Russian subjects to leave the country, liable to be seen on the white snow. I and a few days later a decree was met one lady in Finland who had thus . published according this permission. In escaped. Her experiences had been so five days we must leave with some other terrible that her eyeballs stuck out, refugees. Permits and passes had to be from the nervous strain she had under. obtained. No books or written matter gone.

of any kind could be taken with us, and Many and strange were the subter- I even had to get the Soviet stamp put

VOL. 128 - -VO, 6

a

on my Bible, and on some photographs had come out of Russia with me after that I wished to take with me.

much suffering and imprisonment. The I cannot tell you all the details of my tears were rolling down her cheeks. journey out of Russia, for it is a long She buried her face on my shoulder story. About two in the afternoon of and sobbed out in a transport of joy, April 13, we finally approached the 'O Jean, Jean, the tartan breeks, the point near the frontier where persons tartan breeks!' and luggage were to be examined. The There is little more to tell. From the examination was very thorough: all the frontier we were taken to Terioki on the women were undressed, their shoes and Gulf of Finland, where we were all stockings taken off, and even their hair examined by a doctor and detained in taken down. Even so, many managed quarantine for a month. At the end of to smuggle their diamonds through, and the month we were taken to Helsingfors, I was able to slip into my box an old the seaport of Finland, and there emglove containing a pair of large solitaire barked on the transport Dongola for diamond earrings belonging to a friend. Southampton. I was fortunate in being one of the last Just outside of London was a home to be examined, and so I was allowed to for Russian refugees. To this home we pass more easily.

were all taken, and here I remained for After the examination we were taken some weeks until I could inquire about by a train a little farther, to the frontier my Scottish relatives and friends. I line, which is determined by a swift and had not heard from them for years, and narrow running stream. It is utterly undoubtedly some of the letters they impossible to describe our feelings as wrote to me were among the thousands we stepped from the bridge on the other that were stacked in a huge pile in the side and stood once again on free soil. courtyard of the General Post Office in Many hearts were full of thankfulness Petrograd and eventually burned. A to God, who had delivered us from the small box contained all my earthly power and tyranny of the Bolsheviki. possessions, and, as I looked at it, I came It was difficult to realize the fact that more and more to realize the uncer. now they could no longer harm us, and tainty of riches and the need of setting we need have no more fears, or nights of our affections on things above. After terror when sleep forsook our eyes from several months I finally received my the dread of arrest. When we crossed naturalization papers and was again a the frontier, we were greeted by mem- British subject; and in January, 1921, I bers of the British Red Cross, who con- left England for America, to visit my gratulated us warmly on our escape. only brother in far-off Montana. With them were some British and Irish Here, amid the changing majesty of officers who had just been released from these mountains, my mind often turns prisons in Moscow. One of their num- back to dear Russia, and the tears fill ber, belonging to a Highland regiment, my eyes. I spent many years there in a wore tartan; and when I saw this bit of happy home; and the soil in which I transplanted Scotland, my eyes filled laid my loved ones to rest will ever be with tears and my weak knees grew sacred. Now the newspapers are bringweaker with emotion. I doubt if the ing tales of more suffering and more pipes of Lucknow created greater emo- famine in that unhappy country. May tion in any breast than did that plaid the good God save Russia, and guide in mine.

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 in order to meet the competition from About Coal?' in the September Atlan- another operator who is doing the same tic, Arthur E. Suffern has suggested a thing. He cannot mine clean,' because remedy through gradual extension of the cost of such mining will not permit government control over the waste in him to meet the competition of the pronatural resources and man-power which ducer who does not mine clean. present mining methods entail. It is to The result is to be found in England, be doubted whether many who are con- where to-day the pits have been worked versant with the industry will quarrel far back, and each year sees an added with his premise; there is every reason cost of production, making more diffito know that there are many who, hav- cult the competition that the British ing the best interest of the industry at producer has to meet. It is true that, if heart, will quarrel with his suggested present mining methods continue in this remedy. Nor is the quarrel prompted country unchecked, America will eventexclusively by selfish motives — past

pastually have to face the same problem. experience has convinced many of the There is no question as to the overinadequate costliness of the Govern- production of coal in the country, ment's attempt to control the industry. caused by an over-development of

It is a truism that the history of mines. That, too, is the result of the American development has been the basis of open competition that obtains. history of wasted natural resources. Good years in the industry call forth Man seldom thinks of conservation the opening of new mines, or the reuntil the approach of total consump

total consump- opening of old ones that have been idle tion of a natural resource prompts him during dull years. What control, other to do so. This is true of forests, agri- than through government ownership, cultural resources, and mines. It is can the Government exercise, which true of man-power and the potential will check the natural effort of one man possibilities of man-power, to such an to make money in a market where othextent, that it has been said that in its ers are making it? treatment of men America is to-day Admitting the evil, we believe there wasting her greatest natural resource. is a solution which, while at the further

Conservation is out of the question end of the social pole, will come nearer without the moral support of the public to being a solution than that proposed that consumes the product to be con- by Mr. Suffern. Let us first consider served. As long as an industry dealing some of the evils which might be exwith a natural resource is operated on a pected to accompany government concompetitive basis, so long must waste trol, and then state the suggestion. be the key-note of operation. One During the 'tight' coal market of the mine-operator is forced, for instance, to summer of 1920, various attempts at mine the cream of his potential output, control were made by the Government,

a

a

« ZurückWeiter »