Puslapio vaizdai

We are under the mountains making a crow. He shouts when he sees us, and bit north for the way through them that comes on; the beard on his face sticks Katkoff knows. Munkeshsk lies to east out like a brush, his eyes are bright as of us. This is the third day out.

the eyes of a bird, and his call is like the

call of a bird. Then we see by the last UP a long valley, always rising, then rags of uniform, hidden and peeping from rock to rock, hauling and lifting through other rags, and by something the light sledges and their loads. It indefinable, that he is a soldier. We would be nothing of a climb without shout and surround him. them; with them it is terrific. Granite “Where from?" rock and snow, higher up limestone and "Tannenberg." He shows us a scarred quartz; yet the mind passes over them arm. like a bird to beyond.

"But that was years ago.” "It is right," says Katkoff; "we have “Which?" to pay something for our freedom. Re- “Tannenberg." member what our brothers have paid, "I do not know." what they have been paying all those “We heard of the battle years ago. months while we were there doing Is the war still going on?” nothing."

“It still goes on.” Not only have we to carry our provi- "And the army, how is it?" sions, but the furs in which we sleep, “There is no army.” the old half-outworn furs we wear, and Then we know that he is mad. winter furs that would have been taken “Where are you going to?to Berizov in a month's time, and which Tomsk.” we have sewn together hurriedly to make Katkoff places his hand on his shoulbags, into which we get at night like the der; he pushes him away. Something Arctic men, only here it is not cold as black is dangling from his girdle; it is a there. The spring has come mild, and

dead crow. the frost does not do more than hold the The atmosphere has become pestifersnow from melting.

We let him pass. He goes on as But up here it is colder. Looking back, though we had never met. . we can see the plains of Asia, and we are “There goes the Russian Army," going easier now, for there is a true path, some one says and laughs. Chicherin though blocked at times by boulders. shades his eyes after the man.

Katkoff says it is the eighth pass of "The war has blown him here," says the Urals, that a few men who know the Chicherin. “What a war! Brothers, let hills use it, but mostly foxes and wolves. us remember this.”

Now the summit of Toll Poss shows He lasts us the whole day, that man clearly away to the south; we are on the and the picture of him, and we push on, top.

thinking and talking of him. He has A vast rock, which we climb in turn, come across western Russia and Great gives us a view of Europe. There is no Russia, through time. His figures should plain here to see, but forests and hills. be eternal, beside Napoleon. The wind has died away, and the silence Boom! boom! boom! The old drum lyis terrific. Great ravens

up ing on the snow seems beating again, the from the valleys below, rise, sink, and drummer a skeleton with a dead crow vanish.

tied to its middle; it summons up the Yes, we have gone more than an inch glories of the past. on our journey now. There is Russia, the first mighty versts of the land of We are over the Urals and among the everything but freedom yesterday, to- foot-hills, and seven men are dead, killed day the land of everything.

by the man from Tannenberg. He had Looking, I hear the others below cry- with him some disease and left it with us, ing out, “A man.” I come down.

burning fever, delirium, death. I alone, Here is the man. Coming along the with Katkoff, escaped whole. path between two rocks, muffled and We are in a land of trees, a land of carrying a pack. A man! It is a scare- hills; we are close to the Urals, but can



not see them. How different this side What is the matter with Katkoff? It from the other!

seems that during my illness he went to The stricken ones have all recovered Koshva for drugs, but could not get except the dead, but are wrecks, and our them. Since then he has been gloomy. going is slow.

Birch-woods, fir-woods, all preparing WEST, always west. On leaving the for the change of spring, and a little post, we each took a second pair of boots tree we passed to-day covered with a from the store. It was as well. mist of green. It looked confused, find- When they deserted me, they left my ing itself there, confessing its faith in second pair with the provisions. It was God before the others.

as well. I shall soon want them. What The trees believe in His goodness, else has become of our companions, those they would not put out their leaves. others? Who knows? Were the trees to turn atheists, there It has rained, and the rain has passed, would be no spring.

leaving behind it sunshine and a thouSpring is coming to the world of things sand perfumes; the very earth smells as well as to the world of men, and I fancy sweet. All things are new. as I go all these woods refusing to believe Passing through a wood, in a path we and trust and love, all but that little see a man. He is a long way off, and as tree. It is a weird thought.

he comes toward us, Katkoff says: We are across the Petchora River, and “There is a man at last. For two days ten versts to the north lies Koshva. I we have met no one." am in a herdsman's house alone with He is a priest, but in rags. him and Katkoff, who is nursing me. He has lost an eye, and his face is The rest have gone on, leaving us, but scarred as if by brambles. leaving with us food.

We ask him what news, and he I thought I had escaped, but the answers: burning fever has taken me. Every man “The Revolution still goes on.” left me to my fate, but the Dog was "Against whom?" faithful.

God." The man from Tannenberg is standing He is mad, and he leaves us, waving at the door, holding up the dead crow his arms and singing, and the trees take and inviting me to go with him. I rise him, and we go on. and follow; we walk together like ghosts through the woods, ever making east. THE Timan Mountains lie far behind I burn like fire. He tells me that all us, and before us now a great plain. Russia is burning, but that it will be The gods of distance walk with us, touchcooler on the Urals. I ask him where he ing all things with their wands and makis leading me, and he answers, “Tomsk.” ing them great. Katkoff flings himself on

I ask him, “What of the army?” his face upon the ground before the plain He answers, “It is gone."

as before an idol. I ask him, “What of the war?" and he "I cannot go on.” answers, “It still goes on.”

I sit beside him, and a great bird wheels Now we are on the Urals, on a peak over our heads and cries. The desolahigher than Toll Poss, and the plains of tion surrounds us. Then we go on. For Asia lie before us under the sapphire sky an hour I walk with the Urals before me, of spring. Then he goes on and leaves beckoning me to freedom. They vanish, me and, as I watch him going, a voice and there is only the plain; the sun is cries, “There goes the Russian Army,” sinking before us, and its light is on our and I am lying on the straw again, with faces. Katkoff putting food to my mouth.

Katkoff, who has been strange for When we go on it is through lands many days, says to me: green with spring. Since leaving the "Have you thought that we are walkpost I have passed through space and ing toward the sunset, not the dawn?'' time, from Asia to Europe, from winter's I sit beside him as the stars come out, end to full spring, great distances. I am and the gods of distance sit beside us. like the man from Tannenberg.

I say:

"It is a long journey to meet our O Russia, what a wilderness! So brothers," and Katkoff replies:

great that your heart is above the heart "It is as though we were walking to- of man, and I am a stranger in the land ward the stars.” He points to the stars that is my home. You cast me coldly on the horizon, which we can see, but into exile, and as coldly you receive me. never reach.

It is the fault of your size, and the space I say that, and he replies:

that lies between man and man; only in "I will reach them."

the cities is there warmth. We sleep, lying on the ground, and when the dawn awakens me, I turn to THE Dvina lies before me so broad Katkoff. He is still sleeping. I try to that I can never cross. But the Dog is rouse him; he will not move. He is dead. still with me. A boat is coming down

He has reached the stars. I try to dig the stream, and in it a girl. It passes so him a grave with my hands, but the close that she sees my face and hears my ground is hard, and I can do nothing. voice, crying for help. Then I sit beside him, and the wind I am in the boat, and she is telling me blows the dust around us. I talk to him. that her father has been killed, that Far better to lie out under the sky of every one has been killed she loved. I God than to lie in the dark beneath the ask, “By whom?” She does not know. ground.

I have come so far that thought lies Then I go on, taking what food there behind me, tattered and mangled, a bit is left. I have no compass, but the Dog on the Urals, a bit here and there, like is leading me.

He walks beside me, the rags of a man who has passed through though I cannot see him.

brambles. I drift with the boat. A thousand willow-trees are waving She is so young that she knows nothin the wind before me, silver gray in the ing, only fear. Her hands are and wind and bordering the Washka River. her face good to look upon but for that

Every tree speaks a tongue of its own, in her eyes; and the whole day passes, and the silver-gray willows tell to me and the night, while we steer the boat so what has to be whispered. Out from that she may not drift on the banks. among them comes a girl as joyous as Then we leave her, for we have no spring herself; before her rises a gate, more bread. and behind her lies a garden. She stands at the gate; she is waiting for me, and as A MISTY night with the stars scarcely I approach, she fades away, leaving only showing, and a railway track before us. the willow-trees. She died years before We walk along it hand in hand. I knew Sonia. That is youth. She re- From far away the words of Katkoff turns a sadness and a ghost. That is come to me, “The railway from Archlove. The Washka, flowing to the white angel to Moscow.” The Dog is still sea, murmurs her name as I sit by the faithful, though his body lies there on bank, and then the willows speak to the the plain. We reach a siding where wind with the voice of those pine-trees there are trucks, open trucks. I have a beyond the Urals. “Surely they are loaf of bread, and we have drunk from mad!"

a stream. I help her into one of the Love has called up other loved ones, trucks, and hand her the bread, then I and I see the faithful Katkoff kneeling follow, and we lie on the floor of the on the snow, drawing his map, so many empty truck, close together for warmth, versts to "there." I see Chicherin and with the misty stars above us. the rest. How has it fared with them? I tell her that when men come in the Have they, too, reached the stars, or are morning all will be right and that we they wandering like me in a land where shall be taken to Moscow. She makes no the people are dumb?

reply, but shivers. For the few peasants I meet are dumb, I listen, and in the night I hear nothwith scarcely a word for a wanderer like ing but the wind, like the wind on the me. I would starve but for the Dog, plain where Katkoff lies. Then I hear who still leads me, always to somewhere the wind speak as it spoke in the firwhere I can get bread.

trees beyond the Urals, only the words

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are different, one word is different: am taken away by two men, still bound; “Surely you are mad.”

but I say no word, nor ask where they I shiver till the girl who has dropped are taking me. asleep awakes.

I am in a cell surrounded with mad“I am mad.”

men. We are huddled together; the air To hide it from her, I stop shivering, I cannot breathe. One oil-lamp lights it clenching my fingers and toes.

so dimly that I cannot see. I hear men I reason with myself. I have seen real sighing and whispering together, and things and things unreal, the man of the then I hear a voice I know suddenly Urals, the priest, Katkoff lying on the raised. It is the voice of Chicherin. plain, my journey in the boat. These Forgetting my fear of speech, forgetI feel to be unreal; and then the Dvina. ting my madness, forgetting all things, How did I reach the Dvina? I have no I say: recollection of my journey there from "Chicherin, is that your voice?" the Washka. And the story of the girl He answers: about her murdered father-unreal. "What! Sacha! Surely that is your Then I forget.

voice." I am awakened from sleep by a blow. Then I know Chicherin is here, and A train has attached itself to the trucks, the remembrance of my madness comes and as I wake, the words that followed to me as a shock. Is he, too, mad? me into sleep repeat themselves:

He has reached me and is embracing "I am mad.”

me. I rise and stand up by the sleeping “What of Katkoff?” he cries. girl, who has not been roused, and the Then a light brighter than stars breaks railway men, seeing me, come running before me at the name of the Dog, and I to the truck and ask me what I am doing cry: there, and I explain.

"Chicherin, what is this place?" I tell them of my journey, speaking "A prison." slowly, and leaving out all those things “A prison!” that are unreal. They find the girl, and, “The Boobarkie prison; but what of waking her, examine her hands. Then Katkoff?" they question me, but I will say nothing, “He is dead. But, oh, answer me, am only repeating that I am an old revolu- I mad? Are you, too, mad?” tionary with friends in Moscow, where "No, there is only one madman here, I wish to go.

and he is dumb; but they who have They will not listen to me. They ask prisoned us are surely mad." again about the girl, and why I am hid- “Chicherin, answer me; did we meet ing with her. Then they bind my hands, a man on the Urals?and fling me into the darkness of a van "From Tannenberg?" half filled with sacks, and I hear the “Oh, God, I thank Thee! I am sane. screaming of the girl; but I know that to But the girl—then her cries were real." be unreal.

“What girl?” I am mad, and they have discovered "I do not know; and the priest, the it. I must not speak again, nor do I wish priest was real.” to; I desire only sleep. I who have "What priest?" walked from the Urals and beyond de- "One I met, torn and with one eye, sire only sleep, sleep, sleep.

who was mad, and who cried out that They wake me sometimes and give me the Revolution warred against God." a handful of bread, and I eat it; some "He was sane." water and I drink it; and then I sleep and Then from all quarters of the cell dream.

come murmurs:

“He was sane, he was sane," and I see I WALK again that journey that never again the priest, and he vanishes, and I ends, and I meet again the forms and see again the girl. phantoms I have met. Days and nights and years seem to pass, and then I am in As I stand in silence Chicherin speaks. the station at Moscow. It is night, and I "Do you, then, not believe us? Friends, make answer to this man. odors of the lamp and the cess-pit comes What is God?

the memory of the wind across the Obi, Then comes a voice from a corner of there where men laughed and their souls the cell:

were free. "He is mercy"; and another, "He is I ask of Chicherin: love"; and another, "He is compassion"; "But what man has done these and an old man's voice speaks and says, things?" And the voices of twenty men "He is a little child"; and another, "He answer with a shout: is all things innocent." And the voice "He is nameless." of Chicherin:

“But numbered," comes a voice more "He was the army that is dead, and terrible than any voice that has spoken whose corpse, moving with the life that yet. It comes from the floor, from a is in maggots, has crossed the Urals to bundle, that was once a man, lying poison the East." And again, "He was against the wall. myself in exile; He is now myself in pris- A man beside me whispers: on. Friend, forgive me that I left you "The madman has spoken," and on your bed of straw and sickness; un- Chicherin answers, “Who knows?" and known to myself, I was hurrying to find the voice goes on: “And he causeth all, Him. Seeking freedom and ease and the both small and great, rich and poor, free love of women, I found the love of God and bond, to receive a mark in their right here among His martyrs.”

hand or in their foreheads. And that "But who are these you call the no man might buy or sell save he that martyrs?" I ask him, and he replies: had the mark or the name of the beast or

“Criminals. Speak, brothers, and tell the number of his name. this man of your crimes.”

"Here is wisdom: let him that hath Then comes a voice:

understanding count the number of the "My name is Boris Nesvitsky, my beast, for it is the number of a man; and crime was faith. I was an officer, and his number is six hundred three score fought for the God of Russia and our and six. allies. He was betrayed. I rebelled. I “And the beast was taken, and with am here."

him the false prophet that wrought mirAnd another:

acles before him, with which he deceived “My crime was hope. I was a Revolu- them that had received the mark of tionary in the cause of freedom. I re- the beast, and them that worshiped his belled against oppression. I am here.” image. These both were cast alive into And another:

a lake of fire burning with brimstone." “My name is Ivan Gerkow. I am Many days pass, and scarcely living, little and old; if you saw me in the day. I am taken from the cell. I stand in a light, you would laugh. My crime was room before a man who sits at a table, a charity. I gave shelter to the oppressed. man bald, wrinkled, laughing at times, I am here."

who questions me. And a voice:

“Where have you come from?"I was held to watch my son sawn I answer: asunder by demons. My name is grief." "I have clothes that are rags, and a And another:

pocket that is empty; I have neither "I have forgotten."

faith nor hope, nor heart to hold charity,

nor am I innocent, nor a little child. I LISTEN for more, and hear only the They tell me I am free." sighs of the unfortunate; through the Free!

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