Puslapio vaizdai

niev's pictures of his native Orel! It are alike subjective; the men even was all there. Broad-faced peasant- more so than the women. They apwomen in the fields; and booted men prehend things with great intellectustill, on backward estates, treading in al clearness; they feel deeply multicircles on the primitive threshing- sidedly. But they seem instinctively floors. Manor-houses, at long intervals: to evade the objective precipitation of some well kept-up, many neglected. knowing and feeling into a formula. It Formal gardens surrounding the manor- is like condensing a nebula. houses, lengthening off into a park, The usual Anglo-Saxon way of er. after the manner of Versailles. Back of pressing all this is to say that Russians the park, woods — the interminable are not conventional. It is certainly Russian woods, but here less sombre true that they do not react to objective and dense, lightened by clearings and interests in our own fashion. The populated by oak and birch.

director of a great artistic enterprise The woods were recklessly cut into which visited the United States a few by the landholders. At the approach of years ago met attempts to interest him winter, it was not difficult to realize in many of our representative activithat forests would have to be felled to ties with thinly veiled indifference and feed the porcelain stoves and ovens of ennui; but he sat, night after night, the big houses through the coming listening with unflagging and delighted months. There were warmth, and com- attention to the exotic improvisations fort, and a pleasant cheer inside, even of a negro restaurant-player, beating a in the central drawing-rooms, often of drum. magnificent proportions. But the real "That man is a great artist,' he Russia was outside. The feel of it was said. in the long flat vastness, absorbing the There was something more than the human beings who lived upon it; melt- professional absorption in one's speing them into itself; explaining all soci- cialty, in this selection of something to ological and religious fanaticisms. be enthusiastic about, where the whole

Mystic and communistic tendencies structure of the surrounding national are everywhere in Russia. It is, how- life obviously appeared so lacking in ever, a mistake to conceive of the com- interest. munism in the precise meaning that the Again and again an educated RusWestern nations give the word. With sian will respond in such fashion to an us, all theories tending toward the unexpected flash, an impression, an insocializing of wealth presuppose some tuition. Most often, too, the spark species of regulation. With Russians strikes out of a background of inertia. such matters never mean a plan, to be An all-around and sustained interest in thought out with the head, so much as things at large is not characteristic of they mean a vague

one might say him as it is of an American. organic - propulsion.

This applies to the communistic bent The typical Russian does not crave of Russians as well as to everything order, system, constructiveness. He else. While Paul T-was extreme has a natural dislike of these. Not an in his methods, he was certainly not active suspicion of them so much as a alone in his views. There have been passive disinclination for them. Know potential Tolstoys in the Russian noa Russian well, whether in his own bility, for decades. It is of common country or abroad, and you will find knowledge that the land owning class this to be true. The men and women paved the way for the Revolution.

It did not pave the way in exactly the tion. Since it is all life, one sometimes same manner that the philosophers, suspects that the Russian writer finds and the followers of Rousseau, paved it the one, in its way, as attractive as the for the French Revolution. Rousseau other. That is an Asiatic inclination; had theories. The desire for reforms and it makes naturally for incoherence among educated Russians has always and cloudiness. been, though they may scarcely have ‘Man is reducing himself to his minibeen conscious of the fact themselves, mum in order to make amplest room less a logical intellectual conviction for his organizations,' says Rabindrathan an état d'âme. Primarily the com- nath Tagore. That, indeed, is the keymunism of a Tolstoy, a Paul T, is note to the Western world; but not to not the development of a sense of the Russia. That country is not interested oneness of all men. It is rather the in institutions as institutions; and it development of a sense of the oneness, has no aptitude for building up instinot merely of humanity, but of Life tutions; because any sort of machinitself.

ery must perforce curb the course, and

trim the sail, of Life. Here again is Back of the Revolution there is a a suggestion of the mysticism of the movement in the universities: the con

East. structive element of which Miliukov is There was an intelligent, cultivated a type; and class-conscious forces that Russian woman who pleaded for hours have grown up in the workshops of the with her fourteen-year-old daughter to cities, in the last decades. But further promise solemnly that she would never back than these groups are the masses marry. The mother was earnest to the of the nation. And they, whether illit- point of vehemence. Her own marriage erate peasants, or bourgeois, or nobil- appeared to be happy enough; her obity, represent Russian character. Of jection to the possible marriage of the this character the greatest power, and daughter — idolized, as most Russian also the greatest weakness, is the un- children of that class are

was that she willingness to limit or restrain person would not be always and perfectly free ality for any end whatsoever. This un- to do as she pleased. The fear of rewillingness, in its turn, springs from straint was greater than the natural the deep, to Western nations incompre conservativeness of woman where sohensible, Russian sense of primordial cial ties are concerned. It is not at all Life.

infrequent with Russian women. But Of course this is the secret of the still more frequent, and not devoid of spell of their literature, their music, an element of the comic, is the species their theatre, their dance. The Western of terror which the men will show at nations have succumbed, practically the thought of feminine domination in without criticism, to the sincerity, the marriage.

, freshness, the spontaneity, of the Rus- 'I could never think of marrying,' sian as an artist. He is richer in this said old Prince G'for I knew field than we are; and we know it. He what my fate would be. Every Rusis more authentic. He dares so much, sian lives under his wife's slipper.' on that account, that we would not Barring an occasional outburst of dare. His novels reveal the stupidities terrible Asiatic temper on the part of and the meannesses of his nature and paterfamilias, - usually soon, and conours, along with the exalted beauties, tritely, repented of, - this is a fact. and all recorded with an equal devo- The Russian woman is always the stronger. She has a vitality and energy become rather disillusioning at times. which the men seem unable to cope Especially with Russians who do not with. The stories of Tschaikovsky's er- stand at the top of the ladder, there is ratic marriage and terrified flight, like an almost childish insistence on fate's the aversion, founded on something unkind discriminations. The course of very like fear, of Strindberg for women friendship with Russians of either sex (Strindberg being a type of Swede that may have some difficulties, some unershows many Russian proclivities, even pected misunderstandings, for anala as much Russian blood has percolated gous reasons. 'Very attractive for a into certain parts of Sweden), receive time, but one grows very tired of it all,' many explanatory commentaries, if one was the way in which one American has known something of the more inti- diplomat, several years in Petrograd, mate aspects of Russian existence.

summed it up.

That is one view. And there is a Overdeveloped individualism, and background for it, in the eyes of people defective coördination reach through who are of more temperate stock, and all the strata of national life. An abun- who, in the Anglo-Saxon manner, condance of delightful, picturesque, bril- sider the 'cheerful acceptance of the liant, and very lovable personalities commonplace,' which has been called but not an organized society.

the Englishman's distinctive contribuThe lack of order infects the house- tion to human ethics, the better way. holds, the domestic arrangements, And yet there is the other view. where there is frequently the greatest And it is epitomized for one in an unfor. comfort, and even opulence, mixed gettable picture of a strange funeral with the queerest makeshifts. One procession, wending its way along the thinks of MadameC, who had some roads of Central Russia toward a small beautiful unmounted pearls which she white church with green cupolas. As kept in a pill-box. She remains in the far as the eye could reach waved the memory as a symbol of one of the Asi- fields of yellow wheat, to a far-away atic strains that run through this land. horizon, level as the sea. A very young After all, the pearls were the important girl, scarcely more than a child, clad things, were they not?

in white, and with unbound hair, was If they were not so normally amiable being borne on an open white bier, by and easy-going, one suspects that the peasants. Followed parents and friends Russians would often be very impa- of the child, also in white, and more tient with our precise Western ways: peasants. Not an habitual funeral proour 'proper thing in the proper place'; cession. But the mother of the child, our paraphernalia generally. They are whose stony face stared straight ahead, more casual — without excluding a

had willed it so. From the big house, barbaric love of luxury, in certain con- built in the days of Nicholas I, after tingencies.

the model of the Grand Trianon, they Amiable they almost always are. had come; from the place where the And if they are not, it will usually be child had been born to her final restingfound that the deficiency is in some place, the mother to the last refusing way connected with what they feel to one concession to usage, keeping her be the imperious and legitimate de- eyes on the child's face up to the end. mands of their nature, clamoring for And in the countenances of those folexpression. It cannot be denied that so lowing peasants there was something much self-introspection and self-pity that understood.




pressing more vitality motionless than I

most women express in action. FARKHANDA was peeking out through 'I saw you passing,' she said. “I

' the outside curtain one morning as wanted to talk to you.' I passed, and she called me in. She That was nice of you,'I answered. ought not to have been peeking out, “Where you going?' but I forgot that fact. For when I saw "To school.' her there, suddenly a wave of memory "Oh, you have a school? Where is it?


? swept over me, and a flood of home Let me see your books.' sickness and love struck me all unpre- 'Can you read?' I asked, showing pared. One sees sometimes, in an her a Hindustani book of hygiene for Indian city, a face exactly like some girls. dear face at home. A man has collected She began at the first page. tickets for years at the Lucknow sta- 'I know my letters. What's that tion, who looks most pleasantly like a word? Teach me.' favorite aunt of mine. As Farkhanda "This is too hard,' I explained. “You salaamed to me that morning, a col- need a primer.' lege friendship came back sweet and Well, I'll get one.' She dispatched invigorating: the love of a girl adored


a servant to the bazaar for the book. by a whole campus-full of women; one 'Can you read English as well as Hinwho had danced and dived and bowled, dustani?' she asked. played golf and tennis and hockey, ‘Even better,' I answered, truthbetter than any of us. And about the fully. time we got our degrees, we learned, to 'I can't read anything but the our amazement, that during those mys- Koran,' she sighed. terious summers which none of us ever You're new here, are n't you?' shared with her, for the straightening “My father-in-law has just been of her crooked spine, she used to lie transferred to the treasury department bound in an iron cast in a New York office here. Let me see your hat.' hospital, and all her athletic strength I took off my heavy sun hat gladly, was the result of her long struggle and she examined it with care inside against disease. And when we under- and out, and tested the sharpness of stood why she loved moving, singing the hatpins. even breathing, her gameness became “What do you wash your hair with? to us almost religion.

Why don't you braid it? How do you And here was Farkhanda standing fasten it on? Why don't you put oil before me as Betsey used to stand, ex- in it? Where did you get your English

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shoes? Why do you wear stockings "Yes?' I said. such hot weather? Why do you wear

I knew from her face what she was such a lot of clothes?'

going to say, and she said it. She was investigating my under- 'I have no children.' skirt. She herself had on three white 'You're a child yourself,'I answered. garments — a piece of white lawn tied 'Don't be in such a hurry.'

' around her for a skirt, a long white 'I'm fifteen,' she answered soberly. kurta, which fell nearly to her knees, 'I've been married four years.' and a sheer veil, whose point hung to

Then, as I said good-bye to her goodthe floor behind her.

natured old mother-in-law, I felt that 'What sort of soap do you use? I had lacked courtesy in letting the girl What's your caste?

Where's your

absorb all my attention. Always afterfather? How many children have ward, however, when I left that house

I felt the same way. These preliminaries I had heard The next morning Farkhanda and many times before, but never had they her mother-in-law, in the stiffest and been asked in so thorough and compe- proudest of silks and the stiffest and tent a way, and never had I answered proudest of manners, waited for me at them with more relish. By the time the bougainvillea vine, their outer veils the primer came, I had sufficiently ac- scarcely undone. They looked around counted for my extraordinary self; so over the assembled women and babies she opened the book at the beginning, with a most aristocratic indifference, and went on spelling out page after which they maintained until I took page, until I stopped her.

them to the verandah off which the “That's a very long lesson for one compounding room opens. At the halfday,' I said. “We'll stop here.'

door, where a dozen women were wait‘Stop? Why?' she demanded. 'I ing for their prescriptions to be filled, want to read it all to-day.'

we paused to look inside. All around 'I must go. I insisted. 'I've got the room were rows of large labeled work to do.'

bottles, such as one sees in drug stores Work! You!' she exclaimed. 'Have at home, and drawers, and cupboards. n't you servants? What sort of work Two girls, in the blue cotton uniforms have you to do?'

of Indian nurses, wearing white caps 'I'm busy all day,' I answered em- instead of veils, were measuring and phatically, ‘at the hospital, or the mixing medicines. school, or at home.'

When Farkhanda saw the com‘But what do you do?' she ques- pounders, her face grew eager in spite tioned in surprise. “I never can think of herself. of anything to do.' She looked help- 'What's in those bottles? Who are lessly around the high walls of the these girls? Why are they dressed that courtyard. “There is nothing to do way? May they give any medicine

. here. You stay to dinner, and we'll they like? Why don't they taste it?' read the book through.'

Her mother-in-law accounted for the I left in a little while, explaining girls with one word, and that was the that I could not possibly spend every

oldest word of Moslem contempt for morning with her.

Christians. I explained that the doctor 'Never mind,' she said; 'I'll come saw each patient, wrote a 'letter' sayto the hospital to-morrow. I want to ing what each needed, and that the see the doctor.'

girls carried out her written orders.


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