Liberty Vol. II. No. 20.
Not the Daughter but the Mother of Order
“For always in thine eyes, O Liberty!
Shines that high light whereby the world is saved;
And though thou slay us, we will trust in thee.”
On Picket Duty.
The delay in the appearance of this issue was unavoidable, the death of my father having suddenly called me from the city for a week. By the same cause the publication in pamphlet of “An Anarchist on Anarchy” is also delayed for a few days.
Lawyers are perpetually boasting that the law is the very acme of human wisdom, the ultimate achievement of pure reason. They know better. The law is the embodiment of all the unreason of which the mind of man is capable. A veteran Queen’s counsel said the other day of the verdict against Bradlaugh: “It is illogical, but is legal.” He should have said: “It is legal because it is illogical.”
A pretty specimen of a political campaign the country has before it! One party nominates for president its strongest man, who is a rascal; the other nominates nearly its weakest, who is a nonentity; and between this knave and this nobody the workers of the country expect and are expected to choose the way of their salvation from the prevailing economic chaos. How long must such things be?
The Cooperative Publishing Company, of Princeton, Mass., has published, in a pamphlet of nearly fifty pages, a report of E. H. Heywood’s defence made in April, 1883, in the United States Court in Boston, against Anthony Comstock’s prosecution of him for mailing “Cupid’s Yokes” and other alleged obscene literature. Judge Nelson’s charge to the jury is printed with it. The interest attaching to both of these documents will grow as the years go on. The price of the pamphlet is twenty-five cents.
If there is anything in which Christian England finds supreme satisfaction and cause for self-congratulation, it is in spreading the light of the blessed gospel among the benighted heathen. I am forcibly reminded of this by the statement of a traveller in India that the shops in Benares are full of little cast-iron gods, which were made in Birmingham for the Indian market. Birmingham also manufactures other resources of civilization, such as guns, swords, and bayonets, but I think the cast-iron deities the noblest work of Christian England in these days.
“The study of the faces of an American crowd on a holiday,” says the Boston “Advertiser,” “is anything but enlivening. It will be a positive gain for our civilization when this hard work-day aspect of it shall give place to a cheery geniality, and the faces of the people will afford the best index of such a beneficial change.” Why not help bring about the beneficial change and make the much-desired “cheery geniality” possible? You never will banish the hard work-day aspect or make any gain for civilization whatsoever by playing a part in the game of political trickery.
I regret to announce the death of the “San Franciscan.” The paper was started by Joseph Goodman and Arthur McEwen in the belief that a community which has protested against railroad robbery and land monopoly more loudly than any other would gladly support an absolutely independent journal in the battle for liberty. It cost them $8,000 to discover that the merchants and business men of San Francisco are cowards, who deserve no sympathy in their slavery to Messrs. Huntington, Crocker, and Stanford. The “San Franciscan” did good work while it lived, thanks to the ability, sincerity, and radicalism of Mr. McEwen. It would have lived longer, perhaps, had the publishers ignored miscellaneous literature and printed a smaller paper devoted exclusively to the discussion of social problems and to literature of a radical tendency. I think the fate of the “San Franciscan” indicates that the days of eclectic journalism are disappearing, and that special journalism is coming to the front here as in France. The people do not demand any longer that the pills of opinion shall be sugar-coated.
In attempted rebuke of Ingersoll’s disposition to make sport of the Bible, Henry Ward Beecher recently said: “I would like to see the man who would bring down the cradle in which his children had been rocked and split it up for firewood and laugh to see it burn. What sort of a man would he be? When the child is gone and in some moment the mother finds in the drawer a little shoe that the child wore, she is bathed in tears, though the child has been dead for years and years; natural affection leads us to repeat the children’s little broken language. The prattle becomes dear to us, and the little garments that would be absurd to put upon the grown man’s back we hang up and look at as our children’s heritage, as belonging to them.” But this absurdity, Mr. Beecher, is just what the Christians are guilty of. Suppose the mother in question, instead of hanging up the garments of her child to cherish as mementos, should don them and parade the streets therein. Would she not cut a most ludicrous figure? And if her sanity were not questioned, would she not be rightly ridiculed? Yet you, Mr. Beecher, and your fellow-Christians, don the outgrown garments of a barbarian theology and persist in walking the streets at noonday; and then weep because infidels, clad in more modern garb, are forced to hold their sides with laughter. Put away your Bibles, read them in your closets as the childish prattle of your ancestors, and no smile of ours shall disturb your tender recollections.
General Butler, with his usual disregard for consistency and carelessness of human rights, introduced a resolution in the Democratic national convention at Chicago, favoring the establishment of labor tribunals for the settlement of disputes between capital and labor, with power to enforce their decrees. If such tribunals were established, what would be the result? Simply this: government would fix the wages of labor and the prices of its products. Thus we should have communism in a most objectionable form. Could anything be more arbitrary, meddlesome, and unscientific? True, it may be said that government has already invested a few persons with privileges which enable them to control wages and prices. I not only admit this,— I assert it; and I publish Liberty in order to assert and reassert it as the most grievous wrong under which the people suffer. But between this and General Butler’s plan I can see little or nothing for anybody but thieves to choose. It makes little difference who fixes wages and prices; the evil is that they are fixed at all outside and in violation of free contract made and voluntary choice exercised in a perfectly free market. By a free market I mean one in which there is no privilege or monopoly of any kind, and especially no monopoly of the issuance of currency. In such a market wages and prices will be fixed, not by human will or caprice, but by the natural laws of commerce and in accordance with the principle of equivalence in exchange, thus rendering General Butler’s labor tribunals as destitute then of excuse in fact as they are now of foundation in right.
Liberty prints in this issue a great poem,— such a poem as is not written oftener than once in a decade. It is long, and occupies a great deal of valuable space, but it is well worth every line of it. I am obliged in consequence to print a much smaller instalment than usual of Tchernychewsky’s story, in which nearly all of Liberty’s readers are so highly interested. For this, however, amends will be made in succeeding issues. The poem in question appeared in England last year, and by its extraordinary merit won high praise even from such organs of the policy it assails as the “Pall Mall Gazette.” It is the work of Wilfrid Scawen Blunt, a wealthy young Englishman, as I understand, who formed a great love for the Arabian horse and whose studies of that animal led him to spend much of his time in Egypt, where his interest gradually extended from Arabian horses to Arabian men, principally through his acquaintance with and admiration of their now exiled leader, Arabi Pasha. Finding the latter to be one of the heroes of the earth; unselfishly bent on securing the rights and promoting the welfare of his follows, he became interested in his projects of reform, and was naturally highly indignant at their destruction by the English invasion of Egypt, which he did all he could to prevent. Facing in this, his influence, nevertheless, saved Arabi from execution and procured his exile instead to Colombo, where now he pays long visits to the Egyptian reformer. It was some time after the Egyptian defeat that he wrote this terrible poetical philippic, “The Wind and the Whirlwind,” against the treacherous and cruel course of his native country towards her colonies. In it Gladstone is mercilessly pilloried for his betrayal of the cause which he had pretended to champion; the awakening of Egypt to the dawn of liberty and justice is glowingly pictured; the principles and purposes of Arabi are told in inspiring numbers, the fiery eloquence of which is seldom surpassed or equalled; the Khedive’s baseness and corruption, and the treachery of England in using him as a tool for the oppression of his people and the filling of her purse, are denounced in figures that burn and metaphors that blister; the horrible bombardment of Alexandria and subsequent massacre of weak and defenceless Egyptians are branded as they deserve, and as only a poet can brand; the hypocrisy of the British Premier is likened to that of Pilate in one telling touch of art; England’s career of crime is summed up in a terrific indictment, and a sentence passed upon her than which I have never seen in human language one more fearful or inexorable; and finally the poet becomes prophet as well as judge, and points courageously, confidently, and enthusiastically to the Orient as “the future of the world’s sublime.” And here I turn prophet also long enough to predict that this poem will be remembered in our literature for many centuries to come. It is with great joy that I place it before my readers. Soon I shall have it ready in pamphlet form and parchment covers, in the highest style of the printer’s art and at a very low price.
The Wind and the Whirlwind. By Wilfrid Scawen Blunt.
I have a thing to say. But how to say it?
I have a cause to plead. But to what ears?
How shall I move a world by lamentation —
A world which heeded not a Nation’s tears?
How shall I speak of justice to the aggressors,—
Of right to Kings whose rights include all wrong,—
Of truth to Statecraft, true but in deceiving,—
Of peace to Prelates, pity to the Strong?
Where shall I find a hearing? In high places?
The voice of havoc drowns the voice of good.
On the throne’s steps? The elders of the nation
Rise in their ranks and call aloud for blood.
Where? In the street? Alas for the world’s reason!
Not Peers not Priests alone this deed have done.
The clothes of those high Hebrews stoning Stephen
Were held by all of us,— ay every one.
Yet none the less I speak. Nay, here by Heaven
This task at least a poet best may do,—
To stand alone against the mighty many,
To force a hearing for the weak and few.
Unthanked, unhonored,— yet a task of glory,—
Not in his day, but in an age more wise,
When those poor Chancellors have found their portion
And lie forgotten in their dust of lies.
And who shall say that this year’s cause of freedom
Lost on the Nile has not as worthy proved
Of poet’s hymning as the cause which Milton
Sang in his blindness or which Dante loved?
The fall of Guelph beneath the spears of Valois,
Freedom betrayed, the Ghibelline restored,
— Have we not seen it, we who caused this anguish,
Exile and fear, proscription and the sword?
Or shall God less avenge in their wild valley,
Where they lie slaughtered, those poor sheep whose fold
In the grey twilight of our wrath we carried
To serve the worshippers of stocks and gold?
This fails. That finds its hour. This lights. That falters.
Greece is stamped out beneath a Wolseley’s heels.
Or Egypt is avenged of her long mourning,
And hurls her Persians back to their own keels.
’Tis not alone the victor who is noble.
’Tis not alone the wise man who is wise.
There is a voice of sorrow in all shouting,
And shame pursues not only him who flies.
To fight and conquer — ’tis the boast of heroes.
To fight and fly — of this men do not speak.
Yet shall there come a day when men shall tremble
Rather than do misdeeds upon the weak,—
— A day when statesmen baffled in their daring
Shall rather fear to wield the sword in vain
Than to give back their charge to a hurt nation,
And own their frailties, and resign their reign,—
— A day of wrath when all fame shall remember
Of this year’s work shall be the fall of one
Who, standing foremost in her paths of virtue,
Bent a fool’s knee at War’s red altar stone,
And left all virtue beggared in his falling,
A sign to England of new griefs to come,
Her priest of peace who sold his creed tor glory
And marched to carnage at the tuck of dram.
Therefore I fear not. Rather let this record
Stand of the past, ere God’s revenge shall chase
From place to punishment His sad vicegerents
Of power on Earth. — I fling it in their face.
I have a thing to say. But how to say it?
Out of the East a twilight had been born.
It was not day. Yet the long night was waning,
And the spent nations watched it less forlorn.
Out of the silence of the joyless ages
A voice had spoken, such as the first bird
Speaks to the woods, before the morning wakens,—
And the World starting to its feet had heard.
Men hailed it as a prophecy. Its utterance
Was in that tongue divine the Orient knew.
It spoke of hope. Men hailed it as a brother’s.
It spoke of happiness. Men deemed it true.
There in the land of Death, where toil is cradled,
That tearful Nile, unknown to Liberty,
It spoke in passionate tones of human freedom,
And of those rights of Man which cannot die,—
— Till from the cavern of long fear, whose portals
Had backward rolled, and hardly yet aloud,
Men prisoned stole like ghosts and joined the chorus,
And chanted trembling, each man in his shroud.
Justice and peace, the brotherhood of nations,—
Love and goodwill of all mankind to man,—
These were the words they caught and echoed strangely,
Deeming them portions of some Godlike plan,—
A plan thus first to their own land imparted.
They did not know the irony of Fate,
The mockery of man’s freedom, and the laughter
Which greets a brother’s love from those that hate.
Oh for the beauty of hope’s dreams! The childhood
Of that old land, long impotent in pain,
Cast off its slough of sorrow with its silence,
And laughed and shouted and grew new again.
And in the streets, where still the shade of Pharaoh
Stalked in his sons, the Mamelukian horde,
Youth greeted youth with words of exultation
And shook his chains and clutched as for a sword.
Student and merchant,— Jew, and Copt, and Moslem,—
All whose scarred backs had bent to the same rod,—
Fired with one mighty thought, their feuds forgotten,
Stood hand in hand and praising the same God.
I have a thing to say. But how to say it?
As in the days of Moses in the land,
God sent a man of prayer before his people
To speak to Pharaoh, and to loose his hand.
Injustice, that hard step-mother of heroes,
Had taught him justice. Him the sight of pain
Moved into anger, and the voice of weeping
Made his eyes weep as for a comrade slain.
A soldier in the hands of his proud masters
It was his lot to serve. But of his soul
None owned allegiance save the Lord of Armies.
No worship from his God’s might him cajole.
Strict was his service. In the law of Heaven
He comfort took and patience under wrong.
And all men loved him for his heart unquailing,
And for the words of pity on his tongue.
Knowledge had come to him in the night-watches,
And strength with fasting, eloquence with prayer.
He stood a judge from God before the strangers,
The one just man among his people there.
Strongly he spoke: ‘Now, Heaven be our witness!
‘Egypt this day has risen from her sleep.
‘She has put off her mourning and her silence.
‘It was no law of God that she should weep.
‘It was no law of God nor of the Nations
‘That in this land, alone of the fair Earth,
‘The hand that, sowed should reap not of its labor,
‘The heart that grieved should profit not of mirth.
‘How have we suffered at the hands of strangers,
‘Binding their sheaves, and harvesting their wrath!
‘Our service has been bitter, and our wages
‘Hunger and pain and nakedness and drouth.
‘Which of them pitied us? Of all our princes,
‘Was there one Sultan listened to our cry?
‘Their palaces we built, their tombs, their temples.
‘What did they build but tombs for Liberty?
‘To live in ignorance, to die by service;
‘To pay our tribute and our stripes receive:
‘This was the ransom of our toil in Eden,
‘This, and our one sad liberty — to grieve.
We have had enough of strangers and of princes
‘Nursed on our knees and lords within our house.
‘The bread which they have eaten was our children’s,
‘For them the feasting and the shame for us.
‘The shadows of their palaces, fair dwellings
‘Built with our blood and kneaded with our tears,
‘Darkens the land with darkness of Gehennem,
‘The lust, the crime, the infamy of years.
‘Did you not hear it? From those muffled windows
‘A sound of women rises and of mirth.
‘These are our daughters — ay our sons — in prison,
‘Captives to shame with those who rule the Earth.
‘The silent river by those gardens lapping
‘To night receives its burden of new dead,
‘A man of age sent home with his lord’s wages,
‘Stones to his feet, a grave-cloth to his head.
‘Walls infamous in beauty, gardens fragrant
‘With rose and citron and the scent of blood.
‘God shall blot out the memory of all laughter,
‘Rather than leave you standing where you stood.
‘We have had enough of princes and of strangers,
‘Slaves that were Sultans, eunuchs that were kings,
‘The shame of Sodom is on all their faces.
‘The curse of Cain pursues them, and it clings.
‘Is there no virtue? See the pale Greek smiling.
‘Virtue for him is as a tale of old.
‘Which be his gods? The cent per cent in silver.
‘His God of gods? The world’s creator, Gold
‘The Turk that plunders and the Frank that panders,
‘These are our lords who ply with lust and fraud.
‘The brothel and the winepress and the dancers
‘Are gifts unneeded in the lands of God.
‘We need them not. We heed them not. Our faces
‘Are turned to a new Kebla, a new truth,
‘Proclaimed by the one God of all the nations
‘To save His people and renew their youth.
‘A truth which is of knowledge and of reason;
‘Which teaches men to mourn no more, and live;
‘Which tells them of things good as well as evil,
‘And gives what Liberty alone can give.
‘The counsel to be strong, the will to conquer,
‘The love of all things just and kind and wise,
‘Freedom for slaves, fair rights for all as brothers,
‘The triumph of things true, the scorn ox lies.
‘O men, who are my brethren, my soul’s kindred!
‘That which our fathers dreamed of as a dream,
‘The sun of peace and justice, has arisen
‘And God shall work in you Eds perfect scheme.
‘The rulers of your Earth shall cease deceiving,
‘The men of usury shall fly your land.
‘Your princes shall be numbered with your servants,
‘And peace shall guide the sword in your right hand.
‘You shall become a nation with the nations.
‘Lift up your voices, for the night is past.
‘Stretch forth your hands. The hands of the free peoples
‘Have beckoned you, the youngest and the last.
‘And in the brotherhood of Man reposing,
‘Joined to their hopes and nursed in their new day,
‘The anguish of the years shall be forgotten
‘And God, with these, shall wipe your tears away.’
I have a thing to say. But how to say it?
How shall I tell the mystery of guile —
The fraud that fought — the treason that disbanded —
The gold that slew the children of the Nile?
The ways of violence are hard to reckon,
And men of right grow feeble in their will,
And Virtue of her sons has been forsaken,
And men of peace have turned aside to kill.
How shall I speak of them, the priests of Baal,
The men who sowed the wind for their ill ends?
The reapers of the whirlwind in that harvest
Were all my countrymen, were some my friends
Friends, countrymen and lovers of fair freedom —
Souls to whom still my soul laments and cries.
I would not tell the shame of your false dealings,
Save for the blood which clamors to the skies.
A curse on Statecraft, not on you, my Country!
The men you slow wore not more foully slain
Than was your honor at their hands you trusted.
They died, you Conquered,— both alike in vain.
Crimes find accomplices, and Murder weapons.
The ways of Statesmen are an easy road.
All swords are theirs, the noblest with the neediest.
And those who serve them best are men of good.
What need to blush, to trifle with dissembling?
A sword of honest tongues anon shall swear.
Blood flows. The Senate’s self shall spread its mantle
In the world’s face, nor own a Caesar there.
‘Silence! Who spoke? ’ ‘The voice of one disclosing
‘A truth untimely.’ ‘With what right to speak?
‘Holds he the Queen’s commission?’ ‘No, God’s only.’
A hundred hands shall smite him on the cheek.
The ‘truth’ of Statesmen is the thing they publish,
Their ‘falsehood’ the thing done they do not say,
Their ‘honor’ what they win from the world’s trouble,
Their ‘shame’ the ‘ay’ which reasons with their ‘nay.’
Alas for Liberty, alas for Egypt!
What chance was yours in this ignoble strife?
Scorned and betrayed, dishonored and rejected,
What was there left you but lo fight for life?
The men of honor sold you to dishonor.
The men of truth betrayed you with a kiss.
Your strategy of love too soon outplotted,
What was there left you of your dreams but this?
You thought to win a world by your fair dealing,
To conquer freedom with no drop of blood.
This was your crime. The world knows no such reasoning.
It neither bore with you nor understood.
Your Pharaoh with his chariots and his dancers,
Him they could understand as of their kin.
He spoke in their own tongue and as their servant,
And owned no virtue they could call a sin.
They took him for his pleasure and their purpose.
They fashioned him as clay to their own pride.
His name they made a cudgel to your hurting,
His treachery a spear-point to your side.
They knew him, and they scorned him and upheld him.
They strengthened him with honors and with ships.
They used him as a shadow for seditions.
They stabbed you with the lying of his lips.
Sad Egypt! Since that night of misadventure
Which slew your first-born for your Pharaoh’s crime,
No plague like this has God decreed against you,
No punishment of all foredoomed in Time.
I have a thing to say. Oh how to say it!
One summer morning, at the hour of prayer,
And in the face of Man and Man’s high Maker,
The thunder of their cannon rent the air.
The flames of death were on you, and destruction.
A hail of iron on your heads they poured.
You fought, you fell, you died until the sunset;
And then you fled forsaken of the Lord.
I care not if you fled. What men call courage
Is the least noble thing of which they boast.
Their victors always are great men of valor.
Find me die valor of the beaten host!
It may be you were cowards. Let them prove it,—
What matter? Were you women in the fight,
Your courage were the greater that a moment
You steeled your weakness in the cause of right.
Oh I would rather fly with the first craven
Who flung his arms away in your good cause,
Than head the hottest charge by England vaunted
In all the record of her unjust wars.
Poor sheep! they scattered you. Poor slaves I they bowed you.
You prayed for your dear lives with your mute hands.
They answered you with laughter and with shouting,
And slew you in your thousands on the sands.
They led you with arms bound to your betrayer —
His slaves, they said, recaptured for his will.
They bade him to take heart and fill his vengeance.
They gave him his lost sword that he might kill.
They filled for him his dungeons with your children.
They chartered him new gaolers from strange shores.
The Arnaout and the Cherkess for his minions,
Their soldiers for the sentries at his doors.
He plied you with the whip, the rope, the thumb-screw.
They plied you with the scourging of vain words.
He sent his slaves, his eunuchs, to insult you.
They sent you laughter on the lips of Lords.
They bound you to the pillar of their firmans.
They placed for sceptre in your hand a pen.
They cast lots for the garments of your treaties,
And brought you naked to the gaze of men.
They called on your High Priest for your death mandate.
They framed indictments on you from your laws.
For him men loved they offered a Barabbas.
They washed their hands and found you without cause.
They scoffed at you and pointed in derision,
Crowned with their thorns and nailed upon their tree.
And at your head their Pilate wrote the inscription —
‘This is the land restored to Liberty.’
Oh insolence of strength! Oh boast of wisdom!
Oh poverty in all things truly wise!
Thinkest thou, England, God can be outwitted
For ever thus by him who sells and buys?
Thou sellest the sad nations to their ruin.
What hast thou bought? The child within the womb.
The son of him thou slayest to thy hurting,
Shall answer thee ‘an Empire for thy tomb.’
Thou hast joined house to house for thy perdition.
Thou hast done evil in the name of right.
Thou hast made bitter sweet and the sweet bitter,
And called light darkness and the darkness light.
Thou art become a bye-word for dissembling,
A beacon to thy neighbors for all fraud.
Thy deeds of violence men count and reckon.
Who takes the sword shall perish by the sword.
Thou hast deserved men’s hatred. They shall hate thee.
Thou hast deserved men’s tear. Their tear shall kill.
Thou hast thy foot upon the weak. The weakest
With his bruised head shall strike thee on the heel.
Thou wentest to this Egypt for thy pleasure.
Thou shalt remain wish her for thy sore pain.
Thou hast possessed her beauty. Thou wouldst leave her.
Nay. Thou shalt lie with her as thou hast lain.
She shall bring shame upon thy face with all men.
She shall disease thee with her grief and fear.
Thou shalt grow sick and feeble in her ruin.
Thou shalt repay her to the last sad tear.
Her kindred shall surround thee with strange clamors,
Dogging thy steps till thou shalt loathe their din.
The friends thou hast deceived shall watch in anger.
Thy children shall upbraid thee with thy sin.
All shall be counted thee a crime,— thy patience
With thy impatience. Thy best thought shall wound.
Thou shalt grow weary of thy work thus fashioned,
And walk in fear with eyes upon the ground.
The Empire thou didst build shall be divided.
Thou shalt be weighed in thine own balances
Of usury to peoples and to princes,
And be found wanting by the world and these.
They shall possess the lands by thee forsaken
And not regret thee. On their seas no more
Thy ships shall bear destruction to the nations,
Or thy guns thunder on a fenceless shore.
Thou hadst no pity in thy day of triumph.
These shall not pity thee. The world shall move
On its high course and leave thee to thy silence,
Scorned by the creatures that thou couldst not love.
Thy Empire shall be parted, and thy kingdom.
At thy own doors a kingdom shall arise,
Where freedom shall be preached and the wrong righted
Which thy unwisdom wrought in days unwise.
Truth yet shall triumph in a world of justice.
This is of faith. I swear it. East and west
The law of Man’s progression shall accomplish
Even this last great marvel with the rest.
Thou wouldst not further it. Thou canst not hinder.
If thou shalt learn in time thou yet shalt live.
But God shall ease thy hand of its dominion,
And give to these the rights thou wouldst not give.
The nations of the East have left their childhood.
Thou art grown old. Their manhood is to come;
And they shall carry on Earth’s high tradition
Through the long ages when thy lips are dumb,
Till all shall he wrought out. O Lands of weeping,
Lands watered by the rivers of old Time,
Ganges and Indus and the streams of Eden,
Yours is the future of the world’s sublime.
Yours was the fount of man’s first inspiration,
The well of wisdom whence he earliest drew.
And yours shall be the flood-time of his reason,
The stream of strength which shall his strength renew.
The wisdom of the West is but a madness,
The fret of shallow waters in their bed.
Yours is the flow, the fulness of Man’s patience
The ocean of God’s rest inherited.
And thou too, Egypt, mourner of the nations,
Though thou hast died to-day in all men’s sight,
And though upon thy cross with thieves thou hangest,
Yet shall thy wrong be justified in right.
’Twas meet one man should die for the whole people.
Thou wert the victim chosen to retrieve
The sorrows of the Earth with full deliv’rance.
And, as thou diest, these shall surely live.
Thy prophets have been scattered through the cities.
The seed of martyrdom thy sons have sown
Shall make of thee a glory and a witness
In all men’s hearts held captive with thine own.
Thou shalt not be forsaken in thy children.
Thy righteous blood shall fructify the Earth.
The virtuous of all lands shall he thy kindred,
And death shall he to thee a better birth.
Therefore I do not grieve. Oh hear me, Egypt!
Even in death thou art not wholly dead.
And hear me, England! Nay. Thou needs must hear me.
I had a thing to say. And it is said.
“A free man is one who enjoys the use of his reason and his faculties; who is neither blinded by passion, not hindered or driven by oppression, not deceived by erroneous opinions.” — Proudhon.
“The Public Be Damned!”
The men who control the railroads of this country are doing their best to bring about a social revolution and get themselves hanged. They have seized, with the aid of the government band enough for the support of all the poor people in North America, and what they have once got hold of even the government cannot force them to give up. With an appreciation of the true nature of the business and an aptness in characterization that rarely distinguish the legal mind, the inventors of this style of robbery speak of the land held by railroad men as having been “withdrawn from settlement.” The people who want to use this land allow themselves to be excluded from it by this fiction of proprietorship, having superstitious reverence for the fetich known as “forms of law,” but there are signs that titles to unoccupied land will not be respected much longer in this country.
But these robber barons of today are not content to exercise their power in the circuitous ways of the law. They are becoming as stupidly and fatuously arrogant as were the aristocrats of France a hundred years ago. Two notable illustrations of this have been given within the past few days. About two hundred laborers employed by the Lake Shore & Western Railway in Michigan arrived at Milwaukee in flat cars July 8, having travelled two days and nights without food. Going to the headquarters of the company, they demanded pay for their May work. Being refused, they attempted to break in the door, but police arrived and drove them off. The despatches telling this story went on to say: “They still hang about, having no money and desperate from hunger. The company’s officers explain that the pay roll was late, but they are unable to settle with the men until the superintendents of the gangs certify to the rolls. These foremen are up in the woods. Paymaster Allibone got out at the back window, and took the pay car for the north. The men will not be paid until they go back to the woods.” So the laborers must submit to the whims of their railroad masters or starve. But suppose these men, desperate from hunger and enraged by being robbed, should follow the paymaster, who climbed out at a back window and ran away with their money! There are no police in the woods to check the course of wild justice.
Another instance in Colorado. A telegram says: “Grand Junction, Col., having been cut off on the east by the washing out of the bridge in Black cañon, and on the west by the tearing up of the tracks by President Lovejoy, is badly off for supplies, and a famine is threatened. Mr. Bancroft, superintendent of the Denver & Rio Grande Western, had freight sent around this way, and was about furnishing relief, when President Lovejoy’s move prevented him from doing so.”
There is nothing like hunger to set men to thinking about their rights and revenging their wrongs. Violent revolution is not what Liberty’s friends are striving for or want to see, but I fear these stupid railroad knaves are driving the disinherited to that desperate remedy. The public may be safely damned, but the workers may not be starved with impunity by King Vanderbilt and his barons.
Liberty and Wealth.
IV. New Harmony: Darkness — Dawn.
“Well!” cried Smith, “when I married my wife, I didn’t suppose I was marrying a whole reform club, a Utopian dreamer, a comrade of Herr Most!”
“Who is Herr Most? What do you know about him?” the wife asked.
“Oh, I’ve seen plenty of squibs in the papers about him. He’s the man who would set the world afire, if he could.”
“I rather think,” said I, “that you have no further relish for the argument, and so adopt the method of the “Herald” and other papers,— you fire silly squibs. Of Herr Most, I know little. He’s infuriated, perchance, and may propose heroic treatment; but, while the condition of mankind remains as it is, one forgives the wildest proposition for its relief. I venture, on investigation, Herr Most turned inside out would present a far more interesting spectacle than Vanderbilt”
“Pshaw!” said Smith, with an air of disgust, “there ought to be a Bastile for such fellows as he.”
Then he turned on me his red face, and said in suppressed tones:—
“Do you believe in assassination, in fire, in murder and arson, in reducing the world to ashes, laying it level to get a place to set up your thrones in?”
He was lapsing into one of his old-time fits of passion.
“For all the world,” said his wife, looking up, “you look yourself at this moment the very embodiment of all evil. There’s murder and arson in your eye. How many worlds you would upset and destroy, if you only had the power!”
Smith was mad and disgusted. He reached for his hat, but I checked him, and persuaded him to remain quiet, remarking:
“Let us put all else aside now, and consider what your wife was saying. Is there any objection to the proposition that labor should sit under its own vine and fig-tree?”
Smith calmed himself, and said:
“Everybody has a right to his own; to the honest, legitimate fruit of his labor. But you seem to think, if a man happens to be a capitalist, he forfeits that privilege.”
“I see,” I responded, “you do not begin yet to understand what I have been driving at. And I doubt if much is gained by discussion or controversy. It is a good deal this way. Two men start on a journey. They go a little way together, and then come to a fork in the road. The road divides and branches out right and left. One keeps to the right, the other cries ‘this way,’ and keeps to the left. While they are in hailing distance, they keep shouting to one another, disputing which is the right road.”
“What should they do? Ought the fellow going left to whirl and go right, follow the other where he was pleased to lead, without a murmur?”
“Suppose the fellow going right should say: ‘That road to the left is the old road. It is not only a poor road in itself, but it brings up at a poor place. It brings up at the old place of unsatisfied want, misery, and degradation. Come with me and I will show you a better road, and a goal of peace, prosperity, and happiness.”
“In your mind’s eye, you mean.”
“Exactly,” said I; “all things are first in the mind’s eye. You believe in a Creator of the world. Before the world was, where was it? In His mind’s eye. That is, believing as you profess, you should so say. The American Republic! where was it before the Revolution? Our fathers founded these institutions of freedom, we say. It was in their mind’s eye. Yes, Mr. Smith, all things are first a dream. Gradually the dream takes form and shape, becomes a rational, practical, working reality. We are so constructed that we are at first afraid of our dreams, our prophetic fore-gleams, our New-world visions. Some Columbus, rapt and undissuadable, sails until fear and doubt and unbelief are annihilated. The new world that lay in his mind’s eye is beneath his feet.
“Now, Mr. Smith, turn to the right with me, and let us see what has been discovered in this direction. Let us travel — in our mind’s eye — to the new city, the Zion set on a hill, where Righteousness and Peace, in your Bible phrase, have kissed each other, where, in my own plain speech, Liberty and Wealth are universal, and the people rival one another only in great and beneficent achievements.
“To the city I speak of I have already been traveling this same road. Shall I tell, you my experience?”
“Oh, certainly; it will doubtless be interesting,” Smith replied, in a resigned sort of way.
“I shall be delighted,” said his wife.
This was encouragement enough. Smith might make wry faces to his heart’s content. I continued:—
“When I drew near and came within view of the City, I turned and saw sitting by the wayside, on a boulder beneath a sheltering tree, an aged man. He was so simply and plainly dressed, I, at first, regarded him as a tramp, some outcast from the hive of industry beyond. But the peaceful face he turned to meet my gaze dispelled the thought. So I drew near and asked:—
“‘What city lies yonder? ’
“‘The City of New Harmony,’ was the quiet reply given in soft and pleasing tones; “have you traveled far?’
“‘Yes, from the City of Discord,’ I replied.
“‘Ah! a long way, indeed; sit down and rest yourself. There is a spring near by. I will give you a drink. It is the water of the river of life from which, if a man drink, he shall never thirst.’
“‘You are a mystic,’ I said, ‘and clothe your thoughts in vagueness. But, if I catch your meaning, I am in truth weary in spirit, and my soul is athirst. I will rest me, as you invite, and you shall tell me of the city we see beyond. Why is it called New Harmony? Doubtless you know its history.’
“‘O, yes, I know its whole history. You see I have passed the allotted time of life, and I was but twenty-five when I came to this place. I was here almost at the beginning. It is a long story, but there are two good hours till dark. I shall weary you, I doubt not, for it seems an endless thame to me. I never know when to stop. But I leave it to my listeners to stop me. Speak, ere you faint.’
“Smiling, I bade him go on without fear for me.
“And this is the story he related:—
“‘I came hither almost at the beginning, responding in person to a chance summons from Robert Owen. A circular of his reached me in a distant part of the Union. To my wife I said: “It is what we have been dreaming of.” We broke up our home; I left my business. We were surprised by the number of learned, refined, and generous-minded people we met here. Every profession was represented and all the trades. One common purpose seemed to animate men, women, and children. They had set themselves to found a common home,— a community of equal burdens, equal privileges, and universal happiness. Co-operation was their watchword. We were strangers, but we were received as human beings. “Husband, have we come to Paradise?” my wife asked. I replied: “We will wait and see” The company numbered in all some two hundred and fifty souls. They had brought provisions for the first six months, but they were generally poor. ‘Owen was a man of wealth, and promised to help along the enterprise until it got into good working condition. When we arrived, they were holding daily sessions to form a Constitution of Liberty.
“‘But, alas! weeks wore away, and finally months. The task seemed hopeless. At heart they were all in accord. But intellectually they were wide apart. They had had a good time; it was a sort of pic-nic. But no result in formulating a new society in which despotism should be an unknown factor could be shown. Neither had the ground been broken; no seed planted, no harvest could be reaped, and the summer was gone. Six months of fruitless discussion ended in their placing themselves under the absolute dictatorship of one man,— Robert Owen. Everybody was disappointed, of course; but they yielded to the inevitable. No one felt a keener disappointment than Owen himself.
“‘He took the helm bravely, and managed with an eye single to the common welfare. But it was to no purpose. No fault was found with him, but the people had failed even to go in the direction of their ideal, and they gradually fell off, returning, most of them, to their old homes.
“‘Three years had passed, and I said to my wife: “Have we come to Paradise?” “Not exactly,” she replied; “it is rather a prolonged pic-nic.”
“‘I was so depressed in spirit, I told Owen it seemed to me this world was made on a wrong plan. The author of it might have succeeded with other world-experiments, but he had certainly made a failure of this. Owen shook his head, and replied: “The fault is not in our stars, but in ourselves.” He then announced his purpose of returning to England. He bade us goodbye, the few who remained, and took his leave. Wife and I sat down and cried like babies. I started out to calm my feelings, and found wherever I went that tears were in fashion. The whole neighborhood — sixty-one souls — sat in utter despondency. To make our desolation blacker, a three days’ storm act in. The winds howled, the rain poured; the days were as dark almost as the nights.
“‘But, when nature smiled again, our courage revived. A reaction set in, and we shook hands as we met each other from house to house.
“‘“We’re not dead yet,” cried one man; “perhaps our number was too large for a start. There’s some brains left. Let’s use ’em. Put in a good crop now this spring, fence in our pasture land, fix up our houses, improve the roads, make sidewalks, work at our trades, keep up the school for the children, and use Sunday for reading and general improvement. Let the Constitution of Liberty grow: we never could make one in God’s world.”
“‘We all laughed at this outburst. But it was sound advice. We did precisely as he had suggested. The result was the next autumn found us in a, most hopeful and flourishing condition.
“‘We had not a rule, a constitution, a by-law, a jail house, a poor house,— the last in no sense of the word,— nor an asylum for insane. But we had greatly improved our public building, and increased the library many volumes. Mind, we did not even have a librarian; everybody helped himself or herself. We established a reading-room. Owen sent us several periodicals with every mail. We gathered our harvest, and were amply provided for the winter.’
[To be continued.]
Proprietors Needlessly Alarmed.
The amount of ignorant criticism passed upon Henry George by the dull, blustering daily press is almost enough to elevate his unscientific and illogical conclusion to the height of pure reason by sheer force of contrast. E. C. Stedman having said of George that “he is devoted in his efforts in behalf of the equal rights of man,” the stupid Boston “Herald” declares that he must mean “that the author of ‘Progress and Poverty’ is devoted in his efforts in behalf of the equal rights of men to what they have never earned and could neither keep nor use wisely if they possessed.”
In common with nearly all the ignorant, who oppose out of pure prejudice everything to which the name of Socialism can be applied or misapplied, the “Herald” assumes that anybody who seeks to abolish poverty must contemplate an arbitrary division of property equally among all men. It is the “timidity of capital,” the panic of the proprietor, that speaks in all such arguments. The proprietor assures the laborer that it would be foolish for the latter to own property, because he is not vise enough to make good use of it and he could not keep it anyway. The proprietor says to the laborer: “You are only a poor foolish fellow, and it is necessary that you should have a wise guardian like me. You produce the wealth, and I will use it. You would only squander it and spend it for rum and injure yourself, and, besides, some sharp fellow with a talent for business would get it all away from you in a short time. It is much better that I should take half of your product, and use it to ingeniously swindle you out of the other half.”
But the proprietor need have no fear. Henry George does not propose to deprive him of his property, but to make tho cultivation of land the most unprofitable of occupations and the lending of capital the most lucrative. In other words, Mr. George seeks to perpetuate rent and interest, which is surely not alarming to the exploiters of labor. The “Herald” might have said with truth that Henry George is devoted in bis efforts in behalf of tho rights of a few men to what they have never earned and cannot use wisely.
Socialism does not seek to confiscate wealth and divide it proportionally among men. It does not desire to molest the proprietor or to rob him. It aims only to make it expedient for him to live honestly by doing as much work as shall procure for him the things he wants, and to give every man an opportunity to do the same. Socialism would relieve the proprietor of the burdensome responsibility for the moral and material welfare of the “lower classes,” which he seems to think now rests upon him, and give him more time to devote to the improvement of himself. Socialism would abolish poverty, increase the actual wealth of society, banish ignorance and crime, and increase the happiness of all men. Is there anything so very terrible about that, Mr. Proprietor? You are now a thief, although usually unaware of your thievery. Would you not rather be an honest and just man?
Fourth of July.
I am penning this on the eve of Independence Day.
If I have heard one, I have heard at least a dozen reputable citizens say within twenty-four hours that Fourth of July had got to be a regular nuisance.
“Nothing but infernal noise,” they say, “and the vulgar demonstrations of the rabble: decent people get as far away from it as they can; it’s a simple nuisance.”
Yes, and I venture to say that in less then twenty-five years a great many decent people will have become sick of the whole job which grew out of ’76. Not that the revolt from British rule and the Declaration of Independence were not righteous moves worth celebrating so far as they go, but that having cast off a foreign yoke, our fathers were only intent on fastening another of home make, but seasoned with the same evil genius, upon, their victims.
Out of the bombastic platitudes and splendid rhetoric of the Declaration of Independence we have fostered the vile thing known as modern American politics. Out of the sublime lie that all men are born free and equal we have nurtured audacious thieves, scoundrels, bullies, and half-civilized wretches to invade our lives, liberties, and substance under cover of that sacred ark of the covenant known as the free ballot-box. That such scamps as Jay Gould and Cyrus Field should be born free and equal with honest men would be a libel on justice, even were it not a lie per se, and the doctrine that a thing like John Kelly, who cams at least three generations too early into the world to be fully civilized, was born free and equal with Wendell Phillips and Gerrit Smith has made this celebrated ruffian political umpire of the nation in 1884.
Harbor not the delusion, reader, that it is simply an accident of our system which finds politics what they are. The political bosses and all who follows in their train are legitimate growths from the political spirit of ’76. It is the idlest twaddle to seek of correcting an evil which is inherent in the system itself by inviting decent citizenship to step forward and purify the ballot.
There is but one radical cure, and that is to arraign and belittle the whole swindle of political government and its agents and abettors. How long it will take brave and manly people to find this out in such numbers as to tell on the approaching chaos I will not predict, but I fancy that, if we survive the present drift for ten years without civil war, you will meet an Anarchist at every step in your daily walks and find him in all the places where sober, thinking men are wont to assemble.
Then and Now:
or, The Travels Through Time Of Miss Josephine D’aujourd’hui
As Told By Herself.
Fortunatus had a Wishing Hat, which when he put on, and wished himself Anywhere, behold he was There. By this means had Fortunatus triumphed over Space, he had annihilated Space; for him there was no Where, but all was Here. Were a Hatter to establish himself in the Wahngasse of Weissnichtwo, and make felts of this sort for all mankind, what a world, we should have of it! Still stranger, should; on the opposite side of the street, another Hatter establish himself; and, as his fellow-craftsman made Space-annihilating Hats, make Time-annihilating! Of both would I purchase, were it with my last groschen; but chiefly of this latter. To clap-on your felt, and, simply by wishing that you were Anywhere, straightway to be There! Next to clap-on your other felt, and, simply by wishing that you were Anywhen, straightway to be Then! This were indeed the grander: shooting at will from the Fire-Ovation of the World to its Fire-Consummation; here historically present in the First Century, conversing face to face with Paul and Seneca; there prophetically in the Thirty-first, conversing also face to face with other Pauls and Senecas, who as yet stand hidden in the depth of that late Time! Had we but the Time-annihilating Hat, to put on for once only, we should see ourselves in a World of Miracles, wherein all fabled or authentic Thaumaturgy, and feats of Magic, were outdone. — Carlyle’s “Sartor Resartus.”
Boston, July 12, 2084.
My Dear Louise:
So many things to write about crowd into my mind all at once that I really can’t tell where to begin. Such a world! Such a country! Such a city! Such a journey as I had, too, from Boston of 1884! A journey of two hundred miles, or even two hundred leagues, through space is a very ordinary thing, and we can conceive of a journey of two hundred millions of miles or leagues, but to travel two hundred years through time! It is inconceivable to humanity. I was lifted into the sky, and time sped by, working the most wonderful changes so rapidly that my eyes seemed blurred. Decades flew past like minutes. When two centuries had wrought upon the universe, I descended agrin into Boston.
You know, Louise, we have often wondered what changes two hundred years would bring, what kind of hats, dresses, and cloaks the women would wear, and whether women would have the right to vote. Louise, one of the most astonishing facts of the thousands that I am going to tell you about is that no one votes in this, the year of our lord 2084. I just mention this to excite your curiosity.
I have been here now just one month, and am becoming somewhat, acquainted with the people and customs of this strange world. I, of course, am a great curiosity. In fact, I am the sensation of the times. Newspapers use columns in describing me and commenting upon me. In connection with notices of my sudden and mysterious appearance are many very bitter attacks upon the world of your time. Let me give you a little instance of this feeling. A gentleman was introduced to me a few days ago as one of the most learned men of the times. His knowledge upon some subjects was surely astonishing, but I was shocked at many of his sentiments. In the course of our conversation I asked him to give his opinion of the leading men of the nineteenth century.
“A remarkably fine, strong, brave, clear-sighted set of men,” said he; “what they did, under great difficulties, makes it possible for us to enjoy what we do today.”
The names of Bismarck, Gladstone, Blaine, Garfield, Edmunds, Henry Cabot Lodge, Jay Gould, Join Roach, Mr. Vanderbilt, James Russell Lowell, Alfred Tennyson, H. W. Longfellow, Henry Ward Beecher, and a hundred others, leaders in government, politics, literature, finance, science, art, and music, came into my mind, and I began to mention them. This very learned man with whom I was talking looked puzzled I remarked that I was merely rehearsing their names.
“Whose names?” asked ray acquaintance.
“Why, those of the leaders of the best thought and action of the nineteenth century!” said I, much surprised.
The man laughed, fairly roared with laughter, then apologized and looked serious.
“Some of those you have mentioned I have never heard of,” said he. “The others I know to have been robbers, hypocritical thieves, charlatans, and narrow-minded men,— the dead weight that hold back the nineteenth century.”
“Why,” said I, “you don’t mean that Mr. Lodge and Mr. Edmunds were anything of this kind.”
“I am sure I don’t know. They may both have been great and good men. We never heard of either of them.”
I was thunderstruck for a moment, and before I could reply, the man — I really can’t call him gentleman — continued:
“I presume Messrs. Lodge and Edmunds were political jugglers, either shallow or designing men, who hoodwinked the people and stepped into power over them through the votes of the people, who were so near sighted that they could not see the result of their own ballots. Politicians are forgotten, because the tribe has long since been cleared from the face of the earth. They could not exist long, you see, without governments.
“The names that we remember as the leaders of the best thought and action of the nineteenth century are” — and here he gave a long list, the most of which I never heard before. Those that I had heard made me shudder. They were names of Anarchists who plotted the destruction of kingdoms, the murder of czars and kings,— men who, I verily believe, were in league with the evil one when on earth and whose souls now suffer endless punishment,— if there is such. They were such as Bakounine, Kropotkine, and their terrible associates. I am afraid there must be something radically wrong about this world to-day, for all of its apparent happiness and prosperity, if it worships, as it appears to, the memory of such bad men.
I shall write again soon.
What’s To Be Done?
A Romance. By N. G. Tchernychewsky.
Translated by Benj. R. Tucker.
Continued from No. 45.
Here I might have invented a tragic climax; in reality there was none. I might have put everything into confusion to allure the reader. But, a friend of truth and an enemy of subterfuge, I warn my readers in advance that there will be no tragic climax and that the clouds will red away without lightning or thunder or tempest.
Chapter Second. The First Love and Legal Marriage.
We know how in former times such situations were brought to an issue: an amiable young girl was in a worthless family; and they imposed upon her a lover, disagreeable and brutal, whom she did hot love. But constant association with his betrothed improved the wooer somewhat; he became an ordinary man, neither agreeable nor disagreeable; his obedience and gentleness were exemplary. After becoming accustomed to having him near her, always in a humble attitude, and after saying to herself that she was very unhappy in her family, and that this husband would be an improvement, she decided to take him.
She had to overcome a great deal of repugnance when she first learned what it was to give one’s self without love; but, alter all, the husband was not a bad man, and in the long run one gets accustomed to everything; she became an ordinarily good woman,— that is, a person who, intrinsically good, had reconciled herself to triviality and accommodated herself to a vegetative life. That is what became of young girls formerly.
It was almost the same with young men, who themselves became as comfortable inhabitants of this world as stupidity, selfishness, and triviality could desire.
That is why so few really human men were to be found; of these the harvest was so small that the ears were not within speaking distance of each other.
Now, one cannot live alone all his life without consuming himself by his own force truly human men wasted away and were submerged in material life.
In our day it is no longer the same; the number of these human beings grows continually, and from year to year the increase is perceptible. As a result they become acquainted with each other, and their number increases further on this account.
In time they will be the majority. In time, even, they will be the totality: then all will be well in the world.
Vérotchka in her individual life knew how to realize this ideal; and that is why (with her permission) I tell her story.
She, as I happen to know, is one of the first women whose life was thus ordered; now, beginnings are interesting to history. The first swallow is the dearest to dwellers in the North.
Let us return to Vera Pavlovna. The time came for preparing Vérotchka’s little brother for college. Pavel Konstantinytch inquired among his colleagues to find a tutor whose prices were low; they recommended a medical student named Lopoukhoff.
Lopoukhoff came five or six times to give lesions to his new pupil before he met Vérotchka. He stayed with Fédia at one end of the apartments, while she remained in her room at the other end. But as the examinations at the Medico-Surgical Academy were approaching and he had to study in the morning, he came to give his lessons in the evening. This time, on his arrival, he found the whole family at tea: the father and mother, Fédia, and an unknown person,— a young girl of large and beautiful figure, bronzed complexion, black hair, and black eyes.
Her hair was beautiful and thick; her eyes were beautiful, very beautiful indeed, and quite of a southern type, as if she came from Little Russia. One would have said even a Caucasian type rather; an admirable countenance, which had no fault beyond indicating an extreme coldness,— which is not a southern trait.
She seemed beaming with health; the redness of her cheeks was wholesome; there would be no need of so many doctors, were there many such constitutions as hers.
When she enters society, she will make an impression. But what is that to me? Much were Lopoukhoff’s reflections as he looked at her.
She, too, threw her eyes upon the teacher who had just entered. The student was no longer a youth; he was a man of a little above the average height, with hair of a deep chestnut color, regular and even handsome features, the whole relieved by a proud and fearless bearing. “He is not bad, and ought to be good; but he must be too serious.” She did not add in her thought: “But what is that to me?” and for the very simple reason that it had not occurred to her that he could interest her. Besides, Fédia had said so much to her of his teacher that she could no longer hear him spoken of without impatience.
“He is very good, my dear sister; only he is not a talker. And I told him, my dear sister, that you were a beauty in our house, and he answered: ‘How does that concern me?’ And I, my dear sister, replied: ‘Why, everybody loves beauties,’ and he said in return: ‘All imbeciles love them,’ and I said: ‘And do you not love them, too?’ And he answered me: ‘I have not the time.’ And I said to him, my dear sister: ‘So you do not wish to make Vérotchka’a acquaintance?’ ‘I have many acquaintances without her,’ he answered me.”
Such was Fédia’s account. And it was not the only one; he told others of the same sort, such as this:
“I told him to-day, my dear sister, that everybody looks at you when you pass, and he replied: ‘So much the better.’ I said to him: ‘And do you not wish to see her?’ He answered: ‘There is time enough for that.’”
Or like this other:
“I told him, my dear sister, what pretty little hands you have, and he answered me: ‘You are bound to babble, so be it; but have you no other subjects more interesting?’”
Willy nilly, the teacher had learned from Fédia all that he could tell him on the subject of “his dear sister;” he always stopped the little fellow whenever he began to babble about family affairs; but how prevent child of nine years from telling you everything, especially if he loves you more than he fears you. At the fifth word you may succeed in interrupting him, but it is already too late: children begin without, preface, directly, at the essential; and among the bits of information of all sorts upon family affairs, the teacher had heard such things as these:
“My sister has a wealthy suitor! But Mamma says that he is very stupid.” “Mamma also pays court to the suitor; she says that my sister has trapped him very adroitly.” “Mamma says: ‘I am shrewd, but Vérotchka is even shrewder than I!’ Mamma says also: ‘We will show his mother the door.’” And so on. It was natural that, hearing such things about each other, the young people should not feel any desire to become more intimately acquainted.
We know, moreover, that this reserve was natural on Vérotchka’s side; the degree of her intellectual development did not permit her to attempt to conquer this unsociable savage, to subdue this bear. Further, for the time being she had something else to think of; she was content to be left tranquil; she was like a bruised and weary traveller; or like an invalid who has stretched himself out to rest and does not dare to make a movement for fear of reviving his pains. Finally, it was not in accordance with her character to search for new acquaintances, especially among the young.
It was easy to see why Vérotchka should think thus. But what was he really? According to Fédia, a savage with head full of books and anatomical preparations,— all the things which make up the principal intellectual enjoyment of a good student of medicine. Or had Fédia slandered him?
No, Fédia hail not slandered him; Lopoukhoff was actually a student with head full of books, and what books? The bibliographical researches of Maria Alexevna will tell us that in due time. Lopoukhoff’s head was also full of anatomical preparations, for he dreamed of a professorship. But, just as the information communicated by Fédia to Lopoukhoff concerning Vérotchka has given an imperfect knowledge of the young girl, there is reason to believe that the information imparted by the pupil as to his teacher needs to be completed.
In regard to his pecuniary situation Lopoukhoff belonged to that small minority of day students not maintained by the crown, who suffer, nevertheless, neither from hunger nor cold. How and whereby do the great majority of these students live? God knows, of course; to men it is a mystery. But it is not agreeable to think so much about people who die of hunger; therefore we will only indicate the period during which Lopoukhoff found himself also in this embarrassing situation, and which lasted three years.
Before he entered the Academy of Medicine he was well supported by his father, a small bourgeois of Riazan, who lived well enough for his station: that is, his family had stchi on Sundays and meat and tea every day.
To maintain his son in college, starting at the age of fifteen, was difficult for the elder Lopoukhoff; his son had to aid him by giving lessons. If it was difficult in a provincial college, it was much more so in the St. Petersburg Academy of Medicine
Lopoukhoff received, nevertheless, during the first two years, thirty-five roubles per year, and he earned almost as much more as a copyist in one of the quarters of the district of Wyborg without being an office-holder.
If he suffered still, it was his own fault.
He had been offered maintenance by the crown; but then had gotten into I know not what quarrel, which cost him a tolerably stern reprimand and complete abandonment. In his third year his affairs began to take a better turn: the deputy head clerk of the police office offered him a chance to give lessons, and to these he added others, which for two years had given him at least the necessaries of life.
He and his friend Kirsanoff, a student like him, a laborer like him, occupied two adjacent rooms.
The two friends had early become accustomed to depending only on themselves; and in general they acted so much in concert that one meeting them separately would have taken them for men of the same character. But when one saw them together, it then became plain that, although both were very serious and very sincere, Lopoukhoff was a little more reserved, and his companion a little more open. For the present only Lopoukhoff is before us; Kirsanoff will appear much later.
[To be continued.]
 An old Russian saying.
 A soup peculiar to Russia.