• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Introduction
 Table of Contents
 Foreword
 At home
 The institute
 The country
 The revolution
 The Crimea
 Flight
 The bolshevists
 Famine
 Hope
 The mission
 Moscow again
 Back Matter
 Back Cover














Title: Twice born in Russia;
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00098476/00001
 Material Information
Title: Twice born in Russia; my life before and in the revolution
Physical Description: xix p. 1 l., 193, 1 p. : ; 20 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Petrova, Natalia
Budberg, Moura
Publisher: W. Morrow & Co.
Place of Publication: New York
Publication Date: 1930
Copyright Date: 1930
 Subjects
Subject: Communism -- Soviet Union   ( lcsh )
History -- Personal narratives -- Soviet Union -- Revolution, 1917-   ( lcsh )
Social life and customs -- Soviet Union   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
autobiography   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Additional Physical Form: Also issued online.
Statement of Responsibility: by Natalia Petrova. Translated by Baroness Mary Budberg: introduction by Dorothy Thompson.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00098476
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 01838149
lccn - 30022367
oclc - 1838149

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Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Front Cover 1
        Front Cover 2
    Front Matter
        Front Matter 1
        Front Matter 2
        Front Matter 3
        Front Matter 4
    Half Title
        Page i
        Page ii
    Title Page
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Dedication
        Page v
        Page vi
    Introduction
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
    Table of Contents
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
    Foreword
        Page xv
        Page xvi
        Page xvii
        Page xviii
        Page xix
        Page xx
        Page xxi
        Page xxii
    At home
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
    The institute
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
    The country
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
        Page 63
    The revolution
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
    The Crimea
        Page 76
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 87
    Flight
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 91
        Page 92
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
    The bolshevists
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
    Famine
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
    Hope
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
        Page 167
    The mission
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
    Moscow again
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
        Page 193
        Page 194
    Back Matter
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
    Back Cover
        Page 199
        Page 200
Full Text















Im




















TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA








TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA


My Life before and in the Revolution

by
NATALIA PETROVA

Translated by Baroness Mary Budberg
Introduction by Dorothy Thompson






1930


NEW YORK
WILLIAM MORROW & COMPANY









t-t































COPIGIIT 1930

BY WILLIAM MORROW & COMPANY, INC.







































PRINTED IN THE U. S. A. BY
QUINN & BODEN COMPANY. INC.
RAHWAY. N. J.

























TO

ALL RUSSIAN WOMEN-

MY SISTERS IN DESTINY











INTRODUCTION


A LESS pretentious document than this
one has hardly come out of Soviet Rus-
sia, the land which has furnished more
eye-witness reports, more correspondents' ac-
counts, and a greater number of analyses-
more or less expert, more or less documented-
than most of the rest of the world put to-
gether. The author is anonymous, and in the
fullest sense of the word, for she not only with-
holds her name, but she maintains an intense
reserve about all the more intimate phases of
her life, commendable in a well-mannered lady,
but disappointing to literature.
And yet this thin little book is, in several
ways, entirely unique, and it has its unques-
tionable place amongst the more ponderous
vii


~C~LIVIMNVVVVUVVINVVVVVVrNVUVU






INTRODUCTION

and pretentious contributions to the history of
this most terrific and thorough of the world's
revolutions.
It is unique, in the first place, as a docu-
ment. The author is a Russian lady, highly
born and early married into a great house-as
she tells us by inference, for she is as well bred
as a writer as she is as a person. Now, many
Russian aristocrats have recorded their experi-
ences of the revolution, and their views con-
cerning it. But in most of these accounts
there has been rather more of views than of
experiences; most aristocrats who survived to
tell the tale did so in exile, and wrote from a
revolutionary experience of a few weeks or
months. They suffered the boring years in
Paris, London, Berlin, or New York, re-coup-
ing their estates in the restaurant or antique
business, or on the lecture platform. The
author of this book endured the revolution as
did any petty bourgeoise or out-of-grace social
revolutionary. She endured what a demoted
class had to suffer on its own ground, and in
viii






INTRODUCTION

addition what was spared to no one, not even
to Bolsheviks-the terrible famine. She
stayed in Russia, and with several opportuni-
ties to escape, for ten revolutionary years,
right down until 1928. She lived these years
in widely separated districts of the Soviet
union. And her record of experience, as a
princess continuously in residence, has, as far
as I know, no rival whatsoever.
It is unique also for the singular spirit in
which it is written, a spirit remarkably devoid
of rancour, bitterness, or revenge. It is both
an indictment of the pre-revolutionary aristoc-
racy for its blindness, its stupidity, its other
worldliness, and its anachronistic methods of
educating its own (in this connection I found
the early and less dramatic chapters extremely
illuminating) and, at the same time, the author
herself, by her own qualities, testifies however
indirectly to the sort of character engendered
by such education, a character the bases of
which are courage, disinterestedness, and
pride.






INTRODUCTION

The Bolsheviks will not like this book, and
yet I cannot see it as in any sense a work of
propaganda, hostile or otherwise. Its author
has lived her life, before and during the revo-
lution, in an atmosphere pre-eminently domes-
tic; her problems are never those of politics-
they are those of a housekeeper and mother.
And one feels, reading this modest lady's ac-
count of her trials, a great sympathy and ad-
miration for the country which can engage
such fidelity. The strength of great Russia,
that vast land which diminishes all its govern-
ments, its Tsars and its Stalins alike, is in the
pages of this book and in the heart of its gentle
author.
She looks upon the revolution always with
sorrow, sometimes with horror, but mostly
with resignation. She does not fret nor whine
about her condition, and in whatever state she
may be she sees the revolution as something
vastly greater than herself. Her own suffer-
ings do not blind her to those of others; she is
not tender to the sufferings of aristocrats and







INTRODUCTION

callous to those of other classes. And in the
worst moments, when she is freezing in rags,
frantic with hunger, and half-demented with
the thought of her ill and starving child, a curi-
ous optimism remains-not the silly optimism
of Mr. Micawber nor the equally silly hope of
her own class in exile that they will return to
power, but a faith in her country, in its re-
sources, in its people even though they be
Bolsheviks.
As for the anonymous author, who with-
holds her name for reasons of policy not en-
tirely concerned with herself, I gladly vouch
for her authenticity. I met her, first, in the
winter of 1927-28, in her own home in Mos-
cow. She was already married' to a distin-
guished European, not a Russian national,
and the protection of his name and nationality
had enabled her to reconstruct in the Russian
capital a home with European amenities. Her
new life had erased the more obvious records
of years of suffering. I met a lady, gracious
and grave, gentle, and strong, and I could not
xi







INTRODUCTION

but contrast her, wholly to her advantage, with
most Russian aristocrats whom I had met in
their diaspora. She seemed to me a lady who
had seen and suffered terrible things without
losing faith in something much bigger and
more important than the fate of her own class.
In this sense, the revolution had definitely de-
classed her. It had admitted her to the society
of the gentle and wise.
DOROTHY THOMPSON.
New York, N. Y.,
July 28, 1930.















CONTENTS



PAGE
INTRODUCTION BY DOROTHY THOMP-
SON vii

FOREWORD XV

1. AT HOME 1

2. THE INSTITUTE 18

3. THE COUNTRY 37

4. THE REVOLUTION 64

5. THE CRIME 76

6. FLIGHT 88

7. THE BOLSHEVISTS 109

8. FAMINE 136

9. HOPE 152

10. THE MISSION 168

11. MOSCOW AGAIN 186











FOREWORD


E KATERINA KUZMINICHNA was
old enough to have been a serf. Having
brought up two generations and lived to see
a third-she became an inalienable member of
our family and worshipped us all.
We called her "Nurse" and so did all of
our friends, acquaintances, servants and
peasants.
She was small and stoutly built, wore a black
silk kerchief tied round her head, was always
cheerful and complacent, and humoured all our
whims with patience and readiness. To me,
especially, she was a priceless companion.
After my marriage we lived the year round in
the country and often in the autumn months,
when I was alone on the estate, I would per-
xv






FOREWORD

suade her to come to my room, and would speak
to her then of all that troubled or delighted
me. There were many things she did not
understand, but watching intently the expres-
sion of my face and hearkening to the sound
of my voice, she laughed when I was happy and
wept at any sign of grief.
She was illiterate. Sometimes I made fun
of her, profiting by her credulity and her deep
conviction in the inviolable truth of the printed
word. Holding a newspaper in my hands, I
built up improbable stories, pretending to read
them from the columns of the paper. She
would exclaim aloud, clap her hands in dismay,
make the sign of the cross and afterwards re-
peat to the butler and the maids the curious
miracles that happen in our day. If her lis-
teners ventured to express a doubt, she ex-
plained reproachfully that "the Princess her-
self had read about it in the chroinics."
Often I, in my turn, was glad to listen to
her stories. She had been a "Nicolas' soldier's
wife" (the widow of a private of Nicolas I).
xvi






FOREWORD

was proud of that rank and liked to talk of the
old customs, finding them to be far better than
those of the present time. She recalled the
days of serfdom with real pleasure, probably
because they were the days of her youth. She
said that then only loafers and ruffians were
very poor; that she, herself, had lived with
her masters as under the wing of God; that
peasants had owned many horses, that each
man knew his task, and that people dwelt in
health and in the fear of God.
She told of the bevy of peasants that used
to be equipped in Spring for catching fish in
the Government of Archangel. Each man re-
ceived a pair of warm gloves, a hat, snowboots,
a short fur-coat for the journey and they
marched with songs from the Government of
Riasan to the far-off north, in order to return
in winter along snowy roads, with cartloads
of frozen fish.
The heroes of the past generation stood in
front of me like the paladins of legends and
I admired with all my heart the great patience,
xvii






FOREWORD

heroism and strength of mind of the Russian
national soul.
The revolution'of 1905 left a painful impres-
sion upon the old woman. For many years
after, she bitterly reproached the peasants for
it, assuring them that she would not survive
"another indecency" of that sort. And she
proved to be right.
In 1918, when disorders broke out in the
Government, Nurse remained waiting for us
on the estate. Peasants, male and female,
came with axes and crow-bars, kerosene and
tow, forced themselves into the house, plun-
dered and destroyed everything, and finally
pouring kerosene on the old home, set fire to it.
Nurse met them at the door, her arms up-
lifted, and attempted to reason with the infu-
riated peasants. But she could do nothing to
avert the evil, and, torn with unspeakable emo-
tion, fell down in a dead faint, cursing them.
Soon after, she had a stroke of paralysis and
died.
And now that the long hard years of which
you saw the first convulsions have gone by.
xviii






FOREWORD

how much I would like to be with'you, dear old
Nurse! If only I might make you sit at my
side as before in a comfortable armchair while
I recount all that has befallen me. The image
of death somehow does not connect itself with
you in my memories.
I see you still bustling about as usual, pass-
ing from one room to another with small, hasty
strides. The keys of various cupboards and
store-rooms, filled with the produce of the
farm, jingle in your hands. Or else it is sitting
at the samovar, pouring out the tea that I
imagine you. Over the silk shawl you wear
a coiffe of lace that has slipped a little to the
side. Musingly, you drink the seventh cup
of your favourite tea out of the saucer. You
are buried in memories and one has to call out
loudly to you in order to bring you back to
reality.
Now I look back more and more to the past,
as you did once; and as you, comparing your
times with the new preferred the older, so do
I turn towards the days you disparaged with
sadness and pain.



















TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA












1. AT HOME


AS far back as I can remember, mother
did not live with us, but with grand-
father in Paris. We remained with father in
St. Petersburg and I was entirely ruled by
Mademoiselle. My brother was in a Naval
school, my sister in a boarding institution for
girls and I had so completely lost the habit of
intercourse with children that playing with
them was no pleasure for me. I had a special
fondness for dolls. I would carry them into
my father's study and play with my numerous
family under his writing table. I particularly
liked to do so when father sat at his table,
working, for his spurs played the part of the
door-bell and his legs that of the front door.
Mademoiselle used to read to me several
1


NUVI~NUI~ICVYVV~CICICININIINVVIIVVVI,






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

hours a day and I never missed an opportunity
to shed a tear at the slightest hint of sadness
or shut my ears tight at particularly gloomy
passages. I grew up with an excessively sen-
timental, lacrymose, compassionate and easily
ruffled disposition.
I never worried over mother's absence. I
was told that she had left us for a cure. I
wrote her short little notes very regularly
under Mademoiselle's dictation, and at night
before going to sleep kissed her picture. Even
then, in my imagination, mother was sur-
rounded by the halo of unapproachable great-
ness. I was proud of her beauty, the toys she
sent me from Paris were the joy of my heart.
but I knew that I was not to show them to
father, nor ever mention mother to him.
My placid life in the nursery and among my
dolls, Mademoiselle and the Bibliotheque Rose,
was only interrupted during the holidays, when
my sister and brother came home. There were
four years' difference between me and my
sister, my brother was another two years older.






AT HOME

Boisterous, bold and disobedient, my sister
adored all boyish games. On the rare occasions
when she condescended to play with me, we
built flats for ourselves with the chairs and
assumed imaginary names. She was Madame
Mukina; I, Madame Pakina. We paid visits
to each other, accompanied by our dolls. But
our games rarely ended peacefully. Usually
my sister was suddenly transformed from
Madame Mukina into a surgeon, amputated
my dolls' legs or cut open their stomachs, while
I cried bitterly.
My brother was fond of soldiers. He had
huge cases filled with armies of Russian and
foreign regiments. There were fortresses with
draw-bridges, battering-rams, barracks and
camps and harnessed carriages and trees and
complete towns. He must have read "War
and Peace," for we always played at the year
1812. I was Prince Bagration, my sister, Bar-
clay de Tolly, my brother acted all the other
parts including Emperor Alexander and
Napoleon. We put all our hearts into the
3






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

game, opened fire, retreated, attacked with the
bayonet, carried away the wounded, built hos-
pitals. My Bagration lost his leg in one of
these battles, which made me very proud, al-
though it did not enter into the scheme of the
game.
I remember one day father came home
greatly unset, changed into his gala uniform
and left us with the words:
"The Emperor is dead. All is lost."
Silence immediately settled on the house.
Everybody spoke in a whisper and my sister,
who was at home on sick leave, and I went at
once to the nursery. Solemnly facing the pic-
ture of Alexander the Third, we sung a re-
quiem to him, representing the priest and the
deacon; then, turning to Nicolas II, we broke
out into a loud prayer for the prolongation of
his days, after which, with a sense of duty per-
formed, we returned to our occupations.

On Sunday we were taken to our grand-
mother. My heart always faltered at the door-
4






AT HOME

step of the big grey house which she occupied.
I did not enjoy those Sundays, and every time
she undressed me in the antechamber Made-
moiselle had to persuade me to be cheerful
and well-mannered in the presence of Grand'-
mire. It was hard to bring oneself into the
right sort of mood. The lives of us children
were separated from those of our elders by
such an abyss that, looking from our shore,
the images of even the closest relatives seemed
enveloped in a cloud of magic omnipotence.
These powerful gods planned everything for
us, setting definite limits to all we did, even to
our thoughts, and demanded nothing of us but
submission and silence. We were to exist only
so far as we did not interfere with them. The
love for parents and relations, imbued with
tremulous respect, was allowed no direct ex-
pression of affection, no caress. A caress was
a familiarity. Of all the characters taking part
in this magic show the most important was
grandmother.
Always tightly laced in a black frock, she
5






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

wore her white hair very high, frizzed up in
little curls, held herself straight as a dart, never
paid particular attention to anyone, and when
addressing us maintained an austere expres-
sion on her face. If she were angry or wished
to show disapproval, her right hand tugged
nervously at her dress and the rustle of silk
served as a warning.
Although no caresses or endearments were
bestowed upon us, we could not complain of
being severely persecuted for our misdeeds.
The greatest punishment consisted in leaving
us without dessert or sending us away from the.
table. We dreaded even the slightest blow to
our self-respect and a short rebuke impressed
us more than any sermon. We never waited
for orders to be explained. They were simply
laws. The notions of "can" or "cannot" were
deeply rooted in our consciousness and infused
in our blood.
The outward forms of education played a
supreme part. A discipline that forced one to
consider one's environment and a courtesy that






AT HOME

for many of us took the place later on of gen-
uine kindness, were required from the earliest
years.
Those famous Sunday family lunches were
a kind of weekly test. The table laid for
twenty to thirty people was occupied by three
generations, headed by grandmother. We, the
children, perched on high stools without backs,
alternated with governesses of all nationali-
ties. We waited, standing, for grandmamma's
appearance. Then we all curtseyed, came
up to kiss her hand and the hands of the
aunts, and replied in monosyllables to ques-
tions:
"Oui, Grand'mere!"
"Merci, ma Tante!"
"Non, mon Oncle!"
After this short ceremony, one of the chil-
dren said grace and all took their places at
the table.
At our end of the table the meal passed in
utter silence. We sat, very upright, both hands
on the sides of our cover, and ate, in misery,






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

all that was put on our plates not daring to
ask for a second helping of a favourite
dish.
Grace was said once more after lunch and
once more hands were kissed. Then our elders
retired to drink their coffee, while we were dis-
missed.
The lower floor was occupied exclusively by
our cousins and their governesses. An up-
roarious scuffle began at once! I was the
youngest and did not participate in the games
of the others. A short hour of freedom came
at last when the governesses devoted them-
selves to gossip over a cup of coffee in the ad-
joining classroom, forgetting for a while their
little trained monkeys. Profiting by this I
would scramble upon the window-sill, which
was strictly forbidden, and peer with curiosity
at the street.
In St. Petersburg, in winter, at this early
hour of midday, it is usually dark. The
blackness behind the windows with the swaying
lights of the lanterns and the crowd of un-






AT HOME

known people idly hurrying away into space
always excited my curiosity. I used to try
hard to picture to myself their way of living
-but I could not imagine anything very dif-
ferent from our lives. The sense of compari-
son was lacking. The children we met were
all of our own standing. Their lives resembled
ours to an almost absurd degree. The beggars
in the street seemed to me like Princes Charm-
ing, under the spell of an evil enchantment.
Reality with all its experience was very far
away from me. As I sat on the window-sill,
my attention was specially attracted by the
tavern. It was situated on the opposite side
of the street. The people that came in and
out, often with vacillating steps, excited my
untarnished imagination. More unconsciously
than otherwise I found myself struggling with
the weird thought that there existed another
world, an ugly, sombre world like the yawning
emptiness of the tavern door, swallowing up
more and more new people all the time. But
the thread of vague sensations was always in-
9






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

terrupted in the same way: I was lifted up
from the window-sill and a picture-book was
pushed into my hands.
After tea, our ribbons and hair were set
straight, shoes mordore, on thin soles and with
rosettes, were slipped on our feet, the dancing-
room was aired, the piano opened. On the
sofas along the wall were seated the grown-
ups armed with lorgnettes. The ballet-master,
Ignatiev, made his appearance with the pianist
and the dancing lesson began. We performed
rhythmical, plastic movements to music, curt-
seyed, executed the "four positions," one after
the other, made chassez-croisez and other pas,
on outstretched toes, holding up our frocks
on both sides with two fingers. After dancing
we had to remain very quiet for half an hour to
grow cool before leaving, then again in the
same antechamber, I was wrapped up care-
fully in my heavy fur coat and hood and taken
home.
On the way I would tell Mademoiselle with
a sigh how nice it would have been to have a
10






AT HOME

grandmother like those one reads about in
books, on whose knees one might scramble to
touch her soft double chin. This desire always
haunted me, but Mademoiselle, deeply shocked
by this remark, explained to me that such
grandmothers did not exist and that such
wishes were not entertained by well-behaved
little girls. I believed her implicitly, and felt
ashamed of myself and grieved at the same
time.

I was seven when father died suddenly of
heart failure during the night. It was the first
time I had come in contact with death. I was
afraid and wept bitterly.
The next days dragged on, full of sadness.
My sister and brother came from their schools.
My sister and I were clad in black frocks with
big white collars. According to custom, the
mirrors in the flat were all veiled in respect to
the Russian superstition that a man who sees
his reflection in a mirror of a house where
there is a dead body, must die soon after, him-
11






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

self. The whole day people crowded in our
rooms, one funeral service followed the other
and the air was impregnated with flowers and
incense.
I could not get reconciled to father's immo-
bility. The first pang of fear had passed and
at night, while Mademoiselle was fast asleep,
I softly got out of bed, made my way bare-
footed to the dining-room and mounting the
steps to the coffin, peered into father's face,
hoping that he would wake up. But nothing
happened and the monotonous reading of the
nun penetrated my soul together with the con-
sciousness of death.
The funeral took place on the third day. A
military band played hymns, we walked imme-
diately behind the hearse; father's black horse
followed at a distance led by a groom. I wept
the whole way. I was sorry for father and no
less sorry for myself.
Soon mother came from Paris to fetch us
and stopped at the Hotel d'Europe. Our
meeting took place on the stairs. I asked
12






AT HOME

Mademoiselle who this smartly dressed lady
was, and hearing that it was mother, rushed
to kiss her hands, filled with pride.
Mother took us with her to Paris. Arriving
there, I was surprised to hear every porter
speak French and annoyed everybody by ask-
ing who gave them French lessons.
I quickly got used to the new life. We lived
in the rue St. Honored, took our walks in the
Tuileries. I had companions of my age, the
daughters of mother's friends in the Sacr6-
Coeur, where she had been educated. We
played toupie, went to see the Punch & Judy
show, the merry-go-rounds, sucked sucres
d'orges and the time passed extraordinarily
quickly and excitingly.
Mother went away again and soon married
a second time, summoning us now to Dresden.
Here life entered a very definite path. I was
placed in a German school and the wife of the
Russian priest came to read Russian with me at
home and to give me dictation for practice in
writing. Up to this time, I was more profi-
13






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

cient in French than Russian because French
had been the language spoken in our home and
among our friends.
We spent the summers in Saxon Switzer-
land where the excursions were a source of de-
light to us. We came back loaded with flow-
ers, photographs and hideous "souvenirs" of
which I was particularly fond. This period
knew only one shadow: the lessons of mathe-
matics with our cousins' tutor. I was so afraid
of him that my mind, paralysed with fear, re-
fused to grasp the simplest things and half an
hour before the lesson began I started crying
without ever drying my eyes. The teacher was
distressed by my obtuseness, and this increased
my despair. Thus during the whole summer I
did not manage to conquer the multiplication
table and a hatred for figures remained with
me for ever. A year and a half later we came
back to Russia, but this time to Moscow. It
was arranged that we should enter some pri-
vate school. The school chosen was very fash-
ionable and very old-fashioned at the same






AT HOME

time. The proprietess was old Madame Bess.
Every morning we had to report to her in her
room. She sat in a big armchair, enveloped in
an ermine cape already quite yellow with age,
and her pug on her lap. We had to kiss her
hand and then to stroke the pug which snarled,
frightening us.
Owing to my insufficient knowledge of Rus-
sian, a teacher gave me additional lessons at
home. She had a great influence upon my
whole inner development. Highly religious
(she soon took the veil at the Novodievichy
convent), she passed her great faith on to me
and I became her zealous follower. In my de-
sire to manifest my zeal, I began to instruct
my German maid in the orthodox religion and
did so with such obstinacy and eloquence, that
she disowned Protestantism after six months.
I spent all my pocket-money buying sacred
books, lives of saints, and images, distributed
the rest among the poor, shutting my eyes
tightly as I did in order that, literally, the right
hand might not know what the left hand did.
15






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

I bought scent and piously poured it over the
crucifix, imitating Mary anointing the feet of
Christ. It was a happy time of ecstasy and
pure unshaken faith without any "why's or
wherefore's."
Five years after father's death, mother died
just as suddenly. We remained strangers in
the family of my stepfather, and as soon as I
realized this, I retired into my shell and shut
myself up.
We had only a feeble notion as to how
our lives would shape themselves. Although
mother was rarely at home, her hand had been
felt everywhere and she domineered over all
governesses and tutors. Now each of them
fought for supremacy. They all thought they
had a right to interfere and make observations.
To my relief, little old Mademoiselle remained
at my side. She was gentle and affectionate
with me and spoilt me as much as she was per-
mitted to do. But with mother's death her
position in the house became insecure; the
young English and French governesses seiz-
16





AT HOME

ing power, formed a hostile bloc against us,
together with the German tutor.
I passed into the fourth class. I appeared
older than my age and I began to want to
attract attention, and to flirt a bit. We re-
ceived a considerable amount of pocket-money,
but were forbidden to buy anything for it ex-
cept sweets, presents and ornaments for our
rooms. We were not allowed to choose our
dresses and in the evenings were supposed to
ask the governess what we were to wear the
next day. This rarely coincided with our
tastes and caused us many unpleasant mo-
ments, as the wish to be smart and dress becom-
ingly was now very much alive in us. Parties
and concerts were organised in our school, at
which I was not allowed to assist. My school-
fellows, after a careful investigation of their
surroundings, also proved to be unsuitable.
I often felt very bored at home. My sister
married, I was left the only girl in the house
and plans were made for sending me to the
Boarding Institute for girls.












2. THE INSTITUTE


T HE Institute of the Order of Ste. Cath-
erine, where I was brought in the au-
tumn, was a huge palatial building. Many
girls were examined with me in a marble hall
crowded with tables covered with green cloth.
Owing to the difference between the curricu-
lun at my old school and at this one, I failed
in the examination and instead of getting into
the next class, the third, I had to remain a
fourth former. Thus the beginning was not a
brilliant one. I was crushed by the humilia-
tion I had undergone as well as by the new,
strange environment. All the pupils 'were
sent at first to a "Russian bath," an institution
until then unknown to me, where I was almost
smothered by the steam and the heat. Then
18


NYI~CI~ZIZICIIIIC~CIICCICIC~CICICL~CICr






THE INSTITUTE

we were arrayed in long green woollen frocks,
white aprons and pelerines, a black cashmere
shawl was thrown over our wet, loosened hair
and in this aspect, crimson and stewed, we
were taken to our classes. The girls sur-
rounded me, showering a row of questions upon
me: What was my name, how old was I, what
school had I attended before, whether I was a
softy or a tomboy. How did I wear my hair
at home, was I in love, and so on without end.
I decided to win over my class with self-
assurance and assume a knowledge of life.
With perfect nonchalance I made up a few
stories about myself, criticised local rules,
added a suitable anecdote and immediately be-
came popular. The first night I slept badly in
a new bed that was too hard, the sheets too
coarse. For a long time I could not get used
to making my bed myself, the invariable cutlets
were not to my taste and I found that walking
in prunello gaiters was uncomfortable. But
the privileges of the new life were much more
obvious. I was among girls of my own age, the
19






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

class-mistresses' attention was not centred on
me alone and I suddenly discovered in myself
a strong liking for pranks and mischief. We
learnt little, whispered more, laughed and
listened to reprimands with a condescending
smile.

The day began early. The deafening gong
along the passages compelled us to jump out of
bed in winter by lamplight. We rushed to the
water-pump with a towel hanging across the
shoulder, fastening up the endless hooks on
each other's frocks, tying up tightly the aprons
round our waists. Everybody had to be ready
when the class-mistress appeared and we then
marched in pairs to the recreation hall for the
prayer. A girl of the elder form read it out
of a special book in the presence of the head
of the school. At the end of the prayer we all
curtseyed in her direction, wishing her good
morning, and went down to the dining-room.
Our first breakfast consisted of a mug of tea.
two lumps of sugar and a French roll. Our
20






THE INSTITUTE

spirits were particularly low at that early hour.
We felt overcome with sleepiness, tormented by
lessons not repeated and by the fear of class
exercises. Many of us, to avoid a bad mark,
recurred to desperate measures, such as cutting
a finger on the right hand or taking hold of the
chimney of a burning lamp with one's palm,
which then became covered with blisters and re-
quired a bandage made in the school infirmary.
The first lesson of the so-called "practice"
in French or German depended on the class-
mistress on duty. Klara Ivanovna supported
all our haughtiness calmly and her placid na-
ture enabled her to remain with us until the
last form. The French teachers could not
stand the test and changed several times a year.
We passed through the hands of the most
varied types of women. The first I found
on my arrival was Mademoiselle B., a young,
merry Parisian, with a fluffy hairdress and a
slender figure. She paid little heed to us and
every free moment left the class to chatter in
the passage with her friends. The girls who






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

sat quiet and well-behaved in her presence, at
once took advantage of these absences and be-
gan an uproarious tussle. Books flew to all
the corners, passionate speeches were pro-
nounced standing on the desks, some girls
played on the piano, everybody laughed.
Once, in the heat of such merriment, we were
taken unawares by the Principal, and Made-
moiselle B. left the school. Some governesses
made such fleeting appearances that I do not
even remember them. One more remained in
my memory: Mademoiselle L. who decided to
establish a State Duma in the class, in harmony
with the spirit of the times, as this coincided
with the October Manifesto of 1905. A presi-
dent was elected, also leaders of parties and all
our trifling everyday matters had to be settled
in that solemn way. This ended with a big
scandal. The whole class split into hostile
camps, the opposition took the upper hand.
the shouting went on heedless of the president's
bell. The scheme had to be abandoned. Its
liberalism probably did not appeal to the school
22






THE INSTITUTE

authorities and Mademoiselle L. soon dis-
appeared.
Being one of the tallest girls of our class,
I sat on the back bench, the most comfortable
place for devoting one's time to extraneous
occupations, such as reading novels or writing
letters during the lesson. It was considered
good form not to attach too much importance
to learning. Very few of us were preparing
for a laborious life. The greater part, to
which I belonged, expected nothing at the
end of school but balls, parties and a prompt
marriage. In spite of the uniformity carried
out by the shape of dress, the food and the
whole pattern of life, the diversity between
the girls existed all the same and often made
itself very apparent. Some were called "sour
milk," others "cream." The first despised the
second for their thoughtlessness and vanity,
while the "cream" were unable to understand
practical reasoning and scorned diligence, call-
ing it faggingg."
In my time, school-girl "adoration" still
23






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

flourished. Each singled out some particular
friend as a favourite. We wrote tender mis-
sives, shed tears, persecuted each other with
scenes of jealousy. The object of our atten-
tion was presented with flowers and sweets, and
those of more romantic disposition cut or
scratched out on their arms the initials of the
beloved. The longing for affection as well as
the desire to attract notice drew us to one
another.
Often we feigned disappointment and bore-
dom, but on the whole the short holidays, re-
peated three times a year, did not enable us to
raise even a corner of the veil that was drawn
over reality. All the windows of the huge
school opening on the street were made of dull
glass up to the middle and only one window
at the very top of the stairs was transparent.
We called it the "window of life" and it was
forbidden and therefore the favourite place
of our meditations. Our regular life was in-
terrupted by concerts, theatres and our favour-
ite and beloved feast-Catherine's Day.
24






THE INSTITUTE

The everyday uniform was rejected for thin
batiste aprons with lace. The class-mistresses
in their gala, corn-flower silk frocks, continu-
ally surprised animated groups as they entered
the dormitory. With the soft rustle of stiff
woollen skirts, the procession of all the classes,
arranged in pairs according to height, moved
like a green and white ribbon across the library
and the pillared hall into the church.
Candles and lamps were reflected on the
pink marble walls and the neat rows of white
aprons shimmered on the inlaid floor. The
sound of tender voices poured forth harmoni-
ously, interrupted by the red-haired deacon's
bass. A tall priest, his eyes lifted to the skies,
moved about softly as though to avoid meeting
so many curious, girlish eyes.
After a solemn Te Deum and a prayer for
prolongation of years that made the vaults re-
sound, the Principal, with a train three yards
long and a decoration on her breast, came up to
kiss the cross and the pupils followed her, kiss-
ing first the crucifix with a familiar movement,
25






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

then the priest's hand and after that, with a
low bow to the Principal, passed into the hall.
The choir drew up on the platform under the
Czar's pictures and "God Save the Czar" came
forth from every throat in ecstasy.
Then came cries of joy, congratulations, all
this in the certitude that there would be cakes
for tea, a supper of four courses; that Count
Protassieff-Bakhmetiew was to come during
the day by order of Her Majesty, and in the
evening, in the evening . the Ball.
The noise in the dining-room was indescrib-
able, not even the usual "silence" of the Prin-
cipal was to be heard. On that day one could
laugh freely and chatter, chatter without end.
not in French or in German, but in Russian.
at last!
The hall was ornamented by garlands of
roses, sent by the 2d cadet-corps, the boys ot'
that school wearing the same initials as we did
on their shoulder-straps were considered as our
brothers. The two elder companies and the
pupils of the Military Schools were invited to
26






THE INSTITUTE

the Ball. But before that the Count's visit
was due.
Three days before his arrival all the Insti-
tute was drilled for an hour a day in deep curt-
seying and simultaneous greeting. Standing
in the middle of the hall and clapping her
hands, the Principal repeated tirelessly:
"Un, deux, trois!"
At "three" we all had to sink as a wave in
a deep curtsey, saying in chorus: "Nous avons
l'honneur de vous saluer, M. le Comte!" and
at the word Comte the heads had to be raised
and the bodies acquire their usual position.
After three days' drill the simultaneousness
of three hundred and twenty inclined heads was
achieved and the one care that remained was
not to humiliate oneself in front of the august
guest. He brought congratulations in the
name of the Empress Maria Feodorovna and
generously lavished boxes of sweets upon us.
Finally the evening came. The candles in
the five big chandeliers were lit at seven in
the evening, but our hearts jumped with ex-
27






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

citement long before that. At the last moment,
after the careful examination of the class-
mistress had been submitted to, the forbidden
lock was released from the smooth hair-dress
and the nose powdered with tooth powder if
the face powder had been mercilessly confis-
cated.
The pupils from the Military Schools and
the cadets stood in line. The Principal with
the trustees and guests of honour sat upon the
platform. The girls of the elder forms, with
the Catherine ribbon placed on the shoulder.
opened the ball with a polonaise with the cadets
as partners, making a deep curtsey as they
passed in front of the platform.
When the first candles burnt out the younger
girls were sent to bed, new candles were lit for
the other ones and the merriment continued.
We danced a lot, with an enthusiasm such as we
never knew after.
But even here the vigilant eye did not
weaken, there were special rules one had to
submit to. Not to talk during the dances, not
28






THE INSTITUTE

to dance twice with the same man, not to stand
out behind the pillars, etc., etc.
But in spite of the interrupted bits of con-
versation, the new faces and ecstatic dreams
did not allow us to go to sleep for a long time
and the night, as well as the next day, passed in
the smoke of memories.

The Japanese war of 1904-05 laid its stamp
upon the life in our school. The fathers and
brothers of many of us were at the front; black
mourning pinafores soon began to make a more
and more frequent appearance. Recreations
were devoted to sewing for the soldiers. Kits
were packed and sent to the front. We added
letters, wishing them luck, gave our addresses
and received touching replies written in a
clumsy handwriting. Like our elders, we were
certain of victory, of a glorious ending of the
war and cried after them, "We'll beat them hol-
low!" We never entered into the events which
were ripening and were remote from all
politics.






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

I was sixteen when the revolution of 1905
broke out. A fever of excitement invaded the
school. The teachers missed their lessons, the
class-mistresses whispered among themselves.
We were not taken out for walks. The teacher
of history, a young professor, alone remained
longer than usual at his lessons, trying to ex-
plain to us the schemes of various parties, spoke
of the Social-Revolutionaries, the Social-Dem-
ocrats, the cadets (Constitutional-Democrats).
This did not much interest us, we caught at
random a few words concerning "freedom,"
meetings, new order, and decided to derive pos-
sible profit from the chaos that had established
itself. A meeting of the three top forms
was assembled at once. The distraught class-
teachers did not oppose this, as the lack of regu-
lar lessons and their personal apprehensions
had swerved the school routine from its accus-
tomed path.
I remember the long sheet of paper with
twenty clauses of the ultimatum addressed to
the authorities after a stormy meeting. It com-
30





THE INSTITUTE

prised the "freedom of hair-dress, increase of
dessert, abolishment of marks and permission
delivered not only to our brothers, but also to
our brothers' friends, to visit us on holidays."
Things developed, however, so rapidly in
those days that while we were working at our
scheme of aggression, real shooting and fires
had started in the streets. We wandered about,
frightened, with no more thought of "deriving
profit." Those who were willing were sent
home.
We did not undress for the night, a guard
was established round the school. The Pres-
nia was on fire.
Early one morning Mademoiselle came to
fetch me in a closed carriage and we arrived
home safely, avoiding the barricades, but fear-
ing every moment to get caught in a street
battle.
Dreary, tedious days followed this. The
windows were draped with heavy curtains, no
Working-quarter of Moscow. Here the revolt
of 1905 began and in memory of that event it is
called "Red Presnia."






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

light was allowed in the rooms which could be
seen from the street. The sky continually
glowed from the fires, shouting and firing were
heard in every direction; towards night there
was a dead calm. One could hear the tramp ol
controlling patrols.
The railways did not function. All labour
ceased. There was no running water, no elec-
tricity. Life was centred around horrible
rumours of pogroms and murders. One knew
nothing for certain. We believed that the re-
volt would be suppressed, but could not tell
how long it would last or how many victims
it would number.
If I am not mistaken, in the end of Decem-
ber the Semenow regiment arrived from St.
Petersburg under the command of General
Min, and Moscow in several days was reduced
to order by arrests and shootings. The cos-
sacks subdued uprisings in the country and
very soon life seemed to return to its former
channels.
Strolling along the Sadovaia with Mademoi-
32





THE INSTITUTE

selle, we examined the still unremoved barri-
cades, built up of cases, barrels, posts and other
litter. Many streets were obstructed with
barbed wire, the houses had been damaged by
shooting, window-panes were smashed, a large
house on the Kudrin Square was entirely
destroyed.
Pedestrians walked along the streets without
a sense of security, no trams or cab-men were
to be seen.
The shops were re-opened, little by little,
and soon the inhabitants, rapidly forgetting all
their troubles, filled the streets once more.
Had I then come into contact with men of
diverse classes and opinions, had the ideas of
the people fighting against the existing order
of things come to my ears, I might have inter-
preted and explained events to myself in a
more intelligent way. As it was, Mademoiselle
never left my side, she understood still less
than I did all that was going on around and
my only other companions were my school-
fellows.





TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

Returning to school after the Christmas holi-
days, we found almost all the staff had been
dismissed for its too liberal views. The in-
spector himself had been discharged and the
Principal had met with serious disapproval
in the Department of the Dowager Empress.
The imputation had been brought against her
that during the uprising, students were said to
have found shelter between the walls of the
school.
The programme for history was shortened.
The French revolution was totally excluded
and the lessons carefully surveyed.
The last year passed as in a dream, we were
preparing for the examinations and making
plans for the future. The parting with the
school touched us deeply. We sobbed, swore
eternal friendship, all quarrels and misunder-
standings were forgotten. We wandered about
the building, bidding farewell to every corner
and met the next solemn day with eyes swollen
from tears.
The last Mass was sung and we were lined






THE INSTITUTE

up in the hall filled with parents and relations.
After communion and the speeches of the
trustees, we were called in turn to the table and
given diplomas, Bibles, and, for those who had
deserved them, rewards.
Thus we crossed the threshold of life with
little knowledge, but much self-assurance-
"muslin-creatures," as the pupils of such
schools were called. Everything seemed clear
and simple to us: a care-free life, and joys, until
then unknown, awaited us.
In my life all seemed to follow a prepared
path. The first ball at home opened a series
of uninterrupted merry-makings. For the first
time my hair was fixed by a hair-dresser who
pinned on to my plait the same roses as those
that decorated my white ball dress.
I can remember the chilliness of the dancing-
room that had just been aired, the scent of the
flowers, the arrival of the first guests; then the
band, an uproarious crowd of young people,
uniforms, light-coloured dresses, a gay cotil-
lion.






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

But when the guests had left and the light
of the numerous candles was blown out, I also
remember the disarray of the rooms that sud-
denly became very obvious, the sadness that
overcame me at the thought of the futility of
pleasures and the fear of what life might hohl
for me.












3. THE COUNTRY


IN those days, a young girl "came out" in a
series of parties and balls for the purpose
of meeting her future husband.
Some married very quickly, others had to
"do" several seasons and did not find it so
pleasant in the long run as at the beginning.
The houses, the faces, the amusements, all were
the same.
I devoted only a few months to this pastime
and getting married at the end of my first sea-
son, retired to the country where we had de-
cided to settle down.
The house was of the Catherine period, one-
storied, wooden, plastered and painted in a
warm yellow shade. A round stone terrace
came out onto the garden, with white pillars
37


ZLCLCIAA~CINVVUMIINUVI~ZI~YUUUVC






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

that supported the attic. Two ancient lime-
trees formed a thick hat of foliage that covered
up the top balcony entirely.
We completely repaired the old house, pre-
serving its style, enlarging and improving it in
many ways.
A long alley of lime-trees led in a slope to the
pond, which was actually a river. The oppo-
site shore was hilly and covered with an oak-
grove which was planted each year with a fresh
seedling.
With particular zeal, I gave myself up to
the overgrown garden. We cut new walks
through the thick underbrush, raised paths, laid
out picturesque corners.
In spring I liked to get up at dawn and work
with the peasant women who only c: ime for the
day. I revelled in the freedom, in the scenit of
the soil and of the lilacs that surrounded the
garden in a thick circle. I rejoiced over e\ery
new sprout, every freshly opened flower.
The women and girls, their sarafans tucked
up high, worked together under the supervision
38






THE COUNTRY

of the gardener, and my presence added still
more fire to their own zeal. I gradually
learnt to call them by their first names, knew
all about the births, deaths and marriages that
occurred in their families. While they rested
and took their meal, I had the traditional Rus-
sian country breakfast which consisted of coffee
with a special kind of cream which for hours
had stood in the warm stove until it had taken
on a brownish colour, home-made white bread
and different other country specialties.
Our servants had all been in our employ for
many years. They came from our village and
were very devoted to us. The cook, Ivan Vas-
silievich, was a particularly fine character, who
had given up his life not only to the culinary
art, but to all our household, guarding our in-
terests and rejoicing over every new sign
of prosperity. He always drew himself up
briskly as he came to meet us, snatched off his
white cap with a quick movement and said,
loudly:
"Wishing you health!"
39






TWICE BORN~IN RUSSIA

He then reported, with a beaming face, on
the calving cow, or newly hatched chick-
ens.
At first they all observed me scrutinisingly,
as one does a new mistress, watched every step,
censored my "un-lordly" work in the garden,
but finally got used to me and we lived on good
terms.
The only one who could not reconcile him-
self was the old butler Ij a, the type of Gogol's
Ossip, an eternally sleepy, dishevelled creature,
who had allowed his whiskers to grow and was
spoilt to the utmost by his master's bachelor
life. He waved his hand despairingly at e\cery-
thing, grumbled and sighed and finally, at my
obstinate requests for cleanliness and shave inlg,
decided to part with us rather than give up his
precious beard.
Besides the place where we lived and the eid-
less fields that surrounded it, we had two farms
on the same estate. Usually after sunset, a
jaunting-car was harnessed and to the merry
barking of the dogs that accompanied us, we
40






THE COUNTRY

drove to survey the work achieved during the
day.
Our nearest neighbours lived at a distance of
seven versts, others at twenty, thirty, and even
forty versts. But this was no obstacle to fre-
quent visits.
The bells of the troikas announced the ar-
rival of guests and this raised the usual country
bustle in the pantry with the samovar, supper
and zakuska.*
The visits did not last half an hour as they
do in town, but in a good, neighbourly way peo-
ple came for the whole day, sometimes for sev-
eral days running.
In summer, as soon as the guests had rested
they were taken to see the horses. The coach-
man led out the finest of them in front of the
terrace with their manes moistened and tails
well brushed. Their dry legs were approved
of, remarks were made on the low knuckle-
bones, an interest roused in the stallion; all
this led to an animated discussion. Sometimes
Hors d'xuvres.






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

the horses were broken in. Then the whole
household was gone over, the new machine ex-
hibited, the price of corn and other country
matters talked over. We strolled in the gar-
den, went in the boat, supped in the summer-
house; a lot of eating and drinking took place.
The whole district was invited to family cere-
monies and then we danced in the garden to
a military band. Fireworks were organised,
illuminations set up and the whole village
called to participate in the feast.
Nevertheless at that time I preferred soli-
tude to everything else. I never had time to
be bored, everything was new and full of in-
terest. I loved with all my heart the immense
spaces of the fields, with the whirling starling.
the smell of blooming corn or ploughed-up
earth, and in the winter, the soft whiteness of
the snow, the transparence of the air and the
silence.

I observed the peasants with keen interest.
In those days I still believed in people and in
42






THE COUNTRY

the value of good intentions. Every kind word
was to me a sincere expression of the soul, and,
filled with compassion for the poor, I longed to
be of use to them. I hoped that soon I would
find a way to break down the wall which
seemed to exist between us and the peasants.
I never visited them in their huts. It seemed
to me that the sincerity of my intentions would
be misunderstood and attributed to arrogance,
curiosity, or humiliating condescension. But I
received them all at home, tried to cure their
simple ailments, sent the serious cases to the
hospital, arranged that straw, grain and seeds
should be delivered to them and persuaded
parents to send their children to school.
However, things were not encouraging. I
had a number of disappointments and I soon
became aware that all was not going as it
should, that the peasants, men as well as
women, crouching on their knees before us (a
custom we always tried hard to abolish) and re-
peating: "We are yours, you are ours," held a
knife, figuratively speaking, behind their backs.
43






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

I knew that after every refusal of an unreason-
able request, they carried away with them a
deep sense of grievance, and if I gave them
what they asked for, they looked upon me as a
simpleton who had to be fooled and made use
of in every way.
The sense of our solitude among this mass of
people whom we were unable to understand,
filled me with dread. I was particularly con-
scious of this in church. As I watched the sea
of heads from the enclosure, set apart for us,
one step higher than the floor, I felt myself
standing on dangerous ground. It would take
very little to bring to the surface all the hidden
bitterness of their hearts. And in the flash of a
second we would then be swept from the face
of the earth with all our good intentions.
My apprehensions provoked laughter and
joking among my family, who for the most
part believed in the peasants and did not deem
possible a return of the revolution.
Our village was not a rich one, but it con-
tained no landless peasants. I can remember
44






THE COUNTRY

only Vasska Zimin, the real type of an in-
veterate drunkard. He lived in a demolished
hut and spent all his earnings on drink.
The poorest household consisted of a cow,
two sheep and a pig, if not a horse. The huts
were covered with straw, and in winter the
walls were piled high with the same straw
mixed with earth to protect them against the
cold winds. Straw was used, also, to heat the
houses, for in that part of the Government of
Riasan there was no other fuel at all. Of
course, under those conditions, fires often broke
out and in summer almost every storm col-
oured the sky red with flames. The wind car-
ried about the clods of burning straw to the
neighboring roofs and the fire spread rap-
idly. The fire brigade worked lazily, cries and
disputes prevented any actual help.
At first, those catastrophes drove me to
despair. My soul ached for the ruined people,
and I myself lent a hand at the fires. But here
again I met with disappointments. One day I
saw the owner of a hut which we had been
45






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

rescuing with effort from the flames, push a
handful of smouldering straw under his house
to receive the insurance for it. The peasants
were often keen to get the money that enabled
them to procure new buildings for the old ones.
They never bothered about improving their
homes. The richer peasant lived just as dirtily
and carelessly as the poor one, his food alone
was better and the clothes he wore on holidays
were smarter. During the six years of my life
in the country, I never saw a tree planted by a
peasant of his own free will and if it were done
by administrative order, it did little good, for in
a very short time it was brought down or
perished for want of care. The village aston-
ished one by the absence of all foliage and the
parks of the landowners stood out as oases in
the desert with their thick caps of green trees.
In the winter, the peasant-men idled. Home
industry did not flourish, they sprawled on the
stove and the household work, as well as the
care of the animals, fell to the women. It wais
they, too, who wove the linen and the stuff for
46






THE COUNTRY

their skirts. The picturesque national costume
was still worn in the Government. The women
and the girls made a show of their bright-
coloured sarafans, their dozens of starched
skirts worn one on the top of the other, their
embroidered tunics with intricate pleats gath-
ered round the waist. The old women wore
long homespun white smock-frocks and I still
remember a few old men in tall, felt top-hats.

The square in front of the Church offered a
fine spectacle on holidays. The speckled wave
of people flooded the lawn, rocked on the steps
leading into the church, where, bowing and
crossing to all sides, it was swallowed up by the
door. Here a strict order was maintained, the
men stood in front, the women at the side chan-
tries, whispering and making the sign of the
cross over their mouths as they yawned, that
the devil might not enter in.
There was no conscious religious sense
among the peasants. The villagers went to
church assiduously, methodically observed
47





TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

Lent, prepared for the Sacrament, but all this
was performed because it was an established
rite, dear to the Russian heart; and Morning
Mass was the beginning of a festival where the
girl showed off her new shawl and the lad ex-
hibited his dazzling rubber-boots. Lent was
kept for reasons of economy, the Lents helping
to stretch out supplies until the merry feast day
came. The rite was carried out without enter-
ing into its meaning and superstition reigned
supreme.
In the evenings the youths strolled along the
broad village street. The acme of smartness
and elegance in the village were new, shin-
ing rubber-shoes. The boys wore them on the
driest summer days as an ornament. At first
the lads kept apart from the girls, shelling sun-
flower seeds and exchanging jokes. Then the
accordion united them all and they started
dancing round and round. There were some
artists among them who came out into the cen-
tre of the circle and urged the girls to partake
of their merriment with a special stamping of
48






THE COUNTRY

the feet and a daring knee-step, accompanied
by whistles. And they were unable to resist.
They swam forth, with a slight shrug of the
shoulder, with hardly perceptible movements of
the feet, drawing a circle and uttering now and
then a shrill cry from sheer overflow of feeling
to the unanimous rhythmic clapping of all the
onlookers and the meaningless refrain of the
women:
"Dulia, dulia, dulia-dulia . ."
And how wonderful was the singing of the
workmen, going homeward in the evenings,
when the air was so transparent that single
voices could be heard1rom our terrace. Every-
thing seemed then so simple, so peaceful and
one began once more to believe in a mutual
understanding.
One-quarter of the land was leased from one
year to another for a paltry sum. These sec-
tions very soon wasted away entirely from bad
tillage as well as from lack of fertilisers. The
peasants treated not only the leased land, but
their own as well with utter negligence and it is
49






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

only by a miracle that even such rich soil as our
deep black-earth continued to produce.
We never imposed fines for damage done by
cattle or other misdeeds. No lawsuits ever oc-
curred. The cattle overtaken on our fields was
driven into a shed and the owner coming to
fetch it in the evening got reprimanded by the
land-agent. They seemed to appreciate that.
but Heaven knows whether they were sincere
or not.
Sometimes I had to be present at scenes that
appeared insane and outrageous. A peasant-
woman would come all bruised and beaten.
weeping and begging for protection against
her husband, who was drunk all the time and
frequently threatened to kill her. The situl-
tion was a delicate one. The woman deserved
all one's pity, but her husband could rightly
protest against interference in his private
life. The woman would continue to yell and
beg to have him brought to justice.
The culprit is summoned. A big healtIhy lad
with a wandering, roving gaze is brought into
50






THE COUNTRY

one's presence. Solomon's judgment begins.
"Did he beat you?" my husband asks the
woman.
"He did, Little Father, he did, he almost
shook all the soul out o' me, the scoundrel."
"And you did not beat him back?"
"Why, Little Father, could I do so with my
poor strength against this here fiend?"
"Well, then, I will do it for you."
And the lad gets some solid cuffs on the
ear.
The woman goes away satisfied, the man
follows her sullenly, crumpling his cap in his
hands.
I am very indignant and unhappy over this,
reproach my husband, try to demonstrate the
impossibility of such treatment, but in every
case, alas! I prove to be wrong.
The next day the lad very humbly makes
his appearance on the estate, offers his thanks
for the "bringing to justice," promises not to
drink and begs to be employed as a work-
man. And indeed the complaints are rarely






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

repeated. What positively astonished me
was that on all such occasions the lpeasants
seemed to boast of the cuffs they had re-
ceived and called themselves the "Prince's
god-sons."
I was bewildered, unable to solve the great
problem as to what attitude one should adopt
towards the peasants. Sympathy and compas-
sion slowly died out, as did respect and sin-
cerity. I went on with my task but without the
same interest, merely because I had undertaken
an obligation. It was humiliating to live in
such mutual betrayal. The peasants on the one
side with their hypocritical devotion, I, on the
other, artificially keeping up the last spark of
good feeling.

I had, however, several friends among them
to whom I was fond of talking and whom I
particularly tried to help, knowing that they
would not betray my confidence and possessing
proof of their genuine attachment. I remem-
ber Mishka Froloff, a lad six feet tall, with a
52






THE COUNTRY

red mane of hair and clear blue eyes. Later on
he became our overseer, but was only a night-
guard at that time. It was his duty to protect
the house at night and make the rounds with a
kind of rattle, a curious instrument used on
every estate and in every village for frightening
away burglars and, incidentally, preventing
their being caught.
I remember how he once scared me to death
with his exaggerated precautions. It was in
the autumn. I was all alone in my apartments
and very nervous. They were situated far
from the servants' quarters. In the night,
there was a loud knock on the wall adjoining
my bedroom. Half crazy with fear, with
bated breath I listened to the repeated knocks.
They lasted all night at short intervals and
I, of course, never closed my eyes, waiting for
the long-desired dawn.
In the morning I summoned Mishka. I
told him of the mysterious incident, but he did
not let me finish my story and explained with a
beaming smile:






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

"'Twas I who knocked, Your Grace, that
you should have no fear and know that I was
about."
And when one remembers all these dear
Mishkas, Pakhoms and Ivans and many others,
one fails to connect with them the thoughts of
destruction, arsons and desire to sweep us from
the face of the earth.
They were quite harmless taken separately,
but became inflammable material in the mass.
They had no firm principles of good or evil.
They were dominated entirely by one motive
handed down from one generation to the other:
the thirst for land. While feeling entitled to
take what belongs to others, there are no people
in the world with so keen a sense of property as
Russian peasants.
Each of the three villages belonging to our
estate had a school. The parents sent their
children there very reluctantly, considering the
work in the fields and in the house of greater
use to them. Often, if persuasions did not help,
one had to resort to threats and thus recruit the
54






THE COUNTRY

children against the will of their parents. I
visited one of the schools almost daily to super-
vise the lessons. The more gifted pupils were
sent after three years to a trade school or to the
high school in the town, which gave them the
right to become teachers themselves.
I preferred the trade school, for we had an
oversupply of teachers; many of them lived in
misery and without work for years at a time,
and being once torn away from the village
atmosphere could not reconcile themselves with
it any more. Tradesmen, on the other hand,
were always required and certain to get work.
This opinion was laid to my door in the days of
the revolution: "She never wished to have our
children educated like gents, wanted to make
workmen of 'em all."
In winter evenings, for the enjoyment of the
children, the mistresses and I arranged lectures
in the school and put on plays. The girls
would learn to sew and embroider in these
hours; the boys designed and plaited baskets.
I longed to set up in time a carpenter's shop at
55






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

every school, but the whole atmosphere in the
villages underwent such a sharp change after
1914 that my wish to undertake anything died
out.
In spring began a feverish investigation
into the supply of flower seeds and long con-
versations with the gardener. I made designs
for flower beds and pored over catalogues.
Profiting by the peace of country life, I de-
voted a great deal of time to reading. I be-
came interested in many files of docuncnrts
belonging to the family of my husband and I
had sent to me papers relating to my own
family. I spent many hours in reading them
and setting them in order. My maternal
great-grandfather had emigrated from France
to St. Petersburg. I found much very inter-
esting correspondence with persons prominent
in France at that time. I remember especially
bundles of letters by Louis Philippe and Cha-
teaubriand. All these treasures perished later
when our house was burnt down, as did also
letters of Bismarck to my mother-in-law, writ-






THE COUNTRY

ten when he was minister of Prussia to the
Imperial Court.
My correspondence, too, took up a lot of my
time. The mail came twice a week. An out-
rider had to go twenty versts to fetch it. Only
in the last years of our life in the country was a
post-office opened at ten versts' distance. In
the evenings a fat bag crammed with papers,
reviews and letters was brought to us and on
those days we lingered longer than usual round
the samovar, each absorbed in the reading of his
news.

In this way the declaration of war with Ger-
many came to us.
It passed unnoticed, arousing no excitement
in the country. The peasants listened to
the manifesto, read aloud by the priest, with
utter indifference. There were no assemblies,
no great discussions. The recruits left with
perfect calm, without realising, so I think, what
was actually going on. They came to bid us
farewell and in the evenings the songs and
57






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

accordions of the young soldiers resounded
louder than ever.
We heard the manifesto with horror. The
danger of war in the unreliable atmosphere that
prevailed at the time, made itself felt very
strongly. The Japanese war was still fresh in
all memories.
The first news from the front brought with it
fantastic tales of the legendary cossack, Ivan
Kriutschkoff, who strung seven Germans upon
his bayonet. His pictures were demonstrated
on shawls, jugs and towels and he greatly oc-
cupied the peasants' mind. Bloodthirsty in-
stincts began to appear in the form of patri-
otism.
Often illiterate peasants came to me with re-
quests to read letters from soldiers or write
replies. After the traditional greetings from
relatives and acquaintances, with the assurance
of filial devotion, came the short postscript:
"Well and alive and hope God will send you
the same. As to the Germans, everything is
fine, so I understand."






,THE COUNTRY

The village became more desolate every day.
Servants were scarce in every household; the
difficulty of the situation made itself apparent,
arousing dissatisfaction and creating the most
convenient excuse for the speeches of the agi-
tators.
Nevertheless the first wandering-orators-
so the peasants themselves called them-did
not have great success and the effect achieved
was due not so much to the fire and persuasive
power of the speeches as to the convincing
power of the vodka. Any result could always
be obtained in the village for vodka. The
peasant who offered the company a pail of
vodka, received the best partition of land at
the division; in summer time, when work was
pressing, it was for vodka that labour could be
got most willingly. The women and the girls
also received some of it then. Now vodka be-
came a political weapon. For half a bottle of
vodka, one of our farms was set on fire some
weeks after the declaration of war. The under-
shepherds, who were caught in flagrante de-
59






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

licto, owned to having been bribed by a Inld
from town. The damage was enormous, the
cattle, the buildings, the grain, all were burned.
many workmen lost their jobs, the farm was
reduced to a heap of ashes and ruins.
Thus it all began.

In the autumn of the same year, 1914, the
Czar came to the seat of our Government. My
husband went to meet him in Riasan. I could
not, unfortunately, accompany him on account
of my son's illness, and remained alone on the
estate.
In the evening, as I sat with the child in
my arms, the footman rushed in, pale with ter-
ror, shouting, "Fire!" I threw a shawl over
my shoulders, came out on the terrace and saw
a sinister column of smoke and flame rising
from the thrashing-place across the road. This
time it was in our immediate neighbourhood.
I hastened to the spot and found a yelling
crowd gazing at the fire, without making a
movement to fight it. A huge stack of straw
60






THE COUNTRY

was burning. The land-agent, unable to com-
pete with this passive resistance, tried in vain to
persuade the onlookers to take measures for
putting out the fire. Conscious of the atmos-
phere around, I resolved to suppress the fear
and apprehension that overcame me. Doing
my best to be heard, I calmly expressed the
certitude that the fire had been produced by a
carelessly dropped cigarette.
Returning home, I once more turned round
to glance at the fire and to my horror saw a new
pillar of smoke on the opposite side of the
thrashing-place. No more doubt remained
that it was arson. Then a third spot flared up
and overcome with panic I started to run, fear-
ing lest the fire had been set to the house as
well and I would not be able to save the child.
Soon a sea of flames spread over the thrash-
ing-ground. It was as bright as day; the birds,
roused from their sleep, flew about in terror,
the cows lowed plaintively, the horses in the
stables neighed and dashed against the walls.
All this joined with a far-away clamour of






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

voice and the stamping of hundreds of feet.
I rushed to the telephone, begging the con-
stable to send guards for the protection of the
house, and gathering papers and valuables into
a suit-case, put the boy to sleep in my room,
deciding not to undress in order to be ready to
seek shelter with our neighbours if it should
prove necessary to do so. A few hours later the
police came, a sentry was posted and measures
undertaken to put out the fire, but it had had
time to do much damage and the smouldering
straw blazed all through the night.
From this day I lost my peace of mind, also
the last spark of confidence in the peasants and
insisted upon moving to St. Petersburg. Al-
most every day anonymous letters came with
threats or bad language, in this style:
"Take yourself off while you are in life and
health, for it's all up with you anyway. Ve'll
kill the Prince and dance on his grave." Or:
"How d'ye do and farewell and don't forget
us."
Sad news of our retreat came from the front.
62






THE COUNTRY

Then came the revelation of the blunders
committed by the War Office. The atmos-
phere became more and more oppressive. The
defeats were attributed to officers and officials
with German names. There was talk of be-
trayal and silly rumours were circulated con-
cerning the Empress Alexandra Feodorovna
and the Grand-Duchesses, who were supposed
to carry on secret connections with their Ger-
man relatives.
The refugees from Poland came in a flood
from all the regions occupied by Germans. It
was ghastly to see those miserable creatures
filling up the luggage-vans with all their be-
longings. Torn away from their native land,
often separated from their families, they wan-
dered aimlessly about the station, not knowing
where fate was leading them.
We never thought then, as we watched them,
of a still greater calamity hanging over our
heads-to be driven away by our own people.












4. THE REVOLUTION


IN the autumn of 1915 we moved to St.
Petersburg which had become, by order of
HI.I.M., Petrograd. From now on we must
call it by its new name.
Many people changed their German names
to Russian ones, some out of patriotic feelings.
others out of precaution. The joke was cur-
rent that Rosenburg took umbrage if one did
not address him as Rosengrad.
In January, 1916, my younger son was born
and it took me a long time to get well, so that
I participated little in social gatherings and
only saw my intimate friends. For the same
reason I could not be presented at Court.
Sinister whispering became more and more
animated in Petrograd. Rasputin disturbed
64


NNYI~IIYYVVVVVI~CINVI~UVVI~)~NINVVI






THE REVOLUTION

everybody, the Czar was reproached for weak-
ness and gossip of every kind was spread about.
Rasputin had, undoubtedly, a strong influence
upon the Czarina, whose nervous system had
been upset by many misfortunes. He man-
aged to conceal his low instincts very cleverly
and profited by his hypnotic power over the
Czarevitch's illness. It seems to me that the
Czar's family, surrounded exclusively by hypo-
critical adoration, intrigues and courtly flat-
teries, appreciated the uncouth straightfor-
wardness and roughness of Rasputin, which
they mistook for the voice of the people.
The futile discussions of the statesmen
slipped trumps into the hands of the revo-
lutionary elements. A general discontent
reigned in the country. Everybody expected
an upheaval: some thought it would start in the
Palace, others, among the people or the army;
but nobody foresaw the consequences. We
spent the summer in the country. Externally,
life followed its undisturbed course and we
were far from the thought, as we left in the
65






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

autumn for Petrograd, that we were bidding
farewell for ever to the old place.
In the middle of February, 1917, all the most
necessary foodstuffs disappeared in Petrograd
as by magic. The "lines" for bread made their
first appearance. Matches were so scarce that
to discover a box was considered an heroic deed.
Patrols roamed about the town, small groups
assembled on the Nevsky, sometimes they ga th-
ered into a crowd that clamoured for bread.
On the 27th of February we attended tile
funeral of the widow of General Min at Zarkoe
Selo. When the General was shot by a woman
revolutionist in 1906 at a railway station while
waiting for a train with his family, Mrs. MI i
attacked the murderer and drove her off.
although she was told that the woman was
armed with bombs. Afterwards when Ihe
Czar, offering his condolences, told Mrs. 1Min
he would grant her any wish within his power,
she only asked that he pardon the murderer.
When our car entered Petrograd on the way
home from this funeral, we found the streets
66






THE REVOLUTION

crowded with people. For the first time since
receiving menacing letters, we saw menacing
faces and heard menacing shouts.
On February the 28th, we were awakened by
the sound of shooting. The first news came
through the cook, who had gone to town in
search- of provisions. The Volinsky regiment
had risen, dealt ruthlessly with its officers and
now bullets whizzed in all the streets. With
every hour the rumours grew more and more
disturbing. One after the other, the regiments
joined the insurgents, monstrous details came
of the ghastly dealings of the soldiers with their
C.O.'s.
The policemen hid from the merciless per-
secution of the crowd in the garrets from where
they were flung out to the pavement on dis-
covery. Others were immersed in kerosene oil
and set fire to. The police stations were all
blazing.
The persecution of man by man began and
the bloodshed roused the mob to new crimes.
For some days I did not go into the street,
67






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

watching intently for hours and hours the go-
ings on from the window of my sitting-room.
The troops from the front, under the com-
mand of Generals Ivanoff and Alexejeff were
awaited from one hour to the other to bring
things to order. But a queer presentiment
whispered to me that this time it was, indeed,
the end, and I could find no peace.
The streets became desolate. Lorries raced
to and fro bristling with bayonets, red flags
were brandished about, armoured motor-curs
cannonaded the houses. The shooting con-
tinued day and night. We did not sleep,
hardly took any food, our nerves were strung
to the highest limit.
Then came the manifesto in which the Czar
abdicated in favour of the Grand-Duke
Michael. The latter's abdication followed im-
mediately, declaring that it was for the Con-
stituent Assembly to decide.
This put an end to all rumours and then be-
gan something new, strange and terrible. On
the day the manifesto became public I made imy
68






THE REVOLUTION

first appearance in the street. Money had to
be fetched from the bank and it was less dan-
gerous for a woman to show herself in the street
than for a man. On the corner of the Nevsky
I went up to have a look at the declarations,
pasted on the walls, among which was the mani-
festo. I read the pathetic words of the abdica-
tion and tears flowed down my cheeks. I
forgot all about the danger, forgot that I was
probably being watched. I was unconsciously
bidding farewell at that moment to all the
world of my childhood, my youth. I saw and
heard around me the desecration of all that I
had been taught to respect as sacred. A voice
at my side rang out, addressing me:
"Don't cry, m'lady, it might all take a change
yet. Who knows?"
A bearded soldier was gazing at me kindly.
I was unable to reply, tears were still rising in
my throat and smothering me. He smiled at
me once more and went his way.
I continued my path of torture. On the
pavement of the Nevsky stood tables, in the
69






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

place of tribunes, from which clamorous
speeches were being made. Double-headed
eagles were torn away from the posters with
loud yelling. One had to conceal oneself con-
stantly under the nearest doorway from tlhe
unexpected cannonade of machine-guns.
In the centre of the streets marched groups
of arrested policemen, officials, officers. Some
were hatless, with blood streaming down their
faces. They walked with bowed heads be-
tween the soldiers. I do not remember how I
got home.
Then house-searchings began. Soldiers and
sailors, armed with guns, pistols and machine-
gun belts, invaded the houses several times a
day. They walked through all the rooms,
hunted in all the cupboards and drawers. They\
were looking for arms. As we had none. the
first party decided to satisfy itself with the in-
nocuous sword of a Court uniform, and one iof
the sailors fastened it to his belt. The children
were at first frightened by their appearance but
gradually my elder son, four years old, became
70






THE REVOLUTION

interested in the amount of weapons the sol-
diers carried on their backs. He probably
thought that this scot-free rummaging of
strange "uncles" in all the cupboards and rooms
was an amusing game. He wished to be taken
out of doors, believing that the red flags were
the emblems of a holiday and that the shooting
in the streets was due to a wolf-hunt. The end-
less childish "whys" remained without answer.
As a rule the servants saved us from too
much searching and cross-questioning by in-
viting the unwelcome guests into the kitchen
where they were fed and given vodka and wine.
We did not, however, miss anything about the
house after these visits.
The ddfile of troops going to the Duma to
bring their oath to the Provisional Government
went on in front of our windows. The Grand-
Duke Cyril also marched along at the head of
the Guards' equipage with a red ribbon in his
buttonhole. Rodzianko, who had actually
started the revolution by refusing to disband
the Duma at the Czar's command, was now for
71






TWICE BORN IN RUSSIA

some time considered as the saviour of the coun-
try even by conservative elements.
In the night, we hearkened to the sounds
of every passing lorry. People rode on them
when they came to arrest. We were exhausted
by endless waiting for the unknown. A de-
cision had to be made. We must fly from Pet-
rograd, but in what direction?

My husband, still firm in his trust of the
peasant, chose the country as the safest shelter.
To all his questions came touching answers
from our estate, with assurances of devotion
and promises of protection.
Tickets were bought and the day of depar-
ture came. Happily, a few hours before the
train was scheduled to leave, the Zemstvo of-
ficial of our district arrived in town and called
on us. Hearing that we were leaving for the
country, he tried hard to dissuade us, picturing
the true attitude of the peasants. It appeared
that the friendly letters they sent were only a
bait to the trap which they had set. They were
72




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