Imatges de pÓgina

The samovar was boiling, and while we ‘Because the woods are patrolled, swilled copious supplies of weak tea out and the outposts change their place of dirty glasses, the Finns retailed the every night. We cannot follow their latest news from Petrograd. The cost of movements. Several people have tried bread, they said, had risen to about to cross into the woods. A few suceight hundred or a thousand times its ceeded, but most were either caught or former price. People hacked dead horses had to fight their way back. But this to pieces in the streets. All the warm meadow is a most unlikely place for clothing had been taken and given to anyone to cross, so the Redskins don't the Red Army. The Tchrezvichaika watch it. Besides, being open, we can (the Extraordinary Commission) was see if there is anyone on the other side. arresting and shooting workmen as well We will put you across just here,' he as the educated people. Zinovieff said, indicating a narrow place in the threatened to exterminate all the bour- stream at the middle of the meadow. geoisie if any further attempt were ‘At these narrows the water runs faster, made to molest the Soviet government. making a noise, so we are less likely to When the Jewish Commissar Uritzky be heard. When you get over, run up was murdered, Zinoviev shot over five the slope slightly to the left. There is hundred of the bourgeoisie at a stroke, a path that leads up to the road. Be - nobles, professors, officers, journal- careful of this cottage, though,' he addists, teachers, men and women, — and ed, making a cross on the paper at the a list was published of another five extreme northern end of the meadow. hundred who would be shot at the next 'The Red patrol lives in that cottage, attempt on a commissar's life.

but at three o'clock they will probably I listened patiently, regarding the be asleep.' bulk of these stories as the product of There remained only the preparation Finnish imagination. You will be held of documents of identification,' which up frequently to be examined,' the ca- should serve as passport in Soviet Rusdaverous man warned me; 'and do not sia. Melnikoff had told me I might carry parcels — they will be taken from safely leave this matter to the Finns, you in the street.'

who kept themselves well informed of After supper, we sat down to discuss the kind of papers it was best to carry, the plans of crossing. The cadaverous to allay the suspicions of Red Guards Finn took a pencil and paper and drew and Bolshevist police officials. We rose a rough sketch of the frontier.

and passed into another of the three 'We will put you over in a boat at tiny rooms that the villa contained. It the same place as Melnikoff," he said. was a sort of office, with paper, ink, 'Here is the river, with woods on either pens, and a typewriter on the table. bank. Here, about a mile up, is an open 'What name do you want to have?' meadow on the Russian side. It is now asked the cadaverous man. eleven o'clock. About three we will go ‘Oh, any,' I replied. 'Better, perout quietly and follow the road that haps, let it have a slightly non-Russian skirts the river on this side, till we get smack. My accent opposite the meadow. That is where The cadaverous man thought for a you will cross.'

moment. ‘Afirenko, Joseph Ilitch,' he 'Why at the open spot?' I queried, suggested; ‘that smacks of Ukrainia.' surprised. "Shall I not be seen there I agreed. One of the men sat down most easily of all? Why not put me to the typewriter and, carefully choosing across into the woods?'

a certain sort of paper, began to write.

this one


The cadaverous man went to a small Extraordinary Commission of the Central cupboard, unlocked it, and took out a Executive Committee of the Petrograd Soviet boxful of rubber stamps of various sizes

of Workers' and Red Armymen's Deputies. and shapes, with black handles.

Then followed the text: 'Soviet seals,' he said, laughing at

CERTIFICATE my amazement. We keep ourselves up

This is to certify that Joseph Ilitch Afito date, you see. Some of them were renko is in the service of the Extraordinary stolen, some we made ourselves, and Commission of the Central Executive Com

'he pressed it on a sheet of mittee of the Petrograd Soviet of Workers' paper, leaving the imprint 'Commissar and Red Armymen's Deputies, in the capacof the Frontier Station Bielo'ostrof' ity of office clerk, as the accompanying signa'we bought from over the river for a

tures and seal attest. bottle of vodka.' Bielo'ostrof was the 'In the service of the Extraordinary Russian frontier village just across the Commission?' I gasped, taken aback by stream.

the amazing audacity of the thing. I had had ample experience earlier in Why not?' said the cadaverous man the year of the magical effect upon the coolly; 'what could be safer?' rudimentary intelligence of Bolshevist I burst into laughter as I realized the authorities of official documents,' with grim humor of pretending to belong to prominent seals or stamps. Multitudin- the institution that employed all the ous stamped papers of any description paid hirelings of the Tsar's secret police were a great asset in traveling, but a big to suppress the last vestiges of the libcolored seal was a talisman that lev- erty of the revolution! eled all obstacles. The wording of the 'Now for the signatures and seal,' document, even the language in which said the Finn.

said the Finn. "Tihonov and Friedit was written, was of secondary impor- mann used to sign these papers, though tance. A friend of mine once traveled it doesn't matter much; it'sonly the seal from Petrograd to Moscow with no that counts.' other passport than a receipted English From some Soviet papers on the table tailor's bill. This document of identi- he selected one with two signatures fication' had a big printed heading from which to copy. Choosing a suitwith the name of the tailor, some Eng- able pen, he scrawled beneath the text lish postage-stamps attached, and a of my passport, in an almost illegible flourishing signature in red ink. He slanting hand, 'Tihonov.' This was the flaunted the document in the face of the signature of a proxy of the Extraordinofficials, assuring them it was a diplo- ary Commission. The paper must also matic passport issued by the British be signed by a secretary, or his proxy. Embassy!

'Sign for your own secretary,' said the This, however, was in the early days Finn, laughing and pushing the paper of Bolshevism. The Bolsheviki gradu- to me. 'Write upright this time, like ally removed illiterates from service, and this. Here is the original. Friedmann in the course of time restrictions be- is the name.' came very severe. But seals were as es- Glancing at the original, I made an sential as ever.

irregular scrawl, resembling in some way When the Finn had finished writing, the signature of the Bolshevist official. he pulled the paper out of the type- ‘Have you a photograph?' asked the writer and handed it to me for perusal. cadaverous man. In the top left-hand corner it had this I gave him a photograph I had had heading:

taken at Viborg. Cutting it down small,

for use.

he stuck it at the side of the paper. noise. The people in the next cottage Then, taking a round rubber seal, he must n't hear us.' made two imprints over the photograph. We were ready in a few minutes. My The seal was a red one, with the same entire baggage was a small parcel that inscription inside the periphery that went into my pocket, containing a pair was printed at the head of the paper. of socks, one or two handkerchiefs, and The inner


of the seal consisted of some dry biscuit. In my other pocket the five-pointed Bolshevist star, with a I had the medicine bottle of whiskey mallet and a plough in the centre. I had hidden from Melnikoff, and some

‘That is your certificate of service,' bread. said the Finn; 'we will give you a sec- One of the four Finns remained beond one of personal identification.' hind. The other three were to accom

Another paper was quickly printed pany me to the river. It was a raw and off with the words, 'The holder of this frosty November night, and pitch-dark. is the Soviet employee Joseph Ilitch Nature was still as death. We issued Afirenko, aged 36 years.' This paper silently from the house, the cadaverous was unnecessary in itself, but two doc- man leading. One of the men followed uments' were always better than one. behind, and all carried their rifles ready

It was now after midnight, and the leader of the Finnish patrol ordered us We walked stealthily along the road to lie down for a short rest. He threw the Finn had pointed out to me on himself on a couch in the eating-room. paper overnight, bending low where no There were only two beds for the re- trees sheltered us from the Russian maining four of us, and I lay down on bank. A few yards below, on the right, one of them with one of the Finns. I I heard the trickling of the river. We tried to sleep, but could n't. I thought soon arrived at a ramshackle villa, of all sorts of things- of Russia in the standing on the river-bank, surrounded past, of the life of adventure I had by trees and thickets. Here we stood elected to lead for the present, of the stock-still for a moment, to listen for morrow, of friends still in Petrograd any unexpected sounds. The silence who must not know of my return if was absolute. But for the trickling of I got there. I was nervous, but the the river, there was not a rustle. dejection that had overcome me in the We descended to the water under train was gone. I saw the essential hu- cover of the tumble-down villa and the mor of my situation. The whole ad- bushes. The stream was about twenty venture was really one big exclamation paces wide at this point. Along both mark. Forsan et hæc olim

banks there was an edging of ice. I

looked across at the opposite side. It IV

was open meadow, but the trees loomed

darkly a hundred paces away on either The two hours of repose seemed hand and in the background. On the interminable. I was afraid of three left I could just see the cottage of the o'clock, and yet I wanted it to come Red patrol, against which the Finns quicker, to get it over. At last a shuf- had warned me. fling noise approached from the neigh- The cadaverous man took up his staboring room, and the cadaverous Finn tion at a slight break in the thickets. prodded each of us with the butt end A moment later he returned and anof his rifle. 'Wake up,' he whispered; nounced that all was well. “Remember,' 'we'll leave in a quarter of an hour. No he enjoined me once again, in an under

tone, 'run slightly to the left, but — that ran obliquely down the slope of the keep an eye on that cottage.'

meadow. Being already wet, I did not He made a sign to the other two, and suffer by wading through it. Then I from the bushes they dragged out a reached some garden fences, over which boat. Working noiselessly, they at- I climbed, and found myself in the road. tached a long rope to the stern and laid Convincing myself that the road was a pole in it. Then they slid it down the deserted, I crossed it and came out on bank into the water.

to the moors, where I found a half'Get into the boat,' whispered the built house. Here I sat down to await leader, ‘and push yourself across with the dawn

the dawn - blessing the man who inthe pole. And good luck!'

vented whiskey, for I was very cold. I shook hands with my companions, It began to snow, and, half-frozen, I pulled at my little bottle of whiskey, got up to walk about and study the and got into the boat. I started push- locality as well as I could in the dark. ing, but with the rope trailing behind, At the cross-roads near the station I it was no easy task to punt the little discovered some soldiers sitting round bark straight across the running stream. a bivouac fire, so I retreated quickly I was sure I should be heard, and had in to my half-built house and waited till midstream the sort of feeling I should it was light. Then I approached the imagine a man has as he walks his last station, with other passengers. At the walk to the gallows. At length I was at gate a soldier was examining passports. the farther side, but it was quite im- I was not a little nervous when showing possible to hold the boat steady while I mine for the first time; but the examilanded. In jumping ashore, I crashed nation was a very cursory one. The solthrough the thin layer of ice. I scram- dier seemed only to be assuring himself bled out and up the bank, and the boat that the paper had a proper seal. He was hastily pulled back to Finland be passed me through and I went to the

ticket-office and demanded a ticket. 'Run hard!' I heard a low call from ‘One first class to Petrograd,' I said over the water behind me. D— it, boldly. the noise of my splash had reached the "There is no first class by this train, Red patrol! I was already running only second and third.' hard when I saw a light emerge from 'No first? Then give me a second.' the cottage on the left. I forgot the in- I had asked the Finns what class I junctions as to direction, and simply ought to travel, expecting them to say bolted away from that lantern. Half- third. But they replied, first, of course, way across the sloping meadow I drop- for it would be strange to see an emped and lay still. The light moved rap- ployee of the Extraordinary Commisidly along the river bank. There was sion traveling other than first class. shouting, and then suddenly two shots; Third class was for workers and peasbut there was no reply from the Finnish ants. side. Then the light began to move The journey to Petrograd was about slowly back toward the cottage of the twenty-five miles, and, stopping at Red patrol, and finally all was silent every station, the train took nearly two again.

hours. As we approached the city, the I lay motionless for some time, then coaches filled up, until people were rose and proceeded cautiously. Having standing in the aisles and on the platmissed the right direction, I found that forms. There was a crush in the FinI had to negotiate another small stream land station at which we arrived. The

hind me.

examination of papers was again merely of the common crowd. That was it cursory. I pushed out with the throng, one of the common crowd. I wanted, not and looking around me on the dirty the theories of theorists, or the docrubbish-strewn station, I felt a curious trines of doctrinaires, but to see what mixture of relief and apprehension. the greatest social experiment the world

My life, I suddenly realized, had had has ever seen did for the common crowd. an aim

it was to stand here on the And, strangely buoyant, I stepped-lightthreshold of the city that was my home, ly out of the station into the familiar homeless, helpless, and friendless, one streets.

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The people were astonished, for he Isaiah had dealt earlier with these taught them as one having authority, things; and one rises from that prophet and not as those who had gone to col- wondering what more can be said, how lege (unauthorized translation). They better said. Yet Isaiah never spake like were astonished that every reference the man of this Sermon. This man had to their sacred books was to contradict the books of Isaiah, but he went behind them; that over against their hitherto the books with his observations, as subunquestioned authority he should set stance goes behind shadow, appealing himself in authority; that these ob- from the books direct to life and nature. vious things he said should be so true, Life and nature are still the source of so astonishingly new and true: homely, originality, the sole seat of authority. familiar things, not out of books, but Books make a full man. It is life and out of life and nature.

nature that give him authority. But Except for a faint echo of Isaiah and life and nature are little reckoned with the Psalmist, and some half dozen refer- in formal education;small credit is given ences to Old Testament law (which he them in the classroom; yet authority, cited to refute), all the matter in the authorship, — poet and prophet, are Sermon on the Mount is from common the glory of education. Or is it the end life and the out-of-doors: the house on of education to produce the scribe? the rock; the good tree and the evil Neither scribe nor author is the end fruit; the false prophet; the straight of our school education, but that avergate; the son who asks a fish; the pearls age intelligence upon which democrabefore the swine; the lilies of the field cy rests. Not scribe but citizen, not - familiar matter, and commonplace, author but voter, is the business of the but suddenly new with meaning, and school, the true end of its course of startling with authority.

study. The schools are the public's, con

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