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Full text of "The red garden"

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THE 
RED 
GARDEN 











NEW BORZOI NOVELS 
FALL, IQ22 

The Quest 

Pio Baroja 
The Room 

G. B. Stern 
One of Ours 

fVilla Gather 
A Lovely Day 

Henry Ceard 
Mary Lee 

Geoffrey Dennis 
Tutors' Lane 

fVilmarth Lewis 
The Promised Isle 

Lanrids Bruun 
The Return 

IFalter de la Mare 
The Bright Shawl 

Joseph Hergesheimer 
The Moth Decides 

Edivard A I den Jewell 
Indian Summer 

Emily Grant Hutchings 









THE RED GARDEN 



TRANSLATED FROM THE DANISH OF 

HENNING KEHLER 

BY FRITHJOF TOKSVIG 




NEW YORK ALFRED • A • KNOPF mcmxxii 



COPYRIGHT, 1922, BY 
ALFRED A. KNOPF, Inc. 

Pvblished, July, 19S3 



Bet up and printed by the Vail-Ballou Co., Binghamton, N. Y. 
Paper furnished by W. F. Etherington & Co., New York, N. Y. 
Bound by the H. Woltl Estate, New York, N. Y. 



MANUFACTURED IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA 



TO 
MY TRAVELING COMPAJNION 



PAQB 



CONTENTS 

Kerensky's Summer in Petrograd, 9 

At the Railway Station of Vitebsk, 15 

Russian Court Martial, 25 

The Bolshevik in the Province, 35 

Village Bolshevism, 51 

Russian Cavalry, 66 

Galician Jews, 78 

Cederblom, 94 

Dr. Diamond, 107 

Hapsburg Officers, 123 

The Red Garden, 138 

Russian Bourgeoisie, 160 

Alexander and Ivan, 176 

The Flight Through Siberia, 189 



r 



Kerensky^s Summer in Petrograd 

'^fN the beginnmg was the Word!" Never has the 
word played such a role as it did in the hearts 
of the people of Petrograd during the summer 
of 1917. Kerensky, the man who won his fame on 
the rostrum of the Duma, was the hero of this sum- 
mer, its chief speaker. The Revolution's Hydra de- 
voured its own heads with its final, last and only one: 
Kerensky's, True to its need of a radical solution, 
Russia, in a great wave of feeling, washed away all 
revolutionary stages. Convention and regicide they 
would have none of, hut they demanded their Napo- 
leon at once, and, strong in the people's faith, Keren- 
sky cultivated a vertical wrinkle between his brows 
and had photographs taken with his hand hidden in 
his breast. His career was as senseless as the en- 
thusiasm that created it. In two months Minister, 
Premier, Commander-in-Chief of the forces on land 
and sea: Dictator. But it was too much for Kerensky, 
he swayed in his role as a child in leading strings. 
He grasped at history so as not to fall: I can see him 
sitting, drunken for want of sleep, turning the pages 
of his books to conjure up the spirit of the Emperor 
in support of his technique. 

But the only real Kerensky was the orator. Only 
when speaking did he exist, then he was Caesar to 
himself and the throng. Gradually as his nervous- 



10 The Red Garden 

t • I  II I. —  

ness grew, he spoke more and more, until at last he 
spoke all the time: from windows, from balconies and 
church doors, from automobiles and at theatres, for 
Ministers, diplomats, delegations, soldiers, man and 
beast. He spoke with antique calm, staccato as Na- 
poleon, harmonious as the Russian who draws his 
sentences out of his throat with the dexterity of a 
sleight-of-hand artist, and then passionately and 
feverishly as Kerensky, and at last screaming hoarsely 
and cutting off his words, his face yellow and dis- 
torted as a sick man's. He had long ago dropped his 
mask, and his hand raging in the air vied with his 
voice. 

The Russian loves oratory and he loves to make 
speeches himself. Does not "Slav'' originally mean 
"the talkers," the opposite of "Njemtsi" (the Ger- 
mans) "the dumb"? In three months his enthusi- 
asm for Kerensky was, as we say, boundless. But in 
reality it was brain fever, a holy frenzy in which the 
nation talked their tongues dry. To a Dane, popu- 
larity poured out in such dimensions, is like a display 
of natural powers. Words flowed from Kerensky's 
lips out over the land and sent new words into the 
world. They spread in milliards before the street 
corner winds, vanished in the cigarette smoke 
of the cafes and were aired out with the exhalations 
of Pullman cars. The newspapers printed them in 
blackface and capitals, spaced and half -spaced, small 
and ordinary type, and threw them out on the market 
in bundles that were taller than the boys that sold 



Kerensky^s Summer in Petrograd 11 

them. Hundreds of people fought and tugged at each 
other to get a paper. They went from dealer to 
dealer to get all, as if they had never read before. 
And in a certain sense they hadn't. That which was 
worth reading in the old Russian press was between 
the lines and therefore escaped the casual reader. 
Skill was needed to write it and a clear head to inter- 
pret it. But now words had been liberated and the 
very ones that had been the most fettered were now 
used most frequently. People nearly lost their eyes 
staring at these words, that only four months ago 
would have brought about the suppression of the 
paper and life imprisonment in damp Schliisselburg 
for the editor and his associates. People took pos- 
session of these words, played with them, rolled them 
on their tongues, and tried their worth as sounds and 
outcries, as ideas, arguments and abuse. The illiter- 
ate got the papers read to them by the more knowing 
who kept track of the lines with their forefinger and 
the still more learned afterwards expounded the text 
to its smallest detail. It was an orgy! — 

Summer is never more summer than when a storm 
rises blue-black on the horizon. Under Petrograd's 
colourless sky a low thunder rumbled incessantly. 
All could hear and yet they didn't, as is true of all 
monotonous sound. But its result was bivouacked in 
the consciousness as a dull expectation. 

At Haparanda on the Finnish border the exiles con- 
tinued to stream back into Russia. Every train up 
through the Northland had during that summer its 



12 The Red Garden 

flock of Russian revolutionists, whom one could not 
mistake amid the Entente diplomats and delega- 
tions and the ordinary adventurers and travellers. 
Napoleon's Old Guard was a Corps but this was no 
less so and the uniform they were known by was the 
fire of the eyes, the bright ashen pallor of the skin 
through the dark stubble, the thick lips, the hooked 
nose. Already in Russian Tomea they began their 
work. They were arrested, and held speeches for 
their guards. They spoke of their long exile in 
foreign lands, about the new world order, of the 
Revolution in danger, of that which must not be for- 
gotten; of that which must be done at once. The 
women talked eagerly and wildly. When they had 
been detained a few hours or days they were let go 
again, for the Englishmen stationed up there, well, 
they didn't understand what was said, they were so 
used to all Russians being crazy; and the Russians 
felt that the strangers spoke well and there was no 
doubt that they were right but it was dangerous to 
listen to. Why, the safety of the frontier was likely 
to be threatened. So they let them go their way. 
They had turned the first spadeful. 

The demonstrations continued in Petrograd. The 
masses had learned to like them during the revolution 
in February. At first the Russians found enjoyment 
enough in flocking together. It was something new, 
this going by thousands down the middle of the 
thoroughfare without needing to fear the Cossacks' 
nagaika at the end of the street. I have seen hundreds 



Kerensky^s Summer in Petrograd 13 

of these citizen-and-soldier processions, with white, 
red or black banners, but otherwise not easy to differ- 
entiate; unceasingly they pass by, these faces, blue, 
unseeing eyes lost in the vegetative pleasure of mere 
walking. Does the animal predominate in these 
features as in those adults who have remained in the 
state of childhood? Or is it the childlike, as in small 
children whose intellect has not yet wakened? Im- 
penetrable riddle — never solved by him who has lived 
among the Russian peasantry and cursed them daily 
while his heart was overflowing with tender pleasure 
in them. 

At the head of the demonstrators was the music — 
The Russians will not march without a brass band. It 
played the Marseillaise in season and out, but not in 
French, that would have gone poorly with the Russian 
marching cadence, no, the Marseillaise had become 
the Russian national hymn. At night it was this Mar- 
seillaise that I heard before I went to sleep and the 
morning breeze bore it through the windows when I 
woke, now roaring nearby — ^now bits of it from distant 
streets, but always slow, as slow as if it were a dirge. 

In the evening I often went out to Kamennij Ostrof. 
Here was the zoological park, at that time swarming 
with people, back of the Fortress of Peter and Paul. 
And here lived Lenin in the Kjesinsky palace; I was 
told that it had belonged to a ballet dancer, the Tsar's 
mistress; now it was Bolsheviki headquarters. A 
half army corps of soldiers, deserters and recruits lay 
and stood and walked about in the garden and the 



14 The Red Garden 

court-yard, dawdling, loafing, waiting. Curiosity 
had brought us there, botli them and me. 

They waited apathetically for something to happen, 
which almost never did. Very few of them were 
armed, but there was a number of sailors, dashing 
fellows with smoothly-shaven skulls; they were al- 
ways clean and smart in comparison with the troops of 
the line. The windows on the ground floor stood open 
and some naked rooms could be seen, where a pair of 
swarthy youths sat at a type-writer. The floor was 
littered with the husks of sun-flower seeds. Since 
then the sun-flower seed has gone its victorious way 
over all the parquet floors of Russia. The man who 
came unknown to Russia and moved into the ballet 
dancer's palace swept Kerensky away from the Tsar's 
writing desk and down the stairs of history. While it 
was summer in Petrograd and Kerensky talked, Lenin 
sat in darkness and enveloped himself in a myth. 
When folk no longer believe in God, they still hang on 
to the Devil. The Russian people had let the Tsar 
fall and had clamoured for freedom. Led by an un- 
swerving religious instinct, it threw itself in the dust 
before Lenin and he put his foot on its neck. 



At the Railway Station of Vitebsk 

IN January, 1918, 1 travelled to South Russia for the 
Danish Embassy to negotiate with the Ukrain- 
ian Rada at Kiev. 
I departed from the embassy during a delightful 
snowfall at five o'clock in the afternoon. Petrograd 
is never more beautiful than when it is full of new- 
fallen snow and the sky is hidden by a woolly gloom 
which is snow that has not yet fallen. My train was to 
leave from Nikolajski Vaksal a little before six but I 
was forced to wait nearly five hours and my feet sang 
with the cold. I had reservations for the so-called 
"Staff Car," but I could not bring myself to leave and 
go into the waiting room because I knew that those who 
came too late, would have to be content with the ac- 
commodations in the aisle. Gradually over a thou- 
sand people gathered and shivered from cold and 
stamped their feet on the frozen asphalt. It struck me 
that those whom I judged had reservations for the spe- 
cial car appeared to be the most anxious. The others 
who knew that in any case they would have to ride one 
on top of the other were more unconcerned. The wait- 
ing soldiers formed groups and proclaimed to each 
other the fixed and settled political conviction that was 
theirs today, even though they could do nothing but 
shout a name: Kerensky, Nikola j, Lenin and Trotsky. 

15 



16 The Red Garden 

But it was fully as amusing to see two joyous dancers, 
who, to the music of an accordion and squatting on 
their haunches, kicked their legs out from under them 
and vied with one another and laughed and sweated 
despite twelve degrees of freezing. It was a Czardas 
and a breath of the old Russia which has now hidden 
its face. 

And when finally about ten o'clock the train came 
sliding into the platform, the human waves were such 
that it was an impossibility to keep one's feet. All had 
seized their bundles, knapsacks and teakettles; they 
rushed to meet the train and conquered it before it 
came to a stop. Luckily the reserved car had alert 
guards with fixed bayonets. A Bolshevik Command- 
ant parleyed with the seat-seekers holding a revolver 
in his hand. But what a relief it was to get inside and 
find room and discover that the compartment was 
heated! How trivial everything else seemed, espe- 
cially the fight outside! / was along, and was utterly 
indifferent whether we came to Kiev in two days or 
ten, knowing that I was lying in an upper berth and 
could feel the warmth creeping back into my toes. 

The next day I made the acquaintance of my fellow 
travellers, an elderly Russian from Dvinsk, a Pole and 
a barely twenty-year-old Jew just home from exile in 
a threadbare suit of blue cheviot and broken boots, but 
with eyes that were fire. He was an Under-Commissar 
in the food distribution bureau at Petrograd, he said. 
We four had the compartment as far as Mogilov, staff 



At the Railway Station of Vitebsk 17 

headquarters where Krylenko now resided after the 
murder of General Dukonin. The "Staff Car" went 
no further but, enough for the day — 

The conversation turned to commonplaces now that 
events had closed the political discussion and Power 
once more talked solo in a new concise language. 
But we seemed to get along very well together. The 
Russian made tea, the Commissar furnished sugar, 
the Pole offered cigarettes and I cut up a roast chicken 
from the embassy kitchen. And as a stranger I was 
the only one who could engage in a more serious con- 
versation with my fellow-travellers when I got them 
alone in the aisle outside, or occasionally in the com- 
partment while the others played "Preference," the 
Russian's favorite game, in an adjoining one. The 
Pole entertained me in polite French; everything he 
said was of a very secret and weltpolitik nature but 
as he was Polish I did not exert myself to remember 
what it was all about. With the Commissar I dis- 
cussed Imperialism and Communism; he also spoke 
French. He was very courteous but there was a tone 
in his voice that reduced argumentation to a matter of 
secondary importance and although he spoke far from 
candidly it seems to me that it amounted to this: We 
Bolsheviki hate and we have the upper hand here and 
we mean to use our power and we shall get it elsewhere 
too and we won't fail to break the necks of all who 
oppose us, and gladly yours too, but everything is so 
very clear, don't you think: the Party is straightfor- 



18 The Red Garden 

ward and unmasked, and those who won't die, can 
fight — There are many types of Bolsheviki, but this is 
the real and dangerous one. 

I sat alone with the Russian one dark afternoon, 
while the train slowly rumbled over the flat White 
Russia plain that was as wintry white as its name and 
disconsolately desolate. I could only talk to him 
with difficulty, for at that time I knew very little 
Russian but neither was he very communicative. And 
yet he could not control his emotions but talked in a 
choked voice of the great Russia that had fallen. The 
tears rolled down his cheeks. Never among all the 
Russians I have met have I loved Russia more than 
in this middle-aged man, about whom I knew nothing 
but who sat here in the dusk and wept before me, a 
stranger. Is there any sorrow deeper than that of a 
plain man weeping for his country? 

We came to Vitebsk in the afternoon of the second 
day after a tedious journey. The Commissar and I 
went in the station for something to eat. The way was 
very difficult, first up over a bridge and then down 
through a long tunnel. Although there was every pos- 
sibility that the train would not leave for several hours 
and maybe not until far into the night, I was very un- 
easy and to be on the safe side I took my fur coat 
along with me. Taken all together, I have spent over 
four months on Russian railways and have never 
missed a train, but never have I been able to get rid 
of this nervousness. 

The waiting room at Vitebsk offered a sight that can 



At the Railway Station of Vitebsk 19 

never be made real for him who has not seen Russia. 
First that smell of leather and vile cigarette-tobacco, 
Mahorka, which has as its chief ingredient the stalks 
of the tobacco plant. An atmosphere that for the 
moment changes the surroundings to a dream in 
which the individual plays only an unimportant role, 
but which now — in reminiscence — has also been 
changed to poesy from a distant land. The entire 
third class waiting room was unbelievably full of 
soldiers. It would have been impossible to go 
through if one had not pressed forward without re- 
gard for the sleeping men and their bundles. But 
they did not stir; it takes more to wake a Russian. 

Mass was being said in the corner of the room be- 
fore a large image and many small ones. A pope 
chanted with his face turned to the ikon. The two big 
candles fluttered softly in their giant candlesticks. 
The priest was clad in a gold-worked chasuble and 
his long soft Christ-hair billowed over his shoulders; 
"Gospodi, Gospodi . . ." he sang, and a half dozen 
soldiers with fat, red faces crossed themselves de- 
voutly when they heard the Lord's name. Noth- 
ing would do for one of them but that he must down 
on his knees and kneel in the dust and dirt and sun- 
flower husks. 

In the first class waiting room, where the refresh- 
ments were, things were not much better. Every 
seat was taken. Other soldiers and officers, easily 
recognizable by their torn-off" insignia and the cloth 
and cut of their uniforms, stood behind each chair 



20 The Red Garden 

and waited their turn. The side tables and benches 
were crowded with sleeping persons but in front of 
them and on top of them were others who ate. And 
under the benches more soldiers were asleep. It 
seems impossible, but nothing is impossible when one 
must sleep. 

We placed ourselves at a side table where it looked 
as if there might be room. The waiters bored their 
way through the eager crowd, greasy, sweating and 
shouting for room for the platters of piping hot soup 
and the ordinary Russian buffet dishes of roast goose 
and sucking pig. The whole place was enveloped in 
a damp fog from the food and the steam from the 
new-comers who brought the cold in with them. The 
two long tables in the middle of the room were a 
chaos of feeding heads, steaming dishes, green plants, 
refuse and tableware that might easily have been sil- 
ver, at least I have so seen it elsewhere, for example, 
at Jekaterinburg, shortly after the murder of the 
Tsar's family and the flight of the Bolsheviki. Silver 
is no precious metal in Russia. In the background 
could be seen the buff"et with its array of all sorts of 
empty bottles, a sad reminder of the good old days 
when you could meet in the waiting room and slake 
your thirst with a multitude of international drinks 
and liqueurs before the bell rang and you went back 
to the sleeping car and there partook of caviar and 
other good Zakuska and real Vodka. On a separate 
table stood the restaurant's Samovar; it was impos- 



At the Railway Station of Vitebsk 21 

. — - —  ' 

sible not to see it, it held water enough for three 
hundred glasses of tea and had to be brought to the 
boiling point every half hour during the rush periods. 
The glasses were filled in a hurry and there was no 
such thing as washing them. 

We had given the waiter a three ruble note and as 
soon as possible he waved away two soldiers who had 
finished eating and we sat down on the further end of 
the bench. Some seven or eight persons were still at 
the table. On the bench on the other side of the table 
a sailor was sleeping or seemed to sleep. But no one 
bothered him. When we had gotten our soup, a 
young dark-haired officer just as handsome and dis- 
tinguished as a Russian officer can be, was given a 
seat directly opposite the man. Sitting upright, the 
sailor laid his elbows on the table and with an evil 
look at the officer, began to pick his teeth. The latter 
did not look at him. 

When the waiter had brought the young officer his 
soup, I could see that something or other rose in the 
sailor. He still stared at the officer but certain work- 
ings that came and went across his features told of a 
plan that he was turning over in his mind. The 
officer was absolutely unconcerned. Not the slightest 
movement in his face or the least change in his colour 
showed that he was annoyed. He made no attempt 
to ignore the sailor; he was as calm as if he were 
unaware of the coarse, hulking fellow who was trying 
to stare him out of countenance. I felt my face grow 



22 The Red Garden 

clammy and thought lo myself: you are deathly pale. 

The officer had begun to eat and as the sailor made 
a slight movement of impatience, I thought; now it's 
coming; he's going to spit in the soup. 

With a quick, abrupt gesture the sailor put his hand 
to his head and pulling out two hairs, he reached over 
the table and let them fall in the officer's soup. He 
did it without hurrying, almost lingeringly, and a hid- 
den smile played about his mouth. The young officer 
did not try to stop him but merely looked up and met 
his enemy's eyes. The sailor leisurely lit a cigarette 
and looked away. 

The officer ordered another plate of soup. No one 
at the table said a word while he waited. My Com- 
missar was red in the face and his look told me that 
this was a case of lying low. I was the last man on 
the bench and four would have to rise before I could 
get out. I hesitated, and while I did so the waiter 
brought the officer a fresh plate of soup. 

He began to eat as if nothing had happened. The 
sailor repeated his action and again let several hairs 
fall into the soup. As before, the officer made no at- 
tempt to hinder him, but he was pale as he looked up 
and there was a bright gleam in his eyes. 

"I regret, Gdspada," he said in a melodious voice 
and with an easy bow to the table, but without looking 
at us, "that it's necessary for me to disturb you." 

And before we knew what was coming ... he 
already had the revolver in his hand ... he shot the 



At the Railway Station of Vitebsk 23 

sailor. I heard the report and heard the bullet enter 
and the sailor's head hit against the wall. He sat 
there for a minute with outstretched arms ; in one hand 
he held a Browning pistol, and there where his right 
eye had been was a ghastly pool of blood and shreds 
that ran down his face. 

While we still, horrorstricken, stared at the body, 
there came a second shot and the officer sank down on 
the bench. He had shot himself in the temple and the 
wound bled only slightly. His cap had fallen off 
and we could see his dark-brown, well-combed and 
rather glistening hair. His head had fallen on his 
breast and for a Russian waiting room with its many 
sleeping people there was hardly anything unnatural 
in his position. But directly across from him was the 
frightful, stiffening corpse of the sailor with its gap- 
ing bloody hole in the eye socket. 

What happened afterward is not just clear to me. 
People jumped up, armed soldiers came, a comman- 
dant asked questions, we showed credentials, and the 
bodies were carried out. But by that time a number 
had already seated themselves and continued eating. 
Only the nearby and some women pressed forward 
to see what had taken place. 

The Commissar was not long in settling things with 
the commandant and the two of us made our way back 
to the train. I was too shaken to notice how the scene 
had affected him, and in the short time we were still 
together we exchanged no words about it. But I 



24 The Red Garden 

have retained the impression that he had me by the 
arm and led me in a manner as tender and friendly as 
if I were a little child. 

The train left an hour after and in the evening of 
the next day we were in Mogilov, where we parted, and 
where I changed cars. 



Russian Court Martial 

IN February, 1918, I was in Kiev. I was unable 
to make my way out of the city until the third 
day after Maravief's troops had dislodged the 
Ukrainians under Petljura. They were memorable 
days of murder and pillage, of heavy bombardment 
and of many corpses in the streets. Afterwards, for 
another seventy-two hours, sinister carts with dirty 
tarpaulin covers rumbled over the pavements. 
Above the sides, arms and bluish white feet protruded, 
both naked and in under-drawers. In spite of the 
hasty trot, they retained an unnatural stiffness loath- 
some to see. 

The Commissar of Civil Affairs received in the 
imperial yellow place, situated on one of the city's 
hills, far above the valley of the Dneiper. During 
the war it had been the residence of Maria Fyodor- 
ovna. In order to get in, we had to go through the 
courtyard and pass the queue of many thousands of 
people who were stamping their cold feet in the melt- 
ing snow and among the bodies of forty-five Ukrain- 
ian students and volunteers. They had been ex- 
ecuted early in the morning, and obviously with steel, 
rifle butts and pistol shots. They lay where they had 
sunk to the ground in their last dash for life. 

The queue continued into the palace through long 
corridors and several large rooms. The people were 

still a prison grey from fear and cellar life. To my 

25 



26 The Red Garden 

surprise I recognized under a tattered military ulster 
an eighteen-year-old Adonis from the Polish Legion, 
whom I had last seen flirting with his own fantasti- 
cally uniformed reflection in the dining room mirrors 
of the Hotel Cosmopolite. Those who were waiting 
set up a howl when I tried to pass without taking my 
turn, but my guide repeated monotonously: "Way, 
paschaV sta, for the Danish Embassy, be so good as to 
make way!" In the innermost room, which was 
chokingly hot and crowded to overflowing, Tschudof- 
skij sat at a big writing table, and near him three or 
four small, plump Jewesses clattered away at their 
Underwoods until it seemed that their fingers would 
fall off" in the eff"ort to satisfy the demand for the new 
identification papers that Tschudofskij without look- 
ing signed as fast as they were put before him. 

Tschudofskij himself was a big, handsome Jew, 
about thirty years of age. He had kind brown eyes; 
his hair was thick and long, and his face pale from 
over-exertion and bad air. His cheeks had red fever 
spots. He hadn't shaved for several days, and his 
voice had dwindled to a hoarse whisper. If he let 
himself go, he would fall asleep on the desk at once. 
Although a Jew, he was enough of a Russian not to 
finish one thing at a time, but jumped from conversa- 
tion to conversation, always receptive to the interrup- 
tions of the nearest bystanders. "At once, Tavar- 
isch," he said to me. My guide persisted. "The 
Danish Consul," Tschudofskij repeated mechanically, 
and turned to me. "I speak ver' good Danish," be 



Russian Court Martial 27 

, I 

interrupted me. He had lived eight months in Copen- 
hagen in Landmaerket. He was willing to give me a 
paper that would guarantee my safety, but travelling 
permits he had nothing to do with. But he would 
give me a letter to a friend of his on the staff. One 
of the little secretaries took the letter from a dictation 
that constantly threatened to drown in a deluge of 
queries and answers. At last it was ready for his 
signature. "Go along Lutheranskaja. You will find 
the staff straight ahead on the Kretschatik." For a 
second his feverish eyes dwelt upon me, then the 
queue boiled over him again. But we toiled back 
through the rows of waiting people, past rifle stacks 
and machine guns in the vestibule, over snoring 
soldiers and out into the spring sun that shone on the 
yellow palace and the blue domes of Kiev, on the ice- 
bright ribbon of the river, and on the corpses in their 
blood. 

In the evening I got away by the first train the Bol- 
sheviki sent away from Kiev to Moscow after their 
conquest. It was to leave about ten o'clock from the 
freight station, as the Central Railway station still 
was a chaos of charred cars and other confusion. I 
took a droshky, but when we got outside the city and 
still had some distance to go, the driver stopped and 
would go no further. It was too dark, he said. So 
I had to pick up my bag and follow the tracks. 
While I was crawling back and forth among the 
rows of cars, I collided, literally, with a man, who 
turned out to be a Russian journalist, who had also 



28 The Red Garden 

decided to take a chance. Finally we managed to 
make our way to the Commandant of the station. 
He congratulated us on being still alive. Every 
night, people had been killed by the marauders who 
roved around under cover of darkness, and had their 
lairs among the many thousands of cars. He had 
last night's bodies near at hand to show us, if we 
wanted to see them. 

He was also obliging in other ways and gave us 
seats in a small special coach that was to take two 
high railway officials to Kursk. All night the train 
was being made up in a way that involuntarily caused 
us to collect our thoughts and consider the nearest 
danger. Several times we flew horizontally out of 
our berths and fell on the floor before we learned to 
remain lying there. Toward morning the train 
started. I heard a rattling of iron, it was the long 
. bridge over the Dneiper river and swamps, and I felt 
I had escaped. 

The next forenoon I was awakened by the fact that 
the train had not moved for some time. I tumbled 
out. It was a still, frosty day with sunshine on the 
fresh snow. We were at a little Rasiest or siding, 
about a hundred kilometers from Kiev. My travel- 
ling companion was already outside and talking with 
two lumber men. Our car seemed to be the cause 
of the trouble. It had reached the limit of its useful- 
ness during the night and now threatened to derail the 
whole train. It was therefore uncoupled and prob- 
ably is still standing where we left it. It was the only 



Russian Court Martial 29 



decent coach in the train, which, as we discovered, 
was only a feeler for one which was going to follow 
with commissars and military, also going to Moscow. 
Hence our whole train consisted of troop cars that 
were filled with chance joy-riders who were travelling 
free of charge. With real sorrow we left our little 
coach where we had private sleeping berths and 
a salon with table and horse-hair sofa, to camp in a 
box-car among Tavarisches and Mujiks, deserters and 
peasant women. However, they willingly gave us 
the best places, after their first natural sulkiness at 
this addition to the company had died down, and ex- 
empted us from tending the fire, and in other ways 
showed themselves to possess unchangeable good 
nature. 

Not until the next morning did we reach Kursk, 
where there was a stop of twelve hours. While we 
were waiting, an uproar arose in a car a little further 
ahead in the train. The cause of it was a peasant 
woman who with marvellous vocal display was ac- 
cusing a soldier of having stolen a hundred ruble note 
— zarskij djengi — from her. I drew near the car. 
A large mob of the curious and of Red Guards from 
the station watch had already gathered around it. 
Suddenly the door to the telegraph office in the station 
was wrenched open and a Bolshevik officer, easily 
recognizable, despite his lack of shoulder straps, 
by his fine military equipment, bore down on us 
across the tracks, hurriedly buckling his long black 
cavalry sabre around him. 



30 The Red Garden 

He parted the assembled throng by the sheer force 
of his expression of armed severity. "What's going 
on here? I, the Commandant of Stanzia Kursk, com- 
mand immediate silence!" he shouted in the face of 
the peasant woman who hadn't ceased accusing her 
fellow traveller of the theft. "Arrest those two," he 
added. 

The soldiers took the pair between them, and we all 
made our way to the station building. The inquiry 
was commenced in the Commandant's office. The 
entire room and the hall outside was full of people. 
The Commandant's voice sharply cut off all unneces- 
sary talk. It was plain that the witnesses were 
against the soldier. They pointed their fingers at 
him; one had even seen him take the money. The ac- 
cused was quite young, light-haired, pock-marked, 
and clad in the usual uniform. He answered un- 
convincingly and with rising confusion. No one re- 
cognized the name of his village which lay in the 
Tambof somewhere. "Jebog, I didn't do it, God 
knows I didn't do it," he kept repeating. 

But now the Commandant ordered him searched. 
Two soldiers laid their rifles aside and began to go 
through his clothes. The result was put on the desk, 
and consisted of some lumps of rye bread, a salted 
cucumber in a newspaper, a piece of candle, a fine 
comb, a cigarette lighter made from a cartridge, and 
a small linen bag of tobacco. And, furthermore, 
some silver rubles and a gold fountain pen. But in 
the turned-back cuff of his overcoat were found sev- 



Russian Court Martial 31 

, __ — — « 

eral hundred rubles in yellow and green Kerensky 
rags, — and a folded Romanoff hundred ruble note. 
The woman shrieked when she saw it, "And then the 
swine, whom God will surely punish, has crumpled it 
all up for me!" 

The Commandant had turned red in the face. He 
broke off the squabble by rising from the table with 
a kick that sent the chair from under him. With 
folded arms, he looked at the accused peasant. The 
latter became still more nervous under the gaze which 
seemed to pierce him. 

"That's enough," said the Commandant, after de- 
laying a moment. "Give the woman her money. 
For you, Tavarisch, I can do nothing. Because of 
the activities of the White bands, the Kursk military 
district is considered to be in a state of war, and this 
provides for the instant execution of all thieves and 
hooligans caught red-handed. You are not con- 
demned because of your offence, but out of regard for 
the safety of the Soviet Republic and the need of 
absolute peace and order behind the front in the mer- 
ciless struggle against the counter revolution. I am 
only following my explicit instructions. Take that 
man out and shoot him at once." 

The Commandant had spoken with almost passion- 
ate politeness. His features quivered with deter- 
mined inflexibility. He presented a picture of grim 
military beauty as he stood there. The upper part 
of his body was clad as in polished armour by a black 
leather jacket, decorated by the order of St. George 



32 The Red Garden 

* I 

in orange and girded at the waist by sword and revol- 
ver. He wore long patent leather boots, and his 
strong legs were in dark riding-breeches with a red 
stripe. — "I didn't do it, — jebog," the soldier re- 
peated, as he was being pushed out by the others. 

A deadly silence had come over the gathering. 
They stole away, almost before they were told to. 
Nobody had been prepared for this outcome of an 
affair that originally had started as an attempt to 
amuse themselves while they were waiting. Who the 
devil could keep track of all the "states of war," pro- 
claimed now by one side now by the other? The one 
purpose always seemed to be to separate people from 
their lives without law and sentence and on the loosest 
suspicions. Anybody might walk right into it. 
Death up against a wall, in this case the lot of a nice, 
quiet fellow traveller, might just as well have hit one's 
self. No one is blameless, and we are all sinners. 
And how little is needed to be in the minority and one 
against the many! This commandant had certainly 
exceeded the most daring expectations. He couldn't 
take a joke. With all respect for the man's formal 
politeness, this was much worse than being sentenced 
to the lash by a damned police officer, who first swore 
and then laughed mischievously in his beard. 

But perhaps the box-car would have forgotten the 
man and his sad fate quickly, anyway, since the times 
had robbed it of any startling importance, if Babus- 
chka hadn't along toward noon laid her fingers on 
her own hundred ruble note, as she absentmindedly 



Russian Court Martial 33 



dug down in her one red Avoollen stocking, in search 
of something that itched. Her consternation took on 
such overwhelming proportions that it could hardly 
fail to attract the attention of the others to her dis- 
covery. She shrieked aloud in terror and stared with 
drenched eyes at both her notes. Her uncontrolled 
repentance reached the furthest borders of that con- 
ception. But her weeping and contrition did not ease 
the others. Nor could they hide that they too were 
moved. A certain feeling of shame prompted them 
to give tongue and convert their energy into active 
contempt. Damned hag! She would get innocent 
people shot, would she? She was downright danger- 
ous. An unanimous resolution lifted her out of the 
car, and she was dragged back to the commandant. 

When matters had been explained to him, and the 
two notes laid on the table for comparison, the hard 
Bolshevik grew deadly pale for a moment. He 
gasped for breath dramatically, tore open his coat, so 
that a sweater was visible, and gripped the edge of the 
table. A tug at the red, braided lanyard brought his 
long Mauser pistol into his hand, and he looked at the 
crone as if he himself was about to shoot her down 
then and there. But instead he splintered the ink- 
well in front of him so that the ink squirted out on 
the table; he spat loudly in her face, and she in her 
fear ceased howling, and let her water fall on the floor 
with an unpleasant noise. His cap had fallen off, 
his hair clung clammily to his forehead, he gritted his 
teeth at her with an expression that said clearly that 



34 The Red Garden 

  —  -    - - , J 

death was too easy a punishment for her error which 
furthermore was an injustice to him. 

When his rage had run its course, he continued to 
pace up and down the floor before the table. "What 
in the name of Satan shall I do with you, Babu- 
schka!" he shouted to her each time he passed her. 

"Gospodi, help me," she said just as often. Only 
the aid of the soldiers kept her on her feet. 

Justitial doubts and clouds of anger passed over 
the face of the Commandant. He was really a prey 
to the deepest perplexity. In this instance, neither 
martial law nor his special instructions offered him 
any guidance. He had to act according to his own 
lights. A proper regard for his own dignity and 
anger, and for the righteous impulses of all these 
men, forced him to take the responsibility of a deci- 
sion. "What in Satan's name shall I do with you, 
Babuschka?" he repeated. His voice had become 
quite gentle from pondering. 

Just then a train slid into the station. It must be 
the military transport from Orel which had delayed 
so long and because of which the road had been held 
open. 

"Tschort!" the commandant swore, as he lifted his 
arm to look at his watch. "Oh, in the name of the 
devil, take her out and shoot her too!" He picked 
up his cap, and pressed it with both hands firmly on 
his head, so that it sat with the correct slant, and erect 
and without looking right or left, he went out on the 
platform. 



The Bolshevik in the Province 

BJELOF is in the Tula government, southwest of 
the town of Tula and only a hundred versts 
from Tolstoy's famous estate, Jasnaja Poljana. 
The region where the great writer followed the plough 
in his soft unbleached shirt and shiny leather belt, 
and where he went into the low huts of the peasants to 
leave behind him a thoughtfully forgotten gold piece, 
is rather commonplace, mostly beech-woods and flat 
land. The white buildings are neither plundered nor 
burnt. They look deserted ; as I drove by, a score of 
glistening ravens flew up and left on the road the 
bloody bones of the carcass they had been rending. 

But along towards Bjelof Nature unfolds a wider 
prospect. It was early spring, the snow had only 
just melted. The country-side was fresh and sunny, 
the earth grey and brown with large light-green spots 
where flocks of black sheep grazed. From a distance 
they lay on the land-scape as blots from a scratchy 
pen. Warm gusts came and went and towards noon 
it was quite summerlike, although winter might easily 
come once more before the real heat sets in and of a 
sudden everything is green and it is unexpectedly 
summer. 

I came to Bjelof as it was growing dark. The only 

hotel in the town, formerly known as the "Metropol" 

had been requisitioned by the Bolsheviki for the use 

35 



36 The Red Garden 

( » I  1^1 I I  . I. ■■■■I I !,■■ . , 

of the peoples' commissars. I had the choice of only 
two inns, Rossija and Francia, as two of the hotels in 
a Russian town are always called, and I chose 
"Francia." Thanks to my broken Russian and whole 
foreign appearance, I was shown into the best 
room on the first floor and given a candle. The fur- 
nishings were not much but doubtless sufficient: an 
old iron bed with a red-striped mattress, that looked 
as if it had gone through a great deal, a table and a 
chair — bolsje nitchevo, that was all. The washing 
facilities were in the hall and for the common use of 
six rooms. It was an old cupboard-like thing with a 
black tin basin and a tank, that forbade any wasting 
of the water. 

The next morning I had a couple of eggs and a 
samovar served to me in the tap room; a cloth had 
been put on the table and from the spots on it I could 
study the quality of my hostess's soup. If I never 
tasted it, it was not because I doubted its goodness 
and fatness. Nor was it because of any natural back- 
wardness due to the fact that the kitchen was separ- 
ated from another fully as necessary room only by a 
screen, but wholly because it was in Bjelof that I was 
tendered a hospitality surprising even in Russia. 

My visit in Bjelof — I found it necessary to get 
various signatures to my credentials before I went 
out on my mission to some camps for prisoners of 
war — developed as follows: Between eleven and 
twelve I went up to the former Metropol, a red brick 
building of about the same size and appearance as a 



The Bolshevik in the Province 37 

I ,1 ' 

High School Home in a Danish country town. The 
street was guarded by the military who lay in the sun 
against the wall and slept. A light wagon drawn by 
a handsome grey trotting horse stood before the en- 
trance to the hotel. The first room I came into har- 
boured "The Third Internationale Executive and 
Agitation Committee of Bjelof for the Propagation 
of Bolshevistic Ideas among the Prisoners of War in 
Russia." Here sat a Hungarian, and a Viennese Jew, 
but evidently they were not the ones I was to see. 
The corridor on the first floor was full of people. 
They were petitioners and persons waiting to see the 
head commissar of Bjelof, sent out by the Soviets* 
central committee in Moscow — Mr. Rosenfeld, the 
very man I wished to get in touch with. As it was 
still in those times when a foreigner in Russia com- 
manded just so much respect as he demanded, I went 
past the whole mob right into the audience room. 

There were six or seven persons in the place, and 
it was a little while before I got my bearings. Two 
soldiers sat on a bed, with their rifles between their 
boots, and smoked cigarettes, and another man in a 
soldier's cape lay in a comer and slept loudly on a 
pile of cartridge behs. A pale man, with a face like 
yellow peas, sat at a small table on which there was a 
typewriter, and ate soup. In the middle of the room 
a man, whom I supposed to be Rosenfeld, without a 
collar and wearing long boots, was conferring with 
two tousled youths in the black blouses of the Russian 
Intelligentsia. Rosenfeld was a fattish Jew of about 



38 The Red Garden 

35-40 years. I drew his attention to me by handing 
him a glazed card with all the titles which a foreigner 
travelling in Russia does not disdain to claim. 
Rosenfeld willingly let himself be impressed, he 
overwhelmed me with politeness and excuses for the 
untidiness of the place, with bows and noble gestures. 
He personally took a machine gun off an armchair 
that I might sit down. He was apparently figuring 
out something else while he studied me and my er- 
rand. The man with the soup was set to click off a 
flattering letter of introduction for me and Rosenfeld 
gave all my papers his personal vise. I rejoiced — 
only those, who have had the experience will under- 
stand the happiness that comes with each addition to 
the typewritten, rubber-stamped collection of docu- 
ments, signed and triple signed by the proper Com- 
missar or General and his secretary and adjutant of 
the day, without which one feels that he has no legal 
claim on life in Russia. I have had them all taken 
from me twice and both times I had one leg in the 
grave. 

Although I conversed in Russian witV Rosenfeld to 
the best of my ability, he willingly picked up the 
thread of the conversation in French, which did not 
better our mutual understanding in the least, as he 
knew still less French than I did Russian. The two 
pale youths were presented to me; they were the com- 
missars of sanitation and of the commissariat. The 
sleeping man in the comer had awakened and had 
furnished himself with a sword and revolver. He 



The Bolshevik in the Province 39 

I — -« 

turned out to be the commissar for the war depart- 
ment, the Voinskij Natjalnik of the town. Rosen- 
feld, himself, no doubt, had charge of the finances. 
I was the Danish Ambassador to Russia. 

But now Rosenfeld got up and declared that I must 
go along with him to the court-house and meet all the 
important personages, the "heads of the town." He 
swept the papers together on the table and flung open 
the door for me, and we went past all the waiting 
petitioners, widows, wives, girls, soldiers, pensioners, 
discharged officials, etc., whom Rosenfeld with preoc- 
cupied gestures told to come again the next day. 

The trotting horse was at the disposition of Rosen- 
feld, and things went by in a hurry as we drove up to 
the court-house. Rosenfeld introduced a great num- 
ber of eminent men to me. He had much verve and 
I was not unaware that he wished to dumbfound the 
whole community with his phenomenal savoir faire, 
so that they could not help but get the impression that 
the town was greatly blessed in Mr. Rosenfeld, who 
was a man of breeding, a man of the world, who knew 
how to handle a ticklish international situation with 
tact and dignity! Rosenfeld spoke French over the 
heads of the town dignitaries: Oui, naturellement, 
avec plaisir, tres possible, voila and cest comme get — 
the same incontrovertible truths that hold so much 
consolation for the debutant Legation secretary. 

I was invited for one o'clock luncheon at the former 
civic club, where the not too Tsaristically inclined 
citizens now were the evening guests of the Bolsheviki. 



40 The Red Garden 

Large placards, printed in red type, glared conspic- 
uously and proclaimed that the Agitation Committee 
and the Committee for Public Education had ar- 
ranged moving pictures, dancing and an exhibition of 
modem dancing for every evening and for Sunday 
evening a masquerade with a prize for the most fetch- 
ing gown and the most beautiful woman. Times may 
change. Red may take the place of White, but the ex- 
ertions of the revolution or of the counter-revolution 
are equally rewarded by the popular approval of the 
garrison philanderer's heroic and well-dressed ap- 
pearance, and the conqueror swings in the dance to- 
day with the glowing girl who will be cradled in a 
new victor's arms tomorrow. 

Rosenfeld came to lunch with a collar on but with- 
out a tie and wearing a somewhat dilapidated dinner 
coat that I was sure had figured before in the club on 
some dapper officer. There were two others there, 
apparently the wealthiest of tlie town dignitaries, 
whom Rosenfeld particularly tried to flatter and 
honour, and me with them. Their names were Vas- 
silij Maximovitch and Ivan Ivanovitch — their last 
names I have forgotten but if I once more come to 
Bjelof, I will be just as welcome in spite of that. The 
first was a handsome, though very fat, old man with 
venerable Jewish features and snow-white hair and 
beard. He wore a Prince Albert coat and soft elastic- 
sided shoes. Maybe he wasn't a Jew, perhaps he 
had been baptized in this or the past generation, at any 
rate he crossed himself with all the ritual which, like 



The Bolshevik in the Province 41 

^■^^^^— "^ I I 1.1 I I.I I II- I .  I .  . ■! I I rf 

all concessions to formality, gives the real Russian so 
much charm. His voice, however, was the most char- 
acteristic thing about him, it was at once impressive 
and subdued and full of fat organ-like notes, as that 
of an actor who has grown old in worthy traditions and 
good food. Ivan Ivanovitch was on the other hand a 
pure merchant type, of peasant stock, and not for 
nothing the richest man in town. His blinking eyes 
ran with both drink and slavic sweetness and false- 
ness; they told of experience in life, that on his part 
was complete and hardened in exercise of all those 
vices known to the Old Testament. 

The luncheon was lavish, and I was hungry. We 
ate steadily for three hours. Rosenfeld had brought 
two flasks of whisky along in the pockets of his dinner 
coat and in the middle of the meal a soldier came 
with reinforcements in the shape of a bottle of the 
kind that the Russians call Tschetvert, holding from 
two to three quarts. It was filled with pure alcohol, 
which the waiter and the soldier under Ivan Ivano- 
vitch's kindly and interested advice prepared with a 
little water, a bit of cognac, some sugar, herbs and 
some similar asafetida, after which it was run through 
a sieve and at last was as smooth and strong and 
aromatic as the imperial vodka itself. The soldier 
sat down at the table and drank too and then I noticed 
for the first time that it was the militar}^ commissar. 

Rosenfeld drank as I have never before seen a Jew 
drink, he sweated great drops and with each minute 
grew paler and more unshaven. He led the con- 



42 The Red Garden 

> — — . I 

versation, that is to say, his mouth was never still for 
a moment; the two old men ate and drank and were 
more reserved. Vassilij Maximovitch drank only the 
official toasts and regarded me with smiling benevo- 
lence. Ivan Ivanovitch glanced at me slyly and drank 
to excess as if he wanted to get drunk, if that were 
possible. The commissar was a coarse-grained young 
man, who drank boastfully, spilled his liquor, and be- 
came offensively drunk at once. 

When we had had our dessert, preserved peaches 
and apricots, the two merchants drove away, after 
Ivan Ivanovitch earnestly had gotten the others to 
explain to me that I was invited to a dinner in my 
honour, at his house that evening. He would ab- 
solutely not concede that I understood a word of what 
he said. Rosenfeld lit one cigarette after the other 
and dozed. 

"Very rich people," he said suddenly, "very rich 
people." He took out an old, greasy wallet, that 
split and gaped with money, old Tsar money with pic- 
tures of Catherine and Peter the Great, and new Ker- 
ensky thousand ruble notes. He smiled at me, an in- 
toxicated augur's smile and said: "I am the finance 
commissar — and here is the treasury, three hundred 
thousand rubles — that is more than I used to carry 
with me when I was a longshoreman at Le Havre and 
London — before the Revolution. But the wallet is 
the same." — "It's better to keep it on you these days," 
he added and put it back into his breast pocket and 
grew thoughtful again. 



The Bolshevik in the Province 43 

I slept on the red mattress at the Francia that after- 
noon but at half after nine Rosenfeld came with the 
trotter to bring me to the dinner. 

Ivan Ivanovitch's house lay back of the market 
place. The warehouse was in front and back across 
the court yard was the dwelling house with a pair of 
wooden stairs running parallel to its faQade. There 
were a number of large rooms and very little furni- 
ture but many green plants, standing in wooden tubs 
in the middle of the "great room." In the corners 
were big collections of old ikon images with a fine 
patina, and new ostentatious pieces flaming with gilt. 

The guests had already gathered. There were eight- 
een and each man was peculiar in his own way. If 
one was too tall another was too short, if one was yel- 
lowish and had red pimples, another was red and had 
yellow ones, if one was long-haired and saddle-nosed, 
another was thin bearded and cross-eyed. It was a 
company that Dickens would have raved about on his 
death bed. There was a postmaster and a Volost 
writer, two notaries and three teachers from a girl's 
school, a former pope, and a discharged intendant 
with his fingers full of diamonds, a landed proprietor 
without property and a sailor from the Sebastopol 
fleet. There was a man in an undershirt and striped 
trousers, a commissar in a black blouse and with a 
general's red stripes on his light blue trousers. 
There were some in long boots and some in tennis 
shoes. The atmosphere was dignified, careful and, 
if not oppressive, then sensitive to what might occur. 



44 The Red Garden 

Every one had his best clothes on and moved side- 
ways along the green rubber plants without as yet 
feeling each other out. 

The Zakuska, the obligatory Russian hors d'oeuv- 
res, was laid in the dining room. On a long table 
that stood up against the wall, there was placed an 
unsurveyable amount of food. There were seven 
kinds of sausage, three roast geese, great stacks of 
pancakes, and bowls of sour cream, deep cups with 
butter sauce, white and red and pink salmon, not thin 
slices from a delicatessen store, but enormous full 
sized fish, rolls stuffed with soup herbs and onions 
and chopped meat, red and yellow salads, small 
roasted birds, smoked eels, quivering suckling pig 
with Smetana. There were fish in oil and fish in 
tomatoes and caviar — grey, glistening caviar, reared 
up in mounds of small hail in tureens, old milk cheese 
and whey cheese, mountains of bread and a clay dish 
with white, unsalted butter that was still moist from 
the churn. There were many decanters with white 
and yellowish vodka and looming over it all, a metre- 
high samovar surrounded by large and small glasses, 
smooth and fluted glasses, crystal glasses, and glas- 
ses of green bottle glass, glasses from the good old 
days and wartime glasses. — I came from Petrograd 
where people and dogs in the course of a night leave 
only the hooves of a dead horse on the cobblestones. 

Ivan Ivanovitch filled the schnapps glasses three 
times and tlien the tea was carried around by a pea- 



The Bolshevik in the Province 45 

I , 

sant lass in down-at-the-heel slippers and with a wool 
shawl around her head for the tooth ache. The com- 
pany had already livened up considerably at the sight 
of the food and, loudly conversing, patronized the long 
table without urging. There was a man to take care 
that the glasses were kept filled and the decanters re- 
placed, and when he became drunk another servant 
took his place. Ivan Ivanovitch drank the health of 
all the guests who in turn toasted each other. After 
the Zakuska we remained sitting for* a short time and 
smoked cigarettes to settle our food before we started 
to eat dinner. 

The table was set in the "great room." The green 
plants had been moved together at the windows. It 
was a large table and its extreme bareness did not 
make it look any smaller. There was absolutely 
nothing on it besides twenty unmatched glasses full of 
red wine, a plate and three utensils per convert, to- 
gether with a salt dish for common use in the centre 
of the table. There were no napkins, no dishes 
were changed and no finger bowls were given. 
Serevno! as the Russian says when he is, as we say 
in Copenhagen, indiff'erent: there was food. 

First the filled Vodka decanters were set on the 
table and then we sat down, and the soup was car- 
ried around in dishes, yellow, steaming soup, too 
fat, strong and spiced. There was a hunk of beef 
and a piece of fowl in each portion. After that, 
fattened veal roast with greens, then wood-grouse, 



46 The Red Garden 

already carved, but the pieces, even to the dead eyes 
and beaks, had been skillfully joined together 
again. Browned potatoes, red cabbage, pumpkins, 
cucumbers, whole plums, quinces and numerous 
kinds of jelly. It was a dinner where the old 
hackneyed saying of the best being none too good 
took on a deeper meaning. 

Rosenfeld, who sat at the middle of the table on 
my left — on my right I had my host's daughter, 
Vjera Ivanova, who was Intelligentsia — spoke in 
my honour. Modesty forbids me to report its 
more personal parts, but he felt honored to bid the 
representative of a friendly nation welcome on be- 
half of the town. He knew that his sentiments 
were shared by all those present — Denmark was a 
small, democratic country, her people the most 
lovable and liberal on earth, unfortunately the 
police still spoiled this idyll by their dirty reac- 
t^bnarism — and then too he loved Copenhagen, a 
city he knew from personal observation, wonderful 
place. Tivoli, Adelgade, smokke Pige ... of 
course he spoke Danish too, (and then we all 
laughed) ... he would propose a toast for little 
Denmark and great communistic Russia! 

Ivan Ivanovitch had ordered the glasses to be 
kept filled to the rim ... he tried to embrace me 
. . . his eyes glazed and ran with a sharp clear 
moisture. As I, somewhat embarrassed at being 
the company's centre of attention, eased Vjera off 
me a little, I saw through a fog eighteen reddish- 



The Bolshevik in the Province 47 

purple or greenish-pale faces turned to me and dis- 
torted in a meaningless roar that made the dogs in 
the yard bark for a long time after. 

I remained standing and responded with an ap- 
propriate toast to the Russian woman, who loves so 
much, that much shall therefore be forgiven her. 
Vjera leaned her ringleted bobbed head against me, 
as I spoke. She was constantly in need of much 
help. She said she could not stand to drink very 
much. She wanted so to learn French, she had 
studied it at school but she only knew un petit pen 
. . . she also wanted so much to know me better, 
and she pressed my hand and looked at me with 
large lovely eyes. . . . 

For some reason or other there was a disturbance 
among the many drunken people at the table. The 
sailor drew an enormous Browning pistol out of his 
back pocket and banged on the table with it. As 
by a stroke of magic, a silence that was broken only 
by the barking of the dogs fell over the table and 
every one glanced warily at each other, at Rosen- 
feld and at me. Rosenfeld was drunk to be sure 
but he dragged a heavy automatic out of his pocket 
and said to me: "We've all got those — a little 
helper comes in handy now and then." Smiles were 
again unbound and suddenly all had their re- 
volvers out and sat there and chatted, explaining and 
sighting. It was a remarkable collection, from long 
horse-pistols to pistols from the Crimean War, and 
small silver-mounted ladies' revolvers, Austrian of- 



48 The Red Garden 



ficers' pistols, Mausers, small Brownings without 
pistol barrels, that one could hold in the palm of his 
hand, and Smith and Wesson revolvers with rotating 
magazines. This lasted until Ivan Ivanovitch once 
more had the glasses refilled and the incident was 
forgotten. 

There were still a number of speeches — I remem- 
ber that Rosenfeld spoke in honour of Vassilij 
Maximovitch, who sat, fat, white-haired and digni- 
fied, directly opposite me and neither ate nor drank 
much, but enjoyed the veneration of the gathering in 
such a matter of fact way that it was strengthened 
by it. I got the impression that it was he who led 
the others, as sheep, that obey blindly. Rosenfeld 
spoke for a long time, grandly and lyrically, with 
an abundance of adjectives that described Vassilij 
Maximovitch as Man, Citizen and Capitalist. It was 
with men such as he that the people's commissars 
had to and wished to work — he was a great philanthro- 
pist, even in the Tsar's time he had donated 25,000 
rubles to a school for girls, and now because the 
school had never been finished during the corrupt 
Tsaristic reign, he had renewed his gift with twice 
the sum. He was a true man of the people. To be 
sure not yet a communist in principle, that meant 
nothing, — ^he understood the new times — both he and 
Ivan Ivanovitch, who recently had paid a biggish 
fine for illegal traffic in liquors, had shown that they 
were good co-workers in the cause of liberty and pro- 
gress. He, Rosenfeld, did not underestimate Capital, 



The Bolshevik in the Province 49 

it is our enemy but we need it to carry through our 
plans. — Long live the generous and noble Vassilij 
Maximovitch! 

Then Vassilij Maximovitch spoke of Rosenfeld 
with deep feeling and with elegant diction that was 
accompanied as by the twanging of a bass string by 
his fat, full voice, and when he was finished they 
kissed each other on both cheeks. And Rosenfeld 
spoke of Ivan Ivanovitch — and others spoke, who 
sprang up on chairs and on the table: no one knew 
his voice for his own. The table-cloth was littered 
with refuse and dripped with alcohol, the room was 
hot with human breath, smoke and the penetrating 
fumes of liquor. Two great cream tarts were car- 
ried in but no one took heed of them, all walked about 
or stood up and presently took their places at the 
table again. 

I remember still that we had some strong cognac 
with our coffee and that Ivan Ivanovitch persisted in 
trying to drink to me and kiss me on both cheeks. 
It was Russian, po russkij. 

I felt his whiskers and breath singe my face and 
pushed the drunken man from me. 

Vjera had disappeared, and the sailor, and various 
others that I did not see again. — Rosenfeld drove me 
back to the Francia. 

The next afternoon we had a parting luncheon at 
the house of Vassilij Maximovitch. Rosenfeld came 
and woke me; it was necessary, he said, Vassilij 
Maximovitch would feel offended if you did not 



50 The Red Garden 

t — I 

coma when you had been at the house of Ivan Ivano- 
vitch. 

At Vassilij Maximovitch's, I saw Ivan Ivanovitch 
again, looking the same as ususal, and the other 
guests of the night before. Their faces were swollen 
as if they had been in a fight. Vjera was there too 
and now for the first time I noticed that she was preg- 
nant. At Vassilij Maximovitch's we also had every 
possible kind of cold dishes and there was Vodka for 
Ivan Ivanovitch and a mild sweet fruit brandy for the 
rest of us. Everything went along in a dignified way 
and only one speech was made, one to me by Vassilij 
Maximovitch. When we had eaten and I was about 
to go, Ivan Ivanovitch embraced me and bade me 
come as his guest for as long as I wished. Vassilij 
Maximovitch too I had to promise to come again. 
And Vjera shook hands with me and blushed. 

"Come again," she said, "some other time." 

The wagon waited below with my baggage. 
Rosenfeld had gotten me two good horses and a re- 
liable driver and at a spanking trot we drove, with 
bells tinkling, up the street, across the market place 
and out toward the country. My friends waved as 
long as they could see me. 

Soon we were outside the town and when I looked 
back, I saw Bjelof hovering in the air like something 
seen in a dream. Here from the wide open country 
all that I saw of it was the long white wall about the 
old convent, the green roofs, the blue and golden 
domes. Russia, unforgettable, beautiful Russia! 



Village Bolshevism 

TERAKOVO lies on the crest of a hill in the 
middle of the wide open country. Seen from 
a distance it resembles, especially in the 
springtime with its grey, clay-daubed outhouses and 
numerous wooden peasant huts, a geological compo- 
nent and natural elevation of the landscape. It has 
an enormous expanse and is really a city in the coun- 
try with five or six thousand souls. It is not merely 
the collection of building blocks arranged as dwell- 
ings for lesser hucksters and craftsmen around the 
railway station, the church and the creamery, that 
we since the flight of the people, call a village. 

In the middle of the town can be seen — still from 
a distance — a large bald spot. For some myster- 
ious reason the houses have given way before and 
around this broad space, where the clay bank is al- 
lowed to show its naked body, yellow and steep from 
the spring streams of melting snow. But close at 
hand we see that it is only the road. — The road 
through the Russian village which from old custom 
broadens like a river and which in case of fire and 
favourable winds offers the possibility that only half 
the village will bum. If one rides from Galicia or 
Poland by horse and wagon, it is neither the land- 
scape nor the people, the colour of the cattle, nor the 

amount of filth that tells us when we have come to 

51 



52 The Red Garden 

*—— —  —  — I 

Russia. It is this broad street in the first Russian 
village that with a new and lavish conception of space 
ushers in the great, Asiatic, unused and turgid main- 
land of which Europe is only the peninsula. 

I came to Terakovo in the early summer of 1918. 
I came at noon. It was burning hot and the village 
was hushed and still. Dogs and big rough-haired 
swine lay in the shade of the houses, black-spotted 
and dirty-white, and among them tow-headed chil- 
dren with open mouths. Everything living slept, 
singly and in bunches, where the heat and sleepiness 
had surprised them in the comradely study of the 
mysteries of the road and the manure heap. Now 
and then the wagon joggled over a pair of young pigs 
who had made themselves comfortable in the deep 
ruts that the carts had cut that spring in the slough of 
mud. The wheels ran over them lengthwise and they 
let out heartrending squeals and then stood awhile 
and pondered whether or no they should do any more 
about it. Finally they decided to go to sleep again. 
In the middle of the village we came by the tradi- 
tional little stone chapel in which varicoloured and 
gilded images were protected from the rain by a 
roof. We reached the end of the village street un- 
noticed. A large plot of long-stalked sun-flowers 
surrounded the last houses and their green leaves 
excited Nature's already withered yellow into a burn- 
ing orange tone that shrieked aloud with thirst. 

During my visit to a big internment camp for 
prisoners of war that lay a half score versts further 



Village Bolshevism 53 

east, I learned a good deal about the peasants in the 
village and how freedom had come to Terakovo. 

The revolution itself took place very quietly, the 
only sign of it in the community was the disappear- 
ance of the gendarme. He had been surprised by 
soldiers at the station of Bokoruzka and some said 
that he had been killed, but others were of the opin- 
ion that he had gone back to his village on the Volga 
and one would yet hear that he had become a commis- 
sar. At first the children wondered because he was 
no longer there, much as we should wonder if one 
day the sun didn't rise, but would no doubt in spite 
of that still go to our work in the court and in the 
bank, send off our letters and read the newspapers. 
For a long time no excesses took place except that the 
peasants cut wood in the forests of the estates with- 
out taking pains to hide it. Later they became 
bolder and broke through the fences of the park and 
cut down a number of old elms, sawing them off a 
good yard above the ground to make it easier. The 
children, who before had gone to school on the 
estate twice a week, now took a vacation. When 
the deserters began to come home, the general's wife 
and daughters no longer dared to walk in the garden. 
They were insulted and at night stones were thrown 
through the window at them. They became so terri- 
fied that they fled to Moscow and then the manor 
house stood empty. Now the depredations came in 
rapid succession, the manager fled and it grew worse 
as more soldiers came home. They related that at 



54 The Red Garden 



the front the officers no longer had command. It was 
the soldiers themselves who decided whether they 
would fight and everything else and there was a coun- 
cil, a soviet in each battalion and higher up. Also, 
many strangers had come from Petrograd and from 
far foreign lands who spoke much and spoke well. 
They said that now peace would be made all over 
the world by the private soldiers, that the officers 
were paid by the rich to make war and let the poor 
be killed so that there would not too many of them 
but now no one would be rich or poor any more and 
no one would own anything in the future but every- 
body would own all. The German soldiers would 
not fight any more either and there was no doubt of 
it because they came up out of the trenches and 
waved white flags. And not only was there no shoot- 
ing of each other any more, but they talked together 
and the Germans had Vodka that they bartered for 
tobacco and they gave fifty rubles for a rifle and two 
hundred for a machine gun. And furthermore the 
strangers said that all the land that belonged to the 
estates would be divided among the peasants and all 
that the rich in the country possessed was the prop- 
erty of the poor. It was strange talk and a new 
order that came home to the village, but much of it 
sounded very seductive and was not hard to grasp 
and it was accordingly brought into execution. 

First the peasants took up the task of dividing 
the land. It had suddenly become unreasonable to 
put off^ until tomorrow what could be done today. 



Village Bolshevism 55 

' « 

The older peasants in great excitement walked 
around on the unfenced areas, calculated by rule of 
thumb, paced off distances and began from the be- 
ginning again when they lost track of their count. 
For the worst of the work a sort of surveyor from 
Ardatof was fetched. It may not have been abso- 
lutely fair but neither was it wholly unreasonable. 
It so chanced that the rich peasants got most. But 
sufficient consideration was given to those who were 
still at the front or who were prisoners of war. 
They had families who looked out for their interests. 
When the division of the land was at an end, 
conscience and remorse awoke but along with it was 
the desire to own and bequeath the good land that 
had been won so easily and free from debt. The 
rational thing to do was to get rid of the evil and 
danger at its root. Realistically endowed as the 
Great Russians are and with their feelings shrouded 
in such dim clouds, it did not take the peasants long 
to come to the conclusion that the estate should be 
destroyed. In this way would vanish the apparent 
and material possibility that the masters would ever 
return. After large and repeated councils in front 
of the church, action was finally taken. The ani- 
mals on the estate were the first to be parcelled out. 
This was an involved exchange and one that took 
many weeks before it came to an end, as the old 
miracle of the loaves and the fishes did not repeat it- 
self at this unholy occasion. As every family had 
to have its share of the cattle and horses, they found 



56 The Red Garden 

-  - - I II I   _  _ I 

it necessary to dig down to their own hens and geese 
as small change in order to bring about a settlement. 
And when a sow gave birth to a litter and a mare had 
a colt while the division was in process, a new and 
unexpected strife arose as to who should have the 
offspring. A great prize stallion proved to be an un- 
solvable bone of contention. There was nothing 
left to do but to hit it on the head and divide the 
skin and the meat. In this way peace and justice 
were given all due consideration. 

After the animals came the turn of the farm 
machinery. But most of it would not do for the or- 
dinary husbandry which still does its work with the 
sickle and the wooden plow. So on that account 
they were broken up for the iron in them and the 
pieces dealt out. The less heavy furniture and 
household articles were also divided up and in the 
library any one could help himself if he felt so in- 
clined. Of course it wasn't easy to figure out what 
the books could be used for and for that reason I 
could buy, in Terakovo, at postojanoje dwor where I 
drank tea, the 15th. volume of Balzac^s Oeuvres 
Completes and the 67th. of Voltaire's for fifty ko- 
pecks each. When there was nothing left on the es- 
tate that could not be used in an ordinary peasant's 
house, the place was set afire and when I saw it only 
the blackened walls with their sorrowful window 
openings were standing. The trees too, nearest to 
the ruins, were badly scorched but nevertheless green 



Village Bolshevism 57 

branches here and there strained upwards after the 
sun. . . . 

Bolshevism had conquered; not its teachings, its 
ideas or its leaders. It conquered in the action by 
which the village burned its boats, and at the same 
time burned its complicity into its own, stupid, slug- 
gish heart. 

The peasant is not Bolshevik; he is nothing. He 
has only ordinary ideas and conceptions of privilege. 
He believes in a Tsar. Kozjain nada, says he, for he 
knows that even the smallest undertaking needs a 
master. Then too, under the Tsar there were manu- 
factures and real money. But if the Tsar was the 
empire and religion peace and quiet, he was also 
domestic discipline, punishment and reckoning. To- 
wards Bolshevism the peasant feels an instinctive 
distrust; it is new and has come in a time of mis- 
fortune. And yet he does not declare himself 
against it, for it is a guarantee against the gendarmes 
and the cossacks, against retribution and the rein- 
- statement of his former rulers. Reason, the inner 
voice and tradition were arrayed against the emotions 
and the nearest danger. And the emotions won as 
they always do. And while the peasants wait on the 
future and bear the day's burden and want with a 
heavy and silent heart, they prudently let the vast 
new fields lie fallow. One can never tell — and it 
would indeed be a sin and shame to waste the seed 
and let the master reap what the peasant has sowed. 



58 The Red Garden 



But it was no use letting gloomy thoughts dwell on 
the mbrrow. The new times were not without the 
joys of the moment. As for example when the big 
distillery in Ard'atof was plundered. Home made 
whiskey is good enough for ordinary use of course 
but in the Tsar's good old Vodka, none of which was 
sold during the war, there was nevertheless more 
festivity. So when the peasants in Terakovo heard 
that now things were wide open at the liquor ware- 
house in Ardatof, they started from where they 
walked and stood and lay. On horse, foot and in 
wagons, the Women and children last, but all drag- 
ging, riding and driving with all they could bring 
with them of piggins and pails, jugs and jars. Many 
thousands of people were all headed for Ardatof as 
if to a great lire or to a Kazanian procession for the 
Virgin Mary. They drank well and fast and long 
but there was so much more Vodka, both in gallons 
and in bottles and in pure spirits in barrels in the 
great warehouse, than was possible to drink at a 
stretch, even if all were to and did get thoroughly 
drunk. Much was spilled during the debauch and 
the whole distillery was destroyed, but still there 
was a great deal left and some of it they tried to 
bring home to the neighbouring villages. Outside 
of Terakovo, two wagons broke down under the 
weight of the mighty liquor barrels. The wheels 
went completely to pieces and the liquor ran out on 
the field where for a long time it lay like an entire 
lake before it drained into the ground. But many 



Village Bolshevism 59 

> . 

who had not gotten so sufficient a supply and who 
were thoroughly addicted to drink, opinioned that it 
was a shame that so much good stuff should go to 
waste. They set about filtering the earth through 
which the liquor had recently sunk and the result 
of their labours was a not inconsiderable quantity of 
a yellowish and somewhat earthy fluid. To be sure, 
it did not taste quite as it should but it had an exhil- 
arating and pow:erful effect for all that. After sev- 
eral days' happy partaking of this drink the parties 
concerned were stricken by a slight indisposition 
which however quickly developed into a species of 
typhus. This typhus took on so many complications 
that according to an Austrian regimental surgeon, a 
prisoner, who had the opportunity of observing this 
disease on the spot, the patients galloped through 
most of the internally treated sicknesses ere they be- 
came blind and raving and at last began to rot before 
they really died. In this way over five hundred peo- 
ple died in Terakovo in the course of three weeks — . 

Before I left the camp at Terakovo I witnessed a 
catastrophe that may not be unusual for Russia but 
which for a stranger involuntarily becomes a remem- 
brance. Terakovo caught fire. It happened as I 
shall now tell. 

A Hungarian lived in Terakovo who went by the 
name of Ivan. He was not the only prisoner of war 
in the village but he occupied a distinct place and 
it was a long time since he had been a common 
servant and thrall. The peasants held him in high 



60 The Red Garden 

> < 

esteem. Among other things he had, when the land 
was being divided, shown a fund of knowledge and 
ability that had been of benefit to the whole village. 
He was a handsome, dark-haired fellow, that I can 
say, although I have only seen his corpse, and he was 
the father of a number of children around in the 
village, which could not fail to knit him more closely 
to the families. He finally married a soldier's 
widow and took the place of father to her two chil- 
dren about the same time that she presented him 
with a third one of his own. He had adopted the 
orthodox belief and wore under his shirt a cross 
suspended from a string around his neck just as 
the real Russians. Also he was a good friend of 
the pope for whom he procured beer and old vodka 
from a commissar in Ardatof. He spoke Russian so 
well that it was difficult to hear that he was a for- 
eigner. When he married the widow the peasants 
made him a member of the Mir, the village society, 
an honour very rarely shown extra-parochial Rus- 
sians. Yet, I have spoken with two other prisoners 
who had had just as good fortune as Ivan; having 
while the war still was going on, been accepted in 
their village as real peasants where they could have 
married had they wished. Ivan had, during the di- 
vision of the property, been given the position of 
arbiter. And as he constantly represented the means 
of procuring for the village through barter with his 
friend the commissar in Ardatof, sugar and tea, 
nails, calico and simlilar scarce wares, his position 



Village Bolshevism 61 

and authority were, in consideration of his age and 
extraction, quite unusual. 

Now the dramatic, which in Russia is common- 
place even if it is elsewhere rare and hard to be- 
lieve, happened: the husband, Sergeij Petrovitch, 
looked upon as dead, came home to the village. He 
was sallow and yellow as a corpse but otherwise 
quite alive. He had been in prison in Kiev and had 
during that time been sentenced to death for some 
breach of discipline but had been pardoned or for- 
gotten. At any rate no one heard from him. When 
the Bolsheviki in February, 1918, occupied Kiev, he 
was released together with all the other prisoners. 
After three months of wandering and interrupted 
travel by train, he had now reached home and de- 
nianded that which was his. 

If he had come back as a ghost he would prob- 
ably have been met with sympathy and understand- 
ing. Ghosts as a rule are harmless and easy to get 
along with. As he came, a living apparition, he was 
highly inconvenient and unwelcome, and he barely 
won their tolerance. There was entirely too much 
that spoke for his having remained away. Even 
his old friends gave him the cold shoulder and turned 
away when they saW him coming. His own children 
did not know him and his wife sought shelter back of 
the Hungarian who looked right through him and 
around him but did not let him come in. He slept 
in an outhouse and there at least the dog licked his 
hand as of old that of the returning Odysseus. 



62 The Red Garden 



The third day after his arrival he went away and 
when he came back he was armed. He had a rifle 
on his shoulder and his pockets full of cartridges. 
He entered his house and shot the Hungarian with a 
revolver. A bullet pierced Ivan's neck and severed 
his windpipe. The body he threw out on the street 
where it lay for a long time and was a source of 
nausea to the inhabitants, while the hogs gathered 
and bit at it. 

The woman, who carried her and the Hunga- 
rian's baby at her breast, Sergeij did not harm and 
she met fate with bowed head. Ivan had been more 
handsome but still Sergeij was her first husband and 
her only one now that the other was dead. And 
undeniably to him belonged the hut, the land, the 
livestock and the lives of her and her children. For 
all parties concerned it was best that she and Sergeij 
agreed and agreeing kept that which was theirs. 

As for the peasants, well, they remembered that 
that which is done can not be undone and despite 
regret they were not disinclined to accept the accom- 
plished. In that respect primitive diplomacy is not 
one jot behind the most modern. Now that he, Ivan, 
Was dead, it was on second thought also more appar- 
ent that he had been an outsider and a prisoner of 
war, while Sergeij was Russian and bom in the vil- 
lage and obviously in the right. 

But Ivan's friend, the commissar in Ardatof, felt 
the loss of his comrade of battle, and of war im- 
prisonmentj a fellow countryman and a useful con- 



Village Bolshevism 63 

I — I 

nection in Terakovo. He was burning to revenge 
the murder and came to Terakovo himself with thirty 
Red Guards and a machine gun. When the peasants 
perceived that neither contributions nor requisitions of 
grain were wanted, and that their lives and their 
property were not threatened, they concluded to 
render the stronger part friendly neutrality. To this 
point of view, the growing feeling that Sergeij had 
at Ivan's death come into an inordinately large in- 
heritance, very naturally contributed. 

Sergeij 's house was surrounded and while the Red 
Guards consulted among each other as to how they 
should begin, a shot suddenly crashed out, followed 
by others and in the same instant a soldier toppled to 
the ground, dead. The others at once took cover. 
After many hours of careful skirmishing and ad- 
vancing, Sergeij had run out of ammunition and they 
were able to dash in and make an end of him. 

Inside the house the wife and the two half -grown 
children lay dead. Whether Sergeij had shot them 
or they had been struck by bullets from without was 
never cleared up. Either was possible as the hut 
was as full of holes as an old target. Only the 
Hungarian's infant still lived ; it lay silent by the side 
of its dead mother. It would have undeniably have 
been more convenient if it too had gone hence but — 
schto djelat, what was to be done about it? It lived 
and took its place as a belated twin at a peasant girl's 
breast. 

But the same afternoon the village burned, that is 



64 The Red Garden 

% ■■^■1 II  I I II. I I ■■»■» »  ■—■II 11 I Ml I I 

one half of it, for the wind was favourable. Sergeij 
had set his hay afire before he gave himself up to the 
revenge of his enemies. When the flames were first 
seen bursting out of the barn it was too late to put 
them out. All hurried to their homes, to drive out 
the cattle, save the children and the samovar and 
what else there was time for before the fire hemmed 
in all it could reach with its swift, clamorous flames. 

I got there just as the fire was burning fiercely and 
on this occasion I heard the whole story from a 
Viennese who had been in the expedition against 
Sergeij. We stood outside the town and watched it 
burn. The Viennese was deeply moved and said a 
number of times, sighing: "If only people could live 
at peace with one another!" 

The conflagration itself was less impressive than 
the descriptions usually given that kind of occur- 
rences by writers, who in sheer eager imagination let 
themselves be enticed into the fiery ocean and see it 
all from within and in the middle of the element's 
blustering fury. I, outside where the wind blew 
away from me, saw nothing other than a dark, gi- 
gantic wall of smoke from the depths of which came a 
monotonous soughing. Once in a while the smoke 
was tinged lilac or violet but no flames were visible. 
If any horrors were taking place within, we saw noth- 
ing of them. Once a pig came running out of the 
smoke and right at us. It was black but it may have 
been so by nature and there was apparently nothing 
the matter with it. When the fire was at its height 



Village Bolshevism 65 

we saw nothing other than a bright, almost white 
haze. 

That, which burned, burned thoroughly and to the 
ground. Nothing but ashes on the bare ground was 
left of one half of Terakovo. Of that which had 
been caught in the fire, as for example the bodies of 
Sergeij and his family, scarcely a trace was to be 
seen. As soon as the next morning the peasants were 
walking gingerly over the warm earth while they 
poked in the ashes and pushed at the blackened, 
partly-plastered stone foundations. They searched 
for the places where their houses had been and had 
great difficulty in finding them. But most of them 
no doubt had a little treasure of gold, silver, or cop- 
per money and old Tsar notes buried somewhere. 
And that which is underground does not burn. 

Before I went away I stopped to see the Hunga- 
rian's child. It was a little boy with beautiful brown 
eyes and hair that was already dark. He smiled, 
which Russian infants hardly ever do. He lay in a 
basket that hung, suspended by a string, from the 
ceiling of the room. I bade the young foster- 
mother take good care of him. 

And if he isn't dead, he is still living and will 
some time become a little wave on the crest of the 
ocean, a life in the swarm of humanity and a soldier 
in the host which Russia will once again raise when 
it resumes its march to the sea. 



Russian Cavalry 

THERE is a window open in a house on the fash- 
ionable and palatial Millionaja, aristocracy's 
street in Petrograd with the golden, clinking 
name. The air between the red and yellow walls is 
full of clattering hoof-beats. A lancer regiment is 
marching by on its way to the parade ground at the 
Winter Palace where it is to pass in review before it 
leaves for the front. The colonel rides first. But 
he is no old, peace-time colonel with white whiskers, 
high red collar pricking his chin, drooping stomach 
and gouty toes cramped in his riding boots. The 
commander of the regiment is a dashing and khaki- 
coloured warrior whose moustache curves like a dark 
sickle against his sunburnt face. His breast is cov- 
ered by various grades of the Order of St. George 
with their black and orange ribbons. Two narrow 
rows of brightness carry the French, English, Bel- 
gian and Serbian colours and on the tunic below his 
heart, the red Vladimir sparkles. The heavy sabre, 
doubtless an heirloom, with its long silver hilt and 
black leather scabbard with Caucasian silver-work, is 
set off by his black riding breeches and brand new 
patent leather boots. He is riding a black thorough- 
bred that looks as if it might at any moment execute 
a dance on its hind legs and roll its eyes coquettishly 

and foam at the bit, while it in reality goes along 

66 



Russian Cavalry 67 

like a lamb and only for appearances' sake does it 
jump sideways and make the spurs necessary. On 
the colonel's left rides the adjutant, tall and slender, 
handsome as a young girl's dream. He wears a 
shining cross of the Order of St. George and on his 
shoulders the long white braids with their golden 
tassels. Red and white vie in his complexion. His 
face is open and yet slightly dreamy. Its insou- 
ciance is bathed as by the glow of a recent parting. 
A parting he has already forgotten. 

Next ride the musicians with their Balalaika in- 
struments and after them the entire regiment passes 
by, great strong fellows on small Russian horses. 
The first section of each squadron carry the long 
lances at their backs. These are weapons that can 
be seen, this forest of thick poles that in slanting 
lines rule off the sky. Some of the lances have 
streamers but most of them are bare and only the 
short steel points flash in the sunlight. The other 
section have only carbines but all are armed with 
the Russian cavalry sabre, yellow and black, hang- 
ing from new raw-coloured leather bandoliers. The 
majority of the horsemen are young men, long 
downy-lipped country boys, blond and red haired, 
almost white haired, pock marked, freckled or cov- 
ered with ripe pimples; their features are about 
as flippant and mischievous and thoughtful as slices of 
French bread. But among the many grown up man- 
pups who still gape unrestrainedly at the world 
through their light blue goggle eyes, ride small com- 



68 The Red Garden 

pact Tartars with blackish-brown polished eyes, 
smooth hair and a latent fatness hidden in the nice 
rounded cheeks. And here and there ride types of 
the pure Mongolian with flat noses, dark-yellow 
cheek bones and wiry pig tail shocks of hair, and on 
the extreme flank ride real horsemen, old cavalry- 
men with their caps set precariously on back of their 
heads while their thick hair in front is combed for- 
ward in an oily and ringleted lock that hovers over 
their forehead like an immense hair puff" or stiff" 
streamer and divides the impression of their owner 
into warrior and petticoat pensioner. 

The first squadron ride brown horses, the second 
have black, then come the brown again. The fourth 
however, is composed entirely of white horses — only 
the little colts that run by their dams, tripping and 
shambling along, with their comical canine body 
swaying on the four long soft legs, provide an occa- 
sional variation in colour. But before them, of 
course, the cavalry regulations are powerless. The 
small, Russian horses are said to be too light for the 
big cavalry onslaughts where weight determines su- 
periority and outcome. But they have the sweetest 
short noses and long manes that hang into the kind- 
est and most patient eyes. No other animal deserves 
the love of man more than the little Russian horse 
that trots faithfully along without ever stopping to 
think that its rider too has legs. It endures treat- 
ment that would strike the larger stall-fed horses 
with a score of incurable ailments. ... It stands 



Russian Cavalry 69 

I — I 

out in the coldest of winter with a snowstorm liter- 
ally on top of it. It is thoughtlessly used, mis- 
used, beaten and starved and never balks but is 
equally undismayed and kind-eyed up to the day, 
when face to face with the moment's impossibility, 
it stretches out its legs to die, as unostentatious and 
unassuming in death as it was during its life of toil. 
And yet — on an attempt to pet it and rub its nose, it 
turns its head away and one becomes aware that the 
Russian horse does not understand that kind of famil- 
iarity because its instinct for caresses has never 
been awakened. The mares foal every year and 
their colts, too, are something apart. They are not 
like other playful, lazy, light-hearted colts that roll 
on their backs and waggle their legs. From the very 
moment of their birth they are a collection of small, 
shaggy, reticent creatures with wise old eyes, that 
totter along where their mothers go and if born in 
the regiment, run, on the march, in war and to parade 
along the column's flank, generally mouthing and 
drooling, engrossed in the one thing that to them is 
life's infallible meaning; to be abreast of the good 
mother milk should there be a pause in the march. 

Now the Balalaika band plays. But it is no mar- 
tial melody they play, for in that sense the Russians 
are no warlike people. They can be put into the 
ranks, but at heart they are wanderers. The songs 
they know are the sorrowful and little varied hymns 
that with fascinating melancholy still convey some of 
the repetitive rhythm of primitive people. This 



70 The Red Garden 

' ;; ; < 

music acts with entrancing and suggestive force on 
the most sluggish soul and penetrates all the culture 
of the sophisticated. As it fills the heart, it opens 
vistas of the great plains with their many hundred 
thousand homes, of the mainland where Volga the 
Great Mother flows, and of the vast steppes where the 
Calmucks and the Kirghiz still shift their tents. 
And when the Balalaika dies out, singing is heard 
from the regiment, first a leading voice and then a 
little chorus, in which the individual is still rasp- 
ingly felt, and then the whole regiment joins in and 
the raw primitive voices mingle in a solemn and 
mighty chant, quite the opposite of any student sing- 
ing society in its naive vocal abandonment to that 
no thought and purpose which is the festive mood in 
all folk song. 

After the squadrons come riders with led horses, 
and field cars with hay in large, flat pressed bales, 
wagons with arms and equipment, horses with ma- 
chine guns on their backs and more carts with lances, 
brass instruments and ammunition boxes and last 
the field kitchens, horses, men, and more wagons and 
little colts. And when the whole procession had 
passed and the street again was quiet, a belated rider 
came darting by on a little horse. He posted in his 
saddle like a rubber man, not a beat behind the ani- 
mal's movements although the horse flashed like a 
dark flame over the cobble stones, its mane flying in 
the wind, the sparks spreading fans of fire where its 
hoofs struck and raising a din like a minute-long 



Russian Cavalry ' 71 

^   ..11  I  I »■  —    ,  . I , i 

storm of hail and thunder. They can run too, these 
small Russian horses, they place their small strong 
legs to the pavement like slender steel rods beating 
in raging tempo, where the big dragoon horses would 
wince as if their hoofs were corns supporting their 
own oat-stuffed weight. 

Thus the Russian cavalry went to the front. 

A year later they came home again. It was dur- 
ing the days of the negotiations at Brest-Litovsk. 
The war was over as far as the Russians were con- 
cerned, long before peace was signed and irrespec- 
tive of whether it ever would be. A special commis- 
sariat sat in Moscow and demobilized the army, but 
the regiment came back to Kazan, where it had its 
permanent garrison, in two Tjepluska trains which 
it had requisitioned and brought through by the aid 
of a few and effective gestures with revolvers when 
the track could not be cleared quickly enough. 
There were ten horses in each Tjepluska and the sol- 
diers were installed in cars, which if one could judge 
by the Roman numerals, had at one time been first 
class sleepers but when they arrived in Kazan only 
the walls and that which was nailed fast remained of 
all that at one time had been plush and pillows, con- 
veniences and bathroom porcelain. From the sta- 
tion they rode up the Voskresenskaja, the main street 
in Kazan that reaches from the university to the old 
Kremlin with the Tartar tower. The dashing col- 
onel was missing, the adjutant not there either. No 



72 The Red Garden 

officers at all were to be seen, for those that possibly 
might be left, had no more shoulder straps or marks 
of distinction. In front rode a red-headed soldier 
and on a black thoroughbred was a sailor in a navy 
cap with long yellow and black ribbons, a seaman's 
blouse and wide uniform trousers. It was a curious 
sight to see a sailor on horse-back and the animal 
reared and snorted under him but he sat as if 
moulded to the saddle and conversed imperturbably 
with his companion. He carried no other weapon 
than a heavy Browning at his belt. The squadrons 
were now made up without regard to the colour of 
the horses but went according to the friendship of 
the riders. No one carried lances any more, why 
drag along those heavy flag poles that were anything 
but fit for offensive purposes. The majority of them, 
however, had secured pistols which they wore in hol- 
sters strapped to their waists, preferably gendar- 
merie revolvers with a bright red lanyard that went 
from a ring in the butt up around the neck. It ap- 
pealed to their love of colour and made such a fine 
ornamental effect. 

The regiment clattered up the street in all kinds 
of gaits and paces. The horses still kept place 
where they could but the men were impatient and 
broke ranks to get by one and ahead of another, or 
they suddenly turned their horses and rode back 
amid tumult and laughter and abuse. Many rode 
up on the sidewalks and banged gaily away with re- 
volvers and carbines. The bullets whizzed through 



Russian Cavalry 73 

the air in all directions and some flattened them- 
selves on the chimneys while others crashed through 
the windows and knocked the plaster off" ceilings on 
the third floor. The colts were nearly crazed during 
this bedlam and pandemonium and were constantly 
becoming separated from the mares. And the peo- 
ple of the town fled panic stricken around the corners 
or if they had not gotten quickly enough away, 
pressed themselves up against the houses, pale-faced 
and praying that this terrible cavalry would be well 
past before harm came to them. 

When the horsemen reached the barracks on the 
outskirts of the town, they rode their mounts right 
into the stables and up into the stalls and remained in 
the saddle while they put halters on the animals and 
made them fast. The wagons that were left were 
run together in a bunch in the court and there they 
still stand but sunk in the ground to the hubs. The 
machine guns were set up in the gateways and then 
all started investigating the barracks. First they ate 
and drank what could be discovered and prepared 
in a hurry and celebrated their homecoming and the 
new liberty, equality and fraternity and then made 
preparations for spending the night. The sailor and 
the red-haired one took the colonel's bed. They 
sprawled right in between the white sheets in clothes 
and boots, spurs and weapons and the others lay 
down to rest around in the officers' room. But many 
too, merely collapsed in the officers' mess or wher- 
ever they happened to be and slept it off" with their 



74 The Red Garden 

heads on the table and their legs on the floor or with 
their heads on the floor and their legs on a chair. 

As long as there was plenty to eat and drink in 
the barracks, a tremendous uproar continued to come 
from it all day and far into the night. The inhabi- 
tants of the town and all those who held life 
dear, kept at a safe distance from the revels that so 
easily became excesses. One day three bullet-rid- 
dled soldiers were brought to the hospital and some- 
thing like a half-score men were hastily buried, the 
outcome of a fight that arose over some trivial mis- 
understanding. The barracks were in a frightful 
condition, the eagles had been torn from the door- 
ways, the windows were knocked out or shot full of 
stars, the white plaster had fallen off" the walls in 
long flakes, the furniture was splintered, the pictures 
in the officers' mess served as a lodging place for 
bullets, and where that of the Tsar had hung was 
now a picture of Lenin, fastened to the wall with four 
thumbtacks. The superintendent who had been sur- 
prised by the regiment on its arrival had fled and 
lay hidden in a cellar in Kazan. He said that the 
church had been dumped full of manure and that the 
pope had been tied up in the wheelwright's smithy 
where he had sat and licked axle grease, before he 
was allowed to slip away, half dead from hunger and 
tliirst. But the regimental physician, who had al- 
ways been a coarse rascal, the wild fellows had 
fetched from the town and manacled to a sentry box 



Russian Cavalry 75 



where he remained until one day he was accidently 
shot. 

Gradually, however, the homecomers disappeared. 
The Tartars had immediately gone to their homes; 
the Turk is methodically cruel but all Bolshevik ex- 
cesses are foreign to his phlegmatic nature. The 
rest went, singly and in small groups, home to their 
villages. The leading Bolsheviki had long ago 
moved into the town and lived at hotels or were quar- 
tered at the houses of the rich citizens. Others also 
got greater or lesser commissions in the administra- 
tion of the local commissariats or of the soviet gov- 
ernment. At last all were gone and the great bar- 
racks, waste and empty, and with a strange burnt out 
appearance stood in its desolate field. 

But the uproar did not abate, on the contrary, it 
continued, and increased. It became a heartrend- 
ing and terrible howl, an uninterrupted finale of 
shrill screams, that might have been the neighing 
of evil spirits who had into the bargain been stricken 
with raging insanity, and yet it was only the horses 
who stood forgotten in the long stables and tugged 
at their halters and when they gave way, galloped 
back and forth, trampling down all that lay in their 
path, flaying long shreds from each other with their 
long flat fore teeth, their eyes bloodshot, and no 
longer animals in their frightful sufferings from 
hunger and thirst. The people in the town heard 
and some of them wondered perhaps, but who in the 



76 The Red Garden 

» — — — — — — I 

world was going to risk his life first for the madmen 
who might still be holding sway out there, then for 
the still more insane animals which the devil himself 
could not approach in the condition they were in 
now. And who was going to procure tlie hay, and 
who was going to pay for it, and whose business 
was it anyway — and besides the noise soon grew 
weaker and at last died quite away and people no 
longer gave a thought to the barracks, where no one 
now had errands and which not even attracted thieves 
after the regiment had gotten through with it. 

But a month later, as the weather became warmer, 
the town again had to remember the barracks and 
what had really happened there, for certain winds 
carried a frightful stench through the streets, yes, 
into the very house. It became so bad that the com- 
missariats had to take a hand and three or four hun- 
dred prisoners of war, of those who had not al- 
ready enlisted in the Red Guard, were hurriedly 
driven together to get the carcasses out of the way. 
It was a hard task, the ground was yet too frozen to 
bury them, the stinking bodies had to be brought out 
of the town in carts to be flung on a meadow down 
by the Volga. It may be that a prisoner or two 
fainted and some died too, but then prisoners of war 
die so easily and nobody misses them and anyway 
some one had to do the work unless all were to pre- 
pare themselves for the worst. 

Those who sailed on the Volga past the town of 
Kazan in the summer and autumn of 1918 could have 



Russian Cavalry 77 

seen great flocks of birds circle over a certain spot 
on the north bank of the river. It is here that many- 
carcasses were brought to to their last rest. Here I 
myself have seen for the last time the regiment of 
cavalry that I first saw from a beautiful woman's 
window, as it went to review* before the red Winter 
Palace. Most of the bodies were already plucked of 
all flesh and the last bloody shreds were drying in the 
summer heat upon the white skeletons. Fat ravens 
still sat on the gruesome skulls and picked at what- 
ever puddles of decayed matter there was left. It 
was a beautiful evening, but an ugly sight to see these 
many stripped and eyeless skulls guarded by these 
brazen and imperturbable feathered creatures, and 
yet my thoughts turned most to the little colts that 
were always so unreasonably sweet and which I al- 
ways wanted to pet but who always drew their heads 
away and wouldn't understand what it was all about. 



Galician Jews 

IT was in the spring of 1917 that Denmark, replac- 
ing the Americans, took over the interests of the 
Austro-Hungarian Empire in Russia. Such is 
the diplomatic expression and the last link in the 
official chain is the increase of foreign grand crosses 
and orders of knighthood in the court calendar. The 
reality that lies between is a book the size of the 
Bible, a gigantic tragedy and a comic epos, a robber 
romance, and a Divina Commedia that took place in 
Hell on earth. There were several millions of sta- 
tistics of which only a few still exist. Among my 
countrymen in the foreground I remember people 
with honest faces, also people who looked like 
scoundrels, hypocritical climbers, and swindlers with 
the Red Cross on their arms, many adventurers and 
very few heroes. 

It began with letters that in increasing streams 
poured over the writing desks of the embassy. Let- 
ters from prisoners of war, from officers, from sol- 
diers, from prison camps and labour battalions, 
from jails and coal mines, from Murman and Bok- 
hara, from Habarovsk on the Pacific Ocean to Kras- 
novodsk by the Caspian Sea. Letters that came from 
Austro-Hungarian subjects whom the Russians at the 
outbreak of the war had held back, deported or in- 
terned by the thousands or whom they had later 

78 



Galician Jews 79 



dragged along with them on their successive retreats 
into Galicia and had sent further east to Siberia and 
to the stretches of the Volga. 

I still dream with strong distaste of the mighty 
piles of fools-cap, generalia and personalia, of the 
complaints and pleas for aid, most of them carefully 
worked out in fancy handwriting either with small, 
fine latin letters or large gothic flourishing ones, in 
round and upright writing with spirals and curls and 
all tlie massive etiquette of Austrian bureaucracy on 
both sides of the sheet. But there were also others 
that were written with difficulty and mis-spelling on 
small-chequered letter paper and where the Right 
Worshipful Sir in the salutation was replaced by the 
poor man's na'ive: "Gnddige Herr Konsulai"'! 

But the contents were known before the letters 
were opened for it was always distress and loss and 
dire straits and prayers for help and favourable inter- 
vention. It was about scurvy and frost bites, pay 
that was never received, and mail that was never sent; 
about brutal Cossacks, swindling camp officers, inva- 
liding home and exchange. It was of sick who could 
not get operations performed and others who de- 
manded credentials, and there were requests for 
loans and impatient questions as to when the war 
would end. In Ust-Syssolsk they had no bread, in 
Tambof the civilian prisoners were not allowed on 
the streets after six in the evening, in Petropavlovsk 
the privates among the officers refused to salute their 
officers, in the camp at Totzkoje half the camp were 



80 The Red Garden 

dead of spotted typhus, and in Krasnojarsk were 
fifteen Austrian officers who had been transported 
from Moscow to Siberia in fourth class coaches! 

I remember the young civilian prisoner who wrote 
that he would soon be dead of tuberculosis but 
would like to marry his fiancee in Klagenfurt ere he 
did die. And the artiste at Rostof who at the out- 
break of the war had lost all his registered baggage, 
twenty automatic dolls with complete wardrobe . . . 
and Dr. Gold, I remember, the very important Rechts- 
anwalt and politician, Dr. Solomon Gold who every 
week day sent out a calligraphed communication 
taking up four pages to hasten his exchange with the 
illegitimate son of a grand-duke and two pensioned 
Russian generals whom the war had surprised in 
Carlsbad. . . . Every day new affairs that resulted 
in new notes on glazed paper in fine French style 
with indexed corners. Notes that without humour 
and also without bitterness always ended with a re- 
quest to receive an answer aussitot que possible — 
and also long after we had come to know that no 
favourable answer could be written. It was a task 
one did well not to put too much imagination into, 
but neither is it in that manner that one advances in 
the diplomatic service. 

No one wrote so often and so pitifully as the Gali- 
cian Jews. When I think of these I must still ask 
myself what miracle of earthly stupidity possessed 
the Russians to send as many of the Galician Jews 
as they could manage into holy Russia and its de- 



Galician Jews 81 



pendencies. As if they didn't have Jews enough 
and weren't weary of them. But there is only this 
explanation that just as certain people must sneeze in 
sunshine so the Russians could not stand the sight 
of a Jew without at once decreeing over him and mov- 
ing him about. During the war large portions of 
the German and Jewish population in Poland and 
the East Prussian provinces were forcibly sent to- 
ward the east and now this whole extra Ghetto from 
East Galicia came here, mostly old men, women and 
children, for the young men were of course mobi- 
lized. Many had seen their homes sacked or burned 
over their heads by Cossacks or by Hungarian hus- 
sars, which was still worse. Naturally there was pri- 
vation and wretchedness among them and they pos- 
sessed a marked dislike of dying unnoticed. 

They wrote continually, on all kinds of paper, in 
Russian, in Polish and in German and with a great 
deal of Yiddish among it no matter what they wrote. 
I venture to guess that they wrote to all the possible 
Jewish relief committees in the world from New 
York to Cape Town, from Copenhagen to Valparaiso. 
They wrote to the Red Cross and to the authorities 
of the Russian government, high and low, near and 
distant, who were not awakened by much louder up- 
roar and who not even in their dreams would have 
done anything for them. They wrote at last to us, 
their official accredited guardians within the Russian 
frontiers and described in monotonous expressions 
their hunger and their sorrow, their sickness and bare 



82 The Red Garden 

(  , 

legs, their rags and their lice and how all had been 
stolen from them and they had been allowed to earn 
nothing. It was a lamentation and a moaning that 
always went to the extremest borders of suffering and 
ended with sworn assurances of death's quick com- 
ing, signed by Leib and Aaron, Amster and Lobl, by 
Regenstreif and Sonnenglanz, Tichbein and Ruben- 
stein. If it hadn't been laid on so thick it would 
have moved a stone. 

About New Year, 1918, shortly before the peace at 
Brest-Litovsk, the repatriation of the prisoners not 
of military age began. At first only those who were 
able to pay at least part of the travelling expenses, 
were allowed to go. By thousands then, Austro- 
Hungarian civilian prisoners from all sections of 
Russia and all the way from far Siberia, streamed to 
the embassy at Petrograd and also to the consulates 
at Moscow and Kiev. And none came more quickly 
than the Galician Jews. In the old rococo palace 
in the Sergievskaja where the Hapsburg ambassa- 
dor had resided, they stood in thick swarms on the 
old parquet floors that now were warped and cracked 
from want of care. They overflowed out into the 
corridors and were camped all the way down the 
stairs with their bundles and trunks and the Pole, 
who with a pale face and clammy from nausea, 
Hooked out for their passports, nearly gave up the 
ghost from powerless Anti-Semitism. To be sure we 
could have had a Jew in his place but then it would 
have been impossible to hear a sound for the squab- 



Galician Jews 83 



ble that would have arisen, and time was precious. 
Now they were content to exude an indescribable and 
perfectly absurd stench, the stench of the Ghetto, and 
if it had not been for that, we from the north, who 
never before had seen real Jews, would have thought 
it all a dream where the people of Israel, who await 
the descent of Moses from the mountain, mingled with 
the portraits on the walls of Aehrenthal and Franz 
Josef and with Ivan, the lanky, uniformed "Swiss" 
at the door of the embassy. For there was Jacob 
with his son Benjamin, and there Samuel, and there 
the red Aaron and there the faithful Eliezer, and 
yonder a Prophet and here a Pharisee. Pale Jews 
and Jews with long beards and curly front hair, 
black and reddish Jews, noses, eyes, and flat feet, 
dignified Rabbis who held their gowns together about 
them, "spitting" Jews and old handsome Jews with 
their entirely white hair in cork-screw curls and 
with rings in their ears; every one of them a true 
picture of old Isaac in Ivanhoe whom the cruel Nor- 
man has his black slaves lay on the red hot gridiron. 
Jews in top hats, in peaked caps, in sable-brimmed 
plush hats, in Astrakhan fur hats, all in high boots 
and robes of wonderfully good cloth, and yet as they 
all stood there together, with an unmistakable stamp 
of almost ragged poverty lying in the soul of their 
blackish-brown eyes. 

How many of these Galician Jews secured pass- 
ports and got home that spring, I don't know, but I 
believe it was the majority. And many continued to 



84 The Red Garden 

be left. When I, in the early summer came to Sim- 
birsk on the Volga, there was still a great deal to be 
done in securing passports for those civilian priso- 
ners who had not yet gone and in dividing the not 
plentiful funds among the most needy. Without my 
good secretary, Dr. Josef Diamond, lawyer and hos- 
tage of war from Stanislau, I should never have got- 
ten along but would have become an easy prey to my 
credulity and sentimentality and would no doubt 
have gone raving mad from giving ear to the accusa- 
tions that the civilian prisoners made against each 
other. Of hidden wealth, unlawful sources of in- 
come, swindling and embezzlement, in short of un- 
bounded dishonesty, not excluding bigamy, feticide 
and murder. But Dr. Diamond knew the civilian 
prisoner and the mysteries of his life. He spoke 
Ukrainian with the Ruthenians, Polish with the Poles, 
German with the Austrians, Russian with the Ruma- 
nians and the Hungarians, and Yiddish with the 
Jews until both parties were wet in the face and had 
to wipe the sweat out of their eyes. He knew who 
made money by unlawful traffic in liquor, who by 
usury, who by speculation in merchandise, by ped- 
dling, by trading in gold, silver and precious stones, 
by gambling and by honest work. 

He knew who constantly postponed their depar- 
ture because they were making good money where 
they were, and who came and begged for assistance 
despite the fact that they had accumulated tidy little 
fortunes. He knew when a civilian prisoner had 



Galician Jews 85 



had caviar, a three course dinner and coffee with 
cakes at one and a half rubles each, at the "Passage" 
hotel; who were thick with the Bolsheviki, and who 
were members of the Red Guard where they got 300 
rubles a month, uniform and complete maintenance, 
of which the daily three pieces of sugar could be 
sold for 50 kopecks apiece. He knew what girls 
did not need 30 rubles a month for support inas- 
much as they wore silk stockings at 75 rubles a pair, 
and no Jew, however wretched or ragged he might 
be, could moan his Way to assistance if Dr. Dia- 
mond's legal nose had smelled money on him. Dr. 
Diamond did a great and unpleasant work for a 
modest salary and his impulsive eloquence often 
placed him in situations where he was called swin- 
dler and scoundrel and he actually received threats 
against his life. Then he became very frightened 
and for several days would have the doors locked 
and let no one in unless he knew his voice, and he 
talked with pale composure and great seriousness of 
giving up his position. But one or two days after 
his voice and liveliness had again their old resound- 
ing strength and he appeared again in one of those 
virtuoso-like cross-examinations in which he brought 
unworthy applicants to silence and badly hidden 
shame. I sat in an adjoining room where I had all 
the advantages of being outside and when Dr. Dia- 
mond had ended by declaring in a sudden sugar- 
sweet transition that after all it wasn't up to him, no 
one could reproach him in any way, for he was only 



86 The Red Garden 

■-  --■ — - I I 

a humble servant, a secretary and an instrument of 
a higher voice and of course every one was free to 
try to advance his case with the consul himself, 
then there was, after Dr. Diamond's exultant indis- 
cretions, very rarely any one who had any desire to 
talk to me, who — and who could tell — might be still 
worse. 

Only once did Dr. Diamond burn his fingers, but 
it was excusable: it was his heart that ran away with 
him. Among the civilian prisoners we had an old 
blind Jew from Limanova who had been in Russia 
since 1914. He had only lost his eyesight a year 
before we came however. We presumed that he also 
had, before his misfortune, known how to turn a 
pretty penny just as the other civilian prisoners who 
unexpectedly had seen their crafty aptitude and more 
West-European initiative invested in surroundings of 
virgin Russian laziness and sleeping sickness. But 
of course we knew nothing for certain, for Galician 
Jews do not carry their riches where tliey can be 
seen, if they have any and yet after all it was per- 
haps only as so much other envious innuendo, at 
least that was my opinion. When blind Abraham 
came and wept for us, and he did almost every day 
I was generally inclined to yield in spite of Dr. 
Diamond's scepticism. Abraham was a quite stately 
man, more broad than tall, with a handsome face and 
a beard that despite his age was only slightly grey. 
At his temples there were pretty grey curls. His 
eyes looked as if a light grey film had glided down 



Galician Jews 87 



over them. He wept without tears and his features 
retained even while weeping a peculiar doltish smile. 
His shirt was always clean and white but he never 
wore a collar and he always wore soft morning shoes. 
Dr. Diamond did not love him, but after all the poor 
fellow was blind and when he came and wept and 
swore that a blind man couldn't live on 50 or a 100 
rubles a month, then it was all too true and ended by 
his being given an additional sum. But two or three 
days later he was back again with piteous wails: he 
had to pay for the least help he got! Dr. Diamond 
and I came to the conclusion that it was best we send 
him home to Galicia. 

We arranged a passport for him too, but a blind 
man can not travel alone from Simbirsk to Limanova. 
Abraham had no relations or friends. They had 
gone back home, he said, and it was useless to ask 
why they had not taken him along. We had to find 
a guide for Abraham but we could not take any ci- 
vilian prisoner at random. It had to be a Jew. But 
the Jews who were going home were not interested in 
Abraham: "We have trouble enough ourselves, we 
have children, I have an old father, I have a sick 
mother, I am sick myself," etc., etc. One after 
another went away and Abraham came constantly to 
us and wept: "I won't be a burden, I ask so little. 
Only some one to get me boiling water for my tea 
and help me when I have to get off the train. But 
they want money, that's what they want, they won't 
do it for nothing for they think I'm rich and I have, 



88 The Red Garden 

God help me, not a red cent, not the smallest little 
coin — the greedy vultures! . . ." 

"Maybe he keeps it in bills!" said Dr. Diamond to 
me in an aside, but nevertheless he swore at the 
thought of the godless rabble who would not help a 
blind old man of the tribe of Judah to get to the 
same Galicia that they were going to. 

One day Abraham came to us accompanied by a 
young Jew we had not seen before. He was willing 
to see Abraham home if he could get 200 rubles and 
a passport. He had a squint in one eye but that was 
hardly ground for exemption and on the other hand 
he insisted that he was only seventeen years of age 
which we could believe in a pinch: Jews are so ma- 
ture. Worse was it that he couldn't prove he was 
an Austrian, but this we overlooked to get Abraham 
on his way. When Abraham trusted him, far was 
it from us to doubt his honesty. He was given 50 
rubles in advance. Several days later the passport 
was ready and with great relief Dr. Diamond paid 
him 150 rubles more and for once again Abraham 
got a litttle sum of money for travelling and our 
blessings on the journey and Dr. Diamond sighed as 
they went and said to me: "If only I dared believe 
he wouldn't come again." 

Dr. Diamond's evil forebodings unfortunately 
came true. Three days later old blind Abraham 
came to us and wept and told of his troubles. His 
guide had left him and had not come back. He had 
taken the two hundred rubles with him and also ten 



Galician Jews 89 



rubles belonging to Abraham. Dr. Diamond raised 
such a scene that the neighbours, wakened from their 
noon-day sleep, came to their windows and Abraham 
wept still higher and I went and had dinner at the 
"Passage" . . . 

The same night, it must have been about two 
o'clock, some one knocked loudly at the street door 
of the house where I lived on the second floor. It 
was a two story wooden house on the outskirts of 
the town. I sprang out of bed, put my head out of 
the window and saw a half score heavily armed men 
below. When they caught sight of me, I was cov- 
ered by their weapons and received a sharp injunc- 
tion to shut the window and come down in a hurry. 
Shortly after, I stood on the steps outside of the street 
door in pyjamas and slippers, surrounded by thirteen 
Red Guards armed with rifles. Only two or three 
of them were in uniform. Their leader carried a 
hand grenade in his belt and a cocked revolver in his 
hand. However he was neither coarse nor unpolite 
and consequently I got the greater courage to appeal 
to all international law and the inviolable rights of 
diplomacy, at the same time inviting him up to see 
my papers. But all this did not aff^ect him in the 
least, he had papers himself and by the flare of a 
match he showed me a small type-written strip of 
paper that bore a curt order to arrest a person of my 
name. Therefore I got into my clothes and we set 
out through the dark, sleeping town where, by the 
way, all traffic was forbidden between nine in the 



90 The Red Garden 

* '  -  . — I — ,1 II,.. . ^ 

evening and six the next morning, down to the former 
residence of the governor where I well knew that 
an extraordinary commission (for combatting the 
counter revolution) was sitting. 

I was brought into a room that was crowded with 
other arrested persons and with soldiers who slept 
and with soldiers who leaned their heads on their rifle 
barrels and nodded from sleepiness. The first per- 
son I saw was my secretary who had apparently been 
arrested at his place of lodging. He was attired in 
shirt, trousers, overcoat and morning shoes only and 
was deathly pale and frightfully unshaven. But per- 
haps I wasn't any too pretty myself. When he saw 
me he gave me an expiring look but no sound came 
from his lips. 

I was immediately brought into the room of the 
head commissar. It was less swinish than is usual 
in a commissariat and there was still massive evi- 
dence of former magnificence. It had apparently 
been the private office of the governor. Two men 
were left sitting by me with fixed bayonets but I con- 
fess that I sank into one armchair with my feet on 
another and fell asleep, for as long as I was in Rus- 
sia I was always a sound sleeper. It was already 
growing light when I was wakened and presented for 
the commissar, a young Jew with a highly sympa- 
thetic personality, and for his adjutant who quite the 
opposite was a highly sinister person, no doubt a 
Pole, who looked as if he might very well be his own 
executioner also. 



Galician Jews 91 



The commissar with a polite gesture bade me sit 
down on the opposite side of the writing table. Dr. 
Diamond was fetched so that he could act as inter- 
preter if necessary, but he certainly did not look as 
if he could be of much service, poor man. How- 
ever the inquiry was conducted in German and he 
had therefore only to answer when he himself was 
questioned. This he did with a meekness and a 
mien that alone ought to have proved our innocence. 

For that of which we were accused was not trifling. 
The complaint was that here from the Danish con- 
sulate passes had been issued to counter revolution- 
ary persons and among them to officers of the Tsaris- 
tic regime. I denied absolutely that there was a 
shred of truth in the complaint and Dr. Diamond 
looked as if he wanted to speak but there was some- 
thing that paralysed his tongue. 

The commissar in the meantime was turning over 
his documents and handed me a sheet of paper that 
I took, conscious of his sharp staring gaze at the bot- 
tom of which played an unpleasant smile. "Have 
you seen that before?" he asked. "It was found on 
a former staff captain who was using it to flee to the 
Ukraine." I looked at it. It was a passport, 
made out to David Silberman, Austrian subject from 
Limanova in Galicia, signed by me and provided 
with the seal of the Danish consulate, and counter- 
signed and stamped by the commissariat for war and 
civilian prisoners. The age and the year of birth 
had been erased and changed so that the age of the 



92 The Red Garden 

bearer read 37. ... It was tlie passport that we had 
issued to blind Abraham's squint-eyed guide. 

The explanation I gave the commissar, whose 
smile grew broader and broader, I will not dwell on 
— and Dr. Diamond had also regained a little of his 
powers of speech and could substantiate what I said 
— but now blind Abraham was fetched from the 
town. The commissar offered tea and cigarettes 
while we waited and we had an interesting conversa- 
tion about world politics. When Abraham had been 
brought in between two soldiers and was confronted 
with the facts, he broke down and confessed with 
prodigious weeping that he had arranged with the 
squint-eyed one to swindle the consulate out of two 
hundred rubles, travelling expenses and a passport. 
The passport the guide had sold for 100 rubles of 
which Abraham had received 50. When the com- 
missar volunteered the information that in reality the 
passport had brought 500 rubles, Abraham's grief 
took on greater proportions and he gave willingly all 
possible information that might lead to the appre- 
hension of the scoundrel. 

When Abraham was searched, they found on him, 
sewed into various parts of his clothing, 3300 rubles, 
mostly in old-time 500 ruble notes. Also two dia- 
monds and a ruby. Abraham wept when it was all 
taken from him. 

Dr. Diamond and I went home in the bright morn- 
ing light in a droshky. The commissariat paid. It 
looked as if it was going to be a lovely warm day. 



Galician Jews 93 



The air was full of balmy breezes. Dr. Diamond 
shivered a little in his shirt under his overcoat. 

"Do you know what I am thinking of?" he asked. 

"No," I said although I guessed it. 

"He had money anyway, the old Spitzbub! Glau- 
ben Sie mir, sehr verehrter Herr Konsul, ein alter 
Advocat irrt sich selten in solchen Sachen, wenn es 
auch ein blinder Jude ist." 

But old blind Abraham never came and wept for 
us again. Several days afterward I learned by 
chance that he and the squint-eyed one, who thus 
came to guide him after all, had been shot that same 
morning about five o'clock. 



Cederblom 

OF all the many Swedes I have met in Russia, in 
adversity and pleasure, Karl Johan Ceder- 
blom plays the most minor role in my emo- 
tional life. I have only seen him once. That was 
at the Nikolaj railway station where we had gone to 
bid a friend farewell who was going into the interior 
of Russia as an embassy delegate. When we 
reached the station he had already secured a travel- 
ling companion. This was Cederblom, a stiff, slightly 
fat, blond gentleman, clad in a self-designed khaki 
uniform and polished tan riding puttees. He too 
was going into Russia as a delegate to some govern- 
ment, I didn't pay close attention as to which govern- 
ment, because at that time I wasn't nearly so orien- 
tated in Russian geography as I have since become. 
I sauntered up and down the platform with my friend 
and Cederblom. They had made sure of good seats 
in a coach that was reserved for official travellers. 
Cederblom was in high spirits and talked enthusias- 
tically of the trip and his joy over all the new and 
unknown that he was going out to see, and I heartily 
envied the two adventurers who were setting out into 
the great Russia where I too had dreamt of losing 
myself. 

But my turn came. I w'as already rich in travel 

and experience when, in the spring of 1918, 1 received 

94 



Cederblom 95 



orders to go from Moscow to Simbirsk, where I was 
to take over the work of caring for the Austro-Hun- 
garian war and civilian prisoners. No Danish em- 
bassy delegate had been in Simbirsk, but lately a tre- 
mendous number of letters and accounts of hardships 
had come from there. The prisoners of war who had 
gone over to the Red Guard or the Third Internation- 
ale were with great energy making life a hell for the 
officers and men who had not yet done so. It was 
intended that before my departure I should have the 
opportunity of studying all the documents relating to 
the government of Simbirsk, but they couldn't lay 
their hands on them at the Main Consulate, and I was 
suddenly ordered to leave on six hours' notice a week 
before I expected to leave. I was to get the ticket at 
the railway station from a man I didn't know, five 
minutes before the train left. And the official pa- 
pers from the Central Soviet, — well, they would be 
sent to me! It so happened however, that when I 
went to Tula a few months before, I had gotten an 
obliging commissariat adjutant to fill out my delega- 
tion pass with not only Tula, but with half a score 
other governments as well. Among these was by a 
lucky presentiment also Simbirsk. But of course I 
said nothing about that. Besides there wasn't much 
time left to protest, and I wanted to go, and I did. 
About Simbirsk I knew nothing execept that rumour 
didn't make it too pleasant. However, I was at lib- 
erty to find the Danish bureau for civilian prisoners, 
die chief of which was Dr. Joseph Diamond, who was 



96 The Red Garden 

*■ — . 

no doubt an excellent man, and one who knew what 
he was talking about, and who would certainly be 
able to tell me whatever I wanted to know. They 
were well acquainted with his address at the consu- 
late but had mislaid it for the moment. 

I had a pleasant journey from Moscow to Nishnij 
Novgorod. In Nishnij we ran ip.to a dry snow storm 
although it was the middle of April. Nishnij lies 
grandly on three banks where the Olga and the Volga 
join. From the white Kremlin on the right bank, 
which is the Volga's left, I saw through the storm the 
joining of the two rivers, opened by spring, a heavy 
grey and blue view. Only in Russia can you be a 
hundred miles from the coast and yet see the sea. 
During the journey down the river to Kazan we had 
fine weather. We sailed past long lonely islands 
and large white cloisters with domes in blue and 
green colours; they appeared before the steamer at a 
sudden bend in the river, glided by as sights from a 
more beautiful reality, and disappeared as if they 
had never been. 

During the whole journey I kept the name "Dia- 
mond" firmly in my mind. It seemed to me to be 
the only fixed point in my future existence. From 
Nishnij I sent a telegram haphazard to the "Danish 
Relief Bureau, Simbirsk," to reserve a room for me. 
When I came to Kazan, I went by train to Alatyr to 
visit some prison camps and from there I drove to 
Simbirsk by horse and wagon. I reached the town 
late one afternoon, and I saw some prisoners of war 



Cederblom 97 



who knew nothing either of Dr. Diamond or of a 
Danish Relief Bureau. After driving around a long 
time I saw a man whom I without thinking put down 
as a Jew. Luckily he happened also to be a Gali- 
cian civilian prisoner, and could give us information. 
We had to go all the way back, for Dr. Diamond 
lived on the outskirts of the town in a cozy green 
street that had almost a village air. My d*river 
stopped without being told before a little worm-eaten 
wooden house, apparently a sort of furnished room 
house. Nomera Gottlieba in Russian letters was over 
the entrance. I tugged at the bell but no sound 
came. Then I went in and in the kitchen I came 
upon a big, obese female who crossly informed me 
that Dr. Diamond was not home and had not been 
home in the last two or three days more than five min- 
utes at a time. I asked if I could wait for him and 
was shown into a boudoir-like room. On the door 
hung a cardboard placard and on it in four different 
languages; Russian, Polish, German, and Hungarian: 
Dr. Joseph Diamond, Advokat, Attorney at Law & 
Authorized Representative of the Royal Danish 
General Consulate. Office Hours 10-12 Except 
Saturday and Sunday. And in Russian below writ- 
ten in pencil "It's no use coming here. All the 
money has been given out!" The room was wretch- 
edly furnished: a small iron bed, a table, a chair and 
a bureau. Over the bureau a cracked mirror, in a 
comer some clothes, a satchel and a pair of rubbers, 
on the table some Polish and Hebrew books and a 



98 The Red Garden 

I I 

whole pile of receipt blanks. Beyond any possible 

doubt it was the Royal Danish Relief Bureau! I 
carried in my baggage and went out to settle with the 
thin-bearded Tartar who had driven me the last 
60 versts. We had just succeeded in disagreeing 
thoroughly as to whether he was to be satisfied with 
the sum that we had decided upon beforehand, when 
a wagon came dashing towards us in full gallop. 
Standing up in it was a little stout gentleman with 
bare, bald head and rolling eyes, who swung his arms 
excitedly. When the wagon stopped, he drew near 
with a deep bow and an expression of the most kindly 
deference in his protruding eyes. He was shabbily 
dressed but wore a collar and otherwise looked like a 
European. He straightway put a soft hand on my 
arm as if he respectfully wanted to steal a march on 
me, and with furious haste began: "Diamond — Dr. 
Diamond at the Consul's service . . . Very hon- 
oured . . . great pleasure! . . ." and it was the 
truth too, I could see that. Words flowed from him, 
they couldn't come out quickly enough, and when in 
the middle of the flood of his speech he thought 
of something better and more pretentious, as he did 
constantly, then a veritable explosion took place in 
his mouth and the air was damp for yards around. 
I remember this only from his outpouring of wel- 
come: that for the last two days and nights he had 
spent most of his time at the railway station, for he 
had positively expected me by train, but then no one 
knew how they ran any more ... he had run up a 



Cederblom 99 



small fortune in droshky bills for the stupid asses 
didn't know what to charge, but that didn't make the 
least bit of difference for he often took money out of 
his own pocket for all kinds of expenses . . . but 
fortunately a good friend had told him that I was 
coming by wagon, which by the way he had already 
thought for a moment, and now he Was here and en- 
tirely at my service for whatever I might command! 
The room was reserved — at the "Passage," the best 
hotel in town but of course I could not expect the 
comfort that was due me. But now he would give 
himself freely up to the joy of seeing me and I must 
realize what it meant to him. Both the responsibil- 
ity that now was lifted from his shoulders and the 
security that my coming represented, for it had gone 
so far as threats against his life. But above all he 
welcomed the personal contact; the opportunity of 
talking again to a European and a cultured person. 
He was a lawyer himself and a Dr. Jur . . . but um 
Gottes Himmels WiUen, he forgot himself, I was sure 
to be tired and hungry and he himself had hardly 
tasted food the last few days, for Russian buffets are 
so; — is it not so? One is after all a cultured per- 
son! . . . 

Here I took the opportunity to get in, not a word 
but a gesture towards my Tartar whose foxy phiz un- 
der the little black skull cap had stiffened in a hope- 
ful smile. The Doctor grasped my meaning as one 
does a stick, and like a flash, took charge of the situa- 
tion. It was absolutely overwhelming to see the 



100 The Red Garden 

>  ^— t 

quickness with which the affable little man changed 
from respectful glances and an air which might al- 
most be described as refined to the most extreme ex- 
citement and uncontrollable anger during which he 
stamped his foot and abused the unsuspecting Tartar 
with the intensity of a small volcano, and a bub- 
bling technique in his choice of words. He bade him 
take God and the prophets, not excluding his own, to 
witness what a rascal and vile profiteer and son of a 
bad word he was! Or did he in his utter lazy igno- 
rance think for a moment that he was dealing with 
speculators, hoarders, Kulaks or low usuring Jews? 
Or perhaps he would grasp without forcible urging 
that it was with Kultur people, first, in all modesty, 
Diamond, Dr. Diamond, imperial, imperatorskij 
Austrian advokat, — although what did a beast of a 
Tartar know about law, — better say Doctor Diamond, 
that is to say vratch or physician, one of humanity's 
silent benefactors who in vain do their deeds of 
mercy, if you can understand that, you infamous 
shopthief, bread profiteer, hooligan, Kalmuck swine! 
And this honourable gentleman for whom you have 
had the honour of driving and whom you would rob! 
— Bah, I spit! He is a high official, a consul, an 
Amerikaner, who by raising his finger can have you 
arrested and put in prison for an indefinite period, if 
you are so lucky as to evade the firing squad as re- 
ward for your unbelievable brazenness and shameless 
behaviour to an inviolable diplomat. . . . 

And with this Dr. Diamond took some bills out ol 



Cederblom 101 



the wallet he had held in readiness, paid both driv- 
ers and slammed the door in the face of the Tartar, 
who too late went into his fit of frenzy and yelled and 
clamoured in front of the house before he drove 
away, swearing, and lashing his horses. 

Dr. Diamond proved himself a solicitous host. 
He had laid in provisions so as to regale me hand- 
somely: eggs, cold beef, sausage, caviar of red sal- 
mon, honey and a small piece of cheese. The land- 
lady set up a samovar and Diamond wrapped the eggs 
in a cloth and adroitly cooked them in the samovar. 
Eating utensils were scarce but there I could help 
him out. 

Diamond at once proudly set two bottles of vodka 
on the table and with a waggish smile showed me a 
bottle of cognac he had hidden in the bed. I had no 
idea what it had cost but I knew that it was expensive 
stuff. Dr. Diamond produced a large glass for me 
and a quite small one for himself and poured. It 
gave me a queer feeling and I reflected that all that 
glitters is not gold and that I had 150,000 rubles on 
me; it still had some value at that time. Bub when I 
protested, Diamond looked both in surprise and en- 
treaty at me and said that I' really ought to drink, the 
glass had been M. Cederblom's who had been here a 
number of months the year before, a matchless chap 
who had lit up Dr. Diamond's existence the whole 
time he had been here. They had had many cozy 
evenings together, and in larger gatherings too of 
course, and with ladies, and Cederblom had sung, oh, 



102 The Red Garden 

SO wonderfully — in Scandinavian, and it would be 
such a remembrance if I now would drink from Con- 
sul Cederblom's glass. And of course I drank and 
touched my glass to that of Dr. Diamond who raised 
his glass and toasted me as elegantly as any Swede. 
After Dr. Diamond had cleared off the table I lit 
a pipe and sat on the bed and dozed. Dr. Diamond 
chattered away and told me the story of his life, his 
childhood in Stanislau, student days in Vienna, about 
his hochselige Father and his good mother who be- 
lieved that the angels in Paradise speak Yiddish, 
about his brother who died so young and the lovely 
children he left, a niece and a nephew, so indescrib- 
ably beautiful, especially the boy, who by the way 
was almost perversely super-talented. And Dr. Dia- 
mond told me examples of the boy's brightness. 
And of Cederblom he spoke, merrily and with impro- 
priety, while we sipped at a cognac toddy in which 
the strong stuff had not been spared. Diamond 
could not find words enough to praise Cederblom's 
charm and lovable personality and still he managed 
to convey his impression of me in such a manner that 
I could well feel myself flattered by the comparison. 
But nevertheless I thought with a certain anxiety of 
Cederblom's social talents, particularly his singing 
voice; I would never be able to enjoy the popularity 
in Simbirsk that Cederblom evidently had known how 
to procure. And I also became more and more tired 
and I was not free from feeling the hundred and 
fifty versts that I had ridden the last few days in a 



Cederhlom 103 



Russian Tjelega; even if there had been a whole load 
of hay in the wagon, and bells on the lead horse, be- 
sides, the last day! I therefore wanted to go back to 
a hotel but when Dr. Diamond declared that no drosh- 
kys were to be had on the outskirts of the town and 
that he would urgently ask me not to risk my life by 
going out at night on foot, in which case he would 
have to guide me anyway as I did not know the town, 
I found no powers of resistance, but agreed to spend 
the night with him. I was to sleep in Dr. Diamond's 
bed and he would fix up a place for himself on the 
floor. 

I removed my collar and boots and lay down on 
the bed with my fur coat over me. The bed clothes 
and my travelling rug I left for Dr. Diamond. I 
only remember seeing him in a woollen undershirt 
with a small, dirty shirt bosom jutting out from under 
his chin. . . . 

I suppose that I slept especially soundly that night 
as I usually do, so I must conclude that it really was 
a great uproar that made me tumble out of bed and 
ask what the matter was. Dr. Diamond was already 
up and had struck a light. He stood by the wall and 
listened; his bare legs visible beneath a flowered 
nightshirt. From the next room we could hear ex- 
cited voices and noise of furniture being moved about 
as if those who were quarrelling were also using them 
against one another. . . . "It is Tatjana Mikailovna 
who has come home!" I succeeded in getting out of 
Dr. Diamond who was intently following the tide of 



104 The Red Garden 

h---  - ■-■'■ ' '  — — — — ■■- '' 4 

battle. — "Who did you say?" — "A young lady 
who has the room next door. She is a dentistry stu- 
dent." "Does she draw teeth for some one in the 
middle of the night?" — The uproar had in the mean- 
time died down a little and only a low bickering 
could be heard from the other side of the wall. Dr. 
Diamond came over and sat down on the edge of the 
bed and said to me in a whisper while he constantly 
kept an ear cocked at the wall. "You don't know 
Tatjana Mikailovna, Mr. Consul, but you will think 
that she is an unusually pretty girl — and intelligent. 
She is a little wild, that is, passionate, you under- 
stand. But what about morals taken altogether here 
in Russia? You know, Mr. Consul, you are a young 
man who have been around a bit, I can't tell you any- 
thing new and yet I assure you it is worse than you 
think. In the schools even . . . conditions so un- 
believable. ... I won't even mention the married 
women who are utterly without shame. Tatjana is 
seventeen. Just at present she has an intrigue with 
an Austrian cadet. He wants to marry her; can you 
imagine his parents' faces, old Magyar nobility? 
But she no doubt has become tired of him. The one 
with her to-night is a German civilian prisoner, Beh- 
ren, who has cast in his lot with the Bolsheviki. He 
is the commander of the Karl Marx Battalion and 
has great influence. . . ." 

Here my patience burst. I restrained a strong de- 
sire to swear and in a sharp tone ordered the light 
out and Dr. Diamond to bed. But it was impossible 



Cederhlom 105 



for me to fall asleep again, although I counted to a 
hundred both forwards and backwards. First I had 
been bitten so forcibly about the wrists that they 
itched as if they were on fire. Also I had become 
wakeful and let myself be influenced by the least 
noise, and it was very still of course and I tossed and 
was now too warm and now too cold, and thought not 
without bitter irony of how meaningless and casual 
it was that I lay here side by side with Dr. Diamond 
and what that baggage of a Tatjana looked like any- 
way. 

An hour or three passed before I fell asleep again 
but then I slept right through undisturbed. The sun 
shone through the windows wihen I woke. Dr. 
Diamond was fully dressed and had put the room in 
the most beautiful order. At the side of my bed was 
a wooden stand on which there was a bowl of warm 
water and a piece of soap. Dr. Diamond now sat at 
the table, and now walked melancholy and very cau- 
tiously up and down the room. When I showed 
signs of being awake, he livened up immensely, 
Wished me good morning, inquired as to my health 
and deplored deeply and at length the night's dis- 
turbances and said that as usual he had been up since 
7 o'clock. It was then half past eleven. 

I went out and borrowed the kitchen so as to take 
a wash in my rubber bathtub. When I was coming 
back through the small, half dark corridor I opened 
the wrong door and before I knew what I was doing, 
stood in a room that at first sight I might easily have 



106 The Red Garden 

taken for Dr. Diamond's, for it was of the same size 
and furnished in the same way. Luckily there was no 
one in it for I was rather lightly clad after my bath. 
The bureau was littered with perfume bottles, empty 
and half-filled, and there were plenty of traces of 
face powder everywhere. A pair of black silk stock- 
ings with holes in the toe were coiled on the bed. 
And as I was about to go, I noticed, on the wall be- 
tween the Tsar and Lenin, a handsomely framed pho- 
tograph of a man whom I thought I knew. He was 
clad in a khaki uniform and shiny puttees, and across 
the picture written in a firm hand was a dedication 
from Karl Johan Cederblom, Royal Delegate. 



Dr. Diamond 

WHILE we were at breakfast in the Passage 
Hotel I said to Dr. Diamond that it would 
be necessary to find rooms for the consulate 
as soon as possible and that I would be glad if he 
would exert himself to make the arrangements need- 
ful. It was Dr. Diamond's least trick to carry out 
this wish. As early as the next day I was able to 
move into the house of a rich JeWish dry goods mer- 
chant, Tschardegskij who during the flight eastward 
from Kiev had stopped in Simbirsk temporarily and 
had there bought a house and lived on his money and 
occasional business deals. Dr. Diamond was a 
friend of the family, and they gladly accepted diplo- 
matic billeting. It was always an extra protection in 
unquiet times. Under my supervision a large Dan- 
ish flag was made out of two Russian ones of the old 
regime. Day and night our "Dannebrog" waved 
over the street door and was the cause of warranted 
sensation. It was a beautiful flag, not quite accurate 
perhaps in regard to regulation dimensions but 
with an immense diplomatic split. The Lord only 
knows where it is now. 

At first after my arrival in the town my time was 
taken up in making visits to the various commissa- 
riats. Dr. Diamond and I drove from one Herod to 

another and while I presented myself, and in poor 

107 



108 The Red Garden 

* -■—■-■■ ' i    - — I I m i  I. ^m^^^^^m^ 

Russian gave my view of the stale of affairs, he stood 
with pent-up impatience at my side and looked with 
concern at the bullet holes in the ceiling plaster or 
out of a window by way of diversion. But no sooner 
did I get stuck than he was there in an instant, had 
grasped the gist of the conversation and explained 
both what I had said and that which I had not suc- 
ceeded in saying and that which I had never thought 
of saying, much better than 1 could have done myself. 

If I had for a minute been inclined to think that 
perhaps it was best to limit official co-operation with 
Dr. Diamond as much as possible, the ungrateful 
thought at any rate choked itself at birth. To be- 
gin with, this idea never even occurred to Dr. Dia- 
mond, and secondly there was no sense at all in let- 
ting an aesthetic prejudice stand in the way of the 
utilization of Dr. Diamond's unmistakable ability 
and energy. And a more helpful and disinterested 
secretary than Dr. Diamond I would be hard put to 
find. I knew well that philanthropy alone was not 
the motive power. But I also knew that the sole ob- 
ject of his willingness to serve was to please me per- 
sonally and it is also very possible that he had his 
own ax to grind, but at any rate I never discovered 
it. He Ytras naturally self-sacrificing and quite 
tender in his relation to me, whom he regarded with 
the feeling of both a father and a servant. How of- 
ten have I not been almost ashamed of myself that I 
could not return his affection as it deserved. 

Dr. Diamond's own demands on the material good- 



Dr. Diamond 109 



ness of life were ridiculously small, but for his 
friends nothing was too good and their worst digres- 
sions were forgivable. In relation to financial mat- 
ters he possessed a sober rational outlook on life 
excluding that kind of disastrous hazard in regard to 
the treasury which is connected with a more roman- 
tic, Christian view of money. His authority among 
the civilian prisoners was about that of a Rabbi and 
in all disputes he took the part of judge. And the 
Christian prisoners had, in spite of all, more faith in 
him than they had in each other. The officers among 
the prisoners did not favour him but he treated them 
with a deferential and inexpensive politeness that dis- 
armed them, and besides he arranged loans for them 
gratis among the various Jewish civilian prisoners 
who had made money and wanted to have their earn- 
ings converted into Austrian valuation in a profitable 
manner. In short how much better wasn't he than 
the more ornamental lieutenants I often saw as' secre- 
taries for my colleagues. They had nothing but 
girls on their minds and stood with their heels to- 
gether and hopes of promotion in their hearts every 
time an old much-bemedalled fashion-plate trooped 
up and naively thought it was all for his sake. To- 
ward the private soldier they were overbearing and 
promised him sulphur and hell fire as soon as they 
got home from war captivity as if they were living in 
the undisturbed bureaucracy of old Austria and not 
in Red Russia. Dr. Diamond knew how to stick his 
finger in the ground and smell his way. He was 



110 The Red Garden 

humble when it cost nothing and rough to the borders 
of the poetical when there was no danger. He went 
to the authorities and waited, was turned away and 
still came back and waited until he got in. He 
wrote and I signed. He ran and I rode. He 
shrieked himself hoarse at the railing and I showed 
myself in the room with a silent gloomy expression. 
During the whole time he was with me we worked 
together in the best of harmony and understanding. 
His only moral fault was that he did not have the 
natural ability to differentiate between truth and un- 
truth. It wasn't seldom that I caught him in the very 
act of inexcusable slips of memory. But even then 
his childlike and open self-confidence was so strong 
that it was more often I who became embarrassed. 
I remember that once when he had gone out I no- 
ticed on his table a letter that had been given to him 
to dispatch days before. It was a delicate matter 
concerning a camp commander who privately was 
selling the flour that he received for the maintenance 
of the prisoners. As we had constantly received no 
answer I had requested Dr. Diamond to make a 
move in the case. But there lay the letter! When 
Dr. Diamond came in and unsuspectingly had seated 
himself at the writing table, I took a chair across 
from him and in a casual tone inquired whatever 
could be the matter with the commissariat that they 
did not reply to such a serious epistle. Dr. Dia- 
mond raised his eyes to Heaven and wondered long 
and fluently at the Russian lack of politeness, thrift, 



Dr. Diamond 111 



honesty, punctuality, etc., at their laziness, ignorance, 
impudence, and so on and so on. He had by the way 
even remonstrated with the commissar in regard to 
the unseemly, shocking and wholly scandalous as- 
pect of the matter. . . . Just then he caught sight of 
the letter which I had placed quite conspicuously on 
the table and grew pale but did not give in. With 
splendid self-control he kept up a flood of talk for 
yet a while, while he deftly pushed a sheet of white 
paper over tlie evidence. "If you wish, Mr. Consul, 
I'll go to the commissar again to-day!" I took the 
sheet of white paper as if lost in thought and folded 
it eight times each way while I reflected what an im- 
possible situation it would be if I took the letter, not 
to speak of irreparably destroying the existing rela- 
tion of mutual confidence. I therefore said that per- 
haps after all it would be best to wait; one never knew 
whether the commandant concerned would take it into 
his head to revenge himself, and who knew whether 
or not the commissar was personally interested in the 
matter . . . and Dr. Diamond upon whose forehead 
great beads of sweat had sprung out, nodded as 
eagerly as if it was his own most innermost thought I 
uttered, and constantly kept his gaze away from the 
uncovered letter. No, I would rather go up to the 
commissar myself one of these days. If Dr. Diamond 
would privately secure a pound of tobacco for me 
that I could take along as a sort of little chance mark 
of attention that would be! the best way. And then I, 
quite nervous myself from repugnance, got up and 



112 The Red Garden 

went without taking the letter. But Dr. Diamond who 
was no fool, vowed afterward and even behind my 
back that I was not only an exceptional man and a 
fine man but also an unusally wise man, a joy to my 
father and a true ornament for the nation that had 
bred me. 

Dr. Diamond had remained out in Nomera Gott- 
lieba for personal and practical reasons. He liked 
the place and the surroundings and the people. The 
food was "koscher" and he played "Preference" with 
his host Gottlieb. Besides, the rent was cheap, a fact 
which helped the Relief treasury as it defrayed house 
rent under the head of office expenses. Dr. Diamond 
constantly received a tremendous number of civilian 
prisoners who came to him for all possible purposes 
and although he often complained that he had no 
peace by night or by day, yet he was, after all, also 
proud of being sought after by so many people. The 
money for aid to the civilian prisoners he still paid 
out at the old office because friend Tschardeskij was 
loth to have on his stairs such a frightful invasion by 
his kindred race. 

One evening about eight o'clock as I sat at home 
and drank tea the war prisoner who acted as servant 
came in and said there was a Jew outside the house 
who absolutely would speak with me and despite the 
late hour vehemently insisted on seeing me. I went 
out to him and recognized the little Jew of whom I 
had asked my way the evening I came to Simbirsk. 
His first name was Majer and he was never known 



Dr. Diamond 113 



otherwise. As soon as he saw me he burst out as if 
he were parting with his soul: ''Herr Konsulat. Der 
Dr. Diamond liegt ermordet zu Hause!" I wasted 
no time in words but dragged the little Jew along 
down the street. So Dr. Diamond's constant and 
sedulously expressed forebodings had come true! 
Majer leaped rather than walked a few inches be- 
hind me and supplemented breathlessly his first la- 
conic communication. Well, thank the Lord, Dia- 
mond had not been murdered. It had only been very 
close to it. But the money that he had had for dis- 
tribution had been stolen. Majer had come — so he 
related — about half past seven to get the thirty rubles 
that he was entitled to monthly but which he had not 
received because of the intervening events. He had 
no doubt but that I would pay him, however. There 
was no one at home at Gottlieb's, and neither did he 
get any answer when he knocked at Dr. Diamond's 
door. He was about to turn away discouraged when 
he thought he heard groaning from within the room. 
He knocked again and shouted: "This is Majer! 
Are you at home, Dr. Diamond?" — "Ach, help help!" 
he now heard in Dr. Diamond's voice, "have the rob- 
bers gone?" — "Robbers?" cried Majer, "Have you 
been attacked, dear Doctor? Are you alive?" — 
"Yes, I'm alive," wailed Dr. Diamond, "but half 
dead and tied up. The door is locked. Hurry! 
Get the police' and the Consul!" 

Meanwhile we had reached Dr. Diamond's lodg- 
ing. A knot of people stood in front of the house 



114 The Red Garden 



and I had great difficulty in making a way through 
the little corridor and into the room which was filled 
with militia, people in uniform and people in civilian 
clothes, rifle-men and young detectives in black 
blouses, mere boys with big automatic pistols at tlieir 
belts. On the bed sat the chief of police, my good 
acquaintance Vladimir Stefanovitch Kruvaschin, a 
huge indolent Russian of such unusual dimensions 
that he, even while sitting, towered over his right 
hand man, the little, cruel and loathsome Caucasian 
Grigorij Nikolajevitch, who was conducting the pro 
ceedings. Opposite these two men stood Dr. Dia 
mond, freed from his bonds and apparently un 
harmed although seen in the lamp light he was yel 
lowish pale and trembling. I greeted him and Via 
dimir Stefanovitch, who invited me to sit on the bed 
with him and at once struck me for cigarettes. The 
little Caucasian imperturbably continued the hearing. 
He had planted himself before Dr. Diamond and 
his gruesome, stabbing eyes bored into the other's 
wavering ones. Each of his questions was accom- 
panied by a slash of his riding whip against his boots, 
a sound which just as regularly caused the frayed 
nerves of Dr. Diamond to react so that he shuddered 
and showed the whites of his eyes. Poor man, when 
one knew him as I did it was all too easy to imagine 
what he had already gone through, and now, in addi- 
tion to that, he was being treated not as a victim 
of an audacious crime but rather as a suspected crim- 
inal being cross-examined. 



Dr. Diamond 115 



A record was being made of what the robbers had 
taken from Dr. Diamond. There had been two men, 
both masked. The room showed visible signs of how 
brutally they had set about the robbery. All of Dr. 
Diamond's possessions lay where they had been 
thrown in the middle of the floor, which was littered 
with pieces of clothing, books and hundreds of re- 
ceipt blanks. Diamond's handsome, tan briefcase 
— a lonely reminder of the wealthy Lemberg law- 
yer — had been slashed open on both sides with a 
sharp knife. Diamond shuddered with horror and 
rage as he demonstrated how they had flayed out the 
contents. 

The booty of the bandits was several thousand 
nibles of the consulate's money, about 15000 rubles 
which Dr. Diamond had had in safe-keeping for his 
fellow-countrymen, a trifling sum of his own and 
four dainty caracal skins (Persian) of the very- 
finest quality that he had bought during the first year 
of his exile for twelve rubles each but which were 
now at least worth their 225 rubles apiece and not 
even at that price would he have sold them had it 
been off'ered him. 

The swarthy Caucasian sneered and curtly inter- 
rupted Dr. Diamond in his flood of words: "Enough! 
Answer what I'm asking you! What did the robbers 
look like?" — Dr. Diamond: "I told you they were 
masked!" — "That's no answer. Don't you remem- 
ber any special marks of recognition?" — Dr. Dia- 
mond did not remember any. — "Were they tall or 



116 The Red Garden 

short, what kinguage did they speak and what kind of 
clotlies did they wear?" — "One was tall and the other 
was short," opinioned Dr. Diamond, "and they spoke 
only in gestures and wore brown military capes as 
every one else in Russia does now." — "And their 
eyes?" asked the Caucasian. "What did they look 
like?" — "As murderers' eyes, I suppose," said Dr. 
Diamond With a faint sputtering. — "What kind of 
weapons did they carry?" — "Revolvers," answered 
Dr. Diamond and added with marked distaste, "and 
knives." He measured with his hands a length that 
at any rate was not too small. — "What kind of re- 
volvers?" — Dr. Diamond shook his head angrily. — 
"I mean what system, what type?" — But here Dr. 
Diamond lost his patience. If his life had been at 
stake he would have had to speak. "Are you com- 
pletely crazy, man! Do you suppose that people 
notice the calibre of a revolver when one is stuck up 
under their nose? And with absolute murderous in- 
tent? Are you trying to make a fool of me or are 
you as stupid as a musjik?" 

I wondered at Dr. Diamond's courage for of course 
to get rough with the police was not the right method 
of procedure. They are no wiser in Russia than 
elsewhere and they are quick to utilize the natural 
advantages that their position offers. Dr. Diamond 
must have been very upset to forget this and in such 
a careless manner to let himself get awiay from the 
cautiousness and self-control, that he always im- 
pressed on me. The Caucasian, apparently well sat- 



Dr. Diamond 117 



isfied, dictated to the man taking down the record that 
Dr. Diamond had refused to answer the questions of 
the police, that he had entangled himself in self-con- 
tradictions and had given other suspicious signs of an 
uneasy conscience. Kruvaschin leaned toward me, 
took a cigarette from my case and said smilingly: 
"Thought so, Mr. Consul, the damn Jew has arranged 
the whole thing himself. I saw which way Grigorij 
Nikolajevitch was heading at once. He is a crafty 
fellow, we have worked together for twenty years and 
I assure you, he can smell a criminal a mile away." 
What could I do in tlie face of the turn that the case 
had suddenly taken. I assured Kruvaschin of my 
sincere belief in the Doctor's innocence, I protested, 
I threatened — without result. Vladimir Stefano- 
vitch showed his white teeth under the black droop- 
ing moustache and said with fine and smiling insinua- 
tion: "Calm yourself, Mr. Consul, there is not tJie 
least talk of bothering you. Tschestno slovo: I give 
you my word of honour that you will not be mixed up 
in the case except possibly as a witness. This has 
been a pleasure. Will you allow me to take another 
cigarette?" 

Two detectives had in the meanwhile gone through 
Dr. Diamond's pockets and searched his person. Be- 
fore they started off with him I promised him full 
personal rnd official aid and bade him take it all 
courageously. But he had gone utterly to pieces and 
blamed only himself for the fate that he had met. 
It was a heartrending sight to see him taken away. I 



118 The Red Garden 



was soon left alone in the ravaged room and was 
also about to go when little Majer popped out from 
somewhere and wrung his hands and said with a wail 
in his voice: "Ach, what misfortune, Mr. Consulate! 
Will they shoot the poor Doctor at once? And I who 
didn't get my thirty rubles! And God knows, Mr. 
Consulate, I can't get along without them. . . ." 
The floor was littered with receipts. I found one 
that had not been used, filled it out, had him sign it 
and paid him the money after which he withdrew 
thanking me and bowing deeply. 

When I came home the people in the house had 
already heard of the assault but the full extent of the 
misfortune was now first made clear to them. Then 
a wailing and a weeping arose for Dr. Diamond was 
deeply loved there in the house both as Jew and as 
man, for his unswerving willingness to serve and for 
his; personality and when even I apparently could not 
save him from prison and possibly worse things, 
what security did life then off"er here on earth. The 
good people saw the ground open at their feet and 
spoke of selling house and home and continuing the 
flight eastward, to Siberia, to Kharbin, to Japan or 
preferably all the way to America. I tried to repre- 
sent to them that Dr. Diamond would soon be set 
free, for after all he had been arrested on the most 
casual suspicion. But they looked deeper into 
things than I did. They did not doubt that it was 
the police themselves who had committed the robbery. 
In the militia all kinds of elements were to be found, 



Dr. Diamond 119 



also people just released from jail and as for Vladi- 
mir Stefanovitch and Grigorij Nikola jevitch, they are 
worse than the worse Bolsheviki. By some miracle 
or other, or else perhaps just because of their arrant 
rascality, they had understood how to retain the lead- 
ership of the criminal police, also after the Bolshe- 
viki had taken the helm, although no people were 
more filled with the spirit of reaction and Black Hun- 
dred than they. Mr. Tschardefskij had no good ex- 
pectations from that quarter, quite the contrary. 

My exertions to free the Doctor were unsuccessful. 
He was brought to the prison of the government and 
to get his release before his case had come up was 
out of the question. As always in Russia I was 
shown from one to the other and at last back to the 
first one again, but the only result was that Dr. Dia- 
mond had food brought in to him, which Tscharef- 
skij had by the way already attained through a little 
arrangement with one of the jailers. 

Tscharefskij's expectations did not fail of fulfill- 
ment. One day he came and told me that both he 
and others who were friends of Dr. Diamond had 
been visited by an emissary of the police who re- 
ported that Dr. Diamond's case looked very serious. 
Evidence of his participation in the activities of a 
counter-revolutionary organization had been found, 
and if he was turned over to the Bolshevistic counter 
espionage he would most certainly be shot at once. 
However the criminal police did not believe that he 
was as guilty as he appeared to be and if a sum of 



120 The Red Garden 

( — I 

money was placed at their disposal — to be accounted 
for later of course — they would work in the right 
places to save his life. If not, perhaps he would be 
shot already that night. 4000 rubles had been de- 
manded of Tscharefskij and he had temporarily paid 
out 1000. — "What shall I do," he said to me quite 
shaken, "they have the upper hand and I can't let the 
Doctor be murdered; and then I thought too that pos- 
sibly the consulate could reimburse me for my ex- 
penditure as the case most closely concerns it." 

Under these circumstances I said to Tscharefskij 
that I would contribute, if he could procure 4000 
rubles from Dr. Diamond's friends. In any case it 
would be cheaper to act together and at once. The 
money was gotten together and already the day after, 
I went to Vladimir Stefanovitch Kruvaschin who, 
broad-shouldered and mighty, received me at once in 
his little office where many a criminal and now and 
then an innocent person must have suffered bitter 
pangs. The Caucasian was there with him but when 
we had talked a little about the weather and smoked 
a couple of cigarettes, Kruvaschin found something 
for him to do so that he was obliged to leave the office 
which he did with all visible signs of angry and re- 
pressed ill-will. When we were alone, we lit cigar- 
ettes again and I broached the case and explained to 
him how the arrest of Dr. Diamond and the constant 
suspicion that rested on him not only affected the 
consulate but also the royal Danish government. I 
had therefore decided to offer a reward of 5000 rub- 



Dr. Diamond 121 



les for the apprehension of the robbers to be divided 
amona; the detectives at the discretion of Kruvaschin. 
The 2500 I would pay at once and the rest would 
follow when Dr. Diamond was set free. Kruvaschin 
showed his teeth in a smile and said that the police 
were absolutely forbidden to accept money. During 
the twenty years that he had been its chief there had 
not yet been a single instance of any detective accept- 
ing as much as a kopeck for work it was his duty to 
perform. But in this instance where it was a foreign 
government that did the £tat the honour of wishing 
to reward its dangerous exertions he would deviate 
from his principles and accept the money — but only 
under receipt. Then he took the envelope I handed 
him and without looking at the contents wrote on a 
little strip of paper: "Received 2500 rubles on ac- 
count — Kruvaschin." We talked a while longer, 
shook hands and parted. The receipt I had rolled 
together in a little ball; it lay on the floor when I 
went. The last I saw was the face of Grigorij 
Nikolajevitch, the Caucasian scowling at me from the 
window. 

Shortly afterward Dr. Diamond was released. 
His stay in prison had lasted three weeks. His nat- 
ural optimism had carried him through this bad time. 
However, there had been many cultured people to 
talk to in the jail. Also they had played cards and 
thanks to the friendly jailer had constantly received 
food and mail from without. But Diamond did not 
know how much his life had hung by a thread. It 



122 The Red Garden 

' — - t 

was Tscharefskij who informed him what his friends 

had suffered on his account, and what it had cost 

them. Dr. Diamond was so moved that he wept. 

"I'll repay them, Mr. Consul, and every one else 
and with six per cent. I'm no beggar. My legal 
practice the last year before the war brought me in 
25,000 Austrian kroner and I own two houses in 
Lemberg. But I will not because of that forget what 
I owe the hearts and willing help of my friends." 
Again and again he referred to the charity that had 
been shown him and no one could be more effusively 
grateful for a trifling and matter of course evidence 
of friendship than Dr. Diamond for whom goodness 
and sacrifice was the daily salt of life. 

As far as the further development of the case is 
concerned, there is only this to tell, that the robbers 
were never found but that Kruvaschin unexpectedly 
was arrested several weeks later and put in the gov- 
ernment prison while Grigorij Nikolajevitch took 
over the leadership of the criminal police. Whether 
he thought that we only had done what was right from 
our point of view or whether he had been afraid to 
get into trouble with the consulate — or other reasons 
were present, I leave unsaid. The fact remained 
that we got no further unpleasantries from that 
quarter. 



Hapsburg Officers 

THE 22nd Evacuation Hospital in Simbirsk is a 
large red building tliat has never been quite 
finished. It lies north of the town, out on the 
high left bank of the Volga and from its front can be 
seen an enchanting view of the waters and islands of 
the river and particularly of the high sky that is 
never the same. 

Dr. K. the Austrian chief physician showed 

me around. It was shortly after my arrival in Sim- 
birsk and my first visit to the hospital. We went 
through long corridors where old, unshaven prisoners 
of war in dirty smocks but otherwise naked ceased 
sweeping to look dully after us. In the big ward 
where there were more than fifty beds, the air was 
thick with poverty and the sweat and wretchedness 
of many people. The sick for the most part were up 
and sat on the edge of the beds staring dully in front 
of them, or looked at those who whittled, patched 
clothes or repaired their frightful wrecks of boots 
or who ate some extra food that they themselves had 
bought. Some played cards with filthy rags that 
apparently had served through the campaign and sev- 
eral years of war imprisonment. There were few 
real invalids. They had already been exchanged. 
There was only an occasional one whose arm had 

been amputated and several who were blind or in- 

123 



124 The Red Garden 

sane. Otherwise they were men with internal sick- 
nesses and injuries, cancer, heart trouble, asthma and 
tuberculosis. Yes, tuberculosis, they all had that, I 
think, they looked so white and grey. But there are 
so many technical names for its various stages. The 
sick did not pay much attention either to the physi- 
cian or myself. They didn't rise, and used no polite 
phrases. They were indifferent and could no longer 
be disappointed. 

In the small rooms we visited last it was at once 
apparent that here it was not worth while to keep up 
the patient's hopes by giving his sickness a name. 
For here sickness was Death and those who lay here 
knew they were to die. This look can easily be 
recognized on the sick if one has ever had the oppor- 
tunity of observing it. Such a parsimonious expres- 
sion comes into their faces because they will not any 
more waste their last thoughts on anything between 
Heaven and Earth, but lie and impress on them- 
selves that which in this brief respite is most impor- 
tant to keep fixed in the memory. They lie nice 
and quiet in their beds, every little unnecessary exer- 
tion they must pay for with much cold sweat and 
coughing. How wretched they are, and thin and 
weak! They can barely talk, their voices leave them 
only as weak breaths. Even when they lie stretched 
out on their backs and still as mice, it is as cautiously 
as if the mere pressure of their own weight could 
squeeze out what little life there was still left in them 
and they therefore wished to remain hovering in the 



Hapsburg Officers 125 

air. Some had been long dying. Illness had slowly 
tapped their strength for three long years of impri- 
sonment. 

Maybe they could live a while longer, perhaps 
three weeks, perhaps three months, perhaps a year. 
But some had been overtaken with galloping speed in 
less than three months. They still remembered what 
the others had forgotten, that they had once been 
sturdy warriors who strode along and drew breath 
without thinking of their bodies. And now their 
emaciated remnants lay here, with those others whom 
they, as healthy men, had known as hopeless sick, 
and if it had not been for the bit of soul that still 
burned in the mute eyes, one could believe that these 
wax-like limbs and deathly pale faces already waited 
for the unplaned board cofiins. But corpses are less 
uncanny. Corpses are nothing and make no appeal 
even to the intellect and these living unextinguished 
eyes with their dumb expression of black suffering 
and unfathomed, fixed idea filled me with horror 
and to me it seemed brutal that I should make my 
rounds here as healthy and well-dressed as any kingly 
supernumerary, here where the abyss of death al- 
ready divided for ever he who was to live from them 
who knew they were to die — . 

When Dr. K, had shown me round he said: "I 

presume you will also pay a visit to the honourable 
officers. My assistant will show you the way. I 
can't very well," he added a bit embarrassed. "You 
see, in a hospital there can only be one chief and that 



126 The Red Garden 

must be the physician. But that is a point of view 
which all officers do not find equally easy to acquire. 
Perhaps you will find that they have already formed 
an ill opinion of you because you called on me first." 
He smiled as he said this and we parted. 

The officers occupied a very large and airy room on 
the second floor. There wasn't much more furni- 
ture than the beds that stood in two precise rows 
along the walls on the long sides of the room. In 
the middle of the floor was a table where chess was 
being played as I entered. All rose to their feet at 
once with the exception of several who were bedrid- 
den. An elderly officer with a markedly shrunken 
turkey neck and small chin whiskers took three for- 
mal paces forward to meet me. He was a colonel 
and the ranking officer. I also recited my titles and 
we again bowed stiffly to each other. The colonel 
presented me for the staff officers: there were two 
more, a Lt. colonel and a major. The major pre- 
sented me for the lieutenants and the senior lieuten- 
ants lor the cadets. The ceremony was a long one 
and in dead earnest. Those who were presented for 
me snapped their heels together with vigour, also 
those who had their bare feet in hospital slippers. 
The three senior officers and I seated ourselves at 
the table while the younger officers formed a ring 
around us some distance away. Only the staff^ offi- 
cers took part in the conversation. The others stood 
and alternately put the right leg in front of the left 
and vice versa. 



Hapsburg Officers 127 

The three staff officers were individually good 
types and taken altogether were almost an allegory. 
First the colonel, kaiserlich und koniglich, right to 
his finger tips, thin legged in his riding breeches, 
gentleman, and with the same expression of intelli- 
gence in his face as a playing card. He wore a 
faded dark-blue uniform with gold braid, apparently 
an old dress uniform that he was wearing out in his 
war imprisonment. The lieutenant-colonel on his 
right was a Hungarian, stout and elderly, but not un- 
warlike, with a petticoat-chaser's eye and with that 
slightly dandified arrogance over his person which 
is the special contribution of the Magyar to the Bal- 
kan type. And finally the Major on his left who had 
only to open his mouth to betray his native Vienna. 
He completed the trio with his spotted, slipshod tunic 
that sat on him like a house jacket and his round- 
bearded and jovial face in whose smile belief in all 
big words and values melted as sugar in water. The 
colonel took the lead haltingly and the two others sup- 
ported him. The conversation dragged. I noticed 
that in the interrupted chess game both the white bish- 
ops, strange to say, stood on the black! When the 
conventional things had been said, we fell of course 

head first into the hospital conditions and Dr. K. 

got it right and left. He encouraged Bolshevism, 
undermined the authority of the officers over the 
men, destroyed discipline and ignored him, the colo- 
nel, who was the much higher ranking officer. "I 
am here as a convalescent and not as a patient and 



128 The Red Garden 

I I 

am in full possession of my faculties and he can 
therefore not deny me the right to exercise the author- 
ity due me as ranking officer in purely military and 
disciplinary affairs especially When I see how matters 
are going under his leadership! But he wants to set 
me at nought here and he isn't ashamed to play the 
Russians, those infamous traitors of the fatherland, 
against me. He threatens to discharge me as cured, 
a plan which approaches high treason as only by get- 
ting home as an invalid can I again place my arms 
and my experience at the disposal, in the field, of 
my Kaiser and War Lord." — The major smothered 
a smile and I hastened to acquaint the colonel with 
the fact that he was touching on a dangerous theme 
as I as a representative of a neutral power ought not 
to get the impression that the invalids in whose re- 
patriation I was interested, possibly were less dis- 
abled than their testimonials certified. 

Before I left I had a talk alone with the colonel in 
the little room that he occupied together with the lieu- 
tenant-colonel. The colonel uncovered from under 
his bed some heavily bound and sealed packages. 
"It is of the utmost importance," he said, "to get 
these documents to their address: the k. u. k. War De- 
partment in Vienna." For an instant I was slightly 
nonplussed. Everything seemed to indicate that I 
was within a hand's breath of military secrets of the 
Lord knows what importance and danger. The colo- 
nel continued : "As former ranking officer in the camp 
at D (he named one of the big Siberian camps for 



Hapsburg Officers 129 

officers where several thousands at a time could be 
interned) I have at my transfer as invalid to this 
hospital, from which I contrary to my expectations 
have not yet been sent further on and home, thought 
it my duty to bring with me from the camp at D vari- 
ous records of matters that came up. As camp com- 
mander I felt responsible for their fate and the exist- 
ing anarchistic conditions in Russia make it hardly 
possible for me to leave these matters in the care of 
the Russians until after the end of the war. These 
are records of the various affairs of honour that na- 
turally have come up in a camp where so many of- 
ficers are lumped together under difficult conditions, 
for the most part court of honour decisions handed 
down under my chairmanship. Reports of the re- 
lations between various officers and documents relat- 
ing to breaches of discipline — you will readily see 
of what extraordinary and deciding importance this 
material is for future promotions in the army and 
how quite especially the certainty that these matters 
are in their proper place will tend to strengthen the 
spirit in the army and tlie common responsibility 
and feeling of honour in the officers' corps. As it 
furthermore would be a personal satisfaction to me 
and in some degree I think, a service by which I will 
be remembered, to have contributed my part to the 
successful sending home of the documents, I urgently 
request you to stand by me in word and deed!" 

I sat mutely and weighed in my thoughts the four 
heavy packages. Considered as luggage they were 



130 The Red Garden 

not inviting. To get out of it I asked if they really 
contained nothing but that which the colonel had 
mentioned. But that didn't work; I was free to cen- 
sor, or, what was easier, to take his word of honour 
as an officer. Well, then I had to promise to do my 
best to find a way out but I stipulated that in case I 
succeeded in getting a hospital train^ for the acknowl- 
edged invalids, that then the colonel was to take 
his packages along with him to Moscow where he 
could turn them over to the Danish General Consu- 
late if he feared to risk getting them through the 
customs at the frontier — . 

Some time afterward I received a telegram that I 
would get a hospital train for my invalids as soon as 
possible. Two Russian physicians also came and 
began to classify the prisoners of war all over again, 
both those in the hospital and the camp and those 
who worked in the town, without regard as to whether 
they had been acknowledged invalids two or three 
times beforehand. However they were not severe 
and the procedure was not wholly unfair, for in 
many places in Siberia invalid certificates had been 
cheap. 

One afternoon I was visited by an officer from the 
hospiital. Von S was his name and he was a first 
lieutenant in a dragoon regiment and a tall blond 
fellow with a somewhat brusk manner. He came to 
complain that the commission had rejected him al- 
though he had certification that he was unfit for mili- 
tary service because of bronchitis. He wanted me 



Hapsburg Officers 131 

very much to influence the commission so that he 
could leave any way. I insisted that if the physi- 
cians who knew their business couldn't make an inva- 
lid out of him, then I, who knew nothing about it 
could not possibly help him even if he had pulmon- 
ary consumption. My task was to see that those pri- 
soners of war were sent away who had received law- 
ful invalid certificates at the hands of the commis- 
sion. But the lieutenant was balky and at last he 
actually became rough and said that other delegates 
had a diff'erent idea of their position, etc., and one 
word led to another until I had to ask him to step 
outside and convince himself that he wasn't in an 
Austrian barrack but in a royal Danish consulate. 

Already the next morning I received a letter in 
which I was informed in correct phrases that Ober- 
leidnant von S felt that his honour as an officer 
was impugned by my utterances and a negotiation 
with whomever I would show the honour of entrust- 
ing the care of my interest would be welcomed with 
pleasure. With assurance of sincere and particular 
esteem, von R k. u. k., Hauptman in the k. u. k. 
Heavy Artillery Regiment Nr. 8. 

When my secretary. Dr. Josef Diamond, showed 
up I gave him the communication which he read and 
reread without saying a word. He had become very 
pale. "Um Gottes Himmel Willen!" he said 
hoarsely, "You're not going to risk your life at the 
caprice of this crack-brained lieutenant! Besides he 
must be mad to call you out! Your life is precious 



132 The Red Garden 

I — , 

to us all and then to think in what a frightful situation, 
with what responsibility and in what sorrow you would 
leave me, if — which God forbid. . . ." 

Dr. Diamond had talked himself into a state of 
emotion but as I was not yet dead, I explained to him 
that we could hardly fight at once since then we 
should probably have to take turns at shooting with 
my little vest pocket automatic. The duel at the 
very soonest could only take place at a remote date. 
Dr. Diamond quickly felt much reassured. I then 
told him that in the meanwhile something had to be 
done so that the laws of honour could be satisfied, if 
not for any other reason than because of the Danish 
colours which I was pledged to represent with full 
honour and glory, and I proposed therefore that he, 
as my friend and closest companion in Simbirsk, 
should look up this Captain von R and discuss the 
matter seriously with him and without showing any 
compliance that could be misconstrued. 

Dr. Diamond excused himself but there was no 
firmness in his refusal. I could see that the affair 
stimulated his spirit of enterprise and his weakness 
for sensation! He was to negotiate with a von R. 
as a second and therefore on an equal footing. That 
was something new and unusual. He agreed on the 
condition that I would loan him a black necktie. 

When Dr. Diamond had once agreed he immed- 
iately became so hasty and arrogant that I had fears 
he, under the impression that the danger to my life 
belonged to a distant and uncertain future, would 



Hapsburg Officers 133 

be a party to, if not propose himself, some such ar- 
rangement as horsepistols at six paces distance until 
the magazines were empty or one of the combatants, 
lay on the field of honour. Therefore I bade him 
go easy and told him that if the affair could not be 
settled with honour, I would, both as the offended 
and challenged party, choose the weapons, and I 
chose swords. "Swords!" Dr. Diamond burst out in 
disappointment. He had an aversion for cold steel. 
"Of course," I said loftily, "I only want to discipline 
the fellow. I'm no murderer!" Dr. Diamond's 
natural good nature and love of mankind at once 
came to life again. He praised my magnaminity 
and promised to turn the conversation in this direc- 
tion when he met the other second. 

Dr. Diamond's mission had hardly so honourable 
a course as he had thought it would have. When von 
R. guessed on what errand Dr. Diamond came to 
him (for Dr. Diamond came a great deal to the of- 
ficers as middleman for loans in rubles which were to 
be paid back in kroner) he choked a fit down with 
the greatest difficulty and rushed so vehemently at 
the unfortunate Dr. Diamond that the latter had to 
withdraw in confusion. Afterward von R. revenged 
himself further by overwhelming the lieutenant colo- 
nel, who had been the cause of this unspeakable af- 
front, with quite uncontrolled expressions so that the 
two gentlemen brawled. From this on they were as 
air for each other in the room, while a pair of their 
colleagues sitting on the edge of a bed but otherwise 



134 The Red Garden 

' — — I 

correct, decided what the consequences of the broil 

must be and recorded and signed the result which 

finally was handed to the colonel for sanction and 

keeping. 

All this I did not learn from Dr. Diamond who had 
been very reserved and close-mouthed regarding the 
result of his mission. It was the jovial major whose 
sympathy I had won who thus enlightened me and at 
the same time gave his merriment free rein over 
what had passed : "You should have seen von R. when 
your Dr. Diamond trooped up and presented himself 
as second. I had to go outside and laugh. You see, 
he's Polish, this von R. and he has a strong drop of 
the Blood himself as one can easily see and he is 
of course quite fanatic on that point. But then too, 
it was a wild idea of yours and you would have had 
another duel on your hands if I hadn't stepped in and 
explained that the downright heavenly conditions in 
your native land excused your behaviour and natural 
blindness in regard to that question. We Austrians 
have good reason to envy you, that you in that sense 
have been dealt with less lavishly from nature's hand 
than we — " 

I did not attempt to contradict his ideas and for a 
moment he was lost in thought of the idyllic Denmark 
of which he had heard so many things and which he 
wanted so much to make his new fatherland. ""Wir 
sind ja so wie so kaput," he added with melancholy. 
Before we parted he offered to arrange my difference 
with the OberleutJiant von S for me, which I ac- 



Hapsburg Officers 135 

cepted gladly. As the affair was now commonly 
known, a reconciliation could no longer be brought 
about, and it was therefore definitely decided that 
we, after the close of the World War, should meet 
at a place, which at that time should be more closely 
agreed upon, to engage in a rencontre with swords 
until blood flowed. The protocol was drawn up and 
signed in triplicate of which the colonel received one 
for his collection. The major personally brought 
me my copy and as we sat in the garden smoking 
Crown cigars bought in Moscow and beside a bottle 
of port wine procured by Dr. Diamond, he made a 
gesture in the direction of the hospital and said in 
his broad Viennese while his pleasant smile caressed 
the wine in his glass: "It's easy enough for us to sit 
here now and grin at it all. But out of regard for 
the others and for their prestige that was the best 
way. With these people one shouldn't reason. It's 
a mere waste of words. If they ever stand in a rag- 
ged uniform and sell papers in Kartnerstrasse then 
they will be no wiser and they will die in the be- 
lief that it is an episode. God grant that their duels 
are settled in Heaven!" And with that he set his 
glass to his mouth and emptied it. 

The week after a hospital train came from Moscow 
and took my invalids back there and further on to 
the border. I stood at the hospital and saw the little 
crowd of a couple of hundred turn down Kazan- 
skaja. At the head were two wagons with the heavi- 



136 The Red Garden 

est baggage and the very weakest of the prisoners 
of war who never could have endured the six or 
seven versts down through the town and out on the 
other side to the railway station. It was pitiful 
enough to see them on top of the loads, wasted and 
chalky white and constantly groping with their thin 
hands among the bundles and chests and the colonel's 
four heavy packages for a position that would ward 
off the remorseless jolting of the springless wagon. 
Then came the colonel and a group of officers and 
lastly the men in a tattered mass flanked by a pair of 
indifferent Red Guards. It was a friendly summer 
evening as light and mild and full of fragrance and 
peace as if there were nothing in the world but na- 
ture's gentle beauty to protect the happiness of human 
beings. But the people on this broad green Volga 
street were an unreal flock of ghosts and a column of 
worn and beaten prisoners who with bent backs 
dragged themselves toward home where they felt it 
so much easier to die. I wonder if these broken 
beings who with a terrible parodied effect wore the 
grey-blue remnants of their uniforms, still remem- 
bered how they had marched away to the sound of 
drums and trumpets, now that they without any other 
sound than their own tired and irregular footbeats 
were driven in a flock to the last marche macabre of 
their military life? 

When the column far down the street turned from 
Kazanskaja into Gontcharofskaja, a half score men 
had already dropped back at various distances from 



Hapsburg Officers 137 



the main body. They were unable to keep up and 
no one looked back to see what had become of them. 
For such is war and war's eternal law. 



The Red Garden 

IT was in July, 1918. Since three o'clock in the 
morning I had been pacing back and forth in the 
railway station of Alatyr, waiting for the train 
from Kazan. It did not come. In the waiting room 
it was impossible to breathe for snoring peasants and 
soldiers. I could have stayed in the hotel and slept, 
but it was in the town and the town was as usual five 
full versts from the station so that the train might 
come and go many times before I could be notified. 
No, there was nothing to do but wait; to doze on a 
travelling bag with my back against the wall or with 
my head in my hands; to eat soup and drink tea at 
the buff'et when that variation offered itself, and to 
light one cigarette with the butt of another. 

Along toward noon an armoured train arrived 
from the north. Now I had that to look at, anyway. 
It was manned by a choice selection of human scum, 
escaped convicts with low criminal foreheads and 
runaway schoolboys whose pale features bore marks 
of mental bewilderment and early physical decay. 
But otherwise it was an impressive train. First class 
Entente ware. In front was an armoured tower with 
a quick-firing cannon in a revolving turret and with 
slits in the sides from whose depths machine gun 
barrels gleamed brassily. After this came the mon- 
ster locomotive, monitor-grey like the rest. It was 

138 



The Red Garden 139 

armoured right down to the tracks. In organic con- 
nection with it was a long corridor car for riflemen, 
large enough to hold the entire crew of the armoured 
train during combat. The rest of the train was com- 
posed of three elegant slender Pullman cars, four 
tjepluskas, or box cars, with ammunition and bag- 
gage, and last of all a flat freight car on which stood 
a black automobile and an aeroplane. 

About four or five o'clock in the afternoon, there 
were signs of life in the train, and the engine began 
to get up steam. It was going to leave and in the 
direction I wanted to go. I asked a railway man 
if he thought there was any chance of my being able 
to go along. "What do you want to mix up with 
that Red gang for?" he said, when he saw and heard 
that I was a stranger. "Unless, of course, you want 
to go straight to hell. But now it looks as if we 
might be getting rid of this plague. The Czecho- 
slovaks are on their way. There's fighting going 
on not a hundred versts from here. And anybody 
can see what the Reds are good for. They put seven- 
teen wounded in the hospital, but what kind of 
Wounds do you think they were? Swine, I say, ten- 
fold damned swine! But the Commandant is stand- 
ing over there, if you want to ask him anything." 

The Commandant of the train was a sailor from 
the Baltic fleet. He stood on a step which was let 
down from the locomotive and he was talking with 
the engineer. I ventured to interrupt the conversa- 
tion by handing him my card and dropping a few 



140 The Red Garden 

words to the effect that it was hard for a diplomatic 
official to have to waste his valuable time at a damned 
tiresome railway station. The sailor seemed to 
understand. He was an unusually handsome fellow 
with a winning smile. There wasn't a trace of vil- 
lainy about him. With blue eyes in a sun-burnt, 
'dare-devil face, a fine curved nose and soft curly 
hair, he answered completely to the standard descrip- 
tion of the hero in a regular boy's story. Apparently 
such people do exist if one only knows where to 
look for them. His smile hinted at dazzling teeth 
as he bade me take a seat in the foremost car and if 
the guard made any trouble to refer him to his per- 
mission. Anyway he was coming himself, right 
away. We were leaving in ten minutes. 

I entered the foremost car. There was no guard 
and the door to the corridor stood open. The first 
compartment was a kitchen. On a table stood a sam- 
ovar and an alcohol burner. On the floor lay a 
pile of wheat bread in round loaves, a half -emptied 
firkin of butter, and several large biscuit boxes with 
sugar. It was almost impossible to get sugar. I 
had only a little left in the bottom of my canteen but 
now I got it filled. 

The next compartment was apparently for various 
members of the crew, but they were not there at the 
moment. The floor and the sofa seats were littered 
with playing cards, bits of bread, cast-off clothing, 
tin cups, cartridges and sun flower seeds. The bag- 
gage racks were crammed with rifles, belts, sabres, 



The Red Garden 141 

and hand grenades and with leather articles for mil- 
itary use, ranging from belts and map cases to boots 
and brand new saddles. In a compartment further 
along, the sleeping accommodations on one side had 
been broken down, and the wall from ceiling to floor 
covered with a General Staff map over the Volga re- 
gion. To all appearances this was the Commandant's 
compartment. I went in, put my travelling bag, 
which contained several hundred thousand rubles, 
well up under the berth, cleared off the seat and sat 
down on my raincoat to await events. 

On the window shelf stood a typewriter which had 
been stopped in the middle of an order. There was 
also a pile of papers, telegrams and such, but I was 
not a spy. On the other hand, I had no scruples 
about studying the map to see if it were possible to 
find out how far the Czecho-Slovak revolts had 
reached. But, unfortunately, it contained no stra- 
tegic information. Then I examined two Browning 
revolvers and a Maxim pistol and found them loaded 
in all chambers. Lastly I turned to the room's col- 
lection of books, which consisted of one volume of 
Jules Verne's collected romances, in Russian transla- 
tion, and a hideously printed pamphlet dealing 
wiith history's most notorious regicides. The cover 
showed a picture of the execution of Louis the Six- 
teenth. The red blood flowed in a thick stream down 
over the black letters. , 

Both ten and twenty minutes passed but I was still 
alone in the car. I was almost going to sleep. But 



142 The Red Garden 



I decided not to when I heard a woman humming in 
the next compartment, the last in the row, and the 
only one I hadn't investigated. Soon I lit a cigarette 
and went out into the corridor. 

The door was ajar and gave me enough of a 
glimpse of the compartment to disconcert me con- 
siderably. It was hung from ceiling to floor with 
vari-coloured silks, and these were again decorated 
with military portraits and other photographs be- 
longing to the international genre: nu artistique. A 
crumpled sky-blue quilt covered the sofa, and on the 
floor a genuine rug had been folded several times. 
It looked as if the services of a powerful vacuum 
cleaner would do it no harm. At the window, be- 
fore a dressing table and with her back to the door, 
sat a feminine figure clad in thin silky pyjamas that 
still had a pink tendency, and with her feet in a pair 
of downy slippers. 

With deftly wielded brush and pencil she was 
in the act of practicing that intimate art which women 
the whole world over call to their aid in the hope of 
renewing and refining their natural charm. But 
what struck the eye more than anything else in this 
extraordinary boudoir on wheels was the really opu- 
lent collection of bottles, flasks and vials, jars, cans 
and jugs which were spread over the whole room 
wherever there was a vacant edge. Judging has- 
tily, there was everything here from expensive Pari- 
sian essences to brutally stinking Moscow perfumes, 
rice powder, lip sticks, alum and cold cream, pom- 



The Red Garden 143 

ades, rouges, formols, sublimates, and other much 
more mysterious antiseptic arcana. 

The occupant of the compartment had ceased hum- 
ming and was subjecting the resuh of her work to 
a critical inspection. Presumably she caught a 
glimpse of me, for she turned suddenly, and when 
she saw that I was engrossed in what was going on 
on the platform, she tip-toed to the door and shut 
it, though not without first having noted my foreign 
appearance. I caught a glimpse of her black eyes 
which lit a smile, and I saw that she had bobbed hair 
and was about seventeen. 

I made myself comfortable in the Commandant's 
place, and soon after she came in. Now she was all 
powdered and dressed in a short white frock, white 
stockings and shoes. I rose, bowed and gave my 
name. She wasn't at all curious to know how I hap- 
pened to be aboard a Bolshevik armoured train, but 
just asked me charmingly how I was. Later she 
proposed that we have tea. I was willing, and ac- 
companied her to the front room to help cut bread 
and bring the samovar to a boil. 

When we had brought everything into the compart- 
ment and cleared the shelf of typewriter and papers, 
the sailor finally made his appearance. He thought 
it was fine that I had made myself at home in the 
train so quickly, and in spite of my poor Russian had 
managed to make myself understood by Dolly Mi- 
kailovna, who was a prominent member of the crew, 
a sister of mercy, and, if need be, a physician. Also 



144 The Red Garden 

she was chief economist of the household, but in 
case of danger and battle she was a soldier 
who could handle a machine gun as well as her 
revolver. 

Several hours afterward, we rolled briskly south- 
ward. The sailor confided to me that his train was 
bound in the direction of Syzran. The Czechs had 
evacuated Pensa, but had, on the other hand, taken 
Samara, and perhaps other cities. Communication 
between Siberia and Turkestan was broken off. He 
couldn't tell me whether Simbirsk, where I had my 
delegation, had fallen, but he supposed so. The 
situation was not of the best. 

"What can I do with that kind of people," he said 
and gestured toward his command who yelled and 
fought playfully in corridors and compartments. 
"We haven't any discipline in the army yet," he said. 
"In a way, I'm sorry that I left the navy. We lay in 
Reval in the old days. Dolly was a cabaret singer 
— a great drawing card. All the officers were crazy 
about her. Well, that's over now, and it's just as 
well. If we only could get this fighting over with. 
I'm not particularly fond of dragging around with 
this train and a collection of bums who run when they 
hear the first shot. And then their filth! They ab- 
solutely don't care, either about themselves or other 
people." 

In the evening our train stopped and remained 
standing at a little forest station. It was getting 
dark. I lay down in the soft grass next to the track 



The Red Garden 145 



and watched the half-grown soldiers fighting and 
tumbling each other, but without malice and less like 
children than feeble-minded. Dolly Mikailovna also 
came out to enjoy the evening breeze. She came 
with two young rabbits in her skirt, one milk-white 
with pink eyes and one black with blue eyes. She 
lay down beside me and let go the animals, and they 
began to nip the grass right away, hopping around 
in their queer funereal manner, with ears laid back. 
When the soldiers discovered them, they came run- 
ning over and wanted to pick them up and pet them. 
But they soon got tired of that, and, drawing revolvers 
out of their back pockets, they aimed at the rabbits 
and shouted with a grin if she thought they could hit 
the mark. But she got angry, and promised to take 
a life for a life. Then they gave up the idea of 
killing the rabbits, and instead aimed at us and at 
each other, yelling and gesturing wildly, now and 
then relieving their feelings by firing a shot in the 
air. 

When it got quite dark, Dolly Mikailovna ordered 
them to drag sticks and brushwood together on the 
roadbed. She carried the rabbits in, and came back 
with a frying pan, butter and flour. She squatted by 
the blaze, whose smoke in the quiet evening made our 
eyes smart, while the crackling flames picturesquely 
illuminated our little group. In her thin dress, 
Dolly's young luxuriance was revealed against the 
gleam of the fire in transparent contours. But, de- 
spite the discomfort of .the smoke and the tiresome 



146 The Red Garden 



position which forced her to gather her gown over 
her stockings, she bravely kept on baking water pan- 
cakes as long as anybody would eat them. After 
that we lay for yet awhile around the dying fire smok- 
ing cigarettes and conversing to the fragile music of a 
balaleika. 

Late that night we moved off again, and about six 
in the morning we came to Sviagorod. I slept in the 
sailor's berth with a Russian officer's greatcoat over 
me. He had set up a camp cot for himself under the 
big map. He was, by the way, not in the compart- 
ment for part of the night. 

I woke up because the train wasn't moving, but I 
couldn't persuade myself to get up. I tried to get 
enough sleep by dozing for a while. About nine 
o'clock I came out at the station to wash myself at the 
kipjatok, and I found most of the soldiers there 
splashing water on each other with playful cries. 
When I had had my head under the cold stream, I 
took warm water back to the train for shaving. My 
host was also tidying up. He was going to Sviago- 
rod to pay a visit to the higher authorities. 

It was nearly noon when we got started, since the 
automobile had to be taken off the train. That day 
Dolly Mikailovna appeared in the costume of a sister 
of mercy, which barely hid other articles of cloth- 
ing. But it was certainly terribly hot. She had 
thrown a kerchief over her page-like hair. In the 
sharp sunlight, her face in spite of its youth was as 
fatally wasted as a moon landscape, and the chalk- 



The Red Garden 147 

> ■III. I ^M^»^l — -I I   I I I Ill — Ill I I — - I < 

white powder couldn't eover up an occasional erup- 
tion. But she was as merry as a magpie, her laugh- 
ter was deep as a cough and keen as the noise of a 
grindstone, and her body was a column of quicksilver 
and a living animal under the thin linen. When we 
were seated in the car, the sailor at the wheel and 
Dolly and I in the back seat, it wouldn't start. A 
blue cloud of stinking naphtha welled from the ex- 
haust, and the motor exploded like a machine gun. 
Another half hour went by before the car began to 
move. Then we jumped on again in a hurry, to be 
along when it started, and, with a couple of soldiers 
clinging to each running board, we flew forward with 
every horse power unleashed. 

There was nothing very remarkable about Sviago- 
rod. It baked in the blaze of the sun with all its 
streets flung gapingly empty. Wooden villas stood 
with closed green shutters in the midst of neglected 
gardens. We rushed by other houses whose doors 
and windows were wide open so that we could see 
the dusty remains of furniture within. Their bitter 
expression of desertion left a brief sadness in the 
mind. We came past a white church with blue onion 
cupolas, and then across the market-place. It was 
Saturday and market-day, but there were only a few 
peasant wagons around. But a great many Austro- 
Hungarian prisoners of war loitered here, looking at 
the produce with eyes whose natural ravenousness 
had been tempered by long abstinence. They were 
easily recognizable, in spite of their patches and cast- 



148 The Red Garden 

, — -I 

off Russian rags, by some remnant of a blue-grey uni- 
form, usually the cap, which had survived war and 
imprisonment and years of vagabondage. Most of 
them could be told by their features which could not 
be mistaken for those of either Russian or Tartar. 

The Soviet of Sviagorod was housed in the city 
Duma's building on the market-place. When our 
car swung up before the arcade, the guard had been 
called to arms, and stood ready with a machine 
gun. One never could tell in these times! All of 
them were Hungarians, by the way, picked red 
guards. 

The President of the soviet and the Com- 
mandant of the town — he combined the two offices — 
was a Red Jew who had some manufactured name 
which I have forgotten. His age was uncertain. 
There were moments when he looked like quite a 
young man whose features had been ruined early, 
and others when he resembled an old man to whom 
some sort of disease had given a glow of false youth. 
His sparse newly cropped hair revealed several bare 
spots. His eyes were especially remarkable. They 
were without real expression, but at times they flamed 
and a reddish light seemed then to radiate from them. 
Altogether, he gave the impression of being a man of 
superior gifts, but undeniably not quite all there. 

He looked startled when he saw me, and it got 
worse when he perused my diplomatic papers and 
learned my errand. His whole body shook with 
poorly controlled rage and gnashing his teeth like 



The Red Garden 149 

a baited despot, he told me that he didn't recognize 
the bourgeois governments of Europe. As far as he 
was concerned, they were simply nothing but air. 
And as for these prisoners in whom I was interested, 
they no longer existed. He was no gaoler for capi- 
talism. In free Russia, every one who wants to can 
be a free citizen and doesn't have to be fed on the 
illusion of bourgeois philanthropy. 

With that, he turned his back on me and began to 
ogle Dolly Mikailovna. Later, however, I was re- 
stored to grace again, since he emphasized that Dolly 
Mikailovna's friends and guests were also his. He 
invited me to dinner that day, and also to attend a 
great Communist celebration which was to take place 
the following Sunday. On that occasion a magnifi 
cent public park, Krasnij Sad, i. e., the Red Garden 
would be turned over to the grateful populace 
With a Satanic smile he remarked that he would con 
sider it an honour to wrest such promising youthful 
ness from capitalistic diplomacy. 

"You belong to us already, I can read in your 
eye that you are without prejudice. But you have 
never felt the truth within you. You haven't been 
filled with mighty idea of human brotherhood. 
But it, too, shall flower in your young blood." He 
regarded me with an odd look, gripped my arm, and 
putting his mouth to my ear, he whispered, "I will 
confide in you. In me is truth. I am the resur- 
rected saviour of the new time. I am . . ." He sud- 
denly wiped his brow and came to his senses with a 



150 The Red Garden 

smile. "It's hot," he said, without transition, and 
after that he didn't utter one irrational word. 

After dinner, which was without alcohol and not too 
rich though well prepared by a Viennese cook, I 
sauntered out through the town. The others drove to 
the barracks to arrange some details for the big mili- 
tary parade for next day. I understood of course 
that although it was to serve a festive purpose, it 
had a deeper meaning when one remembered that 
the Czecho-Slovak danger came a little nearer to 
Sviagorod each day. I still felt rather uncomforta- 
ble after the scene with the? Jew, but that soon passed 
away when I begun to talk with some bearded old 
prisoners of war. They had never seen a delegate 
before, and very properly didn't expect miracles 
from the one they now saw. The officers were dif- 
ferent. They always believed that now they were 
going to be sent home at once tQ glory and grandeur. 
I inquired about conditions and bought some pack- 
ages of Mahorka tobacco for division among the pri- 
soners. 

They complained mostly about their younger 
comrades who had joined the Red Guard and who 
were now pestering the life out of them to get them 
to do likewise. "Of course," they hinted, "the food 
is good, and they give uniform, tea and sugar and 
three hmidred rubles a month, and if they tried to 
send you to the front it's easy enough to beat it. A 
week ago a regiment came through here from Tam- 
bof. Two hundred men had deserted, and the other 



The Red Garden 151 

, — _ — 1 

three hundred were only waiting for their chance. — 
No, it isn't very dangerous, but, still, you never can 
tell — and there's the wife and children at home — 
and the property! It's better to stick it out for a 
while longer." In this good intention I encouraged 
them. They wouldn't say anything bad about the 
Russians. Most of them were crazy, of course, and 
careless rather than downright evil. Everything was 
in the most terrible disorder. Maintenance in the 
camp was a thing of the past, and still orders came 
that no one was to leave it. There wasn't a rag of 
clothes to get, and little to earn for those who 
weren't professionals. But the worst thing about the 
commissar rule was that they used the prisoners of 
war for all the work which the Russians were too 
lazy to do. They had to clean stables and barracks 
and hospitals, and lately they had been forced to do 
all the work connected with the new Communist park 
— in the blazing sunshine — getting nothing but dry 
bread for it. Fine freedom, wasn't it? These 
scoundrels could call themselves Proletarians and 
Bolshevists, Communist and Internationalists or what- 
ever they pleased, the old Russian laziness and loaf- 
ing and thievery was right there just the same. 

I left these prisoners both irritated and enlivened 
by their honest anger. With these men from Karn- 
then and Tyrol and Salzburg, one could talk as if 
they were one's own people. My old grandfather, 
himself a farmer, would have stood just this way 
and sucked his pipe and growled at the oppressors, 



152 The Red Garden 

if it had been his fate to fall into Russian war im- 
prisonment. 

In the evening I drove back to the railway station 
with the sailor. Dolly Mikailovna didn't come. 
She spent the night in town. 

Before we left the next morning, Dolly Mikailovna 
came back in one of the soviet cars to change her cos- 
tume. She was to take part in the parade with a 
detachment of the crew from the armoured train. 
The sailor and I drove out to lunch with the soviet. 

The parade was to start at three o'clock. The 
commissars and staff stood on the balcony of the 
arcade and saluted the red colours. They were all in 
warlike array, with many weapons, map cases and 
binoculars, but none outdid the red Jew who in spite 
of the heat wore a leaden grey, steel helmet with a 
red, seven-pointed star in front. He wore long, 
spurred patent-leather boots and also a shining sabre, 
which in Russia is a fantastic and foreign weapon. 
His right sleeve was ornamented with the well known 
emblem of the shock troops, a white death's head in 
silver over two crossed bones on a red background. 
The sailor at his side, in his plain blouse and with 
black and orange ribbons on his cap, didn't look 
like any great military genius. 

I had chosen to place myself in the shade of the 
arcade, so as not to alienate the prisoners or create 
false impressions among the Hungarian Red Guards. 
Here was also the band of the Austrian prisoners 
which was to play for the parade and later for the 



The Red Garden 153 

fete. They had not been requested to march with 
their instruments in the sun. It was tacitly under- 
stood that their art raised them above their plight, 
and that the success of the celebration depended 
largely on their music and good will. 

The parade had in the meanwhile begun. It 
didn't tire anybody by being too long. There were 
two Polker, or regiments of about two hundred men 
each. The men slouched in whatever step pleased 
them. Many of them were prisoners of war, notably 
Hungarians and Prussians. A military bearing came 
over them whether they would or not when they again 
got weapons in hand, so that they couldn't possibly 
be mistaken for Russian Red Guards, only a few of 
whom had been in the war. After the infantry came 
a machine gun section, a score and a half men on 
small brown horses. A field piece with team rep- 
resented the heavier calibres. 

Last in line came a troop from the armoured train, 
with a red banner on which there was printed in gold 
letters. Armoured Train: Karl Marx. Behind the 
banner walked Dolly Mikailovna. She looked splen- 
did in aviation cap and white sailor silk blouse, 
bright red tie, revolver-holster at her belt, khaki- 
coloured riding breeches, and long yellow boots 
laced to the knees. As she passed the arcade, she 
saluted with her sword and a smile. 

During the review we had all stood with bared 
heads while the band played alternately the Marseil- 
laise, and the Honour March of the First Vienna Reg- 



154 The Red Garden 

I 

iment. Later we all marched off with the band 
leading and the local Communist party, men, women 
and children, bringing up the rear. The road, white 
as powder, seemed to lead right up into the sun. 

The garden, however, was not very far from the 
centre of the city. Before being nationalized, it had 
been the property of a Prince Gagarin, and it still 
showed feeble traces of French gardening. But 
great arbitrary changes had been made in it to make 
it more popular. The whole central part had been 
razed to make room for a band stand and open space. 
Here a statue had been raised which was to be un- 
veiled during the celebration. It stood in the centre 
of one of the long sides of the place, still cloaked in 
its cover of coarse military linen, against a back- 
ground of black cypresses and tujas. A speaker's 
stand draped in red stood to the right of it. 

As soon as we entered the garden, the procession 
broke up. The soldiers stacked their rifles and laid 
their hand-grenades in the grass. As guests, we were 
shown to some chairs directly in front of the speaker's 
stand. At the market-place there had been only a 
few spectators; here a part of the civilian popula- 
tion seemed to have come, mostly young girls loth 
to let their youth wither at home. There are so few 
amusements in a small town; there were fewer now, 
and there was nothing binding after all, in coming 
to watch the latest invention of the Reds. 

Now the band played The Beautiful Blue Danube. 
Then the Jew stepped up on the stand and laid his 



The Red Garden 155 

helmet in front of him. He sweated large drops, 
but we all did that, and he was very pale. The burn- 
ing sun had had no effect on his colour. He began 
to speak. He spoke well, but it seemed as if he 
weren't really interested in what he was saying him- 
self. A rich stream of Bolshevik and general Social- 
ist doctrines flowed from his mouth, without exertion 
but also without any leading idea. In the right spots 
he paused and let the Communists applaud. Dolly 
Mikailovna yawned without embarrassment. She 
had put her arm through mine. I heard him men- 
tion Karl Marx and Engels and thought that now the 
unveiling of the statue must follow. But he got past 
them and nothing happened. Then he presented the 
Red Garden to the town, and hoped that it would be 
made to serve the public welfare, the development of 
the arts, and the free expansion of love. It was a 
symbol of the solicitude of the Soviet Republic for 
the weal and woe of the proletarian masses. But it 
ought also to become a sanctuary for the people, a 
successor to the ignorant church of the pope or priest, 
yes, on this very spot there ought to be a Pantheon 
for the heroes of international fraternity. Here, in 
the course of time, would rise columns and statues 
to men like Plato and Babeuf, Blanqui and Deles- 
cluze, Lenin and Liebknecht. With the assistance of 
an Austrian sculptor, formerly a prisoner but now a 
free soviet citizen, he had begun the work, and 
caused the first memorial to be raised. He had long 
wavered in the choice of the historic personality to 



156 The Red Garden 

I— — — — — — —  — I 

whom the first honour should be shown. He had 
thought of Lucifer and of Cain. They were both 
wronged; they were both rebels, revolutionaries of 
super-magnitude. But the former was a theologi- 
cal figure whose supernatural character did not fit 
in with Marxian views. His light had been quenched 
in the collapse of that society whose fear and hatred 
he symbolized. And the latter was a mythological 
personage whose historic existence was very doubt- 
ful. His attention had therefore turned to a figure 
unmistakably of this earth, a historic man who like- 
wise had been the victim of the religious views of 
predatory society. . . . And, that being the case, 
should any one be considered before the man who for 
two thousand years innocently had been chained to 
the pillory of a capitalist interpretation of history, 
the great Proletar-Prometheus, the Red forerunner 
of world revolution, the bourgeois redeemer Christ's 
twelfth apostle — Judas Iscariot! 

The speaker had gradually worked himself into 
an ecstasy. The audience hardly understood what 
he was saying, but they felt uncomfortable under his 
burning gaze. Some shouted, but a number of Rus- 
sians piously crossed themselves. The Jew was si- 
lent, but he did not appear anxious about the eff"ect of 
his words. His features seemed rather to express a 
painful uncertainty. He began again, haltingly, 
speaking of the hour of restitution and the apostle 
of the oppressed, the dictatorship of the proletariat, 
brotherhood, the Internationale . . . but he got no- 



The Red Garden 157 

where. His face was convulsed as if under the lash 
of a harrowing thought. With both hands he 
clutched the speaker's stand, and his fingers and nails 
bored through the red cloth. Then his countenance 
cleared, he leaned forward and spoke mysteriously: 
"I bring you the message," he said, and laid his hand 
on his breast, "I bear the sin of all time. In me is 
the truth. Don't you know me? I am the saviour 
of our time. I am he," he whispered. There was 
no doubt possible. The man was mad. He thought 
he was Judas. 

At that moment the whir of an aeroplane, coming 
over the garden, slammed through the heated air. 
He listened an instant and drew his hand across his 
forehead. "Long live the world revolution," he 
shouted with a sudden inspiration, and left the 
speaker's stand, perfectly self-controlled, bowed 
for Dolly Mikailovna and asked her to unveil the 
statue. 

Dolly Mikailovna rose, and the Jew placed a cord 
in her hand. Tugging at it a couple of times, she 
made the cover fall off a figure, rusty red in colour, 
and as yet only in plaster. It was a superhuman 
size, naked, and the face, which resembled the Com- 
missar's, was turned threateningly toward heaven, 
while the hands with a passionate movement sought 
to remove a piece of real hempen rope around the 
neck. 

When the apostle was seen the band pom- 
pously struck into the Internationale, and we rose and 



158 The Red Garden 

bared our heads, overwhelmed by the power of the 
music. At the other end of the garden, three shots 
in quick succession were fired from the field piece. 
They were not blanks. The shells went over our 
heads with a devilish whistle and rush that made me 
tremble, and God knows where they ended. I heard 
the Red Jew say something to Dolly Mikailovna, 
after which he embraced her and kissed her on the 
mouth. 

Before I had any idea what was coming she had 
turned toward me and I felt her body, soft as elas- 
tic, in my embrace, and the odour of her rank powder 
in my nostrils while her moist blood-red lips closed 
over mine as a lukewarm sea. For a moment the 
heat seemed to burst into flames. Since my look 
didn't express the proper comprehension, Dolly 
Mikailovna laughed at me and, turning to the man 
next to her, gave him the kiss, which then went from 
mouth to mouth. I felt weak in the knees and sick. 
I nearly had a sunstroke in this open place with the 
sun on my head. I almost staggered over behind the 
apostle in the dark of the cypresses. 

When the coolness of night came on, the dancing 
began. A few lanterns gleamed in the trees, but 
they soon went out. Only the dancing floor was il- 
luminated, an arclight threw its moon whiteness on 
the expressive figure of the statue. People were 
scattered in the dark garden. It was a gorgeous sum- 
mer night. The waltz beats of the kettle-drums 
sounded like a bit of noise somewhere on the earth, 



The Red Garden 159 

,111 

but from space came the great tone of silence. Far 
above our heads, in the blue firmament of night, the 
lights of heaven quivered in a gentle dance, the eter- 
nal Internationale of the stars. 



Russian Bourgeoisie 

Mais oil sont les neiges d'antan? 

Villon 

ONE evening in the spring of 1917, I dined in 
the home of a Russian princess in Petrograd. 
At the time that was an experience which was 
worth while accepting. The table was set with white 
damask, with roses, and Sevres ware, crowned and 
monogrammed. The tapers in the heavy silver can- 
delabra lit a golden glow in the massive tableware. 
Four costly glasses stood at each couvert and Chateau 
la Rose and Louis Roederer and sweet Crimean wine 
were poured by Tartar lackeys with heads shaved as 
naked as eggs. Officially there was prohibition in 
the land and the common people had only home-made 
alcohol and furniture polish to drink. The fish was 
a sturgeon that reached half the length of the table 
and the ice was modelled in the form of a Troika 
whose team bore real small silver bells that tinkled 
as the cook in snow white garb and high cap carried 
it around. 

After the dinner the small company gathered in a 
rococo salon papered and upholstered in light red 
where all that was soft was silk and the rest carved 
and inlaid wood, bronze, marble and malachite. 
The place was full of bric-a-brac in glass cabinets 

160 



Russian Bourgeoisie 161 

» I 

and on the walls hung French etchings where the 
ladies bared their breasts, and wherever there was 
room stood replicas in bronze of both antique and 
modem works of art. Aphrodite and the Discobolus, 
Apollo and Laocoon, Voltaire and Napoleon, "Cour- 
age," "The Dance," "The Swimmer," and "Two 
Beings," costly souvenirs from the finest fancy shops 
of the capitals of Europe and an entire art museum 
en minature. 

Among the guests was a physician, Dr. Taube, a 
Baltic citizen by birth but now residing in one of the 
cities on the Volga where I understood he combined a 
university post (he was a pharmaceutist) with the 
possession of a drug store and various industrial 
enterprises. We had a lively conversation. He 
gave me many enlightening details of the presumable 
causes of the recent revolution and the abdication of 
the Tsar and spoke with enthusiasm of the continua- 
tion of the war and with confidence of the will and 
ability of the Entente and America to help Russia. 
To be sure the internal conditions were not of the 
best, that he admitted openly, but it was not too much 
to hope that the emerging Kerensky, who undoubt- 
edly was a genius at leadership, before long would 
have demonstrated his right to go down in history as 
the Napoleon of the Russian Revolution! A bridge 
game broke off this conversation which was very in- 
teresting to me, a newcomer, but I saw to it that at 
the breaking up of the party 1 accompanied him. 
Quite as a matter of course we went together to the 



162 The Red Garden 

I . — . — . — I 

nearby embassy palace where he remained for sev- 
eral hours at a cigar and a bottle of wine before he 
went home to his hotel on the Moika. 

I had another fleeting talk with Dr. Taube in Petro- 
grad, then he went away, presumably back to his city 
on the Volga. Events that individually were as im- 
portant and fateful as dates in a history textbook 
followed one upon the other and I doubt if I thought 
of Dr. Taube at all until I unexpectedly saw him a 
year later. It was in the month of June, 1918, and 
in the office of the German Commission in Kazan 
about the time the Tsar family was murdered in 
Ekaterinburg. 

The Commission which was in Kazan for the spe- 
cial purpose of attending to the repatriation of pris- 
oners of war, was lodged in the home of the German 
evangelical pastor. The pastor himself had moved 
up to the top floor with his four grown daughters. 
In the pastor's study where formerly, at an evening 
glass of tea, my eyes had rested on lithographs of 
Gethsemane and Calvary, on Magdalenes and Marys 
with tears on their cheeks as large as dove's eggs and 
on Jesus driving the money changers from out the 
temple of the Lord, the walls now glared with statis- 
tical charts and supersize Gott strafe England! cari- 
catures. 

Herr Oberleutnant S. besides being an officer was 
also a Doctor of Laws. He was a real Teuton, blond, 
sharp-featured as a head of Goethe, stem as a bust of 
the Iron Chancellor, and with the expression of slight 



Russian Bourgeoisie 163 

stupidity fit and proper for a lieutenant. One fore- 
noon I had business with him, I came upon Dr. 
Taube sitting in the anteroom. The meeting was cor- 
dial. Dr. Taube at once asked me if I would help 
him with the Oberleutnant: the Bolsheviki had na- 
tionalized his drug store and he requested now as a 
buyer in peace time of German medicine en gros, the 
intervention of the German embassy with the Central 
Soviet in Moscow. I had to cry quits, it was beyond 
my resources. I heard later that the Oberleutnant 
was far from gracious, but thanks to the commercial- 
minded reserve lieutenant who formerly had been a 
travelling salesman in Russia and who on the na- 
tion's and his own behalf was preparing the way for 
future trade, a telegram regarding Dr. Taube's drug 
business was after all sent off to "Botschafter" Count 
Mirbach in Moscow. It must just about have had 
time to reach his writing table before he met his 
death at the revolvers of the Social-Revolutionaries. 
I was of course invited to visit Dr. Taube. He 
lived in a fine old comer house where the drug store 
took up the whole ground floor while the living quar- 
ters were on the second story. I went up a white- 
enameled stairway with red carpets and green palms. 
A maid in a white cap answered the door and two 
big greyhounds rose to their feet and looked hospi- 
tably at me after having sniffed at my clothes. Dr. 
Taube's workroom was full of antique furniture. 
Glass cases with costly medicinal — or was it pharma- 
ceutical? — apparatus met the eye. The walls were 



164 The Red Garden 

 I II 1 1   i  '■- - — ■'■ "  — —  I. . -.1— rf 

decorated with Chinese swords in carved ivory scab- 
bards, Circassian sabres inlaid with silver, and pis- 
tols from Turkestan with massive silver balls at the 
butt ends. There were also binoculars and high 
quality English hunting guns, and, taken all in all, 
everything that a cultivated amateur could find pleas- 
ure in owning and a rich man without hesitation could 
procure for himself. 

Dr. Taube set out Havana cigars (he still had sev- 
eral boxes) and a percolator of coffee was brought 
in. While the grounds were settling we sipped at a 
genuine cognac. Dr. Taube told me that "la prin- 
cesse," our hostess of the dinner the year before, had 
fled to Finland. She had had a large estate in the 
Tambof not far from a factory owned by Dr. Taube 
or rather by his wife. He had not long ago had oc- 
casion to substantiate the rumour that all the build- 
ings on the estate, even to the schools, had been burnt. 
Immeasurable damage and loss had occurred. The 
park had been wrecked, the fish basins of Ural mar- 
ble were splintered to slivers, the peasants had not 
left one stone on another of a wonderful little palace 
done in the style of the Trianon which the princess 
had built for her thirty-six pet monkeys and which 
had been an unique example of ingenious accommo- 
dation and a source of endless amusement for the 
guests of the estate. The monkeys they had killed 
with flails and forks and those caught alive they had 
hanged and burned with frightful tortures. In the 
opinion of Dr. Taube, the most incomprehensible 



Russian Bourgeoisie 165 

> --II .1 I I I ^  ■_..  ..I  ■■IIIMI I II.. < 

thing about the whole affair was that this senseless 
frenzy on the part of the peasants had been turned 
against a lady who as a property owner had done 
an endless amount of good not only for her own peas- 
ants but also among all the peasants throughout the 
surrounding country. In the good old days she had 
been simply worshipped in that region. 

As to his own future, Dr. Taube was of course 
much worried. Temporarily he could do nothing at 
all. If he hadn't had several hundred thousand ru- 
bles in ready money laid away he couldn't have 
existed. His bank account was closed. The facto- 
ries were deserted and the drug business was nation- 
alized. He had not set foot in his store for four 
months. It was being managed by his former chief 
apothecary, a Jew who had been with him for twenty- 
two years. "For you can't get clever pharmacists in 
Russia who are not Jews. He'll never be poor," 
added Dr. Taube. "The stock is worth a million 
rubles, peace-time exchange, and he and the ap- 
pointed commissar are briskly selling it under- 
hand." 

Dr. Taube no longer had much use for the Entente. 
And Kerensky he called "the Revolution's great co- 
quette." It was now necessary for Russia to steer a 
German course. This was also the opinion of the 
cadet leader, Miliukof, who sat in Kiev with the Ger- 
man Hetman, Skoropadski. He wished that the 
Germans as soon as possible would also bring order 
out of chaos in Great Russia. Wilhelm II and his 



166 The Red Garden 

»■' —" - .. —  ■■■—■■■I. —  ,,.,,■■■»■■■■ I 

soldiers would be welcomed as liberators. After all 
was said and done, there was a real Kaiser! And 
the; Germans, what energy, what organization! They 
were surely invincible. And Russian culture and 
Russian citizenry had to seek help from that quarter 
unless they were to go to pieces under Bolshevism's 
corrupt and lawless Jew dictatorship. 

Dr. Taube was an Anti-Semite. Otherwise he 
would not have been Russian Bourgeois. The Jews 
were responsible for all the evil that was happening 
in Russia and the whole world, for this was only the 
beginning. Back of everything, the war and the rev- 
olution, there was beyond all manner of doubt a 
great international Jewish pact and gigantic financial 
conspiracy for the advancement of the world revolu- 
tion, that would at last put all power into the hands 
of the Jews. If I would keep it a deep secret he 
would tell me something: on the second floor he had 
living a representative for the American Y. M. C. A. 
This man did not have a thing to do with Christianity. 
He was in with the Bolsheviki (and for that reason it 
was a good thing to have him in the house) and he 
was one of the agents of international Jewdom! — In 
this Dr. Taube was mistaken. The man was but an 
ordinary member of the American commercial spy 
system. 

Later we drank tea, together with the Doctor's wife. 
Mrs. Taube was, in spite of having surely passed 
forty-five, still a handsome woman, particularly when 
she smiled. She was clad in rustling silk, in her 



Russian Bourgeoisie 167 

I II 11 II !■■■ I I I I   I  .1 II 1^— ^^^^.^1^ I ^ 

ears hung a pair of rarely beautiful pearls and on 
her beautiful hands, which one longed to say were 
as white as alabaster, she had an expensive collec- 
tion of clear brilliants and brilliants that sparkled 
with a rosy gleam in their platinum. Together 
with a black-clad German companion she occupied a 
salon distinguished among other furnishings by two 
Bliithner grand pianos. 

Mrs. Taube was apparently unmoved by the serious 
situation. I believe that it hadn't dawned on her at 
all as yet. She expected to wake up some morning 
and then everything would be as in the good old 
days when she still could walk and drive on the 
streets of Kazan and the fat policeman would salute 
her from afar as if she were the commandant of the 
garrison himself. Now there was only the most 
frightful rabble on the streets. She told almost flap- 
per-like yet winningly of her tribulations and the 
constant refrain was; "how terrible, how interesting, 
and how amusing!" While she babbled, Dr. Taube 
sat and looked preoccupied, — small, bald and pep- 
per-and-salt and with a melancholy pearl stick pin 
in his tie. 

I also made the acquaintance of young Taube, 
twenty-two years, their only child. He bore a strik- 
ing resemblance to his mother. He was a tall, hand- 
some and slightly stout young man with an indolent 
personality. It was easy to see that his mother loved 
him boundlessly. When he was in the room she be- 
came uncontrollably maternal and at once was no 



168 The Red Garden 

longer young. She still coddled the son with jam 
and cakes as well as with pocket money. Her only 
fear was that something should happen to him. He 
had not been in the war, no doubt he had been ex- 
empted because of his medical studies. But even if 
there were comparative peace and quiet at present, 
the red day of civil war rose each minute more 
threatening on the horizon. They were already fight- 
ing in the nearest governments. In Jaroslav there 
had been revolt and White Terror and Red Terror. 
To keep her son out of all these bloody upheavals 
was Mrs. Taube's only and sole thought. 

A few weeks later the counter-revolution reached 
Kazan as suddenly as the first bolt of lightning from 
a black sky. Monday, August 5th, the Czechs took 
the city by surprise and in the course of a few hours 
large parts of it were in their hands. An enormous 
amount of booty was captured, both materials of war 
and 600 million rubles of Russian and Rumanian 
money. A White revolutionary organization was 
hastily formed and crowds of volunteers. White 
Guards and former officers, suddenly filled Kazan 
with their unchanged careless youth and arrogance. 
They were from the very outset smartly decked out 
once more with epaulets and medals and if possible 
with white adjutant insignias. They were also to be 
seen at the cafes, with heavy revolver holsters and 
patent leather boots, joyous from victory, rattling 
their sabres and not always wholly sober. In the 
streets one group after another of captured Bolshe- 



Russian Bourgeoisie 169 

viki passed by, of greyish pallor and walking dully 
between guards who in their hands bore threatening 
rifles and grenades. They were brought up to the 
old Kremlin where they were permitted to dig them- 
selves a common grave before they, generally at 
dawn, were shot. Of all the sights that send cold 
chills of fear and trembling along a man's spine, 
none is more chilling than that of our neighbour on 
the way to his place of execution. In the hotel cel- 
lars still other Bolsheviki lurked, hiding their weap- 
ons and tearing their red flags into Red Cross arm- 
bands. The guests who fled down there when the 
Red aeroplanes came and bombed the city, turned 
timorously back from the deathly pale people who, 
by the gleam of a few candles, rooted in the corners 
and stowed large and heavy Belgian pistols and am- 
munition away, while they drove off' fear by tippling. 
Before the gates of the Kremlin lay for four days 
the body of a Lett, who just as the famous actor bore 
the name of Kean, but probably had spelled it dif- 
ferently. The women shouldered each other to lift 
the cloth from his face. His boots had been pulled 
off" and the naked feet grew day by day more yellow 
until they at last began to be blue. A note had been 
put on the corpse upon which there stood laconically: 
Kommandant goroda: i. e., the City Commandant! 
The rain had made the ink run. I had known him 
well and while not exactly a model official, he had 
been an obliging and courageous fellow who had 
done* no more harm in his position than he had found 



170 The Red Garden 

' '■ " -  -  I I I I   i   I n il » ^^^— l» III ^ 

strictly necessary. Every afternoon he had driven 
around the city in a smartly drawn carriage, lean- 
ing comfortably back in a corner with one leg over 
the other and a short briar pipe between his teeth. 
He was never without it and in Russia it contributed 
to giving him a foreign and therefore cultivated air. 

After the first days of street fighting and excite- 
ment and shooting on the river and from the air, 
came the turn of the clerical processions. At the 
head was the famous Virgin of Kazan and they had 
dragged the holy banners and the golden ikons out of 
all the churches and wandered with choir boys and 
censors, Metropolitan and priests in golden cloaks 
and violet caps around in all the streets but not in 
the Tartar quarter, followed by immense crowds of 
people with white brassards on their arms. Tlien 
came the funerals of the Czecho-Slovaks who had 
fallen, officers and White Guards. Sad funeral 
marches on wind instruments, many many open cof- 
fins whose lids were carried before the wagons by 
undertakers in white blouses, and again priests, mili- 
tary and people in dense crowds. And incessantly 
the dull firing from afar. The Czechs and the volun- 
teers were fighting with the Bolsheviki for the posses- 
sion of the Romanoff" Bridge a little west of the city. 
But they did not cross. 

What I myself experienced the following three or 
four months would take too long to relate and has 
no place here. The Bolsheviki reconquered Kazan. 
At that time I was already in Siberia. And to Si- 



Russian Bourgeoisie 171 

beria fled also Dr. Taube with his family. Whether 
they sensed the danger in time or felt themselves in- 
secure in any case in Kazan because of their little 
affair with the German Commission, I know not. 
The fact remained, they went to Samara and when 
the Volga front had to be abandoned they flowed with 
the stream of refugees to the Siberian cities. In the 
early part of 1919 they popped up in Tomsk where 
I was vice consul. 

I met Dr. Taube on the street and this time was 
not surprised. Nothing was strange any more and 
the world was no longer as large as it had been. Dr. 
Taube told me that they had left their home as it had 
been when I was there, and only provided with the 
necessary clothes and a sum of cash money. The 
companion had remained behind. She had dia- 
monds from Mrs. Taube's diadems and collars sewed 
away in her black gown. 

I was going to pay them a visit but changed my 
mind. They lived, I knew, in extremely straight- 
ened circumstances with one of the city's druggists. 
I was afraid that the severe change from the sur- 
roundings in which Mrs. Taube had last received me, 
would be painful for her. However I was mistaken. 
The truth generally is that the very rich who have 
known and owned all of life's visible pleasures, find 
it much easier to go without things than those who 
haven't had the daily necessaries, and if what I've 
heard isn't true, then it ought to be: that here in the 
city during the war a woman died of grief because 



172 The Red Garden 



she couldn't get coffee! Mrs. Taube bore her pov- 
erty and the Siberian cold good naturedly. She was 
rarely seen on the streets, but one day I met her. 
She wore a sable fur coat and had a woollen shawl 
around her head like a peasant woman. The smile 
in her eyes still contained the same charming silli- 
ness and she was of the opinion that it would not be 
long before they again were back in Kazan. 

But nevertheless Dr. Taube had his troubles with 
her. That I gathered from his conversation when I 
met him in street or cafe. She was afraid that her 
son would be mobilized and when that fear came over 
her she became quite hysterical. At last Dr. Taube 
by much energy and influential acquaintances suc- 
ceeded in postponing the catastrophe and had their 
son placed in a sinecure position in the Red Cross ad- 
ministration. But how long would that last? He 
himself had been mobilized and could expect to be 
sent to the front as a military physician. The Kol- 
chak Government sent out one decree after another 
which promised the most severe measures, summary 
court-martial, against those officers and doctors who 
occupied secure and superflous positions back of the 
front. And the front suffered frightfully from lack 
of doctors. The hospital trains came all the way to 
Tomsk, many days' ride, jammed full of wounded, 
nearly all young peasant boys, ridiculously young 
because those in power had not dared to mobilize 
the older men who once had helped to tear the 
shoulder straps off their officers and disarm them. 



Russian Bourgeoisie 173 



And before they reached their destination, the se- 
verely wounded had been changed into stinking bun- 
dles of filth and gangrene, vermin and pus, often- 
times swarming with maggots. My splendid friend. 
Dr. Belan, an Austrian regimental surgeon who di- 
rected one of the Russian military hospitals and who 
cut away with saw and knife of what there came, 
often assured me quite overcome that only Russians 
could live in the state of putrefaction in which he re- 
ceived them on the operating table. So bad was it 
that in some cases their bandages were of news- 
papers! "And the place is overrun with Sisters 
enough, too," he added, "and disreputable every 



one! 



I often saw young Taube on the street but he ap- 
parently didn't care very much about knowing me. 
He was in uniform of course, though without marks 
of rank or revolver. On his arm was the Red Cross 
brassard. He was often — on foot or in sleigh — in 
the company of a not quite young but wonderfully 
beautiful nurse whose velvet black eyes glinted dan- 
gerously under the coquettishly demure nun's head- 
dress. One day about 2 o'clock when we were al- 
ready in the first part of June, Dr. Belan came unex- 
pectedly to me. He brought me the terrible news 
that young Taube had been shot by a Russian during 
a brawl. The unfortunate man had received a bul- 
let in the thigh, one in the stomach and one in the 
face. The other had wounded himself in the shoul- 
der. They had both been brought into Belan's hos- 



174 The Red Garden 



pital but on the operating table Taube had breathed 
his last. Dr. Belan, who knew the Taubes, was as 
depressed by the occurrence as it is possible to be 
when one has a wife and two children in far-off 
Vienna and has spent five years of war imprisonment 
in Siberia. He paced back and forth across the of- 
fice floor. Suddenly he gritted his teeth loudly and 
hissed: "The scoundrels! The hellish scoundrels! 
They know how to mobilize the innocent, ignorant 
cattle from the villages. They take them from their 
mothers before they have barely left the breast, drive 
them to the front before they can use a rifle and let 
them fight for those who sent them and for the holy 
reinstatment of Tsarism and dissolute priest dicta- 
torship and for the bank account, the knout, vodka 
and corruption. The scoundrels know how to do all 
that and dare to do it. Then they sit back of the 
front with bottles and cards and an arm around the 
waist of a girl and this is something they have to do 
even if they are to die for it, and so rather die for a 
common wench than for the poor fellows who for 
their sake are rotting from wounds and typhus a 
thousand miles from their mother's village. They 
are not worth the death of a louse and here a whole 
land and a continent and a half is wading in blood be- 
cause a handful of charlatans on each side dare to 
misuse their power. And they go unpunished. If 
God cannot and he evidently can't, would that Satan 
himself would perceive that this is not even wicked- 
ness but only pure raw stupidity and let plague strike 



Russian Bourgeoisie 175 

I — — ' 

all who in this land force people who are no wiser 
than cattle and no more full of hate to bear weap- 
ons against one another!" Dr. Belan had become 
pale and at the close quite hoarse. He was other- 
wise a quiet man who talked very little and then in 
short choppy sentences. He sat down and for a long 
time remained quite still and then left me with a 
nod of farewell. 

There were only a few people at the funeral. 
Mrs. Taube stood close by the coffin. Her husband 
supported her. Her cheeks were completely swollen 
but she wept no more. She would never be young 
again! The doctor had become smaller, it seemed to 
me, and quite white at the temples. But there was 
on the other hand a peace in his face that I had not 
seen there the last time I talked with him. Per- 
haps his grief after all could not outweigh that 
burden of which he had been relieved in so frightful 
a manner. 

After the burial I spoke to them. Dr. Taube was 
preoccupied and neither could I find anything to say 
to him. To Mrs. Taube I bowed and as is the cus- 
tom in Russia kissed her white hand that even now 
with its very few rings was more beautiful than any 
hand I have seen. 

A short time after I left Tomsk. 



Alexander and Ivan 

IN Tomsk I had a prisoner of war as coachman. 
According to his papers he was a Rumanian, 
Sandor Barkas by name, and hailing from some 
hamlet in Hungary. He was thrown in when I 
bought a carriage, a sleigh and a black trotter from 
a Dano-Russian in whose service he had always been 
known as Alexander, and Alexander he continued to 
be with me.' 

Alexander was faithful and good and a simpleton 
who just grasped the fact that it was not to his ad- 
vantage to appear less obtuse than he really was. 
Beyond taking care of the horse, hitching, unhitch- 
ing, and driving, he understood nothing, nor did 
that perturb him. Once when he had been sent off 
with a telegram he was arrested before he had 
pierced the mysteries of sending it, because of his 
passive but lengthy scrutiny of life about the tele- 
graph station. I had the greatest trouble getting him 
released. Since then he was allowed to stay at home 
when he wasn't driving. Even there he might have 
been useful, he might have scrubbed the floor, tended 
the samovar or things like that, but this was women's 
work which was far below his dignity. He didn't re- 
fuse flatly, but it was something he wasn't accus- 
tomed to do, he assured me in one of the few Russian 
phrases he had learned because of their indispensa- 

176 



Alexander and Ivan 177 

^1 — I .   I ■!■ Ill  I I 11 ■! 11 I II II III   — ^^M^M^—— ^^— J^ 

bility and usefulness during his four years of war 
imprisonment. To all remonstrances he only smiled 
and shook his head, not at all defiantly, but engag- 
ingly and indolently. It wasn't possible to pronounce 
the Russian language clearly enough or well enough 
for his ears. He spoke Rumanian if I wished any- 
thing besides "hitch" and "unhitch," "to the left" 
or "to the right." Roughness towards him only 
brought black looks of anger or tears that filled his 
brown eyes, making them shine like red mahogany, 
and he let it be understood that rather than endure 
being treated in an undignified manner he would let 
himself be separated from the horse and sent back 
to camp. But I didn't want to part with Alexander. 
For how was I to find among the six thousand prison- 
ers of war in the camp one who would be better 
and not many times worse than he? And although 
the horse was a handsome animal to look at, wasn't 
it full of hidden faults which only Alexander knew 
and could take into consideration? 

When I think of Alexander I usually see him sit- 
ting on his favourite stool in the kitchen with an 
empty dish before him. With a correct appraise- 
ment of what sort of master I was, he had long ago 
ceased to rise when my path lay through the kitchen, 
which it often did to spare him the trouble of the 
main entrance with its double doors and four bolts. 
From his place he caressed with a glance, though com- 
pletely phlegmatically, the Russian girls who, in 
skirts amply tucked up and always good-naturedly. 



178 The Red Garden 

scrubbed, washed, cooked and split wood around 
him, and who besides that, as a pure matter of course, 
looked after his well-being, handed him full dishes, 
took away empty ones, swept under him and fished 
coal out of the oven for his pipe. 

All night from nine to nine, and if the chance of- 
fered itself also a couple of hours in the afternoon, 
Alexander spent back of the oven on his pallet where 
he shared sleeping quarters with Drusjok, the dog, 
and Koschka, the cat. The back of that oven, 
when fully occupied, was an awe-inspiring zoological 
locality. Its tufts of hay and nondescript rags 
Alexander, deaf to every admonition, always left in 
the same picturesque disorder in which they had been 
when he last crawled into them. 

Despite the golden days which Alexander might 
have been said to have with me, both from the stand- 
point of war imprisonment and the general condi- 
tion of Russian servants, he was neither grateful nor 
satisfied. This is, after all, as I have only too often 
discovered, the wages of goodness and naivete. A 
Barin who is not brutal and, to a certain degree, 
callous, disappoints those expectations one has a 
right to have about him. Furthermore Alexander 
had hardly been in the camp at all during his im- 
prisonment, but had worked for private individuals 
outside it, so that undoubtedly the idea of an exist- 
ence behind the barbed wire, freed from all annoy- 
ances and duties and entirely wedded to sweet inac- 
tivity, appealed strongly to his imagination. But 



Alexander and Ivan 179 

there were always the risks of being set to shoveling 
snow, or burying dead, yes even of being sent to work 
in the coal mines or of being dealt out to one of the 
many horse transports that ran up and down the Line, 
from Tjellabinsk to Irkutsk and back again. They 
were left to shift for themselves for long weeks and 
exposed to a devilish cold when thq cars were empty, 
a cold that froze the fingers and toes oif the unfor- 
tunate prisoners. If it hadn't been for this, then 
the dream of the real idyllic loafer's life had surely 
coaxed Alexander into the camp long ago. 

It would, however, have been an over-estimate of 
Alexander's faculties to believe that it was the fear 
of the dangers of camp life which alone held him 
back. But Alexander had a friend, a prisoner and a 
Rumanian himself, even from the same village, and 
without the advice and consent of this considerably 
older associate it did not occur to Alexander to at- 
tempt anything. Ivan — for that was the name of 
Alexander's friend in his Russian existence — was Al- 
exander's one fixed point in the quicksands of war im- 
prisoment, the only palpaple thing, therefore the 
strongest tie which bound him to life in the past and 
to the village at the foot of the Carpathians, and the 
only person with whom he could really converse. 
To Ivan, Alexander was a child from home, needing 
his advice and care, both in daily life where all 
kinds of accidents and mistakes lay in wait for a de- 
fenceless prisoner of war, but more particularly when 
that day in the fullness of time should come when 



180 The Red Garden 

they were to go back. For who could ever think 
that Alexander would have either initiative or under- 
standing enough to find his way home alone! And, 
finally, Ivan had in Alexander a companionable refuge 
which he would not willingly relinquish. Therefore 
he watched over him and advised him against going 
to tlie prison camp, at any rate as long as he, Ivan, 
had not been put there. 

Ivan and Alexander had had the marvellous luck 
of being captured only eight days after the outbreak 
of the war when as Hungarian Hussars they rode pa- 
trol across the Russian border. Even at that time 
Ivan had shown talents which had quite won the heart 
and admiration of the dull-witted Alexander. Dur- 
ing their imprisonment they had become separated, 
but by a miracle they had met each other again in 
Tomsk. 

As foolishly stupid as Alexander was, so happily 
endowed was Ivan. He always came out on top. No 
prison, no fence could hold him. Not that he ever 
fled; anything so simple as that would really not have 
been worthy of admiration. He obtained his release 
by his personality. If he were caught now and then 
and put in camp, he didn't get downhearted, but 
smiled unweariedly at the Russians with his snow- 
white teeth as if he never had been any happier. 
Even the sternest of prison guards couldn't resist the 
temptation to talk with him, and his frank manner 
and entertaining qualities also won entry for him in 
higher places. In the course of several days he was 



Alexander and Ivan 181 

always free again and had hold of the better end of 
some fat job. 

From his appearance one would not easily have 
deemed Ivan the possessor of any ability whatsoever, 
and especially not the ability to respond charmingly. 
He didn't at all resemble the handsome, slightly stout 
Alexander who, for the sake of the women if for 
nothing else, kept himself looking tidy in my cast- 
off clothes. Ivan was hideous, a tramp without as 
within. You could have put anything at all on him, 
and he would still have looked what he was, a dirty 
Balkanese of doubtful Romanic extraction but with a 
Hunnish, squash nose, a gleam of violated Jewdom in 
his eyes and a thick stream of real Gipsy blood vaga- 
bonding under his yellow skin. 

Ivan's secret, the definition of his lucky star during 
his Russian imprisonment, was not to be found in 
anything external, but could only be discovered on 
closer acquaintance. Ivan was a drunkard. This 
much one could see at once from his sodden buffoon 
face, reddish purple even to his ears under the jet- 
black shaggy hair. But what one couldn't see was 
the almost magical relationship that existed between 
him and alcohol. Where Ivan was, there was also 
liquor. As a willow wand is said to point to water, 
so Ivan pointed to pure alcohol. What more pre- 
cious endowment could there be for self-preservation 
in war-ravaged Russia where the springs of alcohol 
were either plugged or only ran expensively and spar- 
ingly. Though a wretched prisoner of war, Ivan 



182 The Red Garden 



could move from place to place free as a bird, every- 
where sure to create and meet sympathy, conquering 
all, whether they were Red or White, officers, commis- 
sars, city dwellers or peasants, priests or heathen, by 
his spiritual good nature and the Dionysian gracious- 
ness which streamed from him and surrounded his 
person with an aura of more than rank odour, fa- 
tally attractive to even the weakest Russian sprout of 
the vice of drunkenness. 

One would think that Ivan's passion for drink 
would have been contagious to a character as weak 
and as poorly endowed as Alexander's. But such 
was not the case, perhaps because Ivan's exterior 
served as a horrible example, and perhaps because 
Ivan's tactics with Alexander were the very opposite 
of those he used with the Russians. One might sup- 
pose that he considered it his mission, while attend- 
ing to his own requirements, to fill the Russians full 
of the greatest possible quantity of liquor and in this 
way repay his early capture by an offensive which 
often caused the Russians larger losses than whole 
Austrian battalions. But he watched keenly that the 
fiend of drunkenness didn't enter into Alexander, 
and gave him not a single drop of the strong fluids 
which Alexander was far too simple to secure for 
himself. 

Ivan's path of life in Russia had, as may be imag- 
ined, led through the most variegated professions and 
the most fantastic occupations, which, however, were 
always entwined with the real red thread of his 



Alexander and Ivan 183 

existence. For instance, just to mention something 
which I could corroborate on the spot, he had come to 
the city with steamer via Tobolsk from Omsk in the 
service of the representative of a Caucasian wine 
company that had a branch in Tomsk. With him he 
stayed until the wares were sold and the store closed. 
Then he had secured a place as prisoner of all work 
in the local branch of the Russian Red Cross whose 
most important, and as far as I could see, only prob- 
lem for a long time was to apportion and grant re- 
quisitions for wines and spirits on the former public 
stores to foreign consuls, officials and officers in the 
service of the Kolchak government and favoured pri- 
vate individuals with certificates of weak health. 
When this opportunity failed, because the command- 
ant of the garrison took over this lucrative duty, Ivan 
got a place as kitchen man in the Officers' Club. But 
from washing glasses and dishes, he quickly ad- 
vanced to being the right hand man of the host by 
procuring spirits and vodka from secret private sup- 
plies, and he was soon the glad favourite of the 
guests. With his wit, his festive face, and the bandy 
walk of his thin drunkard's Hussar legs, he had only 
to show himself to make loud laughter resound at 
the crowded much bespattered card tables. This job 
Ivan lost when scandals and the need for barracks 
caused the Officers' Club to be suddenly forbidden 
and disbanded. 

One evening after the catastrophe, as he sat with 
Alexander in the kitchen by the oven, on top of which 



184 The Red Garden 

» — — _— _^____ 

he had spent the last nights after politely secured 
permission, I took the opportunity to talk with 
him. 

After he had thanked me warmly for the kindness 
he had enjoyed in the house, and had praised Alexan- 
der both as a friend and as absolutely irreplaceable 
in everything pertaining to horses, had, altogether, 
given the seated and indifferent Alexander an elo- 
quent course in politeness and good policy, he told 
me that he had secured a place as hired man for a 
pope or priest and as zwonik — bell ringer — at one of 
the larger churches of the city. In all likelihood he 
would only have to avail himself of my hospitality 
this one night more. 

However, Ivan's optimism showed itself to be un- 
warranted in this instance. During the execution of 
his new duties he was overtaken by his fate. Pre- 
sumably he had had more important things to do for 
the pope, and had not taken the necessary precaution 
of acquainting himself with the technicalities of the 
art of bell-ringing. Moreover, he was unused to 
working so high in the air, and poorly suited for it. 
That must have been why he came to spoil Easter 
Monday for a large congregation. The bells sud- 
denly ceased to sound, and the faithful wakened from 
their stupor and began to wonder what could have 
happened. When the matter was investigated, Ivan 
was found lying in the belfry. By a false swing one 
of the bells had struck him in the head. On the 
papers humane initiative, the stricken man was 



Alexander and Ivan 185 

» — I 

brought to the Consulate. When Alexander saw 
them carrying Ivan, he grew chalky white and began 
to tremble and shake. I had the horse hitched up, 
and we galloped away for the Austrian hospital sur- 
geon at the camp, but when he had examined Ivan's 
wound he merely shook his head and wondered that 
such a fellow could have permitted himself to be- 
come so amply alcoholized, when the Russians could 
not even see their way to procure enough alcohol 
for the hospital dispensary. Ivan had only a very 
little hole in his head, but, without regaining con- 
sciousness, his clear and merry spirit in the course of 
several hours trickled out of it into the enigmatical 
nothingness of space. 

Some days after the burial, Alexander asked if he 
might go to the bath. This permission he got and 
also the extra couple of rubles which it would cost. 
He never came back. The next morning his place 
in the kitchen was empty, and the dog and the cat 
who huddled shivering in each comer of the bed sent 
great melancholy glances toward the door. The 
rags had disappeared and Alexander's little green 
wooden chest, his nicked stump of mirror, his comb 
and pipe and the three postcards that had been nailed 
up on the wall, all representing Alexander in his Hus- 
sar uniform, were gone too. It was quickly discov- 
ered that he had reported to the camp. After the 
usual eight days of solitary arrest, allotted to pris- 
oners who couldn't or wouldn't account for where 
they had been and with what permission, he had 



186 The Red Garden 

moved into the several square yards of regulation 
wooden berth which was due him in the barracks. 
Although Alexander was far from having conducted 
himself as he should, I respected his decision which 
only sorrow and perplexity at Ivan's death had made 
him take. Neither did I consider it possible in the 
long run to defend him against his own fatuousness 
without Ivan's influence. 

Here my record of Ivan £nd Alexander would have 
ceased, had I not three or four months after these 
events found it necessary to go to Kalscheigin, a good 
day's journey away from Tomsk. A Bolshevik 
scouting party had attacked the coal mines there by 
surprise, and for a period of twenty-four hours had 
taken possession of them. They had given short 
shrift to the higher officials together with those Cos- 
sacks and Czechs of the guarding party whom they 
succeeded in capturing, but unfortunately they didn't 
get the worst extortionists and torturers in the mine 
management, who, as usual, escaped the just punish- 
ment of their inhuman brutality and robbery of the 
labouring prisoners of war. Only a very few of tlie 
prisoners had joined the band and gone off with 
them. The majority had turned a deaf ear to all 
the agitation and had declared through their spokes- 
man that although the sympathy of the prisoners was 
certainly on the side of the Bolsheviki, the cost of 
joining them had been learned through all too terri- 
ble experience. Wherefore they only wished to be 
left in peace, and otherwise to be allowed to go home 



Alexander and Ivan 187 

again now that the war, by the grace of God, was 
over in Europe. This answer the Bolsheviki ac- 
cepted, though reluctantly, and then retired to the 
open country and to the Taiga, the wild Siberian, 
primeval forest where White reprisals did not dare to 
follow them. 

No sooner were they gone than the White relief 
body made its appearance, struck down among the 
prisoners, swung the nagaika, held inquisitions and 
summary courts, and, although it was well known that 
those who had helped to murder the officials had fled 
with the Bolsheviki, yet for the sake of an example 
four or five men, thought to have Bolshevik sym- 
pathies, were condemned to death and shot on the 
spot after having dug their own graves. 

It was the rumour of these events which called me to 
Kalscheigin in the company of a French; officer whom 
I desired to convince of the ill treatment and under- 
nourishment to which the prisoners of war were con- 
stantly subjected in these notorious mines. We had 
finished our visit to the mine manager and the com- 
missariat manager, two mealy-mouthed scoundrels 
whom it would have been a cold-blooded pleasure to 
place before a row of rifle barrels. Under the guid- 
ance of the Cossack Commandant we had come to 
the damp, earthy hovels where the prisoners had 
their quarters, when, at the very entrance, a ragged 
figure, shy and round-shouldered, wormed himself 
out of our path. I was quite moved at recognizing 
Alexander. Of his red cheeks and clear skin, there 



188 The Red Garden 

I — I 

was nothing left. His eyes glowed with a feverish 
expression in the middle of his pale, stubbled face. 
I confess it was with a curious terror I recognized in 
the terrible rags hanging on his once well nourished 
body, garments which had formerly clothed me. 
For this reason only, tears were near my eyes, al- 
though I also felt a real sorrow that poor Alexander 
had ended in this horrible prison hell. But all I 
could do was to surprise the Frenchman and the Cos- 
sack by shaking Alexander's hand, and talking to 
him as to a little child. He knew me, but I could 
see that I was almost an entire stranger to him. He 
tried to smile and to show that he had good courage, 
but it wasn't much of a success. Then he asked if 
the horse was along, and when he was answered in 
the negative, he became dull to all questions and 
seemed to feel relieved when I left him. 

All I could do for Alexander was to ask the Cos- 
sack to put him to some work where he would be 
around horses. I asked it as a personal favour. 
But such an extraordinary wish for the sake of a 
prisoner of war has not much likelihood of being 
understood or carried out by a Russian Cossack, and 
perhaps least of all when he has with really flatter- 
ing and aff"able ease assured you — tschestno slovo — 
on his word of honour, that he is at your service. 

But even if he did keep his promise, Alexander is 
not sure to have been saved. He was, after all, one 
of those who, left to his own devices, was doomed to 
remain out there. 



The Flight Through Siberia 

WHAT record will history ever have of the 
crash of the counter revolution in Siberia, of 
the flight from west to east along the Sibe- 
rian railway. The press was not there. It sat in 
Fiume and read the false Caesarian proclamations of 
the aesthetic Dictator or peeped platonically from the 
Finnish border into the erstwhile holy but now dark 
red Russia. Those who witnessed it and who now 
from Siberia turn back to the world will not particu- 
larly feel like writing; they will have all the mental 
conditions for forgetting quickly, for there is noth- 
ing that is so quickly wiped out as the experience of 
the great absolute fear. The historians of the fu- 
ture will find few documents to peruse. The sup- 
ply of paper intended for the archives becomes 
minute when a government, an army and a civilian 
population cling to the thin, insecure thread of the 
Trans-Siberian Railway in thirty degrees of cold, 
Reaumur. Those who died in Siberia, died in si- 
lence therefore in more than one sense. The snow 
fell, and the white waste took into its great merciful 
oblivion all that during the flight fell and remained 
lying. 

When it began I too was out there on the Trans- 
Siberian line and despaired of getting home. As 
usual, as long as I had not yet decided to go, I wa§ 

189 



190 The Red Garden 

ruled by the bright optimism of mankind, the in- 
stinct of self-preservation in the face of all danger, 
without which there would not now be a living per- 
son in Russia — in Siberia. But when the decision 
had once been taken, when I dared to begin to count 
the days, I was at once overcome with nervousness. 
Perhaps the right moment had already passed? Per- 
haps all would collapse around me today, tomorrow 
and I grew weak-kneed when I thought of the prospect 
of remaining for years more in this Russian Hell. If 
I had wished for adventures this desire was now dead 
in me, and if there had been moments when life or 
death had been matters of indifference to me, there 
was now within me an awakened perception of how 
aimless it would be to let myself be butchered in a 
struggle which, strictly speaking, did not concern me 
at all. My anxiety was exaggerated: I got out in 
time. The great collapse, as I had rightly calcu- 
lated, did not come until several months afterwards. 
But I was four weeks in getting through to Kharbin 
and during that time was not out of my clothes. I 
slept on the bare boards of a dirty box car in com- 
pany with two Russian popes and several officers' fam- 
ilies from Tomsk. When I came to Kharbin and 
in the palatial home of Consul Jacobsen (East Asi- 
atic Company) sat down to a table set with white dam- 
ask, silver and sparkling wine glasses, while Chinese 
servants carried around the exquisite French cooking, 
I pinched my arm and thought of my box car down 
at the railway station where the remains of a Manchu- 



The Flight Through Siberia 191 

f, , 

rian hen, roasted with entrails and all, still lay, and 
of the fact that I had not had a bath in four weeks. 

The coming of the collapse itself I didn't see and 
yet, in those days I was in doubt, I had, without the 
use of special visionary faculties, deep presentiments 
of what was to occur and which it was my earnest 
effort not to have to see: the retreat of the Whites 
along the Siberian railway. 

But I also saw more than mere vision, because the 
defeat of the Kolchak Government was not only in 
every man's expectation (although he put the con- 
ception of flight away as being hard to realize), it 
lay also in conditions and actual circumstances which 
met the eye. It lay on the tracks in unending rows 
of cars without locomotives and beside the tracks in 
overstrained and foundered trains and in burned sta- 
tion buildings. Those were days when we almost 
incessantly passed the skeletons of locomotives and 
cars that the Bolshevistic guerilla bands had suc- 
ceeded in derailing or blowing up despite the guard- 
ing of the railway by the Czecho-Slovaks and other 
Entente troops. Since the big Bolshevik battles in 
1918 all the small bridges had been rebuilt, but the 
mighty steel bridges over the large rivers were still 
in a sad condition after the blowing up ; some of them 
gaped in the empty air with torn arches while first 
a trial locomotive and then the train itself crept over 
a makeshift pole bridge alongside. As the great 
army in 1812 were forced to retreat over its old bat- 
tle fields so the White Army had to retire on a rail- 



192 The Red Garden 

,  — ■■..■ I ■^ — ,■■■■■■. I.I I ■■^■■» I t 

way line that along its whole length gave the impres- 
sion that a fleeing host had just vanished where the 
tracks met on the horizon. As far as misfortune is 
concerned, this Siberian retreat need hardly pale in 
comparison with Napoleon's. 

The Kolchak Government was still in Omsk but 
it was hard pressed by the Bolsheviki. It was a ques- 
tion only of weeks when the Whites would have to 
abandon the capital of West Siberia after having in 
the course of the last six months lost the eastern and 
third part of European Russia. From Omsk in sum- 
mer there are three ways out, to the rear and to the 
sides; one to tlie north along the river Irtisch to To- 
bolsk and Tomsk: that way the Bolsheviki fled in the 
spring of 1918 when they were surprised by the 
Czecho-Slovaks but it was cut off for the Whites by 
the fall of Tomsk. To the south the river flows to 
Semipalatinsk but that way ends blindly in Mongolia. 
The third, middle and easterly way is the Trans- 
Siberian Railway through Irkutsk to the east. This 
line of retreat was practically speaking the only one 
that off"ered itself to the Whites and even so only for 
a restricted portion of them. By the fall of Omsk 
the closest populated and the richest part of west 
Siberia was cut off" from the east. Therefore it was 
an assured fact that to the railway would stream in 
motley confusion not only the remains of the de- 
feated army and goverment, but also the plain civil- 
ian population and the officers of the garrisons in the 
back country in so far as they were able to get 



The Flight Through Siberia 193 

through, the officials and their families, the foreign 
consuls and missions who had not already saved them- 
selves, and all the thousands who for the last half 
year had been constantly fleeing from their homes in 
Russia and for whom the signal now sounded again. 
The miserable trains that even in those times when 
there was no danger near got slowly under way be- 
cause of lack of coal and missing or mislaid re- 
serve parts, would be stormed by frantic masses of 
humanity. Omsk is being "evacuated!" The word 
has no meaning for us, may we never live to see the 
day that Copenhagen shall be evacuated to Ring- 
sted. For the last two years Russia has been in con- 
stant evacuation, I was in Moscow when the Bol- 
sheviki in fear of the Germans evacuated Russia's 
gold to Kazan, and in Kazan when it was unloaded. 
I was in Omsk when the Whites brought in the same 
gold, captured in Kazan and under Cossack guard 
from the railway station to the bank. And on the 
journey out parts of tlie treasure passed me on the 
way to Irkutsk. 

The railway from Omsk to Irkutsk goes through 
the following points of importance: Novo-Nicko- 
laevsk. Taiga (where the local branch from Tomsk 
meets the main line), Marinsk, Krasnojarsk and 
Nisjne Udinsk. In normal times the distance can be 
covered in three days and nights. I was three days 
in travelling approximately 2000 kilometers and I 
spent four days in a railway station waiting for a 
train. Those who suffer from waiting room impa- 



194 The Red Garden 

r    I ^ 

tience have material for reflection. I have at times 
sat back to back with a Russian soldier for twenty- 
four stiff hours by the clock and waited for a train 
which would come no one knew when and if it came 
no one knew whether it would start again for a while. 
But four days is my record. 

Along the section Omsk-Novo-Nikolaevsk over 
eighty trains had been run together in a clump out- 
side of the last named city and did not turn a wheel. 
The mail trains were two days in covering thirty kilo- 
meters. Endless rows of coaches, most of them with- 
out locomotives were piled up. For the few engines 
that were to be found coal was lacking, or it was im- 
possible to get them over to a water tank. On the 
other side of Novo-Nikolaevsk there were fewer trains 
but always a half score at the larger stations. And 
in Nisjne Udinsk and just outside of Irkutsk they 
were again piled up until they at last formed an in- 
terminable park. There was no one that enter- 
tained the slighest hope that they ever would run 
again. It was doing; a great deal to keep tracks 
open for the most unpostponable trains. As we 
never stopped less than twelve hours at a station I 
had occasion enough to see what was contained in all 
these trains. It was veritable migration on wheels. 
Yes, migration, this text book fact, about which there 
is so little in the history books, takes place now every 
day between Petrograd and Vladivostok and can be 
studied here in the field without special need of Mon- 
umenta Germanica and other source works. The set- 



The Flight Through Siberia 195 

> "  —-■■.■■ ■■ii»i  «» II —^^li— I  

ting is slightly different from the Middle Ages, but 
the reality is the same. History is the history of 
of man and mankind is always mankind. 

Most of the groups by far were composed of re- 
fugees from the abandoned districts west of the Ural 
mountains: Perm, Jekaterinburg, Krasno-Ufimsk, 
Ufa, Orenburg. But refugees from west Siberia 
(Tjellabinsk, Kurgan, Tjumen) had also gotten 
through. How many of them there were, taken all 
together, will be cleared up some time when statis- 
tics of those who fled before the Huns also is pro- 
duced. But it will be a six ciphered number. They 
all live on the Siberian Railway if they have not by 
some miracle found an asylum in the already over- 
crowded cities. The trains they live in are beyond 
power of description. The Siberian rolling stock is 
very primitive. Coaches divided into classes are a 
rarity. They have been burned or are the dwelling 
places of the staffs of the foreign troops. Even the 
mail trains often ran with only one third class coach 
and the rest of the cars the so-called "Tjepluskas" — 
"Heated cars," built during the war and only differ- 
ent from our cattle cars of the poorest type in that 
they can be heated by the passengers themselves if the 
stove has not been stolen, as it nearly always has. 
They are otherwise quite good cars when there aren't 
too many people in them; I have travelled some ten 
thousand kilometers in these box cars. — But in refu- 
gee trains I have not travelled; their like has hardly 
been seen before. They were composed of cars that 



196 The Red Garden 

elsewhere would have been sold for old iron long ago. 
It was easy to see why the evacuating military and 
the administrations had let them stand as unservice- 
able. Many were splintered from collisions they 
had sustained, others bore marks of the Bolshevik 
war of the year before in the form of scars from 
bomb explosions. The common man had jammed to- 
gether what remained after the official evacuation and 
at last he had even managed to get a rusty locomo- 
tive to run. Since the flight began, that is for from 
two to six months these trains ran and stood on the 
Line. By thousands, people lived in them, generally 
families with lodgers. In vain one asked himself 
what had caused these swarms to leave house and 
home. The upper class or even the plain well-to-do 
citizens were not represented. They had fled also, 
of course, but lived parasite-like in military hospital 
trains. They did not sit in refugee cars. Here one 
saw first of all those who were forced to flee: officials 
and their families. Then teachers and office people. 
But numerous labourers and peasants were also 
along. Often the Tjepluska was quite comfortably 
arranged, the conjugal bed was made up with large 
featherbeds, there were pictures on the sooty walls 
and of course the samovar was boiling on the table. 
In the cars I have seen all sorts of articles for cheer 
and usefulness in the home: pianos, graphophones, 
canary birds, chamber pots, carpets, Grandpa in an 
American rocking chair, families on benches around 
the table and eating from real tableware. I have 



The Flight Through Siberia 197 

also seen cars with nothing in but people who lay on 
the filthy floor and scratched themselves for vermin. 
There were cars where peasant families lived to- 
gether with their cows and calves and hens, unless 
they had been so ambitious as to fence off" a transport 
flat-car with branches and hook it to the train. Old 
broken wagons, lean horses, melancholy cows and 
indiff"erent hogs rode along through the thousands of 
districts and stood through the nights and stared at 
the strange stars. Perhaps they bore hidden away 
down in their unfathomable imbecility a question that 
those who dragged them along never asked themselves 
— What for — why? Of course it was also fear that 
drove even the poorest on their way. They followed 
the stream. They were under the planless sugges- 
tion of flight. And they risked so little by fleeing. 
Poorer than they already were they could hardly be- 
come, no matter where they went. Perhaps things 
would be better there where they happened to stop. 
The Russian lets himself be moved about so easily 
and the fatigue of travelling all too easily becomes 
that permanent siesta, unconcern for the morrow, 
about which no one knows anyway. His tempera- 
ment is attracted by the nomadic. The Russian pea- 
sant has always been the world's most and furthest 
travelled. The appetite for migration dwells deep 
in his prairie nature. 

All the station buildings on the Line were pasted 
over with notes of every size bearing laconic bits of 
information from and to relatives and friends, who 



198 The Red Garden 

had become separated from each other and were try- 
ing to get together again. 

"To Nikolaj Alexandrovitch Baukin. We were 
here four days. We have gone further on to Ma- 
rinsk. Baukins." 

"Anna! Come to Taiga. I live at the house of 
Fjodor Petrovitch. Peter died the 27th. Your 
mother Sofie Sergievna." 

Long novels have become old-fashioned and the 
short story wins the approval of the time. But life 
itself rises above literary modes and writes intermin- 
able novels in an extremely curt style. 

In between the fleeing groups other trains stood and 
waited for further orders. I saw English, Italian, 
Czech, Polish, Rumanian and Jugo-Slav troop trains, 
well nourished soldiers in ornamental uniforms, dan- 
dified officers with ribbons and crosses and with 
heavy revolvers hanging at their sides. There were 
enough soldiers to capture Moscow, if they would 
fight. But officers and men thought only of getting 
out while there was time. "We're through fighting. 
We're not going to let ourselves be killed for the sake 
of the Russian swine." Most of them sympathized 
highly with the Bolsheviki, if they would only stay 
away until they themselves were in safety. There 
were trains full of unfortunate German and Hunga- 
rian prisoners of war for whom the journey again 
led eastward away from the home that was still in 
their thoughts, the idyll they had left five years ago 
and which since then had been greatly beautified in 



The Flight Through Siberia 199 

their longings. The majority were old men who sat 
silently in the cars and sucked on the faithful briar 
pipe that had known home, the campaign and im- 
prisonment, or at least had been made by their own 
hands in the loving image of remembrance. There 
were dying men among them but they died without 
outcries. And on every face was the clammy white- 
ness that tells of an unutterable want and of consum- 
ing tuberculosis. What had they not suffered, these 
people! The soul of pain was in their eyes and in 
suffering they had become patient, silent, humble. 
Give them hope and they growl at once. Give them 
freedom and they begin to hate. Give them weap- 
ons and they want to see others suffer. Brutality 
rises in them as an evil fluid. How often have I not 
experienced that. These prisoners were to be seen 
in all these stages along the Line. 

And there were trains with cartridges and artillery, 
trains with flying machines that were never to fly, 
trains of gypsies whom the good God must have evac- 
uated for no one else had given them a thought. 
But God loves children' and that the majority in these 
trains were. There were long train loads of Polish 
Jews who had been fleeing for five years. Ahasuerus 
beat it by way of the Siberian Railway — tomor- 
row he fled back again possessed by a new fear. His 
young daughters sat in the midst of all the wretched- 
ness and in flaming flirtations showed off their aqui- 
line beauty with officers of all nationalities. There 
were hospital trains that slank of death and carbolic 



200 The Red Garden 

acid. The wounded were months on the way and 
they who reached the operating table alive were rot- 
ten as corpses brought up from the grave. They who 
were not dying within the trains, bumped up and 
down on the running boards outside and were never 
at rest. There were Japanese trains neat and clean, 
and full of barrels. Back of the placards with the 
crimson-beamed sun, the red-collared, yellow men 
squatted on their haunches and ate rice — they re- 
sembled monkeys despite the burnished copper ware. 
There were trains and more trains with seventeen- 
year-old recruits on their way to mobilization. No 
one thought of them any more, they sat long days and 
spat sunflower-seeds on the track and waited the ar- 
rival of an officer or more probably of food. They 
were still in their peasant clothes and little by little 
no doubt they ran home to their villages, if they 
weren't too many hundred miles away. There were 
trainloads of recruits in Canadian uniforms and with 
short English rifles; they fought good-naturedly 
among themselves, played cards and talked confiden- 
tially of how one went about being taken prisoner. 
Good Lord, the oldest of them were not over twenty! 
And how many thousands of them were not shot as 
deserters. There were trains with American ploughs 
with matches and paper; Red Cross trains with Amer- 
icans aboard; here nothing was lacking and if there 
was medicine in the first car there was sure to be 
goods for speculation in the ten following. There 
were real military trains that slid smoothly through 



The Flight Through Siberia 201 

with the aid of all kinds of distinguished papers that 
only cost the issuers a little work on the typewriter 
but gave big money in return; for ladies' silk stock- 
ings and French perfume made in Japan were rare 
wares in Siberia, and yet they are, as all knew who 
were along, one of the necessities of the war. And 
mail and express trains were running and seldom ar- 
rived the appointed day and when they did come they 
were overflowing even into the toilet rooms of the 
first class coaches with people who all travelled on 
lawful business and who could show fine travelling 
permits and had paid for their tickets and so forth. 
And there were always noticeably many Jews with 
much baggage who travelled westward and notice- 
ably many officers who travelled eastward. 

Next in long rows were trains that were loaded 
only with evacuated institutions: a county court from 
Bugulma, Perm's consistory, an insurance company 
from Ufa, tables and chairs, records and typewriters, 
safes and wastepaper baskets are at rest out in the 
middle of the Siberian plain. Where will they be 
put up again and will the ants after all ever turn 
back to the overturned hive? They will surely. 
"Go to the ant and be wise," said Solomon. And he 
meant, no doubt, in regard to mankind. 

Of all that one can see on the Siberian Railway 
Line there is after all nothing so disquieting as the 
echelons of captured Bolsheviki. When prisoners 
have been taken and the real Communists and those 
who by chance are included have been shot, there is 



202 The Red Garden 

always a whole mob which even the captors are re- 
luctant to shoot. It is unjust that man shouldn't have 
been endowed with a completely murderous nature. 
It is indeed a positive pleasure for him to kill, he 
enjoys seeing his activities rewarded by indisputable 
results, but emotion demands its right and sets cer- 
tain bounds. Therefore a certain number of the left- 
over Bolsheviki were generally put in the army and 
sent to the front where at first opportunity they went 
over to the enemy which was quite contrary to the 
good intentions with which they had been sent. The 
rest were brought to some camp or other where be- 
hind the barbed wire fence they vied with one another 
in dying of the many different kinds of typhus for 
which medical science has names but which it is not 
worth while to be able to distinguish when one never 
sees a doctor anyway. When the evacuating took 
place all this wretchedness was also packed together, 
forty men in each Tjepluska and the train was gener- 
ally made up of about 1200 prisoners. On the move 
the cars were sealed, there was only the light which 
leaked through the cracks. When they stopped the 
door was opened up on the one side and this side 
the guard patrolled. Food was given twice every 
twenty-four hours, rye bread and boiling water. 
Those who died were gotten out of the way. The 
survivors buried them themselves. Provisions for 
the natural functions of the prisoners were also made. 
Once a day they were brought out in flocks of three 
hundred on an open field. The guards with their 



The Flight Through Siberia 203 

shiny, bayonetted, and loaded rifles camped around 
them and the 300 gave from them what they had un- 
der the unashamed countenance of God. I watched 
this sight only once in company with an English of- 
ficer, long and thin as is his type, all clothes, leather, 
buttons and straight lines. He said nothing and 
neither did I speak. Even now so long afterward it 
seems to me that it was not on earth that I experienced 
it. It was in Hell — it was the damned who sat as 
shades and bore testimony before their living fellow- 
men. 

I have often from my railway car talked with these 
prisoners when an echelon by chance lay on a side 
track. The majority were dull, others had insanity 
shining out of their eyes. They seemed about to 
have fits of rage and to set their teeth in each other's 
throats. There were also intelligent people and peo- 
ple who only had become thoughtful and silent. I 
still remember a number of good and not unrefined 
people who were able to talk plainly and straight- 
forwardly of their misfortunes. And there were also 
all kinds of people good and bad, the scum of the 
jails, mere boys, and people who resembled aged 
men. But with many it was the old story, they had 
been arrested on suspicion and had been brought 
along because they had served the Bolsheviki as 
clerks, drivers, etc., their case was to be looked into 
and so they were put in camps with the others and 
now they had been here eight weeks or so and rode 
from city to city and were received nowhere for lack 



204 The Red Garden 

of room or fear of contagion. Most of all they 
feared the coming of winter. "The nights are al- 
ready cold and we have no covering." Which was 
the truth, for it was only the richest who had both 
trousers and shirt. Many were naked and boots I 
have not seen on a single Bolshevik in these trans- 
ports. 

Where now are all the people I saw then? Now 
that the cold weather has come, now that the sun rises 
blood-red through the frost fog in the morning, now 
that the bare flesh freezes fast on the iron parts of the 
coaches. Does a jar, a tingling movement go 
through the many rows of cars? Has that which 
was awaited so long in anxiety and trembling, but 
also in hope, come at last? Has the return of the 
Whites by the Siberian Railway Line begun? 



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