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NEW YORK CITY OFFERS FLOWERS TO THE SIXTY-NINTH AS THEY MARCH UP FIFTH AVENUE SOLDIERS RECEIVE A HEARTY WELCOME
of his way to oblige me and other English thanked the Irish lawyer for his kindness,
for news on the part of its subscribers. This was the full description which was printed : “ The King of England was crowned yesterday at Westminster.”
It was only in the public meetings and the newspapers that I found harsh ex. pressions towards England, and, to tell the truth, even these were nothing like so bitter as a stranger might have expected. There was at the time a general expectation of early Home Rule, which perhaps accounted to some extent for the mildness of the talk I heard. It did not account for the geniality of the Iris), towards Englishmen in person, for that is and always was a feature of the country. In England an individual Irishman is always a favorite, which is a tribute not so much to the English as to the Irisl, themselves.
A PERSONAL IMPRESSION
m, to % warmed from their
O NE blue, moonlit Sunday evening, radical, a rebel against an established gray hair is cut short and brushed back
bitterly cold, last February, a great order of tyranny, injustice, and cruelty from a forehead as majestic as one of our crowd surged into the Church of the They were there, stepping from their own elder statesmen's. Her black sackAscension in New York. Long before its comfortably padded, warmed limousines, like dress, with the little white collar rollchimes and those of its neighbor churches many of them, to honor an old woman ing over the top of it, makes elegance had stilled their sweet, clamorous call to who in her youth had traveled uncounted seem tawdry. evening service every pew was filled, the miles on foot to incite revolution among At home I was trying to describe the little yard outside was packed, the side peasants, who had been jolted between impression her appearance made upon walk overflowed into the roadways. jailers in a springless wagon along that me when a soft voice from the County Across the street there were more people Via Dolorosa, the great Siberian road. Clare broke in upon me. . gathered, and around the corner and up They were there, those comfortable land- “Is it the old Russian lady you're the steps of the Ascension Parish House owning people, to cheer an old woman talking of, ma'am ?” it asked, excitedly. human beings were waiting in dense who believed—and believes—that the “I saw her—I mean the picture of her-formation, hopeful for a miracle, hopeful land must belong to the workers of at the movies the other night. She was that the granite walls might become as the land. and that the state must be the coming ashore from the boat. She had crystal and that they might see the sight guardian of the workers' ownership, an on a white hood, a sort of cap, like what within, or that at last it would be dem- old woman who told the Senate of the the old ladies at home in Ireland wear. I onstrated how two-or ten-bodies might United States quite as a matter of course thought”-the voice ended wistfullyoccupy the same space at the same time. that she had been for fifty years a So “she looked like an old Irish lady." Failing that, they waited for the satisfac- cialist.
I saw at once that she does look like tion of their craving to behold the cause It was an amazing demonstration, a an old Irish lady. She looks like an old of their presence there when she came demonstration of the unity that underlies Swedish lady. She looks like the embodi. out again. Not since the last marriage of all diversities. For all of them—for the ment of all the wisdom and all the kindan American millionaire's daughter to a extremist who quarrels with what he re- ness of all the wise, kind old women of foreign nobleman had such a scene been gards as her old-fashioned present atti the world. The “ Grandmother” of that witnessed in the vicinity of a New York tude and for the reactionary who still Russian Revolution once acclaimed by all church. This time the curiosity was more manages to cherish a quaint belief in a of us, for we are ourselves the offspring creditable to our democracy.
Socialist as something horned and hoofed, of a revolution; the “Grandmother” of It was to see a woman that they were for both of them and for all between- four million Russian orphans, to plead there an old woman, a plain woman, a Babushka stands for something in which for whom she, a woman of seventy-five, woman who fifty years ago gave up the they can believe. Every day of her stay has crossed continents and seas-when husband and son whom she loved, her in this country has witnessed a demon. family and friends, and the luxuries to stration akin to that one. .
her strength, her wit, her humor, one must which she had been accustomed, because Those who succeeded in entering the believe that she is to be the “ Grandthere had sounded in her heart the trumpet Church of the Ascension saw this sight- mother” of a new, peaceful, happy Russia. call to a great service. They were there, an old woman, still strong, still vital, She is a woman whose story will live in those crowding New Yorkers, to catch, if unbroken by years, unbroken by hard thousands of human hearts when the name they might, a glimpse of Catherine Bresh- ship. Her chest is deep, her shoulders of Romanoff is as dead as that of Ptolemy. kovsky, “ Babushka,” the Little Grand- broad, her neck powerful. Her face is Grandmothers of course do not conmother of the Russian Revolution. They still full and unshriveled. Her gray eyes tinuously approve the ways of their grandwere there to pay tribute, the tribute at look clearly, kindly, humorously, youth children. What! Have the little people least of eager curiosity, to an old woman fully, upon the world in which they have for whom grandma used to carry cookies who had spent nearly half her whole long witnessed such varied cruelties without in her pockets and to whom she sang Old life and more than half her adult life in ever losing belief in fundamental kind- World lullabies—have these dear little penal servitude. They were there, the ness. Only when she reads or writes does people grown up into these roisterers, most conservative of them, to acclaim a she mount silver-rimmed spectacles. Her these advanced young women with bobbed hair and abbreviated codes of convention, young people of the intelligentsia was not be too hard. I had not been there for these various objectionable types ? What! what it had been. Not only had the Gov. twenty-two years, and all the people were Has the little fellow to whom grandpa ernment executed and exiled many of the unknown to me. My situation became used to tell tales of Washington and leaders of the revolution of 1905, and dangerous. What should I do? I decided Valley Forge actually dared to become a thereby both destroyed a certain quality to go and see the medical staff. A medi. Jabor agitator, a pacifist, a spouter about of leadership and intimidated thought, cal staff would be civilized. My foot was industrial democracy? So it happens with but schools, colleges, organizations, were hurting me I would see the doctor and all grandparents. How much more so. under stricter rule than ever before. find out if she was sympathetic. So I went with the grandmother whose revolution Parents, too, had come to be afraid to to the woman physician, and as soon as I was the child of such almost unbelievable have their children think too much, learn began to speak I saw that she was suseffort, suffering, and heroism on her part ? too much. She found the new generation picious. She went to the telephone, and The Bolshevist Russia of to-day Madame —or so she thought-more selfish and when she came back she said that I had Breshkovsky vehemently disowns as her more frivolous than the old. The intel- better stay in her hospital, and that if I child and that of the old revolutionists. lectual young men and women were bent had any other "sick' friends they had
The day after that cold Sunday night upon making their own careers; the less better come too. Thus we were saved. it was my privilege to ride with her on intellectual were absorbed in easy pleas- Five days afterwards a servant came into her trip to Boston. I handed her various ures, in the movies, in skating, in read the room and told us that the Bolsheviki questions which she had been obliged to ing light novels ; " in foolishness," says were running out of the town. After leave unanswered the night before. Babushka, with a piquant hissing of s's nightfall the Czechoslovaks came to the
“How stupid such persons are !” she and a half-humorous frown. Still, for the village, and we were free. The peasants cried when I handed her this one: “Do first weeks after her return she journeyed came to us with bread and meat. There you think that the Bolsheviki are sincere about. freely, trying to rouse among the was dancing and music and a great festiand that their only purpose is to give to weaklings some of the fervor of enthusi- val. Again I had escaped." the poorer class in Russia what rightfully asm with which she was so richly en. In Babushka's eyes, while she was rebelongs to them ?”
dowed. Among her peasants, among the counting her latest adventures, there was “How stupid such persons are! Have “dark people” whom she so understands life and fire-enjoyment. Would she have I not already said again and again that and loves and by whom she is so adored, missed something out of her home-coming I think the Bolsheviki traitors to the she found a different and a better spirit. if there had been no threatened danger, Revolution, traitors to Russia ?” She spoke It happened that her return to Petro no underground messages, no hairbreadth impatiently, but even in her impatience grad from her journey through the coun escapes ? there is something piquant, something try coincided with the overthrow of the Not all of the charges current against eternally young; it is not the peevish, Kerensky Government. She was met by the Bolsheviki, however, does she admit. impotent impatience of the aged.
friends who wanted her to go into hiding. The tale that made the blood of the I am not, alas ! going to be able to All the Government ministers were re- women of America run hot and coldmake Babushka speak for you with the ported to be under arrest, “except Ba- that tale of “nationalization” of women charm that her speaking has. Her Eng- bushka.” With the aid of loyal friends, she laughed at with the impatient good lish, which when heard from a platform she remained hidden for six weeks, dur- nature of one who hates to be stopped in is so difficult to follow, is very attractive ing which she wrote articles for the her war against real things to deliver a in conversation. She learned it—think of “ Will of the People”-signed articles- blow at imaginary ones. it !-out of books while she was in prison. but the Bolsheviki were unable to find “No!" she shook her leonine head She enunciates all the syllables, she gives out from what asylum she put them forth. vehemently, “nothing like that. Trust each“r” its rolling, foreign value. The And then when Petrograd became too the Russian peasant for that! No, there family, for example, will never be “dis- dangerous she was spirited away to Mos- is no such regulation. Some time, some sol-ved;" it will always be “con-ser-ved.”. cow with other sympathizers of the Ke- places, maybe, bad peoples make badAt the end of the sentence she is apt to rensky Government. How did she man- nesses. That is all. The Russian peasant, breathe a little“ yes.” It is like a period, age it?
he will have his own wife, his own chilike a falling inflection, but it has a touch “Ah, my child, that is a secret. All my dren. And in Russia, you know, almost of music in it like the lingering vibration life I have moved around in Russia, and all are peasants.” of the last note played on the piano. no one has known how. I am an old rev- This wonderful old woman, who, to
She was in Siberia, where she had olutionist. Old revolutionists do not tell become grandmother to a whole nation, spent so many years of her life, when the these things."
gave up her own family, believes in the Revolution came. She describes her re- For more than six months Babushka family as fervently as any Italian peasant lease and her triumphal return to Petro remained in Moscow, hidden in two rooms woman who knows no life beyond the grad and Moscow. Kerensky had sent a with another revolutionist, a woman with young life in her arms and tugging at her special order that she should not only be whom she had been convicted forty-five skirts. No misgivings as to its stability freed but that she should have comforts. years ago. Kerensky, as wise, apparently, in the new world order troubles her. She Another well-known revolutionist sent in the secret ways of revolutionists as the believes that its roots are in the very her money for her trip home. She hired two old women, eventually joined them nature of the human race; she believes horses and drove three hundred versts to there. While the newspapers were an in the love of man for one mate, of a the railway.. She got a good train. The nouncing his presence in London or Swit-woman for one mate, believes that the officials of the road gave her a beautiful zerland he was spending May and June happiness and glory of a woman are her car for herself. In it she, who had trav in Moscow with Madame Breshkovsky children—“ many, many children.” And eled to Siberia between jailers, dwelt, and planning with her the organization she opens her arms wide to give some traveled, and received the acclamations of the Resurrection of Russia Society. measure of the abounding motherliness of her fellow-countrymen. Twenty thou- Shortly after Kerensky left Moscow which she believes inherent in us. sand soldiers met her train at its first Madame Breshkovsky and others of the It is for the children of Russia that stop. She stayed at this place two days old revolutionists went through the Volga she is here, and not primarily, as perhaps and spoke at the forums, the schools, and region organizing their new society, or- it has sometimes seemed for a minute or the colleges. When she went back to the ganizing opposition to the Bolsheviki. two, as a witness against the present rule train, soldiers lined the two miles between “Every place we went,” she declares, in her own country. All her public the hotel and the station, standing at earnestly, “the people begged our pro- speeches are for the four million children attention as the Little Grandmother of tection against the Bolsheviki. We whom the war has orphaned in Russia. the Revolution passed by in her carriage. traveled six hundred versts until we came She is begging America to send, out of
In Petrograd and Moscow, however, to Tunice, in the Urals. It was in the its riches, everything to these children. she found, when the first blaze of happi- hands of the Bolsheviki, as we knew, but Not money merely, though money of ness had died down, that the spirit of the we hoped that the conditions would not course will be necessary. She wants
with appression, the most crueid, endur
teachers, nurses, women doctors, settle twinkle, “ a wife will beat her husband sometimes to feel angered, hurt, that my ment workers. She wants books. She Yes.”
mother should have wished me to be not wants instructors—men and women of I asked her how it was that she, a myself, but a boy. But now I sometimes every sort of craft and art as well as in woman of seventy-five, who had endured think that maybe all those months she book learning. In every city, near every long years of the most cruel hardship hoped I was going to be a boy gave me town and village, she would have estab and oppression, had come out of them something strong, something inflexible, lished a settlement where the orphan chil- with a vigor of mind and body which put so that I did not bend before hardship dren of the district, to the number, perhaps, to shame that of sheltered women of half and difficulty ; so that I could be truly a of five hundred or so, might be gathered her age. I wish that it were possible for revolutionist. Maybe the heart of the girl together and taught—taught everything, me to give her answer in her own exact that longed to do things would not have kindness, truth, sobriety, industry, as words, in her own voice, so that I could been enough but for that other thing that well as the A B C's and all that follows make you see her musing eyes as she my mother put into me, those months after them. She wants to arouse not only looked at the bright wintry landscape when she was wishing me to be a boy." a fervor of generosity, but the passion for flashing by outside the Pullman window. She mused again upon the mystery of service among our young men and women. By the way, Madame Breshkovsky finds it life and purpose and temperament. Then We send missionaries out to the waste “always a festival” to ride in the train in she came back. places of the earth, she says. Why not America and look out of the car window. “In my mother's sitting-room,” she send missionaries to the Russian orphans ? When I put that question to her about told me, “there was a book. I used to It will not be easy service. The comforts the power that kept her young and vigor- look at the pictures before I had learned which surround American workers at ous, she thought for a moment; she to read. Afterwards when I could read I home will be utterly lacking, but, even at dreamed.
read it again and again. It was the story that, conditions will not be what they are “I had," she said, “ a happy childhood. of a young girl in Rome. Barbara was in Senegambia or Timbuctoo, and the Yes. As a child all went well with me. her name. She was the daughter of a reward of the service would be enough My father and my mother, they were noble, but she became a convert to Chrisa vital part in the building up, in the good people. Strong of body, just in their tianity-St. Barbara. Well, her father salvation, of a great nation.
minds, kind in their hearts. Never was was building a great, beautiful marble She tells about the orphans as they are there a base word spoken, never a base bath, and one day Barbara went in to see now. Some of them are in homes already thing done. We lived on an estate in the it. There were but two windows. She overcrowded, already impoverished. Many country and my mother herself taught us asked the workmen why they had not are running wild upon the streets of the We were not allowed to be idle. Always made three. They answered her that her cities. They are beggars; they are what there was occupation for us—our books, father had ordered only two. She bade Babushka quaintly calls “speculators." our piano, our drawing, our embroidery. them put in a third window, that each By that she means little boys who buy Always we were taught to be kind. Some person in the Trinity might have due packages of cigarettes or bundles of times people would come to see us—simple honor. By and by she persuaded them. papers or what not and, by the aid of people, plain people, poor people. We When her father discovered the third whining, cajolery, or petty thievery, en children would be sent to entertain them. window, he asked the workmen why they deavor to dispose of them again at a Sometimes we would protest. We would had made it. They told him that his profit. Before the tremendous and imme- complain. We did not want to go. We daughter Barbara had so ordered. He diate importance of this problem of the were doing something else. But always asked her why. She told him that she was future of the war orphans of Russia even my mother made us go and entertain these a Christian, and that God was three perthe settlement of Russia's political prob- poor people, teaching us to be courteous sons in one, and that therefore she had lems may well wait.
and hospitable. Well, as I grew older the wanted the three windows made. He bade I tried to interest her in the political teaching stayed in my heart and it grew her to recant, and she would not. He orsituation. I asked her if the state to to be a bigger thing. I gathered the childered her flogged. There was a picture which she looked forward in Russia after dren of the peasants on the estate together. in the book in my mother's sitting-room the present turmoil had quieted was a I had a little school. I taught them. From that showed that lovely young Roman democracy of our sort. She answered the time I was seventeen until I was girl enduring it to be flogged. She did briefly but convincingly. The state to twenty-five I did this work. And then not recant. Her father ordered more torwhich she looked forward-the state then it was all stopped. I was not per tures. Her breast was burned. She did which she declares to be in existence now mitted to teach my peasants or to try to not recant. Always, always, throughout except for the civil war precipitated by help them.”
my whole life, I have remembered that those whom she regards as traitors—is Thus the repression of a liberal move- Roman girl who was so strong. Always not merely our democratic state, it is a ment became, as usual, the signal for the when I remembered her I knew that I Socialist state. There would be no buying growth of a radical movement. The young must never be weak. That book in my or selling of land ; land would belong to woman, stopped in her kindly educa- mother's room, my father and my mother the people, and the state would insure tional work, was inevitably drawn into who taught me to be kind, to be busy, to each man his possession of his own piece. the revolutionary movement. She had had speak the truth ” There would be absolute religious and three brothers and three sisters. Had any Babushka's wonderful eyes swam in political equality; there would be indus- of them joined her ?
tears as she brought them back to me trial democracy in so far as Russia is an “One sister, one only, was a-what do from the flying landscape outside. “Someindustrial country. But Madame Bresh you call it ? An idealist, like me. The times, even now," she told me," when I kovsky does not forget to remind her others, the other brothers and sisters, am hard pressed, or wavering, I still call interlocutor that Russia is still over- . they were very good people. My sister to them. I remember the Roman girl whelmingly an agricultural, instead of an the one I tell you of, died when she was who was so strong. I whisper to my industrial, country. She believes of course twenty-six. The others lived and were, as parents : Father, mother, come and aid in the convening of a national assembly. I say, very good people—very honest, me.'”. The absolute equality of women is, natu- very upright, harming no person, letting And there you have her, the dreaming rally, axiomatic with this fine old revolu- no person harm them. But not like me idealist who has always held in her heart tionist. She smilingly declares that wo- and my sister. Not idealists."
the vision of that lovely young Roman men have in Russia a large measure of She struggled to convey her idea yet. martyr; the woman of tenderest, devoutest equality. The schools and professions have more clearly to me. Her face brightened. family love; the heroic plotter. And what been open to the girls of the intelligentsia “Good people, like the English,” she could be more touching than that at the as well as to the boys; and among the finally epitomized her kinsfolk. “But I end of so many years sheshould come back working people certainly no inequality kept on with my revolutionary work. My to the beginning—that she remembers her in labor prevails.
mother has told me that she hoped I parents with loving fervor, that she works “ And sometimes," she says, with a would be a boy. When I was little, I used for her country's orphaned little ones ?