A Russian Proprietor, and Other Stories : Part 06, Chapter 06

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1887

People

(1828 - 1910) ~ Father of Christian Anarchism : In 1861, during the second of his European tours, Tolstoy met with Proudhon, with whom he exchanged ideas. Inspired by the encounter, Tolstoy returned to Yasnaya Polyana to found thirteen schools that were the first attempt to implement a practical model of libertarian education. (From : Anarchy Archives.)
• "You are surprised that soldiers are taught that it is right to kill people in certain cases and in war, while in the books admitted to be holy by those who so teach, there is nothing like such a permission..." (From : "Letter to a Non-Commissioned Officer," by Leo Tol....)
• "Only by recognizing the land as just such an article of common possession as the sun and air will you be able, without bias and justly, to establish the ownership of land among all men, according to any of the existing projects or according to some new project composed or chosen by you in common." (From : "To the Working People," by Leo Tolstoy, Yasnaya P....)
• "The Government and all those of the upper classes near the Government who live by other people's work, need some means of dominating the workers, and find this means in the control of the army. Defense against foreign enemies is only an excuse. The German Government frightens its subjects about the Russians and the French; the French Government, frightens its people about the Germans; the Russian Government frightens its people about the French and the Germans; and that is the way with all Governments. But neither Germans nor Russians nor Frenchmen desire to fight their neighbors or other people; but, living in peace, they dread war more than anything else in the world." (From : "Letter to a Non-Commissioned Officer," by Leo Tol....)

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Part 06, Chapter 06

VI.

Life was made utterly wretched for them. Their clogs were not taken off even at night, and they were not let out at all.

Unbaked dough was thrown down to them as though they were dogs, and water was let down in a jug. In the pit it was damp and suffocating.

Kostuilin became ill, and swelled up, and had rheumatism all over his body, and he groaned or slept all the time.

Even Zhilin lost his spirits; he sees that they are in desperate straits. And he does not know how to get out.

He had begun to make an excavation, but there was nowhere to hide the earth; Abdul discovered it, and threatened to kill him.

He was squatting down one time in the pit, and thinking about life and liberty, and he grew sad.

Suddenly a cake[103] fell directly into his lap, then another, and some cherries followed. He looked up, and there was Dina. She peered down at him, laughed, and then ran away. And Zhilin began to conjecture, "Couldn't Dina help me?"

He cleared out a little place in the pit, picked up some clay, and made some dolls. He made men and women, horses and dogs; he said to himself, "When Dina comes, I will give them to her."

[343]

But Dina did not make her appearance on the next day. And Zhilin hears the trampling of horses' hoofs: men came riding up: the Tatars collected at the mosque, arguing, shouting, and talking about the Russians.

The voice of the old man was heard. Zhilin could not understand very well, but he made out that the Russians were somewhere near, and the Tatars were afraid that they would attack the aul, and they did not know what to do with the prisoners.

They talked a while, and went away. Suddenly Zhilin heard a rustling at the edge of the pit.

He sees Dina squatting on her heels, with her knees higher than her head; she leaned over, her necklace hung down and swung over the pit. And her little eyes twinkled like stars. She took from her sleeve two cheesecakes, and threw them down to him. Zhilin accepted them, and said, "Why did you stay away so long? I have been making you some dolls. Here they are." He began to toss them up to her one at a time.

But she shook her head, and would not look at them. "I can't take them," said she. She said nothing more for a time, but sat there: then she said, "Iván, they want to kill you."

She made a significant motion across her throat.

"Who wants to kill me?"

"Father. The old man has ordered him to. But I am sorry for you."

And Zhilin said, "Well, then, if you are sorry for me, bring me a long stick." She shook her head, meaning that it was impossible.

He clasped his hands in supplication to her. "Dina, please! Bring one to me, Dínushka!"[344]

"I can't," said she. "They would see me; they are all at home." And she ran away.

Afterwards, Zhilin was sitting there in the evening, and wondering what he should do. He kept raising his eyes. He could see the stars, but the moon was not yet up. The mulla uttered his call, then all became silent.

Zhilin began already to doze, thinking to himself, "The little maid is afraid."

Suddenly a piece of clay fell on his head; he glanced up; a long pole was sliding over the edge of the pit, it slid out, began to descend toward him, it reached the bottom of the pit. Zhilin was delighted. He seized it, pulled it along,—it was a strong pole. He had noticed it before on Abdul's roof.

He gazed up; the stars were shining high in the heavens, and Dina's eyes, at the edge of the pit, gleamed in the darkness like a cat's.

She craned her head over, and whispered, "Iván, Iván." And she waved her hands before her face, meaning, "Softly, please."

"What is it?" said Zhilin.

"All have gone, there are only two at home."

And Zhilin said, "Well, Kostuilin, let us go, let us make our last attempt. I will help you."

Kostuilin, however, would not hear to it.

"No," says he, "it is not meant for me to get away from here. How could I go when I haven't even strength to turn over?"

"All right, then. Good-by.[104] Don't think me unkind."

He kissed Kostuilin.

He clasped the pole, told Dina to hold it firmly, and [345]tried to climb up. Twice he fell back,—his clog so impeded him. Kostuilin boosted him; he managed to get to the top: Dina pulled on the sleeves of his shirt with all her might, laughing heartily.

Zhilin pulled up the pole, and said, "Carry it back to its place, Dina, for if they found it they would flog you."

She dragged off the pole, and Zhilin began to go down the mountain. When he had reached the bottom of the cliff, he took a sharp stone, and tried to break the padlock of his clog. But the lock was strong; he could not strike it fairly.

He hears some one hurrying down the hill, with light, skipping steps. He thinks, "That is probably Dina again."

Dina ran to him, took a stone, and says, "Let me try it."

She knelt down, and began to work with all her might. But her hands were as delicate as osiers. She had no strength. She threw down the stone, and burst into tears.

Zhilin again tried to break the lock, and Dina squatted by his side, and leaned against his shoulder. Zhilin glanced up, and saw at the left behind the mountain a red glow like a fire; it was the moon just rising.

"Well," he says to himself, "I must cross the valley and get into the woods before the moon rises." He stood up, and threw away the stone. No matter for the clog—he must take it with him.

"Good-by," says he. "Dínushka, I shall always remember you."

Dina clung to him, reached with her hands for a place to stow away some cakes. He took the cakes.[346]

"Thank you," said he: "you are a thoughtful darling. Who will make you dolls after I am gone?" and he stroked her hair.

Dina burst into tears, hid her face in her hands, and scrambled up the hillside like a kid. He could hear, in the darkness, the jingling of the coins on her braids.

Zhilin crossed himself, picked up the lock of his clog so that it might not make a noise, and started on his way, dragging his leg all the time, and keeping his eyes constantly on the glow where the moon was rising.

He knew the way. He had eight versts to go in a direct course, but he would have to strike into the forest before the moon came entirely up. He crossed the stream, and now the light was increasing behind the mountain.

He proceeded along the valley: it was growing light. He walks along, constantly glancing around; but still the moon was not visible. The glow was now changing to white light, and one side of the valley grew brighter and brighter. The shadow crept away from the mountain till it reached its very foot.

Zhilin still hurried along, all the time keeping to the shadow.

He hurries as fast as he can, but the moon rises still faster; and now, at the right, the mountain-tops are illuminated.

He struck into the forest just as the moon rose above the mountains. It became as light and white as day. On the trees all the leaves were visible. It was warm and bright on the mountain-side; every thing seemed as though it were dead. The only sound was the roaring of a torrent far below. He walked along in the[347] forest; he had met no one. Zhilin found a little spot in the forest where it was still darker, and began to rest.

While he rested he ate one of his cakes. He procured a stone and once more tried to break the padlock, but he only bruised his hands, and failed to break the lock.

He arose and went on his way. When he had gone a verst his strength gave out, his feet were sore. He had to walk ten steps at a time, and then rest.

"There's nothing to be done for it," says he to himself. "I will push on as long as my strength holds out; for if I sit down, then I shall not get up again. If I do not reach the fortress before it is daylight, then I will lie down in the woods and spend the day, and start on to-morrow night again."

He walked all night. Once he passed two Tatars on horseback, but he heard them at some distance, and hid behind a tree.

Already the moon was beginning to pale, the dew had fallen, it was near dawn, and Zhilin had not reached the end of the forest.

"Well," says he to himself, "I will go thirty steps farther, strike into the forest, and sit down."

He went thirty steps, and sees the end of the forest. He went to the edge; it was broad daylight. Before him, as on the palm of his hand, were the steppe and the fortress; and on the left, not far away on the mountain-side, fires were burning, or dying out; the smoke rose, and men were moving around the watch-fires.

He looks, and sees the gleaming of fire-arms: Cossacks, soldiers!

Zhilin was overjoyed.[348]

He gathered his remaining strength, and walked down the mountain. And he says to himself, "God help me, if a mounted Tatar should get sight of me on this bare field! I should not escape him, even though I am so near." Even while these thoughts are passing through his mind, he sees at the left, on a hillock not fourteen hundred feet away, three Tatars on the watch. They caught sight of him,—bore down upon him. Then his heart failed within him. Waving his arms, he shouted at the top of his voice, "Brothers! help, brothers!"

Our men heard him,—mounted Cossacks dashed out toward him. The Cossacks were far off, the Tatars near. And now Zhilin collected his last remaining energies, seized his clog with his hand, ran toward the Cossacks, and, without any consciousness of feeling, crossed himself and cried, "Brothers, brothers, brothers!"

The Cossacks were fifteen in number.

The Tatars were dismayed. Before they reached him, they stopped short. And Zhilin reached the Cossacks.

The Cossacks surrounded him, and questioned him: "Who are you?" "What is your name?" "Where did you come from?"

But Zhilin was almost beside himself; he wept, and kept on shouting, "Brothers, brothers!"

The soldiers hastened up, and gathered around him; one brought him bread, another kasha-gruel, another vodka, another threw a cloak around him, still another broke his chains.

The officers recognized him, they brought him into the fortress. The soldiers were delighted, his comrades pressed into Zhilin's room.[349]

Zhilin told them what had happened to him, and he ended his tale with the words,—

"That's the way I went home and got married! No, I see that such is not to be my fate."

And he remained in the service in the Caucasus.

At the end of a month Kostuilin was ransomed for five thousand rubles.

He was brought home scarcely alive.

FOOTNOTES:

[95] Four vedros, equivalent exactly to 8.80 gallons.

[96] Sixteen and a half miles.

[97] Aul = Tatar's village.—Author's note.

[98] A mountain-hut in the Caucasus.

[99] Urus in Tatar.

[100] khozyáïn.

[101] A sort of long Circassian cloak.

[102] Five arshins, 11.65 feet.

[103] lepyóshka.

[104] proshchaï.


COUNT TOLSTOÏ'S WORKS.

  ANNA KARÉNINA     $ 1.75
  CHILDHOOD, BOYHOOD, AND YOUTH       1.50
  IVAN ILYITCH       1.25
  MY RELIGION       1.00
  MY CONFESSION       1.00
  WHAT TO DO?       1.25
  THE INVADERS       1.25
  A RUSSIAN PROPRIETOR       1.50

THOMAS Y CROWELL & CO.,

PUBLISHERS.

13 ASTOR PLACE, NEW YORK.


COUNT TOLSTOI'S WORKS.

The demand for these Russian stories has but just fairly begun; but it is a literary movement more widespread, more intense, than anything this country has probably seen within the past quarter of a century.—Boston Traveler.

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"Will take rank among the great works of fiction of the age."—Portland Transcript.

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"No living author surpasses him, and only one or two approach him, in the power of picturing not merely places but persons, with minute and fairly startling fidelity."—Congregationalist.

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A series of reminiscences and traditions of the author's early life.

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An autobiographical account of the changes in the author's religious opinions, and the various causes by which it was brought about; all of which is told in the most delightful manner, and will enable the reader to understand more clearly his "My Religion," which is the sequel to this volume.

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MY RELIGION. A companion book to My Confession.     12mo, $1.00.

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WHAT TO DO. Thoughts Evoked by the Census of Moscow. Containing passages excluded by the Press Censor of Russia.     12mo, $1.25. A sequel to "My Confession" and "My Religion."

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13 ASTOR PLACE, NEW YORK.


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PUBLISHED BY

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Childhood, Boyhood and Youth   12mo,   $1,50
The Invaders   "   $1.25
My Confession   12mo,   $1.00
My Religion   "   $1.00
Ivan Ilyitch, &c.   "   $1.25
What to Do   "   $1.25
A Russian Proprietor (in press).

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OF

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13 ASTOR PLACE, NEW YORK.


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By COUNT LEO. TOLSTOÏ.

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CONTENTS.

Survey of the Field.
Early American Communism.
The Growth and Present Condition of Labor
Organizations in America.
The Economic Value of Labor Organizations.
The Educational Value of Labor Organizations.
Other Aspects of Labor Organizations.
Co-operation in America.
The Beginnings of Modern Socialism in America.
The Internationalists.
The Propaganda of Deed and the Educational Campaign.
The Socialistic Labor Party.
The Strength of Revolutionary Socialism.—Its Significance.
Remedies.
Platform of Principles of the National Labor Union.
Pledge and Preamble of the Journeymen Bricklayers' Association of Philadelphia.
Declaration of Principles and Objects of the Cigar Makers' Progressive Union of America.
Extracts from the Constitution of the National Amalgamated Association of Iron and Steel Workers of the United States.
Manifesto of the International Working People's Association.
Letter to Tramps, reprinted from the "Alarm" of Chicago.
Platform and Present Demands of the Socialistic Labor Party.
Declaration of Independence, July 4, 1886, by an American Socialist.

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A PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR HOUSEKEEPERS.

By Mrs. LYDIA SHILLABER. With an Introduction by Mrs. PARTINGTON.

12mo, cloth, $1.25. Kitchen Edition, In Oilcloth, $1.25.
Fourth Edition now ready.

Extract from Mrs. Partington's Introduction.

"Well, well," said Mrs. Partington, her spectacles beaming with delight as she turned over the leaves of the new cookery book, "I declare it excites my salivation glands even to read the names of these good things. It seems as though the greatest epicac might find something among all these meats and cosmetics to give a jest to appetite.... Now a book like this will come into a house like an oasis in the desert of the great Sahara, and be a quarantine of perpetual peace."

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THOMAS Y. CROWELL & CO.

13 ASTOR PLACE, NEW YORK.

From : Gutenberg.org

Chronology

December 05, 1887 :
Part 06, Chapter 06 -- Publication.

February 18, 2017 19:30:40 :
Part 06, Chapter 06 -- Added to http://www.RevoltLib.com.

March 19, 2019 13:59:30 :
Part 06, Chapter 06 -- Last Updated on http://www.RevoltLib.com.

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