Sevastopol : Chapter 18

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(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.)
• "It usually happens that when an idea which has been useful and even necessary in the past becomes superfluous, that idea, after a more or less prolonged struggle, yields its place to a new idea which was till then an ideal, but which thus becomes a present idea." (From : "Patriotism and Government," by Leo Tolstoy, May 1....)
• "There are people (we ourselves are such) who realize that our Government is very bad, and who struggle against it." (From : "A Letter to Russian Liberals," by Leo Tolstoy, Au....)
• "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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Chapter 18


“Well, how are things? Have you already got settled among us?” Kraut asked Volodya.... “Excuse me, what is your name and patronymic? that's the custom with us in the artillery, you know. Have you got hold of a saddle-horse?”

“No,” said Volodya; “I do not know what to do. I told the captain that I had no horse, and no money, either, until I get some for forage and traveling expenses. I want to ask the battery commander for a horse in the meantime, but I am afraid that he will refuse me.”

“Apollon Sergiéitch, do you mean?” he produced with his lips a sound indicative of the strongest doubt, and glanced at the captain; “not likely.”

“What's that? If he does refuse, there'll be no harm done,” said the captain. “There are horses, to tell the truth, which are not needed, but still one might try; I will inquire to-day.”

“What! Don't you know him?” Dyadenko interpolated.[Pg 212] “He might refuse anything, but there is no reason for refusing this. Do you want to bet on it?...”

“Well, of course, everybody knows already that you always contradict.”

“I contradict because I know. He is niggardly about other things, but he will give the horse because it is no advantage to him to refuse.”

“No advantage, indeed, when it costs him eight rubles here for oats!” said Kraut. “Is there no advantage in not keeping an extra horse?”

“Ask Skvoretz yourself, Vladímir Semyónitch!” said Vlang, returning with Kraut's pipe. “It's a capital horse.”

“The one you tumbled into the ditch with, on the festival of the forty martyrs, in March? Hey! Vlang?” remarked the staff-captain.

“No, and why should you say that it costs eight rubles for oats,” pursued Dyadenko, “when his own inquiries show him that it is ten and a half; of course, he has no object in it.”

[Pg 213]

“Just as though he would have nothing left! So when you get to be battery commander, you won't let any horses go into the town?”

“When I get to be battery commander, my dear fellow, my horses will get four measures of oats to eat, and I shall not accumulate an income, never fear!”

“If we live, we shall see,” said the staff-captain; “and you will act just so, and so will he when he commands a battery,” he added, pointing at Volodya.

“Why do you think, Friedrich Krestyanitch, that he would turn it to his profit?” broke in Tchernovitzky. “Perhaps he has property of his own; then why should he turn it to profit?”

“No, sir, I ... excuse me, captain,” said Volodya, reddening up to his ears, “that strikes me as insulting.”

“Oh ho, ho! What a madcap he is!” said Kraut.

“That has nothing to do with it; I only think that if the money were not mine, I should not take it.”

“Now, I'll tell you something right here, young man,” began the staff-captain in a more serious tone,[Pg 214] “you are to understand that when you command a battery, if you manage things well, that's sufficient; the commander of a battery does not meddle with provisioning the soldiers; that is the way it has been from time immemorial in the artillery. If you are a bad manager, you will have nothing left. Now, these are the expenditures in conformity with your position: for shoeing your horse,—one (he closed one finger); for the apothecary,—two (he closed another finger); for office work,—three (he shut a third); for extra horses, which cost five hundred rubles, my dear fellow,—that's four; you must change the soldiers' collars, you will use a great deal of coal, you must keep open table for your officers. If you are a battery-commander, you must live decently; you need a carriage, and a fur coat, and this thing and that thing, and a dozen more ... but what's the use of enumerating them all!”

“But this is the principal thing, Vladímir Semyónitch,” interpolated the captain, who had held his peace all this time; “imagine yourself to be a man who, like myself, for instance, has served twenty years, first for two hundred, then for three hundred rubles pay; why should he not be given at least a bit of bread, against his old age?”

“Eh! yes, there you have it!” spoke up the staff-captain again,[Pg 215] “don't be in a hurry to pronounce judgment, but live on and serve your time.”

Volodya was horribly ashamed and sorry for having spoken so thoughtlessly, and he muttered something and continued to listen in silence, when Dyadenko undertook, with the greatest zeal, to dispute it and to prove the contrary.

The dispute was interrupted by the arrival of the colonel's servant, who summoned them to dinner.

“Tell Apollon Sergiéitch that he must give us some wine to-day,” said Tchernovitzky, to the captain, as he buttoned up his uniform.—“Why is he so stingy with it? He will be killed, and no one will get the good of it.”

“Tell him yourself.”

[Pg 216]

“Not a bit of it. You are my superior officer. Rank must be regarded in all things.”

From :


November 30, 1887 :
Chapter 18 -- Publication.

February 18, 2017 17:33:09 :
Chapter 18 -- Added to

May 28, 2017 15:35:44 :
Chapter 18 -- Last Updated on


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