A Morning of a Landed Proprietor

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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.)
• "...the dissemination of the truth in a society based on coercion was always hindered in one and the same manner, namely, those in power, feeling that the recognition of this truth would undermine their position, consciously or sometimes unconsciously perverted it by explanations and additions quite foreign to it, and also opposed it by open violence." (From : "A Letter to a Hindu: The Subjection of India- Its....)
• "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....)
• "People who take part in Government, or work under its direction, may deceive themselves or their sympathizers by making a show of struggling; but those against whom they struggle (the Government) know quite well, by the strength of the resistance experienced, that these people are not really pulling, but are only pretending to." (From : "A Letter to Russian Liberals," by Leo Tolstoy, Au....)

(1862 - 1939)
Leo Wiener was an American historian, linguist, author and translator. Wiener was born in Białystok (then in the Russian Empire), of Polish-Jewish origin. His father was Zalmen (Solomon) Wiener, and his mother was Frejda Rabinowicz. He studied at the University of Warsaw in 1880, and then at the Friedrich Wilhelm University in Berlin. Wiener later declared, "Having 'for many years been a member of the Unitarian Church,' and having 'preached absolute amalgamation with the Gentile surroundings', [I] 'never allied with the Jewish Church or with Jews as such." Wiener left Europe with the plan of founding a vegetarian commune in British Honduras (now Belize). He sailed steerage to New Orleans. On his arrival, in 1880, he had no money. After travel and work around the US, he went to Kansas City, Missouri, and became a lecturer in the department of Germanic and Romance languages at the University of Kansas. He was a polyglot, and was reputed to speak thirty la... (From : Wikipedia.org.)


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Prince Nekhlyudov was nineteen years old when he came from the Third Course of the university to pass his vacation on his estate, and remained there by himself all summer. In the autumn he wrote in his unformed childish hand to his aunt, Countess Byeloryetski, who, in his opinion, was his best friend and the most brilliant woman in the world. The letter was in French, and ran as follows : " Dear Auntie : — I have made a resolution on which the fate of my whole life must depend. I will leave the university in order to devote myself to country life, because I feel that I was born for it. For God's sake, dear auntie, do not laugh at me! You will say that I am young ; and, indeed, I may still be a child, but this does not prevent me from feeling what my calling is, and from wishing to do good, and loving it. " As I have written you before, I found affairs in an indescribable disorder. Wishing to straighten them out, and... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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The young proprietor, as he wrote to his aunt, had formed rules of action for his estate, and all his life and occupations were scheduled by hours, days, and months. Sunday was appointed for the reception of petitioners, domestic and manorial serfs, for the inspection of the farms of the needy peasants, and for the distribution of supplies with the consent of the Commune, which met every Sunday evening, and was to decide what aid each was to receive. More than a year passed in these occu- pations, and the young man was not entirely a novice, either in the practical or in the theoretical knowledge of farming. It was a clear June Sunday when Nekhlyudov, after drinking his coffee, and running through a chapter of " Maison Eustique," with a note-book and a package of bills in the pocket of his light overcoat, walked out of the large, columnated, and terraced country-house, in which he occupied a small room on the lower story, and directed his... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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Nekhlyudov walked into the hut. The uneven, grimy walls were in the kitchen corner covered with all kinds of rags and clothes, while the corner of honor was literally red with cockroaches that swarmed about the images and benches. In the middle of this black, ill-smelling, eighteen-foot hut there was a large crack in the ceiling, and although supports were put in two places, the ceiling was so bent that it threatened to fall down any minute. " Yes, the hut is in a very bad shape," said the master, gazing at the face of Churis, who, it seemed, did not wish to begin a conversation about this matter. " It will kill us, and the children, too," the old woman kept saying, in a tearful voice, leaning against the oven under the hanging beds. " Don't talk ! " sternly spoke Churis, and, turning to the master, with a light, barely perceptible smile, which had formed itself under his quivering mustache, he said : " I am at a loss,... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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The young proprietor evidently wanted to ask the peasant people something else; he did not rise from the bench, and with indecision looked now at Churis, and now into the empty, cold oven. " Have you had your dinner ? " he finally asked them. Under Churis's mustache played a sarcastic smile, as though it amused him to hear the master ask such foolish questions ; he did not answer. " What dinner, benefactor ? " said the old woman, with a deep sigh. " We have eaten some bread. That was our dinner. There was no time to-day to go for some sorrel, and so there was nothing to make soup with, and what kvas there was I gave to the children." " To-day we have a hunger fast, your Grace," Churis chimed in, glossing his wife's words. " Bread and onions, — such is our peasant food. Thank the Lord I have some little bread ; by your favor it has lasted until now ; but the rest of our peasants have not eve... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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" There is something else I wanted to tell you," said Nekhlyudov. "Why has not your manure been removed ? " " What manure is there to take away, your Grace ? How many animals have I ? A little mare and a colt, and the young heifer I gave last autumn to the porter ; that is all the animals I have." "You have so few animals, and yet you gave your heifer away ? " the master asked, in amazement. " What was I to feed her on ? " " Have you not enough straw to feed a cow with ? Everybody else has." " Others have manured land, and my land is mere clay that you can't do anything with." " But that is what your manure is for, to take away the clay : and the soil will produce grain, and you will have something to feed your animals with." " But if there are no animals, where is the manure to come from ? " " This is a strange cercle vicieux" thought Nekhlyudov,... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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" YuKHVANKA the Shrewd wants to sell a horse," Nekhlyiidov read in his note-book, and crossed the street. Yukhvanka's hut was carefully thatched with straw from the manorial barn, and was constructed of fresh, light gray aspen timbers (also from the manorial forest), with two shutters painted red, and a porch with a roof, and a quaint shingle balustrade of an artistic design. The vestibule and the " cold " hut were also in proper condition ; but the general aspect of sufficiency and well-being, which this collection of buildings had, was somewhat impaired by the outhouse which leaned against the gate, with its unfinished wicker fence and open thatch which could be seen from behind it. At the same time that Nekhlyudov was approaching the porch from one side, two peasant women came from the other with a full tub. One of them was the wife, the other the mother of Yukhvanka the Shrewd. The first was a plump, red-cheeked woman, with an unusually... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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Having almost collided with the master, the young woman deftly put down the tub, looked abashed, made a bow, glanced timidly at the master with her sparkling eyes, and trying with the sleeve of her embroidered shirt to conceal a light smile, and tripping in her leather shoes, ran up the steps. " Mother, take the yoke to Aunt Nastasya," she said, stopping in the door and turning to the old woman. The modest young proprietor looked sternly, but attentively, at the ruddy woman, frowned, and turned to the old woman, who straightened out the yoke with her crooked fingers, and, slinging it over her shoulder, obediently directed her steps to the neighboring hut. " Is your son at home ? " asked the master. The old woman bent her arched figure still more, bowed, and was about to say something, but she put her hands to her mouth and coughed so convulsively that Nekhlyudov did not wait for the answer, and walked into the hut. (From : Wikisource.org.)

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" Come, show me your horses ! Are they in the yard ? " " Yes, 'r Grace. I have done as I have been ordered to, 'r Grace. Would we dare to disobey 'r Grace ? Yakov Alpatych commanded me not to let the horses out to pasture for the next day, as the prince wanted to inspect them, so we did not let them out. We do not dare disobey 'r Grace." As Nekhlyudov walked out of the door, Yukhvanka got the pipe down from the beds, and threw it behind the oven. His lips quivered just as restlessly, though the master was not looking at him. A lean gray mare was rummaging through some musty hay under the shed ; a two-months-old, long-legged colt of an indefinable color, with bluish feet and mouth, did not leave her mother's thin tail that was all stuck up with burrs. In the middle of the yard stood, blinking and pensively lowering his head, a thick-bellied chestnut gelding, apparently a good peasant horse. " Are these... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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" Davydka the White asked for grain and posts," it said in the note-book after Yukhvanka. After passing several huts, Nekhlyudov, in turning into a lane, met his steward, Yakov Alpatych, who, upon noticing his master at a distance, doffed his oilcloth cap, and, taking out his fulled handkerchief, began to wipe his fat, red face. " Put it on, Yakov ! Yakov, put it on, I tell you — " " Where have you been, your Grace ? " asked Yakov, protecting himself with his cap against the sun, but not donning it. " I have been at Yukhvanka the Shrewd' s. Tell me, if you please, what has made him so bad," said the master, continuing on his way. " Why so, your Grace ? " replied the manager, following the master at a respectful distance. He had put on his cap and was twirling his mustache. " Why ? He is a thorough scamp, a lazy man, a thief, a liar ; he torments his mother, and, so far as I... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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Just then the head of a peasant woman carrying linen on a yoke flashed by the window, and a minute later Davydka's mother entered the hut. She was a tall woman of about fifty years, and was well preserved and active. Her pockmarked and wrinkled face was not handsome, but her straight, firm nose, her compressed thin lips, and her keen gray eyes expressed intelligence and energy. The angularity of her shoulders, the flatness of her bosom, the bony state of her hands, and the well- developed muscles on her black bare feet witnessed to the fact that she had long ceased to be a woman, and was only a laborer. She entered boldly into the room, closed the door, pulled down her skirt, and angrily looked at her son. Nekhlyudov wanted to tell her something, but she turned away from him, and began to make the signs of the cross before a black wooden image that peered out from behind the loom. Having finished her devotion, she straightened out her dirt... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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" What, died ? " Nekhlyudov asked, incredulously. " She died from exertion, benefactor, as God is holy. We took her two years ago from Baburin," she continued, suddenly changing her angry expression to one of tearfulness and sadness. " She was a young, healthy, obedient woman, father. She had lived, as a maiden, in plenty, at her father's home, and had experienced no want ; but when she came to us, and had to do the work, — in the manor and at home, and everywhere — She and I, that was all there was. To me it did not matter much. I am used to it, but she was pregnant, and began to suffer ; and she worked all the while beyond her strength, until she, my dear girl, overworked herself. Last year, during St. Peter's Fast, she, to her misfortune, bore a boy, and there was no bread ; we barely managed to pick up something, father ; the hard work was on hand, and her breasts dried up. It was her first-born, there wa... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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" о MY orphanhood ! " said Arina, drawing a deep breath. She stopped, and angrily looked at her son. Davydka immediately wheeled around and, with difficulty lifting his fat leg, in an immense dirty bast shoe, over the threshold, was lost in the opposite door. " What am I going to do with him, father ? " continued Arina, turning to the master. " You see yourself what he is ! He is not a bad peasant : he does not drink, is peace- ful, and would not harm a child, — it would be a sin to say otherwise ; there is nothing bad about him, and God only knows what it is that has befallen him that he has become his own enemy. He himself is not satisfied with it. Really, father, it makes my heart bleed when I see how he worries about it himself. Such as he is, my womb has borne him ; I am sorry, very sorry for him ! He would do no harm to me, or his father, or the authorities ; he is a timid man,... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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"I WILL do so," Nekhlyiidov said to himself with cheerful self-satisfaction, and, recalling that he had to visit yet the rich peasant, Dutlov, he directed his steps to a tall and spacious building, with two chimneys, which stood in the middle of the village. As he was getting near it, he met, near the neighboring hut, a tall, slatternly woman, of some forty years of age, who came out to see him. " A pleasant holiday, sir," the woman said, without the least timidity, stopping near him, smiling pleasantly, and bowing. " Good morning, nurse," he answered. " How are you getting on ? I am going to see your neighbor." " Yes, your Grace, that is good. But why do you not deign to call on us ? My old man would be ever so happy to see you." " Well, I will come in, to talk with you, nurse. Is this your hut ? " " Yes, sir." And the nurse ran ahead. Nekhlyudov walked after her into the vestibule, sa... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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" Had I not better go home ? " thought Nekhlyudov, walking up to Dutlov's gate, and feeling an indefinable melancholy and moral fatigue. Just then the new plank gate opened before him with a creak, and a fine-looking, ruddy, light-complexioned lad, of about eighteen years of age, in driver's attire, appeared in the gateway, leading behind him a set of three stout- legged, sweaty, shaggy horses ; boldly shaking his flaxen hair, he bowed to the master. " Is your father at home, Пуа ? " asked Nekhlyudov. " He is with the bees, back of the yard," answered the lad, leading one horse after another through the half-open gate. " No, I will stick to my determination ; I will make the proposition to him, and will do my part," thought Nekhlyudov, and, letting the horses pass by, he went into Dutlov's spacious yard. He could see that the manure had lately been removed : the earth was still... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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NEKHLYUDOV bent his head, and passed through the low gate underneath the shady shed to the apiary, which was back of the yard. The small space, surrounded by straw and a wicker fence which admitted the sunlight, where stood symmetrically arranged the beehives, covered with small boards, and surrounded by golden bees circling noisilу about them, was all bathed in the hot, brilliant rays of the June sun. A well-trodden path led from the gate through the middle of the apiary to a wooden-roofed cross with a brass-foil image upon it, which shone glaringly in the sun. A few stately linden-trees, which towered with their curly tops above the straw thatch of the neighboring yard, rustled their fresh dark green foliage almost inaudibly, on account of the buzzing of the bees. All the shadows from the roofed fence, from the lindens, and from the beehives that were covered with boards, fell black and short upon the small, wiry grass that sprouted betw... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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" I WANTED to ask your Grace about my children," said the old man, accidentally or purposely paying no attention to the master's angry look. " What ? " " Thank the Lord, we are well off for horses, and we have a hired man, so there will be no trouble about the manorial dues." " What of it ? " " If you would be kind enough to let my sons substitute money payment for their manorial labor, Ilyushka and Ignat would take out three troykas to do some teaming all summer. They may be able to earn something." " Where will they go ? " " Wherever it may be," replied Ilyushka, who had in the meantime tied the horses under the shed, and had come up to his father. " The Kadma boys took eight troykas out to Eomen, and they made a good living, and brought back home thirty rubles for each troyka ; and they say fodder is cheap in Odessa." " It is precisely this that I wanted to talk to you abou... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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When they entered the hut, the old man bowed again, wiped off the bench in the front corner with the flap of his coat, and, smiling, asked : " What may we serve to you, your Grace ? " The hut was white (with a chimney), spacious, and had both hanging and bench beds. The fresh aspen-wood beams, between which the moss-caulking had just begun to fade, had not yet turned black ; the new benches and beds had not yet become smooth, and the floor was not yet stamped down. A young, haggard peasant woman, with an oval, pensive face, Ilya's wife, was sitting on the bench-bed, and rocking with her foot a cradle that hung down from the ceiling by a long pole. In the cradle a suckling babe lay stretched out, and slept, barely breathing, and closing its eyes. Another, a plump, red-cheeked woman, Karp's wife, stood, with her sunburnt arms bared above the elbows, near the oven, and cut onions into a wooden bowl. A third, a pockm... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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" My God ! My God ! " thought Nekhlyudov, making his way with long strides to the house through the shady avenues of the weed-grown garden, and absent-mindedly tearing off leaves and branches on his way. " Is it possible all my dreams of the aims and duties of my life have been absurd ? Why do I feel so oppressed and melancholy, as though I were dissatisfied with myself, whereas I had imagined that the moment I entered on the path, I would continually experience that fullness of a morally satisfied feeling which I had experienced when these thoughts came to me for the first time ? " He transferred himself, in imagination, with extraordinary vividness and clearness, a year back, to that blissful moment. He had risen early in the morning before everybody in the house, painfully agitated by some secret, inexpressible impulses of youth ; had aimlessly walked into the garden, thence into the forest ; and, amid the... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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" Where are these dreams ? " now thought the youth, as he approached his house after his visits. " It is now more than a year that I have been seeking happiness upon this road, and what have I found ? It is true, at times I feel that I might be satisfied with myself, but it is a kind of dry, mental satisfaction. Yes and no, I am simply dissatisfied with myself ! I am dissatisfied because I have found no happiness here, and yet I wish, I passionately wish for happiness. I have not experienced enjoyment, and have already cut off from me everything which gives it. Why ? For what ? Who has been better off for it ? My aunt was right when she said that it is easier to find happiness than to give it to others. " Have my peasants grown richer ? Have they been morally educated and developed ? Not in the least. They are not better off, but I feel worse with every day. If I only saw any success in my undertaking, if... (From : Wikisource.org.)

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In the small room which Nekhlyudov occupied, stood an old leather divan studded with brass nails, several chairs of the same description, an open antiquated card- table, with incrustations, indentations, and a brass rim, on which lay papers, and an antiquated, yellow, open English grand, with worn, narrow keys. Between the windows hung a large mirror in an old gilt carved frame. On the floor, near the table, lay stacks of papers, books, and accounts. The room bore altogether a disorderly aspect, and was devoid of character; and this living disorder formed a sharp contrast to the affected, old- fashioned, aristocratic arrangement of the other rooms of the large house. Upon entering the room Nekhlyudov angrily threw his hat upon the table, and sat down on a chair which stood in front of the grand, and crossed his legs and dropped his head. " Well, will you have your breakfast, your Grace ? " said, upon entering the room, a tall,... (From : Wikisource.org.)


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A Morning of a Landed Proprietor -- Publication.

June 14, 2021 ; 5:01:58 PM (America/Los_Angeles) :
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