The melting snow on Ivanovskaya Street has turned into thick, dirty slush. As usual, I left the house about eleven and hailed a cab. Up drove up “Vanka”, an old man with a grey, matted beard who looks as if he is grown over with moss.
We had just agreed on the price and he was about to open the sledge for me when from the left, from the direction of Razyezzhaya Street, three characters came striding up to us dressed in leather, half-educated types by the look of them (clearly they were workers). They came up and proceeded to cut through the reins right next to the horse’s nose with a large pair of shears (the kind used to prune trees). They did this without a word.
My driver, also without saying a word, but with a meaningful glance at the strikers, got out of the sledge, pulling his long heavy coat after him, stood in the road next to the sledge and sank to his knees. Then he took off his fur hat, made the sign of the cross with an elaborate flourish, and bent his forehead to the ground, right into the slush. Straightening up again, but still on his knees, he intoned, in an unexpectedly loud and sonorous voice, given his wretched appearance:
“Thank you brothers! It has begun. God have mercy!”
And then, without a glance at any of us, he trotted away on his horse. And I went home.
I felt very clearly that “it” really has “begun”, and that it will not end well.
How important the South is to me! Every day I experience the festival and celebration of meeting with the sea. My heart is gladdened at the sight of every flower and every branch. Why, here we have had raspberries in December, and violets all year round; the mimosa has only just finished flowering, while the almonds and azaleas have just come out in flower, and now, all of a sudden, we are snowed under.
From whatever point of view the Russian be regarded, whether political, intellectual, moral or religious, he always presents the paradoxicaI spectacle of extreme docility combined with a spirit of revolt which is very strongly marked. See more
The moujik is famed for his endurance and fatalism, his gentleness and meekness; his tenderness and resignation often border on the sublime. But all at once you will see him assert himself and rebel. His blind rage immediately impels him to the most shocking crimes, ferocious acts of vengeance and paroxysms of wickedness and savagery.
There is the same contrast in the religious sphere. All who study the history and theology of the Russian Orthodox Church, "the True Church of Christ," realize that its essential characteristics are its conservative instincts, the immutable rigidity of its creed, reverence for canon law, the importance of forms and rites, routine devotions, sumptuous ceremonial, an imposing hierarchy and humble, blind submission on the part of the faithful. By way of contrast, the great sect of the Raskol which separated from the official Church in the XVIIth century and has no less than eleven million adherents, shows us the abolition of priesthood, a primitive rough-and-ready form of worship and a negative and subversive radicalism. The innumerable sects which the Raskol produced in its turn, sects such as the Khlisty, Dukhobors, Stranniky, Pomortsi, Duchitely, Molokanes and Skoptzy, have gone very much further. With them there is no limit to individualism, no organization or discipline, unbridled licence, all the freaks and aberrations of religious emotion; in fact absolute anarchy.
These two sides of the Russian nature appear equally well in the sphere of morals and private life. I know no country where the social fact is so impregnated with the spirit of tradition and religion; domestic life so solemn, patriarchal, inspired by so much tenderness and affection, enveloped in so much poetry and reverence. Nowhere are family duties and responsibilities accepted more readily; the irksomeness and privations, distresses and adversities of daily life borne with more patience.
On the other hand, in no other country are individual revolts more frequent and sudden, and nowhere do they create such a sensation. On this point the records of crimes of passion and fashionable scandals abound in startling examples. There is no excess of which Russians, whether men or women, are not capable, the moment they have decided to "assert themselves as free beings."
Russia, which Is under rather a sinister influence of the planets. will turn to the UnIted States for supplIes and Immense contracts are possIble, but warning Is gIven that graft and double- dealIng are IndIcated. ShIppIng troubles more serious than any that have been experienced are prophesied for England. Persons whose birthdate It Is have the augury of a successful year. Change and travel that wIll be lucky are probable, Children born on thIs day are lIkely to be bright and industrious. These subjects of Pisces usually prosper in whatever they undertake. Neptune Is theIr principal ruling planet.
We have an enemy, gentlemen, that is much more dangerous than German agents, or betrayal and the treachery of isolated figures. It is our system, our system of unaccountable despotism, our system of medieval ideas about the state, ideas not of the state not as a modern European entity, but as a dominion, in which there is only the ruler and his slaves.
Your Majesty, at the grave hour of when the country faced imminent death, your ancestor did not hesitate to entrust power to a person with the public’s confidence. The country was saved, and the name of the Emperor Alexander I was not only written in golden letters on the pages of Russian history, but also world history. With all the fervor we can muster, knowing that patriotic duty rests on us all, we beseech you, Your Majesty, to follow your noble’s ancestor’s example. The midnight hour is upon us, and we’re almost at the point where any appeal to the people’s reason will be too late and useless.
Tomorrow riots are expected. Lord, may this all be over as soon as possible.
My salvation, my only salvation, is art. I'm still an amateur, but I will become professional. If there’s a magazine [willing to take me on], I’ll work a great deal for it.
I’ve suddenly come down with a heavy cold.