I was at a banquet in honor of the Finns. And, my God, the Homeric chaos that poured out of this banquet made everything that I had seen in Petersburg seem meaningful and harmonious! Everyone there were "the cream of the Russian intelligentsia," that is, famous artists, actors, writers, public figures, ministers, deputies and one high foreign dignitary, namely the Ambassador of France. But Mayakovsky outshined them all. I was eating dinner with Gorky and the Finnish artist Gallen.
And Mayakovsky suddenly began coming up to us, pushed a chair between us and began to eat from our plates and drink from our glasses. Gallen’s eyes popped out of their sockets as if he were looking at a horse that had been led into the banquet room. Gorky laughed. I moved aside.
"Do you hate me that much?" Mayakovsky cheerfully asked me.
I said no that "would have been too much of an honor for you!" He opened his trough-like mouth to say something else, but then he rose for the official toast Miliukov, our current foreign minister, was about to give. Mayakovsky rushed over to him right to the middle of the table. And then he jumped up on a chair and yelled something so obscene that Miliukov was taken aback. A second later, after recovering, he again proclaimed: "Gentlemen!" But Mayakovsky yelled louder than ever. And Miliukov threw up his hands and sat down. But then the French ambassador stood up. Obviously, he was quite sure that the Russian hooligan would back down to him. How wrong he was! Mayakovsky immediately drowned him out with an even more savage roar. Moreover, a wild and senseless frenzy immediately erupted in the hall: Mayakovsky's associates also shouted and began to stamp the floor with their boots and pound their fists on the table, and began to laugh, howl, shriek, and grunt. And suddenly a Finnish artist, who looked like a shaved walrus, drowned out everyone else with a truly tragic cry. Already drunk and deathly pale, he, apparently shaken to the depths of his soul by this excess of piggishness, with all his strength and literally with tears in his eyes, began to shout one of the few Russian words he knew:
“It’s too much! Too-o much! Too-o-o much!”
Ex oriente luxЛат. — «Свет приходит с Востока». Парафраза евангельского повествования о рождении Иисуса (Евангелие от Матфея, 2.1). — who would have thought it! The future is hazy as never before, but it’s not at all hopeless; meanwhile, the impact of these eventsSpeech about the abdication of Nicholas II on people’s minds is beyond any doubt.
Following the abdication, the situation in Petrograd has become outwardly calmer; life pursues its wonted course once more. The shooting has stopped and the fires blaze no longer. The streets, now completely empty of police, are again full of traffic, and order hasn’t been disrupted. But people have completely ceased to work: they’re preoccupied with matters more pressing.
The second day of the holiday saw the grand opening of the Finnish Exhibition, which assumed the character of a political celebration occasioned by the granting of freedom to Finland. Speeches were made by Milyukov and Gorky. I was on the Committee of Honour – and took pride in my involvement, for the Committee was studded with some of the finest names from the worlds of art and politics. See more
The exhibition itself proved boring and monotonous; there wasn’t a single lively subject in evidence, nor a single vivid colour, as if everything had been painted on a grey day. To encounter so much as a fleck of red in a painting was a joy in its own right. The dinner held at the Donon restaurant after the opening of the exhibition was punctuated by endless speeches in several languages. One Finnish sculptor urged the Russian artists to join hands with their Finnish counterparts, and then, hand in hand, «nous épaterons le mondeМы удивим мир».
We were all firmly convinced that Miliukov and Lvov would arrest us upon our arrival in Petrograd. Vladimir Ilyich was most certain of that. And he prepared the whole group of comrades who were accompanying him for this . . . The platform of the Finland Station in Petrograd. It's already night. Only now do we understand our friends’ cryptic smiles. Vladimir Ilyich is not awaiting arrest, but triumph. The station and the adjacent square are awash with floodlights. A long chain of armed guards are on the platform. The station, the square and the adjoining streets are crowded with tens of thousands of workers rapturously greeting their leader. The International is thundering. Tens of thousands of workers and soldiers burn with enthusiasm. See more
Within a few seconds Vladimir Ilyich "reforms the ranks." Chkheidze as the head of a whole delegation from the Soviet personally waits for of Vladimir Ilyich in the so-called Imperial Room. On behalf of "revolutionary democracy," the fox Chkheidze greets Vladimir Ilyich, and "expresses hope," etc. Without blinking an eye, Vladimir Ilyich responds with a short speech, which from beginning to end cracks like a whip in the face of the venerable "revolutionary democracy." The speech ends with a cry: "Long live the socialist revolution!”
I asked the three socialist deputies to come and see me this morning and pointed out to them the danger of the far too conciliatory statements in which one of them indulged at the meeting of the Soviet yesterday. Cachin replied: See more
"I said what I did because, honestly and truly, no other course was open to me. Instead of being received as friends we were put through a regular cross-examination, and in such a tone that I could see the moment coming When we should be obliged to retire."
Before returning to the Tauride Palace to-day they have promised to withdraw as much as they can of yesterday's concessions.
When I went to the Ministry for Foreign Affairs this morning, Miliukov immediately mentioned these most unfortunate concessions:
"How can you expect me," he said, "to resist the demands of our Maximalists when the French socialists themselves abandon the struggle?"
It was a wonderful spring day. At 11 o'clock, I went with Tatiana and Anastasia to Mass. After breakfast I went walking with them and all during that time the ice was breaking up near our summer dock; a crowd of idlers again collected at the railings and from the beginning to the end observed us. The sun was shining warmly. During the evening I played f'Mill" with Alexis and then read aloud to Tatiana.