I keep recalling those memorable days and nights. A cold, starry night. The smell of freshly mown hay. A cloud of smoke from the little bonfire where we brewed tea in a big kettle. Strolling with Vladimir Ilyich.
At first, Ilyich is silent, and at times downcast. Later he cheers up, sketching out great ideas from future great works, recalling the past, and depicting the future in bold colours. The day comes to an end, and we lie down in our little shelter. It’s cold. We cover ourselves with an old blanket. The blanket is too narrow, so each of us tries, surreptitiously, to pull the larger part of it over the other, and leave less for ourselves. Ilyich mentions that he is wearing a padded jacket, and so can do easily without a blanket. Sometimes I lie for a long time, unable to get to sleep. In the absolute silence, I can hear Ilyich’s heart beating... We sleep pressed close together. Even now, ten years later, the smell of hay and the smoke from a bonfire often bring to mind that time, and I will feel a stab of pain in my heart, as if it were pierced by a needle. Why is Ilyich no longer with us? Everything could have been different...No matter what, Ilyich’s cause will triumph.
I spent the morning in the garden, where I met with some officers. All of them were mad with rage and spoke openly of restoring the monarchy in the person of Aleksey Nikolaevich. I advised them to be careful with their tongues.
A little after 9 we left the Tura and entered the Tobol. We stopped twice to take on food and fuel. On one of these occasions the children went for a walk in the woods. I rose at around 3 as my cabin was very hot. After 6 we arrived at Tobolsk-on-Irtish. See more
We unloaded our things. The house was empty, dirty, and entirely unprepared for us to stay the night. We are once again on the boat, waiting for them to prepare our house and the other buildings.
We navigated toward the Tobol. I got up late because I did not sleep very well with all the pounding and stopping. During the night we went from the Tura to the Tobol. See more
The river was wider and the banks were higher. The morning was fresh and during the day it got quite warm when the sun came out. I forgot to mention that yesterday before dinner we passed by the village of Pokrovskoe, the home of Gregory [Rasputin]. All day we walked and sat on the deck. At 6:30 we came to Tobolsk, although we could only see it for fifteen minutes. On the bank many people were standing; that must mean that they knew about our arrival. I remember the view over the houses and churches on the mountain. As soon as the ship had put into shore, we began to unload our baggage. Valya, the commissar, and the commander started off to examine the house which was our destination and the accomodations. On their return we learned for the first time that our lodgings were empty, without any furniture, dirty; and that we could not move in. Therefore, we had to wait back on the ship for them to bring in the necessary baggage for sleeping. We ate a little and joked about the strange inability of the people to arrange even our lodging and went to sleep early.
Someone sent us flowers in prison, and Semyon racked his brains until evening, losing himself in romantic speculation. And the next day, Roshal and I were summoned to the prison guard office, where a girl from some organization like the political Red Cross was waiting for us. See more
After introducing herself as the anarchist Yekaterina Smirnova, she handed us an entire mound of black bread and said that she had been trying to meet us since yesterday, but hadn’t received a pass. The secret of the mysterious bouquet revealed itself.
One of the first questions Smirnov bombarded us with was about provisions:
"Would you like some oranges?" I can bring you some.
“Why so?” we replied. "All giving is good in prison."
"But I have special oranges," Smirnova said mysteriously, looking at me with her bright, almost colorless eyes.
We were without a doubt talking about bombs. But since we didn’t prepare for an escape, we certainly didn’t need black “oranges.” I had to thank and refuse the kind offer of "fruit". Smirnova was sincerely disappointed. In her eyes, this proposal was so natural, and the refusal was incomprehensible.
I have a cellmate. An American woman. A dancer. Suspected of espionage. She's a noisy, demanding person. She "fights" with the prison guards via a translator. She brings "prison inspection" upon herself. See more
"She's very dissatisfied with the food", the supervisors report. "She also demands that they take her to big room every day, so that she can stretch her legs - she says that without practice her legs will get stiff and she won't be able to dance. And in the cell, no matter when you drop in, she's standing on one leg, or doing somersaults...
Her supervisors don't approve, although they're very taken with her silk underwear.