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Title: Russian Portraits
Author: Sheridan, Clare
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                           RUSSIAN PORTRAITS


                            _Bertram Park._


                     _Frontispiece_      _p. 184._]


                           BY CLARE SHERIDAN

                       [Illustration: colophon]

                             JONATHAN CAPE
                    11 GOWER STREET, LONDON, W.C.1



CLARE SHERIDAN                                             _Frontispiece_

“VICTORY, 1918”                                                       13

KRASSIN (_bust_)                                                      21

KAMENEFF (_bust_)                                                     24

LITVINOFF AND HIS SON MISHA AT KRISTIANIA                             49

BRIDGE BLOWN UP BY YUDENITCH                                          60




BIG BELL, KREMLIN                                                     70

COLONNADES OF THE ALEXANDER MEMORIAL                                  71

SERGE TROTSKY AND ALEXANDRE KAMENEFF                                  74

BRONZE EAGLE AT THE MUSÉE ALEXANDRE III.                              76

BIG GUN AT THE KREMLIN                                                78

ROTHSTEIN                                                             81

ST. SAVIOUR’S                                                         83

ZINOVIEV (_bust_)                                                     85

DZHIRJINSKY (_bust_)                                                  88

MARGARET AND RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN                                90

CHURCH OF ST. BASIL                                                   92

SPASSKY ENTRANCE TO THE KREMLIN                                      113

LENIN (_from a photograph_)                                          118

LENIN (_bust_)                                                       119

TROTSKY (_from a drawing_)                                           124

NICHOLAS ANDREV                                                      129

TROTSKY AT THE FRONT                                                 140

TROTSKY (_bust_)                                                     143

SENTRY OUTSIDE THE GUEST-HOUSE                                       158

LITVINOFF AT MOSCOW                                                  181

STATUE OF DOSTOIEVSKY                                                182

STATUE, “THE THINKER”                                                183

THE SUKHAREFSKI MARKET                                               184


_It is with deep apology that I venture to swell the ranks of those
people who write their little books after their little visits to

_In defence I can only say that this was not written for publication. I
have always kept a diary, in monotonous as in eventful days. In
publishing a record of my stay in Moscow I am submitting to pressure
without which I would not venture upon such a line. Mine is not the
business of writing, nor are politics my concern: I went to Moscow where
some portrait work was offered me._

_There are people in England who are indignant at my doing Lenin and
Trotsky. There were people in Moscow who were horrified because I had
done Churchill, and expressed a desire to do d’Annunzio, but as a
portraitist I have nothing to do with politics; it is humanity that
interests me, humanity with its force and its weakness, its ambitions
and fears, its honesty and lack of scruples, its perfection and

_There are of course people who are pleasanter to work for than others,
people in whose environment one feels happier and more at ease._

_In this diary are written freely the impressions of a guest among
people who have been much talked about._

_From this point of view, and without any political pretentions, I offer
it to whomsoever it may interest._


AUGUST 14TH, 1920. _London._

According to Mr. Fisher’s instructions, I called on Mr. M--at his office
at 10.30 and introduced myself.

He took me in a taxi to Bond Street to the office of Messrs. Kameneff
and Krassin. We waited for about twenty minutes in an anti-chamber, and
I had a certain melodramatic feeling. Here was I, at all events, in the
outer den of these wild beasts who have been represented as ready to
spring upon us and devour us! This movement that has caused
consternation to the world, and these people so utterly removed from my
environment, these myths of what seemed almost a great legend, I was now
quite close to. Meanwhile the clerks in the office occupied my
attention, they interested me as types, and I wondered about them, about
exactly _what_ in their lives had made them into Bolsheviks, and what
sort of mentality it was, and whether the scheme which they upheld was a
workable concern.

At the same time Mr. M--put me straight on a few points, and all the
inaccuracies about Bolshevism that people like myself have gleaned, so
that I was fairly prepared and protected against appearing too ignorant
and foolish.

At last the word came and we were ushered into the office of Mr.
Kameneff who received me amiably and smilingly. We started off almost
immediately, in French, and discussed the subject of his being willing
to sit to me. I then asked him if a Soviet Government had obliterated
Art in Russia. He looked at me for a moment in astonishment, and then
said: “_Mais non!_ Artists are the most privileged class.”

I asked if they were able to earn a living wage? He replied that they
were paid higher than the Government Ministers. He gave me fully to
understand that Russia is most appreciative of Art and Talent, and is
anxious to surround itself with culture.

He decided that the bust had better be started soon, as one never knew
what might happen from one moment to the next, “what caprice of Monsieur
Lloyd George” might elect to send him out of the country at a moment’s
notice, so we decided on the following Tuesday at 10 a.m. Mr. Kameneff
then took us downstairs to Krassin’s office. Mr. Krassin seemed very
busy and pre-occupied, had someone in the room, and

[Illustration: “VICTORY 1918.”

_p. 13._]

didn’t quite know what I had come about, but he agreed to sit to me on
the following Wednesday at 10 a.m.


Kameneff arrived almost punctually at 10 a.m. for an hour, but he stayed
till 1 o’clock, and we talked for the whole three hours almost without
stopping. I do not know how I managed to work and talk so much. My mind
was really more focussed on the discussion, and the work was done
subconsciously. At all events when the three hours were ended, I had
produced a likeness.

There is very little modelling in his face, it is a perfect oval, and
his nose is straight with the line of his forehead, but turns up
slightly at the end, which is a pity. It is difficult to make him look
serious, as he smiles all the time. Even when his mouth is severe his
eyes laugh.

My “Victory” was unveiled when he arrived and he noticed it at once. I
told him it represented the Victory of the Allies, and he exclaimed:
“But no! It is the Victory of all the ages. What pain! What suffering!
What exhaustion!” He then added that it was the best bit of Peace
propaganda that he had seen.

We had wonderful conversations. He told me all kinds of details of the
Soviet legislation, their ideals and aims. Their first care, he told me,
is for the children, they are the future citizens and require every
protection. If parents are too poor to bring up their children, the
State will clothe, feed, harbour and educate them until fourteen years
old, legitimate and illegitimate alike, and they do not need to be lost
to their parents, who can see them whenever they wish. This system, he
said, had doubled the percentage of marriages (civil of course), and it
had also allayed a good deal of crime--for what crimes are not committed
to destroy illegitimate children?

He described the enforced education of all classes--he told of the
concerts they organise for their workmen, and of their appreciation of
Bach and Wagner.

They have had to abandon (already!) the idea that all should be paid
alike. Admitting that some are physically able to work longer and better
than others, therefore there have to be grades of payment, and when
great talent shows itself, “_cela merite d’être recompensé_.”

Chaliapin, who used to have the title of “Artist to the Court,” is now
called “The Artist of the People.” Chaliapin, I gathered, was a very
popular figure.

After awhile, Kameneff let drop a suggestion which did not fall on
barren ground--he threw it out apparently casually, but in order, I
believe, to see how I reacted to it. I had just been telling him that I
had all my life had a love of Russian literature, Russian music, Russian
dancing, Russian art, and he said, “You should come to Russia.”

I said that I had always dreamed it--and that perhaps--who

He said, “You can come with me, and I will get you sittings from Lenin
and Trotsky.”

I thought he was joking, and hesitated a moment, then I said: “Let me
know when you are going to start, and I will be ready in half an hour.”

He offered to telegraph immediately to Moscow for permission.


Krassin arrived at 10 a.m., and found me reading the papers, sitting on
the seat outside the door. Like Kameneff, he stayed till 1 o’clock. He
has a beautiful head, and he sat almost sphinx-like, severe and
expressionless most of the time. We talked of course, but his French is
less good than Kameneff’s, and we broke into occasional German--it was a
good mix-up, but we said all we wanted to say.

Kameneff had talked to him about me, and had told him of the project of
my going to Moscow. I said nothing about it until he mentioned it.

What impresses me about these two men is their impassive
imperturbability, their calm, and their patience. I suppose it is the
race, or else that they learnt calm when they were prisoners in Siberia.
It is such a contrast to almost every other sitter, who is restless,
hurried and fidgety. Krassin is sphinx-like; he sits erect, his head up,
and his pointed, bearded chin sticking defiantly out at an angle, and
his mouth tightly shut. He has no smile like Kameneff, and his piercing
eyes just looked at me impassively while I worked. It was rather

Krassin is a Siberian. He explained to me that his father was a
Government local official when he married his mother who was a peasant,
and one of twenty-two children. He himself was the eldest of seven, and
was brought up in Siberia.

At 1 o’clock I thanked him profusely for sitting so long and so well,
and he seemed quite surprised at my stopping, and said: “You have done
with me?”

I explained that I had to catch a train, so, having swallowed a fish and
some plums, I rushed down the alley to my taxi, pursued by Rigamonti who
abandoned his marble chisel and carried my suit-case and hurled in some
last things to me. I just caught the 1.50 at Waterloo, for Godalming, to
stay two days with the Midletons.[1]


I got back to the studio about midday to find a huge bunch of roses and
the following note from Kameneff:--

                                                    _London, 21 Août._

     _Chère Madame_,

     _Je vous prie la permission de mettre ces roses rouges aux pieds de
     votre belle statue de la Victoire._

                                      _Bien à vous_,

                                                    _L. K._

I did so, and when he came at about 4 o’clock to sit, I thanked him, but
said that they were not red and that it was a pity. He looked as if he
didn’t quite understand, and said: “Yes, they are red--red for the blood
of Victory.” The sentiment was right, but he is colour blind, the roses
were pink! I did not argue.

At about 5 o’clock S---- L----, walked in unexpectedly, and was very
surprised and interested to find Kameneff, who was no less interested
at hearing from S---- L---- that Archbishop Mannix is his guest, and I
got a good innings at my work while these two talked together.

Kameneff and I dined later at the Café Royal, and then went on to a
Revue, which was very bad, but the audience laughed a good deal, and
Kameneff wondered at their childish appreciation of rubbish.


Twelve hours with Kameneff!!!

He arrived at 11 a.m. with a huge album of photographs of the
Revolution, very interesting. After looking at it he sat to me for an
hour. We then lunched at Claridges’. After lunch we went for a taxi
drive along the Embankment, and passing the Tate Gallery, went in. It is
being re-arranged, but we found the Burne-Jones’ that Kameneff was
looking for. He stood for a long time before “The King and the
Beggar-maid.” I suppose that in the new system all the beggar-maids are
queens, and that the real kings sit at their feet.

At 4 o’clock we went to Trafalgar Square to see what was going on. The
Council of Action were having a meeting. Kameneff assured me that he
must not go near the platform, or be recognised by his friends, as he
was under promise to the Government to take no part in demonstrations,
nor to do any propaganda work. However, I dragged him by the hand to the
outskirts of the crowd, and for no reason that I can explain, the shout
went up, “Gangway for speakers,” and a channel opened up before us, and
we were rushed along it. Happily for Kameneff, there was a hitch as we
approached the platform. The crowd thought that a policeman was
favouring us unduly, and getting us to the platform, and a youngish man
said: “Stop that, policeman, this is a democratic meeting” and tried to
prevent us going any farther. For awhile I felt the hostility of the
people around me.

One of the speakers, referring to the spirit of 1914, said that we had
given our husbands and sons then, but that we did not mean ever to give
them again, and, I, thinking of Dick, joined in the shouts of “Never,
never!” with some feeling, and I felt the atmosphere kindlier around me
after that. When Lansbury tried to speak, he was acclaimed with cheers,
and had to wait patiently while they sang “For he’s a jolly good
fellow,” and cheered him again.

He seemed to me to talk less of “Class” and more of “Cause.” Just for a
second he paused when saying, “What we have to do, is to stop----” I
filled in the gap with “Mesopotamia.” Whereupon the crowd shouted “Here,
here!” and “God bless you!” After that I was one of them. Then someone
recognised Kameneff, and the whisper went round and spread like
wildfire. The men on either side of him asked if they might announce
that he was there, to which he answered a most emphatic “No.”

When Lansbury had finished speaking, there was an appeal for money for
the “Cause.” It was interesting to watch the steady rain of coins, and
very touching were the pennies of the poor. Lansbury buried his face in
his hat for protection.

After that we went away, and a gangway was made for us, and all along
the whisper went of “Kameneff,” and the faces that looked at us were
radiant as though they beheld a saviour.

We took a taxi and drove to Hampton Court, and went into the park, to
get away from the Sunday crowd. We sat on Kameneff’s coat on the grass
in the middle of an open space, and the air was heavy and the sun
fitful, as though a storm impended. The distant elms were heavy green,
and there was a great stillness and calm.

We talked about the meeting, and of the magnetism of a crowd. He noticed
my suppressed excitement, for I had blood to the head! If we had been
rushed to the platform, I could have

[Illustration: BUST OF KRASSIN.

_p. 23._]

spoken to the people, I am sure that I could. He said that he had been
terribly moved to speak, and that it had been a great effort to hold

We talked and talked, and then some rain drops forced us to get up and
return to the Mitre hotel for dinner. After dinner, the weather cleared,
and we had a lovely hour and a half in a boat on the river. There was a
three-quarter moon, and the water reflected the pink lights from the
Chinese lanterns of the houseboats. From the garden of Hampton Court,
rose up what seemed to be a giant cypress tree, silhouetted against the
dusk, and the reflection of it doubled its height. It was like something
in Italy. I rowed the boat, which I loved doing, and Kameneff hummed
Volga boatman-songs. Or else we broke back into discussions, and then he
forgot that he was steering, and we had several slight collisions, and
narrow escapes from more serious ones!

It was a very successful evening, and we came back by the last train to
Waterloo, _still_ talking, chiefly about that impending and all
absorbing visit to Moscow, and we parted on my doorstep at a quarter to


I felt ill, but got up early, expecting Krassin at 10 o’clock, but at 10
o’clock I got a telephone message to the effect that neither Krassin
nor Kameneff could see me to-day, as the political crisis had caused a
deluge of work.

Lloyd George at Lucerne had taken exception to the clause in the Russian
Peace Terms demanding that the Polish Civic Militia should be drawn from
the working classes. This they say is an infringement of the liberty of
Poland. Truth to tell, it is the Polish success over the Red Army that
has caused this diplomatic _volte-face_. However, that is too long to go
into here.

At dinner time Kameneff telephoned to me that he at last had time to
spare, and could he come and see me. I asked him to take pot-luck for
dinner, and he arrived, a battered and worn fighting man, full of
indignation, but still full of fight, and hope, and belief.

He stayed till 11, and said that he felt better. It was very still here,
and the peace did him good. There may be a “State of War” in a few days,
and as things now stand, they all depart on Friday. Great excitement, as
I shall go with them.


Krassin gave me my second sitting at 5 p.m., and stayed till 7.30. I
heard all the latest news. He’s a delightful man, never have I done a
head that I admired more. He seems to be strong morally, to a degree of
adamant. He is calm, sincere, dignified, proud, without
self-consciousness and without vanity, and scientific in his analysis of
things and people. Eyes that are unflinching and bewilderingly direct,
nostrils that dilate with sensitiveness, a mouth that looks hard until
it smiles, and a chin full of determination.


Krassin offered me a third sitting, and came again at 5.0 and stayed
till after 7.0. War is averted, and he assures me that Kameneff under no
excuse can possibly leave for Russia for a fortnight. I did not sleep
much, waking up with the exclamation “Partons! Partons!” for if we do
not get away for a fortnight, I shall have to keep my engagement on
September 10th at Oxford with the Birkenheads to do F. E., and then I
shall not get to Russia before my exhibition.

I worked hard, and Krassin’s head is finished. I think it good.
Sydney[2] came to see me after dinner, and we talked fantastically about
Russia, and what it might or might not lead to.

He is terribly interested.


Kameneff came at 11.0 to give me a last sitting. He was in a much
happier frame of mind, chuckling over Tchicherin’s reply to Lloyd
George, which is an impudent bit of propaganda work, and _all_ the
papers _have_ to publish it because it is official.

I awakened this morning with an excited and tired feeling, my hands
trembling, which I have never known before. Kameneff arrived in much the
same condition. He talked politics and got excited and worked up and
produced the quizzical frown that I wanted. I worked well, and
absolutely changed the whole personality of his bust, which I think he

He promised, incidentally, not to wait here two weeks, but says that he
will start _not later_ than next Friday. I wonder if he keeps his

Peter[3] turned up with a girl, which disturbed the sitting and I felt
more and more hectic, what with the difficulties and the battle of it,
and knowing that it was the last sitting, and feeling dead beat, and
having finally to stop for lunch.

We lunched with Sydney Cooke at Claridges’. I introduced them to each
other, and we are going to stay with Sydney at his house in the Isle of
Wight, for the week-end. Like all good foreigners, Kameneff expressed a
desire, some days ago, to see the Isle of Wight. So we arranged to

[Illustration: BUST OF KAMENEFF.

_p. 24._]

could not therefore go to my beloved Dick,[4] but I sent him a crocodile
by Peter, to compensate for my absence.

Dined with Aunt Jennie,[5] she has laryngitis, and looked very ill. She
asked me what new work I was engaged on, but I took good care not to
mention either Russians or Russia.

In the course of conversation, she told me that I was being criticised
as having too much freedom. I chuckled over this, as I visualised to
myself the great band of people who grudge one that freedom, because
they have not got it, and because they know that freedom counts above

I said to Aunt Jennie, “And how is that grave condition of things, that
dangerous “Liberty” going to be rectified? I am a widow, and earn my
living, how is it to be otherwise ordered?”

She had no suggestion, it would have been obviously out of place to
suggest re-marriage, which in fact is the only way of ending it, of
ending everything, liberty, work, and my happiness, which is dependent
on my work.


I left the studio in a state of chaos, Smith being in the midst of
casting the busts of Kameneff and Krassin. I felt a wonderful sensation
of relief at these being finished, and the Victory also. Everything for
the moment is finished, until I begin something new. And who will that
be, I wonder?

Kameneff picked me up at 12.15 and we caught the 12.50 from Waterloo to
Portsmouth. Sydney met us at the harbour and escorted us to his house on
the Isle of Wight, near Newport. A very attractive journey across, as it
was warm and calm weather. A motor met us at Ryde and took us to his
house, seven miles. On arrival we flung ourselves down in the sun on the
grass of the tennis-court. And after tea, as we lay full length on rugs,
our heads leaning on the grassy bank behind us, and the sun gradually
sinking lower and lower, Kameneff for over an hour told us the history
of the Russian Revolution.

He told it to us haltingly, stumbling along in his bad French, wrestling
with words and phrases, but always conveying his meaning and above all
conjuring up the most graphic pictures, making us see with his eyes,
live over the days with him, and know all the people concerned. He is
amazingly forceful and eloquent.

We sat silent and spellbound. He began as far back as twenty years ago,
with the first efforts of himself and Lenin, Trotsky and Krassin. He
described their secret organisations, their discoveries, their secrets,
his months and years of prison, first in cells, then in Siberia--but
long before he had finished, our dinner was announced, and we went in
just as we were, to eat. The spell for the moment was broken, and though
Kameneff did not again that evening resume the tale of the Revolution,
he did most of the evening’s talking.

He described to us shortly, but vividly, the individuality and
psychology of Lenin. There were others also whose names I cannot recall.
One I remember was Dzhirjinsky, the President of the Extraordinary
Commission, a man turned to stone through years of _traveaux forcés_, an
ascetic and a fanatic, whom the Soviet selected as organiser and head of
“La Terreur.”

This is the man of whom Maxim Gorky wrote, that one could see martyrdom
crystallised in his eyes. He performs his arduous task, suffering over
it, but with the conviction that he is helping towards an ultimate reign
of peace and calm, towards which end every means is justified. This man
sleeps in a narrow bed behind a curtain in his “bureau,” has few
friends, and cares for no women, but he is kind to children, and
considerate towards his fellow-workers when they are overworked or ill.

It is useless to try to tell any of Kameneff’s stories, they require his
individuality, and would lose in repeating. I only felt that it was a
great waste that his audience should consist only of us two, when so
many might have been enthralled.


When I came down from breakfast I found the two men sitting over a fire.
I accused them of “frowsting,” and carried them out to the garden, where
Kameneff restarted his unconcluded tale of the Revolution, until we
could bear the cold no more, so he finished it indoors in front of the
fire. It is a marvellous narrative, pray God I may never forget it.

At 2.30, the afternoon having mended, we started off in an open car for
the south of the island. On a hill overlooking the sea, with a lonely
beach, we stopped, and made a long arduous descent. It was heavenly on
the undulating beach of tiny rounded pebbles by the sea edge. Sydney and
I paddled and Kameneff, who watched us, became thoroughly laughing and
happy. When Sydney and I sat down on the beach and buried our feet in
the pebbles, Kameneff began to write verses to me on the back of a five
pound note.

I don’t know what happened to the bank note, but Kameneff wrote four
lines, and Sydney the other four, in French. Kameneff likened me to
Venus, but Sydney was flippant, and said that the part of me that he
liked best was my feet!

The scenery and the climb recalled Capri, but a faded Capri, without
colour. Nevertheless, one recalled the feeling of joy that one had at
Capri, and Kameneff was much impressed by the beauty and the peace of
it, and said how distant politics seemed, and how non-existent Mr. Lloyd

After awhile we regretfully went on, stopping only for a tea-picnic on a
common by a lonely road.

SEPTEMBER 2ND. _Brede Place._

I have been here since Monday. Papa is away in Ireland fishing, Mamma is
here and believes that I am still going yachting and that a telegram
will call me away at any minute. As no wire has yet come and I cannot
bear the suspense, I have decided to go up to London for the day, and
shall go straight to Kameneff’s office from the station so that I shall
know soon whether we start for Russia on Saturday or not. If we do I
shall not come back here.

I wonder what it will be. To-night, when I said good night to him, Dick
clung to me more even than usual, and we talked together for a long
time. He held me tight. I was kneeling on the ground beside his bed with
my arms round him. He said that he could not bear to let me go
to-morrow, and that he would tie me up to a wall. He was so very sweet,
and I felt a great reluctance at leaving him.


I went up to London and drove straight to the Bolshevik office in Bond
Street, and left my luggage waiting outside in the taxi. Unlike the
previous occasion, I was not shown straight in to Kameneff. I sat down
and waited in the outer room which was full of men, six or seven of
them, and they began discussing me in Italian, French, German and
Russian! I tried to look dignified and aloof, and was, I am sure, a
great failure as a Bolshevik. All my English conventional breeding took
hold of me. Then later Peter came to fetch me, thinking that I had
finished my interview, and then, having him to talk to, I felt better.
Later an eighth man appeared with a number of papers and the garrulous
crowd became of a sudden serious, placed themselves round a table, and
seemed to hold a sort of council.

At this moment Klyschko passed by the open door, and espying me called
Peter and me into his room to wait. I asked him why there were so many
people in the other room, but he only shrugged his shoulders.

At last I was told that both Kameneff and Krassin wanted to see me, and
I was shown into Krassin’s office. I learnt in a moment what I had
feared, that our journey is not for to-morrow. Moscow has answered his
application too late. There was just a faint chance left, for a telegram
from Moscow was being deciphered at that moment, but it was almost too
slight to count upon.

Krassin asked if he might bring his wife and daughters to the studio at
4 o’clock, and then Kameneff took me up to his office. He held out real
hopes of starting next week.

As soon as Krassin and his very attractive family, but slightly alarming
wife, had left, I went to see X---- whom I thought was in a position to
get the visa I want for Reval. My passport is all in order to Stockholm,
but Klyschko has failed to get the Esthonian visa, because it is
necessary to get the Foreign Office approval to do so.

After three-quarters of an hour’s talk with X---- I realised that it was
hopeless; he merely shared the general prejudice. It confirms me in my
decision not to take any one else into my confidence, except Sydney and
S---- L----. They are the only two who have got the spirit to

But how I want that Esthonian visa--it is worth an effort to get it,
instead of starting with an uncertainty.

X---- explained to me at great length, and kindly, why he did not want
me to go. He said that he believed a complete change of Government
policy was impending, which would make my position in Russia untenable,
and moreover that I should be in great danger of being shot as a spy. He
told me what he thought of Lenin and Trotsky (it seemed very much what
other people think), he said that Kameneff was no better than the rest,
and that a Russian was capable of turning even upon a friend. Finally he
asked me _why_ I wanted to go? I claimed an artist’s zeal in wishing to
do a bust of Lenin and to bring his head back in my arms!

He then wanted to know why “they” wanted to take me? to which I could
give no clear answer, having wondered somewhat myself. He then tried to
draw me on the subject of Bolshevism, and asked me: “What do you gather
is the final and ultimate object of the Bolsheviks?”

It was a difficult question--I thought for a moment, and then I said:
“They are very great idealists; it may be an unpractical and unworkable
idealism, but that does not alter it.”

He was surprised at this, and said in a low voice, almost more to
himself than to me: “Are they as clever as that”--by which I suppose he
meant, had they really been clever enough to take me in!

At the end of it all I said to him: “You have seen in the papers that H.
G. Wells is going to Russia?”

He said that Wells could look after himself. I claimed to be equally fit
to do so, to which he replied: “So you still want to go?”

I explained that I was prepared for anything. He seemed surprised, but
practically assented to try and get my passport put in order for me, and
asked me to go and see him again next week.

I got back in time to dine with Kameneff at “Canuto’s.” After dinner, it
being a lovely warm evening, we took an open taxi, and I suggested
driving to Hampstead Heath. Arrived there, we left the taxi on the main
road, whilst we went on foot off a side road on to a rough sandy track,
quite away from people and lights.

On a bank I spread my white fur coat, and we sat there for an hour or
more. It was very beautiful. The tall pine stems stood out against the
glowing sky of distant, flaring London. The place was full of depth and
distance, and night mystery. I talked to Kameneff about my conversation
with a friend, who was a serious, intelligent man, and told him of his
opinion that I should be in danger of my life. I added that I was
prepared to take the risk, but that I should regret my children being
orphans. Kameneff answered me half amused, half irritated.

He said it was such nonsense that he felt a great desire to start
immediately, so as to show me the truth, and so that I might come back
and prove to all and sundry how ignorant they are of real conditions.

He considered that no matter _what_ line the Government adopted here
(and he was prepared for Lloyd George to do anything at any moment), it
would not affect me. I should be regarded purely as an artist,
international and non-political.

Then laughing, he said that he would have me put against a wall, arms
crossed on breast (not blindfolded, that was a convention of the
aristocrats), with a firing party before me, and then he would save me
at the last moment. Then I should have lived through every thrill, and
my friends would not be disappointed.

He told me, incidentally, that Wrangel is defeated and discredited.
(X----, having just told me that Wrangel had won the peasants over to
him, and that he had a scheme of moderate Government, and was likely to
rouse a counter-Revolution and depose the present lot).

So I said to Kameneff: “Where is truth?”

And he answered: “There is no truth in the world, the only truth is in
one’s own heart.”


My birthday, and the most hectic day of my life!

In the morning I worked more or less calmly. The “Victory” was just
being finished, Smith was chipping away the last remains of mould.
Rigamonti, under my direction was punching the block of Princess Pat.,
so that marble chips flew like shrapnel in all directions. Meanwhile,
Hart came to get my last orders about marble pedestals for unfinished
bronzes, and on top of all Fiorini turned up.

He was terribly hurt because I have given the heads of Kameneff and
Krassin to Parlanti to cast. He had dreamed of doing them--he had a
Bolshevik workman in his foundry, who asked every day when those heads
were coming. He would have cast them, he said, for nothing, just for the
honour and glory of doing them. I felt terribly badly about it. The
little Italian man is such an enthusiast, and he met Kameneff here, who
shook hands with him, and Fiorini felt about it as most other people
would about their King.

Moreover, on that occasion, he hid behind a pedestal, and remained so
quiet for a quarter of an hour, watching me and my sitter, that I forgot
that he was there. But because I understood from him that he had as much
work as he could get through for me in time for my exhibition, I had
given the heads to Parlanti, who promised them in time.

I hope that I comforted him by promising to give him duplicates to cast,
as presents for Kameneff and Krassin, the which I had had no intention
of doing, and can ill afford, but to cheer up Fiorini, I will do it.

Then the telephone went and Klyschko announced to me that it was all
decided--Kameneff is starting on Saturday morning, has reserved places,
and I have nothing to do but get my ticket. I said that I was having
difficulties over my passport, and he explained to me that all I need is
the visa via Christiania to Stockholm, and that at Stockholm the
Esthonian Legation would see me through.

I dined with Sophie Wavertree and F. M. B. Fisher. He walked home with
me; he it was who originally brought me into this wonderful new world.


Kameneff telephoned at breakfast. He is really starting to-morrow.

At 10.15, a wire from Sydney to say that he is arriving from Scotland,
at 5 o’clock.

11.30, to Barclays Bank, cashed £100.

11.40, to Cooks’, bought my ticket.

12 o’clock, to Bond Street Office, saw Kameneff. He says it doesn’t
matter about a passport, that he can push me through from Stockholm.

1 o’clock, bought a hat in South Moulton Street.

2 o’clock, back at studio. Wrote letters all afternoon.

4.30, hair washed and cut.

7 o’clock, back to studio, packed and dined.

10.30, Sydney came, and while we were talking Kameneff rang up to say he
had a few short hours ago had his interview with Lloyd George, and that
he gathered from the interview that he, Kameneff, leaves to-morrow, not
to return--this was to warn me--but he told me to come all the same.

I rang up S---- L----, who could hardly believe that I am really
starting. He came round to see me, and we talked far into the night.


Mr. Krassin, and most of the 128 New Bond Street staff, were at St.
Pancras to see us start. Krassin presented me with a big box of
chocolates tied up with red ribbons. We were rather a conspicuous group
on the platform, and I feared every second to meet someone whom I knew
travelling, possibly to York, on the same train.

S---- L---- was there to wish me God-speed, and Sydney, who is staying
with friends near Newcastle, and came down yesterday to spend my last
evening with me, travelled back to Newcastle with us. Rigamonti turned
up unexpectedly, which touched me very much.

Sydney, fulfilling his reputation as an organiser, discovered that there
were two trains going to Newcastle, and that the next one which left a
little later had a restaurant car, so we transferred our luggage from
the one to the other, and in the process I lost my handbag, which had a
hundred pounds in it in bank notes, all I possess in the world. It
caused me some agitation, but Kameneff was quite calm and seemed to
think that money was not very important, and that I should not have
much need of it in Russia.

To my intense relief, however, Sydney found the case at Newcastle, in
the lost property office, it travelled ahead of us on the other train.

Sydney came to the ship with us, I don’t think he believed in the
reality of my journey until he saw me safely past the passport

I certainly felt no sense of security until the steamer left the
quay-side. There was something indescribably exciting and clandestine
about slipping away without anyone knowing.

For some time Kameneff and I stood on deck to see the last of England,
with her Turner sky. The sunset was golden haze, and Kameneff said: “It
looks mysterious, that land, doesn’t it?” But to me it was just the old
world wrapped in a shroud. Mystery lay ahead of us in the new world that
is our destination.

Now for the first time I had leisure and calm in which to think over
what I am doing. There persist in my mind faint echoes of warnings, but
I must have no misgivings, it seems to me unlikely that Kameneff would
invite me to go to his country if I were likely to be either unhappy or
in danger there. He must know what he is doing, and what he is taking me
to. There are moments in life when it is necessary to have blind faith.

SEPTEMBER 12TH. _S.S. “Jupiter,” Bergen, Norway._

It is 9.45 pm. We have just this moment come along the quay-side at
Bergen. We are not to land until to-morrow morning. The crossing has
been wonderful; as calm as a lake the whole way.

I have a cabin for three all to myself, there are very few people on
board. It is as comfortable as a yacht. The only fellow traveller with
whom we have spoken is an American, calling himself Comrade Costello. He
reports for the Federated Press. A very keen journalist, typically
American, and one who does not allow the grass to grew under his feet.

For an hour this afternoon I acted as interpreter between him and
Kameneff. I had to ask about strange people and strange things, that I
knew nothing about. I had not even heard of Debs before.

I expect that I shall have a pretty good knowledge of all the
Revolutionary Leaders in all countries before long.

Kameneff had a cigarette in my cabin this evening, and we discussed
Philosophy, Religion, and Revolution. It surprised me very much that he
does not believe in God. He says that the idea of God is a domination
and that he resents it, as he resents all other dominations. He talked
nevertheless with great admiration of the teachings of Christ, Who
demanded poverty and equality among men, and Who said that the rich man
had no more chance of the Kingdom of Heaven than a camel of passing
through a needle’s eye.

SEPTEMBER 13TH. _Grand Hotel, Kristiania, Norway._

To-day might have been many days, and we might have been crossing the

The train left Bergen at 8.15 a.m. We had a compartment to ourselves
with big windows.

Slowly from Voss the train climbed higher and higher. The higher we went
the less vegetation there was. Big trees became smaller trees, and then
dwarf trees, and then shrubs, until finally there was only the little
low creeping juniper.

There were rocks and boulders, falling torrents and cold, still lakes,
and in the shadow of the mountain great patches of eternal snow that
never melt.

This morning in the breakfast car we eagerly asked for news, being
unable to read Norwegian. The man who was reading the paper informed us,
in broken English, that the coal situation was exactly the same, and the
Lord Mayor of Cork not dead yet, and with that summary we had to rest

Later in the morning, the dining-car attendant sought us out, and armed
with a newspaper said: “Have you heard the news?” he then made a bow and
asked: “Mr. Kameneff--yes?” and showed him a photograph of K. in the
morning’s paper, and the information that he had left England, and was
on his way to Russia. That settled it, Kameneff was recognised, and the
car attendant spread the information. After that, whenever we walked the
platform of a station we were the cynosure of all eyes.

At luncheon Kameneff asked the car attendant, who spoke Russian so well,
where he had learnt it. The answer was that fifteen years ago he had
spent two years as a waiter in Petrograd. Kameneff told him that Russia
had changed considerably since then, and that he ought to go and see it.
The attendant with a deferential smile said that he would be afraid to.

At Finse, the highest point, where we were on a level with the mountain
summits, and where snow lay round us and below us, the train stopped for
ten minutes. We got out and walked about, and I took my kodak. Beyond
the platform on the sloping bank a granite monolith stood up grimly
against the snow-patched distance and, to my surprise, engraved upon it
were the names of Captain Scott and all his party, with the date, and
the announcement that they had started from Norway for the South Pole.
It was rather _émotionant_ finding it so unexpectedly, and so remote.

At 10 p.m., we steamed into Kristiania, where we were met by Litvinoff.
I had visualized a small, sharp-faced, alert man. Instead I found a big,
square, amiable, smiling man. He informed us that there was not a room
to be had at the Grand Hotel, and turning to me, added in English: “If
you want rooms in the Grand Hotel you will have to secure them through
the British Legation.” We all laughed, and I said: “We are not making
much use of the British Legation on this trip.”

As we entered the Grand Hotel and stepped into the lift, I caught the
sound of string-band music, which characterises the Grand Hotels and
Ritz-Carltons of Europe, and suggests all that side of life with which
we on this trip are not quite in harmony. Litvinoff accommodated me in
the room of one of his secretaries. I felt rather strange, lonely, and
lost, especially when questioned by one of them as to my work and plans.

Had I been working in the Soviet office in London? I felt rather at a
disadvantage, having to explain that I was merely an artist who had done
portraits of Kameneff and Krassin (who, by the way, they spoke of as
Comrade), and that I hoped to get through to Russia with Kameneff to do
some portraits there.

I felt, as they looked at me, that I did not look much like a sculptor.
They proceeded to tell me that no British passports were being issued,
and that any amount of people were being held up here. Very cheerful! By
this time I had drunk three cups of excellent tea out of a tumbler, and
it was nearly midnight, so I suggested bed, apologising at the same time
for making use of their room and necessitating their discomfort.

It being now 1 o’clock, I propose to sleep, though I am only wrapped in
my rug, for the bed is not made up for me, and I do not like sleeping in
other people’s sheets! The noise in the street is perfectly infernal and
Kameneff and Litvinoff are still talking in the next room on my other

SEPTEMBER 14TH. _Kristiania._

Slept very well, wrapped in my rug. Woke up at 9 o’clock, and had
breakfast in bed. Had looked forward to a bath, but the sour-faced hotel
maid says there are too many gentlemen who want it, and so I cannot have
one. This does not seem an adequate reason for denying it to me, and I
rather suspect it is part of a general boycott of Bolsheviks.

While I was breakfasting, Kameneff looked in with the morning papers,
which have come out with headlines and photographs of him. One describes
him as having arrived “with a lady, tall and elegant, who carried in one
hand a “Kodakaparat” and in the other a box of sweets--she does not look
Russian, and was heard to speak in French.”

At luncheon I met Mrs. Litvinoff, and was surprised to find that she is
English, a friend of the Meynells and of H. G. Wells. She has short
black hair, and is unconventional. She did not seem to be very political
or revolutionary. The third baby is imminent.

After luncheon, we made an expedition outside Kristiania to the wireless
station, which is on the top of a wooded hill from which there is a
magnificent View. Misha, the eldest child, a boy of four, accompanied
us. He is unruly, wild-eyed, and most attractive, the embodiment of
Donatello’s “laughing boy.” He says: “What for is my father a
Bolshevik?” and tells his mother to ring the bell for the maid, and not
to do any work herself.

Litvinoff adores him and throws him about and makes him stand on his
head. Coming home Litvinoff and I, hatless, ran races down the hill. To
my great humiliation he outran me. He is a heavy man and I run well,
but he was not even out of breath.

On the way back in the open car, they all sang Russian folk songs in a
chorus. Bolsheviks are a very cheerful species.

We reached the hotel just in time to pick up our luggage and catch the
train for Stockholm.

There were real cordial good-byes all round. Litvinoff said that if I
did not get through from Stockholm, I must come back to Kristiania and
he would send someone with me to take me through Murmansk, but Mrs.
Litvinoff said that I should get through from Stockholm. “That sort of
person always gets what she wants” she said, but gave no further
comment, and I am wondering what sort of person I am.

The two secretaries gave me messages for friends in Moscow, and seemed
very envious of anyone going back. One of them (with most beautiful
chestnut hair), held forth to me on the great difference the Revolution
had brought in the position of women. She is an ardent Communist, and
works 10 hours a day with a willing heart and little pay. She added as a
last appeal: “Go and see for yourself, and then say nice things about us
when you get back to England.”

SEPTEMBER 15TH. _Stockholm, Sweden._

We arrived at 8.30 a.m., and were met at the station by Frederick Ström,
head of the left wing Socialist party of Sweden. It was an interesting
contrast to my arrival in former years when the Crown Prince himself
used to meet me and take me in a royal car to the Palace. I felt a great
sadness as I passed that old Palace, and the windows of Princess
Margaret’s rooms which I knew so well. The days when I used to stay
there seemed very long ago and of another world.

We drove to the Grand Hotel which, however, proved to be full, but we
were not at a loss: we drove off to a perfectly charming apartment
belonging to the Krassins, but which in their absence is inhabited by a
Comrade Juon.

There we were most courteously received, and given a splendid breakfast.

Juon is about six feet and a half high, and broad in proportion, with a
black beard and a kindly expression. His eyes have exceptionally big
pupils, which give a curious gleam and keenness to his expression. His
brother in Russia is a well-known painter.

Conversation between the two was mostly in Russian. I am beginning to
cultivate a detached feeling, and I do not expect to understand much
during the next few weeks, except through my eyes.

While we were breakfasting the Grand Hotel telephoned to place a suite
of rooms at our disposal, so we returned there, and the hotel
authorities were most civil.

From that moment there ensued a hectic period. Series of newspaper
reporters arrived, and had to be given interviews. Comrades came, and
stayed--there seemed to be people revolving perpetually. Some of them
only understood German, others struggled in bad English, yet others in
French; the whole conversation was mixed up with Swedish and Russian, so
that one’s head reeled.

Among all these people, one figure stands out more clearly than the
rest. This is Rjasanoff, a man about seventy, with a Greek profile, a
beard that sticks out defiantly and hawk’s eyes. He has a dominating
personality. He has done five years of solitary confinement in a cell
for the cause. He was charming to me, and his expression lost some of
its battle and became even kindly when he looked at me.

Another man who stands out in my mind is a Communist poet called Torré
Norman, who has translated Rupert Brooke.

Mr. Ström accompanied me to the Esthonian Consulate to get my Reval
visa. There were, as I expected, endless difficulties, and nothing was


_p. 45._]

settled, and to-morrow the boat leaves at 4 o’clock so that there is not
much time. I feel pretty confident that all will end well. It is not
possible that there can be any other ending.

We were a big party lunching in the restaurant and attracted a good deal
of attention. After lunch we all went to Skansen and had tea there.

In the evening, Kameneff had to go out and keep an appointment, and
while he was away I wrestled on the telephone with reporters, trying to
ward off interviews until the morrow. At 10 p.m., Kameneff came back and
we dined in the sitting-room; he was pretty dead beat. Even then a
reporter came to the door and asked for an interview, but I insisted
that he _must_ be put off until the next day, and Kameneff, rather
willingly I think, gave in.


This morning I telephoned to the Palace and asked for the Crown Prince.
Kameneff asked me if I were right to risk it. He said that I might be
very ill received in view of the company I was in, but I explained that
he was one of the most democratic Princes in Europe.

Prince Gustav’s surprise was indeed pretty great. He was enormously
interested and amused, and asked me to lunch, and to come at midday so
as to get a good talk first.

Kameneff listened to our conversation with some amusement. He told me
afterwards that he liked “the tone.” I wonder whether he had expected me
to be different.

I asked the Prince as a favour that Princess Margaret’s maid, Amy, might
come out shopping with me. She came and fetched me, and was a tremendous
help, as she knew where to take me, and did all the talking in Swedish.

I left her to collect my parcels, as it was nearly midday, got a taxi,
and told him to drive to “The Palace.” He looked vague, and did not
understand. I said: “Palace! Kronprinzen.” He nodded assent and drove
off in a direction that I knew was not towards the Palace. We fetched up
in a street in front of the Kronprinzen Hotel. It was hopeless to
argue--I plunged into the hotel and asked for someone who spoke English
and explained my dilemma, to the intense amusement of the hotel
officials, and of the taxi driver when it was explained to him.

The Prince looked very lonely in those big rooms, and they were
extraordinarily vibrant and reminiscent of _her_. He made me sit down
and tell him all about my plans and my adventure, and fell thoroughly
into the spirit of the thing. He said that I was quite right, if my
exhibition at Agnew’s for October was all organised, not to sacrifice
the chance of this experience on that account. He thought the expedition
a dangerous one, but sensibly admitted that that was my concern and no
one else’s.

He asked me, of course, a number of questions as to what sort of men
Kameneff and Litvinoff were. I could not help being perfectly frank, and
telling him my sincere impressions.

While I was there Kameneff telephoned to say that the Consulate of
Esthonia had given me my visa.

At luncheon, the lady-in-waiting and the A.D.C.’s seemed rather
bewildered. It certainly must have appeared fantastic to them,
accustomed to the dull routine of Court life, to be entertaining someone
who was on the way to Russia with Kameneff to model the heads of Lenin
and Trotsky.

The Prince was overwhelming in his desire to help my material comforts.
He telephoned for biscuits, and two large tins arrived, also cigarettes.
He wrote out his prospective trip, with dates, to Athens and Italy, in
hopes that possibly we may meet if I come back that way.

Finally he escorted me to the taxi that awaited me in the court-yard,
and wished me luck and God-speed.

I returned to the Grand Hotel, and found an alarming crowd of Comrades
lunching with Kameneff in his sitting-room, but we had to leave almost
immediately to catch our boat for Reval.

SEPTEMBER 17TH. _Hango, Finland._

It is evening, we have just put in at Hango, a Finnish port. No one is
allowed off the ship, by order of the Port authorities. Finland is not
yet at peace with Russia, and Kameneff would probably be arrested if he
set foot on shore. The last time that he walked into Finnish territory
in 1917, not knowing that the Whites were in possession of the town, he
was put in prison for three months, and by a miracle was not shot. So
far we have had a pretty good journey; the little boat has hugged the
coast of the Aland islands. We have had to put into Hango for the night,
because we can only steam by day on account of the floating mines
between here and Reval that have not yet been cleared.

I have spent half the day in my cabin sleeping, the other half on deck
talking. I have lost all track of days and dates; we seem to have been
journeying for ever.

There are no pleasure trippers or any of the idle curious on board.
Everyone practically is bound for Russia, and we look at one another
curiously, wondering what each other’s mission is. There are Comrades
returning, and there are journalists, traders and bankers; people who
hope to get through from Reval, people who probably _will_, and others
who certainly will not.

Kameneff is watched by everyone, and we have made innumerable
acquaintances. Already there is around us a little group of friends,
whom one has the feeling of having known a long time. To-morrow we go on
to Reval. It seems to me too wonderful and unbelievable that I am really
on this boat of fears and dreams: fears of not getting on board, and
dreams of the world into which it would sail with me.

SEPTEMBER 18TH. _Reval, Esthonia._

At dawn we left Hango, but there was such a wind blowing that the ship
anchored just at the entrance of the harbour, and for a few hours we
swung round. No one complained of delay and no one seemed to be in a
hurry. There was no attempt to keep a scheduled time: a calm atmosphere
of fatalism, which is probably Russian, seemed to hang over us.

The sun was shining brilliantly when we finally set out to sea, and I
was having a most interesting conversation with Mr. Aschberg, a Swedish
banker, who did me the compliment of talking to me on political economy,
of which I understood nothing. He told me interesting things about
Bolshevik business transactions with Germany, in which it seemed that
the Bolsheviks were alienating the German workers by negotiating with
the German capitalists.

In my own mind I did not see how they could do otherwise, but my
ignorance on these things is so great, that I try to learn all I can
without giving myself away by asking too many questions. It is a slow
process, but I have hopes. The mere fact of being under the wing of a
man like Kameneff, and bound for Russia, seems to make people talk to me
as if I were a man. It is a great comfort no longer to meet people on a
social or superficial ground. There were people even who talked to me on
most obscure subjects, and asked for my intercession for them with

At sunset we steamed into Reval, where the pointed towers and the sound
of old bells as in Italy awakened one to a new atmosphere that was no
longer Scandinavian. A motor met us at the quay, the only motor there,
and a man who had crossed with us, and whom I suspected of being a
British agent, said to me ironically as he drove away in a droshki:
“How very smart and distinguished of you to have a motor----”

Kameneff’s boy of twelve met us, and there were two small children as
well, belonging to Gukovski, the Soviet representative at Reval. They
took up most of the room that was needed for luggage. Alexandre Kameneff
had to stand on the step outside, and a soldier of the Red Army on the
other. Thus our curious car-load made its way, hooting loudly through
mediæval tortuous streets.

What followed is rather nebulous in my mind. I was very tired and the
town very dark; there were stars overhead, but no street lamps. We drove
to some bleak building called the Hotel Petersbourg, which seemed to be
the Bolshevik G.H.Q. It was dirty and grim, and full of strange-looking
people who talked no language that I understood. They looked at me
strangely; a great many hands shook mine. Kameneff was too busy to
explain to me what our plans were, or what was going to happen next, or
maybe he forgot that I could not understand. He was too surrounded for
me to be able to ask him any questions, so I just looked vague, waited
about and followed, relying on my eyes to convey the explanations that
my ears were denied. Kameneff was the centre of perpetual discussions
in which everyone spoke at the same moment, very quickly and very loud.
At first I suspected a most agitating State Council, but it turned out
to be merely a discussion as to where we should have supper. Finally it
was decided that we should go to the apartment in an hotel where the
wife of a Comrade would look after us. Off we went on foot over
cobblestones. The streets were full of people who moved like shadows,
and one could only see faces when they passed the glare of a lighted
doorway. We followed along in couples. At my side was Alexandre
Kameneff, a nice boy and friendly, but he could only talk Russian.

We got to the hotel (such an hotel, more like a wayside inn). We were
taken to the Comrade’s apartment, where his wife received us with great
cordiality and talked to me in good French.

There was a samovar, and we had excellent tea with lemon in it, and some
cold smoked salmon on thick slices of buttered bread. Kameneff and the
two Comrades were too absorbed in their discussion to eat anything. One
Comrade was telling something, Kameneff took notes, and our host, a
small nervous man, rolled bread pellets.

Madame, in an even voice, plied me with questions:

“When did you leave London?”

“How long did you take from Stockholm to Reval? Oh, dear, a day and a
half late! We have no news here, tell me some.”

“Is Comrade Kameneff really _chassé_ from England?”

“Is it true that Krassin will soon follow?”

“What pretty hair you have, mademoiselle. Is it naturally that colour?
Does it curl naturally so?”

“Is there a famine in England? I hear there is no longer sugar or
butter? But there will be a famine when your strike begins?”

“What, you have not a macintosh with you?”

“Nor an umbrella?”

“Nor thicker shoes than that?”

“But do you not know there is nothing to be had in Russia?”

“You have goloshes? That is good.”

“And soap? Yes, they will do your washing if you give them soap to do it

Kameneff left us to attend a meeting elsewhere. It was now pretty late,
and I was tired; the room was small, and full of smoke and food. When I
had finished my tea, Alexandre Kameneff and the soldier who had not left
us since our arrival, took me back to the headquarters. I did not know
what was to become of me, and no one understood me. The dimly-lit
corridors were crowded with strange loungers. I was shown into a grim
room where portraits of Lenin and Trotsky adorned the walls, and there I
sat silently among people I could not talk with. After awhile, to my
intense relief, Kameneff appeared. In this strange _milieu_ in which I
was so utterly lost, Kameneff seemed to me the oldest and the only
friend I had in the world, and I metaphorically clung to him as a
drowning man to a straw. Somebody in the crowd, taking pity on my
helplessness, or else wondering what I was asking for in three unknown
languages, had sent him to me. He asked what on earth I was doing there.
As if I knew! I followed him to another room, bigger and fuller of
people, who all looked very serious and sat in a circle. The meeting
went on, and I sat obscurely in a corner wondering whether, if I
understood Russian, I should be allowed to be there. At last, bored by
watching them and learning nothing from it, I got out a pencil and paper
from the hand-case I had with me and wrote a letter to Dick. It was the
last place from which I could post a letter and the last time I could
write letters uncensored. I wrote to Dick from my heart, thinking of him
at that moment in bed, so very far away, looking so round and pink, and
with one arm outside the bedclothes. In spirit I was kneeling by his
bedside and kissing the little bare arm. Dick and Margaret both know
that when I am away from them I come in spirit in the night, and they
often find a rose petal or a bud, or maybe a tiny feather, something
very light, that I leave on the pillow to prove that I have been. Never
had I been more with them in spirit than this night, when I felt so
lonely and bewildered. Later on I wrote an apology to F. E., explaining
why I had not turned up at Charlton to do his bust. It was one of the
things that I felt rather badly about, for I had left England the very
day that I was due at the Birkenheads’. I could not at that time
explain, and they must have thought me so very rude. It is funny that
none of these people, not even Kameneff have heard of F. E., either as
Smith, Lord Birkenhead, or Lord Chancellor. Chancellor of the Exchequer
they understand, but no other Chancellor.

When at last the meeting was over, I was introduced to Gukovski, and
gathered that we were in his room. He is a little bent man, who broke
his back some time past in a motor accident. He has red hair and beard,
and small narrow eyes that look at one with close scrutiny, and give one
a shivery feeling. He asked me what my mission was, and when I had told
him he said: “Do you think that you are going to get Lenin to sit to
you?” I did think so, and his eyes twinkled with merriment. “Well you
won’t!” he said and chuckled.

Kameneff went off to converse on the telephone with Tchicherin at
Moscow, and did not come back. I waited and waited, and Gukovski began
packing a trunk; he was evidently coming with us. I watched him, a man’s
packing is always a rather interesting and pathetic sight, but even that
ceased to interest me after awhile, and I became conscious of a feeling
bordering on tears and sleep. Where on earth was Kameneff, and why
didn’t he come back, or else explain to me how long this waiting was to
go on. After awhile I discovered that Gukovski’s secretary, a young man
called Gai, could speak perfectly good English. From him I learnt that
our train was leaving “about midnight” for Moscow, and that I could go
to it any time I liked and find my sleeper. I ought to have known this
long before as it was already nearly midnight. I made Alexandre Kameneff
and the soldier take me to the station immediately. Of course when I got
there the train was nowhere to be found--it was in a siding--and I sat
down on a stone step and waited, thankful at least for the fresh air and
the absence of glaring lights. When our “wagon-de-luxe” finally


_p. 61._]

appeared it was the best that I have ever seen. It had been the Special
of the Minister for Railways, and was very spacious and comfortable. As
soon as Kameneff, Gukovski and his little girl joined us, the train
started and we had a midnight supper of tea and caviare.


All night we have journeyed, and all day. It is now evening. Our special
train has stopped at a wayside station for three hours to await the
Petrograd train, on to which we shall link for Moscow. Then we shall
travel again all night and arrive at our destination to-morrow morning.

It has been a beautiful day of sunshine. I crossed the frontier riding
on the engine. The front of our car has a verandah from which one can
get a beautiful view. We crossed two wide rivers on temporary bridges,
as the original ones lay in débris below us, having been blown up by
Yudenitch in his retreat last year after his attack on Petrograd. The
woods on either side of the river were full of trenches, dug-outs and
barbed wire. I had tea and bread and caviare at 9 a.m. and the same
thing at 3 p.m. and again at 7. There is no restaurant car; we have
brought our food with us in a hamper. There are other things to eat
besides caviare, only I cannot eat them. There is cheese, and some ham
which is not like any ham that I have ever known, and there is a sort of
schnitzel sausage and some apples.

The soldier who was with us yesterday and is still with us, and whose
name is Marinashky, is a chauffeur. I thought he was an officer. He eats
with us, smokes with us, joins in the discussions and kindly lays the
table for food and clears away for us. It sounds odd, but it seemed
quite natural until I heard that he was a chauffeur. My bourgeois
bringing-up is constantly having surprises! Marinashky has a nice
clear-cut face, and square jaw like the Americans one saw during the

This afternoon we got out of the train and walked up the line, as there
were three hours to dispose of. I led the way because there was a wood I
wanted to go to. It was extremely pretty, and the moss sank beneath
one’s feet. The children collected berries and scarlet mushrooms, which
they brought to me as offerings.

On the way back Kameneff and his boy and I found a dry place covered
with pine needles, where we lay down, and to the sound of father and son
talking softly in Russian I went fast asleep. The sun was setting when
they woke me up. In the heart of Russia, in the company of Bolsheviks, I
had spent an Arcadian hour.


_p. 62._]

SEPTEMBER 20TH. _Moscow, The Kremlin._

Yesterday evening after we had started, Kameneff left us to go and talk
to Zinoviev who was on the Petrograd train, travelling also to Moscow.
Zinoviev is President of the Petrograd Soviet (and also of the Third
International). I did not see Kameneff again that evening, but at 2 a.m.
he knocked at my door and awakened me with many apologies to tell me
news he thought I should like to hear. Zinoviev had just told him that
the telegram announcing his arrival with me came in the middle of a
Soviet Conference. It caused a good deal of amusement, but Lenin said
that whatever one felt about it there was nothing to do but to give me
some sittings as I had come so far for the purpose. “So Lenin has
consented and I thought it was worth while to wake you up to tell you
that.” Kameneff was in great spirits; Zinoviev had evidently told him
things he was glad to hear, especially, I gathered, that no blame or
censure was going to be put upon him for having failed in his mission to

We reached Moscow at 10.30 a.m. and I waited in the train so that
Kameneff and his wife could get their tender greetings over without my
presence. I watched them through the window: the greeting on one side,
however, was not apparent in its tenderness. I waited and they walked
up the platform talking with animation. Finally Mrs. Kameneff came into
the compartment and shook hands with me. Mrs. Philip Snowden in her book
has described her as “an amiable little lady.” She has small brown eyes
and thin lips. She looked at the remains of our breakfast on the saloon
table and said querulously, “We don’t live _chic_ like that in Moscow.”
Goodness, I thought, not even like that! There was more discussion in
Russian between the two, and my expressionless face watched them. I have
become reconciled to not being unable to understand.

As we left the train she said to me: “Leo Kameneff has quite forgotten
about Russia, the people here will say he is a bourgeois.” Leo Kameneff
spat upon the platform in the most plebeian way, I suppose to disprove
this. It was extremely unlike him.

We piled into a beautiful open Rolls-Royce car and were driven at full
speed with a great deal of hooting through streets that were shuttered
as after an air raid. Mrs. Kameneff said to me: “It is dirty, our
Moscow, isn’t it?” Well, yes, one could not very well say that it was

We came to the Kremlin. It is high up and dominates Moscow and consists
of the main


_p. 64._]

palace, some other palaces, convents, monasteries, and churches
encircled by a wall and towers. The sun was shining when we arrived and
all the gold domes were glittering in the light. Everywhere one looked
there were domes and towers.

We drove up to a side entrance under an archway, and then made our way,
a solemn procession, carrying luggage up endless stone stairs and along
stone corridors to the Kameneff apartments. A little peasant maid with a
yellow handkerchief tied over her head ran out to greet us, and kissed
Kameneff on the mouth. Then ensued the awkward moment of being shown to
no room. After eleven days travelling one felt a longing for peace, and
to be able to unpack, instead of which the Russian discussion was
resumed, and I sat stupidly still with nothing to say.

For breakfast I was given coffee and an over-helping of dry tepid rice.
When for a moment I found myself alone with Kameneff I asked him what
was to become of me and begged him to send me to an hotel. But there are
no hotels; everything belongs to the Government. There are however,
guest-houses, but he was averse to my going to one, as he said that I
should be lonely and strange. He told me to leave the matter entirely to
him and he would decide in two hours.

Meanwhile I went for a walk in the Kremlin grounds with Alexandre and
took a lot of photographs. The beauty of it all was a wonderment, and I
was quite happy not to go outside the walls, which I could not do as I
had no pass. Then I came back and waited and waited for Kameneff to come
and tell me where I was to go. As the day passed by I felt more and more
lonely. For lack of another book I read de Maupassant’s “Yvette,” but
hated it, and thanked God that Bolshevism had at least wiped out that
vile world of idle men. At sunset I sat on the ledge of the open window,
and listened to the bells that were ringing from all the domes in
Moscow. Below me was an avenue of trees that reached up to me with
autumn colours. I thought of Dick and that to-day is his birthday. I
knew he must be asking, “Where is ‘Meema’; why doesn’t she come? How
long will she be?”

When it was dark I was still looking out, and Anna Anrevna, the little
maid, came in softly in her string soled shoes and put her arms round
me. She told me in broken German that I must not _traurig sein_.

Kameneff came in at half-past ten, he was very tired and precluded all
further discussion by saying that it was too late to go anywhere else,
and that I must stay for the night. Mrs.


_p. 65._]

Kameneff came in from her work a little later. She sank into a chair and
drew her hand across her brow in the most approved way to betoken
physical exhaustion. I was given Alexandre’s room, through which they
have to pass to get to their’s, and I have to pass through their’s to
get to the wash-room, as there is no washstand in my bedroom. I suppose
Alexandre slept on a sofa. Kameneff went back to his Soviet meeting at
eleven, and I heard him pass through my room when he came home at 4 a.m.


I awakened, feeling much better. The sunshine was too wonderful. Both
the Kameneffs went off to their respective work, she at 10, and he at
11. I went out into the Kremlin grounds with Alexandre, and while he
played football with Serge Trotsky I sat among the columns of the
Alexander Memorial and indulged in a kaleidoscope of thought. Serge is
the twelve year old son of Trotsky, and is a fine little boy with a
broad chest and a straight back. He looks like the heir to a throne in
the guise of a peasant.

At 1 o’clock a cousin of Leo Kameneff’s who can speak French and English
came to fetch me. Outside the Kremlin gate an old man, who looked like
a peasant, stopped me and asked in English if I were Sylvia Pankhurst.

Hearing I was not he asked: “But you are English and I hope a good
Communist?” I did not answer, I just pressed his hand.

We went to the Musée Alexandre III, the garden of which is strewn with
large bronze eagles thrown down from the pediment. They are very
emblematic of the mighty who are fallen.

The Museum contains replicas of classics of which the originals are in
many cases in the British Museum. But the arrangement and the
backgrounds are so good, that it gives one more pleasure to look at the
Greek and Assyrian replicas here than to see the originals in London.

A school of boys and girls, extremely well fed and well dressed, was
being shown round, and there was also a magnificent old peasant with
long hair and aquiline nose, who told us that he wanted before he died
to see what a museum was like. Both he and the schoolmaster asked us if
we could explain things to them as there were no guides. Even had I been
able to speak the language, I should have been at a loss to explain the
Parthenon Temple which we were facing at that moment. The children
probably, and the peasant surely, had never heard of the Parthenon, nor
of Greek mythology; where would one begin? One could only have said:
“Isn’t it beautiful, don’t you see how beautiful it is?” and hope that
they did see it. Since I heard a guide explaining Rodin at South
Kensington to Australian soldiers, I have felt sure that Art can be
felt, but not explained.

In the end we procured a guidebook and sent the old peasant off with the
children’s school, and left the master to do his best. When I got back
it was to find no one at home. I ate some food, as I was hungry, and
concluded that I was still to be a guest at the Kremlin. Late in the
afternoon I found my way alone through the maze of corridors and
staircases, out into the grounds alone. I wandered about, still
hypnotised by the beauty of the sun-reflecting domes, and by the dead
stillness which seemed to protest from the Royal stones. Over the Tsar’s
palace crows pecked at the flagstaff where once the Royal Standard had
flown. There is a clock in a tower at the Kremlin Gate and it has a
complaining and depressing chime. It complains once at the quarter, four
times at the hour. It seemed to say, “My people are gone! and I am sad,
and I am sad.” It doubtless complained when Napoleon took possession,
and again in Tsarist days, and probably will always lament; some people
are never satisfied.

I have a sort of feeling that I am staying at Versailles just after
Louis XVI. My emotions and impressions are too deep, too many, and too
bewildering to be measured in words.

In the evening Alexandre took me to a play at the Théâtre des Arts. A
big theatre and well filled. The piece was very well staged. The play,
which is adapted from an old Polish legend called “Corrodine,” was well
acted, so that without understanding a word I gathered some of the
sense. In front of us sat Madame Zinoviev with a Comrade and I was glad
when they talked to me in French. It was not until afterwards that I
learnt who she was, much to my amusement, remembering that I had told
her my errand, and that Zinoviev was among the heads promised to me. She
asked me if I would not have to go to Petrograd to do him, but I said
that I thought not, as he was in Moscow at the moment, and that if I
could only find a place to work in, he would sit to me at once. I
wondered why she laughed.

SEPTEMBER 22ND. _Moscow, The Guest House._

Mrs. Kameneff went to her work as usual at 10 a.m. At breakfast half an
hour later Leo Borisvitch, as he is called, promised not to do any work
or keep any engagement until he had taken me to my new headquarters in

[Illustration: BIG BELL, KREMLIN.]


_p. 67._]

guest-house. We were delayed in starting by John Reed, the American
Communist, who came to see him on some business. He is a well-built
good-looking young man, who has given up everything at home to throw his
heart and life into work here. I understand the _Russian_ spirit, but
what strange force impels an apparently normal young man from the United
States? There also arrived to waylay us a painter called Rosenfeld, who
wore canvas shoes like a peasant, and kissed Kameneff on his arrival. He
offered to show me museums and things, but our only medium was German,
and his was a good deal worse than mine, which was a great drawback. At
midday, however, we broke free, and started off with my luggage. I bade
farewell to the Kremlin, and we drove across the river to a guest-house
on the opposite bank facing the Tsar’s Palace. The guest house is the
requisitioned house of a sugar king. It is inhabited by various Foreign
Office officials, also by Mr. Rothstein and an American financier, Mr.
W. B. Vanderlip. A beautiful bedroom and dressing-room are mine, with
walls of green damask. It looks more like a drawing-room than a bedroom.
The house is more or less exactly as the sugar king left it, full of a
mixture of good and bad things. It is partly modern Gothic and partly
German Louis XVI. The ceiling of one of the big rooms is painted by
Flameng, but the best pictures (there were some Corots) have been taken
to a museum. One is extremely grateful for its comfort and hospitality,
even if its taste in decoration is not of the best.

Moreover, one can enjoy it lightheartedly, for the exiled sugar king, it
is rumoured, had other palaces abroad, and never came to Moscow except
for a few weeks in the year. He also has money invested abroad and is
not in want, and can well spare his Moscow palace for so good a purpose.
His old manservant waits upon us, and takes the tenderest care of the
house in the belief that the old régime will return, bringing the owners
of the house with it. He says openly that he is not a Bolshevik, and
takes much pride in changing our plates a great many times, and making
the most of our humble fare. He insists that so far as it depends upon
him we shall behave like perfect ladies and gentlemen and be treated as

I stayed at home all day unpacking at last, and settling down into my
temporary home. Kameneff promised to come back in the course of the day,
but he didn’t. He telephoned however, and arranged that I should be
taken to the Ballet with the party from this house. We sat in the
Foreign Office box. The ballet was “Coppelia,” beautifully produced, and
the orchestra one of the finest that I ever heard. The theatre is the
size of Covent Garden, and is decorated with crimson and gold. There are
boxes all round the first tier, and the house was packed throughout.

The audience consisted of working people, who had admission free through
the distribution of tickets to certain unions. They were a motley crowd,
chiefly _en blouse_. In the Royal box, reserved for Commissars and their
wives, there was a man with a cloth cap. The women were eating apples.
In the box next to ours there was an old woman with a shawl over her

It was intensely moving to see the absorbed attention of the audience.
People leaned their elbows on the ledges of the boxes and watched the
ballet with an almost devouring interest. There was not a cough nor a
whisper. Only when Coppelia came to life as the mechanical doll, there
were delicious low ripples of controlled laughter from the children. At
the ends of the acts people left the stalls to rush, not for the exits
to the foyer, but to the front of the gangways nearest the stage to see
the dancers close to, and to applaud them. The people were tired people,
who had worked all day and had earned a good evening and were enjoying
it to the full.

My only contretemps was with a little stenographer from the Foreign
Office who was in our box. She observed that I had on the red enamelled
star of Communism, and that I wore white gloves. One, she said,
contradicted the other; the white gloves were bourgeois. I argued that
it only mattered what was in my heart, and not what was on my hands. But
she would not be pacified, so I removed the gloves. Considering that my
costume was a red tweed skirt with a red, wool jersey and a
tight-fitting cap, I had thought that gloves would not make me

If my evening’s pleasure was neutralised by the concentrated aroma which
arose from the great unwashed, it is only fair to observe that there is
no soap in the country, and most people have, for two years or so, only
had the one suit of clothes in which they stand up. No wonder----! In
the car coming home I met Mr. Rothstein, who is living in the same
house. I wished I could recall the abusive article which I read about
him in an English newspaper, but all I remember is that he is not to be
readmitted to England. He seems to be an energetic and forceful little
man. I expect he is pretty clever. We had supper together after the
theatre, and conversation


_p. 67._]

drifted on to that eternal comedy, the Nationalisation of women. I
happened to say that this had done more to harm the Bolshevik cause than
almost anything, and, moreover, that quite serious people still believed
it. Mr. Rothstein interposed rather sharply, “Well, a little select
circle which reads the _Morning Post_ perhaps believes it.”

Is it possible, I wonder that he is right, and that the “little select
circle” do not count as much as I have all my life taken for granted
that they did?


I wasted a lot of time this morning trying to fix things up without the
help of Kameneff. As things have turned out I might have saved myself
the trouble. John Reed told me that I never would begin work unless I
arranged everything for myself, and depended on no one here. On the
other hand Mr. Vanderlip told me to keep calm, as his experience was
that everything came in time. Thoroughly impatient however, I got hold
of Mr. Rosenfeld who arrived simultaneously with Alexandre Kameneff and
a motor. Rosenfeld took me studio hunting. The Art Schools seemed to be
very far away from the parts of Moscow that are familiar to me, and
although everyone was willing to help, there seemed to be little
accommodation available. In the Academia, which I believe is only just
re-opening, they offered me a place to work in--a gallery which
obviously was not suitable. We went on to the Strogonoff School, where
Mr. Konenkoff, one of their most distinguished sculptors, offered me of
his best. It was like an empty kitchen looking into a bleak courtyard.
The two students who followed us round were not very sympathetic. No
doubt they thought it presumptuous of me to come to Russia and expect to
model Lenin! They certainly did not seem to think he would sit to me.
Kameneff had warned me that most of the artists I should meet would not
be Bolsheviks, so that probably the students I met were not, but thought
that I was. One of them, a girl and more friendly than the rest, said to
me in French: “If you are a friend of those in power I suppose you will
get some food; we are expected to work here all day from 9 in the
morning till 6 at night without any.” I asked why she did not bring her
food with her, and received some jumbled explanation about rations and
distribution and State Control and no shops, which was so bewildering
that I avoided further discussion. It was obvious that I did not
understand the


_p. 68._]

condition of things, and that I looked rather stupid in consequence.
Another one said to me: “Madame, we are waiting for deliverance. For two
years we have waited. We do not know how it is to come, but we just hope
that some morning we may wake up to find the nightmare over.” I said
feebly that there had been six years of war, and a blockade, but I felt
it was no business of mine to put up a defence for their system. I came
home thoroughly depressed and disheartened, having accomplished nothing.
At 10 p.m. I was sitting in the gilded drawing-room with Mr. Vanderlip
when the telephone rang: it was Kameneff. He announced that he had a
room for me at the Kremlin and that I must work there because all the
people I had to model were there, and that it was the only way to get
them as they were very busy. He promised to send someone for me in the
morning to take me there. He asked if I were lonely, resentful, or
bored, and pleaded his inability to get to me owing to stress of work.
He begged me to be patient and good, and promised that all would come
right. I went to bed feeling really better.


Madame Kameneff’s secretary fetched me at 10 a.m. and we found a Comrade
waiting for us at the Kremlin gateway. He was a painter, young and
bearded, who could speak only Russian. We got our passes to get into the
big round building which used to be the Courts of Justice, and where the
conferences are now held. It is the chief building, and the Red flag
flies above it. Once inside we walked for ever as it seemed, along stone
corridors full of busy people. We went to the room of Comrade Unachides,
one of the most magnificent men that I have ever seen, a real Mestrovic
type, strong features and bushy red hair. Unfortunately he also could
only speak Russian. He showed me the room which is placed at my
disposal. It is big and nearly empty, semi-circular in shape, with bare
white-washed walls. In one corner a formidable iron door with round
peep-holes in it leads into a small cell which contains a safe. The safe
is sealed up with Soviet seals. The cell, I was told, was a disused
prison. This probably accounted for the atmosphere of depression and
grimness which persisted in spite of the sunlight which in the afternoon
flooded my three big windows. Opposite, across the courtyard, is the
Arsenal, and all along the Arsenal walls are ranged the masses of cannon
with their “N” surrounded by the laurel wreath, which leaves one in no
doubt as to their origin.

[Illustration: BIG GUN AT THE KREMLIN.]

While I was looking round, Kameneff turned up; he told me to make a list
of my requirements, and then carried me off in a car and was able to
stay with me until 2 o’clock. These moments together snatched in between
work are so rare that one almost values them. He told me I was to go to
a meeting at the theatre in the evening, and promised that I should be
in a box near the stage so that I could see well. He was to address the
meeting on the subject of his visit to England.

The party from our house were late in starting. We got to the theatre
after the meeting had begun, and were put in the Tsar’s box. This was
already crammed full to overflowing, and all the chairs were occupied by
Turks, Chinese and Persians. No one attempted to offer me a place. Mr.
Vanderlip and I stood for some time, while people moved in and out and
Turks and Persians (I shall never want to smell geranium again) pushed
us about in their impatient efforts to get past or over us. All my
British blood was boiling, and I realised that for the time being, at
all events, I could not regard the Turks and Persians and Chinese as my

After awhile Mr. Vanderlip and I were moved to the stage box. This too
was full, but not of the same kind of people. Anyway, it was nearer, and
one got a better view. Clara Zetkin, the German Socialist, was
speaking, spitting forth venom, as it sounded. The German language is
not beautiful, and the ferocious old soul, mopping her plain face with a
large handkerchief, was not inspiring. It sounded very hysterical and I
only understood an outline of what she was saying. Then Trotsky got up,
and translated her speech into Russian. He interested me very much. He
is a man with a slim, good figure, splendid fighting countenance, and
his whole personality is full of force. I look forward immensely to
doing his head. There is something that ought to lend itself to a fine
piece of work. The overcrowded house was as still as if it were empty,
everyone was attentive and concentrated.

After Trotsky Mme. Kolontai spoke. She has short dark hair. Perhaps she
spoke well, but of that I could not judge. Tired of standing and of not
understanding I left the theatre at the moment when a great many
repetitions of Churchill’s and Lloyd George’s names were rocking the
house with laughter.


I feel very discouraged. Everyone I meet asks me what I have come to
Moscow for. They assure me that there is no chance of modelling Lenin,
and still less of doing Dzhirjinsky, who is a


_p. 71._]

recluse. Nevertheless, I have spent the day getting everything in order.
Sackfuls of bone-dry clay have been delivered at my door. Five men and
one girl stood inert and watched me break it up with a crow-bar. Finally
I was able to send them all away except one, a really intelligent
carpenter, who, instead of trying to talk to me, watched me and
understood what I wanted. He was splendid, made three armatures for me,
and then beat and stirred the clay for three hours until it was in
condition. When Kameneff looked in, bringing Zinoviev, I was up to my
elbows in clay, my clothes were covered, and my hair was standing on
end. Zinoviev laughed, and said it was obvious that I should not be
ready for him to sit to me for days, but I assured him all would be in
order to-morrow, and added that a man of the carpenter’s intelligence
was worthy to be a Government minister. Kameneff repeated this to the
carpenter, and then said to me: “Here everything is possible.” Before
leaving he gave me a pass into the Kremlin that will last until
December, so I am independent at last, and can go in and out alone when
I please. I did not come home until I had built up two heads ready to
work on. I am very tired but full of hope, remembering that I have heard
that things come slowly in Russia, but they come eventually.


I went to church at St. Saviour’s, the big church beyond the bridge,
which was built with the private money of the Tsar as a thanksgiving for
deliverance from Napoleon. It has five gold domes which are a beacon to
me when I am lost. A service was going on and we mingled with the crowd,
which had an amazing preponderance of men. The richness of the church
with its golden and crimson robed priests seemed to throw into relief
the poverty of the people with their faces so full of sadness. What
absurdly stupid things animate one’s thoughts in the most precious
moments: for instance, when the priest made the sign of the Cross with
the three branched candlesticks in each hand, I instinctively looked to
see if he had dropped candle-grease on the carpet--he had! When the
contribution plate began to circulate I watched an old peasant next to
me. He drew out his pocket-book, and fumbled for a few roubles. He held
five of these like a card-hand and fingered them hesitatingly. It was
obvious that he was trying to make up his mind whether he could afford
to part with them all, or only with some of them. In the end he put them
all into the plate, a little act of sacrifice which I am sure will not
pass unblessed.

The choir singing without accompaniment was

[Illustration: SAINT SAVIOUR’S.

_p. 82._]

very beautiful. The masses seemed to be very fervent, one could see
Faith and Hope in all their faces. It is surely the deep religious
feeling in Russia that has sustained these people through all their
years of privation, and prevented a greater chaos.

After church we walked along, rejoicing in the sun, to the
Tretiakovskaya Gallery, full of various schools of painting. Among the
pictures is the famous one of Ivan the Terrible killing his son, but
everything that I saw was obliterated by the memory of three modern
busts, the work of Konenoff, the sculptor I met at the Strogonoff
School. These busts are carved out of blocks of wood. They are
indescribable masterpieces in conception, composition and carving. I
remained for sometime in admiration and wonderment over this modern
work, and then went away, as I could not look at anything else.

At 3 o’clock I hurried to the Kremlin, as Kameneff had telephoned
telling me to expect Zinoviev. I waited until four and then he arrived,
busy, tired and impatient, his overcoat slung over his shoulders as
though he had not had time to put his arms through the sleeves. He flung
off his hat and ran his fingers through his black curly hair, which
already was standing on end. He sat restlessly looking up and down,
round and out and beyond; then he read his newspaper, every now and
again flashing round with an imperative look at me to see how I was
getting on. He seemed to me an extraordinary mix-up of conflicting
personalities. He has the eyes and brow of the fighting man, and the
mouth of a petulant woman.

Little by little he became more tractable, and when he had finished
reading we talked a little. At moments he threw his head back and seemed
to be dreaming. Then he looked like a poet. He is only thirty-eight. It
is amazing how young all these Revolutionaries are. I gleaned from him
the news that Millerand is the new President of the French, to which he
shrugged his shoulders and said that it made no difference, and that the
British strike fixed for to-morrow has been postponed for a week. Before
he left he said he was pleased with the start of his bust, and that I
must do Lenin.

I walked home in face of a lovely sunset; the fiery ball was reflected
in the gold dome of St. Saviour’s. I sang as I walked, because I have
begun work at last, but people looked at me, although they had never
looked at me before. I suppose it was peculiar to hear anyone sing.

[Illustration: BUST OF ZINOVIEV.

_p. 83._]


Things begin to move more rapidly now, and my patience is being
rewarded. To-day Dzhirjinsky came. He is the President of the
Extraordinary Commission, or as we should call it in English, the
organiser of the Red Terror. He is the man Kameneff has told me so much
about. He sat for an hour and a half, quite still and very silent. His
eyes certainly looked as if they were bathed in tears of eternal sorrow,
but his mouth smiled an indulgent kindness. His face is narrow, with
high cheek bones and sunk in. Of all his features his nose seems to have
the most character. It is very refined, and the delicate bloodless
nostrils suggest the sensitiveness of over-breeding. He is a Pole by

As I worked and watched him during that hour and a half he made a
curious impression on me. Finally, overwhelmed by his quietude, I
exclaimed: “You are an angel to sit so still.” Our medium was German,
which made fluent conversation between us impossible, but he answered:
“One learns patience and calm in prison.”

I asked how long he was in prison. “A quarter of my life, eleven years,”
he answered. It was the Revolution that liberated him. Obviously it is
not the abstract desire for power or for a political career that has
made Revolutionaries of such men, but a fanatical conviction of the
wrongs to be righted for the cause of humanity and national progress.
For this cause men of sensitive intellect have endured years of

Being Monday there is no theatre, as that is the night the artists have
free--on Sundays they work for the enjoyment of the people--so I dined
with Mr. Vanderlip, who told me many things which I may not at this
juncture write down or repeat. I have not sought his confidence, so I
thought it rather unjustifiable when at the end of the evening, having
found me a sympathetic listener, he said: “You know too much now, I
shall see that you do not leave the country before I do.” Although he
likes the people with whom he has come in business contact, he is
frankly a capitalist, and glories in it. He is like the Englishman
abroad who is conscious of being different to everyone else, and derives
from it a smug feeling of superiority.

After dinner he was sent for by Tchicherin, and I spent the evening with
Michael Borodin. Michael Markovitch, as Borodin is called, lives in our
house. He is a man with shaggy black hair brushed back from his
forehead, a Napoleonic beard, deep-set eyes, and a face like a mask. He
talks abrupt American-English in a base voice. I have not seen much of
him as he works half the day and all the night, like the other Foreign
Office officials. He is usually late for meals, eats hurriedly and
leaves before we have finished. As soon as Vanderlip had gone Borodin
switched out all the drawing-room lights that Vanderlip had put on,
except one. I asked him why he did this, and he looked round the garish
room and gave a slight shudder: “It is parvenu,” he said; then sinking
back into his chair he looked at me intently, and asked: “What is your
economic position in the world?” It is the first time he has talked to
me, and I found myself answering as if my life depended on my answers.
Happily no one in this country knows anything about my family,
up-bringing, or surroundings. I have not got to live down my wasted
years. I can stand on my own feet and be accepted on my own merits.
Borodin mystifies me, I cannot make out, when all his questions have
been answered, what he thinks.


Dzhirjinsky came at 10 a.m. for an hour. He is leaving Moscow for a
fortnight, so that I can get no more sittings, but seeing how keen I
was, he stayed on and on, doling out ten minutes and quarter-hours as
so much fine gold. He sits so well that two sittings are worth four of

When the Savonarola of the Revolution left, I felt a real sadness that I
may never see him again. Zinoviev sat again in the afternoon, and
brought with him Bucharin and Bela Kun. They seemed to approve of
Dzhirjinsky’s bust, and insisted on looking through all the photographs
of my work. The “Victory” is what really interests them.

I was frightfully disappointed in Bela Kun. I had imagined a romantic
figure, but he looks most disreputable. Bucharin is attractive with his
trim, neat little beard and young face.

This afternoon, after all had left, three soldiers brought a gilt Louis
XVI sofa and a Turkestan carpet to my workroom. These had been ordered
to help to make it more habitable and to dispel the severity. I had to
laugh, the sofa looked so absurdly refined and out of place. I wondered
whose drawing-room it once furnished, and to what little tea-time
gossips it had listened. At that moment a sculptor called Nicholas
Andrev came in and introduced himself to me. He was sent by Kameneff and
mercifully speaks French. A big man with small laughing eyes and a
red-grey beard, typically Russian. After we had talked for awhile he
described to me the difficulties


_p. 87._]

under which he had tried to do Lenin in his office, and while he was
working. He said that portraiture was not Art. I could not but agree
with him, as the difficulty always in doing portraits is that sittings
are always too few and too short, but said that one had to put up with
it, and do the best one could, breaking one’s heart over it all the

He said he had given up sculpture for the time being because of the
difficult conditions, and had taken to drawing instead. I said that for
the present I was intent on portraits, and that Art would have to wait
until later. His attitude is characteristic of the sculptor species.
They are all so d---- d proud, and if they cannot get all the sittings
they need and work under ideal conditions, they do not think it worth
while trying. I consider that there are a few people in the world who
are worth any effort to do, even if they do not give one a chance to do
one’s best work. Andrev laughed and said that that was journalism in

When I got home I found that the water had been heated for baths. This
was a great joy: I had not had one for eight days. Once a week is our
allowance, and it should be on Saturdays, but something went wrong with
the pipe, and we have been disappointed each evening, so that in fact I
had given up hope. How one has learned to appreciate the most ordinary
things that one never thought of being thankful for before. But since I
have been here I have had to wash in cold water; nor am I called, but I
wake up quite mechanically every morning at eight. It will be wonderful
to have scrambled eggs one day for breakfast, but I am getting used to
just black bread and butter, and sometimes cheese.

I wonder a good deal about my family and friends. It is so strange to
have left them without a word, and to get no letters and not to be able
to write any. Mamma especially--bless her, who always says “good-night”
as if it were “good-bye-for-ever”--I wonder what she feels about my
going off without telling her. I wonder if Papa is anxious about me, or
indifferent and resentful! When I think about Dick and Margaret I feel a
sadness. I can get on without most people in the world, but not without
those two, and they must wonder why they do not get letters from me. It
it rather dreadful to think that they might believe that my silence
means forgetfulness.

This evening we went to the “Coq d’Or.” I thought I was back in London
until I looked away from the stage.


_Marcus Adams._


_p. 90._]


Kameneff came to see me in the morning with his watch in his hand, he
had twenty minutes. It was paralysing, one cannot talk under such
conditions. I confined myself to presenting him with a list of things I
want done! Small wonder he comes so seldom to see me. When he does come
everyone in the house knows it, and one by one they come to my door and
ask to see him, each wanting something of him, while his car which waits
at the door is borrowed for an errand. It is very discouraging for him.

Borodin took me to “Prince Igor” this evening, it combined the opera
with the ballet. In the box next to us was a party of Afghans and with
them a Korean. Down in the stalls _one_ man was in a smoking coat and
evening shirt, the first I have seen. He was very conspicuous.


Nicholas Andrev met me at the Kremlin at 1 o’clock. Kameneff had placed
a car at our disposal for the afternoon. We went to several galleries,
beginning with the Kremlin. The palace of a Grand Duchess (opposite the
big bell) has been converted into a working people’s club. It was quite
clean and cared for, but only the Empire Swan furniture suggested it had
ever been a private habitation. We went downstairs to a private chapel,
painted in black and gold. This had been made into a modelling school,
and there were some very good things being done from life. The Spirit of
the Holy Ghost descending as a dove from above, and the golden rays of a
carved sun made a strange background. My bourgeois prejudice was just
for a moment shocked, until I remembered that in our own old fourteenth
century chapel at home Papa typewrites on the altar step. It has been
longer in disuse it is true, but still, one must be consistent. From
there we drove in the car to the house of Ostrouckof, who showed me his
room full of Ikons, one of which came out of St. Sofia. Some date back
to the fifth and sixth centuries. They were beautiful in design and
colour, and most interesting when he explained them to me. Downstairs he
had a modern motley collection. He showed us a Mattisse given to him by
Mattisse himself; it was a curious contrast after Ikons.

We drifted into some art schools, where soldiers and sailors were
working from life models, and the work they were doing was extremely
good. One of these schools was in the large house of a rich merchant.
The Soviet Government are pretty shrewd in the selection of houses for
various purposes. Although some of the big houses are


_p. 95._]

often given over for clubs or workplaces, only a really vulgar,
over-decorated house in impossibly bad taste is used for rough or dirty

The exhibitions of proletarian art are very interesting, and deeply
imbued with the modern movement. There are crude drawings that show an
appreciation of form, and there is sculpture in wood that is often very
effective, and may lead to something good.

One of these exhibitions was in an exquisite house of beautiful
architecture that stood back from the street, in a garden that had run
to seed. The house had once belonged to the Princess Dolgorouki, but it
had passed into the hands of a Countess somebody, who had died. The
daughter _héritière_ had been turned out, but it was said that she was
still living in the basement. The ground floor consisted of a series of
small, beautifully proportioned rooms, with painted ceilings and carved
doors. One was a Chinese room and all were in exquisite taste. There
were some lovely Empire bronzes and old Dorée, and other objects of art.

The house seemed to be open to anyone who chose to come in. The old
cherry-satin upholstery of the French chairs was in limbo. I never felt
a place so small and full of ghosts. Perhaps, because it was so small,
it had the feeling of having been someone’s intimate home, not a
blatant place of entertaining.

As we wandered round a man joined us and, speaking to us in French,
asked if we were from France. His cap was drawn well over his eyes, and
the collar of his overcoat turned up over his ears. One could only see a
well-bred nose pinched with cold. He knew about the house and its
history, and which were the best bits of furniture. He was evidently a
cultured man, and but for the presence of Andrev, who always laughs at
me, I would have talked to him about himself. He was rather like a ghost
haunting a place he knew, and I imagine he was no Bolshevik, but one who
had known prosperous days.

I came away filled with sadness, and when Kameneff came to see me this
evening, I tried to tell him about it, and begged him to have the house
taken care of. He says that there is a committee that looks after all
the houses, but I think they have passed this one by.

Coming back from our wanderings we passed, in one of the squares, a
statue of Gogol, the Russian writer. I thought it a very fine piece of
work. Gogol, half wrapped in a cloak, looks down scrutinizingly in
bronze from his rough granite seat, and Andrev laughed at me for liking
it, and said that in Moscow it was scorned and had brought coals of
fire down on the artist’s head.

I was very surprised, and thought to myself that the standard of Russian
art must be very high: but in spite of this ridicule, I stuck to my
opinion. I even said that in London we had not a single statue as good
as that one. Later he admitted that he was the author of it.


Hearing that there was a review of troops in the Red Square at 11
o’clock, I went to see what I could see. Everyone else seemed busy, and
Michael Markovitch, whom I wanted, was not to be found. If he had come
with me I should have taken my kodak, but I have not a permit and did
not feel like risking a controversy alone. Arrived in the Red Square, I
was not allowed to get anywhere near, and I did so want to see and hear
Trotsky addressing the troops. Soldiers kept the onlookers absolutely
out of the square, and I stood on the steps of the wonderful church of
St. Basil. The soldiers certainly were very amiable, and, when I
wandered rebelliously from my steps out into the road, a bayonet was
levelled smilingly at me; I made a gesture of not understanding, and
said helplessly in English “Where do you want me to go?” Whereupon the
soldier laughed and allowed me to stand by his side. The crowd was very
quiet and apathetic, one certainly was not near enough to get excited.
In the dim distance one could hear Trotsky’s voice, punctuated by cheers
from the soldiers. After awhile the crowd broke forward to where I stood
with the soldier. Some mounted detachments came towards us, very
decorative indeed with bright coloured uniforms and lances with
fluttering pennons. Suddenly a man at my side said to me in French:
“Madame, does this please you?” I was very glad to have someone to speak
to; the man was young, and, though ill-shaved, was well-dressed in
uniform. He could speak German also, but English he said he had
forgotten, though he had at one time spent three months in England.
Waving a hand contemptously towards the scene before us, he said:
“_C’est du théâtre, Madame_--that is all it amounts to.” I ventured to
say that a theatrical display was not much use unless there were
spectators. In England, I assured him, we had our military pageants for
the benefit of the people, but what was the use of this if we were not
allowed anywhere near? He replied that it was a necessary precaution for
the protection of Trotsky. I laughed: “We are three gunshots away, at
least.” Then to my amazement the man began to discuss and criticise, and
talk what seemed to me pure Counter-Revolutionary stuff. From all one
has ever heard about Russian conditions (Tsarist as well as
Revolutionary) it seemed to me that he was strangely indiscreet, and I
asked him: “Are you not mad to talk like this in a crowd? Anyone may
understand French.” He shrugged his shoulders: “One has lived so long
now side by side with death that one has grown callous.” He then asked
if I would care to go for a walk. I felt rather selfconscious of walking
away in front of the crowd with a man whom they had seen me so obviously
“pick-up.” However, in Russia there are no conventions, it was only my
bourgeois blood rushing to the surface again that made it seem peculiar.

We went down to the river and leaned against the railing and talked for
a long time. He was certainly very interesting and amazingly indiscreet.
Happily I have nothing with which to reproach myself. I adopted a
perfectly good Bolshevik point of view, and argued in my usual way about
wars and blockades, and urged him to have imagination and to look
further ahead than to-day and to-morrow. We talked about idealists,
reviewed a few Tsarist items, and made comparisons, but everything I
said provoked him to further extreme utterances. He wished finally that
he might have an opportunity of showing me “the other side.” He invited
me to go to a factory with him. I asked what use that would be as I
cannot speak a word of Russian. He said he would like to present to me
his father and his uncle, but as they were both “known” he would have to
be very careful. Finally we exchanged my name and address for his
telephone number. He said that if I would telephone him to-morrow,
Sunday night, he would meet me outside my front gate at 11 on Monday
morning, but he would not dare to come into the house.

At 1 o’clock a.m. (I have adopted the Russian habit of not going to bed)
I saw Michael Markovitch, when he returned from the Commissariat, and
told him about it. He said that he must be the queerest sort of
Counter-Revolutionary he had ever heard of, and advised me to leave him


I have been five days out of work. It seems much longer. I am told that
there are people in Moscow who have been waiting six months to
accomplish the business they came for. Lenin seems to me further away
than he did in London. There is nothing to do here unless one has work.
Never could one have imagined a world in which there is absolutely no
social life and no shops. There are no newspapers (for me) and no
letters, either to be received or written. There are no meals to look
forward to, and comfort cannot be sought in a hot bath. When one has
seen all the galleries, and they are open only half a day, and some of
them not every day, and when one has walked over cobblestones until
one’s feet ache, there is nothing more to be done. One _must_ have work
to do. Perhaps I should be calmer if I had already accomplished Lenin,
but my anxiety is lest I should have to wait weary weeks. Return to
London without his head I cannot. Michael took me for a walk, and it was
extremely cold. We went to St. Basil, as I wanted to see it inside, but
it is locked after 3 o’clock. Outside it is wonderful, painted all over
in various designs and colours. I cannot understand how it stands the
climate. Inside I am told that there is not much to see; Napoleon
stabled his horses in it. One has heard so much about Bolshevik
outrages, but they have done nothing like that. Napoleon distinguished
himself in several ways while he was here. For instance, he ordered the
destruction of the beautiful Spassky Gate of the Kremlin; the barrels of
powder were placed in position and the matches were lit as the last of
the French rode out. The Cossacks galloped up in time to put the
matches out at the risk of their lives.

On our way home we passed by St. Saviour’s church and looked in, really
impelled to seek refuge from the cold. In a side chapel where the light
was dim, a priest, with his long hair and beard and fine features, was
preaching to a congregation which sat fervently absorbed. The heads of
the women looked Eastern in their shawl swathings. I listened for some
time to the strange musical tongue, of which I could not understand a
word. The priest looked so amazingly like the traditional pictures of
Christ that I felt I was listening to the great Master teaching in the


When I came down to breakfast at 10 my strange Counter-Revolutionary was
sitting in the hall. How he ever got there or why he came as I had not
telephoned to him, I shall never understand. I expressed my astonishment
and told him I was sorry I could not go out with him, as I had someone
coming to see me. I promised to telephone to him later. He seemed a
little disappointed, said he was “_entièrement a mon service_,” and
departed. In the dining-room I found Michael breakfasting and told him,
and he got up quickly to see, but I laughed and said that naturally I
had sent him away, before telling anyone he was there. Michael looked at
me with a cold look. He is like the others, one feels instinctively that
however much they may like one as a woman, they would sacrifice one in a
minute if it were necessary for the cause.

At lunch time H. G. Wells arrived from Petrograd with his son; they are
lodged in our house. It was a great pleasure to find an old friend and
to be able to talk of things and people familiar to us. He was, as
usual, laughing and extremely humorous about the condition of life in
Petrograd. On his account we were a big party for lunch, and there was
an effort to make a spread, but this was frustrated by Michael Borodin.
When I asked for some of the beautiful apple cake I had seen on the
side-table, Michael made grimaces at me: he had sent it back to the
kitchen. The perfect Communist in him revolted against the inequality of
H. G. having a special cake, considering that neither Vanderlip nor
Sheridan had had one on arrival. The household call me Sheridan, like a
man. One has quite lost the habit of prefixing Mr. or Mrs., in fact one
cannot do it, it sounds so absurd and affected. I have not yet been
honoured to the extent of being called Tovarisch (Comrade), but some
people ball me Clara Moretonovna (Clare, daughter of Moreton).

After lunch I went for a walk with Michael; he had tip-toed out of the
room at lunch time, and I asked him why. He was not very communicative,
and said that he hated people collectively and he disliked H. G., though
for no reason that I could make out. I sat up far into the night. One
felt quite sleepless with excitement over the evening’s discussions.


H. G. had an hour’s interview with Lenin. He told me that he was
impressed by the man, and liked him. Lenin apparently told him all about
the Vanderlip business, the Kamschatka concessions and the Alliance
against Japan. This will greatly upset Vanderlip, who did not want the
news to leave the country until he did. But I expect Lenin’s
indiscretion is the indiscretion of purpose. H. G. talked to me at some
length about the advisability of my going home. He, too, is discouraging
about my prospects of doing Lenin or Trotsky. He says that Kameneff has
“let me down” badly. I could only say in Kameneff’s defence that he has
not “let me down” yet. But H. G. had something else in the back of his
head that he did not tell. I gathered that he thinks there will be
trouble here in a few weeks. What the conditions are in Petrograd I do
not know, but here one feels as safe as a mountain and as immovable. H.
G. may learn a lot of facts about schools and factories and things, but
it is only by living a life of dull routine and work, even of patient
inactivity and waiting, that one absorbs the atmosphere. Inactivity is
forced upon me, I _have_ to wait. I am waiting neither patiently nor
calmly it is true, but all the while I realise that I am gaining
something, and that some understanding is subconsciously flowing to me.
I see no danger signals. A winter of hardship and sacrifice for these
people, yes, but no disorder. The machine is slowly, very slowly,
working with more competence and freedom. Of course one dislikes cold
baths in cold weather, and bad food, and all the discomforts to which a
pampered life has made one unaccustomed, but these need not blight one’s
outlook. They are not necessarily indicative of a disruption.

After the Ballet “Sadko,” I walked home with Michael Borodin. We had
supper together of cabbage-soup and tepid rice, and talked until 2 a.m.
Michael always says that the food is eatable, even if it is not. He
never complains, he just pretends to eat it, sometimes I see his
pretence. This evening he talked to me about my work. He wants me to
think about a statue interpreting the Soviet idea, and told me a good
deal about the Third International, as representing a world brotherhood
of workers. The plan of the Third International is very fine: “Workmen
of the world unite.” If they did unite they could hold the peace of the
world for ever. But unity is hard to attain; I wonder if it is not
unattainable. Everything that one hears and sees here stirs the
imagination--my mind is seething with allegories with which to express
them, but they are so big that I should have to settle for life on the
side of a mountain, and hew out my allegories from the mountain side.
To-night, in his big Gothic room, I paced back and forth, my arm through
Michael’s, talking abstractedly, until his calmness calmed me. He knows
that I have been going through a period of waiting, not unmixed with
despair and anxiety. I understand so little about the Russian
temperament, and hear such conflicting reports, that it is difficult to
know what to expect. He has encouraged and cheered and tolerated me. He
reminds me sometimes of Munthe,[6] in his adhesion to his convictions,
and his demand that one should live up to one’s idealism.


Spent the morning darning my stockings and reading Rupert Brooke. I was
depressed to the point of resignation. It is always blackest before
dawn: at 2 o’clock the Commandant of the house walked in with a
telephone message: “Greetings from Comrade Kameneff, and all is prepared
for you to go and do Lenin in his room to-morrow, from 11 till 4

It was marvellous news. I went directly to the Kremlin, and with the
help of someone from the Foreign Office, got my stands and clay moved
from my studio to Lenin’s room. I happily had him built up, ready to
work on as soon as the order should come.


Borodin accompanied me to the Kremlin. On the way he said to me: “Just
remember that you are going to do the best bit of work to-day that you
have ever done.” I was anxious, rather, about the conditions of the room
and the light.

We went in by a special door, guarded by a sentry, and on the third
floor we went through several doors and passages, each guarded. As I was
expected, the sentries had received orders to let me pass. Finally, we
went through two rooms full of women secretaries. The last room
contained about five women at five tables, and they all looked at me
curiously, but they knew my errand. Here Michael handed me over to a
little hunchback, Lenin’s private secretary, and left me. She pointed to
a white baize door, and I went through. It did not latch, but merely
swung behind me.

Lenin was sitting at his desk. He rose and came across the room to greet
me. He has a genial manner and a kindly smile, which puts one instantly
at ease. He said that he had heard of me from Kameneff. I apologised for
having to bother him. He laughed and explained that the last sculptor
had occupied his room for weeks, and that he got so bored with it that
he had sworn that it never should happen again. He asked how long I
needed, and offered me to-day and to-morrow from 11 till 4, and three or
four evenings, if I could work by electric light. When I told him I
worked quickly and should probably not require so much, he said
laughingly that he was pleased.

My stand and things were then brought into the room by three soldiers,
and I established myself on the left. It was hard work, for he was lower
than the clay and did not revolve, nor did he keep still. But the room
was so peaceful, and he on the whole took so little notice of me, that
I worked with great calm till 3.45, without stopping for rest or food.

During that time he had but one interview, but the telephone was of
great assistance to me. When the low buzz accompanied by the lighting up
of a small electric bulb, signified a telephone call, his face lost the
dullness of repose and became animated and interesting. He gesticulated
to the telephone as though it understood.

I remarked on the comparative stillness of his room, and he laughed.
“Wait till there is a political discussion!” he said.

Secretaries came in at intervals with letters. He opened them, signed
the empty envelope, and gave it back, a form of receipt I suppose. Some
papers were brought him to sign, and he signed, but whilst looking at
something else instead of at his signature.

I asked him why he had women secretaries. He said because all the men
were at the war, and that caused us to talk of Poland. I understood that
peace with Poland had been signed yesterday, but he says not, that
forces are at work trying to upset the negotiations, and that the
position is very grave.

“Besides,” he said, “when we have settled Poland, we have got Wrangel.”
I asked if Wrangel was negligible, and he said that Wrangel counted
quite a bit, which is a different attitude from that adopted by the
other Russians I have met, who have laughed scornfully at the idea of

We talked about H. G. Wells, and he said that the only book of his he
had read was “Joan and Peter,” but that he had not read it to the end.
He liked the description at the beginning of the English intellectual
bourgeois life. He admitted that he should have read, and regretted not
having read some of the earlier fantastic novels about wars in the air
and the world set free. I am told that Lenin manages to get through a
good deal of reading. On his desk was a volume by Chiozza Money. He
asked me if I had had any trouble in getting through to his room, and I
explained that Borodin had accompanied me. I then had the face to
suggest that Borodin, being an extremely intelligent man who can speak
good English, would make a good Ambassador to England when there is
Peace. Lenin looked at me with the most amused expression, his eyes
seemed to see right through me, and then said: “That would please
Monsieur Churchill wouldn’t it?” I asked if Winston was the most hated
Englishman. He shrugged his shoulders, and then added something about
Churchill being the man with all the force of the capitalists behind
him. We argued about that, but he did not want to hear my opinion, his
own being quite unshakable. He talked about Winston being my cousin, and
I said rather apologetically that I could not help it, and informed him
that I had another cousin who was a Sinn Feiner. He laughed, and said
“that must be a cheerful party when you three get together.” I suppose
it would be cheerful, but we have never all three been together!

During these four hours he never smoked, and never even drank a cup of
tea. I have never worked so long on end before, and at 3.45 I could hold
out no longer. I was blind with weariness and hunger, and said good-bye.
He promised to sit on the revolving stand to-morrow. If all goes well, I
think I ought to be able to finish him. I do hope it is good. I think it
looks more like him than any of the busts I have seen yet. He has a
curious Slav face, and looks very ill.

When I asked for news of England, he offered me the three latest “Daily
Heralds” he had, dated September 21, 22 and 23. I brought them back and
we all fell upon them, Russians and American alike. As for me, I have
spent a blissful evening reading about the Irish Rebellion and the
Miners’ dispute, as if it were yesterday’s news, and the Irene Munro and
Bamberger cases. Goodness, one feels as though one had looked through a
window and seen home on the horizon.

How tired I was; I had eaten nothing since 10 a.m. and dinner was not
until 9 p.m. In between I ate some of my English biscuits.


Started work again in Lenin’s room. I went by myself this time, and got
past all the sentries with the pass that I had been given. I took my
kodak with me, although I had not the necessary kodak permission. I put
a coat over my arm, which hid it.

I don’t know how I got through my day. I had to work on him from afar.
My real chance came when a Comrade arrived for an interview, and then
for the first time Lenin sat and talked facing the window, so that I was
able to see his full face and in a good light.

The Comrade remained a long time, and conversation was very animated.
Never did I see anyone make so many faces. Lenin laughed and frowned,
and looked thoughtful, sad, and humorous all in turn. His eyebrows
twitched, sometimes they went right up, and then again they puckered
together maliciously.

I watched these expressions, waited, hesitated, and then made my
selection with a frantic rush--it was his screwed-up look. Wonderful! No
one else has such a look, it is his alone. Every now and then he seemed
to be conscious of my presence, and gave a piercing, enigmatical look in
my direction. If I had been a spy pretending not to understand Russian,
I wonder whether I should have learnt interesting things? The Comrade,
when he left the room, stopped and looked at my work, and said the only
word that I understand, which is _carascho_, it means “good,” and then
said something about my having the character of the man, so I was glad.

After that Lenin consented to sit on the revolving stand. It seemed to
amuse him very much. He said he never had sat so high. When I kneeled
down to look at the glances from below, his face adopted an expression
of surprise and embarrassment.

I laughed and asked: “Are you unaccustomed to this attitude in woman?”
At that moment a secretary came in, and I cannot think why they were
both so amused. They talked rapid Russian together, and laughed a good

When the secretary had gone, he became serious and asked me a few
questions. Did I work hard in London? I said it was my life. How many
hours a day? An average of seven. He made no comment on this, but it
seemed to satisfy him. Until then, I had the feeling that, although he
was charming to me, he looked upon me a little resentfully as a
bourgeoise. I believe that he always asks people, if he does not know
them, about their work and their origin, and makes up his mind about
them accordingly. I showed him photographs of some of my busts and also
of “Victory.” He was emphatic in not liking the “Victory,” his point
being that I had made it too beautiful.

I protested that the sacrifice involved made Victory beautiful, but he
would not agree. “That is the fault of bourgeois art, it always

I looked at him fiercely. “Do you accuse me of bourgeois art?”

“I accuse you!” he answered, then held up the photograph of Dick’s bust.
“I do not accuse you of embellishing this, but I pray you not to
embellish me.”

He then looked at Winston. “Is that Churchill himself? You have
embellished him.” He seemed to have this on the brain.

I said: “Give me a message to take back to Winston.”

He answered: “I have already sent him a message through the Delegation,
and he answered it not directly, but through a bitter newspaper


_p. 99._]

article, in which he said I was a most horrible creature, and that our
army was an army of _puces_. How you say _puces_ in English? You know
the French _puces_? Yes, that is it, an army of fleas. I did not mind
what he said; I was glad. It showed that my message to him had angered

“When will Peace come to Russia? Will a General Election bring it?” I

He said: “There is no further news of a General Election, but if Lloyd
George asks for an Election it will be on anti-Bolshevism, and he may
win. The Capitalists, the Court, and the Military, all are behind him
and Churchill.”

I asked him if he were not mistaken in his estimate of the power and
popularity of Winston, and the importance and influence of the Court.

He got fiery. “It is an intellectual bourgeois pose to say that the King
does not count. He counts very much. He is the head of the Army. He is
the bourgeois figurehead, and he represents a great deal, and Churchill
is backed by him.” He was so insistent, so assured, so fierce about it,
that I gave up the argument.

Presently, he said to me: “What does your husband think of your coming
to Russia?”

I replied that my husband was killed in the war.

“In the capitalist-imperialist war?”

I said: “In France, 1915; what other war?”

“Ah, that is true,” he said. “We have had so many, the imperialist, the
civil war, and the war for self-defence.”

We then discussed the wonderful spirit of self-sacrifice and patriotism
with which England entered upon the war in 1914, and he wanted me to
read “Le Feu” and “La Clarté” of Barbusse, in which that spirit and its
development is so wonderfully described.

Then the telephone gave its damnable low buzzing. He looked at his
watch. He had promised me fifteen minutes on the revolving stand and
given me half an hour. He got down and went to the telephone. It did not
matter: I had done all I could. I had verified my measurements, and they
were correct, which was a relief, and so, it being 4 o’clock and I
mighty hungry, I said good-bye.

He was very pleased, said I had worked very quickly, called in his
secretary and discussed it with her, said it was _carascho_. I asked him
to give orders to have it removed to my studio, Room 31. Two soldiers
arrived and carried it out. I asked Lenin for his photograph, which he
sent for and signed for me.

I hurried after the two panting soldiers with their load. We passed
through the rooms of the astonished secretaries, out into the
corridors, past the bored and surprised sentries, and got through to the
main building. Two or three times they had to pause and deposit “Lenin”
on the floor, to the interest of the passers-by. At last he was safely
in Room 31, and they returned to Lenin’s room for the stands. It was a
good long way, and they were tired and dripping with sweat when their
job was done.

To my intense embarrassment, they refused money, though I offered them
stacks of paper notes. They refused very amiably, but firmly. I made
signs of imploration and signs of secrecy, but they laughed and just
pointed to their communist badges, and offered me their cigarettes which
were precious, being rationed.

At 4 Kameneff walked in, very surprised at Lenin being finished and
already back in my room. He had come in from a conference next door. He
went back and fetched in the Conference; eight or more men came in, some
with interesting heads, others just ordinary-looking workmen.

They all talked at once. One was Kalinin, whom I had seen in Lenin’s
room at an interview. Kalinin is the President of the Republic, and is a
peasant elected by the peasants. He was charming and promised to sit for
me, but is off to the front to-night for ten days, and offered to take
me with him. He told Kameneff that as I worked so rapidly I should find
some interesting heads to do there, especially General Budienny.

I said I thought it would be wonderful to do this work within sound of
the guns. Kameneff promised to ring me up at 9 o’clock to tell me if I
was to start at 10. Alas! It turned out to be a troop train, and not
possible for a woman.


Started off in a motor with Mr. Vanderlip and someone from the Foreign
Office. We went to a textile factory, a huge place, and pronounced by
Mr. Vanderlip to have the best and latest machinery, but there were 240
workers where there had been 2,500, and there were acres of machinery
lying idle, the reason being lack of fuel. Mr. Vanderlip, with that
unfailing American “spread-eagle,” said that 50 experienced American
workers could have done the work of those 240. It is true there was a
good deal of idling going on. This may have been due either to lack of
sufficient work, or to the Communist system by which each man or woman
is as good as another, and there is none to oversee the work. But what
had been done was well done.

From there we went to one of the big fur stores which before the
Revolution belonged to a private firm, but to-day is the property of the
Government. There were rooms full of huge hampers packed with sable
skins for export, and of course, as I was the only woman present, they
dangled bunches of sable skins before me. Now sables don’t say much to
me if they are not made up, but silver foxes are different, and they
cruelly put round my neck some silver foxes.


Kameneff came at midday to say good-bye to me; he is off to the front
to-morrow for an indefinite time. He brought with him a young man with
close-cropped hair and clear-cut features, calling himself Alexandre.
Kameneff thinks Alexandre may be able to take care of me during his
absence. I certainly need someone, as Michael Borodin goes to Madrid on
Tuesday, and then I do not know what will become of me. Kameneff
discussed with me about the Government buying the Russian copyright of
my heads. He then asked me to make a list of things I wanted, and that
he could do for me before he goes. I had several wants: for one thing, I
am extremely cold. The coat I arrived in is only cloth--now there is
snow on the ground, and the river begins to freeze. I have to wrap my
rug round my shoulders when I go out. The peasants are far better off,
they have all appeared in sheepskin coats, the fur they wear inside, and
the leather, which is usually stained deep orange or rust colour, is a
very decorative exterior. The bourgeois women have brought out their
former remains of splendour, and although they may have only felt or
canvas shoes on their feet, and a shawl over their heads, some of them
wear coats that one would turn round to look at in Bond Street. I headed
my list of requirements with the request for a coat--as well as caviare,
Trotsky, and a soldier of the Red Army whom I want to model. Trotsky is
expected back from the front in a few days. It is a bore that Kameneff
is going away, but Alexandre promised to arrange sittings for me.


In the morning I accompanied Michael Borodin to the headquarters of the
Third International. It is a beautiful house, formerly the German
Embassy, and where Mirbach was murdered.

I came away in a car with Madame Balabanoff, of whom I had often heard.
She is small, past middle age, with a crumpled-up face, but intelligent.
I did not find her any too amiable on our way to the Kremlin, where she
dropped me.

She told me that it was absurd that any bust


_p. 114._]

[Illustration: BUST OF LENIN.

_p. 114._]

of Lenin or any one else should be done, the theory being that the
cause, not the individuals, should count. The humblest person who
suffers privation for the cause is equally as important as any of the
legislators, she explained, and proceeded to assure me that no picture
or bust of herself existed, nor ever should. Happily I had not asked her
to sit for me. She practically told me that I was doing Lenin’s head to
take back to England to show to the idle curious. I corrected her by
saying that, so far as the public was concerned, I only wished to enable
those who had him at present represented by a photograph, to substitute
a bust. She was equally vehement about the photograph. Perhaps she
expects to alter human nature.

Before I got out of the car, she assured me that her tirade was in no
way personal and would I, please, not misunderstand her.


Michael Borodin found me after breakfast, miserably wrapped in my rug,
shivering with cold and depression, and with tears irrepressibly
streaming down my face. I had several grievances which had been
accumulating for some days, and at last my patience had come to a head.
The fact is I had heard of a courier having arrived yesterday from
London, and no one had taken the trouble to find out if there were any
letters for me. Ever since I left England on September 11th I have not
had one word of news, nor answers to two telegrams that Kameneff sent
for me asking after the children. Secondly, I had not been given the
coat that Kameneff had ordered for me, so it was impossible to go out as
it was too cold.

Michael for the first time seemed really moved. He wrapped me round in
his fur coat, went off to the garden and fetched up a load of wood for
me (I had never known him do such a thing before), and lit my fire
himself. Then he telephoned to the Foreign Office. There were no letters
for me, but some bundles for Kameneff. He also got hold of Comrade
Alexandre on the telephone to know when I was going to have the promised
coat, and altogether was very helpful. His journey to Madrid has been
delayed daily, but he is to start to-morrow. It seems to me that in
Russia one only knows about ten minutes beforehand what one is going to
do! They are divinely vague.


I went to the Kremlin to meet Comrade Alexandre there at midday: he was
to bring me a soldier as a model. Not feeling brave enough to go and
review a platoon and make my own selection, I had described exactly
what I wanted: not the bloodthirsty savage Bolshevik of English
tradition, but the dreamy-eyed young Slav who knows what he is fighting
for, and such as I passed every day on the parade ground. I waited in my
studio impatiently till 2 o’clock, and then Alexandre arrived
accompanied by a soldier who was typically neither Russian, nor
military, nor intellectual, nor even fine physically. He was small,
white, _chétif_, and had a waxed moustache. It was a bad moment. I tried
to hide my disappointment and my amusement. I missed lunching in order
to work on him, and began something that was not in the least like my
model, but was the product of my imagination. At 5 I came home tired and
hungry and cold. I lay down on my sofa and watched the dusk crawl up
behind the Kremlin. At 8.30 I was called down to the telephone, which is
in the kitchen. It was Borodin speaking from the Foreign Office. He said
“good-bye” in his abrupt manner. “This is the right way,” he said. “This
is the way it should be.” The maid was throwing her broom around the
kitchen, making as much noise as possible, and a strange man glared at
me out of the gloom. I found it difficult to concentrate my attention.
Michael knows that I do not believe in “futures,” but nevertheless we
said “someday,” and I wonder very much if that strange
Communist-Revolutionary, with his mask-like face and deep voice, will
ever cross my path again. To-night I regret him, but then I am lonely
for the moment--friendless, and this is a place where one needs friends.

At 9 o’clock, not having eaten since 10 a.m., I went downstairs to
round-up some food. There, to my surprise, I met Litvinoff, who had been
in Moscow since the day before yesterday. Our pleasure at seeing each
other again was mutual and spontaneous. He is coming to stay at our
house, and will occupy the vacated room of Borodin.


Comrade Alexandre came to see me at 9 p.m., to tell me that he could not
arrange with Trotsky for sittings. I gathered that Trotsky had been
emphatic and brusque in his refusal, but after all, I have done Lenin,
and he is the one who counts most. I can go back to England without the
head of Trotsky, but I could not have gone without the head of Lenin. I
_have_ accomplished what I came for, and so to hell with Trotsky!

Alexandre said he could only stay ten minutes, but he left at midnight.
He talked Communism the whole time. Now Borodin unfurled his Communist
spirit to me slowly, because he knew me, and to what I belonged, and he
realised that the thing hurled at me in a crude mass would stagger me.
He led me up to it with great caution. Alexandre, on the other hand,
with no understanding or sympathy, took all my inborn prejudices and
just broke them, stamped on them, metaphorically spat on them, and gave
me a big feed of unadulterated Communism. He is a fanatic, and left me
breathless and wondering. All was well until we got to the children
part: he said that his wife had to work, so their baby, who is six weeks
old, has to go by day to the Crèche.

“Are you satisfied with the care it gets at the Crèche?” I asked him. He
shrugged his shoulders, said that collectively they could not receive
the same attention as they would if they were cared for individually. He
then volunteered the information that of course the baby was more liable
to get ill and even die if it was in the Crèche, but that it was a
chance, and after all his wife’s life was not going to be reduced to
feeding, washing, and dressing a baby. That was no sort of existence,
and so, what alternative was there except the Crèche?

It was the cold, dispassionate way in which he said it that gave me the

“What is your wife’s work?” I said.

“Politics, same as mine,” he said.

“Are you fond of your baby?”


“Is your wife fond of it?”


I thought to myself that she has not had to pray for a baby, and weep
because the months went by. She has not had to wait, and wait--it is not
infinitely precious to her, her baby.

He then counter-questioned me:

“What did you do with your children when you became a widow and had no

“My parents took them.”

“And if you had had no parents who could take them? How could you have

It is true that there must be thousands of women who earn their living
and have no family in the background on whom to plant the baby. What
happens in a country where there is no paternal State? In Russia the
State will clothe, feed and educate them from birth until fourteen years
of age. They may go to the Crèche for the day or permanently. Children
may go to the State school for the half day, whole day, or to board.
Their parents may see them, or give them up for ever, as they choose,
and there is no difference made between the legitimate and


_p. 129._]

the illegitimate child. Moreover, according to the labour laws, no woman
may work for eight weeks before the baby is born, nor for eight weeks
after birth. She is sent away to a resthouse in the country, always of
course at the State’s expense. On application she is given the necessary
layette for the new born. It is difficult to preserve one’s maternal
sentimentality in the face of this Communistic generosity.


I stayed in bed all day as I felt ill, and there was nothing better to
do. Litvinoff came in to see me in the afternoon and was surprised that
I had not begun to work on Trotsky. I explained to him that, through
Comrade Alexandre, Trotsky had flatly refused to let me do him.
Litvinoff could not understand this, but said he had seen Trotsky last
night. It was then decided that Litvinoff would see Trotsky again during
the day, and telephone to me what arrangements he could make. He then
left me, to come back again in a few minutes bringing something
preciously in both hands. It was a hen’s egg. As I have not seen one
since I have been in Moscow, I stifled my instinctive aversion to
accepting valuable presents from men and had the egg fried for dinner.


Trotsky’s car came for me punctually at 11.30 a.m. (usually the cars
that are ordered are an hour late, and people keep their appointments
two hours late. Trotsky and Lenin are, I hear, the only two exceptions
to the rule). I made Litvinoff come and tell the chauffeur that he was
first to go to the Kremlin with me to fetch my things. When we got to
the big round building in the Kremlin in which I have my studio, I took
the chauffeur to the pass office and explained by signs by showing my
own pass that I required one for the chauffeur. This was done. It is
satisfactory to have arrived at the stage when I get the pass for
someone else, instead of someone else getting it for me. Kameneff told
me the other day that I walk into the Kremlin with the air of one who
belonged to it.

Trotsky’s chauffeur, myself, and the plaster moulder who was there
working, carried the things down to the car, and I was driven to a place
some way off, the War Ministry, I think. Getting in was not easy, as I
had no pass, and there was an altercation with the sentry. I understood
the chauffeur explaining: “Yes, yes, it’s the English sculptor,” but the
sentry was adamant. He shrugged his shoulders, said he didn’t care, and
made a blank face. I had to wait until a secretary came to fetch me. He
took me upstairs, through two rooms of soldier-secretaries. In the end
room there was a door guarded by a sentry, and next to that door a big
writing table from which someone telephoned through into the next room
to know if I could come in. Unlike Lenin’s, not even his secretaries go
in to see Trotsky without telephoning first for permission. It was not
without some trepidation, having heard how very intractable he is, and
knowing his sister,[7] that I was ushered in--I and my modelling stand
and my clay together.

I had instantly the pleasurable sensation of a room that is sympathetic,
big, well-proportioned and simple.

From behind an enormous writing table in one corner near the window came
forth Trotsky. He shook hands with me welcomingly, though without a
smile, and asked if I talked French.

He offered courteously to assist me in moving my stand into the right
place, and even to have his mammoth table moved into some other position
if the light was not right.

The light from the two windows was certainly very bad, but although he
said: “Move anything and do just whatever you like,” there was nothing
one could do that would help. The room, which would have made a
beautiful ballroom, loomed large and dark. There were huge white columns
which got in my way and hampered the light. My heart sank at the
difficulties of the situation. I looked at my man, who was bending down,
writing at his desk. Impossible to see his face. I looked at him and
then at my clay, in despair. Then I went and knelt in front of the
writing table opposite him, with my chin on his papers. He looked up
from his writing and stared back, a perfectly steady, unabashed stare.
His look was a solemn, analytical one, perhaps mine was too. After a few
seconds, realising the absurdity of our attitudes, I had to laugh, and
said: “I hope you don’t mind being looked at.” “I don’t mind,” he said.
“I have my _revanche_ in looking at you, and it is I who gain.”

He then ordered a fire to be lit because he thought it was cold for me.
It was not cold, it was overheated, but the sound and sight of the fire
were nice. A matronly peasant-woman with a handkerchief tied round her
head came and lit it. He said he liked her because she walked softly,
and had a musical voice. Curious that he should admire in another what
is so characteristic of himself; his voice is unusually melodious.

[Illustration: NICHOLAS ANDREV.]

Seeing that he was prepared to be amiable, I asked him if I could bother
him with measurements. “_Tout ce que vous voudrez_,” he said, and
pointed out to me how unsymmetrical his face is. He opened his mouth and
snapped his teeth to show me that his underjaw is crooked, and as he did
so he reminded me of a snarling wolf. When he talks his face lights up
and his eyes flash. Trotsky’s eyes are much talked of in Russia, and he
is called “the wolf.” His nose also is crooked and looks as though it
had been broken. If it were straight he would have a very fine line from
the forehead. Full-face he is Mephisto. His eyebrows go up at an angle,
and the lower part of his face tapers into a pointed and defiant beard.
As I measured him with calipers, he remarked: “_Vous me caressez avec
des instruments d’acier._” He talks very rapid, and very fluent French,
and could easily be mistaken for a Frenchman. I dragged my modelling
stand across the room to try for a better light on the other side. He
watched me with a weary look, and said: “Even in clay you make me
travel, and I am so tired of travelling.” He explained to me that he is
not as desperately busy as usual because there is Peace with Poland, and
good news from the South. I told him that I had nearly gone to the
Southern front with Kalinin, who wanted to take me, but that Kameneff
wouldn’t let me go because it was a troop train. Without hesitating a
moment he answered:

“Do you want to go to the front? You can come with me.”

He was thoughtful for awhile, and then asked me: “Are you under the care
here of our Foreign Office?”

I said I was not.

“But who are you here with? Who is responsible for you?”

“Kameneff,” I said.

“But Kameneff is at the front.”


“Then you are alone? H’m, that is very dangerous in a revolutionary
country. Do you know Karahan, Tchicherin’s secretary?”

“Yes; he is living in our house, so is Litvinoff.”

“Ah, Litvinoff, I will ring him up.”

He did ring him up, but what he said I could not understand. Litvinoff
told me later that Trotsky had asked him if I was all right, and if it
would be indiscreet or not to show me the front. Litvinoff gave me a
good character.

At 4 o’clock he ordered tea, and had some with me. He talked to me about
himself, and of his wanderings in exile during the war, and how,
finally, at the outbreak of the Revolution, he sailed on a neutral ship
from the United States to return to Russia; how the British arrested him
and took him to a Canadian concentration camp. He was detained a few
months, until the Russian Government succeeded in obtaining his release.

He was particularly incensed at the British interfering with the
movements of a man who was not going to Britain, nor from a British
colony, nor by a British ship: “But I had a good time in that camp,” he
said. “There were a lot of German sailors there, and I did some
propaganda work. By the time I left they were all good revolutionaries,
and I still get letters from some of them.”

At 5 I prepared to leave. He said that I looked tired. I said I was
tired from battling with my work in such a bad light. He suggested
trying by electric light, and we agreed on 7 o’clock the next evening.
He sent me home in his car.


Trotsky’s car came at 6.30. Nicholas Andrev had been having tea with me,
and I offered to give him a lift, as he lives somewhere near the War
Ministry. It was snowing hard and there was a driving wind, which lifted
up the frozen snow and blew it about like white smoke. The car had a
hood, but no sides. In the Red Square we punctured. For some time we sat
patiently watching the passers-by falling down on the slippery pavement,
and the horse-carts struggling up the hill. Winter has come very
suddenly and one month too soon. The horses have not yet been shod for
the slippery roads, consequently they can hardly stand up. This morning
I counted four down all at the same moment. In London a fallen horse
attracts a good deal of attention, and a crowd collects, but here no one
even turns his head to look. I have been much laughed at because I stop
to watch, but the method of getting the horse up amuses me. The driver
(man or woman, as the case may be) gets behind and pushes the cart. The
horse, so weak that he has no resisting power, impelled forward by the
shafts, struggles to his feet in spite of himself. No unharnessing is
necessary. This evening, when I became too cold to be interested any
longer by the passers-by falling in the square, I asked the chauffeur if
he had nearly finished. He answered “_Sichas_” which literally
translated is “immediately,” but in practice means to-morrow, or next
week! So I pulled up the fur collar of my inadequate cloth coat, put my
feet up lengthways on the seat, and let Andrev sit on them to keep them
warm. I arrived at Trotsky’s at 7.30. He looked at me and then at the
clock. I explained what had happened. “So that is the reason of your
inexactitude,” he said; an inexactitude which could not in the least
inconvenience him as he did not have to wait for me. He kissed my frozen
hand, and put two chairs for me by the fire, one for me and one for my
feet. When I had melted and turned on all the lights of the crystal
candelabra he said: “We will have an agreement, quite businesslike; I
shall come and stand by the side of your work for five minutes every
half hour.” Of course the five minutes got very enlarged, and we talked
and worked and lost all track of time. When the telephone rang he asked:
“Have I your permission?” His manners are charming. I said to him: “I
cannot get over it, how amiable and courteous you are. I understood you
were a very disagreeable man. What am I to say to people in England when
they ask me: ‘What sort of a monster is Trotsky?’” With a mischievous
look he said: “Tell them in England, tell them----” (but I cannot tell
them!) I said to him: “You are not a bit like your sister.” The shadow
of a smile crossed his face, but he did not answer.

I showed him photographs of my work and he kept the ones of the
“Victory.” Among the portraits he liked “Asquith” best, and said that
that one was worked with more feeling and care than any of the others.
He took for granted that Asquith must like me, which is not necessarily
the case, and said half-laughingly: “You have given me an idea--if
Asquith comes back into office _soon_ (there is a rumour that he might
bring in a Coalition with Labour, and recognise Russia) I will hold you
as a hostage until England makes peace with us.” I laughed: “What you
are saying humorously is what a British official told me seriously, only
he said it à propos of Winston. As a matter of fact, I’d be proud if I
could be of any use in the cause of Peace. But if you said you would
shoot me, Winston would only say ‘shoot,’”--which is, to my mind, the
right spirit, and exactly the spirit that prevails among the Bolsheviks.
They would not hesitate to shoot me (some of them have told me so) if it
were necessary, even if they liked me as a woman. Winston is the only
man I know in England who is made of the stuff that Bolsheviks are made
of. He has fight, force and fanaticism.

Towards the end of the evening, as Trotsky said nothing more about the
project of my going to the front, I asked him if he had decided to take
me or not. He said: “It is for you to decide if you wish to come--but I
shall not start for three or four days.” It was getting late and he
looked very tired. He was standing in front of the clay with his back to
it, so that I had the two profiles exactly in line. His eyes were shut
and he swayed. For a moment I feared he was going to faint. One does not
think of Trotsky as a man who faints, but anything may happen to a man
who works as he does. My thought was of my work, and I said to him: “Do
not fall backward, or you fall on my work.” He answered quickly: “_Je
tombe toujours en avant!_” I asked him to order the motor, having
realised that unless he sends for it I have to wait outside in the cold
or look for it in the garage. While the car was coming round he sent for
a reproduction of a portrait of himself by an artist friend of his, to
show me that the same difficulties that I am having with his jaw and
chin, were experienced also by the draughtsman who only succeeded in
this, the last of a great many sketches. It is evidently one that
Trotsky likes, for it is reproduced in colour in almost every office one
goes into. I told him I wanted it and he wrote upon it “Tovarisch,”
which means Comrade “Clare Sheridan,” and signed it. This has its effect
on the Bolsheviks who have been into my room and seen it.


Comrade Alexandre telephoned that he would fetch me at 1 o’clock to go
to the fur store. I suppose the intense cold had at last moved either
his pity or his anxiety for me. Before I left Vanderlip said that if
there were any choice, and I was fool enough not to choose a sable coat,
he would never speak to me again. The threat left me unmoved. It is only
on occasions of necessity, when we exchange valuable presents (say a new
tooth brush for a box of pills), that we have an armistice. On the way
to the fur store Alexandre picked up another man, unknown but very nice,
with whom I talked a mixture of English and German. We went to one of
the biggest store-houses in Moscow, which, like all the rest, had been a
private firm, but has been requisitioned by the Government. It was a
cave-like building, dark and stone cold. We went up in a cage lift to
what seemed to be the attic. It was low and long and dark, and an
arc-light barely lit up the corner. Coats hung from the ceiling like so
many hundred Bluebeard wives.

I took off mine to try on. An old man who looked like Moses and spoke
German showed me the best and told me to make my choice. Alexandre
looked on with a grim smile, and asked if I were the proverbial woman,
or whether I would make my choice within reasonable limits of time. It
was not easy. The coats dated back three years, and some were even too
old-fashioned for Moscow. I liked a brown Siberian pony lined with
ermine, but the moth had got into the pony. I liked a broadtail, but it
was thin as cloth; they offered to have it fur-lined for me, but my need
was immediate. There was a mink, but it had an old-fashioned flounce.
There were astrachans, but everyone in Moscow has astrachan, it seemed
too ordinary. I felt bewildered. My attention then wandered to a row of
shubas: big sleeveless cloaks of velvet, that wrap around one, and
descend to one’s feet. There was a dream lined with blue fox, and
another with white. My friends put one round my shoulders, it was lined
with sable: light as a feather, and warm as a nest. I despairingly
voiced the fact that I could not walk about the streets of Moscow in a
wine coloured velvet and sable cape. They said I could, but then they
were wrong. “I look much too bourgeoise, I shall be shot!”

“You won’t be shot, and sable is good enough for a good worker.” I
showed a sable stole to Alexandre and told him it was the blackest and
most beautiful bit of sable one could find. He shrugged his shoulders
with perfect indifference, and said he knew nothing about it. Finally I
walked out in a very practical black Siberian pony lined with grey
squirrel, divinely warm, though rather heavy, and Alexandre said to me:
“Now you can say that you have shared in the Government distribution of
bourgeois property to the people.”

At 7.30 pm. Trotsky sent his car for me, but a soldier stopped us before
we even reached the block where the War Ministry is. The whole bit of
road was being especially guarded. The reason for this is that foreign
papers have announced an impending counter-Revolution, but if there is
any such plot their warning has been given most obligingly in time, and
steps have been taken to deal with it. The town is placarded with
notices that inhabitants must not be out after midnight. It gave one
just a small thrill, and there have been none so far. This evening when
I arrived Trotsky stood by the fire while I was warming, and I asked him
for news. He says that the German workers have voted in favour of
joining the Moscow International which is very important. “England is
our only real and dangerous enemy,” he said. “Not France?” I asked. “No,
France is just a noisy, hysterical woman, making scenes: but
England--that is different altogether.” He talked about the persistence
of the foreign Press in decrying the stability of the Soviet
Government. All the governments of Europe, he said, had undergone
changes in the last three years, he pointed to France, Italy, the
Central Powers, Turkey, and finally Poland. The British Government was
holding out longer than any other, but that was pretty rocky, and its
ministers were constantly changing their posts. The Soviet Government
was the oldest government in Europe, and the only one in which the
ministers retained their posts and displayed any unity, and this is
spite of every effort on the part of the world to dislodge them.

He then busied himself at his table with papers. I worked for an hour
and we never spoke, but he never disregarded me as Lenin did. I could
walk round Lenin and look at him from all sides, he remained absorbed in
his reading, and apparently oblivious of my presence. Whenever I go near
Trotsky he looks up from his work sharply with piercing eyes and I
forget which part of his face I was intent upon. Towards the end of the
evening, when even my tiptoe stalking had aroused him, he asked me:
“_Avez vous besoin de moi_.” I replied yes, as always. He came and stood
by the clay, but he is very critical, and watches it and me all the
time, and makes me nervous. I undid and did over again a good deal. The
room was hot, and the clay got dry, it was uphill work. Never have I
done anyone so difficult. He is subtle and irregular. At one moment the
bust looked like Scipio Africanus, and I could see he was dissatisfied,
then when I had altered it and asked him what he thought he stood for
some time in silence with a suppressed smile before he let himself go:
“It looks like a French bon bourgeois, who admires the woman who is
doing him, but he has no connection with Communism.”

Happily the peasant woman came in with tea, and I sat down wearily with
my head in my hands, utterly dispirited and discouraged. Only the fierce
determination to make it come right roused me and I went at it again. He
said, as he watched me: “When your teeth are clenched and you are
fighting with your work, _vous êtes encore femme_.” I asked him to take
off his pince-nez, as they hampered me. He hates doing this, he says he
feels _désarmé_ and absolutely lost without them. It seemed akin to
physical pain taking them off--they have become part of him and the loss
of them completely changes his individuality. It is a pity, as they
rather spoil an otherwise classical head.

While he was standing there helplessly with half-closed eyes, he
remarked on my name being

[Illustration: TROTSKY AT THE FRONT.]

spelt in the same way as that of the playwright. I explained that I had
married a direct descendant. He was interested and said, “The School for
Scandal” and “The Rivals,” had been translated and were occasionally
acted here in Russian. He then got on to Shakespeare. I wish I could
recall the words in which he described his appreciation, exclaiming
finally: “If England had never produced anything else, she would have
justified her existence.” We disagreed as to Byron and Shelley. He, like
others I have met here, preferred Byron, and insisted in spite of my
assertions to the contrary that Byron was the greater Revolutionary of
the two. He was surprised that I loved Swinburne. He said he would have
thought me too much of this world to love the spirituality of Swinburne.
I said: “One has one’s dreams.” He gave a sigh. “Yes,” he said, “we all
have our dreams----”

When, at the end of the evening, I was dissatisfied with my work and
feeling suicidal I asked him:

“May I come back and work to-morrow night?”

“And the night after,” he answered, and added laughing, that he would
rig the place up as a studio for me, and that I could do General
Kameneff after I’d finished him. General Kameneff (who is no relation
to Leo Kameneff) is the Commander-in-Chief, and was a very distinguished
Tsarist officer. I hear that he strongly warned the War Ministry against
advancing too far towards Warsaw, and foretold the débâcle that has
since been fulfilled. But he was not listened to, perhaps because of his
Tsarist tradition. Probably his opinion is more respected now. Trotsky
asked me if I would like to do Tchicherin, and I explained that never
before had I worked under such difficult conditions, and that although I
had made efforts for Lenin and himself I did not feel like doing it
again for anyone else. He was quite indignant and said: “What difficulty
have you had in working here?” True it was a perfectly good room and
excellent light, but Tchicherin would not move out of his Commissariat
and that would mean new conditions to adapt oneself to, nor does anyone
understand the difficulties of moving the finished work back to the
Kremlin. Trotsky swept my excuses aside: “Of course you must do
Tchicherin--it is almost a diplomatic obligation on his part to be

It was a quarter to midnight when I prepared to stop work and looked
desperately at the clock: “What about this order--how am I to be home

[Illustration: BUST OF TROTSKY.

_p. 147._]

at midnight?” I asked. He said, “I will take you myself.” At about half
after midnight we left. A man in uniform joined us and sat next to the
driver. He had in his hands a very big leather holster. We started off
by going in the opposite direction to the right one, and I had to try
and describe the way to them. We turned back, and crossing the bridge we
were stopped by five soldiers. The man with the holster had to show our
papers by the light of the car lamp. It delayed us several minutes. I
said to Trotsky: “Put your head out of the window and say who you are.”
“_Taisez-vous_,” said Trotsky peremptorily. I sat rebuked and silent
until we were able to pass on unrecognised. He explained afterwards that
he did not want them to hear a woman’s voice in the car talking English.
I was talking French as we always do together, and did not see that it
mattered to anyone in this country whether there is a woman in a
Government car or not--but I did not argue.


I did very little during the day, so as to be fresh for my night’s work,
though I went to see my friend the plaster-moulder who is working for so
many thousand roubles a day in my studio. He is making piece moulds of
the busts, so that I can leave duplicates when I go. I asked Andrev why
he had to be paid so much. Andrev explained that he is the only moulder
in Moscow, so he can ask what he likes: “He says he will work for this
and not for that,” and Andrev held a thousand rouble note in one hand
and a hundred rouble note in the other. “But it is all the same really,
only it is a different pattern,” and he laughed. Certainly money has no
value here, and no meaning. At 8 o’clock I went back again to the War
Commissariat in Trotsky’s car. On arrival I told him that I had got to
get this work right to-night, and that he was not to be critical and
look at it all the time and make me nervous.

He was surprised; said that he had no idea that he had that effect on
me, that all he wanted was to help: “_Je veux travailler cela avec
vous_.” His criticism, he said, was caused by intense interest, and that
for nothing in the world would he be discouraging. He promised, however,
to be good, and offer no opinion until asked. It was a better night for
work; I felt calmer and it went pretty well.

The worst difficulties were surmounted. Trotsky stood for me in a good
light and dictated to his stenographer. That was excellent. His face was
animated and his attention occupied. I got all one side of his face
done. Then came the question of the other side. He laughed, suggested
another dictation, offered to stand in another position, and called back
his stenographer. When we were alone again he came and stood close
beside the clay and we talked while I went on working. We talked a
little about myself.

He said I should remain in Russia awhile longer, and do some big work,
something like my “Victory.” An emaciated and exhausted figure, but
still fighting; that is the allegory of the Soviet.

I answered him that I could get no news of my children, and therefore
must go back.

“I must return to my own world, to my own conventional people whose
first thought is always for what the world will think. Russia with its
absence of hypocrisy and pose, Russia with its big ideas, has spoilt me
for my own world.”

“Ah! that is what you say now, but when you are away----” and he

Then suddenly turning on me, with clenched teeth and fire in his eyes,
he shook a threatening finger in my face: “If, when you get back to
England, _vous nous calomniez_ as the rest have, I tell you that I will
come to England _et je vous_----” He did not say what he would do, but
there was murder in his face.

I smiled: “That is all right. Now I know how to get you to England.”
Then (to fall in with his mood): “How can I go back and abuse the
hospitality and the chivalrous treatment I have received?”

He said: “It is not abusing, but there are ways of criticising even
without abuse. It is easy enough here to be blinded _par les saletés et
les souffrances_ and to see no further than that, and people are apt to
forget that there is no birth without suffering and horror, and Russia
is in the throes of a great _accouchement_.”

He talks well, he is full of imagery and his voice is beautiful.

We paused for tea, and I talked to him of things I had heard about the
schools. In reply he said he had heard no adverse reports of the
co-education scheme for boys and girls. There might be an individual
case of failure, though even of such a case he had not heard. He then
compared the present system with that of boy colleges of his own day,
and he said that his own boy of fourteen had nicer ideas about girls,
and far less cynicism, than he had at the same age. The boy apparently
confides in his mother, so he knows something about it.

To-night he sent me home alone in his car; he excused himself, saying it
was the only time it was possible for him to walk. He kissed my dirty
hand and said that he would always preserve a memory of “_une femme avec
une auréole de cheveux et des mains très sales_.”



I worked until half after midnight. I think it is a success. He said so;
but it has been such a struggle.

About half way through the evening, the electric lights went out. A
secretary lit four candles. On the telephone Trotsky learnt that the
lights had gone out all over the town.

I asked him hopefully if it could possibly be the outburst of a

He laughed and asked if that was what I wanted.

I said that I thought it would break the monotony.

Until the lights went on I read the leading article on Bolshevism in
_The Times_ of, I think, October 4th. He had several English papers on
his desk and we read together with much amusement that he (Trotsky) had
been wounded, and that General Budienny had been court-martialled. There
were even descriptions of barricades in the streets of Moscow: someone
must have mistaken the stacks of fuel that the tramcars are bringing in
and unloading every day. When the lights went on I worked hectically
until half after midnight, with the desperation of knowing it was the
last sitting.

At midnight he was standing by the side of the work, rather tired and
very still and patient, when suddenly I had the thought of asking him to
undo his collar for me. He unbuttoned his tunic and the shirt
underneath, and laid bare a splendid neck and chest. I worked like a
fury for half an hour which was all too short. I tried to convey into my
clay some of his energy and vitality. I worked with the desperation that
always accompanies last moments. When I left he said to me: “_Eh bien!
on ira ensemble au front?_” But something tells me that we shall never
meet again. I feel that it is almost worth while to preserve the
impression of our hours of individual work, collaboration and quietude,
silently guarded by a sentry with fixed bayonet outside the door. To let
in the light of day would be to spoil it.

There is a French saying: “_On n’est pas toujours né dans son pays_.” It
equally follows that all are not born in their rightful sphere. Trotsky
is one of these. At one time, in his youth, what was he? A Russian exile
in a journalist’s office. Even then I am told he was witty, but with
the wit of bitterness. Now he has come into his own and has
unconsciously developed a new individuality. He has the manner and ease
of a man born to a great position; he has become a statesman, a ruler, a
leader. But if Trotsky were not Trotsky, and the world had never heard
of him, one would still appreciate his very brilliant mind. The reason I
have found him so much more difficult to do than I expected, is on
account of his triple personality. He is the cultured, well-read man, he
is the vituperative fiery politician, and he can be the mischievous
laughing school-boy with a dimple in his cheek. All these three I have
seen in turn, and have had to converge them into clay interpretation.


I went in the morning to fetch away the bust and take it to my room in
the Kremlin. I went at 11, before Trotsky had got there. His motor was
at my disposal and three men to convey the precious work away. These are
the moments that take years off my life! It arrived, however, undamaged,
which was little short of a triumph. When my plaster-moulder saw it he
exclaimed with pleasure. Apparently it is very like, and everyone is
pleased. As Trotsky is adored, I take it as a great compliment to my
work that it is considered good enough.

The relief of having accomplished him as well as Lenin is indescribable.
I wake up in the night and wonder if it is true or a dream. Now I am
completely happy. I have achieved my purpose. I have proved myself to
these people, and they in return have proved their belief in me by their
trouble and courteousness. I am no longer harassed by anxieties and
fears. Those who discouraged me in the early days treat me now with
respect, consideration and even admiration. I am happy, I am happy! I
sing when I wake in the morning, I sing when I wash in cold water, I
come down to my breakfast of black bread with a lighter step!

I breakfast every morning with Litvinoff. By coming down at 11 the
others have finished, so we can talk. If Rothstein is present the
conversation becomes Russian. If Vanderlip is there he talks all the
time about America (he usually leaves the room with boredom if
conversation is on any other subject). It is the fashion in Europe to
vilify Litvinoff and to regard him as a terribly dangerous man. I
suppose that he is an astute diplomatist. Whatever he is, he is better
than he pretends, and though he gets no credit for it, he has done a
good deal for the British prisoners here. He has unfortunately an abrupt
manner, and a way of refusing to do things by pretending that they are
no concern of his, but straightway he will go off and do a kindness to
the very people who are damning him for having refused. To me he is
charming, frank, outspoken, and always ready to help.


We have all been very much saddened by the death from typhus of John
Reed, the American Communist. Everyone liked him and his wife, Louise
Bryant, the War Correspondent. She is quite young and had only recently
joined him. He had been here two years, and Mrs. Reed, unable to obtain
a passport, finally came in through Murmansk. Everything possible was
done for him, but of course there are no medicaments here: the hospitals
are cruelly short of necessities. He should not have died, but he was
one of those young, strong men, impatient of illness, and in the early
stages he would not take care of himself.

I attended his funeral. It is the first funeral without a religious
service that I have ever seen. It did not seem to strike anyone else as
peculiar, but it was to me. His coffin stood for some days in the
Trades’ Union Hall, the walls of which are covered with huge
revolutionary cartoons in marvellously bright decorative colouring. We
all assembled in that hall. The coffin stood on a daïs and was covered
with flowers. As a bit of staging it was very effective, but I saw, when
they were being carried out, that most of the wreaths were made of tin
flowers painted. I suppose they do service for each Revolutionary

There was a great crowd, but people talked very low. I noticed a
Christ-like man with long, fair curly hair, and a fair beard and clear
blue eyes; he was quite young. I asked who he was. No one seemed to
know. “An artist of sorts,” someone suggested. Not all the people with
wonderful heads are wonderful people. Mr. Rothstein and I followed the
procession to the grave, accompanied by a band playing a Funeral March
that I had never heard before. Whenever that Funeral March struck up
(and it had a tedious refrain), everyone uncovered; it seemed to be the
only thing they uncovered for. We passed across the Place de la
Révolution, and through the sacred gate to the Red Square. He was buried
under the Kremlin wall next to all the Revolutionaries his Comrades. As
a background to his grave was a large Red banner nailed upon the wall
with the letters in gold: “The leaders die, but the cause lives on.”

When I was first told that this was the burying ground of the
Revolutionaries I looked in vain for graves, and I saw only a quarter of
a mile or so of green grassy bank. There was not a memorial, a headstone
or a sign, not even an individual mound. The Communist ideal seemed to
have been realised at last: the Equality, unattainable in life, the
Equality for which Christ died, had been realisable only in death.

A large crowd assembled for John Reed’s burial and the occasion was one
for speeches. Bucharin and Madame Kolontai both spoke. There were
speeches in English, French, German and Russian. It took a very long
time, and a mixture of rain and snow was falling. Although the poor
widow fainted, her friends did not take her away. It was extremely
painful to see this white-faced, unconscious woman lying back on the
supporting arm of a Foreign Office official, more interested in the
speeches than in the human agony.

The faces of the crowd around betrayed neither sympathy nor interest,
they looked on unmoved. I could not get to her, as I was outside the
ring of soldiers who stood guard nearly shoulder to shoulder. I marvel
continuously at the blank faces of the Russian people. In France or
Italy one knows that in moments of sorrow the people are deeply moved,
their arms go round one, and their sympathy is overwhelming. They cry
with our sorrows, they laugh with our joys. But Russia seems numb. I
wonder if it has always been so or whether the people have lived through
years of such horror that they have become insensible to pain.

Happily no salute was fired. The last time the machine guns rattled at a
burial I heard them in my studio, which is just the other side of the
wall. On that occasion the old porter who takes care of me at the
Kremlin told me that his wife nearly died of heart failure--she thought
the “Whites” had come. Probably it affects other jumpy people in the
same way.

Here the terror of the Whites is as great as is, on the other side, the
terror of the Reds! The poor people do not want any more fighting. I
think they are quite indifferent as to who rules them, they want only

When I got back I found Maxim Litvinoff, who also had been at the
funeral and had looked for me in the crowd in vain. He says that he has
arranged with Tchicherin that I am to begin him to-morrow. I have not
asked to do him, but if it is all arranged for me I am only too
delighted. But I do not look forward to working at the Commissariat for
Foreign Affairs. It is the Hotel Metropole, in the Place de la
Révolution, and although it will not be necessary to have a pass, and
there will be none of the sentry difficulties as with Lenin and Trotsky,
the drain-smells are such that one climbs the stairs two at a time
holding one’s breath! There are bits of the Kremlin that are enough to
kill the healthiest person, but the Metropole baffles all description.
Inside the offices it is all right, but the double windows everywhere
are hermetically sealed for the winter, and I wonder that people do not
die like flies. Litvinoff tells me that a new building is almost ready
and that the next time I come to Moscow there will be a beautiful
Commissariat. It is curious that in Moscow, which was one of the richest
cities in the world and contained more rich merchants than almost any
other, something more was not done for sanitation. Last year owing to
lack of fuel most of the pipes in the town burst. No wonder there was an
epidemic of typhus. This year things are better organised, and if there
is Peace on the two fronts, conditions may be enormously improved.

This evening Comrade Alexandre took me to a play. He gave me my choice,
and I decided that “La Fille de Madame Angot,” being an Operetta, would
be more amusing that “Twelfth Night” in Russian. It was at the Théâtre
des Arts, where Tchekov’s plays used to be produced. Tchekov is no
longer acted; he wrote for a class that is temporarily extinct; the
workers and peasants would not understand it. Afterwards, coming home in
the motor, I noticed a tremendous glare in the sky, it obviously meant a
fire, and I insisted on going to look for it. If the fire, when found,
was disappointing, at least the search for it was interesting, and
revealed to me the unsuspected size of Moscow. We drove through miles of
deserted streets, where we met only a few soldiers wearily trudging
through the mud. We shouted to them: “Tovarischi, where is the fire?”
There is something very pleasant in hailing a complete stranger as a
Comrade--one feels at once a link of friendship. The Tovarischi,
however, only waved vaguely onwards, which is the only instruction one
ever gets in Moscow when one asks the way. On we bumped and jolted and
skidded. There was an icy wind blowing and we had no rug. We seemed to
cross two rivers, or they may have been river branches. Everything
looked very beautiful in the twilight. There was no parapet to the river
edge, only some tortuous tree-stems.

Finally we arrived upon the scene to find that some building in a big
clearing had burnt to the foundations, and was still burning brightly.
Having got out of the car and waded through the mud, I could not get
anywhere near, and abandoned the quest. A party of men returning from
the fire, surprised at our having a motor, asked Alexandre for his
identification papers. Happily he is a member of the Communist party. On
the way home he was anxious lest the bad road should cause some damage
to the car. If it broke down, he explained cheerfully, there was no
other car to be had in these parts, and no telephone to call one up, and
it was too far to walk home. It was snowing and we got back at 1 a.m.
after losing the way many times.

In the hall I was met by Litvinoff, who, while I was having supper, told
me that he had had a message from Trotsky who asked if I would be ready
to go off to the front on the morrow at 4 p.m. I had to make up my mind.
We discussed the plan in all its aspects. Litvinoff was splendid, he
advised me neither way, he merely said he would make all arrangements if
I decided to go. I knew that going would involve cold and discomfort and
I guessed that I should not really see much of the front, and as the
only woman I should be most conspicuous. Yet--what a temptation. Finally
about 3 a.m. for various reasons I decided to preserve Trotsky as a
memory. Then for the first time Litvinoff said: “I am so glad.”


Litvinoff was most kind and helped me to move my clay and stand from the
Kremlin to the Foreign Office. I would have liked a snapshot of our
procession--the moulder carrying the clay block, Litvinoff, in his
fur-lined coat and sealskin cap armed with the modelling stand, and I
following with the bucket of clay and cloths.

On arrival at the Foreign Office we were greeted by the Chinese General
in uniform and all his staff. Litvinoff, who is likely to be the Soviet
representative in China, was rather taken aback by this _rencontre_ but
the Chinese were enormously amused.

Later, at 9 p.m. I returned with Litvinoff to Tchicherin’s office to
begin work. While Litvinoff went inside I waited in the secretary’s
room, and while I was waiting a man hurried through the office. He was a
little man in brown trousers and a coat which did not match. With small
steps he shuffled hastily along. It might have been a night watchman; it
was Tchicherin.

Still I waited, and the length of my wait began to annoy me, and then I
began to feel that


_p. 161._]

something was wrong. Presently Litvinoff called me, but I got no further
than the doorway.

There Tchicherin confronted me, and in hurried and confused tones said:
“To-night it is impossible, quite, quite impossible,” and disappeared.
He had not even allowed me to cross his threshold.

Litvinoff and I looked at each other and walked out. We went upstairs to
Litvinoff’s office. He was obviously upset and at a perfect loss to
explain or excuse. I sat and talked until the car arrived to take me
home, and from what Litvinoff said and from what I had seen in that
flash, I have learned something of the personality of Tchicherin.

He is an abnormal man, living month after month in that Foreign Office
with closed windows and never going out. He insists on having a bedroom
there, as he says he has not time to go home to sleep. He works all
night, and if a telegram comes in the day he has to be awakened. His
nights are days and his days are not entirely nights. He has no idea of
time and does not realise that other people live differently. He will
ring up a Comrade on the telephone at 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning for
the most trivial information. He does all his own work, and will not
ring for a secretary or messenger, but runs himself with papers to
other departments. He lives on his nerves and the slightest thing throws
him off his pivot.

I had been told he was an angel and a saint. What I found was a
fluttering and agitated bird. The joke is that he is looked upon as the
“gentleman” of the party. He is by origin well-born and propertied. His
property he gave away to the people. To-day was a particularly
unfortunate one for me. It happened to be the first day for months that
Tchicherin had gone out. He went to the dentist. Someone watching him
from an office window described to me the phenomenon of Tchicherin in
the street. He did not go in a car, but on foot. He stood at the corner
of the kerb, looked at the street hesitatingly, much as one might look
into a river on a cold day before plunging in. When he did finally
decide to get across, he got half way and then ran back. What with the
traffic, the fresh air, and the dentist, it must have been a thoroughly
unnerving day for him, and no wonder he received me so ill!


Tchicherin sent me a message through Litvinoff, inviting me to start at
4 o’clock in the morning, as that is his quietest time, but it is
unfortunately my quietest time too.


I have had four inactive days, but the sense of work completed is a
great relief. I am prepared to enjoy the holiday. I have drifted about
with Andrev, and in his spare moments with Maxim Litvinoff. On his way
to work at midday he first takes me in his car to the place I want to
photograph. At 5 o’clock he comes back and has tea with me, brings his
portfolio and works in my room till 7. Then he starts out again to
meetings. I have interesting talks with him and learn a good deal. He
smiles tolerantly when my bourgeois breeding breaks out. But he says I
am getting better. Even Rothstein has grown to treat me more seriously.

To-day my fourth day of rest began to rouse in me a fresh energy. I long
to fill in this interim of waiting with some new work. I have offered to
do Litvinoff, and he suggests that I should work in his office; this is
so difficult that I have asked him to let me do it at home, in odd
moments when he is free. Between the two, nothing gets decided.
Meanwhile the sentries at the Kremlin gate have fired my enthusiasm.
They are magnificent, wrapped around in goatskin coats with collars that
envelop their entire heads. My efforts to get such an one to sit to me
have at last been successful.

Andrev and I wandered from building to building this morning to
accomplish this purpose. Andrev is great fun to explore with; with a
“_Je m’en fiche_” air, he opens all the doors he comes to, and walks in
everywhere. I see all sorts of places that I would never dare to
investigate alone.

We walked boldly into the barracks; I doubt if a woman had been in
before, but I did not attract much attention. A few soldiers gathered
round us to hear our explanation to the officer in charge. One or two
smiled, the rest looked at me blankly. What Andrev said of course I do
not know, except that I understood the officer to ask if we were
Bolshevik. Apparently if we were not Bolsheviks we must get permission
from the Commandant of the Kremlin before a soldier could be sent to me.
Off we went in search of the Commandant. Oh! the dark passages and the
stuffy offices; they smelt as if the air belonged to bygone ages. I am
sure no fresh air ever leaks in. From there to the military store to
obtain an overcoat. They lent me a new one; it was an enormous goatskin.
More smells! No living goat ever could have smelt stronger. Andrev,
staggering under the weight and the unwieldy size, carried it to my
studio to await the soldier’s arrival to-morrow. The room reeks of it.
My idea is a statuette--only in Russia could one find such a silhouette.

It was still early and I did not want to go home, so we wandered to the
Palace, opened more doors, and after a little conversation with some men
in an office, one of them took us to see the Museum and the Armoury.
This was a great revelation, and I regretted not having seen it before
so that I could have had time to go often again. Our guide spoke French,
and knew all the things intimately. He talked of them with pride and
almost with love. Everything was beautifully arranged. There were glass
cases full of Romanoff crowns, jewel studded, and sceptres and harness
and trappings set with precious stones. One really got quite dazzled by
them. The armour is very fine, I believe, but that I know nothing about
and it does not interest me. What I loved were the old coaches. There
was one given by Queen Elizabeth of England, the most beautiful bit of
painted carving I have ever seen. The French Louis XV and XVI coaches
looked vulgar next to it. There was a room full of silver and gold cups.
I believe that this contains the finest collection of English Charles II
silver in the world. Moreover so many cups had been collected recently
from the churches that there were long wooden trestles covered with
them, and they were in process of being catalogued. In the last room
were exhibited all the old costumes, church vestments and beautiful
brocades. The Coronation robe of Catherine the Great was there, and
others that had been wedding and Coronation robes of various other
Tsarinas. It is wonderful that these things should have remained unhurt
throughout the Revolution.

It is acutely cold, and the river is completely frozen over. Children
skate and toboggan everywhere. The side walks have become slides, and
are very difficult for the pedestrian who is not equipped with skates.
Children here seem to be born able to skate. They strap skates on to any
kind of footgear, even on to big, loose felt boots, and they skate
everywhere at breakneck speed.

It is a relief not to see people wearily carrying their bundles over
their shoulders. Now everyone seems to have put his burden on to a
little wooden sledge, and grown-up people look like big children pulling
toys on the ends of strings. I have borrowed clothes and Jaegers from my
friends. One’s nostrils freeze and the breath crystallises on one’s fur

The town with its white pall is indescribably beautiful. At dusk the sky
is darkened by a flight of grey-backed crows. They settle on the bare
tree branches with the effect of great black leaves silhoueted against a
coloured evening sky.

At 8.30 this evening, Kameneff unexpectedly walked into my room. It is
nearly three weeks since he went to the front. I had almost forgotten
about him. He was in tremendous spirits, much thinner, quite unshaved,
and with his hair long. He was interesting about the spirit of the Red
Army. He says they are wonderfully enthusiastic, and anxious to finish
Wrangel and have peace. It is just possible there may be a big _coup_
which would obviate a winter campaign.

More than ever do I regret not having gone with Trotsky. They met at
Kharkof, and I could have come back with Kameneff.


I went to the Kremlin, and tried to work on my soldier who came to sit
to me, but the clay gets so cold and my fingers so numbed, I find I
cannot do anything. I built up such a big fire in the stove to keep
myself warm, that the unfortunate soldier in the overcoat got nearly
apoplectic. Moreover, the hot goatskin smells stronger and stronger.
Even the soldier seems to be affected by it. We cannot open the windows
and let the cold in. These conditions make work very discouraging.
Andrev fetched me at 12.30, and we went to the house of Shucken, who
was a cotton-king, and who had the biggest collection of modern French
pictures in existence. It is now taken over by the Government, and open
on several days a week to the public. Madame Shucken is, I believe,
allowed to occupy her rooms in the house. There is no such modern
collection in France. There were represented all the artists I have been
wanting to see. The first room was full of Claude Monet, and there were
three little Whistlers in the doorway leading to a room full of Dégas,
Renoir, and Cézanne.

To-day for the first time I can appreciate Mattisse; there were
twenty-one in a room. Next to this was another room containing twenty
Goguins. In a further gallery there was a motley collection, including a
couple of Brangwyns, which held their own well. There was also the big
William Morris tapestry of Burne-Jones’ “Nativity,” which one could
hardly bear to look at after the modern French.

Coming out, we passed by a doorway in the snow, rudely painted in
blotches of green and yellow; a sentry stood by, and I pointed it out to
Andrev who agreed that it was pure Mattisse. One has but to borrow the
eyes of another and the same old world appears quite different. I
remember that when I had been in Florence a few days, everyone looked
like a painted Madonna.

This evening Litvinoff gave a banquet for the departing Chinese General.
It was a great event. The dishes as they appeared were like things we
have seen in dreams. The party consisted, besides the General and three
of his staff, of two interpreters (one being the professor of Chinese at
the University of Petrograd), Tchicherin, Karahan, his secretary, Mrs.
Karahan, Vanderlip, Rothstein and myself.

We were invited for 9 p.m., but it was half-past eleven before we began,
true Russian fashion, two hours and a half late. It was for Tchicherin
we had to wait: he has no idea of time.

The hours preceding were rather tedious, as conversation through an
interpreter is not a success. One Chinaman talked French. He was the
President of the Union of Chinese Workers.

Karahan is Armenian; he speaks some strange Eastern language, but
nothing that I understand. His wife can only talk Russian. They live in
our house, but one seldom sees them as they have their meals in their
own apartments. His face is very beautiful, like carved ivory. He is a
great mystery; he lives in a better way than anyone else, smokes the
best cigars, drives to his office in a limousine, and looks like the
most prosperous gentleman in Europe in his astrachan coat and hat. He
must do some very good work for the Government, or he would not be
tolerated. I believe Lenin once asked what was the use of him, and he
was told that Karahan was most important, for was he not the only man
amongst them who could wear evening clothes? Mrs. Karahan was on the
stage and is the prettiest woman I have seen in Moscow.

At dinner I sat between the President of the Union of Chinese Workers
and Litvinoff, who did host extremely well, and was clever in placing us
all. He created so many places of honour that everyone was gratified. He
put Tchicherin at the head of the table, so that the General and
Vanderlip on either side of him felt that they were guests of honour. He
put me on one side of him and Mrs. Karahan at the end of the table
opposite Tchicherin.

I ate so many excellent _hors d’œuvres_, thinking I was never going to
eat again, and that nothing else was coming, that I had little room left
for what followed. It was a joy even to look at a fresh salad and a

Our old manservant was awfully happy. He had on a collar and tie and was
washed, and had organised everything beautifully. He had got out the
Sèvres salt-cellars, and the cut-glass decanters, and I suppose he just
felt that he was back in the old pre-Revolution days and serving his
master’s friends. He took intense pride in it all.

We had our jokes with him as he went by. Handing me a dish of _bœuf à la
mode_, he said: “_Magnifique!_” Litvinoff was reprimanded by him for
using his knife for his vegetables, and was told that he would not get
another. When the apple dumplings came round I was done. I said to the
old man: “_Zafter_” (to-morrow). I do hope we shall get some remains. I
asked Litvinoff where all the food had come from. He explained to me
that there is some food to be had, but that the best is sent to the
hospitals and the children.

Then followed speeches. Anything more deplorable to listen to without
understanding than Russian being translated into Chinese and _vice
versâ_ is hard to imagine. Tchicherin spoke for quite a long time. The
Chinese General’s face was immovable. After the Professor had
translated, the General replied with much the same sort of face.

After dinner we adjourned to the Karahans’ big rooms opposite.
Tchicherin was evidently embarrassed at meeting me again. I had no
feeling on the subject, and merely laughed.

I said jokingly, “Comrade Tchicherin, you have treated me very badly.”

He was again quite flustered. Litvinoff told me à propos of Tchicherin
that he had advised him to get someone extra into his office to help to
get his papers straight. Tchicherin agreed, and said that he had already
heard of a young man who would do very well because “he works during the
day, so that he is free at night.” Litvinoff asked when the man should
sleep; Tchicherin looked surprised, he had forgotten about that.


Felt ill. Symptoms of abdominal typhus. Panic on the part of my friends.
They say they do not want to lay my body under the Kremlin wall. If they
do, I have told them I don’t mind speeches, but I would like a prayer.
The answer to that was: “Are you really _croyante_?”

“Well,” I said, “there are two children praying every night that I may
return safe and soon, and the thought of that gives me a certain

“What, you teach your children to pray?”

“But surely they must have something to guide them as they start life?”

“You should teach them reality, and not fantasy.”

“It is not fantasy to believe in a Divine power.”

“You should believe only in your own power.”

That is a conversation I have had as a result of my slight
indisposition. It was a conversation that confirms the general idea I
have met in others since I have been here. I know these men are
idealists and selfless. I did not know these qualities could go hand in
hand with atheism.

On this point, Litvinoff corrected me. He did not even want to be
regarded as an idealist. That was too unpractical. “We are idealistic
materialists,” he said. To prove their tolerance of religious thought,
the churches are all open. But to enter the sacred gateway which leads
to the Red Square it was necessary, in pre-Revolution days, for men to
pass uncovered. A tablet has now been inserted in the wall engraved with
the inscription, “Religion is the opiate of the people.” Hardly ever
have I passed that by without having it pointed out to me with great
pride. I never quite understood the spirit of it.

As for the people, they seem to disregard it, to judge by the many who
cross themselves as they pass. The shrine seems to be always full of
devotees, who pause to pray. The religious feeling of the people will
not easily be obliterated and, after all, they need all the comfort and
hope they can get, even if the intellectuals do not.

My stay in Russia is nearing its end. Already I see my departure in the
near distance. People at home will think I am a Bolshevik, on account of
my associations, but I am much too humble to pretend that I understand
anything about it.

The more I hear, the clearer it seems to me that economics are the basis
of all these arguments, and when it is a question of political economy
something happens to my mind, just as it used to when I was a child and
had to learn arithmetic. A Bolshevik who can be defeated by argument is
not worthy of the name. Therefore I am not a Bolshevik.

But I have tried to understand the spirit of Communism and it interests
me overwhelmingly. There are little incidents I like to recall that in
no way lessen my love of the people. For example, when the weather began
to get cold, before Borodin went away, being unable to explain in
Russian what I wanted, I went myself to the back garden to fetch an
armload of logs for my fire.

I had to make a long journey through the kitchen, down the corridor and
finally through the drawing-room. I have never minded carrying my own
wood, but I did think that one of the two men--Borodin who was
telephoning, or Boris, who was idling in a Louis XVI chair as I passed
through the drawing-room, might have opened the doors for me.

Because they did not I most unforgivably lost my temper, and said I was
glad that I was an English woman and not a Russian man. The effect of my
attack was different on each of them.

Boris said, “But it is quite right you should carry your own wood.
Communism means that each should help himself.”

I replied that that was nothing new, that self-help was the oldest
deep-rooted feeling in the world, and that if Communism wanted to be
original, it must teach the doctrine of helping one another.

Borodin followed me to my room in a state of apology and distress. He
brought me two apples and a cigarette, and told me that if I peeled the
birch bark off the logs, it made an excellent substitute for kindling.
With his advice he did much to help me light my fire. I have never quite
made out in my own mind if they were typically Russian or typically
Communist. I am still wondering.

I was much laughed at once because I made Vanderlip in the street
shoulder a woman’s burden and carry it for her to her house. She was a
frail well-dressed woman, obviously exhausted by a long walk over
cobblestones, and was utterly incompetent to carry the bundle
containing her rations. I would have taken it for her myself if I had
been alone, but as Vanderlip was champion-in-chief of the frail and the
well-dressed, I thought he might as well do it. Litvinoff was amused
when he heard about it, and said that one might really find a good deal
of work to do in Moscow on those lines.

Vanderlip has told me with great concern that a weak little bourgeoise
friend of his, once rich, but now a stenographer, has received a paper
ordering her to enlist her services among those who are to shovel the
street clear of snow in front of their doors.

“Terrible,” he said.

“Why, terrible?” I asked.

“Terrible that a woman, well-bred and unused to manual labour, should be
called upon to shovel snow.”

“But,” I argued, “she had better food and care when young than the
working classes, and ought, therefore, to be physically stronger and
more able to do this work than many another.” (I thought of some of my
friends in England who made most efficient railway porters during the
strike a year ago.)

I said that I should take a pride if I were a Russian bourgeoise in
showing people here that I could do as good a day’s work as anyone
else, and that I was not just useless and helpless as they imagined.

Vanderlip disagreed. He said (and I wonder if it is the American point
of view) that women ought not to work at all, they ought to be worked

It was quite useless to talk to him about co-operation or the economic
independence of women. Besides, it was not about women, it was about
Communism that I wanted to talk.

How long and how rambling this is as the result of no occupation and an
enforced stay within doors! It is useless to write letters home, and
this is a sort of unburdening. I often wonder about my family--whether
they are anxious about me (knowing nothing of the peaceful truth), or
whether they are too disapproving to be anxious.

I love the bedrock of things here, and the vital energy. If I had no
children, I should remain and work. There may be no food for the body,
but there is plenty of food for the soul, and I would rather live in
discomfort in an atmosphere of gigantic effort, than in luxury among the
purposeless. I find I no longer dream of home, and have grown used to
conditions which at first seemed hard. I am thankful for the peace which
I once mistook for dullness, and appreciate the absence of all the
pretty tyrannies of civilised life. My mode of living suits me very
well. I am glad not to have to take any part in the management of a
house. I prefer bad food than to be consulted about it. What the
housemaid breaks is not mine, nor any concern of mine. There are no
boredoms such as gas bills, taxes, rent and rates, nor Income Tax
returns. I never have to sign a cheque, nor to go out with a purse. The
obliteration of all social life is a boon. There are no invitations by
telephone to accept, refuse, or make decisions about. There is no
perplexity about the choice of apparel, nor letters by post that have to
be answered. There is leisure to read, leisure to think, leisure to
observe. The big ideas, wide horizons and destruction of all the
conventions have taken hold of me. Of course I realise that, as a guest
of the Government, I am judging things from a personal point of view,
and not the point of view of the Russian people. (Few of us are big
enough to be purely impersonal.) I like living in this way. It may seem
a strange taste to those people who have the sense of possession, the
collectors’ instinct, or the love of home. I have none of these; so long
as I have a place to work in, and plenty of work to do, and leisure in
which to think about it, I ask little more.

My ear has accustomed itself to the language of Communism, I have
forgotten the English of my own world. I do not mean that I am a
Communist, nor that I think it is a practical theory, perhaps it is not,
but it seems to me, nevertheless, that the Russian people get gratis a
good many privileges, such as education, lodging, food, railways,
theatres, even postage, and a standard wage thrown in. If the absence of
prosperity is marked, the absence of poverty is remarkable. The people’s
sufferings are chiefly caused by lack of food, fuel and clothing. This
is not the fault of the Government. The Soviet system does not do it to
spite them, or because it enjoys their discomfiture. Only peace with the
world can ameliorate their sufferings, and Russia is not at war with the
world, the world is at war with Russia. Why am I happy here, shut off
from all I belong to? What is there about this country that has always
made everyone fall under its spell? I have been wondering. My mind
conjures up English life and English conditions, and makes comparisons.
Why are these people, who have less education, so much more cultured
than we are? The galleries of London are empty. In the British Museum
one meets an occasional German student. Here the galleries and museums
are full of working people. London provides revues and plays of
humiliating mediocrity, which the educated classes enjoy and applaud.
Here the masses crowd to see Shakespeare. At Covent Garden it is the
gallery that cares for music, and the boxes are full of weary fashion,
which arrives late and talks all the time. Here the houses are
overcrowded with workers and peasants who listen to the most classical
operas. Have they only gone as someone might with a new sense of
possession to inspect a property they have suddenly inherited? Or have
they a true love of the beautiful and a real power of discrimination?
These are the questions I ask myself. Civilisation has put on so many
garments that one has trouble in getting down to reality. One needs to
throw off civilisation and to begin anew, and begin better, and all that
is required is just courage. What Lenin thinks about nations applies to
individuals. Before reconstruction can take place there must be a
revolution to obliterate everything in one that existed before. I am
appalled by the realisation of my upbringing and the futile view-point
instilled into me by an obsolete class tradition. Time is the most
valuable material in the world, and there at least we all start equally,
but I was taught to scatter mine thoughtlessly, as though it were
infinite. Now for the first time I feel morally and mentally free, and
yet they say there is no freedom here. If a paper pass or an
identification card hampers one’s freedom, then it is true. There may
be restrictions to the individual, and if I were a Russian subject I
might not be allowed to leave the country, but I seem to have been
obliged to leave England rather clandestinely.

Freedom is an illusion, there really is not any in the world except the
freedom one creates intellectually for oneself.

My work is ended, but I am loth to go. I love this place and all the
people in it. I love the people I have met, and the people who pass by
me in the street. I love the atmosphere laden with melancholy, with
sacrifice, with tragedy. I am inspired by this Nation, purified by Fire.
I admire the dignity of their suffering and the courage of their belief.

I should like to live among them for ever, or else work for them
outside, work and fight for the Peace that will heal their wounds.


A message has arrived at third hand from Kalinin, offering to sit to me.
He promised to a long time ago before he went to the front. He got back
from the front on October 30th, with Kameneff, and had he given me the
chance then there would have been plenty of time. Now everything is
settled for me to go to-morrow with Professor Lomonosoff in his special
train. I am very disappointed, Kalinin has a head that interests me. I
have wanted to do a Russian peasant type, and he is one. But if I do not
get away in Lomonosoff’s train I may delay a long time. England seems so
very far away, and the children will think I have forgotten them.
Perhaps if I could work without my fingers getting frozen I would stop
and do him, and do Litvinoff too. But I have made a failure of my
soldier, and it is not encouraging. An appointment was made for me with
Kalinin at 1 o’clock to see him in his office. Litvinoff kindly took me
there. It was in some building facing the Kremlin. We went in and after
some searching and inquiry, found the outer rooms of his office. There
seemed to be two or three of these, and they were full of people sitting
on benches round the wall. Some looked miserable, and were curled up in
a heap with shawls over their heads, others were sleeping in corners, or
huddled up by the stove. They spat on the floor, smoked and were
perfectly silent. These were all people who came with a grievance to lay
before their President. Litvinoff, when he went in, asked whether it was
Kalinin’s office--a nod and a grunt assented that it was. Litvinoff, who
is impatient, went from room to room, but we could find no trace of

[Illustration: LITVINOFF AT MOSCOW.]

Finally he opened a door that proved to be the private office, and a
short haired girl secretary looked up and said Kalinin might return in
half an hour. So he might, but with an experience of Russian official
appointments, it seemed likely that he might not appear for a couple of
hours. We left messages and retreated. On our way out someone, rousing
himself from a corner, asked whether Kalinin was really in his room or
not. Perhaps they thought we were privileged people, while they were
kept waiting; I was rather glad that we could say he was not there. I
came away with a melancholy impression of the place, but Kalinin, with
his kindly face, must be the best sort of man to whom the people can
tell their troubles.

We then drove to the statue of Dostoievsky, which is a beautiful bit of
work in granite and which I wanted to photograph. In the same square
there is another granite statue by the same artist, which is usually
known as “The Thinker.” It is, if anything, better than the Dostoievsky.

From there I went to the Kremlin to see how the packing of my heads was
progressing. I was surprised to find that the wooden cases had been
delivered, owing, no doubt, to the combined efforts of Kameneff,
Litvinoff, Andrev, and my kind Comrade Ynachidse, from whom all
blessings flow. Moreover the heads were packed, so that there was
nothing for me to do. I said good-bye very sadly to my nice moulder,
whom I like so much. He is intelligent, well-mannered, and efficient. He
bent down and kissed my hand with the simplicity and dignity of a
prince. I gave him a woollen jersey, as he feels the cold, and with all
his thousands of roubles that he earns he cannot buy such a thing. I
gave one last look round the grim room to which I have become attached,
and, with a lump in my throat, departed down the long stone passage,
through which my footsteps re-echoed for the last time.

Then I crossed the courtyard and went to lunch at the Kremlin table
d’hôte. This table d’hôte, which is the Communist restaurant reserved
for all the Commissars and workers in the Kremlin, was unusually full
to-day. I was lucky to get my place. Lunarcharsky sat opposite me. He
has just returned to Moscow and I regretted there was no one present who
could introduce us.

My neighbours observed me reading an English guide-book to the Kremlin,
and attempted odd bits of conversation, but their English completely
broke down. It is a great loss not being able to understand a word of
Russian, as the general conversation at the long table was very animated
and must have been interesting.


_p. 181._]

[Illustration: STATUE “THE THINKER.”

_p. 181._]

The interest for me was in the faces of the men themselves, who were of
the most varied type it would be possible to collect. One could not say
they were typically Russian or typical of any race or of any particular
character, and yet there was some invisible link that bound all these
men together in one common thought.

After lunch Andrev fetched me, and an official showed us all over the
Tsar’s palace. There were exquisite small rooms with vaulted ceilings
and frescoed walls, from which it was evident that the stage scenery in
the Russian operas had been copied. There were still traces of red
bunting and appeals to the workers of the world to unite in the colossal
room, over-decorated with gold, which was the Throne Room of the
Romanoffs, and in which the Third International had its last meeting.

The modern apartments in the new wing are bad architecture and in bad
taste, but everything is left undisturbed. Even the photographs of the
Tsar’s Coronation are still hanging in their frames in some of the
rooms. The Royal Family scarcely came to Moscow, so that the place must
have always had an uninhabited feeling. One did not feel the ghosts of
former times as in some of the older parts of the building.

My last evening was spent with Andrev, Litvinoff and Kameneff, who came
and sat in my room. Kameneff brought me a sheepskin hat, such as I had
seen at the Sukharefski market and wanted so much, also the £100 I had
entrusted to his care when we started, which I have never had occasion
to spend. He then told me that my departure was most ill-timed.
To-morrow is the eve of the Anniversary of the Revolution. There are
going to be great celebrations. A big meeting will be held at the Opera
House, at which Lenin and Trotsky are going to speak. It is only on very
rare occasions that Lenin appears in public, and it would be interesting
to hear him. The meeting is called for 4 o’clock, but it will be three
or four hours late, and my train leaves at 8. If only Lomonosoff would
delay his train I could attend. The next day, on the 7th, there will be
a ball, and on the 8th a banquet at our house for the Foreign Office.
Moreover, the Entente papers promise a _coup d’état_ for the 7th and
Litvinoff suggested that I should wait and “see the show.” But I know by
experience that I should only wait in vain. When I was alone with
Kameneff he said to me: “Well, did I keep my promises?” I told him that
everything had been fulfilled, and had exceeded even my expectations. I
told him I was overwhelmed by the kindness I had received “considering I
am an


_p. 184._]

enemy Englishwoman.” He would not listen to any words of appreciation,
he smiled in his genial, kindly way: “Of course we were glad to receive
you, and to have you among us, _une femme artiste_, what did it matter
to us, your nationality, or your relations. There is only one thing,
_que nous ne pouvons pas supporter_,” and for the first time in all the
months I have known him, a hard look passed over his face, and he set
his teeth: “The only thing we cannot stand _c’est l’espionage_,” and the
way he said it gave me a shiver down my spine. It was only a passing
shadow, and the next moment he was telling me that he really regarded me
as a woman of courage for coming just on his word, adding that when he
saw me on the departure platform “with two small handbags, I knew in
that moment that you were not any ordinary woman!” We looked back on our
London days and laughingly discussed the first sitting when he invited
me to come to Moscow. I told him “I did not believe that you were
serious when you asked me,” and he said, “neither did I believe you were
serious when you accepted.” He then proceeded to outline for me exactly
what the effect of my Moscow visit would have on my friends, on my
family, in the Press, and on my career. His accuracy remains to be


Off at last--what a hectic day. Litvinoff telephoned to me in the
morning from the Commissariat to say that my big wooden cases (my
coffins I call them, they are the same shape) were going to be conveyed
from my studio to the station, and that I need not concern myself about
them. It was not until midday that I learnt for certain that Professor
Lomonosoff was going to start to-night. In Russia one makes no plans,
things happen when they happen! With a rashness that nearly proved
reckless, I distributed my few belongings among my friends. To a lady
doctor-friend of Andrev who had been nice to me, I left all my
stockings, a box of soap, a skirt, a jersey and my cloth overcoat. To
the maids in the house, my shoes and goloshes, workbag, jersey,
fur-lined dressing jacket, pair of gloves, and hat. To Rothstein, as a
parting gift, my hot-water bottle and medicine case. I started on my
journey in the clothes I stood up in. The maids, to my intense
embarrassment, kissed my hands and nearly wept. I nearly kissed them in
return. I started off with Litvinoff, and Rothstein came to the front
door to see the last of me. He overwhelmed me with compliments: “You
have been a brick, you have played up splendidly, you have never
complained.” I tried to explain that I hadn’t played up, and that I had
not been anything except very happy. I might have added that living
Communistically had proved to me that one must either love or hate the
people one sees every day for any length of time. Hate may be tempered
into dislike, and Love may be more appropriately termed friendship or
affection, but it was certainly affection that I had grown to feel for
Rothstein. He seemed somehow to belong to our environment, we should
have missed him if he hadn’t been there. Just occasionally he said
things about England that roused opposition in me. I feel about England
as most people do about their relations, that I may abuse my own, but no
one else may. I realised, when I got to know him better, that his
attitude was not so much one of hostility to England as of intense pride
in Russia, and so I forgave him. During my first days in Moscow,
Rothstein unfailingly cross-questioned me at supper as to how I had
spent my day, where I had lunched, whom I had seen, and what time I had
come home. At last I said to him: “Don’t ask me, try and find out,” and
I chaffed him so that he had to give up asking. I never knew whether
there was a motive in his curiosity or not. At all events, he never was
anything but a kindly and helpful friend to me. I drove away from No.
14, Sofiskaya Naberezhnaya in an open car in the bright light of a full
moon, glittering stars, and hard frost. Litvinoff, observing that I
looked back at it rather sentimentally, said: “That is your Moscow home,
the next time you come you will bring your children,” and I felt that I
did not look upon it for the last time. We drove first to the
Commissariat for Foreign Affairs, as he had some packages of papers to
pick up there which he had taken away in the morning to have sealed up
for me. I waited outside in the car for some time. When he rejoined me
he was agitated, my “coffins,” he had just learnt, were still at the
Kremlin. Organisation had miscarried, it was “somebody’s” fault. The
lorry had waited for them three hours, but the sentry at the building
had refused to deliver them up. What could have happened? Everyone was
at the big Opera House meeting, so all telephoning efforts to get hold
of responsible help had been in vain. We had three-quarters of an hour
before the train was due to start. I suggested driving to the Kremlin to
see what we could do. Happily I still had my pass on me, so we got in by
the sentry. The building, ever before so busy, was now utterly deserted
and resonant. I unlocked the door of my studio, and there were the two
coffins lying packed and sealed and unmoved. I lifted one end of one,
it was far beyond our combined strengths to carry, and the motor could
not have taken them. We gave it up in despair. Down in the courtyard our
car refused to move, the chauffeur was tinkering at it. It seemed to
have a real congested chill. Train time was drawing near. The station
was some way off. “Stay,” said Litvinoff. I had visions of staying,
perhaps indefinitely, having parted with all except what I stood up in.

I looked round at the beloved Kremlin, to which I had already said
good-bye not expecting to see it again. It seemed more beautiful than
ever, more still, more dignified, more impassive. The clock in the old
Spassky tower complainingly chimed three times, it was a quarter to
seven. At last the car breathed, pulsed, started, then stopped. Then
pulsed, grunted, and started again. We were off, and, as the road lay
down hill, it seemed possible that the car, which was misfiring badly,
might just get there. It seemed to be an evening of mishaps, and I felt
fated not to leave Moscow. However, we reached the station at exactly 7,
and I gathered up all I could in each hand, and ran towards a crowd that
stood by the only train in the station. Litvinoff shouted to me “you
needn’t run.” Indeed, I need not, as the only train in the station was
not the train of Professor Lomonosoff. His special came in at another
platform about half an hour later, and never went out till after 9. Had
we known, something could have been done in the time to get the cases to
the train, also I could have gone to the meeting and heard Lenin. No one
was more frantic than Lomonosoff, who prided himself on his train being
punctual. But it could not be helped, the train had just returned from
the Urals, and was in a state of disorder.

Litvinoff, when he said good-bye to me, promised to send on my cases by
courier to Reval in time to catch the Stockholm boat. He then aroused my
curiosity by telling me that he had been a better friend to me than I
should ever know. I begged him to explain, but he said that I must wait
ten years or so.

NOVEMBER 7TH. _In the train._

Professor Lomonosoff is the Minister of Railways. We are carrying six
and a half million pounds in gold, which he is taking to Germany to buy
locomotives. We are accompanied by an armed guard.

We were held up many hours last night because there was an accident
on-the line and it took a long time to clear. Periodically the axle of
the gold car breaks or the oil-box takes fire, and we stop perpetually:
but we are steadily nearing our goal. It really does not matter how long
we take so long as we catch next Thursday’s boat from Reval.

Besides Lomonosoff’s staff, which he is taking with him to Germany, our
party consists of Vanderlip and Neuroteva, and a charming man called
D----, who is a railway expert. He was once a very rich man and in the
Tsar’s entourage. He seemed anxious to tell me as quickly as possible
that he was a Monarchist, as if to be mistaken for a Bolshevik were more
than he could bear. He looked anæmic and well bred, with deep-set, sad
eyes and a calm and resignation that were almost tragic.

He differed bitterly and openly in his views from Lomonosoff, and said:
“I am a Russian. I am working for Russia, not for the Bolsheviks,” and
then called them robbers. Professor Lomonosoff sat back in his chair and
chuckled. He said: “You call us robbers, but we called you robbers.” It
was just a question of which robber came out on top.

Afterwards, when Lomonosoff left us, I begged D---- not to indulge in
any more political discussions. “I shall be over the frontier in a few
hours, but you have to live here. Do take heed for yourself.”

He shrugged his shoulders. “One dies but once,” he said, laughing, and
then explained: “They know my views well, but I can do good work for
them, and they know that I am not in touch with counter-Revolutionary
movements, and that I take no part in politics, so I am safe enough.”

Lomonosoff, who had been a railway official in Tsarist days, told us how
he had accompanied the Tsar’s train to Tsarskoe-Selo. The Tsar, he said,
had even up to that moment not realised the meaning of the Revolution.
He probably thought he was retiring to Siberia until the storm had blown
over. At the station, on his arrival, his bodyguard had by courtesy been
drawn up to greet him. The Tsar alighted from the train, and went to
inspect the guard with the usual greeting: “Good health to you,
soldiers!” The answer is: “Good health to your Imperial Majesty,” but on
this occasion the soldiers answered almost with one voice, “Good health
to you, Colonel!” The Tsar seemed to realise for the first time the real
situation. He became ashen white, turned the collar of his overcoat up,
and shrank away.

Lomonosoff also gave us a vivid and thrilling account of the detailed
organisation, in which he took part, with the purpose of wrecking the
Tsar’s train while he was on his way to Siberia. Two runaway engines
were to be despatched with no one on board to collide with the back of
the Tsar’s train. These plans were only frustrated at the last second by
news of the Tsar’s abdication.

When he proceeded to tell us how the Tsar’s _entourage_ deserted him as
rats do a sinking ship, it was evidently very painful to D---- who sat
grimly silent. I could not help feeling that they enjoyed his
discomfiture a little bit.

Later, when we were again alone together, he said to me rather
passionately: “It is not true that everyone deserted my Tsar, for my
best friend followed him to Siberia to share his death, and there were
devoted friends of the Tsarina who did the same.”

We are now nearing the frontier. The little country stations, decorated
for the 7th with red bunting and pictures of Lenin, will soon be passed.
Back we go to the old world of tips and restaurants and civilisation.

Good-bye, wonder world, good-bye--good-bye!

NOVEMBER 12TH. _Reval, Esthonia._

We arrived in Reval late on Tuesday night, the 9th. I was handed a
package containing my two volumes of diary and all my kodak films, which
thanks to Litvinoff had been sealed with Government seals and confided
to a courier who kept them in his charge until we were over the

I have written my diary all these weeks as trustingly as though I were
in my own home, never foreseeing any difficulties of departure. My trust
in Providence is always justified.

The next day I went to the British Consulate. Mr. Leslie (no relation)
made me extremely welcome. He said that he had heard of me from H. G.
Wells, and that until then he had not known I was in Russia: I had
(reproachfully) not addressed myself to the Consulate on my in-going
journey. I found that he had a Henry James cult, and had read everything
Henry James had written, including the two volumes of letters. He gave
me his bathroom for an hour and a half, invited me to luncheon and then
arranged for me to stay the remaining two days in Reval with a most
hospitable English couple, Mr. and Mrs. Harwood, who lived in a
beautiful villa on the seashore. There I was overwhelmed by kindness.

I also learned with some curiosity and interest the politics of
Esthonia, the half-Bolshevik conditions of things, and the history of
the Baltic Germans, their settlement in Reval and their forced
departure. It is an amusing but complicated little side-show.

During my stay in Reval I had to go several times to the Soviet
headquarters at the Hotel Petersburg. It amuses me to recall my
bewildered impression of last September. This time when I went I felt
thoroughly at home. Not only did Comrade Gai take a great deal of
trouble for me, but Gukovski received me as a friend.

On Thursday morning the coffins arrived from Moscow by courier, as
promised by Litvinoff, and I had a fine game of dodge. Gai sent them on
a lorry to me at the British Consulate just when I had left, and they
returned to the Hotel Petersbourg while I was chasing after them to the
British Consulate. Finally I got them down to the quay, but they were
not allowed on board because there was not the required official paper
from Moscow. Had the ship left as she was supposed to leave at midday,
they certainly would not have been on board, but there was a storm
brewing so the ship delayed sailing a day. When Gai had finally sent me
the necessary paper, I sought out the Captain and begged him to have my
cases put somewhere especially safe. “They contain the heads of Lenin
and Trotsky,” I exclaimed. The Captain looked awfully impressed and
pleased, so pleased that I added “plaster heads--and breakable.”

“A plaster head of Trotsky--and breakable? Come on! let us break
Trotsky’s head,” and he made towards it threateningly, much to the
amusement of the onlookers.

My departure from Reval was most carefully and kindly superintended by
my late Bolshevik hosts, whose representatives in Reval and also
Professor Lomonosoff and his staff did everything in their power to be
kind and attentive.

We are on our way now to Stockholm, I find the same Swedish banker, Mr.
Aschberg, on board who went across with us in September. He is in charge
of a cabin full of gold. He takes good care of me and I am glad to find
a friend. I am told the food on board is very bad, but I think it is

NOVEMBER 16TH. _Stockholm, Sweden._

I have lost all track of time. Storms forced our little boat to anchor
under the shelter of an Aland isle for two days and a night.

On our arrival late at night at Stockholm we were met by Professor
Lomonosoff’s representative with a car, and after we had all been
submitted to a search, not for arms, but for insects, and declared fit
to step on to Swedish soil, I was whirled off to the Hotel Anglais.

I had fully expected to be lost and forgotten on leaving Moscow, but
here I am being taken care of in the third country away. If the
Stockholm experiences foreshadow my coming reception in England, it
promises to be hectic. I am not allowed breathing space, nor eating

Reporters besiege me. They even walk up to my room without being
announced. I am so ignorant of the papers they represent that I say all
the wrong things. One paper, a Conservative one, says that I declared
Trotsky to be a perfect gentleman. This, if it gets back to Moscow, is
most embarrassing. Never in my wildest moments would I use so mediocre a
description to apply to Trotsky. I might say he was a genius, a
superman, or a devil. Anyway, in Russia we talk of men and women and not
of ladies and gentlemen. I dare say that the editor meant well, and that
things get distorted in translation.

The experience of returning through Stockholm is rather unique. Because
we have both come out of Russia together, Mr. Vanderlip and I have been
entertained at the same parties, but for me Frederick Ström and the
Russian Bolsheviks are invited and for Vanderlip the leading Swedish
bankers. It is a queer amalgamation, but it works well.

The first evening I talked to Socialist Ström and a Conservative banker
for an hour and a half in flowing but execrable German. They did not
laugh at my grammar, but listened and spurred me on with questions. The
German of my childhood slightly practised in Moscow has returned to me
with a rush.

I have been invited to do a monument for a public square in Stockholm
representing Peace uniting the workers of the Right and Left Wings. The
money has been subscribed in kroner by the workpeople. It is an
international thing, and they would be pleased if I would do it. It is a
subject which rather lends itself to allegorical treatment and appeals
to the imagination.

I am now in the night train for Göteborg. Before I left I went to tea
with the children at the Palace. The Crown Prince unfortunately was in
Rome. The children seemed lonely, but well. Princess Ingred looked sad,
big-eyed and rather pale. The baby, Johnny, is adorable. He is a thing
so sweet to woman, so much to be appreciated. One feels the maternal
spirit-arms round him.

I also went to see the Comptroller of the Queen’s household, an artist
and an old friend of many years. Here the impression I received of
prejudice against my Russian friends was overwhelming, but I suppose, in
Court circles, this is to be expected.

NOVEMBER 18TH. _Goteborg to Newcastle._

More delays, owing to storms. Always there are delays on this journey,
do what one will it is impossible to hurry. In pre-war days it took two
days to come from Russia. Now it takes two weeks.

NOVEMBER 23RD. _London._

We arrived at Newcastle at midnight on the 19th. Steaming up the Tyne at
night is wonderful, all the arc lights throwing into relief great
machinery and construction. The activity and work looked colossal. How
can Russia fight this iron industrialism? As soon as we had glided
alongside the quay, and I had touched English soil once more, I was not
left in doubt one moment as to the truth of Kameneff’s premonitions.

While the coffins were being opened with chisel and hammer at the Custom
House, reporters, who declared they had come from London and had been
waiting two days, clamoured for information. The head official of the
Customs was very abrupt in his manner and subjected all my luggage to a
most ruthless search. I did not declare the identity of my heads, but
from the unpleasant official attitude I guessed that they were already
known. One official began examining a large album of photographs. I
said to him: “That isn’t contraband, they are photographs of my work;
yes, that one is Mr. Churchill, if it interests you, you may look at
it.” He nearly flung it down. “I’ve no scent and no tobacco, one doesn’t
get those things in Russia,” I said. Unfortunately at that minute he
came upon a packet of Soviet cigarettes, my last ration that I had
carefully kept and brought back to England. But he said: “That is not
what we are looking for.” Whatever he was looking for he didn’t find.

He then poked his arm up to the elbow in the straw and shavings that
wrapped up Dzhirjinsky, until satisfied that it was not a Christmas bran
pie. I then got it nailed down again, and accepted the newspaper
reporters’ invitation to drive with them from the quay to the station.
There another man met me armed with a kodak and a flashlight. I
sympathise with professional keenness, but I will not be butchered to
make a Roman holiday. The moment seemed inappropriate. There were
inebriated young fellows shouting, singing, and falling about the
stations to such an extent that the policeman, who had vainly tried to
look the other way, had finally to take notice, but he had to knock one
of them down before he could arrest him. It was a revolting sight to
which one had grown unaccustomed. I was glad to get into my sleeper and
shut out the sight and sound of Newcastle at midnight.

Since then my soul, my life, my time, has been no longer my own. I have
been pursued, besieged, harassed, feasted, attacked, appraised in turn.

I have seen the anti-Bolshevik in all his glory of prejudice, hate and

The Bolshevik is a new phenomenon, but the anti-Bolshevik is merely
history repeating itself. We read of the same condition of mind in
England after the Napoleonic wars; the same fear of French Revolutionary
ideas, and same action and reactions.

Yet, if people would only realise it, Revolutions are not caused by
propaganda, nor by plots. In Russia the Revolution failed every time it
was organised. It was brought about by cause and effect at the very
moment when the present leaders were in exile in the four corners of the

Alexinsky says in his “Modern Russia”: “Seek for the cause of Revolution
neither in the ardent propaganda of the Revolutionists--nor in the bad
qualities of monarchs and their advisers, but in the deep and silent
operation of certain forces, which lead new social classes upon the
stage of history.” It is futile to waste hate upon these forces, or to
call them Lenin and Trotsky, when really it is the law of evolution and
change that is demonstrating in certain parts of the earth.

                              _THE END._

                      THE BOTOLPH PRINTING WORKS,
                   8, GATE STREET, KINGSWAY, W.C.2.


[1] Earl Midleton, Peper Harow, Godalming, Surrey.

[2] Sydney Russell Cooke.

[3] Oswald Frewen, my brother.

[4] Richard Brinsley Sheridan, born September 20th, 1915.

[5] Lady Randolph Churchill.

[6] Dr. Axel Munthe, San Michele, Anacapri, Italy.

[7] Madame Leo Kameneff.

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