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One thing she cannot fail to know, - that five or six elderly and
respectable, often sick, lackeys and maids have had no sleep, and have
been put to trouble on her account. She has seen their weary, gloomy
faces. She could not help knowing this also, that the cold that night
reached twenty-eight degrees below zero, {155} and that the old coachman
sat all night long in that temperature on his box. But I know that they
really do not see this. And if they, these young women and girls, do not
see this, on account of the hypnotic state superinduced in them by balls,
it is impossible to condemn them. They, poor things, have done what is
considered right by their elders; but how are their elders to explain
away this their cruelty to the people?

The elders always offer the explanation: "I compel no one. I purchase my
things; I hire my men, my maid-servants, and my coachman. There is
nothing wrong in buying and hiring. I force no one's inclination: I
hire, and what harm is there in that?"

I recently went to see an acquaintance. As I passed through one of the
rooms, I was surprised to see two women seated at a table, as I knew that
my friend was a bachelor. A thin, yellow, old-fashioned woman, thirty
years of age, in a dress that had been carelessly thrown on, was doing
something with her hands and fingers on the table, with great speed,
trembling nervously the while, as though in a fit. Opposite her sat a
young girl, who was also engaged in something, and who trembled in the
same manner. Both women appeared to be afflicted with St. Vitus' dance.
I stepped nearer to them, and looked to see what they were doing. They
raised their eyes to me, but went on with their work with the same
intentness. In front of them lay scattered tobacco and paper cases. They
were making cigarettes. The woman rubbed the tobacco between her hands,
pushed it into the machine, slipped on the cover, thrust the tobacco
through, then tossed it to the girl. The girl twisted the paper, and,
making it fast, threw it aside, and took up another. All thus was done
with such swiftness, with such intentness, as it is impossible to
describe to a man who has never seen it done. I expressed my surprise at
their quickness.

"I have been doing nothing else for fourteen years," said the woman.

"Is it hard?"

"Yes: it pains my chest, and makes my breathing hard."

It was not necessary for her to add this, however. A look at the girl
sufficed. She had worked at this for three years, but any one who had
not seen her at this occupation would have said that here was a strong
organism which was beginning to break down.

My friend, a kind and liberal man, hires these women to fill his
cigarettes at two rubles fifty kopeks the thousand. He has money, and he
spends it for work. What harm is there in that? My friend rises at
twelve o'clock. He passes the evening, from six until two, at cards, or
at the piano. He eats and drinks savory things; others do all his work
for him. He has devised a new source of pleasure, - smoking. He has
taken up smoking within my memory.

Here is a woman, and here is a girl, who can barely support themselves by
turning themselves into machines, and they pass their whole lives
inhaling tobacco, and thereby running their health. He has money which
he never earned, and he prefers to play at whist to making his own
cigarettes. He gives these women money on condition that they shall
continue to live in the same wretched manner in which they are now
living, that is to say, by making his cigarettes.

I love cleanliness, and I give money only on the condition that the
laundress shall wash the shirt which I change twice a day; and that shirt
has destroyed the laundress's last remaining strength, and she has died.
What is there wrong about that? People who buy and hire will continue to
force other people to make velvet and confections, and will purchase
them, without me; and no matter what I may do, they will hire cigarettes
made and shirts washed. Then why should I deprive myself of velvet and
confections and cigarettes and clean shirts, if things are definitively
settled thus? This is the argument which I often, almost always, hear.
This is the very argument which makes the mob which is destroying
something, lose its senses. This is the very argument by which dogs are
guided when one of them has flung himself on another dog, and overthrown
him, and the rest of the pack rush up also, and tear their comrade in
pieces. Other people have begun it, and have wrought mischief; then why
should not I take advantage of it? Well, what will happen if I wear a
soiled shirt, and make my own cigarettes? Will that make it easier for
anybody else? ask people who would like to justify their course. If it
were not so far from the truth, it would be a shame to answer such a
question, but we have become so entangled that this question seems very
natural to us; and hence, although it is a shame, it is necessary to
reply to it.

What difference will it make if I wear one shirt a week, and make may own
cigarettes, or do not smoke at all? This difference, that some laundress
and some cigarette-maker will exert their strength less, and that what I
have spent for washing and for the making of cigarettes I can give to
that very laundress, or even to other laundresses and toilers who are
worn out with their labor, and who, instead of laboring beyond their
strength, will then be able to rest, and drink tea. But to this I hear
an objection. (It is so mortifying to rich and luxurious people to
understand their position.) To this they say: "If I go about in a dirty
shirt, and give up smoking, and hand over this money to the poor, the
poor will still be deprived of every thing, and that drop in the sea of
yours will help not at all."

Such an objection it is a shame to answer. It is such a common retort.

If I had gone among savages, and they had regaled me with cutlets which
struck me as savory, and if I should learn on the following day that
these savory cutlets had been made from a prisoner whom they had slain
for the sake of the savory cutlets, if I do not admit that it is a good
thing to eat men, then, no matter how dainty the cutlets, no matter how
universal the practice of eating men may be among my fellows, however
insignificant the advantage to prisoners, prepared for consumption, may
be my refusal to eat of the cutlets, I will not and I can not eat any
more of them. I may, possibly, eat human flesh, when hunger compels me
to it; but I will not make a feast, and I will not take part in feasts,
of human flesh, and I will not seek out such feasts, and pride myself on
my share in them.


But what is to be done? Surely it is not we who have done this? And if
not we, who then?

We say: "We have not done this, this has done itself;" as the children
say, when they break any thing, that it broke itself. We say, that, so
long as there is a city already in existence, we, by living in it,
support the people, by purchasing their labor and services. But this is
not so. And this is why. We only need to look ourselves, at the way we
have in the country, and at the manner in which we support people there.

The winter passes in town. Easter Week passes. On the boulevards, in
the gardens in the parks, on the river, there is music. There are
theatres, water-trips, walks, all sorts of illuminations and fireworks.
But in the country there is something even better, - there are better air,
trees and meadows, and the flowers are fresher. One should go thither
where all these things have unfolded and blossomed forth. And the
majority of wealthy people do go to the country to breathe the superior
air, to survey these superior forests and meadows. And there the wealthy
settle down in the country, and the gray peasants, who nourish themselves
on bread and onions, who toil eighteen hours a day, who get no sound
sleep by night, and who are clad in blouses. Here no one has led these
people astray. There have been no factories nor industrial
establishments, and there are none of those idle hands, of which there
are so many in the city. Here the whole population never succeeds, all
summer long, in completing all their tasks in season; and not only are
there no idle hands, but a vast quantity of property is ruined for the
lack of hands, and a throng of people, children, old men, and women, will
perish through overstraining their powers in work which is beyond their
strength. How do the rich order their lives there? In this fashion: -

If there is an old-fashioned house, built under the serf _regime_, that
house is repaired and embellished; if there is none, then a new one is
erected, of two or three stories. The rooms, of which there are from
twelve to twenty, and even more, are all six arshins in height. {161a}
Wood floors are laid down. The windows consist of one sheet of glass.
There are rich rugs and costly furniture. The roads around the house are
macadamized, the ground is levelled, flower-beds are laid out, croquet-
grounds are prepared, swinging-rings for gymnastics are erected,
reflecting globes, often orangeries, and hotbeds, and lofty stables
always with complicated scroll-work on the gables and ridges.

And here, in the country, an honest educated official, or noble family
dwells. All the members of the family and their guests have assembled in
the middle of June, because up to June, that is to say, up to the
beginning of mowing-time, they have been studying and undergoing
examinations; and they live there until September, that is to say, until
harvest and sowing-time. The members of this family (as is the case with
nearly every one in that circle) have lived in the country from the
beginning of the press of work, the suffering time, not until the end of
the season of toil (for in September sowing is still in progress, as well
as the digging of potatoes), but until the strain of work has relaxed a
little. During the whole of their residence in the country, all around
them and beside them, that summer toil of the peasantry has been going
on, of whose fatigues, no matter how much we may have heard, no matter
how much we may have heard about it, no matter how much we may have gazed
upon it, we can form no idea, unless we have had personal experience of
it. And the members of this family, about ten in number, live exactly as
they do in the city.

At St. Peter's Day, {161b} a strict fast, when the people's food consists
of kvas, bread, and onions, the mowing begins.

The business which is effected in mowing is one of the most important in
the commune. Nearly every year, through the lack of hands and time, the
hay crop may be lost by rain; and more or less strain of toil decides the
question, as to whether twenty or more per cent of hay is to be added to
the wealth of the people, or whether it is to rot or die where it stands.
And additional hay means additional meat for the old, and additional milk
for the children. Thus, in general and in particular, the question of
bread for each one of the mowers, and of milk for himself and his
children, in the ensuing winter, is then decided. Every one of the
toilers, both male and female, knows this; even the children know that
this is an important matter, and that it is necessary to strain every
nerve to carry the jug of kvas to their father in the meadow at his
mowing, and, shifting the heavy pitcher from hand to hand, to run
barefooted as rapidly as possible, two versts from the village, in order
to get there in season for dinner, and so that their fathers may not
scold them.

Every one knows, that, from the mowing season until the hay is got in,
there will be no break in the work, and that there will be no time to
breathe. And there is not the mowing alone. Every one of them has other
affairs to attend to besides the mowing: the ground must be turned up and
harrowed; and the women have linen and bread and washing to attend to;
and the peasants have to go to the mill, and to town, and there are
communal matters to attend to, and legal matters before the judge and the
commissary of police; and the wagons to see to, and the horses to feed at
night: and all, old and young, and sickly, labor to the last extent of
their powers. The peasants toil so, that on every occasion, the mowers,
before the end of the third stint, whether weak, young, or old, can
hardly walk as they totter past the last rows, and only with difficulty
are they able to rise after the breathing-spell; and the women, often
pregnant, or nursing infants, work in the same way. The toil is intense
and incessant. All work to the extreme bounds of their strength, and
expend in this toil, not only the entire stock of their scanty
nourishment, but all their previous stock. All of them - and they are not
fat to begin with - grow gaunt after the "suffering" season.

Here a little association is working at the mowing; three peasants, - one
an old man, the second his nephew, a young married man, and a shoemaker,
a thin, sinewy man. This hay-harvest will decide the fate of all of them
for the winter. They have been laboring incessantly for two weeks,
without rest. The rain has delayed their work. After the rain, when the
hay has dried, they have decided to stack it, and, in order to accomplish
this as speedily as possible, that two women for each of them shall
follow their scythes. On the part of the old man go his wife, a woman of
fifty, who has become unfit for work, having borne eleven children, who
is deaf, but still a tolerably stout worker; and a thirteen-year-old
daughter, who is short of stature, but a strong and clever girl. On the
part of his nephew go his wife, a woman as strong and well-grown as a
sturdy peasant, and his daughter-in-law, a soldier's wife, who is about
to become a mother. On the part of the shoemaker go his wife, a stout
laborer, and her aged mother, who has reached her eightieth year, and who
generally goes begging. They all stand in line, and labor from morning
till night, in the full fervor of the June sun. It is steaming hot, and
rain threatens. Every hour of work is precious. It is a pity to tear
one's self from work to fetch water or kvas. A tiny boy, the old woman's
grandson, brings them water. The old woman, evidently only anxious lest
she shall be driven away from her work, will not let the rake out of her
hand, though it is evident that she can barely move, and only with
difficulty. The little boy, all bent over, and stepping gently, with his
tiny bare feet, drags along a jug of water, shifting it from hand to
hand, for it is heavier than he. The young girl flings over her shoulder
a load of hay which is also heavier than herself, advances a few steps,
halts, and drops it, without the strength to carry it. The old woman of
fifty rakes away without stopping, and with her kerchief awry she drags
the hay, breathing heavily and tottering. The old woman of eighty only
rakes the hay, but even this is beyond her strength; she slowly drags
along her feet, shod with bast shoes, and, frowning, she gazes gloomily
before her, like a seriously ill or dying person. The old man has
intentionally sent her farther away than the rest, to rake near the cocks
of hay, so that she may not keep in line with the others; but she does
not fall in with this arrangement, and she toils on as long as the others
do, with the same death-like, gloomy countenance. The sun is already
setting behind the forest; but the cocks are not yet all heaped together,
and much still remains to do. All feel that it is time to stop, but no
one speaks, waiting until the others shall say it. Finally the
shoemaker, conscious that his strength is exhausted, proposes to the old
man, to leave the cocks until the morrow; and the old man consents, and
the women instantly run for the garments, jugs, pitchforks; and the old
woman immediately sits down just where she has been standings and then
lies back with the same death-like look, staring straight in front of
her. But the women are going; and she rises with a groan, and drags
herself after them. And this will go on in July also, when the peasants,
without obtaining sufficient sleep, reap the oats by night, lest it
should fall, and the women rise gloomily to thresh out the straw for the
bands to tie the sheaves; when this old woman, already utterly cramped by
the labor of mowing, and the woman with child, and the young children,
injure themselves overworking and over-drinking; and when neither hands,
nor horses, nor carts will suffice to bring to the ricks that grain with
which all men are nourished, and millions of poods {165} of which are
daily required in Russia to keep people from perishing.

And we live as though there were no connection between the dying
laundress, the prostitute of fourteen years, the toilsome manufacture of
cigarettes by women, the strained, intolerable, insufficiently fed toil
of old women and children around us; we live as though there were no
connection between this and our own lives.

It seems to us, that suffering stands apart by itself, and our life apart
by itself. We read the description of the life of the Romans, and we
marvel at the inhumanity of those soulless Luculli, who satiated
themselves on viands and wines while the populace were dying with hunger.
We shake our heads, and we marvel at the savagery of our grandfathers,
who were serf-owners, supporters of household orchestras and theatres,
and of whole villages devoted to the care of their gardens; and we
wonder, from the heights of our grandeur, at their inhumanity. We read
the words of Isa. v. 8: "Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay
field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in
the midst of the earth! (11.) Woe unto them that rise up early in the
morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night,
till wine inflame them! (12.) And the harp and the viol, and tabret and
pipe, and wine are in their feasts; but they regard not the work of the
Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands. (18.) Woe unto them
that draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart-
rope. (20.) Woe unto then that call evil good, and good evil; that put
darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet,
and sweet for bitter! (21.) Woe unto them that are wise in their own
eyes, and prudent in their own sight - (22.) Woe unto them that are mighty
to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink."

We read these words, and it seems to us that this has no reference to us.
We read in the Gospels (Matt. iii. 10): "And now also the axe is laid
unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth
good fruit is hewn down and cast into the fire."

And we are fully convinced that the good tree which bringeth forth good
fruit is ourselves; and that these words are not spoken to us, but to
some other and wicked people.

We read the words of Isa. vi. 10: "Make the heart of this people fat, and
make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their
eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and
convert and be healed. (11.) Then said I: Lord, how long? And he
answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses
without man, and the land be utterly desolate."

We read, and are fully convinced that this marvellous deed is not
performed on us, but on some other people. And because we see nothing it
is, that this marvellous deed is performed, and has been performed, on
us. We hear not, we see not, and we understand not with our heart. How
has this happened?

Whether that God, or that natural law by virtue of which men exist in the
world, has acted well or ill, yet the position of men in the world, ever
since we have known it, has been such, that naked people, without any
hair on their bodies, without lairs in which they could shelter
themselves, without food which they could find in the fields, - like
Robinson {167} on his island, - have all been reduced to the necessity of
constantly and unweariedly contending with nature in order to cover their
bodies, to make themselves clothing, to construct a roof over their
heads, and to earn their bread, that two or three times a day they may
satisfy their hunger and the hunger of their helpless children and of
their old people who cannot work.

Wherever, at whatever time, in whatever numbers we may have observed
people, whether in Europe, in America, in China, or in Russia, whether we
regard all humanity, or any small portion of it, in ancient times, in a
nomad state, or in our own times, with steam-engines and sewing-machines,
perfected agriculture, and electric lighting, we behold always one and
the same thing, - that man, toiling intensely and incessantly, is not able
to earn for himself and his little ones and his old people clothing,
shelter, and food; and that a considerable portion of mankind, as in
former times, so at the present day, perish through insufficiency of the
necessaries of life, and intolerable toil in the effort to obtain them.

Wherever we have, if we draw a circle round us of a hundred thousand, a
thousand, or ten versts, or of one verst, and examine into the lives of
the people comprehended within the limits of our circle, we shall see
within that circle prematurely-born children, old men, old women, women
in labor, sick and weak persons, who toil beyond their strength, and who
have not sufficient food and rest for life, and who therefore die before
their time. We shall see people in the flower of their age actually
slain by dangerous and injurious work.

We see that people have been struggling, ever since the world has
endured, with fearful effort, privation, and suffering, against this
universal want, and that they cannot overcome it . . . {168}



. . . {169} The justification of all persons who have freed themselves
from toil is now founded on experimental, positive science. The
scientific theory is as follows: -

"For the study of the laws of life of human societies, there exists but
one indubitable method, - the positive, experimental, critical method

"Only sociology, founded on biology, founded on all the positive
sciences, can give us the laws of humanity. Humanity, or human
communities, are the organisms already prepared, or still in process of
formation, and which are subservient to all the laws of the evolution of

"One of the chief of these laws is the variation of destination among the
portions of the organs. Some people command, others obey. If some have
in superabundance, and others in want, this arises not from the will of
God, not because the empire is a form of manifestation of personality,
but because in societies, as in organisms, division of labor becomes
indispensable for life as a whole. Some people perform the muscular
labor in societies; others, the mental labor."

Upon this doctrine is founded the prevailing justification of our time.

Not long ago, their reigned in the learned, cultivated world, a moral
philosophy, according to which it appeared that every thing which exists
is reasonable; that there is no such thing as evil or good; and that it
is unnecessary for man to war against evil, but that it is only necessary
for him to display intelligence, - one man in the military service,
another in the judicial, another on the violin. There have been many and
varied expressions of human wisdom, and these phenomena were known to the
men of the nineteenth century. The wisdom of Rousseau and of Lessing,
and Spinoza and Bruno, and all the wisdom of antiquity; but no one man's
wisdom overrode the crowd. It was impossible to say even this, - that
Hegel's success was the result of the symmetry of this theory. There
were other equally symmetrical theories, - those of Descartes, Leibnitz,
Fichte, Schopenhauer. There was but one reason why this doctrine won for
itself, for a season, the belief of the whole world; and this reason was,
that the deductions of that philosophy winked at people's weaknesses.
These deductions were summed up in this, - that every thing was
reasonable, every thing good; and that no one was to blame.

When I began my career, Hegelianism was the foundation of every thing. It
was floating in the air; it was expressed in newspaper and periodical
articles, in historical and judicial lectures, in novels, in treatises,
in art, in sermons, in conversation. The man who was not acquainted with

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