Serfage. Now free Russians must pay
taxes. The land laws keep us man
jiks, Jews and all.'STARVJNG!"
"Then 'why notgo elsewhere to
earh money?"" inquired Mile. Ves
parini, her voice low withsympathy.
I The sad, ever-present melancholy
of little Russia dignified the bearded
'face which turned toward her.
r ''Banna, with permission: I ask
fyou to consider. Workless workmen,
outlawed students, hunted" Zhids
B(Jews$ are everywhere within the
"Pale. In the cities' a cotton spinner
who has his trade can earn but four
teen roubles a month ($7)!
- -'It is said at" the Mie (village
duma) how people can earn only half
the bread they must eat to live! So
fmen are kept weak- Where will the
czar find troops lor his next war?"
He ceased on the verge of open
Across the sudden silence drifted
"the uncanny, rustling sound as of
one who, hiding, stirs.
- The woman's eyes grew furtive
t "We wish; rest. Show us to our
Jroom," I ordered. Eager and relieved,
Safely upstairs, the business-like
-little revolver on her knee, Mile. Ves-
parini drew a long-breathr
I "There are limlts'to my 'interest in
?the conditions of the Russian Pale,"
she observed. "I could even wish
JHush! What was that?;'
s Again we heard the eerie' whisper
ing, growing to a whine becoming
human. "Mon Dieu! They are abus-
ing a child no, two children. Listen!
Distinguish the voices a boy's and
There could be no doubt of the un
utterable horror. In ow, cautious
'tones of concentrated anger husband
and wife were attempting to terrify
J two little ones! A minute and we
"were down the ladder, listening. The
house was utterly lonely." Around it
lay -the grim lifeless steppe, above
iTthe "wonderful luminous light, about
us the absolute silence of Russia.
Then we opened the door.
Piete Pietroff and his wife faced
about in dumb- despair, the children
with dull curiosity:
Shock-headed, dark eyed, not no
ticeably thin, both were almost de
formed by the shockingly swollen ab
domens that some, sort of wrong eat-ng'produces.-
But of fear or ill usage
they showed no sign. y
, "Whose are these children? "de
manded Mile. Vesparini. Instinctively '
my fingers loosed their hold on the
revolver in my ulster pocket.
.Humbly asone who confesses, the
woman gave'way to broken-hearted
tears. " -
"Our your nobility, ours, though
we tried to protest theml You. see
them it was the famine last yearl
Over 16 of our Russian governments
were stricken village on village suf
fered. " r
"Me, I made bread to the last
cinnamon bread, nobility. .Whenflour
failed, what could we do? ,Only mis
what remained with ground wood
even with fodder. v
"Everyone did it hundredB, aye,
"Public relief ?
"Nu, there, was none!
"It-wentto the tchinn (officials)
"Men pickened children died.
Ours ours were spared as you see
a disgrace to themselves forever. I
take oath we have tried to cure them.
Often we make them handle clean
food green things, even poultry.
But it does no good. Their sick stom
achs crave and crave the other!"
"What is it?-"
"Ah-h,-Barina, how can I tell you
"-They our poor children starv
ed until now until now they are'
Afidthat, I find,' is the condition of
many of the children in the Pale
famine drove them at last' to eating
the dirt and now their dying stom-
'achg refuse food!
xml | txt