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The day book. (Chicago, Ill.) 1911-1917, October 24, 1913, Image 13

Image and text provided by University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, Urbana, IL

Persistent link: http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn83045487/1913-10-24/ed-1/seq-13/

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Ail from America means " much to the
v czardri ven jews in russia
."(Mary Boyle O'Reilly, our noted correspondent,, now in Russia inves
tigating the alleged persecutions by the Czar's officials upon the Jews, re
cently left Kiev, where she w.rote of the trial of Mendef Beilis on charge of
ridiculous "ritual murderi" to travel through the Pale herself. Here is one
of her wonderfully illuminating stories of .the terrible life these people are
forced to lead life that is' absolutely without hope!)
(Copyrighted 1913 by the Newspaper Enterprise Association.)
OJshanka, .Volkynia, the Pale,
Southern, Russia -Something . was
wrong with Caterina 'Petroffskova.
Patient, industrious, and tireless at
63, she had not worked steadily since
dawn. "And this was "the third day of
such ,unwo'nted idleness! Now, for
the hundredth time she stood jn.(the
low doqrway shading her, wide, grafe
eyes with a crumpled "hand.
., Ivan I Ivanovjtch,.", visitor from a
neighboring tQwn,ewafibed her cur
iously, i '
"What is it little, mother?" he
asked, for her'face showed the lpok
of -one who scans a far horizon,
"Nothing," sheaid, quietly, "noth
ing," and stared unseeing down a
lane ,of dilapidated, log huts, straw
thatched a,nd squat as giant fungi.
Every izbas seemed deserted, its rude
plank dor closed against the cold, its
naked, shutierless windows unlight
ed. Beneath each deep eaves hung a
bucket, ,a ladder, or a coil of rope
sole implement for protection in case
of a devastating fire. Across the
gable ,ol the farthest cabin & row of
. imreadable Russian figures announc-
'ed the-numbenof "souls" jn the ham.-
" let, meaningt of course, the male
inhabitants! '
Women have yet to lay claim to
possessingsouls in Russia!
Squalid, poverty-liauhted, appar
ently hopeless the yjllage was one of
- the unnumbered thousands which go
to support the might oJC empire, which
serve a "breeding places for sdl
dIersot the-czar. Poor to the verge
of penury, such are nof'held too "poor
to tax its "souls" are free onlv to
die1 of sickness or starvation!
"Nothing makes no sense," grum
bled Ivanovitchr "Art lonely, little
inother?" '
"No,'; she said gently, "not lonely.
Onljr thinking," and glanced toward
the shining "icon" in the corner.
"And waiting?" he probed.
She did not answer, bui the hght
in the doorway showed how her soft
old face grew tremuloup.
From .the, west a golden radiance '
overwhelmed meager crops of rye
and slushy cabbage fields, penetrated
each narrow winding between the
hovels, found a briglit spot 'on almost
every house. - '
"Pavlo should not have left you,""
blundered the man, slow-witted but
well meaning. T
The keen, haggard face turned to
ward him,
"John, son of John," protested the
brave old voice, "think not Pavlo left
me! I sent him! All the others were
going. What is there in Russia that
a poor man should stay? Look you."
Burlap-clad, wtih coarse, wide
trousers tucked into rude, high
boots he stood beside her. Beyond
long levels of brown, unsown earth,
lonely as the sea ice-edged, wind
tossed stunted firs and gaunt black
road posts showed wherg.the worst
snow drifts would soon he". Over the
lifeless land echoed the wierd howl
of a wandering wolf and the scream
of swooping steppe eagles. Otherwise
a deadly quiet brooded from horizon
to horizon.
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