Table of contents Louise de Kiriline Lawrence
  Another Winter, Another Spring
A Love Remembered



After more than two years of fruitless searching and waiting, of hope slowly waning, I crossed the Siestra Rieka one day and never went back. In time I came to another country on the other side of the earth. And because the new land was in possession of immense space and magnificent diversified solitudes, I felt that I could bear to live there.

But before I left, I had come to know Russia from the White to the Black seas, from the Baltic to the Siberian taiga. I had lived with her people during the devastating famine of the years 1921 to 1924, caused by a combination of revolutionary aftermath and crop failures. I joined the Swedish Red Cross Expedition attached to the Nansen Mission, an organization created by the famed Norwegian explorer, and which together with the generous Hoover American Relief Administration had come to the aid of the Russian people. As a relief delegate I worked in a large outlying district on the Volga steppes near Kuibyshev inhabited by the Mordovians, witnessed how death and in some cases cannibalism gradually gave way before the restoring effects of food. I lived with these people, saw their mute suffering, and realized their immense powers of resilience. I went into their huts and found their dying children abandoned without hope among the rags in a corner, and with the help of local nurses, special diets, and treatment restored some of them to life.

Later, as a delegate of the European Student Relief, also of the Nansen Mission, I lived with the Cossack people of the Novocherk assk and Rostov-on-Don region, listened to their undying dreams, and learned that in spite of their reputation for ruthless cruelty and reckless bravery, a warm gentleness was part of their character. And so this work and the travels linked with it afforded me unique opportunities to learn about Russia and to understand better the nature of her people.

Ten years after Gleb's disappearance, in the home of a friend who lived in an obscure northern town of the new country, I came by chance across a book titled The Red Terror in Russia by Sergey Petrovich Melgounov, a historian of note whose political views placed him among the active Mensheviks, the Russian Social Democratic party. My friend gave me the book.

Up to this time, I had avoided books about Russia, for they were either barefaced propaganda for or against her, or simply untruthful because of ignorance. The truth about Russia, I felt, was profound, intangible, and elusive. To sense the reasons for her greatness and the reality of her ignominy one must either be born of her or have come under her tormenting and fascinating spell long enough to have felt her heart beat.

This book contained stark facts, amply documented, about the earlier deeds of the Red terrorists. It revealed unspeakable horrors, the most repulsive perversities; and the author's heartstruck protests against the brutality of his people's abuse penetrated every sentence and paragraph.

It spoke of Archangel as the "City of the Dead" and of Khol mogory as the "Camp of Death" where thousands of prisoners, "the flower of Russian youth, had been slain. And it goes on: "All through that summer [1920] the town fairly groaned under the ter­ rorist scourge; and though I lack figures to check the exact number of persons slaughtered there, at least I know that 800 [sic] ex-officers were put to death—officers whom the late Miller administration had authorized to proceed to London by way of the Mourmansk railway whilst the members of the administration crossed to Mourmansk on icebreakers. All of them were seized by the Bolshevists en route..."

At last, at long last, the historical fact lay before me.

That night my lamp burned its oil to the last drop while I lived my life with Gleb and with Russia over again. The information Nina Aleksandrovna had been able to gather with heartsickening effort had been essentially correct. That night when Olga Stepanovna had taken me off the train at the very last minute, Gleb was dead. His wish had been fulfilled. He had shared the destiny of his com rades to the last. He had shirked nothing, for he had realized that the cruel twist of fate they had been dealt was, in essence, as inevitable as the power that had directed their brothers' hands against them had been incontestable.

"I wish I could see things more clearly. Perhaps I never shall - for I must live in consequence with the fundamentally true traditions of my fathers and my training and principles," he had said once.

The balance of life required a readjustment. The force of this imperative was to be measured only against the force of its opposition. That Gleb's life became part of its bloody price was uncontrollable fate. But the utter wastefulness of these historic deeds, apart from their stark criminality, was and is irreparable.

Somewhere in the vast lands of the Russian land Gleb is now one with his native soil. With the dawn came the light - and the thought lost its edge. He had borne the burden of his brief indi vidual life willingly and loyally in accordance with the pattern of the whole. He had accepted the bitter penalty exacted for the sins of generations simply as a privilege of adjustment- nothing but this—to seek the balance and to perceive the rhythm.

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