- Project Runeberg -  In the Land of Tolstoi /
82

(1897) [MARC] Author: Jonas Jonsson Stadling Translator: Will Reason With: Gerda Tirén, Johan Tirén
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the suffering brother, as is proved by Christ’s words concerning
the last judgment—only those who have fed the hungry,
clothed the naked, visited the sick, &c., will enter into His
glory.”

Birukoff also, at request, not only commented on the passage,
but gave an address on the words, “The Law and the Prophets
were until John; from that time the Gospel of the Kingdom of
God is preached, and every man entereth violently into it.”

There was not room in Tolstoi’s izba for more than himself
and chief helper, Ivan Alexandrovitch Berger, so I had to get
quarters elsewhere. I found these in the afternoon, in the izba
of the village “Pisar,” or scribe, a young unmarried man and
his widowed mother. I had breakfast with these good people,
but dinner and supper with the Count. Another member of
this household I shall always remember with affection. He was
from our first acquaintance one of my most intimate friends,
shared my bed frequently, took tea and milk out of my saucer,
and was always brisk and cheerful, however gloomy our
surroundings. True, Vaska was “only a cat,” but he has many a
time brought me no little comfort when returning from scenes
of hunger, disease, and death.

The free kitchens in Samara district were on the same plan
as those of Rjasan, except in minor points where local
circumstances led to alteration. Here, too, deputations from distant
villages came with appeals for help, and when the workers
returned from their rounds they brought the same tales of
typhus, scurvy, black small-pox, &c., caused by the famine. Here
is a sample of a day’s work, extracted from my diary,
Wednesday, March 24.

6 a.m. The bells call the Orthodox to early mass. It is
Lent, and this early Mass is celebrated every day. The
headquarters are already besieged by a crowd of applicants. Not
professional beggars, with well-worn, stereotyped petitions and
blessings, but a timid manner of making their wants known.
“Our food is all gone long ago; we are starving. Help us.”
“My wife and children are sick, and I have nothing for them;
help us with a little tea and sugar, and something for kasha
and soup!” “We have a horse and cow, which are starving.

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