Who Can Be Happy and Free in Russia?, by Nicholas Nekrasov

Re: Who Can Be Happy and Free in Russia?, by Nicholas Nekras

Postby admin » Thu Aug 16, 2018 3:24 am


[1] Many years later, after his mother's death, Nekrassov found this letter among her papers. It was a letter written to her by her own mother after her flight and subsequent marriage. It announced to her her father's curse, and was filled with sad and bitter reproaches: "To whom have you entrusted your fate? For what country have you abandoned Poland, your Motherland? You, whose hand was sought, a priceless gift, by princes, have chosen a savage, ignorant, uncultured…. Forgive me, but my heart is bleeding…."

[2] Priest.

[3] Landowner.

[4] The peasants assert that the cuckoo chokes himself with young ears of corn.

[5] A kind of home-brewed cider.

[6] Laput is peasants' footgear made of bark of saplings.

[7] Priest

[8] New huts are built only when the village has been destroyed by fire.

[9] The lines of asterisks throughout the poem represent passages that were censored in the original.

[10] There is a superstition among the Russian peasants that it is an ill omen to meet the "pope" when going upon an errand.

[11] Landowners

[12] Dissenters in Russia are subjected to numerous religious restrictions. Therefore they are obliged to bribe the local orthodox pope, in order that he should not denounce them to the police.

[13] There is a Russian superstition that a round rainbow is sent as a sign of coming dry weather.

[14] Kasha and stchee are two national dishes.

[15] The mud and water from the high lands on both sides descend and collect in the villages so situated, which are often nearly transformed into swamps during the rainy season.

[16] On feast days the peasants often pawn their clothes for drink.

[17] Well-known popular characters in Russia.

[18] Each landowner kept his own band of musicians.

[19] The halting-place for prisoners on their way to Siberia.

[20] The tax collector, the landlord, and the priest.

[21] Fire.

[22] Popular name for Petrograd.

[23] The primitive wooden plough still used by the peasants in Russia.

[24] Three pounds.

[25] Holy pictures of the saints.

[26] The Russian nickname for the bear.

[27] Chief of police.

[28] An administrative unit consisting of a group of villages.

[29] The end of the story is omitted because of the interference of the Censor.

[30] A three-horsed carriage.

[31] The Pomyeshchick is still bitter because his serfs have been set free by the Government.

[32] The Russian warriors of olden times.

[33] Russian Easter dishes.

[34] Russians embrace one another on Easter Sunday, recalling the resurrection of Christ.

[35] The Russians press their foreheads to the ground while worshipping.

[36] The official appointed to arrange terms between the Pomyéshchicks and their emancipated serfs.

[37] The haystacks.

[38] A long-skirted coat.

[39] The forced labour of the serfs for their owners.

[40] Holy images.

[41] Meenin—a famous Russian patriot in the beginning of the seventeenth century. He is always represented with an immense beard.

[42] It is a sign of respect to address a person by his own name and the name of his father.

[43] Ukhá—fish soup.

[44] A national loose sleeveless dress worn with a separate shirt or blouse.

[45] The marriage agent.

[46] The marriage agent.

[47] Inhabitants of the village Korojin.

[48] Germans were often employed as managers of the Pomyéshchicks' estates.

[49] In Russian vapour-baths there are shelves ranged round the walls for the bathers to recline upon. The higher the shelf the hotter the atmosphere.

[50] Police-official.

[51] Heave-to!

[52] This paragraph refers to the custom of the country police in Russia, who, on hearing of the accidental death of anybody in a village, will, in order to extract bribes from the villagers, threaten to hold an inquest on the corpse. The peasants are usually ready to part with nearly all they possess in order to save their dead from what they consider desecration.

[53] The Saviour's day.

[54] A reference to the arranging of terms between the Pomyéshchicks and peasants with regard to land at the time of the emancipation of the serfs.

[55] There is a Russian superstition that a good memory is gained by eating magpies' eggs.

[56] Chief of Police.

[57] A wooden splinter prepared and used for lighting purposes.

[58] Polish title for nobleman or gentleman.

[59] Serfs.

[60] Alexander II., who gave emancipation to the peasants.

[61] A popular Russian drink composed of hot water and honey.

[62] There was a very heavy tax laid upon salt at the time.
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