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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 15:01:09
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A girl in the last grade of high school, a distant relative called Sophia, came to stay with the Schpentzers for a few weeks until her family got over an attack of scarlet fever. She was a very capable and well-read girl, although, since she lacked originality and character, she soon faded away for me. But I admired her tremendously, and every day found in her new stores of knowledge and new qualities; by contrast I appeared in my own eyes as utterly insignificant. I helped her by copying her examination programme, and generally in various other small ways. In return, when the grown-ups were resting after dinner, she would read aloud to me. Before long we began to compose together a satirical poem, A Journey to the Moon. In this work I always lagged behind. No sooner had I made some modest suggestion than the senior collaborator would catch the idea on the wing,” develop it, introduce variations, and pick up rhymes without effort, what time I was, so to speak, being hauled in tow. When the six weeks were up and Sophia returned to her home, I felt that I had grown older.

When I was crossing the front line for the first time on my way to Brest-Litovsk, our sympathizers in the trenches could not muster up much of a protest against the monstrous demands of Germany because the trenches were almost deserted. After the experiments of Buchanan and Kerensky, no one dared to speak even conditionally of continuing the war. Peace, peace, at any price! Later, on one of my return trips from Brest-Litovsk to Moscow, I tried to persuade one of the representatives from the front on the Central Executive Committee to give a little support to our delegation by a vigorous speech. Impossible,” he replied, absolutely impossible. We shouldn’t be able to return to the trenches. They wouldn’t understand us, and would say that we were continuing to deceive them as Kerensky did.”

Outwardly, it did not look very imposing: men went about tired, hungry, and unwashed, with inflamed eyes and unshaven beards. And afterward none of them could recall much about those most critical days and hours.

One cannot deny that the so-called discussion of trades-unions clouded our relationship for some time. Each of us was too much the revolutionary and too much the politician to be able or even to want to separate the personal from the general. It was during that discussion that Stalin and Zinoviev were given what one might call their legal opportunity to bring their struggle against me out into the open. They strained every effort to take full advantage of the situation. It was for them a rehearsal of their future campaign against Trotskyism.” But it was just this aspect of the thing that disturbed Lenin most, and he tried in every way to paralyze it.

Then he started suddenly. And what about the Winter Palace? It has not been taken yet. Isn’t there danger in that?” I got up to ask, on the telephone, about the progress of the operations there, but he tried to stop me. Lie still, I will send some one to find out.” But we could not rest for long. The session of the congress of the Soviets was opening in the next hall. Ulyanova, Lenin’s sister, came running to get me.


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