The Anarchist Prince: A Biographical Study of Peter Kropotkin

By George Woodcock; Ivan Avakumović | Go to book overview
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EARLY in August, 1876, Kropotkin landed at Hull under the assumed name of Alexis Levashov. He did not at first intend to remain in Western Europe longer than was necessary to reestablish his health and allow the excitement over his escape to die down in Russia, when he hoped to return and resume his activity. But he had gained too much notoriety for this to be possible and soon realised that, for some time, he would be forced to accept the life of an exile.

He was very anxious to renew contact with the Jura federation, which had influenced him so much on his last visit to Western Europe, and, apart from a few Russian friends, the only person he seems to have informed of his appearance in the West was his Swiss friend Guillaume, to whom he wrote immediately from Hull.

He entered England freely and for the time being was unmolested by the Russian police, whose agents were searching for him in Eastern Germany, where they were assisted by Prussian police officers. However, as he still envisaged a return, he decided not to go to London, where the spies might well look for him, and instead travelled to Edinburgh, taking a small room in an inconspicuous suburb. Here he found life not without complications, for though he could read and even translate English efficiently, he had no practical experience in the colloquial speech of a Scottish city:

". . . I had the greatest difficulty in making myself understood by my Scotch landlady; her daughter and I used to write on scraps of paper what we had to say to each other; and as I had no idea of idiomatic English, I must have made the most amusing mistakes.


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