John Reed: The Making of a Revolutionary

By Granville Hicks; John Stuart | Go to book overview

XXI BY THE KREMLIN WALL

IN ESTHONIA fields were unplowed and factory chimneys smokeless. In Soviet Russia green crops were growing, and the factories were all at work. The people of Petrograd were not only better dressed and better fed than they had been when Reed left, three months before; they were stronger, happier, more confident. Bands played every afternoon in the parks, and thousands of people walked up and down or sat in little cafés drinking tea and coffee. The streets were clean, and the Nevsky-- newly christened the October 25th Prospect--was being repaved. At John MacLean Quay, formerly the English Quay, or at jean Jaurès Quay, formerly the French Quay, it was possible to take small river-boats up the Neva to Smolny. And on the islands at the mouth of the Neva, where the millionaires and nobles had their summer villas, thousands of Petrograd workers were taking their vacations.

Reed went on to Moscow, where the public gardens blazed with flowers. The Kremlin walls had been repaired, and Moscow University, allowed to grow shabby since 1912, was being painted white. The theatres were open and crowded, and Reed heard Chaliapin in Faust. While he was in jail the civil war had begun again, with Pilsudsky and the Poles attacking in the Ukraine, and Wrangel and the last of the White Guard moving north from the Crimea; but the Red Army was winning victories on both fronts, and every one was optimistic.

Reed was not well. His arms and legs were swollen; his body was covered with sores, the result of malnutrition; and his gums had been attacked by scurvy. While Emma Goldman helped to

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