IT is not for the modest translator to preface by any words of personal appreciation a work such as this, which, as a Russian, I feel it an honor and a great privilege to be allowed to present in English garb to the nation of all others whose friendly, enlightened, and unbiassed judgment of us and our country we all are most anxious to secure. But inasmuch as my work is not altogether merely a literal translation, I may be permitted to point out in how far a slight amount of editing has been called for.
It was thought desirable by the publishers to let a moderate thread of annotation accompany the text, so as to bring into yet stronger light the masterly pictures of Russian life--historical, social, popular,--which Mr. Leroy-Beaulieu unfolds before the reader in a series as varied as that life itself. I gladly take this opportunity of answering the many questions which I have been asked during my twenty years of life in America, among Americans, and try to tell them not only what I know they want to know in the way of characteristic details, but also, as far as the necessarily limited space at my disposal will allow, some of the things which I think they ought to know and do not as yet. I imagined myself reading the book with a circle of interested friends, and from time to time laying it down to discuss some point, to elucidate some historical allusion, to illustrate some description, and sometimes--very rarely, very respectfully--to offer some slight objection. Where I was drawn into a discussion or narrative too long to be placed at the bottom of a page, I gave the note at the end of the chapter, in the form of an appendix. To distinguish my