Pictures of the Socialistic Future

Richter, Eugene
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Henry Wright, trans.
First Pub. Date
London: Swan Sonnenschein & Co., Ltd.
Pub. Date
Introduction by Thomas Mackay.
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Chapter XXXIV


TO-DAY has been the saddest day of all my life. On going to see my wife I found that she talked incoherently and wildly, and did not recognise me. The doctor said he must convey the sad intelligence to me that the death of her child and the severe shocks of the last few months had so deeply affected her mind as to leave now no prospect of recovery. She fancies herself constantly exposed to the persecutions of all kinds of demons. It has been held advisable to send her to the Asylum for Incurables, and she is to be taken there to-day.


For five and twenty long years we have shared all our joys and sorrows with each other, and have lived together in the closest affinity, both of heart and mind. And now to behold the partner of my life, all dazed and bewildered, the dear, kindly eyes not even recognising me, is worse than death's separation.


On all sides the storm of revolt increases in fury. But what are all such things to me now, with my load of grief and sorrow? There has been some fighting in Eastern Prussia, and also in Alsace and Lorraine, and our side has everywhere had the worst of it. Our troops had to contend with many disadvantages. They were badly clothed, and insufficiently nourished; and when, after wearisome forced marches, they came face to face with the enemy, they were unable, in spite of all their bravery, to make a permanent stand.


In Berlin, the riot continues to spread. The entire region on the right bank of the Spree, and many other parts of the city and suburbs are quite in the hands of the rioters. The latter are reinforced by an uninterrupted stream of people from the provinces, and it is also said that portions of the army fraternise with the people.


It is hence evident that the revolution was not long in spreading beyond the limits of the iron-workers and their particular demands. It aims now at the abolition of Socialism. And the more I reflect, the more I feel inclined to anathematise myself for having, for so many years, aided in bringing about such a state of affairs as we have experienced during the last few months. My only motive was the sincere belief that Socialism would cause a better order of things for future generations. I believed so then, but I now see that I did not comprehend the whole question. But how can my boys ever forgive me for having helped to bring about those events which have deprived them of their mother and their sister, and utterly destroyed our happiness as a family?


But now I must speak to Ernst, be the consequences what they may. I feel myself impelled to him, so that I may warn him against going out at all just now. Young lads like he is are only too apt to go forth and to mingle in the sin and excitement of a time like this. I have leisure enough now to visit Ernst even in the day-time. Suspected of no longer being sound in politics, I have been deprived of my place as a checker, and told off as a night-scavenger. I only hope my work there will not turn out to be of a horrible nature.

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