of a





(from front and back flap)




Freda Utley

Miss Utley's Memoirs begin with her childhood in London focusing on her parents and their friends and intimates within the Fabian Socialist Set includ­ing George Bernard Shaw, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, Frank Harris, John Burns and T. W. H. Crossland. She describes her education at English and Swiss boarding schools and the cruelties she suffered for being "brainy." At London University she became one of the "Bohemian Left." Tutoring foreigners in English brought her into contact with Bolsheviks whose views swayed her political beliefs and led her to join the Socialist Party. As Secretary of the King's College Socialist Society she met and began an enduring friendship with Bertrand Russell. For a time she resided with his family as tutor to his children. While visiting Russia she met her husband Arcadi Berdischevsky. After their marriage they lived first in England then in Russia until he was arrested and sent to a Siberian con­centration camp. Her subsequent flight from Russia and disillusionment with the U.S.S.R. deeply affect her activities and writing.

A most notable chapter is one en­titled "Friends in the Village" in which Miss Utley describes her financial pov­erty but social affluence living in Green­wich Village surrounded by friends such as Dwight MacDonald, Norman Cousins, Max Eastman, Sydney Hook, Norman Thomas, Granville Hicks, and Isaac Don Levine. She poignantly de­scribes her attempts to discover the fate of her husband while struggling to survive by writing for a living. Through­out there are delightful anecdotes about VIPs of the social and political worlds whose company she has always kept, told with the clarity and objectivity of a woman who understands people and politics. Chapter titles are intriguing hints of the author's "odyssey." Some are:

Remembering Russell

Honeymoon in Japan

Russia in Rose

Bertrand Russell and

George Bernard Shaw

My Indian Summer in China

China Experts Then and Now

The End of My Life in Russia

Friends in Greenwich Village

ODYSSEY OF A LIBERAL contains hitherto unpublished correspondence between the author and Shaw and Russell.






Odyssey of a Liberal





Washington National Press, Inc.

128 C Street, Northeast

Washington, D. C. 20002

Copyright ©1970 by Freda Utley

All Rights Reserved

Library of Congress Catalogue Card No. 68-8695

Published by:      Washington National Press, Inc. 128 C Street, N.E. Washington, D.C. 20002


Three decades have passed since I wrote The Dream We Lost* telling the story of my life in Russia in the 30's, and describing the new system of exploitation developed by the Communist totalitarian dictatorship. Since then I have completed my circuit of the political spectrum and learnt that there is all too little difference between the North Pole, where liberal aspirations are blasted by the icy breath of Communist tyranny, and the South Pole where conservatism hardens into reaction or the cold immobility of uncharitableness and fearful concern only for the preservation of possessions, privilege and power.

In now writing my memoirs which cover my life before and after my disillusionment in Russia, I still find no words more relevant to our times and my experience than the quotation from William Morris's Dream of John Ball which I put on the fly leaf of my old book:

I pondered all these things and how men fight and lose the battle, and the thing they fought for comes about in spite of their defeat; and when it comes about it turns out not to be what they meant, and other men have to fight for what they meant under another name.

My life's story is that of the education of a liberal in our time, although it may be that neither my critics to the "Right" or to the "Left" regard me as anything of the sort.

Old political labels have become so confused by passion and prejudice, or so outdated, that they have become irrelevant to our age.

Yet the old landmarks still stand despite the wrongly labeled signposts which confuse and lead astray the generation which has come of age as I overpass the Biblical limit of threescore years and ten.

In writing my memoirs I am not attempting to provide wisdom for the ages, but I hope that in recording my far ranging experience as a participant observer of the history of our times I can contribute something of value to an understanding of the problems of our time. Solutions consonant with liberal aspirations will never be found unless those who strive to make a better world free themselves of the illusions which thrive among those whose personal experience, unlike my own, has been too fortunate for them to appreciate the grim realities of the struggle for survival which is still today man's fate in most regions of the earth.

The belief that we can ourselves create a better world makes life purposeful and worth living—however dim the hope becomes as we grow old. Thus, I suppose I am still a liberal within the original meaning of that much-abused word, although having learned through experience more than is dreamed of in the philosophy of most Western liberals, I no longer share their faith in the inevitability of progress and the perfectibility of man through the creation of a better material environment.


Washington, D.C. November 1969


*John Day, 1940. Subsequently republished in abbreviated form as Lost Illusion in 1947. Reprinted in The Henry Regnery Co.'s Gateway edition of Classics.





Chapter 1            As The Sparks Fly  ............................................................................    1

Chapter 2            Beginnings  ........................................................................................    6

Chapter 3            Continental Interlude  ........................................................................   15

Chapter 4            My English School  ............................................................................   23

Chapter 5            War Years  .........................................................................................   31

Chapter 6            Travelling Left In Bohemia   ..............................................................   43

Chapter 7            Marx, Freud, Love, and the Libido   ..................................................   54

Chapter 8            Remembering Russell  .......................................................................   64

Chapter 9            I Take the Plunge  ..............................................................................   74

Chapter 10          Russia in Rose  ..................................................................................   81

Chapter 11          Off to the East  ..................................................................................   87

Chapter 12          Honeymoon in Japan  ........................................................................   97

Chapter 13          Working for the Party  ....................................................................... 108

Chapter 14          Interlude With Temple  ...................................................................... 114

      Epilogue  ........................................................................................... 125

Chapter 15          The End of My Life in Russia  .......................................................... 128

Chapter 16          Return to the West  ............................................................................ 142

Chapter 17          Bertrand Russell, George Bernard Shaw,    

 The Case of Berdichevsky  ............................................................................................152

Chapter 18          Russell in America  ........................................................................... 167

Chapter 19          My Indian Summer in China  ............................................................. 184

Chapter 20          Portrait of Agnes  ............................................................................... 200

Chapter 21          China Experts Then and Now  ........................................................... 210

Chapter 22          I Discover America  ........................................................................... 220

Chapter 23          Away to the New World  .................................................................... 225

Chapter 24          Emigration to America  ...................................................................... 234

Chapter 25          Friends in the Village  ........................................................................ 244

Chapter 26          Failure of the Dream  ......................................................................... 255

Chapter 27          Ordeal of a Premature Anti-Communist  ............................................ 270

Chapter 28          Back to an Office Again  ................................................................... 280

Chapter 29          The Political World is Also Round  ...................................................302


Chapter 1


In my early teens, at boarding school in England, I cut out the word SOPHROSUNE in Greek letters on my pencil box. Why, I cannot now imagine, since this precept, usually translated as meaning moderation, or nothing in excess, was alien to my temperament. Far from observing the Golden Mean, I have spent most of my life recklessly committed to causes I believed in. Since I either became disillusioned or lost interest in these causes when they prevailed or became popular, I have never ridden the tide which, taken at the flood, leads to success. I should have been more prescient had I carved, "Born to trouble as the sparks fly upward" on the bright polished surface of that light colored wooden box which I can still see clearly in the eye of memory, when so much else has been forgotten. Yet in attempting to analyze the motivations which have shaped my life, I realize that in spite of always having been engage, it was the Greek principle of restraint, or balance, which compelled me to throw my weight on the opposite side of the scales when the oppressed became the oppressors, as so often happens in the course of human events.

Although I never heard of James Russell Lowell until I came to America, his lines express the feeling which has consciously or unconsciously motivated my life.

Right forever on the scaffold,

Wrong forever on the throne . . .

Anatole France, with whose writings I became familiar in early youth, expressed the same idea in his Révolte Des Anges, which ends when Lucifer refuses to lead an assault on heaven by the angels whose fall was due to their compassion for the sufferings of mankind, because he foresees that:

Dieu vancu deviendra Satan: et Satan vanqueur deviendra Dieu. *

Men are men and there is no innate virtue in the oppressed. On the contrary, as Bertrand Russell pointed out long ago when underdog changes places with upper dog he proves to be more ruthless because he has learned, while underneath, to scratch harder in the battle for survival.

Since, either instinctively or by reason of the sense of proportion which is the essence of the classical concept of beauty, I have tended all my life to throw my weight on the weaker side of the scales of power, perhaps I was not so wrong when I carved SOPHROSUNE on my pencil box when I was 14 or 15 years old.

Unfortunately in my personal life and behavior I have paid little heed to Goethe's dictum that the essence of wisdom is to know when to stop. By expressing my views too sharply, or by carrying my arguments to a ruthlessly logical conclusion, I have failed to influence as many people as I might have done had I been more temperate or restrained and less combative. I have alienated some friends and lost potential allies by turning my back upon those, who by their refusal to go all the way with me in a battle against odds, seemed to me to be cowards unwilling to stand up and be counted when they were in


* God conquered will become Satan; and Satan victorious become God.


reality only displaying greater political sagacity than myself. Yet despite my all or nothing attitude in the heat of controversy, I have found myself unable to remain long in the company of extremists on any side.

One's character, no doubt, is one's fate. But no one knows the extent to which character is determined by heredity or by environment. Nor is it until late in life that one can dimly perceive how the influences of childhood and youth have shaped one's destiny, and continue to determine one's philosophy and behavior until the curtain falls.

These influences in my case were liberal, socialist and free-thinking, strongly colored by the poetry of revolt and liberty and legends, stories and romances of heroism and adventure upon which I fed in childhood; not without a tincture of Gallic realism, but basically English. I was conditioned by the empirical attitude of mind inculcated in me by my father; and my upbringing, despite the absence of religious instruction, was anchored to the basic tenets of the Puritanism which produced the first English radicals in the 17th century, the Pilgrim Fathers who emigrated to New England, and the Nonconformists who founded the British Labor Party two hundred years later.

The environment which shaped me was in many respects different from that of others of my generation but I am a product of the heyday of the liberal era, reared in its faith in infinite progress through freedom from superstition and by means of the scientific discoveries and their technical application which were expected to make man master of his fate. I am, or was, a child of the age of reason - of that new age of faith when it was believed that freed from "the shambles of faith and of fear" a vista of infinite progress would open to mankind.

Thus I was imbued at an early age with a consuming desire for the emancipation of mankind, or for justice, which is perhaps the moral reflection of the desire for harmony and beauty. I believed, thanks to my rationalist upbringing, that mankind requires only freedom from superstition or from the bonds of established religion to acquire the knowledge which, together with release from a narrow regard for material self interest, could lead to heaven on earth. The libertarian values implanted in my mind which have consciously or unconsciously motivated me all my life, were to cause me to recoil in horror from the Soviet dictatorship when I came intimately to know it. It was a passion for the emancipation of mankind, not the blueprint of a planned society nor any mystical yearning to merge myself in a fellowship absolving me of personal responsibility, which both led me into the Communist fold, and caused me to leave it as soon as I learned that it meant submission to the most total tyranny which mankind has ever experienced.

Many of my contemporaries and those who came after me were to follow the Red Star because of an unhappy childhood, or frustrations of one kind or another, or failure to make a place for themselves in the competitive capitalist world. But I came to Communism via Greek history, French Revolutionary literature, and the English nineteenth century poets of freedom-not in revolt against a strict "bourgeois" upbringing, nor on account of failure to make a place for myself in the "capitalist" world, but profoundly influenced by a happy childhood, a socialist father and a continental education. I am perhaps proof of Arnold Toynbee's contention that Communism is a "Western heresy."

When I came to study ancient history my heroes were Pericles, the Gracchi, and Julius Caesar. From an early age I could recite long passages from Shelley, Swinburne and Keats extolling man's eternal striving for freedom, beauty and justice. Swinburne's love poems I rejected as incomprehensible aberrations from the glorification of freedom and the denunciation of tyranny and superstition which I loved. I thrilled to such lines as:





Pride have all men in their fathers that were free before them,

In the warriors that begat us freeborn pride have we;

But the fathers of their spirit, how may men adore them;

With what rapture praise who bade our souls be free.

Sons of Athens born in spirit and truth are all born free men;

Most of all, we, nurtured where the North wind holds his reign.

Children all we sea-folk of the Salaminian seamen,

Sons of they that beat back Persia, we who beat back Spain.*

Today I realize that I ought not to have been so unprepared to learn the facts of political life as might seem from my account of the influences of my childhood and youth.

Like a discordant note or muted theme in the first movement of a symphony, there were other early influences in my life which should have prepared me for the disappointments and disillusionment which awaited me, not only in Soviet Russia but in later years in the Free World. In childhood and youth I had imbibed not only classical and romantic literature and the poems of Shelley and Swinburne, Matthew Arnold, and other poets who sang of freedom and inspired belief in the coming of a Golden Age when men would be freed from the chains of superstition and fear. I was also well acquainted with the writings of Shaw and Anatole France, read and enjoyed Voltaire's "Candide" and "Zadig" and was to win a prize at school for an essay on Machiavelli.

If heredity also molds character I must take some account of the combative and adventurous spirit of my father's Viking freebooter ancestors, who settled in Yorkshire before William of Normandy conquered England. Utley is a Danish name derived from the words out-leigh or out-lee, meaning beyond the moor, and there is still a remote small village called Utley in the West Riding where my paternal ancestors were blacksmiths for many generations.

Many of the Utley's had gone a'roving in their time which accounts for the fact that there are far more of them in America than in England.**

My mother, who came from Lancashire where the Celtic strain is strong, was a woman of charm and wit as well as beautiful, and may be partly responsible for the romantic streak in our characters which led my brother to voyage from England to the South Seas in a small sailing boat, while I sought a false Holy Grail in Communist Russia.

In my brother Temple's view, it was our Utley inheritance combined with the romantic stories we had read in childhood which shaped our lives.

Writing to our mother from Suva in the Fiji Islands in 1934 shortly after the birth of my son in Moscow he said:


* Swinburne Athens.

** I knew from my father who, while at college in Manchester, won a money prize for amateurs tracing their ancestry, that in the 17th century four Utley brothers had emigrated to Massachusetts. Since it struck my childhood imagination I also recall that the wife of an Utley who was a cavalryman in Wellington's army had accompanied him on the campaigns in the low countries and crossed rivers hanging on to his horse's tail. After my 1936 book. Japan's Feet of Clay was published in the U.S.A. I received several letters from American Utley's including one from a man who had made a hobby of tracing Utleys and sent me a long list of them. Unfortunately I have lost this but I remember it included the name of an Utley who had been the champion bo\er of the British Navy. In Chicago in 1939 when speaking for the Council of foreign Relations at the invitation of Clifton Utley I was to find rows of Utleys in the telephone book whereas there had been only myself and one other listed in London. At this time I disabused Clifton Utley of the notion that the Utleys stemmed from Wales.


. . . Freda's letter to me was in tone and spirit very sweet. We neither of us quite seem to have found our new world. Moral—do not read your children romantic tales in their infancy. However hard-boiled they may become afterwards, the original taint remains. Tell Freda to teach Jon to lisp the Maxims of La Rochefoucauld as his first primary. Freda at eleven and I at fourteen learned them too late.

The Songs the Syrens sang for us were not the same. I became a "political animal," travelling ever Left in search of the ideal society which never was, or probably can be, on land or sea. Temple came to seek escape from civilization by venturing on perilous seas in a small sailing boat to seek his dream islands in the South Seas. He was to be more fortunate than I although he died young. While I was passing through the Valley of Despair in Russia in the early 30's, Temple had found his Pacific Islands "just as they should be—of an incredible beauty."

Today I find myself wanting to write about my brother before recording my own story. Perhaps because I now begin to understand that Temple and I in the drama of our lives were like strophe and antistrophe-or thesis and antithesis according to the Hegelian philosophy, eventually to be united in a synthesis of understanding.

Both of us were reared in the liberal philosophy of our time and were subject to the same childhood influences. But whereas I was to follow Marx and Lenin's teachings, Temple's views were more akin to Rousseau's and Bakunin's. He came to believe that freedom and happiness are to be found by escaping from modern industrial civilization which, even when it provides material comforts and security, deprives man of the satisfaction of basic needs of his nature. I imagined that a better organization of society could create conditions in which men would be free while voluntarily submitting to the demands of the state intended to ensure justice for all.

Our lives perhaps exemplify the split in the liberal personality between the extremes of anarchy and statism. Temple took the high road and I the low, or vice versa according to one's prejudices, in our life's journey from the "banks of Loch Lomond."

In a later chapter, I shall have more to tell concerning my brother's life and death. Here I only quote, with wonder at Temple's insight, a passage from a letter he wrote when he was 35 years old on the eve of sailing from Colon to the Marquesas Islands.

There is a sort of lethal factor in us Utleys which inhibits success. Both my father who was, and my sister who is much cleverer than I am, always missed it. You see they, who could have got it easily, never quite believed in it. I, who would find its attainment much more difficult, believe in it rather less.

Unlike my brother. I was ambitious. Although I was never able to surmount the "lethal factor" in the Utleys which inhibits us from paying the required price for success, I longed for it. And time was when thanks to my having acquired inordinate confidence in my abilities, thanks to my easy academic successes at school and college, I imagined I would be one of the "movers and shakers" of the world. My faith in human reason, inculcated in me by my upbringing, combined with what Bertrand Russell called my incurable political romanticism, impelled me to continue to believe, even when my views were most unpopular, that if only I could write well enough, I could convince the world of the truth as I saw it.

No doubt one gets what one wants most in life if one tries hard enough, but one cannot have everything. The cost of freedom comes high and one cannot expect to enjoy it, least of all in the world of letters, if one desires fame or security more. Of course, one


always goes on hoping to enjoy both. There have been times when I railed against my fate and considered myself ill-used because the world failed to award me fame, fortune or influence and I found myself reviled for expressing my deepest convictions regardless of the consequences. On one such occasion Edith Hamilton, who died in her 94th year in full possession of her faculties, gently reproved me for feeling sorry for myself following the failure of my 1949 book. The High Cost of Vengeance * to win a wide circulation. "My dear Freda," she said, "don't expect the material rewards of unrighteousness while engaged in the pursuit of truth." Nevertheless I often did, continuing to yearn for the success which I occasionally glimpsed but never quite achieved. Even when one of my books was a success I went off on another quest.

Like my father, I did not "stick to one last," as they express it in North Country England. I dissipated my energies and endeavors in too many directions, wanting to be both scholar and journalist, politician and preacher, crusader for the causes I believed in and seeker for the truth. Desirous of success but unwilling or unable to pay the ultimate price, I could not devote myself to the goddess who, although not the bitch she has been called, demands wholehearted devotion to herself alone.

Thus, I was destined to become a Communist when it was most unpopular to be one, and an anti-Communist during the years when its false promises were generally believed by Western "liberals." Too fast, too soon. The way to success as I have painfully learned, is not to learn too much too soon. It pays to be wrong when everyone else is deluded and woe betide all Cassandras, or anyone else who learns and speaks truth before the public is prepared to listen. The best reputations are gained by those who change their opinions just before the midnight hour when it is usually too late to change the course of human events.

I might have a man's mind-which was the compliment I most relished- but I could always be accused by my opponents or detractors of being too emotional, as perhaps I am, because I am a woman. And in the struggle for existence in which I was to be engaged at an early age, I had to shoulder the financial responsibilities of a man while also meeting the domestic demands of a woman.

Whether or not I ever deserved the following tribute paid me by Pearl Buck in her review of my 1940. The Dream We Lost,** her words are apposite to the struggle all women who strive to overcome the initial disadvantage of not being born men.

This is one of the richest books I have ever read. It is more than an unassailable indictment of Russian Communism. It is a strongly dramatic story and one interesting enough to make a major novel, the story of a brilliant mind, rigorously truthful in its working, though born unhappily in the body of a woman. For even in the best parts of the world a first rate mind is still hampered if it happens to belong to a woman. Nevertheless, this mind was born, and it is to its honor that Freda Utley has simply borne with the disadvantages of being a woman without allowing them to influence her thinking. (Asia. October, 1940)


* Henry Regnery Co.. Chicago, 1949. ** The John Day Co., 1940.


Chapter 2


Temple and I were both born under our different stars just before the turn of the century, he on June 10, 1895, and I on January 23, 1898, at Number I Kings Bench Walk in the Temple, London. It was exceptional, if not unique, for married couples, much less children, to be permitted to live in those renowned legal chambers and take the air in the beautiful, ancient gardens above the river Thames.

My father, studying for the bar while earning his living as a journalist, had somehow persuaded the authorities to let him continue living in the Temple after his marriage. Although later my parents were to live very comfortably in large houses and luxurious Continental hotels, they remembered those years in cramped quarters, lacking most of the facilities of modern living, as perhaps the best of their lives.

Son of a Yorkshire blacksmith, my father, Willie Herbert Utley. had obtained his education on scholarships from technical secondary school to Owen's College (subsequently renamed Manchester University) where he became an undergraduate at the early age of sixteen. With a voracious appetite for knowledge in every sphere of human questioning and endeavor, my father alternatively or simultaneously studied science and mathematics, languages and the humanities, and thus never obtained an academic degree. But his versatility and wide-ranging knowledge were subsequently to prove of greater advantage to him than any handle to his name when he got to London and started on a successful career in journalism. Thanks to the catholicity of his interests and his literary talent, he was able to write on scientific and economic subjects, as well as on literature, politics, art, drama and music. For instance, when Marconi first demonstrated wireless, he was assigned to Ireland to report this new scientific marvel for a number of newspapers which had no other adequately equipped reporter. Thus, my mother, in London, was one of the first people in the world to receive a radiogram.

My father had secured his first journalistic assignment when he presented himself at the office of the Morning Leader, the leading Liberal newspaper of the time, and was told to sit down and write an editorial on some political topic of the day. Having done this with ease, he was accepted as an editorial writer.

When the Morning Leader subsequently merged with the Evening Star, be became assistant editor and music critic of the Star and Morning Leader. George Bernard Shaw was its drama critic but, according to my mother's recollection, their friendship began while my father was financial editor of Frank Harris' Saturday Review, a journal that helped make Shaw famous as one of its contributors.

Many years after his death, while doing research for my M.A. thesis at the British Museum, I was asked by the oldest of its librarians whether I was the daughter of Willie Herbert Utley. When 1 said I was he told me that my father had at one time translated old English medieval manuscripts in the basement of the British Museum in order to earn money, not only for himself but also to help Bernard Shaw and other impecunious friends of his when they were especially hard up.


G.B.S. and my father were both contributors to Annie Besant's publication. Our Corner, and were friends of Charles Bradlaugh the famous free-thinking M.P. who directed the Hall of Science school on Fleet Street. Here, when he first came to London at the age of l9, Willie Utley lectured on physiography, according to an old prospectus for the session 1886-7 preserved by my mother and still in my possession.

In his teens he had spoken from the same platform as Friedrich Engels in Manchester, as I learned long after his death from documents I saw at the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow. Subsequently, in London, he had taken part in the labor struggles of the late eighties and was arrested with John Burns in Trafalgar Square at a demonstration of the unemployed, although spared from imprisonment on account of his youth. For some months he was acting secretary of the Fabian Society founded by Beatrice and Sidney Webb and, had it not been for my arrival, he would have stood for Parliament in the Socialist interest. But M.P.'s were not paid in those days, and with two children to support he perforce abandoned a political career. Even so, in order to earn enough money for all of us, he was on the staff of both a morning and evening newspaper at the same time, besides contributing to weeklies and engaging in unpaid political activities. Fie worked so hard, slept so little and expended himself so generously that it was not surprising that when I was nine years old, he contracted the tubercular lung infection to which he finally succumbed ten years later.

During my infancy and early childhood my parents had gone through some bad times, as for instance when my father started his own liberal weekly magazine only to have it fold on account of the Boer War: and later, when, after having written the first "Motoring Handbook" published in England. he was compelled before publication to sell the valuable copyright of this future best seller in order to meet a note at the bank he had guaranteed for T.W.H. Crossland, a friend who. like some other well known literary figures, lacked the bourgeois virtue of paying their debts.

Following, or in consequence of these setbacks or disasters, my father turned his talents to financial journalism and business investment advice and started making so much money that my earliest recollections are of life in a big house in Hampstead with servants and governesses, first at 67 Finchley Road and later at 33 St. Johns Wood Park. (Queer that now in my 70's I can still remember the addresses of the houses in which we lived when I was less than ten years old! It is a curious fact that as the shades of the coming night of one's life deepen one retains a better memory of details of the distant past than of more recent events.)

The Utley's would have become really rich had my father's partner, a man called Hannny. been ready to go all out to back my father's conviction that a rubber boom was coming thanks to the invention of the motor car. It was Hannay who supplied the capital for their joint venture in publishing a financial newsletter and investing other peoples money in what is today called a mutual fund but was then frowned on as a "bucket shop."

Notwithstanding the ease with which my father seems to have made money once he set his mind to it, and the affluence which surrounded my childhood as I remember it. I was reared in the socialist beliefs which were to shape my life. A life which was also to be powerfully influenced by the impression made upon me in youth by the tender, passionate and enduring love of my father and mother for one another. Despite the Bohemian world in which I was to take my place in my 20's, I sought to find the same rare and true love which is:


. . . a durable fire,

In the mind ever burning,

Never sick, never dead, never cold.

From itself never turning . . .*

My parents had first met and fallen in love when they were 17 and my father was brought visiting to my grandfather's house by Edward Aveling, Karl Marx's son-in-law and translator. In old age my mother was to recall with pride that Dr. Aveling had introduced my father that first evening as "the most brilliant boy and coming man he knew."

The course of my parents true and life-long love had not run smooth, and they were not married until many years later, mainly because of my grandfather's opposition but also, I surmise, on account of my father's roving, adventurous temperament which led him to spend several years wandering abroad.

My mother's father. Joseph F. Williamson, a prosperous Lancashire manufacturer, was a free-thinker and a republican who was proud to tell that his wife's mother had hidden the famous Chartist leader, Fergus O'Connor, under her bed while pretending to be sick when the police were searching for him. He liked to entertain the prominent or promising radical political "intelligentsia" of his time, but he was far from inclined to believe in the equality of the sexes and was also opposed to any of his daughters (he had seven) marrying an impecunious young man. He had refused to let my mother continue her education to become a doctor, as she passionately desired, and had instead set her to boiling jam in his factory to put such nonsensical ideas out of her head.

After my father came courting following their first meeting, my grandfather ordered my gentle, obedient Williamson grandmother never to leave them alone. They surmounted the obstacle of her presence by my father giving her Ouida's romantic novels to read. These so absorbed her that she paid no attention as they sat together in the parlor of my grandfather's mansion, The Grange, in the Manchester suburb of Stretford, whose gloomy interior I came to know well when I was in my teens.

I narrowly escaped being named "Cigarette" by my mother after the heroine of Ouida's famous book Under Two Flags** about the French Foreign Legion in North Africa, this being one of the novels which so absorbed my grandmother as to leave my teenage future parents free from her chaperonage. Maybe also because my mother was an inveterate smoker, as I, alas, was also to become after I went to live in Russia. She had first acquired a taste for smoking in her teens when promised a complete set of Shakespeare's works by her older brother Len, if she could smoke four cigarettes in succession—a feat she accomplished although it made her sick.

Among my precious possessions today is a three volume edition of The Complete Poetical Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley published in 1881, given to my mother by my father "on her 18th birthday, October  1883."*** Below the inscription "To Emily Williamson by W.H.U." penned in beautiful script in India ink, my father wrote:

A vous mes pensees

Pensées aussi a moi.


*Anonymous 16th Century poem included in the "Oxford Book of English Verse."

** Stein & Day. N.Y., 1966.

***John Slark, London, 1881. "The Text Carefully Revised, with Notes and A Memoir by William Michael Rossetti. Dedicated to Edward John Trelawny, Who loved Shelley, Traced out his corpse, and Snatched from the fire the heart of hearts, This Edition of the imperishable poems is by permission most respectfully dedicated."


Determined to pursue her vocation if only in the secondary role of a nurse, mother eventually ran away to London to become a probationer at St. Thomas Hospital. Meanwhile, my father, despite his love for her. had gone off to Greece to be tutor to the son of a wealthy family on the Island of Andros. Here, as he told me in my childhood, he walked down marble steps to swim in the warm Aegean Sea, and had on one occasion almost been drowned because of his short-sightedness, having lost sight of land one evening when he swam too far out.

Subsequently he had wandered all over the Balkans, learning to speak Turkish as well as Greek and earning his living in diverse ways, mainly as a free lance journalist. His adventures in Eastern Europe were no doubt the equivalent of my brother's voyages in the South Seas many years later. But he had eventually been pulled back to England by his love for my mother.

My mother was exceptionally attractive-indeed. quite beautiful to judge from her photographs and she had many suitors. But she waited for my father in the confident belief that he would eventually come back to her from his roaming abroad. All of which sounds like a 19th century romance but is true. They loved each other passionately and cherished one another all their lives, in poverty as in prosperity, in sickness and in health, until parted by death. During my father's last long illness prior to his death in 1918, she nursed him devotedly in conditions of extreme poverty in a two-room cottage in Cornwall which was so primitive that she had to fetch water with a bucket from a well and cook on a wood stove. But she never let drudgery or poverty get her down. She was still lovely in middle age, slim and supple all her life, and managed somehow to look elegant whatever her circumstances. She was loyal and loving and never reproached my father for their fall from affluence to penury during the last years of his life although, as I came to realize when I grew up, she had little fundamental understanding or sympathy for the ideas which I inherited from him.

She was all woman-more concerned with human relations than with ideas; passionate and charming, unselfish but demanding, jealously possessive in her love for both my father and my brother, but also ready to make any sacrifice for them without complaint.

We could not have been more different. Not only was I never beautiful, I scorned to be feminine. I wished I were a boy and have always felt most flattered when told I have a man's mind. Nevertheless, it was no doubt mainly due to my mother's influence that I was to reject second best substitutes for love. I waited long to find my own true love because I dreamed of the perfect union which my mother and father enjoyed. I could not accept any substitute for the rare love of my parents which had illumined my childhood. Puritan or romantic, or a combination of both. I was to reject the easy fly-by-night liaisons of my contemporaries in the Bohemian world in which I took my place in London in the 20's.

My father's love for my mother was as constant as her's for him. They were lovers in every sense of the word in middle age as in youth. I possess none of the letters she wrote him, but have several which he wrote to her both in their years of prosperity before the 1914 war and during the disastrous years which followed before he died, destitute in Cornwall, in January 1918. Writing, on October 27, 1911 from our home at Ken Court, Tatstield to mother visiting my sick grandmother in Manchester, he tells her how "dreary" life was without her and that "In my loneliness last night. I thought I would play the claviole but we could not find the piano key anywhere. My dearie I love you alone and utterly and life is not life when you are away. Goodnight sweetheart. Ever your true lover, Willie."


Other passages in my father's letters recall the dimly remembered days of my childhood and early teens when, incredible as it now seems, we lived in such comfort that two servants did not suffice. "I am putting an advertisement in the Globe for a man and wife," he writes, "because, Florence does not want to be a parlor maid and the girl who wrote wants only a housemaid's place."

Florence, whose kind, ugly face and tall angular figure I still remember, was our loyal "retainer," more friend than servant. When bad times came she wanted to continue working for us without wages and offered her own savings to my parents to help out. Back in 1912, she was busy bottling plums and pickling cauliflowers and cucumbers and enjoying herself generally. Recalling the distant days of our prosperity before the 1914 war. Temple was to write on June 3, 1934 from Suva, after the birth of my son in Moscow:

My Dear Mother and Grandmother.

Queer to think of you as the hitter, for I see you more as the Mother I remember, carousing with Lockoff and Madame von Kloekner at Arosa. or drinking Chartreuse- French, pre-expulsion of the monks- at Ken Court. Christmas, 1912. Those days when we were young and rich. when property was so secure that people laid down wine cellars and the 'lower orders knew their places'. Little did you think that twenty-two years later you would be grandmother to a little revolutionary in Moscow. It is a pity Dada cannot see the joke, it would have stirred his sense of irony. Well, dear, you have had a life; but really, on the whole, it must have been good. I don't think that at the age of sixty-nine I will be having a little revolutionary grandchild, in what capital shall I suggest? - say. Chicago.

Even in her old age in America Mother was to remain charming and attractive. In 1941 when she was in her seventies George Calverton shortly before his death wrote to her from the offices of The Modern Quarterly in the Village;

Dear Emmie:

Just a little note to say I hope you are feeling well and spreading your radiant personality over Westport.

I've missed you, those minxish eyes of yours, that fine clear English speech, and your infectious laugh, lovely as the song of wind in gentle spring.

Other friends in America, still alive, recall Emmie Utley's beautiful voice and the exquisite diction of her speech which was the more remarkable since her father had denied her the education he could easily have afforded to give her.

In my late teens I came to know my Williamson grandfather as a tall, handsome patriarch who bullied the two of his daughters who had not married but had devoted their lives to looking after their parents. He had cut off my mother without even the proverbial shilling when she married my father. But years afterwards when my father was prosperous and we lived at Ken Court my grandfather had been glad to let my mother nurse grandmother in our home for six months during her fatal illness. When she died, my grandfather did not even offer to pay the medical and funeral expenses. A decade later when my father was dying of tuberculosis in poverty, my grandfather grudgingly allowed my parents ten shillings a week-no doubt well content that he had proved so right in having opposed my mother's marriage to a man who ended his life as he began, in poverty.


Following my father's death in January 1918, my grandfather was to cut off even the pittance he had allowed my mother during the last year of my father's illness, leaving me to support her while my brother was lighting in Mesopotamia.

I remember my mother's mother as a small, shrunken old lady with scanty white hair covered by a lace cap, clear blue eyes, a delicately tinted complexion and a tremulous smile, her hands folded in her lap as she sat in our garden at Ken Court with a rug over her knees. She was a sweet and gentle person who let her husband dominate her to such an extent that she had never dared to stand up to him even in order to help their daughters.

My Utley grandmother, whom I knew only from her portrait, must have been a forceful and ambitious woman. She had done everything possible to help my father surmount the handicap of poverty to secure an education. She had succeeded in spurring my Utley grandfather into raising himself from the status of contented blacksmith in Yorkshire into the ranks of die lower middle class by securing for him the management of a small hotel in Manchester.

She had failed to make him a successful inn-keeper and had died comparatively young. leaving her husband to become my father's pensioner: but she must have had the satisfaction of knowing that her talented and energetic son would fulfill her ambitions. I imagine that it is from her that I inherited the drive, as also other unfeminine qualities and defects that have both helped and hurt me during the course of my life.

My father's father, although poor and improvident, was a most happy man, loved by his wife and son. He may have been a financial burden and a failure but he contributed to their lives, love and gaiety and enjoyment of music and art.

He remains in my childhood memories as a hale and hearty, rosy cheeked and white haired, cheerful old man. His main interest in life had always been playing the violin and painting pictures of no artistic value, which no doubt afforded him the pleasure of satisfying his creative impulses.

He was so robust and healthy that he had never taken to his bed in illness until he died in his 80's in full possession of his faculties. No doubt, I have owed to him and our Yorkshire yeomen ancestors the vigor, energy and good health I have enjoyed for most of my life. My brother, who like my father, developed tuberculosis and died young, may have derived from our Utley grandfather the sanguine temperament which, as Temple used to say, contrasted with his pessimistic philosophy.

My Utley grandfather gave me a violin when I was a child and insisted that I should learn to play it and he also endeavored to teach me to draw and paint. Although I was never really musical I tried hard and was most happy when chosen in my teens to play in the school orchestra at my English boarding school.

I also tried my hand at painting and wrote romantic plays which my brother and our friends acted, rigged out in homemade costumes. These plays of mine usually had tragic endings, as did the one we performed while staying at the Hotel Grison at Arosa in Switzerland, in which all the main characters ended up dead on the stage. I was furious when Temple made comedy out of my tragedy by getting up before the curtain fell to sound the hearts of the other "corpses" with a stethoscope.

As I write, memories revive of days when my imagination and interests were unconfined by experience or too great preoccupation with politics. When, although I already had a "social conscience" awakened by my father's teachings. I could indulge my romantic imagination and enjoy all the wonder of the world.

Somewhere along the line of my ancestry or environment, I acquired a Puritan streak


which made me take life all too seriously, in contrast to my brother who enjoyed all the pleasures and joys life offered, but who could also laugh in the face of danger or adversity. Temple never experienced the brief religious phase I went through, perhaps induced by one of my governesses at the age of seven or eight, when I prayed every night on my knees beside my bed without, as I imagined, anyone knowing. But my reason, or the logical thought developed by my upbringing soon reasserted itself, bringing my very short "age of faith" to an end. I remember going to discuss it all with my father, telling him that I realized that a just God would not punish man for doing the evil which his Creator must foresee he would do if He were omniscient as well as omnipotent. And if God were not just, he was not God; i.e., did not exist.

As I dimly remember, my father explained his agnostic philosophy in simple terms by saying that if told there was a tiger on the roof he would go up and find out. But no one could verify the existence of a God in heaven.

I wrote stories or fairy tales from an early age and can recollect the main outline of one whose hero was called Cass. Maybe I derived his name from the French verb casser — to break - for my story started by telling how his mother and father, realizing that their children, if they lived, would surely sin and go to hell, killed them all in infancy. But ' baby Cass, having willfully knocked over and smashed his cup of milk, thus already committing a sin, was permitted to live. This is all I remember of Cass's story. A psychologist could no doubt find all sorts of interesting explanations for my remembering even this much.

It was perhaps because he wanted to save me from premature preoccupation with sin and death and religion that my father gave me Fitzgerald's translation of The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam to read. I was so enthralled by the lyrical beauty of Fitzgerald's rendering of the Persian poet's verses that, when eleven years old, I learnt them by heart- nor have I ever forgotten them entirely. Like the poems of Shelley and Swinburne which enchanted me later. I can still recite verse upon verse of the Rubaiyat from memory.

Recently I became acquainted with Omar Abou Riche, a famous modern Arab poet who was Syria's Ambassador to Washington in 1962. When I asked him whether any of his poems had been translated into English or French, he replied, "yes," but went on to remark that very few translations of poems are worth reading, the great exception being Fitzgerald's rendering of Omar Khayyam's Rubaiyat which, he said, is not properly speaking a translation, but a free rendering of the spirit and meaning of the original.

As I learnt only then from Omar Abou Riche, it was Swinburne, my favorite poet, who acquainted Fitzgerald with the works of the great Omar and induced him to give the Western world knowledge of the Rubaiyat in verses as immortal as the original Persian text.

Perhaps it is no accident but kismet the Arab word for fate-which, by bringing me recently in contact with new friends from the ancient but reborn Middle Fast, has helped to revive memories of my childhood and youth when the Greco-Roman heritage we share with the Arabs colored and inspired my imagination.

Since he died before my twentieth birthday and long before I learned the facts of political life through experience, I do not know whether it was disillusionment or his love for my mother and desire to give her and their children a good life, which caused my father to devote his talents to making money soon after I was born. But it is clear to me from my memories of him and from the fragmented record of his life, which is all I possess, that like William Morris he was in revolt as much against the sordid ugliness of industrial civilization as against the iniquities of the "Capitalist System" of his time.


He loved music and poetry and beautiful things; was a connoisseur of wines; spoke several foreign languages fluently; loved to swim and sail, and enjoyed driving fast cars although this made my mother very nervous. In general, he had a great zest for living, and reveled in the athletic, as well as the intellectual pleasures of life. My earliest recollection of him is of a slim, trim man of medium height with broad shoulders, fine soft golden hair brushed back from a high wide forehead: clear blue eyes behind gold-rimmed pince-nez glasses perched on an aquiline nose above a reddish drooping moustache partially concealing a full lipped smiling mouth with prominent front teeth. And my happiest memories are of summer holidays in Sussex or Devonshire when Temple and I swam with him and he taught us to row and sail small boats.

I cannot remember ever having not known how to swim and read, but can recall being forbidden by my mother to read in bed, lest I "ruin my eyes" an injunction which I cannot have paid much attention to because I have a distinct memory of lying in bed. early in the morning, reading a "Told To The Children" illustrated version of Lamb's Tales from Shakespeare.

Among the illustrations I can still dimly see Rosalind and Touchstone in the Forest of Arden. Perhaps because Rosalind, disguised as a boy and behaving like one, in contrast to the womanly Ceilia who aroused my contempt, appealed to me who during my childhood longed to have been born a boy.

Apart from shortsightedness my eyes have never troubled me. Mother used to insist that I take off my glasses in company in order to look pretty. She also insisted on putting my straight hair in curl papers at night. I remember an evening when she reproached me for having caused a quarrel between her and my father- a most unusual occurrence—because I had appealed to him to stop her forcing me to endure this discomfort. Also my father telling me in an endeavor to use his influence to support my mother' "Il faut souffrir pour etre belle," and myself in tears in a tantrum yelling "I don't want to be beautiful." which of course was not true. But my reaction to my mother's emphasis on my handicaps: shortsightedness and straight hair, as against her perfect sight and lovely naturally curly hair was, of course, to pretend that I was not interested in my appearance. At that early time perhaps I really did not care, being far more concerned in keeping up with my brother in sports and studies in spite of being a girl and younger.

Temple, two and a half years older than I, received a letter on his 18th birthday which conveys some idea of our father's personality and philosophy.

From our home at Ken Court, Tatsfield Surrey to Temple at Trinity Hall, Cambridge on June 9, 1913. he wrote:

My dear Boy.

May this, your eighteenth birthday, be a happy one. not because of anything material that may come to you upon it, but because you feel that you are making progress toward the responsibilities of manhood, because you feel your own powers developing within you, because your inward vision is embracing a wider view of the two worlds, the one which is inside and the one which is outside yourself. You are practically a man already, though for me always my dear boy, and I am happy to see you developing your own personality and being yourself. Whatever may come to you in the future, whether it be of good or ill, this is the greatest of all, to be yourself and no copy of anyone else at all times under all conditions. But for one's own satisfaction it is necessary


that the self you are shall be such a self as you can be proud of yourself to yourself, not to other people. "Il faut cultiver son jardin" is the French phrase. The garden to be proud of is the garden that produces beautiful flowers, abundance of fruit, a sufficiency of humble necessary vegetables (without which you won't be able to cultivate your garden) and the fewest possible weeds. Alas! there is no garden quite free from weeds. The mistake is to take them for beautiful flowers and it is a mistake quite easy to make both for young and old. It is also a good exercise in philosophy, ethic and aesthetic, to examine what is a weed, what a beautiful flower and what a choice fruit.

I have every confidence in you, dear boy, and in your future. I won't say to you: "think high thoughts," but rather: "Think deep and wide thoughts and do clean deeds." Cleanliness is far above Godliness.

So long, old man. I shall be glad to see you at home again. It seems a very long time since you went away.



Chapter 3


My brother's and my upbringing was unusual; mine in particular, since as a child I attended the same boy's school as Temple: Peterborough Lodge on Finchley Road in Hampstead. The headmaster's daughter, Cynthia Linford, and I were the only girl pupils. I don't know how her Father had been persuaded to take me but it was Temple who had insisted that I enjoy the same advantages as himself. As I remember, or was told later, he had found I was being very poorly taught at my girls' school: "Memorizing the names of headlands on the West Coast of Scotland when she doesn't know what a headland is," had been his indignant comment.

When I was nine years old my father, who had contracted tuberculosis, was ordered to Switzerland and we all went with him to Arosa. There and in Italy for two years, we children had a wonderful time skating, skiing, and bobsledding in winter, climbing mountains and swimming in the lakes and sea in summer. We spent part of each spring and summer on the Italian lakes and Riviera, where we "discovered" Portofino, as yet barely known to tourists. There the fishermen's wives and daughters sat outside their whitewashed houses on steep narrow streets in the bright sunlight making the exquisite laces my mother loved to buy. Also there was San Frutuosa, lost little town approachable only by sea. One glorious summer we spent two months in Corsica travelling about that wild, romantic island in a horse-drawn carriage, but spending most of the time at Ajaccio where Temple and I swam naked on a deserted beach to which we walked along a road lined by marble tombs.

Rapallo, Santa Margharita and Sestri Levanti. Genoa and Milan, Pisa and Livorno, Lugano, Como and Lake Maggiore; driving by carriage and walking long stretches over the Simplon Pass from Domedossela, whose hotel had. I thought, the unique name "Run to the Post" (courir a la Paste) but actually must have been Couriers of the Mail.

Bright unforgotten distant years of my most happy childhood spent in some of the loveliest places in the world, giving Temple and me lasting memories of beauty to carry with us the rest of our lives.

We attended no schools but were taught for an hour or two a day in winter by an old German-Swiss tutor in Arosa. Our father spending his days on a chaise lounge on the veranda was always there to answer our questions and impart knowledge which we could never have obtained from a formal education. We read books and we listened and learned from the talks and discussions of our parents with friends and acquaintances from many lands in the cosmopolitan atmosphere in which my multilingual internationally minded father fitted so well. Since we were never repressed but only taught good manners Temple and I had no inhibitions to make us feel awkward or shy and speechless in the presence of our elders.

Unforgettable among my father's friends in Arosa were Herr Lockhoff, a jovial Dutch artist and the dainty fair and smiling Baroness von Klockner from Dresden, who herself resembled one of that city's famous porcelain statuettes. Lockhoff whose


tuberculosis was incurable was to die soon after we returned to England. Irene von Klockner lived long but disappeared without trace in the senseless Anglo-American bombing of the open city of Dresden in 1944 which burned alive more civilians than the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Just before the Second World War. Mother and I were to meet her for the last time in London.

In late summer Temple and I climbed quite high mountains alone with a Swiss guide, once reaching the peak of the Aguille de Tour, ten thousand feet above sea level. In winter, besides skiing and skating and playing ice hockey, we took part with adults in the two and a half mile races on our bobsled named Mephistopheles, clad in white wool jerseys with red flannel devils on our chests and caps. Temple sometimes steered, but we won our notable victories when piloted by Mrs. Moreland, the sporting wife of a New Zealand doctor, with Temple and me as crew and a man called Bray as the "break." I still have in my possession a silver beaker inscribed with our names on the memorable occasion when, in 1909, we won the Lucy Challenge Cup, to the amused surprise, friendly applause or outrage of the competing adult teams.

I cannot have made much, if any. contribution as "crew" to our triumphs, far out as I see myself leaning in an old photo as we rushed around the most dangerous corner of the course; or by energetically throwing my slight weight backward and forward to help accelerate speed on the straight. It was probably due to my brother's insistence that I was permitted to participate in these races which actually filled me with a dread I never admitted to Temple, whose belief that anything he could do. I could do, too, spurred me on.

Writing to me a quarter of a century later from the Fiji Islands to congratulate me on the birth of my son in Moscow, Temple recalled my "winning that ice-axe for me" at Champex, where I had outraced the Swiss girls who competed in the two mile race around the Lake.

When my father was sufficiently cured to return to England Temple and I were left at school on the Lake of Geneva. The original intention had been to leave only Temple, but as usual I wanted to do whatever he did. As I recall, at Sestri Levanti on the Italian Riviera in 1909, I had become more and more restless, so that one evening after the usual happy day swimming and basking in the sun, I solemnly informed my parents that it was high time for me to go to school and start studying. Maybe it was the first stirrings of what my brother used to call my "Puritan conscience." Or perhaps it was simply because the joyful, easy, carefree life we children had for so long enjoyed had begun to pall. As Swinburne wrote in Temple's favorite poem, Faustine, "To feed a while on honeycomb is sweet," but man tires of the repetition of accepted rhyme.

So, when eleven and a half years old, I became a pupil at La Combe, Rolle on the Lake of Geneva, with my brother at school half a mile away across the fields at the Chateau de Rosey. By special dispensation I had the run of this school where I went for fencing lessons as well as to visit my brother.

The first summer of our separation from our parents I spent three weeks with Temple and the boys of his school in the Swiss Alps, dressed in boy's clothes and climbing the same mountains as teenage youths. Mixing with English, German, French, Swiss, Italian, and other nationalities, soon learning to speak French fluently and German fairly well, I was little aware of national barriers. I acquired an international outlook which neither my father's influence nor theoretical socialist teaching alone could have given me.

So long ago and far away and yet so well remembered, the two years I spent at school in French Switzerland were one of the happiest periods of my life.


At first I was the only English girl at La Combe and later one of two. I was also the youngest. The majority of the pupils were German girls in their middle or late teens "finishing" their education by studying the French language, literature and culture. The atmosphere was not unlike that of my home environment; studious, tolerant, kindly and with equal emphasis on study and physical fitness. We skated in winter, swam and rowed on the Lake of Geneva in summer; bicycled and went for long walks, picked narcissi in the fields near Montreux on spring expeditions to such historic sites as the Chateau de Chillon. For a fortnight each year the whole school moved to the Alps, where we climbed mountains and trod the lovely green valleys studded with flowers between the mountain peaks, picking Edelwiss on the few occasions we found this rare flower and chanting French songs. Indelibly imprinted on my mind is a vision of the glories of an Alpine sunset as I stood shyly among my new companions somewhere in the mountains, on the first evening of this happy holiday tentatively attempting to join in the singing.

Sport at La Combe was regarded as a pleasure, not a duty, and study—really hard study—was expected of us all ensured mainly by pride in achievement. Most of the girls came from middle-class German Rheinland and Ruhr families which had made sacrifices to give them their year or two of "finishing school" in Switzerland. In contrast to the English school where I went later, it was considered shameful at La Combe not to work hard and take advantage of the opportunity afforded us to learn all we could from teachers who loved to teach and whom one hated to disappoint.

The headmistress of La Combe, Mademoiselle Marthe Dédie, was a cousin of Monsieur Henri Carnal, the headmaster of my brother's school, and everyone expected them to marry. A handsome woman, I remember her best for the marvel of her long, lustrous and luxuriant black hair which reached almost to her feet and which she braided in thick coils in a crown on top of her head. Perhaps she was too strong-minded and independent for Monsieur Henri who was himself as handsome as a movie star and eventually married an American heiress.

The Chateau de Rosey in later years was to become a favorite school for gilded youth from all over the world, including the present Shah of Iran and other royal personages, besides sons of wealthy American families. In my day it had only one American pupil, a youth of about seventeen whose name I have forgotten, but whom I remembered because of the various troubles he got me into. He took me riding in his newly acquired automobile and promptly ran us into a stone wall. On another occasion he so outraged me by kissing me that I seized his best Panama hat and doused it in the fountain in the Chateau de Rosey courtyard. Once he induced me by the bribe of a carton of Nestle's Swiss chocolate bars to carry a note from him to one of the girls at my school.

This shameful episode is the more inexcusable because, when Temple and I were first left at school in Switzerland, our parents arranged credit for us at the grocery store in Rolle. Unlike Temple, I had refused this opportunity to buy chocolates or anything else, not wishing to enjoy special privileges denied to the other girls at my school. Yet in my second year I succumbed to the lure of a dozen large chocolate bars as the price for delivering a love note, or maybe an invitation to an assignation, to one of my classmates from a rich, young American. I never really liked him but he tempted me and I fell.

This incident is one of the most painful recollections of my childhood because of the feeling of guilt it gave me for long afterwards. I realized that I had betrayed the trust reposed in me by Madamoiselle Marthe who, because my brother was there, permitted me, unlike the other girls at La Combe, to visit the Chateau de Rosey whenever I wished.

My favorite among Temple's classmates was Jimmy Reiss, an intelligent witty and


sophisticated Jewish boy from Manchester who was to remain my friend for many years. I still have a photo of him in a Chateau de Rosey performance of "Le Chapeau dePaille d'Italie" -a musical farce, two lines from which I was to remember all my life when enjoying myself too much. "Mon cher mais c'est atroce/Nous faisons rouses Les jours la noce." Which roughly translated means: My dear it's terrible, we're having a ball every day!

A decade and a half after our school days in Rolle, I was tempted to marry Jimmy because I was very fond of him and he was well-to-do, while I by that time was exceedingly poor. Temple used to say how nice it would be to have a brother-in-law with a wine cellar, and Jimmy and I had much in common. But in the 20's in London I had not given up my hope of romantic love. Besides, Jimmy seemed too "bourgeois" for me much as I enjoyed his company. He never did marry and probably had grave reservations in courting me since he thoroughly enjoyed his foot-loose life. But he was to give me help and comfort when I returned from Russia in 1936 with my political hopes and personal life alike shattered.

La Combe today, although still a more modest establishment than the Chateau de Rosey, has likewise become a fashionable modern school, as I found when I briefly revisited it in 1953 when driving through Switzerland from Germany to Italy with my son. The bedrooms now have running water and there are plenty of bathrooms, whereas in my day we each of us took our turn once a week for a hot bath in a cold outhouse. But the same solidly constructed, cream-colored, two-story, many windowed building still stands looking out upon the same distant view of the Lake of Geneva shimmering in the sunlight. The same sentier leads along the railroad line to the Chateau de Rosey along which I trod or bicycled so often.

There is the same tinkling of pianos in practice rooms; the same calm, studious atmosphere; the same lovely gardens shaded by ancient trees; the same flagstoned terrace in front of the main building where we sat in late afternoon embroidering or stitching as we listened to reading aloud of French classic literature. And, no doubt, there is the same curriculum demanding the same conscientious study and endeavor as in the days of my childhood, when we walked up and down in the early morning in the open air learning our grammar lessons from Larousse or memorizing French prose pieces, before classes began.

I can still recite the opening passage of the piece by Alphonse Daudet which begins; "Les chevres de Monsieur Seguin s'en allez tous dans la montagne,'" telling the tale of the beautiful little white goat who, despite the love and care lavished on her, was eventually gobbled up by a wolf because like Monsieur Seguin's other goats she would not stay in his lush pastures but sought adventure in the mountains.

So unchanging, widespread and influential are the disciplines of French education and the patterns of French culture that, in Algeria in September 1963, driving in the countryside where goats abound and conversing with my young Arab Moslem chauffeur, I started to quote the above passage and found that he, too, had learned by heart the same Daudet story about Monsieur Seguin's beloved little white goat!

Our places in school each week were determined by the "Dictée" which started classes. By my second year I was often at the top, and always near the head of the class, being able to take French dictation almost without spelling mistakes. I had perforce learned French fast since during my first year there was only one other girl who spoke English. Her name was Gretel Muthmann and her mother was an Englishwoman who had married a German velvet manufacturer from Crefeld in the Ruhr. Gretel helped me and cherished


me like an older sister and we have remained close friends until today, in spite of the two wars which split our worlds into contending halves, and in which she suffered both physical and mental anguish.

Whenever I now cross the Atlantic to Europe I visit Gretel, my oldest friend in all the world. During the Second World War she lost her husband and was twice bombed out of her home in Cologne where she practiced as a dentist. After taking refuge with relatives in East Germany she fled before the Red Army with her teenage daughter who was wounded by machine gun fire from an American plane. At the Elbe, in 1945, like so many other thousands of German women and children seeking escape from the Communist terror, they had waited in vain for permission from the U.S. Army to cross over. Luckier than most, thanks to being able to claim kinship with relatives in England, Gretel and her young daughter were eventually permitted to cross over the Elbe to safety. And her English relatives helped them with food packages to survive the hunger years which followed during the Allied Occupation.

Gretel's daughter, Liligret, is today the only woman musician in one of West Germany's most famous orchestras. Gretel herself is slowly dying from an incurable disease, having been finally laid low after her long and gallant fight to survive the vicissitudes of her life.* Today I remember her best in the role of Cyrano de Bergerac as performed at La Combe before an audience which included the staff and boys of my brother's school, the townsfolk of Rolle and leading representatives of the landed aristocracy of the vicinity. Gretel gave a superb and unforgettable performance as the swashbuckling Gascon hero of Rostand's famous play, shocking some of her audience by her fluent colloquial use of French swearwords which she added to the text. The play was not in any case one calculated to uphold the chaste principles of a school for young daughters of the respectable middle classes. Gretel, carried away by her exuberant interpretation of her role, and fortified by champagne, made it even less suitable. But she brought the house down in roars of applause.

It is not possible to remember what one was like in childhood. Nor are the memories of old friends reliable since they are prejudiced in one's favor. But perhaps one's best aspirations are mirrored in what one would like to believe is true according to their recollections. When visiting Gretel in Braunschweig in 1960 I asked her to help me understand myself and the course of my life by telling me what kind of a child I was. She said: "Even as a little girl, you seemed to me to be motivated by a passion for justice." Which reply, I realize, may be due not so much to Gretel's recollection of me at La Combe, as to the books I have written.

Gretel was not the only friend of my childhood days in Switzerland whom I still know, or with whom I have renewed contact in recent years. Following the publication of The High Cost of Vengeance** in the U.S. in 1940 and in Germany two years later I received many letters from Germany thanking me for having written this book in which I pleaded for justice and mercy for the defeated Germans and argued that only the Communists would profit from the dismantlement of German industry. Among the hundreds of letters I received from Germany several said: "You must be the Freda Utley we once knew at La Combe." Thus, forty years afterwards, I renewed contact with German friends of my childhood.

Best of all was to receive word from Madmoiselle Marthe Dédie, already in her eighties,


* Gretel, whose married name was Mohr, died after the type was set for this book.

** The Henry Regnery Co. Chicago, Noelke Verlag. Hamburg.


congratulating me on the publication of The High Cost of Vengeance, and telling me she was proud that I had been one of her pupils when I was a child.

On the other side of the ledger, I was attacked and smeared as "pro-German" or even as an apologist for the Nazis, by most "liberal" and even some conservative publications in America. It was then considered outrageous to insist that the Germans were no more inherently wicked or aggressive than other peoples, nations or races. I, with my experience of the kindness of my schoolmates at La Combe could not believe in the myth of German beastliness, and I knew too much history to accept the thesis of Germany's especial aggressiveness.

Peter Blake, himself of German Jewish origin, (and today editor of Architectural Forum in New York) gave me much consolation when he wrote in Don Levine's Plain Talk: "It is said that cruelty is the result of fear; perhaps Freda Utley's great compassion is the result of her courage."

I should like to think this is true but in fact my compassion for the Germans arose from my own experience. Having myself not so long before lived under the shadow of terror in Stalin's Russia, I understood how dreadful had been the situation of the Germans under Hitler. Unlike most Americans or English I knew that the subjects of a totalitarian state cannot revolt, without outside help, and that the Germans during the war had had no choice but to fight for their country under the Nazi regime, or submit to Communist conquest. "There but for the Grace of God go I" was a precept I could never forget after my experiences of the terrible compulsions exerted on its subjects by the modern totalitarian state.

In 1952 and subsequent years when again visiting Germany, I found some of the dimly remembered friends of my childhood in comfortable circumstances, while others had barely survived the Nazi era, the war, and its aftermath. But our class of 1911 still managed to meet, occasionally, at some place on the Rhine. Moving spirit of these reunions, until she died in 1959, was the fair haired, blue-eyed and still comely Liselotte Euler, from Bielefeld, who had written in my "Birthday Book":

Tout change dans ce monde

Vie, plaisir, climat

Seul, mon amitié pour toi

Ne Changera pas.

Liselotte's son, at the age of sixteen, had been mobilized during the last months of the war and taken prisoner by the French, who sent him to do forced labor in the Lorraine coal mines where he was overworked and underfed for two years before being set at liberty. Visiting her together with my Prussian friend, Count Joachim Kalckreuth who had for four years been a starved prisoner of the Russians in worse conditions, we both vainly tried to persuade Liselotte's son that he should adhere to the West. He repeated the German equivalent of the American expression, "I've had it. Don't talk to me about democracy, or try to tell me there can be anything worse than being a prisoner of the French."

In contrast to Liselotte's bitter young son, there was Else Wollstein-Stolberg, who had been my companion at weekly riding lessons in Geneva, and who being Jewish, had suffered terribly during the war. She and her non-Jewish husband, who stuck by her, had survived, thanks to peasants, who hid them in a "fowl house," to use her own English description of their refuge. I was deeply moved when Else thanked me for having written The High Cost of Vengeance and glad to learn that her husband had been reinstated in the important job in the Cologne Municipality from which he had been ousted by the Nazis.


I was in my thirteenth year when, in 1911, I left La Combe to return to England. The four years I had spent on the Continent at an impressionable age were to have a lasting influence on my outlook. They were golden years of happy memories of a time when the world had seemed a most friendly place and I was little aware of national barriers created by ignorance, pride and prejudice. Never in the future would it be possible for me to think that my own country, or any other country, was the repository of all virtues, or to believe that "my country right or wrong" is an admirable sentiment. "Menschen sind menschen," as the Germans say-meaning that humanity the whole world over is much of a muchness. In short, my "Continental Interlude" had for good or ill given me an international outlook for the rest of my life. Like Tom Paine, who said, "Where liberty is not, there is my country," I came in later years to identify myself with those struggling for freedom and justice anywhere or everywhere on the globe.

No doubt I was spoilt at La Combe. Not only because I was a precocious child among teenagers and for most of the time the only English girl. There was also the fact that my parents were then rich, or seemed to be so, since my father spent his money as easily as he then made it. No other parents in those days came to visit their children in Switzerland in an automobile driven across the continent. As Gretel has told me, my handsome father and my beautiful mother dressed to perfection, made a terrific impact on La Combe, which gave me a special status of which I was totally unaware.

I remember only that the special privilege I asked for, by cable to my parents during my first days at La Combe, was that I should not be compelled to consume soup or drink wine at dinner!

How strange this sounds today when I like nothing better than wine with my meals! In those days on the continent half a century ago the purity of water was not taken for granted even in Switzerland, and wine, or wine and water, was the customary drink for young and old.

My father and mother, besides ensuring my freedom from alcohol later interfered with the disciplines of La Combe by objecting to the system which was so effective in forcing us all to learn French. This system seemed abhorrent to my liberal parents because it entailed "spying" and "denunciation." There were some dozen "billets" which one passed on to anyone one heard speaking their native tongue - meaning generally German but in my case English. Anyone in possession of one of these tokens at mid-day dinner time was kept in to write in full every conjugation of a French verb - which task, including I, thou, you and it as well as we and they in every tense, took most of the afternoon.

My parents' moral objections to this most efficacious system for forcing us all to learn French eventually persuaded Mademoiselle Dédie to abandon it for a short time during my last year. Instead of a hectic scramble to get rid of the "billets" before noon, we were put on an honors system of reward. Once a week, anyone who could get up and say "Je jure devans tout le monde"-swear to the world - that she had not spoken anything but French for the past seven days, received a cheap paper copy of some masterpiece of French literature. By this time French had become almost my native tongue so that it was all too easy for me to collect a book every week, thus acquiring a small library of French classics. The rules were therefore changed in my case to ensure that I should speak German, which I spoke very imperfectly. This created such confusion that the new system was abandoned before I went home to England.

Temple had not been as happy at the Chateau de Rosey as I at La Combe. He had come "to hate the food, the cold and the discomfort" and with the departure of Jimmy


Reiss and his Latin master, Mr. Hammond, he would have "no one in the whole world to talk to." Suggesting that Hammond be engaged as his "tuteur" Temple then aged fifteen wrote:

I find him one of the nicest men I know, he is very interesting and very well read, an atheist, a liberal and his socialism is the same as ours, and he is not at all fast. He does not want at all a big salary. This is my suggestion, not his.

Following our return to England our situations were to be reversed. I was to endure four generally unhappy years at boarding school in England. Temple escaped a "public school" education and was tutored at home before enjoying a year at Cambridge University before the 1914 War.



Chapter 4


The plunge from Switzerland into the frigid, unkind and alien atmosphere of an expensive English boarding school no doubt helped to lay the psychological foundations for the militant communism which, a decade later, was to supplant the vague academic socialism of my early youth.

Prior's Field, Godalming, Surrey, had been founded by Julia Huxley, granddaughter of the renowned Dr. Arnold, Headmaster of Rugby, niece of the poet Matthew Arnold, wife of Leonard, son of the famous Thomas Huxley, and mother of Aldous and Julian Huxley of future fame.* Mrs. Huxley was dead, but her school headed by Mrs. Burton Brown, had been selected by my parents on the confident assumption that it would provide as congenial an atmosphere as La Combe, where I had been educated beyond my years while uninstructed in several basic subjects. Instead, it proved to be no better than a British "public school" for boys.

There was no "fagging" nor infliction of corporal punishment by seniors on juniors, nor hazing of the weak by the strong. Instead there was mental, or perhaps one should call it social, bullying equally effective in enforcing conformity. Such offenses as studying hard, showing originality in dress or any peculiarity of speech or behavior, were punished by mockery or contempt and, worst of all, the loneliness which comes from alienation from the community, particularly hard to bear when one is homesick. Realizing I was having a bad time my parents offered to remove me during my first year, but, thinking that Prior's Field was typical of English schools, I saw no point in this and decided that I must endure it.

I was handicapped from the start by my slightly foreign accent as well as by my un-English upbringing. My "r's" were French "r's" and I recall my acute embarrassment when made to stand up to say "stirrup" over and over again, unable to pronounce it in an English accent while the whole class laughed.

Other disadvantages due to my lopsided education abroad had to be overcome. At La Combe there had been no mathematics classes, only optional bookkeeping courses for older girls. So although I had a wide-ranging acquaintance with French and English literature and considerable knowledge of European and ancient history, when it came to arithmetic I did not even know what LCM (Lowest Common Multiple) or HFC (Highest Common Factor) meant. And with regard to geometry and algebra, I had to start from scratch. Since I also knew no Latin, I was assigned during my first term to the lowest form with the youngest girls in the school.

Because I had acquired the habit of study, and was blessed with an excellent memory, I quickly caught up and rapidly advanced from class to class winning more prizes than anyone else, and arriving ahead of my time at the sixth, or top form.


*ln Ronald W. Clark's, book. The Huxleys, McGraw Hill 1968. there are many pages about Prior's Field where Aldous Huxley was a pupil when seven years old together with the original six girls.


My scholastic achievements counted for less than nothing in the opinion of my classmates, who gave me the nickname of "Brainy," in no complimentary sense. After I was chosen for the tennis and swimming teams which competed with other schools I was tolerated, if never fully accepted, as a member of Prior Field's "ruling class." But I continued to be a non-conformist. I won a prize for botany because collecting specimens of wild flowers enabled me to go for walks and escape playing cricket. La Crosse, which was played in winter, I enjoyed, but I only made the second team. I had from the first refused to wear a black or brown ribbon to bind up my hair, preferring a colored one to match the smocks which we wore over the regulation white blouses and skirts into which we changed each evening from our daytime grey tunics.

Accustomed at La Combe to associate with girls older than myself on terms of equality, I had no inkling of my social misdemeanor when, at the beginning of my residence at Prior's Field, I talked at length with two older girls sitting together on the "horse" in the gym at a Saturday night dance. This "horse" I should explain, was a leather upholstered contraption above which we vaulted with varying degrees of success during our daily mid-morning's gymnasium exercises which included climbing up bars and ropes besides marching and running in step. All of which muscle-building and posture exercises were one of the best sides of the curriculum.

My sins against the social code, at first unconscious, became deliberate. The spirit of rebellion was awakened in me as I opposed the social hierarchy and the conventions of my school. In later life the girls of Prior's Field came to symbolize for me the "imperialist British bourgeoisie:" class conscious, insensitive, sublimely self-assured, scornful of learning, and confident in their divine right to order the universe.

The profound changes brought about by two World Wars and England's loss of her Empire have since my day transformed the atmosphere of English private schools, as also the composition and outlook of English ruling circles. But, "the Establishment" as it is now called, endures.

I made some friends but they were either rebels like myself or passive non-conformists, or victims of 'the system,' whom I tried to help or protect after I had myself achieved the status of a prefect. One among the former was Margaret Waley, cousin of Arthur Waley, the famous sinologist whose translations of Chinese poems are widely known. Margaret, however, was one of those rare characters who are impervious to their environment. She walked alone and did not care whether she was popular or not, whereas I yearned to be liked and appreciated, although unable to make the concessions necessary for social acceptability.

Among other friends there was Nora Buchan-Sydserf - an unforgettable name - who, being Scotch, was better educated than most English girls, and had an amused contempt for the "sassenach" hierarchy which ran our school. Small and wiry with beautiful long, naturally curly golden hair and bright blue eyes, Nora's appearance was marred by a brace on her front teeth, prominently displayed as she laughed in unconfined enjoyment of her mimicry of the silly pretensions of the "tyrants" who dominated our lives. Tough, intelligent and witty, and still alive today, she was one of those who, in Voltaire's phrase, see life as comedy because they think, instead of as the tragedy it seems to those who mainly feel.

Another well remembered friend, with whom I have kept some contact over the years, was Dorothea Bluet from Buenos Aires. A short, fat girl with mousey straight hair and pale round face with no pretensions to beauty except for large sparkling black eyes, she was to marry a rich rancher and is today a happy grandmother in the Argentine. Neither


"brainy" nor athletic, Dorothea was amiable and full of fun and uninhibited either by her teenage roly poly figure or her inferior status as "colonial" British. I can still see her in my mind's eye, dumpy, small body shaking with laughter, white teeth gleaming, eyes twinkling and moon face crinkled with mirth as our small group sat on the grass in a secluded corner of the playing fields on the edge of the woods sheltering violets, bluebells and primroses, in Surrey in the springtime after lunch. Here we played the "truth" game, asking each other searching, embarrassing questions which one was honor bound to answer unequivocally.

Others I remember are the older girls who befriended me during my first year at Prior's Field, Beata Crook and Phyllis Vickers. Beata who looked rather Rossettish inspired me to make such efforts in my attempts to play the violin that I became a minor member of the school orchestra - an achievement which filled me with greater pride than my success in classes, although each time I played my heart palpitated with the dread engendered by my consciousness of my inadequacies as a musician.

Phyllis, after a brilliant career at Cambridge University became a Factory Inspector in the Labor Ministry and was a most helpful friend in my days of poverty in London during the 1914 war.

I was on good terms with Margaret Huxley, sister of Julian and Aldous. I remember her brothers only as young men who, on the rare occasions when they spent a weekend at the school from which they derived their income, sat in state at the headmistress' table at Sunday dinner.

As I write and call to mind these and others who were my friends at Prior's Field, I wonder whether my years there were really as unhappy as I used to think.

During my last year I even became friendly with the girl we called "Carrots," a tall superbly built redhead with a freckled face, snubnose, bright blue eyes and engaging smile displaying perfect teeth, who was both the all round athletic champion and head girl. Her name was Mary Cooper, and I had originally hated her as the "boss" of the school and embodiment of all I most disliked at Prior's Field. Carrots, whose leadership I had for long defied, was extremely nice to me after the descent of my parents from affluence to penury. This is perhaps not so strange because today I can appreciate the virtues as well as the defects of the erstwhile British ruling class. As my brother Temple was to write two decades later from Suva, despite our being "intellectuals" we both liked "the barbarian English from the best schools."

Let me not forget in recalling my school impressions of half a century ago, my tennis partner, Marjorie Clemence Dane. A tall, sturdy blond girl with few, if any, intellectual or political interests, but with a good brain and a headstrong and romantic temperament, she was to become my close friend years later in London.

The only child of a "widow of high degree" - at least in her mother's own estimation-Marjorie had never met the "lower classes" until I stayed with her one summer in Sidmouth in Devonshire in the early Twenties. Accustomed from childhood to fishing and sailing whenever I could, I naturally made friends with the local fishermen, and Marjorie and I spent many a night "mackerel drifting." and helping to haul in the nets at dawn.

To me this was just the kind of sea-going holiday I had enjoyed in childhood. But to Marjorie it was romance. She fell in love with a fisherman who was squat and dark and muscular and almost ugly except for his large, black, long-lashed eyes - inherited perhaps from some Spanish ancestor cast upon the Western shore of England after the defeat of the Armada.


"Ern" Jenkins was not very bright and his political opinions of the day depended on whether he had just read the Conservative "Daily Mail" or the Labor "Daily Herald." He was far less interesting and attractive than "Stan" Harris who could neither read nor write but who had opinions he had thought out for himself, and whose physique was that of a legendary Norseman or Greek God. Stan was married to a wonderful girl called Kathie who was pretty and witty and well educated and who never let the hardships of a fisherman's wife get her down. They had a charming child called Peggy and theirs was a happy, life-long love. Both of them recur often in my story since they became and remained dear friends long after Marjorie and Ern had parted.

Marjorie's mother called in the Bishop of London to try to stop the marriage and took her on a sea voyage round the world on a luxury liner to cure her of her infatuation. It was all in vain. Although, as my brother observed at the time, if Marjorie's mother had not skimped on this voyage and had taken her on a P. & O. instead of a Japanese boat, she might have met a man who would have made her forget poor Ern.

Marjorie had £ 500 a year of her own - a not inconsiderable income in those days. She could afford to play at the simple life in a comfortably appointed cottage in Sidmouth after she married Ern. He, unfortunately, had all the "petty bourgeois" prejudices of the respectable British working class and this ruined their marriage. Marjorie had fallen in love not so much with him as with his way of life. But as soon as they were man and wife, he stopped her going out fishing with him at night, insisted on her wearing a hat and stop wearing shorts or slacks, and in general made her life so dull that she yearned to return to London.

Eventually they divorced with Ern keeping the house and being paid quite a bit of "alimony." Marjorie later married my college friend, Robert Ryan, a clever, sensitive and poetical Irishman in delicate health. This proved to be a most happy marriage, but he died soon after.

I owe much to Prior's Field. Not only did my experience there temper and steel me to resist and defy the powers which at all times and places in all societies endeavor to enforce conformity by one means or another. The teaching was also excellent. The trouble was that neither the headmistress nor the staff, with the exception of the games mistress, had much influence outside the classroom.

History, which was my favorite subject, was particularly well taught. At Prior's Field in my early teens I learned more history, ancient, medieval and modern, than most American college students. We were also given some understanding of political realities and the facts of power, so conspicuous by their absence in liberal academic circles today. For instance, it was impressed on me that Magna Carta which in later centuries came to be the Great Charter of English freedom, was nothing of the sort in 1215, at Runnymede. It marked instead, as I learnt at Prior's Field, the success of the feudal aristocracy in wresting back from a cruel and foolish king its own special privileges- then called "liberties" - curtailed by Norman kings seeking to establish a strong central government ensuring law and order and the protection of the weak against the strong. It was not until many centuries later that Magna Carta was transformed into a charter of liberties for all Englishmen. (In parentheses, I must here remark that a minor lesson impressed on me at Prior's Field is never to mix Latin and English by calling the Great Charter Magna Charta - a mistake so general that typists or typographers almost always get it wrong.)

History as taught in most American schools and colleges only briefly scans, or passes over as dark ages of little or no interest to the modern world, the millenium between the fall of the Roman Empire and the Rennaissance and Reformation. This general ignorance


of medieval history seems to me the main reason why Americans in general, despite their good will and desire to help, fail to appreciate the problems of government in "underdeveloped" or backward countries. "Democracy" in such countries almost inevitably entails giving a free hand to the rich and powerful, just as in Thirteenth Century England, Magna Carta meant restoring to the Barons their "liberty" to oppress their vassals and serfs without fear of the Crown oppressing them or bringing them to justice.

Many years after, lessons I learned at Prior's Field, and subsequently at London University, enabled me to realize that China in the aftermath of the war against Japan was at about the same stage of political development as England and France in the Middle Ages, when the great need was for a strong government to enforce law and order and defend the country against its external enemies.

It seemed to me absurd and self-defeating for America to demand "democratic" government in China, when the real need was for an effective administration able to curb the centrifugal forces and enforce reforms. As I wrote in my 1947 book. Last Chance in China:*

To call the Kuomintang Government "Fascist" is the very reverse of the truth. Its powers are not limitless but far too limited. In war it lacks entirely the simian efficiency of the Nazi, Japanese and Soviet States. It interferes with the individual too little, not too much. Its sins of omission are far greater than its sins of commission. Its gravest fault is the ineffectiveness of its administration, and its failure to force through necessary reforms. It is too soft, not too hard.

Naturally, my political realism in writing  that "an economically and politically backward country such as China requires an authoritative administration," called down on me the opprobrium of American "liberals" who accused me of a preference for tyranny even while they themselves were equating willingness to collaborate with Communists as the hallmark of a "democrat."

Owing to this confusion or the ignorance of most Americans of history prior to 1776, we "lost" China. This is a later story which I tell in my 1951 book The China Story.** Here I have digressed to show that in spite of my own foolishness in drifting into the Communist camp in the late Twenties, I never quite forgot fundamental historical lessons learned half a century ago at Prior's Field.

On the other side of the ledger, so to speak, I remember a talk given to us in 1913 by Mrs. Burton Brown, in which she compared Lloyd George's reforms with those of the Gracchi who had been murdered for their attempt to remedy social and economic injustice and thus 'save the Republic' Conservatives who fail to see the need for change and the remedy of abuses pave the way for dictators who abolish all our liberties.

"B.B.," as we called our headmistress, was a great teacher and a scholar who related the lessons of the past to the present. She was a liberal in the true and original meaning of that much abused word, but also a realist without illusions concerning the facts of power and the basic motives of men, ancient, medieval or modern.

Few among her pupils appreciated her great qualities or liked her much. She was a big, heavy, majestic woman with a rugged masculine countenance, thick eyebrows and heavy jowels, who inspired awe, not affection. She was too remote to know how little effect



* Bobbs-Merrill. Indianapolis, 1947.

** Henry Regnery, Chicago, 1951.


either her teachings or her personality and high-minded precepts had on the conduct of her pupils. We were all afraid of her, and it was with a beating heart that we obeyed a summons to her book-lined, chintz-curtained study whose French windows looked out on a garden glorious in early summer with deep blue delphiniums and other brilliant flowers. Even I, one of her favorite pupils, vividly recollect that to be called to B.B.'s study in the early morning made my heart palpitate with nameless dread.

B.B.'s daughter, Beatrice (whose shortened name of Bice we pronounced bitch) was a thin-lipped spinster with an artificial smile who was actively disliked for what we instinctively recognized as only a veneer of sweetness, light and charity covering her lack of warmth and humanity, and the conceit which then as now is the besetting sin of class conscious liberal intellectuals.

"Bice" gave me individual instruction in Greek to enable me to acquire sufficient knowledge within a year to pass the Cambridge "Little Go." She spent most of the time trying to inspire me with a vision of Socrates in the false image of a non-conformist parson. The fact that I actually passed Cambridge University's entrance examination at the age of sixteen, in Greek as well as Latin, was due to my excellent memory. I memorized the English translation of Plato's Apologia and Zenophon's Anabasis, and learned just enough Greek to recognize which passages had been given for translation. However, I owe it to "Bice" that I learned by heart some lines from Plato's account of the death of Socrates in the original Greek, which I can still recite by rote.

My knowledge of Latin, unlike my Greek, was not synthetic. I really learned Latin at Prior's Field, thanks mainly to our Classics teacher. Miss Richards. She was a neat, small, reserved woman with a well-developed sense of humor who never curried popularity, or like the games mistress and some others, sought to stimulate endeavor by arousing inordinate affection - a "pash" to use our word for the unhealthy, adolescent adoration of pupil for mistress in our exclusively feminine society. I remember Miss Richards although I have forgotten the names and faces of other mistresses at Prior's Field, because she was an inspired teacher who could make even Latin grammar and composition interesting, and the reading of Roman poetry and prose an absorbing pleasure instead of a chore.

I can no longer read it with ease, but my good grounding in Latin syntax and logic, and the clarity of expression required by the exigencies of the Latin tongue, together with my earlier French education, taught me to endeavor to express my thoughts succinctly and logically instead of taking refuge in the verbosity and ambiguity, or mushiness, which in our day and age enables many writers to hedge on their convictions. I do not pretend that my writings have measured up to classical standards, but I have always endeavored to express my meaning clearly and unequivocally.

Long before I went to Prior's Field my thoughts and aspirations had been colored by Greek and Roman myths, legends and history.

One of the first books Temple and I read was an abridged version of Chapman's translation of the Iliad and Odyssey, with illustrations by Flaxman copied from Greek vases. The garden of the Hesperides, the siege of Troy, the wanderings of Ulysses and Aeneas, the battles of Marathon and Salamis - the whole beauty and wonder of Greek myth, legend and history, had given me visions from childhood of a lovely land of marble temples and sunlit seas where men first dispelled the mists of superstition, ignorance and fear.

But, until I came to Prior's Field I had no more than a romantic vision of the glory that was Greece or of the lasting contribution made by Rome to the foundations of Western civilization.


Thanks to Mrs. Burton Brown, I also acquired some appreciation of the connection between art and religion, politics and philosophy, truth and beauty. One evening a week in the winter and spring terms, "B.B." lectured to us on Greek, Roman, and Renaissance art. Her lectures were illustrated by slides, and although I can recollect little of what she said, I can still visualize some of the photographs of temples, statues and pictures shown to us on the screen. Mrs. Burton Brown gave me the small measure of understanding of art of which I am capable, together with a deep and enduring appreciation of the Greek genius and its lasting influence.

Temple always said that my artistic tastes depended on my political and ethical values, meaning that I had no pure aesthetic appreciation of art. Which is no doubt true and explains why I have no appreciation of most 'modern art' which to me conveys only confusion. Seeking and admiring clarity of thought and expression, I can see no sense in pictures without meaning, or whose meaning is deliberately obscured.

The classical influences of my childhood and youth stayed with me all my life. For some twenty years, until her death in 1963 at the age of 93, I was privileged to count Edith Hamilton among my friends. This outstanding American classical scholar comforted and encouraged me in Washington decades after I was a child at Prior's Field when I was cast down by the failure of my best books. She chided me gently, saying that if one is determined to "witness to the truth" as one sees it, it is inconsistent to yearn for the fruits of the transitory success which come to those who seek popularity. "The excellent becomes the permanent," she wrote, quoting Aristotle, in her inscription to me in one of her last books.

Edith Hamilton also tried to instruct me as to how to get my views heard by a wiser presentation than was my wont.

Mrs. Burton Brown's lectures on history and art compensated for much else lacking at Prior's Field. Now that I am much older than she was when I listened to her with rapt attention, I recognize my debt to her teaching and can forgive her for having failed me at a critical period in my life.

I was one of her favored pupils, not because she had affection for me, but on account of my scholastic record. I won more prizes each year for proficiency in more subjects than anyone else. I even won a prize for Divinity, although I was a free thinker, exempted from church attendance. I acquired a leather bound volume of Meredith's poems, which I still possess, for general knowledge of the Bible, in April 1913, when I was fifteen years old and in class VB. (Lower Fifth) The following term, summer 1913, I won the school "Essay" prize for a dissertation on Machiavelli. This time the book given me was Cary's translation of Dante's "Inferno," which was a more fitting choice as my reward than Meredith's "Poems" may seem as a Divinity prize. In my essay on Machiavelli, I argued that there was not really such a disparity as generally supposed between the Florentine's advice to tyrants, as expressed in his "Prince," and his eulogy of Republican Virtues in his "Commentaries on Livy"- the Roman classical historian. As I saw it, when fifteen years old, men are usually ready to condone, or even approve, actions taken by their state or country which they condemn when taken by an individual, so that what seemed admirable "virtue" in the Romans was regarded as wickedness in an individual Italian prince.

I wish I still had this old essay of mine. All I can now remember is its main argument that Machiavelli's precepts for Princes - his description of how tyrants maintain their power, which came to be called "Machiavellian,"-was not different in essence to the precepts and practices of the Roman Republic or modern nation states.


Mrs. Burton Brown, expecting that I would reflect glory on Prior's Field by future academic achievements at Cambridge University, gave me special facilities for study. She lent me books and during my last year installed me in a room of my own in the hospital annex where I could read late or early instead of being subject to school rules. But in the end she let me down so badly that she did more to awaken my budding revolutionary outlook than anyone else in my early life.

When the war came in 1914, my father was ruined. I was sixteen and had just passed the entrance examination to Cambridge University. Mrs. Burton Brown, confident that I would win laurels for Prior's Field, gave me a year's free schooling. I began working for the Cambridge "Higher Local," an additional examination which women candidates were also required to pass, but it soon became clear that I should not be able to take advantage of the scholarship which I was almost certain to secure, because my father would be unable to contribute anything to my support. Instead of arranging for me to go to London University—where, as I learned years later, I could have obtained a scholarship sufficient to enable me to continue my studies—"B.B." cast me off, as no longer of any interest or value to Prior's Field. Nor did she let me down gently.

She made it brutally clear to me that my presence at Prior's Field was no longer desired, and caused me acute shame by letting it be known that I was at school free because my parents could no longer afford to pay my fees. When I passed the Cambridge "Higher Local" with flying colors "B.B." reserved her congratulations for the girl who had passed with lower marks but had the financial means to continue her education.

Today, six decades later, I remember the shock and disillusionment of the discovery that Mrs. Burton Brown had never had any personal regard for me, having all along been concerned only with the academic laurels I was expected to win for her school. After I was precluded, on account of poverty, from being of any value to Prior's Field, she cast me off without compunction or compassion.

Thus in the summer of 1915, I left school with few regrets and some bitterness, thanks to the personal experience which taught me that the social system could fling one into poverty from security, and prevent one from continuing one's education whatever the proof of one's mental qualifications.




Chapter 5


My departure from Prior's Field in August 1915 marked the end of my jeunesse dorée. I was plunged from affluence and security into poverty and a hard struggle for existence. Nor was the transition made by slow and easy stages. It was more like the abrupt expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden they had failed sufficiently to appreciate.

My last year at school had been darkened by the money worries of my parents. We had pawned my silver and ivory-fitted monogrammed dressing case to pay my fare back to school and provide me with a little pocket money for my last term. But I had continued to live in comfort, eat well, study and play games as also to believe that my father's financial difficulties were only temporary. I still expected to get to college. But after I came "home" to find we no longer had one, my great expectations faded fast.

My parents were now almost without resources and my father was beginning to succumb to the tubercular infection which had been only partially cured in Switzerland. His precariously restored health depended on his continuing to live in the country which he could no longer afford to do. Our beautiful house and garden at Ken Court had been given up. our furniture sold, and the proceeds used to pay off business debts. Mother's jewels and furs, if not already sold or pawned, were gradually being disposed of to pay for groceries and the rent of the furnished lodgings in Hampstead where we now lived. My brother, who had enlisted in the army in August 1914 after a year at Cambridge had by now received a Commission in the Connaught Rangers and was soon to be fighting in France.

I was seventeen years old when I left school and was flung upon my own resources to earn a living. The only way open seemed to become a governess in the old tradition of decayed, or decaying gentlewomen. First, for a few months, I stayed in my Williamson grandfather's house, where my mother and father, together or separately, briefly took refuge.

Grandfather was looked after by my two maiden aunts, Flossie and Nelly. I remember Flossie as a thin emaciated woman with huge cavernous dark eyes below a high, pale forehead surmounted by abundant plaited braids of silver streaked dark brown hair. Her smile was beautiful but her nervous fingers clutching mine aroused aversion instead of love and made me want to escape from her bedside. She was a typical unselfish and self-sacrificing Victorian spinster who let herself be bullied by my tyrannical Grandfather, a tall, majestic handsome old man with a long white beard and hawk-nosed face who could have served as a model for one of the formidable and self righteous prophets of the Old Testament.

Flossie had inherited some money from their elder brother Len, and during the last destitute years of my father's life it was she who kept the wolf from our door. Besides providing my parents with 10 shillings a week from her own small income, she occasionally managed to extract a few pounds from my Uncle Ted, who was carrying on


the family business. She also induced my grandfather to make us some small loans, all of which were carefully recorded in his will as debt against anything my mother should inherit from him.

My Aunt Nelly, baby of the family, was vivacious, vain and pretty with a trim figure, curly dark hair and sparkling eyes, fun-loving, dainty and elegantly dressed. She ought to have married well and been happy. Frustrated by my selfish grandfather whose daughters were expected to devote themselves to serving him, she had sublimated her longing for a husband and a home of her own, into a passion for cleaning and polishing and keeping things orderly and tidy. Nelly liked to sing and the only amusement I remember in the large dark living room was striving to strum the piano and sing with her in tune. Both of my mother's spinster sisters adored my Uncle Ted, youngest child and only surviving son of my Grandfather's nine children, whose occasional visits and many children supplied the main comfort and joy of the barren lives of my aunts.

My favorite aunt was Fia who, after marrying a not much good husband called Arthur Daggett, had become a successful saleswoman in women's lingerie in London. Mother, although letting Fia help us out with gifts of clothes and food, did not really like this energetic aunt of mine, who in appearance most closely resembled my Williamson Grandfather and had inherited his business sense. To me, she now stands out as the only one of my many aunts with whom I had a certain affinity because she had the guts to battle the world despite the handicap of being a woman. She was fond of me and gave me lots of beautiful underwear and nightgowns as a trousseau when I went off to Moscow in 1928 to live with Arcadi without benefit of clergy.

The oldest of Mother's six sisters, Bessie, was plump and prosperous and exceedingly respectable and conventional. Her eldest son Tom, a tall, heavy set, amiable young man, flirted with me, flattered me and occasionally took me out to dine and dance, bringing a little gayety into my life during this dull and dolorous period of my teens.

There was also Maudie, the black sheep, or whatever the equivalent term is for a female. The widow of an actor, she had three beautiful children and little visible means of subsistence besides the charity of her sisters until her daughter Doris became a show girl.

Lastly there was Minnie, a professional invalid who spent her life in bed expecting everybody to be sorry for her and provided with a generous allowance by my grandfather. Indeed my bevy of aunts ran the whole gamut of Victorian and Edwardian female types.

I should explain how it came about that my father was ruined and unable to restore our family fortunes.

Shortly before the war he had invested all his capital in an agency for Austro-Daimler cars - precursors of today's universally known Mercedes Benz automobiles. The Balkan war had hit the agency hard and the 1914 war finished it. He would no doubt have recovered from this misadventure, as from others in the past, had his tubercular trouble not been revived and aggravated by worry and London fog.

My father's hobby was mathematics and his bedside reading the Differential Calculus. He had become absorbed in the discovery, or mathematical working out, of a new curve making possible the construction of a rotary pump without the usual valves and springs. This "Utley Curve" as it came to be called could have made our fortune had it not been for the War. As my father now painfully discovered, no new, unproven invention could secure either government backing or private financing in England at that time.

After the war, when my father was dead, although Temple and I with great difficulty managed to keep up the patent payments for some years, we eventually lost out and my father's invention profited only others.


In a printed prospectus issued by the Kitson Engineering Company, which developed my father's invention and put it on the market in the Twenties, the KITSON-UTLEY ROTARY PUMPS were shown to "derive their superiority over other pumps from the Utley Curve," which "is not a circle but its shape is such that both edges of the blade or impeller maintain contact with the curve continuously when the rotor is rotated and the sliding movement of the blade through the rotor is uniform for each degree of rotation. These Pumps have neither valves nor springs, consequently they work for long periods without repairs."

Arthur Kitson, as far as I know, derived as little benefit from the Utley Curve as the Utleys. A dynamic and successful American engineer and businessman, his main interest was currency reform and abolition of the gold standard. He was a "Douglasite," if anyone still remembers them. This is probably the reason why he failed to make money for himself or for us and lost control of the Kitson-Utley Pump through bankruptcy. I have a dim recollection that my mother received two hundred pounds from Arthur Kitson as a down payment but that was all we ever got. For many years, however, we were to retain, if no longer the dream of revival of the Utley fortunes, the hope that Mother would eventually receive some income from my father's invention.

My letters to Mother through the years contain frequent references to "the pump" -accounts of interviews with lawyers when we expected to be able to sue with success to obtain payment of royalties from those who had acquired the design of the "Utley Pump;" fleeting offers of settlement which never materialized; the recurring difficulty of raising the money to retain our patent rights. We finally lost out because we did not have the financial resources needed to fight. My father's old solicitor friend, J. J. Edwards, at 28 Sackville Street, who helped us without charging a fee, was either just too old or too lacking in experience in this field of law to protect our patent rights.

Life in my Grandfather's gloomy mansion, where he was eventually to die in his nineties, soon proved as unendurable to me as to my parents. I found a job teaching, which paid me enough to rent a small furnished room of my own and to buy a modicum of food and some badly needed clothes. I lived largely on bread, margarine and marmalade. Fortunately, one of my school friends, Sybil Hesse, lived not far off in the pleasant suburb of Didsbury and I was always welcome at her parents' home to spend a night or a weekend-have some fun playing games, enjoying good food and beautiful surroundings. I had befriended Sybil at school when she was having a hard time on account of her shyness and the fact that she enjoyed an egg at breakfast by special request of her parents who thought she was delicate. Her parents, with typical Jewish generosity, offered me a home in their house if my Grandfather would pay my fees to study at Manchester University. My Grandfather, now in his eighties, refused, not having changed since the days when he had denied my mother the education he could easily have afforded to give her. Sybil, whose parents in 1915 changed their name from Hesse to Hescott on account of the hostility during the 1914 war against anyone with a German name, has remained my dear and loyal friend although nowadays when we meet in England we have little in common besides the memory of times shared in our distant youth. In London in the twenties, I emancipated her from her wealthy Christian-Jewish bourgeois environment, and the domination of her beautiful and imperious mother, by getting her a job with the League of Nations in Geneva. There she blossomed out, made many friends and enjoyed herself immensely before getting married - inevitably, perhaps, to a prosperous Jewish businessman despite her longing to break away from her original environment.

In 1916 I left Manchester to take a job as a resident governess in Hampshire where I


coached a boy called Ian for his private school entrance examination. There I lived very comfortably but was bored and lonely, so that early in 1917 I was glad to become a clerk at the War Office in London at a starting salary of only 35 shillings a week. This enabled me to be re-united with Mother and Dada in the small house they had managed to rent in the suburb of Lewisham and furnished with little besides beds, a few chairs, and packing cases which served as kitchen, dining and writing tables. My memories of this short interlude with my parents are few. The most vivid one is of a night when having got water heated for a bath, the air raid warning sounded and the lights went out. This did not mean much or any danger in those days and I did not abandon the rare luxury of wallowing in hot water by candlelight to go down to the cellar.

I also recall, I know not why, waiting for my father to board a bus in Whitehall after he had told me how nice I looked in the new thin, dark blue Voile dress I had just bought for ten shillings, out of the first money I earned at the War Office. When so much else of far greater importance has been forgotten, I can still see in my mind's eye the texture, color and form of that dress as well as remember how little it cost.

With shame I also recall the irritation I all too frequently showed at home at Dada's coughing. I must have realized that he could not help it, but I could not help wanting to escape from the sound of it. He was a very sick man endeavoring by the utmost use of his will power to overcome the disease that incapacitated him.

My father's gallant spirit shines through in the letters he wrote during the 1914 war while he was in London vainly endeavoring to market his invention and Mother was enduring the cold charity of her father's home. They are replete with assurances that "the outlook is very promising." Old friends or former colleagues, now Members of Parliament or in important government positions, are giving him introductions and backing, leaving little doubt that he will "get a good job either in the Inventions Bureau or in Munitions." In June 1915 while I was still at Prior's Field, he wrote to Mother:


I am feeling very much better and my voice is very much better too, so do not feel uneasy about me. I am resting thoroughly, going to bed early, not smoking, drinking no whiskey, taking my eggs and Horlick. In fact doing all I ought to do and nothing I ought not. I am really better, dear, coughing less and feeling stronger ....

My darling, I am unhappy that I have made your life so miserable. I cannot be happy until I have got life straight again for all of us and it is hard to do so as things are, but I will do my best.

I love you, dearie, now as always ....

If only I were well and strong again, things would soon go right. As it is, bear with me and know that I think all day long of your courage and your devotion to me.

Goodnight, sweet.

Ever your true lover,


Although my father's friends among "the high and mighty" did little more than give him introductions which led only to unfulfilled promises, he, like my brother, aroused affection among all those among whom he dwelt.

While his wealthy friends such as Reeves Smith, managing director of the Savoy Hotel Company, and his fashionable wife "Maudie," did no more than occasionally invite him to dinner at the Berkeley where they lived, the landlady of his Hampstead lodging house


on Crossfield Road was so generous and kind that she charged him no more than it cost her for the meals she provided.

In spite of his illness, my father had written, "a number of letters to everybody I could think of who could possibly help" and had "some nice letters back." Sir Sidney Oliver, Secretary of the Board of Agriculture, had replied saying he would see what he could do to help. "The fact is, however," my father wrote:

You never saw anything like the confusion and chaos there is in all the Government offices I have been into. Everybody seemed to be running up and down doing nothing, nobody ever knows where anybody else is or what they are doing. One day one man is doing one job in one department and the next day he is in some other department doing something else. It is heart-rending to see so much muddle and to think of the men at the front dependent on such an organization. I don't think much of Lloyd George's management of the Munitions job. Everybody tells me it is the same thing all up and down the country—muddle and mess everywhere, five men doing one man's job in one place and in a few places one man doing the work of ten men. The Inventions Bureau itself seems to be overstaffed - that is, they have too many men there already, but they are most of them totally unfit for the job. The Secretary practically told me so himself, and said I was just the sort of man he would like to have there. The difficulty was to make room for me. Anyway it is evidently only by hammering again and again at different doors that one can hope to get in. The difficulty is that I have not much strength to do the hammering with, especially when the weather is so beastly as it has been this week.

By 1917 my father's spirits had begun to flag as his health deteriorated at an ever faster pace, and his hopes of either a job or the adoption of his invention by the Munitions Board sank to zero. But he was as ever more concerned with my mother's unhappiness in Manchester than with his own "tiredness" and "the cold East wind" which had compelled him to rest at home.

Now that I have for many years been a citizen of the United States, and for years before a foreign resident in this generous country, I realize that it must seem incomprehensible to most Americans that neither my father's wealthy friends nor those whom he had helped in former years, gave us any material assistance in those days of adversity. It was not in the British temperament or tradition to give or receive "charity." You kept "a stiff upper lip" and starved or died quietly.

Former friends of my parents would occasionally invite us to a luxurious lunch or dinner - but none of them ever thought of helping us financially. Perhaps this was also our own fault since my parents pride forbade their asking or taking help from well-to-do friends.

At the time, all this seemed natural. The contrast with America, which I came to know many years later and where I have experienced great kindness and generosity, is so striking that for all her faults, the United States will always remain my chosen country.

My father's health continued to deteriorate and we knew he would soon die unless he went to live in the country. My school friend, Phyllis Vickers, lent us her family's summer cottage in South Cornwall where the mild climate offered hope of preserving his life. When my father and mother went there in the fall of 1917 I was left in charge of their few remaining salable possessions consisting of some rare books. I remember going off


during my lunch hour at the War Office to sell a vellum-bound edition of the original text of Burton's Arabian Nights while Zeppelins were hovering over London. The policeman at the side entrance warned me to stay under cover and when I refused, told me that my blood would be on my own head. Of course, there was little real danger. It was child's play as compared with the bombings of World War Two. In any case, I was too intent on meeting the book dealer who would enable me to send some desperately needed money to my parents to heed the friendly advice of the Bobby outside the War Office. It is a measure of my preoccupation during the war with pressing family cares that I remember this incident so clearly, but have forgotten the immediate impact made upon me by the Bolshevik Revolution which occurred at about this time.

Temple, unaware of quite how bad things were with us, was enjoying the war as he enjoyed all life's experiences.

After being wounded on the Somme in 1916 he was sent to Mesopotamia in command of a draft of the Connaught Rangers. Writing to us from the Durban Club in Natal in June, 1917, before sailing further East, he told us that his long stopover at the Cape had been "one of the best times of my whole life, which you know is saying a lot." He had seen in the newspapers that the 16th division, in which he had fought in France, had gone "over the top at the Messines ridge show," and hoped we had sent him the casualty list. "I wish I had been there," he wrote from Durban, "really and truly I do." He had been "lazing about aboard ship, lying in the tropic sun" while his friends had gone to their death and it had made him feel "absolutely mad at the time."

"It is so funny," he wrote, "how I always get soft and easy times shoved on me against my will-yet this has been a wonderful time. This is a lovely country and I am coming back here sometime. How my wretched draft can still sigh for England is beyond me. India is even more fascinating we are told. I do not think I could ever stop wandering now. I always had a tendency that way, and the sort of life that has been thrown at me has developed it beyond all bounds. I think I had better become a naturalized gypsy.

"You know I was complaining when last at home that I was getting old and slightly tired. All that feeling has died away and I have recovered that old primitive joie de vivre. Life is a good game played quickly. Incidentally I must quote you some verses of Robert Service I have just come across:

This out of all shall remain They have lived and have tossed So much of the game shall be gain Though the gold of the dice has been lost.*

"Shall we adopt this as a family motto?"


The death of my father in January, 1918, brought me the first great grief of my life. I had loved him dearly, and thought him the most wonderful person in the world - wise, tolerant, kind, never ill-tempered, and until the last absorbed in the course of history rather than in himself. Arriving in Cornwall on leave from my job at the War Office in London I saw him choke to death as his exhausted heart could no longer pump blood through his diseased lungs. The night before he died, when half conscious, he pronounced his own epitaph, saying: "I, Willie Utley, born Skipton in Craven - just missed being great."

He had missed becoming great, or even successful, because he used or dissipated his




exceptional intelligence, talents and energies in too many endeavors; or perhaps because he loved life too much and had savored it too fully to pursue only one objective. Before he died he murmured Shakespeare's lines about the undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns, and said he was curious to know whether he had been right in thinking that death is nothingness.

Among the cherished letters which my mother preserved through the years there is one from Temple dated December 1, 1917 from Mesopotamia, the land between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers now called Iraq, written in pencil on sweat stained green paper, a few months before my father's death which contains passages which express better than anything I can write today, an epitaph on the life of my father and mother as well as Temple's sanguine temperament:

Really though, Mother, horrid as things are now, don't you think that taking yours and Dada's life as a whole, you have had more of the good things of life than the average? You have had some real joyous times. You have had some most wretched times, but adding them together, is not every moment of pain canceled by a moment of pleasure, and a surplus of pleasure left? That is more than can be said of most people's lives.

At the bottom of your heart, would you not sooner have had your life and your present condition, than say the life of Mrs. Reeves Smith. Dada and you have played high, won greatly and lost greatly. You might have played low and won little, and lost little. You were greater than that though.

Do hang on both of you. You mean more to me perhaps than you imagine. You are the only permanent thing in my existence. The only two human beings I care a fig for. I have a great many pals, but of all who have been killed, not one has made me drink a whiskey more or less to their memory. For all my buck and bravado, home, which means no country, but you and Dada, is a great deal to me. You see you are the only home I shall ever have, for I am quite convinced that I must never marry. First, because I would make a wretched husband; secondly because all women that attract me physically would make most wretched wives. Moreover, I value my freedom and my solitude too much. And as I live my life I could not afford to give any hostages to fortune. So please remember that you are the only thing without myself, without you I would become a complete egoist.

I think I will shut off the self-revealing emotional stuff now. The entire population of the Cornish village where my father died came to his funeral. Many of them had done all they could to help my mother while she nursed him in the two-room cottage which had been their last refuge. Some had fetched water for her from the pump across the road; others had carried groceries from the nearest shops several miles away, or brought gifts of cooked food. And when I arrived at midnight from London two or three days before he died, I was met at the nearest railroad station and accompanied on the three-mile uphill walk in moonlight to the lonely cottage where my parents lived.

The pastor whose last services my father, still an agnostic, had rejected, blessed his grave. We had no money for a tombstone, and in any case this seemed as unimportant to me as it would have seemed to him. He had been born in obscurity in Yorkshire and lies


in an unmarked grave in Cornwall, but he lived a full life and left to his children an abiding memory of a man who, even though he "missed being great" had the quality of greatness.

My Williamson grandfather, who had grudgingly allowed my mother ten shillings a week during the last year of my father's life, cut off even this pittance after he died. I brought mother to London where we lived in a small cold water flat on the £2.10.0 that I was by then earning.

With a rent of sixteen shillings a week and war prices for food we had a hard time. I used to walk to work to save two pence in bus fare, and eat a meager lunch most days at "Sebastian's" in Soho where a substantial ham sandwich cost only six pence and a cup of good coffee only a penny or two. I greatly appreciated the boon afforded to my young appetite by Mrs. Williams Ellis, who worked under me at the War Office and provided sandwiches of bread and jam in mid-afternoon with tea. She was comparatively rich, being a "grass widow" with an allowance from her officer husband. She was, no doubt, a lady of very easy virtue, but she was generous and kind, and sufficiently competent in her work for me not to feel that I was being bribed by jam and bread to cover up for her.

I was starved for other things than food during this period of my life. I could not afford pretty clothes and I had few opportunities to enjoy myself. Mrs. Ellis invited me to parties where the company she kept may have been rather vulgar and was certainly not intellectual, but was jolly and kind. I spent Armistice night with her and her friends in gay and riotous fashion but in those days I was very abstemious and unlike the others ended up sober.

My first "romance," if it can be called anything of the kind since it never got beyond the stage of lunches and dinners, holding hands and a few kisses, was with an Indian Army officer called Farrell. By this time I was a section head with a semi-private office and he frequently came visiting for the ostensible purpose of consulting me on questions of payment to officers of the Indian Army who came under the jurisdiction of my section of "Finance 2." Captain Fan-ell was a tall slim, black-haired, violet-eyed, beguiling Irishman who in his courting used the gambit of having a wife who misunderstood him. Thanks partly to the warnings of Mrs. Ellis, who was as wise in the ways of men as I was ignorant, I failed to succumb to his charm although I was greatly attracted to him. He was good for my morale at a time when I was lonely and poor and out of my element and had no confidence at all in my feminine allure.

My last recollection of the debonair Captain Farrell who could well have been the hero - or villain - of a Kipling story or a Ouida novel, is his "Indian Gift" of a gold wrist-watch. After having delighted me with this wonderful present prior to returning overseas, he took it back a day or two later, telling me that his wife had found out about it and raised hell. Today, I wonder whether the real reason for his strange behaviour was my failure to "fall"—in other words, be seduced. Which episode recalls to me a story my father liked to tell about his bachelor days. His "laundress," as the Temple charwomen were called, had come to him one day with a woebegone face and said: "Sir, you have seen my pretty daughter?"

"Yes and a nice attractive girl she is."

"Well Sir, a terrible thing has happened; she has fallen and I don't know what to do."

After my father had commiserated with her, she remarked with a Juliet's nurse smirk:  "She would fall again for a trifle, Sir."

In later years I often recalled this story because it seemed so apposite to the behaviour of many liberal "fellow travellers" of our time.  After first falling for the lure of


communist promises of a good time to be had by all and later disillusioned by "Uncle Joe Stalin" after the war, they are still today all too ready to "fall for a trifle." whenever it suits the Kremlin's purpose to appear conciliatory.

While resisting the blandishments of Captain Farrell, I began an enduring friendship with Walter Field and Russell Green who were my "opposite numbers" at the India office on the other side of Whitehall. I knew them first only as voices on the telephone, in arguments as to whether their office or mine was responsible for this or that officer's pay on this or that duty, in this or that theater of war. We became personally acquainted after Russell Green and I began swapping Latin quotations, and engaging in discussions on the classics in which we vied with one another in displaying our erudition, thus wasting government time in conversations which bore no relation to the war effort. Walter for his part, delighted me by his flippant remarks concerning the bureaucracy in general and War Office versus India office in particular.

Soon Russell and Walter were "dating" me or, more accurately, Russell did the dating and Walter the paying when we all three dined together either at Walter's club in Whitehall Court, or at some Soho restaurant. Walter who had been rejected for military service on account of his bad eyesight, came from a well-to-do Jewish merchant family from Glasgow and lived with his parents in Hampstead. He later became my brother's closest friend. There was to be a time when I thought I loved him and he was to remain my friend all his life until he died in England in 1959.

Russell Green, who was of proletarian origin, his father being a factory foreman, had obtained his school and University education on scholarships and had won the Newdigate Prize Poem at Oxford where he was a friend of Aldous Huxley's.

He had married young and was separated from his wife who came from the same "working class" background and who must have had a hard time living with Russell who was as unhappy as only a selfish class conscious intellectual can be.

Russell Green imagined he was in love with me and used to send me poems which flattered my ego but failed to inspire any physical response in me. I never took him seriously, although I pitied him and had an affection for him without believing his sorrows were any more real than the love he professed for me. I laughed with Temple at the ardent verses Russell addressed to me expressing his love and his "faith that from betrayal breathes again," and was flattered rather than offended by the contempt and despair he voiced at my frivolity or cold-heartedness when I made fun of him.

I should be grateful to poor Russell Green whose great expectations of his own genius were never to be fulfilled. He gave me sorely needed confidence when I was "young and twenty." Together with Captain Farrell and Walter Field he dispelled my fear engendered at Prior's Field that to be "brainy" was tantamount to being unattractive as a woman.

Among the few relics of my youth in printed or written form which were neither confiscated in Moscow in the 30's nor destroyed in London in the Blitz, there is a slender volume of Russell Green's poems, published in 1923 on the flyleaf of which is written:

To Freda Utley,

Indescribably yours,

Russell Green

Below this is written: "What was that superb impromptu euphuistic epigram? The hobby horse of your discontent becomes the Pegasus of your ambition?" - Ah God, the tragedy .... there was a King in Thule . . became a clerk in Whitehall."

Russell Green, although an egotist and an inveterate poseur, had the redeeming quality of being able to mock himself. Maybe, he might have been a "King in Thule" - meaning a


great bard - had he been born in another age instead of driven by economic necessity to become "a clerk in Whitehall." But had the divine spark of poetic genius burned brighter in him, it would not have been drowned in self-pity, or stultified by his need for security, and he would not have sunk into obscurity after his brilliant beginnings.

Today in my seventies, I can perhaps take pride that I once inspired some quite good verses by a minor poet, as when he wrote:

When time and change have taken me from your eyes

And I am home again in solitude

Think of me not as one whose heart pursued

Each sudden fire that on the marshland flies.

Not as the reckless fugitive from despair

Caring not of the road of his escape

From the impending shadow of the shape

Of love betrayed and of the lost betrayer.

Think but of one adrift in the storm of time

Who saw the cloudwrack sundered by a star

And with a new faith followed from afar

The light untrembling in the air sublime. In the same volume of his published poems, he included one written when he was mad at me because, when rejecting his daily demands to see me, I had capped one of his classical quotations by citing Juvenal's lines that pleasures are best enjoyed if rarely indulged in. As printed it reads:


(Who said:

Voluptates commendat rarior usus

Which she quoted)

He had lain at feasts that toiled from sun to sun,

Drunk daylong draughts of brute oblivion,

Drowned spirit in the dead sea of desire,

Parched even sense to dust in sensual fire,

Withered his heart in the burning sand of remorse

Till age came limping on . . .

This senile raker of imperial styles

Prying about with scatologic eyes!

This bombous crater of exhausted force!

Shall he suffice to curb the youth in me?

This desiccated dotard! Shall I see

The pure and vernal passions of my brain,

The faith that from betrayal breathes again,

The ardours I imagine - all that I am,

Butchered to make a Roman epigram? Today I read with a smarting of the eyes close to tears Russell Green's outpourings in verse - sublime or ridiculous. I am no judge of modern poetry which has no rhyme or reason or makes much sense to me, so I conceive it possible that some of his poems are more beautiful and express more than many written in our time by poets who have achieved greater fame. Russell Green lacked the good looks or the charm which make women and the world fall for even second rate poets and other literary characters of small talent but great pretensions.


Meeting again in the late thirties after my return to England from my experience of love and terror in Russia undreamed of in his small world, I found Russell Green complaining of his mistress's unfaithfulness and failure to understand him just as formerly he had complained of his wife's shortcomings. I have long since lost touch with him and do not know if he is still living, but the truth of his line that "the hobby horse of one's discontent becomes the Pegasus of one's ambition" is incontrovertible.

During the war years the international outlook I had acquired form my father's teachings and my continental education prevented me from becoming a 'war patriot'. I could not hate the Germans, among whom I had dear friends and who had been so kind to me at La Combe, and my knowledge of history precluded me from believing the war propaganda which represented them as being a peculiarly aggressive or wicked nation. Then, as in later years, I always enquired, how come, if the Germans were so aggressive it was not they, but we, their Teutonic English cousins, who had acquired an Empire upon which the sun never set?

I had some prejudice against the French as the most chauvinist and military-minded nation in Europe, as a result, no doubt, of the overdose of French literature I had swallowed while at school in Switzerland, which had given me a conception of France as a nation eternally seeking la gloire and honoring the Napoleonic tradition above the revolutionary. But I had in general no national or race prejudices and believed that men are much of a muchness everywhere in the world.

My good grounding in history at Prior's Field also caused me to distrust the League of Nations as an instrument to ensure peace and democracy. I can remember mustering the courage to get up at a public meeting in 1919 to suggest that the League appeared to be one of the victors against the vanquished and might prove to be no better than the Holy Alliance set up after Napoleon's defeat to preserve the status quo.

Among my vivid memories of this time is the profound impression made on me by Sybil Thorndyke's performance in Euripides Trojan Women, put upon the London stage shortly after the Armistice while the starvation blockade of defeated Germany was being continued in order to force the Weimar Republic to submit to the Versailles 'Diktat'. In this play, written during the war between Athens and Sparta, the victorious Greeks decide to throw Hector's young son Astyanax from the battlements of Troy, lest the seed of the Trojan hero survive to menace their hard-won victory. And the child's mother, Hector's widow Andromache, awaiting her fate as a Greek slave among the other Trojan captives exclaims:

Ah, ye have found an anguish to outstrip all tortures of the East, ye gentle Greeks.

Time was in my youth, after the first World War, when all who claimed to be liberals opposed the peace of vengeance which was to make a second World War inevitable. I lived to see the contrast when, during and after the Second World War to "make the world safe for democracy," many of those who claimed to be liberals but were racists at heart, not only demanded the unconditional surrender of our enemies, but favored the Morgenthau Plan for the starvation of millions of Germans and the conversion of what remained of Germany into a "goat pasture."

O tempora, o mores, as the Romans said. Or better to quote one of the many memorable sayings of the greatest of all historians. Thucydides, who in recording the decline of Athenian humanitarian virtues during the course of the Peloponnesian War, wrote:  "War, teaching men by violence, fitteth them to their condition."

Today, surveying the wreckage of hopes for an enduring peace which followed both


World Wars, it seems all too clear that those who lack the compassion and intelligence to spare their defeated enemies can never know peace. In 1919 an unjust peace imposed according to the precept 'woe to the vanquished' created Hitler and the Nazi movement. Today we have to contend with the vast power and ruthless will of our erstwhile 'ally,' Soviet Russia, whom we ourselves enabled to become a colossus bestriding Eurasia by our unprincipled and cruel demand for the unconditional surrender of our German foes.

Time was when the mills of God ground slowly, but in our day and age they grind exceeding fast.




Chapter 6


Before the war ended I had attained a position of some responsibility as a "Junior Administrative Assistant" at the War Office earning a salary of £250 a year which rendered life easier for me and mother before my brother came home from the war.

Temple, after returning from Mesopotamia on leave following Dada's death, had been posted to France where he was wounded and gassed at Le Cateau shortly before the Armistice in November 1918. Discharged from hospital early in 1919 he joined us at 68 Jessel House, Judd Street, opposite St. Pancras Station.

His experiences and mine since our childhood and early youth had been so different as partially to account for the divergent paths along which our destiny or our characters were to lead us in the years to come. He had escaped my bitter experience at an English boarding school and had enjoyed a year at Cambridge University before enlisting in the army at the beginning of the 1914 war. Subsequently commissioned as an officer and posted to the Connaught Rangers, he had lived under the shadow of death, been wounded twice, and suffered far worse deprivations than I while fighting in the mud and cold of the trenches in France and in the desert heat in Mesopotamia. But his worst periods of danger and discomfort had been interspersed by joy and ease, love and laughter, whereas my life had been drab. Untroubled by our mundane cares he had enjoyed the war in spite of hardship, danger and wounds. Having faced the ultimate test life seemed wonderful to him as to others who have escaped death. As he was to write years later on his hazardous voyage across the Atlantic in a small sailing boat, the most wonderful feeling in the world, bar only the ecstasy of love, is that following escape from danger. In Edmond Spencer's words:

Sleep after toyle. port after stormie seas,

Ease after war, death after life, does greatly please.

Now, together, again, after his high key and my low key sufferings, we confronted the difficulties and uncertainties of life in post-war England without money.

At the War Office I had become a branch secretary of the Association of Women Clerks and Secretaries. Through this trade union I obtained, in 1920, a bursary from the Ministry of Labor made available to war workers who could prove that their college education had been prevented or interrupted by the war. Thus, five years after I left school, and six years after I had passed Cambridge University's entrance examination, I became a student at London University. Temple, a year previously, had obtained a grant from the Ex-Officers' Fund to resume his university studies, and I now joined him at King's College.

Neither of us was really unfortunate in having had to wait so long to get a university education. The intervening years since Temple had left Cambridge and I had left Priors Field, had taught us both, through a variety of experiences, lessons rarely learned in the academic world. And because we had both had to wait so long to get our university education, we appreciated our opportunities more than most college students.



The Librarian at King's College told me that Temple and I were continually astonishing him by the variety of our interests. For both of us it was wonderful once again to be able to satisfy our hunger for knowledge, irrespective of whether the books we read would help us to pass examinations.

Originally, my bursary of £2 a week covered only two years of study, which did not permit me to enroll for the B.A. degree. So, like Temple, I started work for the Journalism Diploma. Both of us specialized in psychology and attended most of the B.A. Honors lectures in this subject along with our regular journalism courses.

Here I might mention a striking illustration of the difference between Temple's mind and temperament and my own. One night during my first year at King's College I had got home at 1:00 a.m. from a dance, to be told by Temple that our class would have a psychology test that morning. For an hour he coached me and I did so well that I gave 97% correct answers in our written test and came out top of the class. But Temple, who had enabled me to achieve this success in competition with a lot of Divinity students, got a rating of only 70%. The difference was that the challenge of an examination brought all my faculties to the highest pitch, whereas Temple was stymied by his greater and more profound knowledge of the subject, as also perhaps by lack of the competitive spirit which was highly developed in me. Moreover, he could not write as fast as I could because he had lost the use of one finger of his right hand when wounded in 1917 on the Somme.

It is easier to answer questions when one does not know too much, as I have long since realized. Yesterday, I could write articles and books very fast. Today, I take much longer because I have learned enough to need to pause and reflect and ponder what I really think or believe. And, of course, today I no longer possess the exceptional memory of my youth.

Encouraged by Temple, who believed I could do anything I set my mind to, and determined that after having at long last got to college I must obtain an Honors degree, I entered for the B.A. Intermediate examination in the Spring of 1921, without having attended the preliminary courses.

For a few weeks I mugged up on my Latin and other subjects not included in the Journalism course, and thanks to the good grounding I had acquired at Priors Field, passed this preliminary first year B.A. examination. A feat which so impressed the King's College authorities that they induced the Department of Labor to extend my scholarship from two to three years, thus enabling me two years later to obtain my B.A. degree in History with First Class Honors.

Temple had tried to persuade me to take Honors in Psychology but I was more interested in history, economics and politics. He, having studied history during his pre-war year at Trinity Hall, Cambridge, had become interested in psychology during his years in the Army. But coming to realize that psychology without a knowledge of medicine was of little use, he became a medical student, after obtaining his Diploma in Journalism. Like my father, my brother was always as interested in the sciences as in the humanities and possessed a rare combination of "literary and scientific aptitudes" to quote from a testimonial given him by King's College recommending him as a "stimulating lecturer alike in history and in elementary science."

Although we profited in other ways from our Journalism courses, neither Temple nor I ever learned how to make easy money by catering to popular tastes. We both had a try at writing stories for magazines but they were always rejected. I remember endeavoring to get a soap opera type of story of a poor girl gets rich boy accepted under the pseudonym of Felicity Fitzmaurice. My failure was no doubt due to my story sounding too much like


a parody of popular fiction. Temple with memories of his pre-war years at Cambridge when he had been influenced by the literature of decadence and had been able to indulge his love of beauty and "gracious living," fine wines and foods and furnishings, wrote stories in a neo-Oscar Wilde or early Waugh vein. His efforts were no more successful than mine for much the same reason since they read like a burlesque of such books as "The Portrait of Dorian Grey" and "Vile Bodies." One of his stories I remember involved a millionaire aesthete who had his bathroom fixed up with two tubs enabling him to plunge from warm scented water into an icy tub - a procedure supposedly calculated to restore his sexual virility following a drunken orgy the night before.

One writes well only when one writes as one pleases, not in conformity with actual or imaginary popular taste. Many years later, reviewers of the book Temple's widow and I compiled from his log book jottings and letters, written while sailing across the Atlantic and Pacific oceans on a small yacht*, praised the charm of Temple's fine writing which showed "the heights to which Utley might have risen had not death taken him."

Since my brother and I were supporting our mother, our bursaries were not sufficient for us to live on. We both gave lessons in English to foreigners, helped by our knowledge of French and German. We only got five shillings an hour and had to travel long distances by tube or bus to earn it in the late afternoon or evening after a day's work at college. But we were lucky in that our pupils were interesting people with whom we established friendly relations and whom it was a pleasure to teach. Temple had pupils at the Czecho-Slovak Legation - his "Checks" we called them - with whom he was brought in contact by his friend George Silva, translator of Kapeck's famous play, R.U.R., which gave the word "robot" to the English language. I taught Russian employees of the Soviet Trade Delegation and of Arcos, the equivalent of Amtorg in America.

During the war years I had been more concerned with my own and my parents' struggle for existence than with the class struggle or Socialism, or any idealistic notions of how to establish a more just and rational social and economic order. But once at college I began to take an active part in politics, becoming secretary of the King's College Socialist Society, and later chairman of the London University Labour Party. I joined the Independent Labor Party and became well acquainted with Fenner Brockway. Jimmy Maxton and other dedicated Socialists who led, or inspired, this Left Wing tail of the official Labor Party and opposed its underlying imperialist concepts.

As yet, I had no more knowledge or understanding of Communism and Marxist theory than the "Parlor Bolsheviks" or "Park Avenue Pinks" of the 30's and 40's. Nor did my first Russian pupils enlighten me. They were high Communist Party officials out to enjoy life in the "capitalist world" after the rigors of the "Workers Paradise" and for the most part confined their propaganda to jokes about England where they were enjoying the best years of their lives.

Then I met Plavnik. an old Bolshevik who had lived long years in exile in Germany after the revolution of 1905. To him Bolshevik theory was the breath of life. He was honest and sincere, although extremely vain. His English lessons usually became my German lessons and instruction in Marxist theory. Boris Plavnik was the best type of "Old Guard" Communist: courageous and sincere and self-sacrificing in contrast to the hypocrites and self-seekers who assumed leadership of the Party following Lenin's death. He was honest even in analyzing himself, which is a most rare quality. One evening he took me to listen from the gallery to a meeting of Russian Mensheviks in exile in England.


* A Modem Sea Beggar, Peter Davis, London, 1938.


The speakers were Abramovitch and Dan, leaders of the Social Democratic minority which had split with the Bolsheviks in 1905. As we listened to the speeches, Plavnik got more and more excited and finally exploded to me: "He is a very bad man." "Why bad?" I replied. "Of course you disagree with him fundamentally, but that does not prove he is a bad man." Plavnik kept saying that he knew Abramovitch (or was it Dan?) was bad, bad, and I kept on saying, "How do you know he is a bad man?" Finally Plavnik replied, "Because he does not like me."

All of us are inclined to see evil in those who dislike us, but how few are candid enough to admit it!

Although so honest about himself, Plavnik shied away from realities when it came to his beloved Party. Whenever I pushed him into a corner by demonstrating the inconsistencies or contradictions of the "Party Line" he would tell me I had no understanding of dialectics. "Sprechen sie bitte dialektisch", he would adjure me, looking at me severely down his long nose when I argued that it made no sense to attack and undermine the British Labor Party as "social fascist" while also hoping for a Conservative defeat.

Plavnik was the most humane of men, and later on in Moscow where he and his devoted wife remained my friends, he sank more and more into his shell, unable to defend, but unwilling to condemn outright, the atrocities committed by Stalin. Like others among the best of the old Bolsheviks, he could not bring himself to face up to the fact that the revolutionary movement to which he had given his whole life had failed and degenerated into Stalin's tyranny. As the years passed, we saw less and less of him because meetings were too painful between friends who dared not speak their thoughts to one another. Plavnik was lucky enough to go into an insane asylum just before the great purge began: at least that is where he was supposed to be in 1935, and we knew his mental faculties had been failing since the death of his beloved wife a year or two before.

Shortly before my graduation in 1923 I defended the Soviet Union as the college speaker in a debate on Russia with H.N. Brailsford as the guest speaker on my side. Our opponents were Sir Bernard Pares, a "White Russian" emigre who had won high academic honors in England, and Cecil H. Driver, a fellow history student, who in later years became a Professor at Yale. When I next met Pares, thirteen years later, he had become a defender of the USSR, while I, back in England after my disillusionment in Russia, was holding my tongue for my husband's sake, but hating Stalin's totalitarian tyranny. The change, it seemed to me was not in us but in Russia. Like some other distinguished exiles Pares patriotism caused him to welcome precisely what I abhorred, namely Stalin's transmutation of communism into national Socialism; and of the Comintern into the arm of Russian policy.

Brailsford, meanwhile, standing steadfastly on his liberal principles, had become one of the all too rare British writers who dared to expose the horrors of Stalin's Russia in defiance of the powerful 'Popular Front' of 'Totalitarian Liberals' and Communists which was exerting so great and baneful an influence on Western public opinion and policy.

Cecil Driver's subsequent career exemplifies the academic rewards which accrue to those who never compromise themselves through extra-curricular activity or any expression of "controversial" views. He and I were rivals at King's College where his conservative bent endeared him to the head of the History Department, Hearnshaw, whereas my radical opinions and activities as Secretary of the King's College Socialist Society were disfavored. Yet such was the impartiality in academic judgement which has generally distinguished British universities that it was to me, not to Driver, that Professor


Hearnshaw awarded the Inglis Research Studentship, after I had won higher honors in London University's B.A. examination. Three decades later, invited to speak at Yale University by such conservative stalwarts as Professor Willmore Kendall, William F. Buckley and Brent Bozell, I found Cecil Driver securely ensconced as a teacher of Political Science, in good repute in the liberal establishment. Whereas I, despite my more distinguished academic record, had found myself precluded from obtaining a university appointment in America on account of my strongly expressed anti-Communist views which made me too "controversial." This is a later story referred to here to illustrate the "changes and chances" of life and the ambivalent meaning of "conservative" and "liberal" in our politically rotating world.

The Inglis Research Studentship at King's College paid only £ 50 a year and required that I conduct a weekly seminar on political theory. But it also gave me the opportunity to coach backward undergraduates for payment.

A year later I was appointed to a resident research scholarship at Westfield College for Women in Hampstead where I enjoyed the luxury of a bedroom and study of my own. besides free meals and a bursary of £100. Of course, I still had to contribute to Mother's support, but I earned extra money teaching Workers' Education Association evening classes, writing occasional book reviews for the Daily Herald, and contributing articles to the Independant Labor Party's New Leader (which, insofar as I remember, managed to pay only 10/ for an article) but was an influential weekly. Thus, I was enabled to study for London University's M.A. degree which, unlike that of Oxford and Cambridge, is rated as the equivalent of the American PhD.

The subject I chose for my M.A. thesis was research on the "Collegia," (trade guilds) of the later Roman Empire, thus combining my knowledge of Latin and the interest in ancient history I had acquired in childhood and youth with my modern political interests and activities.

During my two years' work for my M.A. degree I spent long hours in the British Museum deciphering collected Latin inscriptions from tombs, studying the Theodosian Code and Gothofredus' Commentaries thereon (available in a huge brown leather bound volume requiring a 2 ft. high stand to prop it up to be read) and reading translations from the Greek of the writings of such early Fathers of the Church as St. John Chrysostom in order to glean information on the status and condition of the workers in the last days of the Roman Empire.

My Director of Studies, Norman H. Baynes, Professor of Ancient History at University College, was the most inspiring as well as profound scholar I ever knew, and had a delightful sense of humor. At his yearly series of public lectures on the Byzantine Empire you could "have heard a pin drop," as the saying goes, except when his audience roared with laughter at his funny stories of saints and sinners, emperors and courtesans. hermits and foolish virgins, bishops and monks, and the 'sports news' in Constantinople where the chariot races between Reds and Greens at the Hippodrome were followed like American baseball games. The story I remember best, (which may be included in the small volume Baynes later wrote on Byzantium in the Home University series), concerned some beautiful girls in a Black Sea Greek City who mocked a Christian hermit who, being a 'fool for Christ's sake,' was revered by the ignorant but regarded as a lunatic by the sophisticated. As I remember the legend, this otherwise kindly old man had cursed the foolish virgins who teased him, and rendered them all squint-eyed. When implored to lift the curse which marred their beauty he replied that it was better for them that he not do


so since had they remained beautiful they would certainly have sinned. Being now ugly, they were sure to be virtuous and go to heaven.

Norman Baynes, who died in February, 1961, at the age of 83 after a long illness, combined, in the words of his obituary in the London Times, "scrupulously exact scholarship with the gift of an imagination which he was not afraid to use." For this reason, "his lectures and writings have meant so much to generations of undergraduates who were enabled by his bold reconstructions to understand something of Jewish, Greco-Roman and Byzantine life."

Because I had specialized in ancient and medieval history - a rare choice since most students took medieval and modern courses - I had attended Norman Baynes lectures and small seminars as an undergraduate before he became my Director of Studies while I worked for my M.A. degree. It is to him I owe the wide horizons of my historical perspective, as also more inspiration, help and encouragement than from any other Professor under whom I studied. Today I deeply regret having failed to get to England to see him once again before his death, following my extensive travels in the Middle East of recent years when I visited Egypt, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Iraq; all the lands permanently influenced by Greece and Rome which after they became part of the Arab world preserved much of our classical heritage during Europe's Dark Ages. And which, after having made so great a contribution to civilization in times past, are once again beginning to play an important role in history after centuries of obscurity under Turkish or Western imperialist domination.

My debt to Norman Baynes as an inspired teacher is incalculable. I also owe a great deal to him as a friend. In 1926 after visiting him at his home at Northwood I wrote to Mother, "He was charming, and has made me feel so much happier and less worried. He has taken my thesis to read again in order to help me to put it into final form for publication. He was so nice about everything and so really friendly. Do you know, just because I mentioned earlier on that I had been very occupied with your affairs which were going badly, he said I should remember that if I were in difficulties there was always £ 50 ready with him for me. Isn't he extraordinary?"

Many years later, after I had escaped from Russia with my two year old son and was nearly destitute in England prior to the success of my book Japan's Feet of Clay * Norman Baynes again wanted to help me financially. I can no longer remember whether or not my 'bourgeois prejudices,' not yet quite dead, prevented me from taking money from him, although I think I must have done so. The big thing was that Norman Baynes, the revered and beloved teacher of my youth, still held me in high regard and with considerable affection, despite my having abandoned the study of history to immerse myself in politics. Although he spent his own life in academic studies, he understood and sympathized with my descent to Avernus in the belief that the Soviet purgatory was Paradise, or at least a way station toward it.

In contrast to Norman Baynes, whose profound historical knowledge and perceptive intelligence prevented him from having illusions about Stalin's dictatorship, Dr. Laistner, Professor of Ancient History at King's College, was to shock me when I met him again some fifteen years later in America. In the 20's at King's College he had been a dyed-in-the-wool conservative who disapproved of my radicalism but, like Professor Hearnshaw, did not let his political views affect his judgement of my academic merits. But in 1941 when I gave a lecture at Cornell University where Laistner had become a


* Faber & Fabei, London, 1936.


professor, he defended the Soviet Union against me. He was, of course, an Englishman and "Uncle Joe" Stalin was by then England's "gallant ally." Laistner was a handsome, blond Aryan type of fine physique, but a colorless personality who never married and lived with his mother. Baynes, rugged face, too wide mouth, beetle brows and angular figure was almost ugly, but his dynamic personality, character and intelligence rendered him singularly attractive.

* * *

Although the perpetual problem of how to get money for Mother still made life difficult for Temple and me, by 1924 we were much better off than when he first came home from the war.

We still lived in a small cold-water, three-room-and-kitchen flat at Jessel House. Judd Street, close to St. Pancras Station on the outer edges of Bloomsbury. But we now had a gas fire in the living room and a bathroom with a geyser to heat water, instead of having to light a fire under the "copper" in the little wash house behind the kitchen and transfer the heated water with a scoop into a tin tub in the kitchen which, when covered by a board served as a table.

Remembering our poorest years as students in London Temple was to write from Suva in the Fiji Islands shortly before his death in 1935:

I have not to get up on a freezing, foggy London morning and light the copper before I get a bath. I have not to go dashing about all over London to earn 5/- an hour giving English lessons - I am probably a 'spoilt  child  of fortune' as I  tell Zarathustra my half-caste Persian kitten, he is. I remember well that I have now got everything material I used to think I wanted when we could get nothing in Jessel House. Nevertheless, it was more fun in the Galapagos with Brun . . . .

Today, as I sit writing this book in my centrally heated house in Washington, D.C., with the wolf far from my door instead of howling nearby as during many of the years of my youth, I look back on the Spartan years of my life with nostalgia. So true it is that material comforts have little to do with happiness. Many who have always enjoyed them say this without knowing what it means to be without them. But I can claim to speak from experience, having known real poverty in England, and far worse deprivations in Russia than even the most 'underprivileged' Americans can imagine.

Although I was to experience far greater privation and discomfort in Moscow in the 30's, the niggardly poverty of our life in London in the 20"s was harder to bear. Not only because it is in youth that one longs most for pleasure, pretty clothes, fun and gaiety, but also because it is far worse to be without money in an affluent society than to share the general poverty of neighbors and friends.

Arcadi, my long lost Russian husband, whose gift of humor sweetened our lives and helped me to make light of hardships and discomforts in Russia, used to say how much easier it was to be happy there than in the "capitalist world" where everyone longed for all sorts of unnecessary things. "Look," he would say with a twinkle in his eye, "in the bourgeois world people are never satisfied, but in Russia one feels fortunate if one manages to get a seat on a streetcar getting to work, or if one's soup at dinner contains a bit of meat."

All values are relative as Hadow, who once loved me, used to say during our student days. Although I have forgotten his first name, I can still hear his melodious Scotch voice with its rolling r's pronouncing this favorite aphorism of his, the truth of which has become ever clearer to me during the up and down course of my life.


I have no idea what happened to Hadow or whether he is still alive today somewhere in the vast reaches of the declining British Empire which Scotsmen of his quality did so much to create, develop and sustain. But the memory of his healthy ruddy countenance, vivid dark eyes, thick black hair, warm smile and sturdy figure clothed in an ill-fitting reach-me-down suit, revives in my mind's eye as I distinguish between the dim or well-remembered companions of my youth. He was one of the nicest men I ever knew and he would have cherished me and given me security and his mind was as good or better than mine. But he aroused no spark in me much as I valued his friendship and respected him for his goodness, intelligence and honesty. He was a down-to-earth Scot with his feet firmly planted on the muddy ground of reality who would have held me back from expending much of my life on an abortive quest for justice on earth.

Mother was a good cook who managed to provide us with a tasty and satisfying dinner in the evening during the hardest years of our student lives. Dinners which ended with strong cups of coffee, ritually brewed by my brother from beans freshly ground at the corner of our kitchen-dining-room table. Until this welcome end to the day, Temple and I endeavored to stave off our youthful appetites, unsatisfied by the ham or cheese sandwich, which, with a cup of coffee, was all we could usually afford to buy for lunch at the King's College underground cafeteria, except on the rare occasions when we won a few shillings, sometimes even a pound or two, betting on the horses. Many other students at King's could be found running out into the Strand between afternoon classes to buy a paper giving the racing results. The attraction of betting is, no doubt, greatest among the poor, and in our case we had been lured into temptation by having been given a tip about Spion Kop who won the Derby in 1920 at odds of 16 to 1. Mother and Temple had dared to stake several pounds on this tip, given us by our once-a-week charwoman whose sister's husband worked at a famous racing stable, and they enjoyed a long holiday together in Brittany that summer on their big gains. I. too, had won a few pounds and was able to buy some clothes, although unable to accompany them to France since I was then still working at the War Office.

We occasionally got another good tip from our charwoman and Temple also worked out a "system" which required that he do complicated calculations based on weights and age and past performance of the horses. By and large I think we won more than we lost by the shilling or half crown bets we usually confined ourselves to. The main thing was that these "flutters" added a little excitement to the daily grind, and sometimes enabled us to enjoy a good dinner with wine at some Soho restaurant.

As our economic situation improved we betted less and less and eventually abandoned the futile pursuit of fast horses as a means to make money.

Although I had missed out on Spion Kop there were other summers when I enjoyed a vacation abroad. Temple and I knew how to enjoy a cheap holiday on the Continent by travelling "hard"-third class-with bread, wine and cheese to sustain us on the journey, and finding some auberge, or small hostelry in places where no tourists and few foreigners came, and prices were so low that we could afford to pay them.

Speaking French fluently, and feeling ourselves carefree if we had a few pounds and a return ticket in our pockets, we went off together or separately to France or Italy on summer vacations returning home when the money was spent. At Camaret in Brittany, during that Spion Kop summer, Temple and Mother and Walter Field had discovered an inn where £2 a week covered the cost of room and board, including lobster or langouste, almost every day. Here, becoming friendly with the daughter of the house, I went fishing


with her and her brothers at the dawn of many a happy day, and learned from them the words of Breton songs, still remembered.

This fishing was quite different from mackerel drifting in Devonshire where one cast long nets at evening and hauled them in at daybreak. In Brittany the fishermen depended mainly on the langouste (crayfish) they caught off the Cornish shores from large sailing boats which spent weeks or even months away from home. The dawn fishing at Camaret was more of a pastime or only a minor means to earn money. Ground bait was cast around the boat attracting multitudes of fish which we caught with small harpoons.

Besides holidays abroad I was lucky to have Marjorie, my Prior's Field friend, whose story I have already told in the chapter entitled "My English School." After marrying her fisherman in 1921 she was happy to have me visit her in Sidmouth whenever I could afford to leave London and enjoy the greatest of all pleasures to me: swimming in the sea. Nor was Marjorie my only good friend in Devon. There was also Kathy and her husband Stan Harris. Kathy was an educated girl whose widowed mother had run a boarding house and who had married an illiterate, but far more intelligent fisherman than Marjorie's Ern whose views reflected those of the newspaper he happened to read that day.

Many of my letters preserved through the years by my mother, now helping me to write this book were written to her while, for one reason or another, she was staying with Kathie and Stan Harris at their house on Old Fore Street, Sidmouth, ostensibly as a paying guest or lodger, but receiving the love and care and sympathy which are beyond price.

Mother accomplished wonders in decorating our small flat, where her "bedroom'" with its black silk-covered divan and various-hued cushions was also our living room. We kept open house once a week with only beer or cheap Spanish wine and sandwiches with most of our guests sitting on the floor, but with good conversation and great argument lasting far into the night.

Temple, after passing his medical examinations at King's College, started clinical studies at St. George's Hospital in 1925. One of his best friends was Dr. David Frost, who married my college classmate, Dora, who later became the wife of Hugh Gaitskell, leader of the British Labor Party.

I remember Dora as a petite, very pretty girl with flashing dark eyes and beautiful curly black hair, who aroused the protective instincts of all the young men in our circle. although she was tough-minded, had a sharp and witty tongue and was eminently well able to take care of herself. In 1962 Teddy Joll, with whom I had long lost touch, wrote me a letter telling me about various members of the "Utley Circle" in Bloomsbury in the 20's. and said: "And there is dear little Dora, maybe wife of a future Prime Minister and of an eventual Earl." To judge from which remark, "steady Teddy" Joll. who became Deputy Registrar General of the United Kingdom before his retirement in I960, and was our neighbor and close friend while he lived with Bobby in Jessel House, still felt protective toward Dora.

David Frost, unlike Dora, was the type of sensitive Jew without money and with an inferiority complex, which may have accounted, in part, for his joining the Communist Party years after I had already left it. After his and Dora's son was born. Temple warned David that he might give the same complexes to their child as those from which he himself suffered. As Temple saw it, Jewish parents were inclined by excess of affection to store up trouble for their children by making them feel themselves to be the center of the universe. Later, confronted with the realities of life, a child thus reared reacts by


developing either a superiority or inferiority complex, resulting, in turn, in behavior that alienates friends and creates prejudice.

I don't know what has happened to David and Dora's son. His parents were divorced long ago and according to what Dora told me when I visited her in London in 1953, David had been such a brute to her that she had left him to marry Hugh Gaitskell. Since God works in mysterious ways one can count it a good thing that, thanks perhaps largely to David's behavior to her after he became a Communist, Mrs. Hugh Gaitskell became uncompromisingly anti-communist, and no doubt also influenced her husband in that direction.

Yet, I remember David with affection as a gentle, intelligent and kind young man. and wonder whether if Dora had been less hard and ambitious, although so feminine in appearance and behavior, he would ever have taken the Moscow road.

Because David Frost was one of the most devoted, loyal and helpful friends Temple ever had, I am, no doubt, prejudiced in his favor. There were so many times when David "turned up trumps" when Temple was in trouble that I find it well nigh impossible to believe that he was ever the brutal husband Dora depicted. But I must admit that I never really liked Dora, no doubt because she possessed and exploited to the full all the feminine allure which I lacked. I was no doubt "catty" about her in those distant days, to judge from a letter written to my mother dated 5 July, 1926 in which I refer to "a man called Napier with whom both Robert and Dora have been very friendly but who seems to have fallen in love with me . . . Married of course, still it is quite pleasant and I have annoyed Dora very much." Showing that I was as inclined to female joy in conquest as most women, I concluded my letter by saying:   "I am feeling better about life."

There are several other references to Dora Frost in my letters to Mother which revive my memories of this clever and attractive woman whom I knew so well when we both studied at London University and who was to become the "first lady" of the British Labor Party.

Since I am now dropping famous names, I should also mention Elsa Lanchester, another member of the 1917 Club who was a friend of Temple's and came to our parties. Her "boy friend" in those days was a musician singer and comedian called Harold Scott who never won fame and fortune, but helped launch Elsa Lanchester on her successful career long before her association with Charles Laughton. Elsa then was a girl and Harold in his thirties, or maybe even older since he was one of those small, slight, blond, blue-eyed types who never look their age.

Strange that although I never knew him well or liked him much, I can today still vividly remember Harold Scott dressed in grey flannel trousers and a worn tweed jacket, his high forehead surmounted by scanty golden hair and his long, thin nose slightly red at the tip above his full lipped mouth, strumming on the piano and singing a long forgotten song called "Thank God for the Middle Classes," with the refrain:

If His Majesty the King

Wants any little thing

He sends for the middle classes.

One evening at our flat Philip Rabinovitch, chairman of the Russian Trade Delegation in London, "fell for" Elsa Lanchester after she and Harold had delighted us all by their comic skits.

Philip Rabinovitch had been a tailor in New York before the Bolshevik revolution, had a fine baritone voice and enjoyed singing, fun and good company. His rendering of "Black Eyes," and the "Volga Boat Song" (or Vulgar Boot Song as my friend Yaffle, the


humorist and cartoonist of the I.L.P. called it) was superb. But he also took joy in singing such silly popular ditties of the time as "When it's nighttime in Italy, it's Wednesday over here." That evening long ago in London he and Elsa Lanchester sang a duet I should otherwise long since have forgotten, in which two derelicts on the Thames embankment tell one another:

The Times, The Telegraph And all the papers says: Money is much cheaper today.

Philip Rabinovitch and his wife Sophie, also a Party member, were to remain my friends until the end of my life in Russia. He became a Vice Commissar of Foreign Trade but was never a party snob. He had a sense of humor, courage and a kind heart, and he owed his rise to a leading position in the Communist hierarchy to his great abilities, which was rare, since the road to preferment for most was paved with the bodies of those they had denounced, slandered, or falsely accused.

Whenever in Moscow our housing difficulties were the greatest, Sophie Rabinovitch would invite me and my husband to take a bath in their well-appointed apartment - a tremendous boon in those days. And it was Philip Rabinovitch who secured us a room in the New Moscow Hotel when we were homeless. He respected my husband as one of the best "non-party specialists" working for the Commissariat of Foreign Trade, and there was doubtless an affinity between them since both were former members of the Jewish Social Democratic Bund.

It required both social and political courage in the 30's in Russia for Bolshevik "aristocrats" like Philip and Sophie Rabinovitch to welcome a "non-party specialist" such as my husband to their home. Looking back I realize that they were permanently influenced by the years they had spent in exile in America, where democratic personal behavior comes naturally.

When I finally left Russia in April 1936 following my husbands arrest. Philip Rabinovitch was to send his official limousine to take my son and me to the station, a courageous act in those times when even to speak to someone connected to anyone else arrested in the Great Purge was dangerous.

I do not know what happened in the end to Philip and Sophie or to their lovely daughter Nuria, whose piquant face, sylph like figure, and lovely smile revealing small perfect teeth which really were like pearls, are etched on my memory. She had been married three times before I left Russia in 1936 which was not unusual among the children of the Communist "aristocracy," but she had followed her heart and never became a snob like so many others who married for privilege and status.

Probably they were eventually liquidated since this was the fate of most of the best of the old Bolsheviks. Today, more than forty years after I first knew them in London, I can still hear Philip singing silly songs at Jessel House, in the days when it was still possible to be both a Bolshevik and a decent human being full of the joy of life.


Chapter 7


Temple and I both belonged to the "1917 Club" on Gerrard Street, which had been founded in commemoration of the Russian Revolution. Its membership in the 20's included Ramsay MacDonald and other right-wing Labor Party leaders, as well as many left-wing intellectuals and politicians half-in and half-out of the Communist Party. It was a meeting place for avant garde writers, poets, artists, University professors and teachers of various hues from red to pink, collectively named "the bloody intelligents" by my brother.

The interest of many of them in the Labor and Socialist movement stemmed largely from their inclination to free love unconfined by 'bourgeois prejudice' or conventions. But among the members there were some outstanding writers and thinkers of our time. Such a one was Henry Nevinson, a grand old man who belonged to the 19th century liberal and classical tradition in which I had been reared. I remember him well as a tall, white-haired, still virile and handsome old man with sad, pale blue eyes and a drooping moustache partially hiding his sensitive mouth. Once after telling me how well I looked upon my return to London, tanned and fit after a holiday in Italy, he remarked: "Man should never have left the Mediterranean Sea, the fount of beauty and of Western civilization," or words to that effect, reflecting our love of Italy and Greece where freedom, love of truth and the concept of government by law were first conceived, and triumphed for a brief period between the long ages of darkness and tyranny before and after.

Describing Nevinson in his paper the Daily News, my father's friend A. G. Gardiner wrote:

He boils with indignation or scorn, and throws discretion to the winds. He has a noble thirst for fighting forlorn battles. He does not care so much about the merits of a cause so long as it is the cause of the underdog. The underdog is always right because he is the under-dog. Let him become the top dog and the Knight Errant's passion for him is chilled . . . . This instinct is very apparent in such conspicuous crusaders as Mr. Cunninghame Graham and Mr. Nevinson. They bring into life a fine, uncalculating spirit of chivalry, the one touched with ironic scorn, the other charged with a fury of indignation; but both entirely unselfish and elevating, and both a little inclined to regard the question of odds as more important than that of merits. They love to be on the side of the failures, and distrust all success as, ipso facto, a little squalid.

Nevinson himself repudiated this "panegyric," not, as he wrote, that he would not like to deserve it, but because he saw himself as a man "much too easily appeased, much too considerate not only of my enemy's feelings, but even of his arguments." He insisted that he made up his mind with painful deliberation, so that "nothing but the calmest exercise of reason would ever induce me to take one side rather than another, although the first


impulse of every decent Englishman is, of course, to favor the underdog," a remark as revealing about Nevinson himself as concerning the peculiarities of the English who, while generally pursuing their own self-interest with phenomenal success, have also tolerated and sometimes honored the minority among them who champion the oppressed.

In his introduction to his 1925 book More Changes More Chances* Nevinson, with sublime disregard of his own motivations, or perhaps ironically, wrote:

Guided only too cautiously in my endeavors to discover where reason and justice lie,. I have never wasted time upon any lost cause, and indeed almost every cause for which I have contended has already won.

After cataloging these causes ranging from the freedom of Greece from Turkish misgovernment to the overthrow of Russian Tsardom, women's suffrage, Irish self-government and the advance of India toward it, Nevinson proclaimed that all these 'lost causes' or underdogs for whom he had done what he could as a journalist now "stood on top."

Happy Nevinson at that hour, I left England and lost touch with him soon after, so do not know whether, like myself, he realized how right Bertrand Russell was when he wrote that yesterday's underdog when he gets on top is most brutal because he has learned underneath to scratch harder in the battle for survival than those born on top. Yet he surely knew that the battle against tyranny must constantly be renewed in each generation with the enemy always in a different place under a different guise.

There were all too few old vintage liberals such as Nevinson at the 1917 Club fearlessly seeking and fighting for justice, truth, and beauty and an end to all oppression everywhere under the sun.

For the most part, the membership was composed of the careerists and camp followers of Socialism, or girl-chasers masquerading as literati or philosophers. Such a one was C. M. Joad who, following the Second World War, was to become for a while a preferred speaker of the British Broadcasting Company. He was one of the nastiest and most phony characters of the Bohemian World which had its center in the 1917 Club in the 20's in London. Joad made his reputation as a "philosopher" partly by lifting passages from Bertrand Russell's books without acknowledgement, or by plagiarizing them, but also by pandering to the need of men like himself to justify their unrestrained indulgence of their sexual appetites by highfalutin rationalization. He was so frankly cynical that when my brother asked him why he was learning folk dancing, Cyril Joad replied that the girls who went to the classes were for the most part intelligent young women yearning for culture, and he found this type most easy to seduce.

It was perhaps because the Bohemian society to which I then belonged outraged my Puritan prejudices or my romantic conceptions of love and politics, that I was to fall so easily under Communist influence. This may sound strange, but in contrast to the London left-wing intellectual society whose mores repelled me, the Russians I first met were decent and honorable men with concepts of the relationships between men and women which corresponded closely to my own. Lenin himself had replied to those who said that sex should be satisfied as simply as thirst, by taking a glass of water, by saying, "Yes, but who wants to drink out of a glass soiled by many lips?"

Reared without religious beliefs or fears of punishment for carnal sins, I had nevertheless inherited, or acquired, a view of life which caused me to recoil from easy indulgence in the pleasures of the flesh. Either for this reason, or because the love of my


*Harcourt Brace, New York.


mother and father for one another caused me to reject base substitutes, I was repelled by members of the 1917 Club who made casual attempts to add me to the long list of their easy conquests. I was upset, but nevertheless impervious to the argument that there must be something wrong with me physically or mentally when I refused to sleep with them.

Yet I yearned for love, and no doubt my increasing absorption in political activity was to some extent a sublimation of my sexual desires.

Part of my trouble was due to the several radically different environments in which I had lived since childhood. The Bohemian atmosphere of the society in which I found myself in London in the 20's was as alien to me as Prior's Field had been after LaCombe. I had been reared on Christian ethics but without Christian faith; taught to despise conventions but also to discipline myself and behave like a "lady." My mother had a gold cigarette case inscribed with the old French motto "Fay ce que voudra" but she did not really believe one should do as one pleases. Her ideals are indicated in the lines she wrote to me in 1940 when my own son was not yet six years old:

I have just seen the New Year in. I have kissed Jon. I wish you and Jon the best of all things. I feel I shall not see another year. Do see to his character. He is such, such good stuff. Try and train him to what you call my old fashioned ideals. Your father and Temple were courageous and honest and truthful and had their own fine standards. If Jon will only give you as much joy and happiness, I cannot wish you better. All my love, dearest Fredakin and all my thanks.

I was perhaps a proof of Bertrand Russell's theory that the way to cure a child of undue preoccupation with sex is to give him all the information he wants in a scientific way so that he thinks there is nothing more to know, and that what he does know is uninteresting. I had been brought up with full knowledge about "the birds and the bees," and imagined that I knew everything when I really knew nothing. It was only after I read Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession in my early teens that I was shocked into awareness that there was something more to sex than I knew from my mother's aseptic teachings. In great distress I had gone to Temple for information, as was my usual practice when seeking knowledge, and he, albeit gently, had taught me some of the facts of life which mother's sense of delicacy and restraint had withheld from me in spite of her conviction that she was a "modern" woman. Yet even in my twenties I was still not only without experience, but also did not know how little I really knew.

Moreover, I had been reared on the works of the great novelists of the 19th century. Romola was one of Mother's favorite books and George Eliot's novels made an enduring impression on me. Since the one I remember best is The Mill on the Floss, I suppose that the sad fate of Maggie Tulliver, who ruined her life by the sin of loving out of wedlock influenced my own 'virtuous' behavior in youth. In a word, I was at heart still a 'Victorian' in matters of sex, although politically I had no respect for "bourgeois" values or conventions.

Although at Prior's Field I had found English upper class society alien to me, and since then been excluded from it by poverty, I retained some of its prejudices or preferences. As Temple once observed "I like intelligents, English and French-but I also like what David Frost calls the barbarian Englishmen from the best schools, and also Navy officers. Of course, Freda does too, really."

I suppose I did, too, "really," as evidenced by an unforgettable summer in Devon before my graduation. I was 25 then.

Intending to study in Devonshire solitude for my final B.A. examination, I met and


fell passionately in love with a "barbarian Englishman." His name was Eric, and he was the games master at Harrow. He was also intelligent and very quick on the uptake without the distasteful characteristics of most intellectuals. He had a delightful sense of humor and was a dear, sweet lovable and kind person with a most happy temperament.

He was in fact everything my romantic imagination could ask for, but, unfortunately, he was married. To Eric, as to me, no "light affair" was possible. He could easily have seduced me but he loved me too much to take advantage of the overwhelming attraction he had for me - the feeling which comes so seldom in life when the presence of the beloved even across a room makes one's heart beat faster.

Divorce would have brought an end to his job or any possibility of another one in England in his profession. The only way out seemed to be emigration to Canada, which we actually contemplated, so that I came near to jettisoning my academic career in the north of the American continent in 1923 instead of in Russia in 1928. Our "affair" was further complicated by the fact that Eric's wife when I met her in London was so very nice to me that I felt ashamed. In the final event, both Eric and I, realizing that the end of an elopement could not be happy, since in spite of the strength of our attraction to one another, we had few shared interests, parted in sorrow.

He was a conservative and I was a radical Socialist, but we both had the same old-fashioned prejudices, or attitudes, about love which, no doubt, was one reason why I loved him so much. He was perhaps the one man in my life besides my future husband, Arcadi, with whom I could have been happy. No one else except Arcadi ever excited me so much, or aroused such deep feelings in me. Feelings which combined a powerful sexual urge with appreciation of the qualities of mind and heart of the man to whom one desired to give one's self.

Today, in my seventies, "with all passion spent," I still have rosy memories of that lovely summer in Devon by the sea when I went to bed each night with thoughts of the joy of meeting Eric early next morning on top of the cliffs which separated Branscombe and Sidmouth, at the try sting place to which we both walked two or three miles in the dawn; of long walks and swims together and of evenings at the "pub" in the small and very old village of Branscombe drinking flagons of home-brewed cider before we parted for the night.

The good constitution and strong muscles I owed to my upbringing had survived the hard years of poverty so that I could almost keep pace with Eric in the sea. That summer I swam the three miles between Sidmouth and Ladrum Cove, emerging so frozen that my limbs had to be rubbed to restore circulation. And I acquired a set of knives and forks as prize for winning the annual long distance women's swimming race at Sidmouth.

Remembering Eric forty-five years after, I can still see the lovable quirk at the corner of his generous mouth when he tenderly teased me. I suppose that his attraction for me was not dissimilar to that of my future husband, Arcadi, despite the differences in their origins, physical appearance, beliefs, and destiny.

Besides looking for a rare or impossible combination of Kipling hero and Socialist idealist, English "gentleman" and intellectual, I was also, no doubt, obsessed with a father-image or whatever the correct psychological term is.

Freud was all the rage in the 20's and I had studied enough psychology myself during my first year at college to be able to diagnose my trouble according to psychoanalytical theories. But I agreed with my mother who, one evening after a lot of talk about the libido and all that, exclaimed: "Well, it seems to me that according to Freud everything


decent you do is done from a bad motive, while when you do wrong it's fine because you are not repressing yourself."

During this 'Freudian period' my brother fell deeply in love with a psychology student called Dickie, who looked like a Botticelli angel but believed in free love. She and Temple lived together for a year or two 'in sin' and parted in friendship when their passion was spent, Dickie eventually marrying a professor of philology and living respectably ever after. I never liked her much because she mocked my Socialist faith while I regarded her as woefully lacking in social consciousness, or a proper concern for the economic welfare of mankind. To her, as to many others in our circle of friends and acquaintances, Freud, not Marx, was the prophet of our age, and the uninhibited satisfaction of sexual needs the primary requisite for the successful pursuit of happiness.

In spite of my antagonism to the idea that freedom for the libido was more important than "breaking the chains of capitalist exploitation," I respected Dickie's courage in defying "bourgeois conventions," by living openly with Temple in a one room apartment in Bloomsbury, and not insisting on marriage as the price for surrender of her virtue. I had already learned that most of the girls who professed scorn for the marriage tie had in reality only adopted a new way to get a husband. By a reverse process to that of the Victorian age when well-bred girls got their man by refusing to give themselves without benefit of clergy, the modern girl who gave herself freely could count upon subsequently making life so miserable for her lover should he fail to marry her, that she achieved the same aim as her Victorian mother or grandmother.

Dickie, in spite of her independence, may have wanted to be bullied a bit, as shown by the type of man she eventually married. His name was Norman and we used to call him "the fascist" because of his Nietzschean ideas and contempt for such liberal ideas as the equality of the sexes. Nietzsche, as my brother liked to quote him in teasing me about my unrealistic views about sex, wrote that "When you go to a woman, take a whip." Temple, despite his appreciation of Nietzsche, was never the type of lover capable of treating a woman with what Michael Arlen in his Green Hat* described as "a little tender brutality tastefully applied." Either because she was too intellectual, or too feminine, or both, Temple and Dickie soon found life together incompatible and parted in friendship.

Temple's next love affair was with a strikingly lovely brunette who had a profile like Queen Nefertiti and was so passionate that, on returning to London from a walking tour with her in Cornwall, Temple fled from her telling me that loving Bobbie left a man no energy or time to do any work. Bobbie then became the mistress of our sedate and respectable friend Teddy Joll, then already on his way up in the Civil Service to an eminent position. Fortunately for Teddy, Bobbie, after some stormy years with him as our neighbors in Jessel House, left him to marry a Sassoon and lived richly ever after.

Although I loved Temple dearly and we were good friends all our lives, I strongly resented the fact that Mother loved him so much more than me that she was, as I saw it, unfair to me, expecting me to do more than my fair share of household chores although I was contributing as much, and often more, to our living expenses. Today, I realize that he paid a heavy price for her great and all too possessive love for her son. Only his strength of character enabled him to break away and live his own life in spite of his great love for her, since Mother tried hard to shatter any lasting attachment he formed to any woman.

She had no objection to his 'light affairs' which, as a result of her Victorian upbringing she considered unreprehensible for the male animal, and she liked to have him tell her


* W. Collins Sons & Co., Ltd., London, June 1924.


about them since this assured her that she was in his confidence. But she did not in her heart of hearts really want him to marry anyone, although she never admitted this even to herself.

Although Mother was to make difficulties for me with my husband a decade later, when by force of circumstances she lived with us in Moscow, and although during most of my adult life she endeavored to bind me to her by my sympathy for her loneliness and her financial dependence on me, I now realize that Temple's problem was greater than mine.

In spite of, or because of, Mother's endeavor to keep him forever by her side, Temple eventually married a girl called Robert who was a games mistress with honey-colored hair and features as classically proportioned as her figure, but who lacked the warm human qualities of her sister Jean, whose husband Rab was Temple's close friend and who years later enabled him to sail to the South Seas.

In contrast to Dickie, Robert was so virtuous that she insisted on marriage. She was also, in my estimation, a prude and a hypocrite. Small incidents sometimes reveal most, and I recall one occasion before their marriage when Robert told us how shocked she had been when one of our friends, taking her home in a taxi from a party had made amorous advances. Whereupon i said to her, "Isn't that what you expected? Why else should he have paid for a taxi for the long ride to Hampstead instead of taking you on the underground?"

Maybe today this remark of mine makes little sense. But in those days in London in our circle of students and struggling young professional men. a taxi was a luxury few of us could afford unless absolutely necessary.

Before her marriage to Temple, Robert had professed herself to be an independent woman happy to be earning her own living and not expecting Temple to support her. But she had never really meant it and was continually demanding money from him, both before and after their marriage went on the rocks, following Temple's contraction of tuberculosis and the end of her hopes that he would eventually become a well-to-do medical practitioner.

On their honeymoon in France Robert had travelled first class Calais-Dover while Temple went third class New Haven-Dieppe, meeting her in Paris. During their life together in an apartment in Hampstead, Temple occupied a small room furnished with only his minimum requirements of a bed, table and chair, while Robert furnished her bedroom and the living room with every comfort and all artistry. Temple always wanted to live the simple life, whereas Robert wanted all the luxuries. And Robert, despite her athletic prowess was a rotten sailor who could get seasick even in a rowing boat, and whose conception of a Riviera holiday was far removed from Temple's. Visiting them one summer at Portofino I found Temple so happy to have me with him sailing and swimming and talking that I felt compelled to leave them and go south to Porto de Venere on my own on account of Robert's jealousy.

As can be judged from the foregoing, I disliked my brothers first wife, as much as I came to love his second one, Emsie, whom he met in Barbados in 1930 on his voyage to the South Seas and who was to become my very dear friend after his death.

For both Temple and myself the problem of our mother was not only that of earning enough to support her. There were also the difficulties created by her loneliness and her demands upon our time. Often when I told her I was too busy to talk to her or take her out she would say, "But you went out with so-and-so last night - you always find time for what you want to do." Which, of course was true. Mother would be very good in helping me to 'look my best' when I went out on what Americans call "a date." But she was hurt


and resentful when Temple or I went to a party without her. It never occurred to her or to us that, following my father's death, she could have taken a job of some kind or got married again. She was still, in her 50's and even later in her 60's an attractive woman, with vitality and great charm, so much so that Temple's and my friends really enjoyed her company. But this did not mean that she could expect to be invited to all the parties we went to.

Yet she had something of a Ninon de Lenclos about her, in spite of being a virtuous Victorian. Age had not staled, nor custom withered her charms nor the enduring quality of her beauty of face and figure. Had she only had a little money she could still have enjoyed life enormously. But since she had none and Temple and I so little, it was impossible to give her all she needed. I could not buy a dress or a hat without feeling mean unless I could afford to buy something for Mother. And if I had anything nice to wear I lent it to her or shared it with her. For instance, in a letter from Manchester in January, 1926, I wrote: "Dear, it sounds mean, but I am afraid I shall have to ask you to send my black felt hat here. I meant you to use it but I cannot manage here in the rain with only a velvet hat. Could you ask Kathie to send it to me at once?"

Reading my many letters preserved by Mother through the years, I now marvel at myself. They are so full of love and sympathy; concern for her happiness and desire to give her a little pleasure, or some small luxury to compensate for her loneliness. The recurring motif is gifts of clothes or money to buy clothes, or money to pay for a holiday, or to provide for her living expenses. In later years in America, when I had to choose between my son's needs and mother's, I became much harder. But in my youth and during my married life my letters show that I was continually concerned with how to make up to her in material ways for the lack of basic sympathy between us.

I suppose I was driven not only by pity and love but by a feeling of guilt. Whenever Mother was away from me I remembered only that I loved her, felt dreadfully sorry for her and regretted having hurt her. When she was with me I was often cross and irritable and mean to her, so that as soon as she was away I wanted to compensate for having been unkind.

In spite of the temperamental antagonism between us, she knew my heart's secrets, my sorrows, joys and frustrations; my longing to find my own true love and my doubts that I ever should. In a word, there was always trust between us as between her and Temple and myself. We quarrelled but we never doubted the loyalty which united all three of us.

My letters, read again after so many years, recall the time when I had become convinced that I must overcome my Puritan or Victorian inhibitions concerning love without marriage. In March, 1926, I wrote Mother: "Had another long and loving letter from the Czech. He is coming to England May 8 and going to stay a few days to see me. I really believes that he loves me, and dear, I shall give myself to him when he comes. I am beginning to think this is going to be the big love of my life. He remembers every detail and moment of our time together and he understands me and seems to look at things something like me. His letter has made me very happy."

In the final event, I did not "give myself to "the Czech," whose name I have forgotten and of whom I have no visual memory except, in a dim way, that he was tall and slender, had brown hair and dark blue eyes. Having nerved myself, as for an operation, to consummate the sexual act in the room he had taken for us in the Imperial Hotel on Bloomsbury Square, I frightened him into impotency. So true it is that one cannot go against one's nature however persuasive the psychoanalyst's arguments that


freedom for the libido is the way to adjust to life. In reverse fashion to my brother, I had to follow my real will or hurt my soul.

Maybe it was not my instinctive rejection of Freud, who outraged my romantic imagination, but my 'guardian angel' who preserved me that night from "giving myself on the altar of free love without really wanting to. Because, a few months later I met Arcadi who, soon after our first encounter, convinced me beyond a shadow of doubt that we belonged together.

All my Puritan inhibitions were dispelled as we joyfully became lovers, although it was to be long before we could become man and wife.

Perhaps my enduring love for my mother in spite of irritations and temperamental antagonism was due to my realization that without her influence and example I might not have been able to wait long enough to find the greatest happiness which life can give-to love and be loved utterly.

As I was to write to her from Japan in January, 1929:

Life now is altogether a different thing, more complete and wonderful than I ever imagined it could be. Even the love I felt for Arcadi a year ago seems a small thing now, I love him so much more. There is really a complete understanding between us and sometimes I feel my happiness is too great to last. You know I have always felt, like the Greeks, that the Gods are jealous of human happiness. But anyhow life is worth having lived for this alone. So you see how I feel, dear, in answer to your birthday letter and whether I am glad I was born. Life seems a wonderful thing now and also I can see that my childhood made this happiness possible. That has given me such great happiness in the end. The memories I have always had of you and Dada which made the substitutes, the second-bests, of no use to me and kept me lonely for so long, have now given me Arcadi and our happiness together. So I love you, Mother dearest, more and more for the happiness you have given me.

Today I realize that I also owe a great debt to my brother for having saved me from becoming the type of unsexed, frustrated or embittered woman who provides dynamic energy to all movements for the regimentation of mankind, whether they call themselves Communists or Nazis or 'progressives.' Thanks largely to Temple's influence my Puritan conscience and sexual repressions did not result in my becoming a Beatrice Webb, a Priscilla Hiss, or an Eleanor Roosevelt type of ambitious woman.

How nearly I came to belong to the monstrous regiment of self-righteous women with cold hearts puffed up by their virtue and supposed dedication to humanity, is revealed by the following quotation from a letter I wrote to my mother in March, 1926 in which I display a priggish attitude toward life, sex, drink and all other pleasures of the flesh, also my too great intellectual class consciousness which is the hallmark today of the liberal intelligentsia of the Western World.

Back's party on Saturday was very much a drinking, loving party and was very dull. They are no pleasure to me now. Joll was very charming but Molly McClane is simply sucking him under in a sea of sex. Whenever he tried to talk to me or Eleanor she put her arms around him, dragged him to her and began stroking him! She is one of those fat, heavy, odorous people and obviously perfectly inane. Even Mrs. Boothroyd asked me the other day who was the stupid-looking girl Joll


was going about with. I think all the same Joll may marry her. She makes no pretense about her having him, or so the Frosts say.

I am going tonight to dance with Stewart, the Assistant Secretary of State at the India office. I told you, didn't I, that I had met him again at the Hunter's party? He is only 45-at least ten years younger than anyone else in such a position. A widower with two children, but I am not likely to fall in love with him."

I had known Sir Findlater Stewart when I worked at the War Office before he was knighted. He was the second level-headed Scotsman in my life who for some unaccountable reason was fond of me. I remember him best on account of an incident later that year. Philip Spratt had got himself arrested in India as one of the "Meirut prisoners" on account of his activities in the left wing Indian Trade Union movement. Jane Tabrisky tried to get Professor Laski to intercede to get bail for him, but got no help from him. I went to see my conservative friend Stewart who was frank  and  honest with  me saying:  "Freda, we know much more about this young man than you do. He is a communist and nothing can be done about it. But believe me, an English prison in India is not as bad a place as you think."

A quarter of a century later Philip Spratt, married to an Indian girl and living near Bangalore, was to write an anti-Nehru, anti-communist book called Blowing Up India* in which he relates how while in jail in India, he had time to think, read, study, learn and reflect, and had thus ceased to be a Communist. As also that the treatment he and the other political prisoners received was so humane that he was "disconcerted" to see a cartoon in the Communist Daily Worker picturing them as "emaciated, manacled and starving with horror filled eyes from behind barred windows." The reality more than justified the assurances given me by the Under Secretary of State for India. He writes:

In the summer we were allowed to sleep in the yard. We were given 12 annas per head per day for food, and were allowed to supervise its expenditure and to do the cooking ourselves, with the aid of two convicts. Needless to say, we lived well. We were also given a clothing allowance. Twice in the hot weather we were taken to jails in the hills. We were allowed to bring into the jail books and papers with scarcely any censorship, and we played chess, cards, table-tennis, cricket and volley-ball. The court was held in a house some distance from the jail and we met visitors there without effective supervision.**

By very different experiences to my own, Philip Spratt and I were to learn the same facts about Communism and become its irreconcilable enemy. But in the intervening years, Laski, who had been anti-Communist until Hitler came to power, had come to exert all his great influence among Western youth in favor of the Soviet Union.

During the Spratt episode Jane and I, and some others, endeavored to check up on Harold Laski. He was well known not only as a namedropper, but as a telephoner-to-important-persons in the presence of his students or petitioners. Several people at the London School of Economics had got suspicious because nothing ever seemed to come of Laski's telephone conservations with "the P.M.," or the Foreign Secretary or other VIP's.



* Blowing Up India.  Reminiscences and  Reflections of a  Former Comintern Emmissary, Prachi Prakashan, Calcutta, 1955.

** ibid.


One day it was discovered by a ruse that the telephone operator at the L.S.E. had his line plugged out during one of his imaginary or one-way conversations with the high and mighty.

However Laski was actually very kind and helpful to many students including myself. He strongly advised me to seek an appointment at an American University because it was so much easier there for English scholars to acquire reputation and status. As witness his own experience.




Chapter 8


The strongest influence which held me back for a time from joining the Communist party was that of Bertrand Russell. I met him first when he came to speak for the King's College Socialist Society in 1924. Subsequently he invited me to tea at his home in Chelsea. Thus began a friendship which has been one of the precious things in my life. In the Easter vacation of 1926 I spent a month with him and his wife, Dora, at Porthcurno in Cornwall, teaching their young son John in the mornings, walking, talking, and bathing in the afternoons, reading aloud in the evenings.

"Bertie" as I already called him tried hard to convince me that the Marxist theory was untenable in the light of modern physics. I wrote to Mother in April 1926: "Tell Temple I have been driven to try to understand relativity in order to understand what Russell thinks about Russia: I am reading the A.B.C. of Relativity,* with Russell sitting near me to explain what I don't understand. He is most awfully kind to me."

Unfortunately, I never understood the theory of relativity. In spite of Russell's patience and the time he spent on my education, my mind could not grasp the basic connection between Marxism and Newton's theory of gravity. Nor could I as yet accept the truth of Russell's Practise and Theory of Bolshevism.** Written in 1920, this book was uncannily prophetic of the Russia I was soon to know. Bertrand Russell was one of the very few who, in those early days of the Revolution, was able to perceive what manner of tree would grow from the seed which Lenin planted.

Others have appreciated the truth expressed by Lord Acton that all power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. But it took such a rare philosopher as Bertrand Russell, who had the faculty of seeing things writ small as well as large, to appreciate the significance of such incidents as his witnessing Kameniev smuggling milk for his children in his Commissar's car during the famine in Russia in 1920. As Russell endeavored to impress on me, the instinct to provide for one's own family would bring to naught all Communism's fine promises of equality and brotherhood. Forty years before Djilas wrote his famous book*** Russell foresaw that the so-called dictatorship of the proletariat meant that of a Communist party elite which could not but lead to the establishment of a new privileged class.

I can of course no longer recall many details of our conversation during the memorable and most happy days I spent with Bertrand and Dora Russell in Cornwall long ago when, as I wrote to Temple, "We talk and discuss everything under the sun." But I well remember how Bertie, one of the very few people who has actually read Das Kapital from beginning to end, endeavored to convince me that Marx's philosophy was bound to produce bad results because he was motivated by hate - by hatred of the rich, not



* K. Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., Ltd., London, 1925.

** G. Allen and Unwin Ltd., London, 1920.

*** The New Class, Praeger, N. Y., 1957.



sympathy for the poor, by the desire to punish the exploiters rather than by compassion for the exploited.

I, who had read and thought I understood Anatole France's Les Dieux Ont Soif about the French Revolution, as well as his Révolte des Anges, failed to heed Russell's warnings concerning the inevitable corruption of the Bolshevik Revolution with its built-in despotism. So true it is that one learns only by experience. I had to find out for myself the hard way that even if Lenin had envisaged human freedom as the goal of the class war, by inflaming the hatreds of mankind he laid the foundations for a more total tyranny than the world had yet known.

One windy afternoon as we walked together on the Cornish cliffs above a turbulent sea, Bertie remarked that since no one can ever be sure of the ultimate result of his actions, one should be guided by realization of their immediate effects, and never inflict a certain present evil for the sake of a doubtful future good. A principle which Russell himself has not always observed, since he came to support the Second World War after it began, and is today aligned with those who are helping to sustain the immediate evil of Communist tyranny for the sake of a doubtful future peace to be achieved by the unilateral atomic disarmament of the West. As Russell himself has written, empiricists should never hold any principle absolutely because there are occasions when the future consequences of failure to act may be predictably worse than the consequences of taking action, however bad or dangerous its immediate consequences. None of us are always logical, or consistent in our beliefs, not even Bertrand Russell, the greatest man I ever knew.

Life in Porthcurno with the Russells that April long ago was like a brief return to my happy childhood. Writing to Mother and Temple during those halcyon days in Cornwall in the springtime, I said: "I like him better and better and feel a little bit like I used to feel about Dada."

My father, as I remember him before his last sad years of illness and hapless poverty, had the same capacity as Bertrand Russell for enjoyment of life and laughter, work and play, strenuous exercise followed by relaxed ease, good conversation and good argument, appreciation of poetry and music and beauty in all its forms, and above all such delight in the company of his children and such an intimate and understanding relationship with them.

Remembering both Bertie and my father, I call to mind lines from Gilbert Murray's translation of the Choruses in Euripides' Bacchae, learned long ago and still remembered:

A God of Heaven is he,

And born in majesty;

Yet hath he mirth in the joy of the Earth,

And he loveth constantly

Her who brings increase,

The Feeder of Children, Peace.

No grudge hath he of the great;

No scorn of the mean estate;

But to all that liveth His wine he giveth,

Griefless, immaculate;

Only on them that spurn

Joy, may his anger burn. Whoever has read, and felt his courage revived by reading Russell's incomparable expression of his stoic philosophy in the essay called A Freeman's Worship, must feel how


apposite are other verses written by the greatest of the Greek dramatists more than two milleniums ago. Such lines as:

What else is wisdom? What of man's endeavor?

Or God's high grace, so lovely and so great?

To stand from fear set free, to breathe and wait

To hold a hand uplifted over Hate

And shall not loveliness be loved forever? Bertie loved his children far more than any of the many women in his life, continuing to enjoy through his extraordinarily long life the simple pleasures of humanity which many other philosophers have failed to appreciate. He shared their pleasures and romped with them and played with them like a young man, besides talking to them as if they were adults.

When grown to manhood, Bertie's first-born son, John, gave me great pleasure in recalling the impression made on him when he was not yet six years old. by my vivid account of Columbus dreaming as a boy in Genoa of the vast seas he would traverse as a man searching for a Westward route to the East Indies and accidentally discovering the New World.

I myself remember best the remark John made while Bertie was reading the Bluebeard story to him and his four year old sister Kate. At the point in the narrative when Bluebeard's wife, terrified at the prospect of having her head cut off unless her brother arrives in time to rescue her, calls again and again to her sister watching on the castle battlements: "Sister Anne, do you see anyone coming?" John interrupted his father's dramatic rendering of her anguished tones by remarking:  "Wasn't she a fuss pot."

During that month in Cornwall Bertie taught me far more than I taught John or four year old Kate whom he was paying me to teach. What I learned from seeing how he was bringing up his own children was to prove important to me a decade later when I had a son of my own to rear without father, husband or brother to help me. Bertie believed that parents must be careful not to impair a child's nerve by letting him know one is fearful for him. He would watch John climbing dangerously on the rocky Cornish coast with anxiety, but determined not to let his son know how fearful he was. Years later in Moscow I was to have arguments with my husband who was all too prone to pick up our baby son from the floor to save him from bumps and scratches or a bad fall when he was showing himself too adventurous in his explorations of the world. And later on in England and America I had to contend with my mother's nervous exhortations to her grandson to "be careful" as against my endeavors never to arouse fear in his heart.

My father's training of Temple and me had been like Russell's treatment of his children. I became a fearless swimmer in my early childhood because my father used to take me far out of my depth when I barely knew how to swim, but trusted him completely. And, when I was ten or eleven years old I had climbed quite high mountains in Switzerland with my brother and a guide, besides being one of the crew in bobsled races along fast courses in competition with adults in the Engadine.

In bringing up my own son I tried to follow the example set me by Bertrand Russell and my father, and was greatly pleased when on his 27th birthday in 1961, Jon wrote me that I had "taught me to live so that I am not afraid to die."

Without courage there can be no virtue, as the Romans, who had the same word virtus for both, knew.

Although Bertrand Russell failed to save me from myself by stopping me from joining the Communist party, his influence remained potent.


When I came back to England from Russia in 1931 for a brief visit and stayed with the Russells in Hampshire I believed that the horrible society I was living in was Stalin's creation and that if Lenin had lived or if Trotsky's policies had been followed, all would have been well. Bertie would bang his fist on the table and say "No! Freda, can't you understand even now, that the conditions you describe followed naturally from Lenin's premises and Lenin's acts? Will you never learn and stop being romantic about politics?"

Some of my best friends still like to quote this Russell remark against me, although I think it is no longer true with regard to my political outlook. But if it be "romantic" to believe that man, by exercise of his reason and critical faculties, and by fostering his creative instead of his destructive instincts, could if he would, create a world nearer to the heart's desire, then Bertrand Russell has been the greatest romantic of us all.

The word "romantic" with its connotation of disregard for realities is not the right adjective to describe those who realize that there is an impulse within us, unexplained by the instinct for survival, to seek for truth and justice. It may be an illusion to believe that man has the capacity to attain to stature of the gods in whose existence he has longed to believe since he first came out of brutishness, but if this be romanticism let no one be ashamed of the appellation.

The poems Bertie loved best reveal that despite all his analytical, aseptic or "scientific" dissertations about sex, marriage, morality and libido in his popular books or pot boilers, he was at heart as old fashioned and romantic about love as any Victorian novelist or Elizabethan poets. Remembering his favorite poem, read to me long ago in Cornwall, as "Lady of Walsingham," which is not its title, I have now found it by searching diligently in the Oxford Book of English Verse. Included among anonymous 16th century poems, it is so beautiful, so little known, and so evocative of the tender and romantic side of Bertrand Russell's nature that I here reproduce it in full.

As ye came from the holy land

of Walsinghame,

Met you not with my true love

By the way as you came?

How should I know your true love,

That have met many a one

As I came from the holy land,

That have come, that have gone?

She is neither white nor brown,

But as the heavens fair;

There is none hath her form divine

In the earth or the air.

Such a one did I meet, good sir,

Such an angelic face,

Who like a nymph, like a queen, did appear

In her gait, in her grace.

She hath left me here alone

All alone, as unknown,

Who sometime did me lead with herself,

And me loved as her own.

What's the cause that she leaves you alone

And a new way doth take,


That sometime did love you as her own,

And her joy did you make?

I have loved her all my youth,

But now am old, as you see:

Love likes not the falling fruit,

Nor the withered tree.

Know that Love is a careless child,

And forgets promise past:

He is blind, he is deaf when he list,

And in faith never fast.

His desire is a dureless content,

And a trustless joy;

He is won with a world of despair,

And is lost with a toy.

Of womenkind such indeed is the love,

Or the word love abused,

Under which many childish desires

And conceits are excused.

But true love is a durable fire,

In the mind ever burning,

Never sick, never dead, never cold,

From itself never turning.

Bertie, for all his many love affairs and four marriages, never did find in the words of his favorite poem the "durable fire" of true love, "in the mind ever burning." This failure was not, I think to be ascribed simply to his inability to restrain the abnormally strong sexual urges which were the accompaniment of his great physical and mental vigor rendering him incapable of monogamy. His marriage failures were also due, as it seems to me, who knew two of his wives well, to his longing to mate with an equal. This led him to ascribe greater human qualities and mental capacities to the women he married than they possessed, or could long continue to pretend to have. Since he was seeking for an impossible combination of Cleopatra and Aspasia, Hypatia and St. Theresa, Boadicea and Joan of Arc, and was also drawn to Quakers and other Puritan types as shown by his first and last choice of wives*- his quest for enduring love was abortive. But he would not have made so much trouble for himself had he not so puffed up his wives that they became difficult to live with. Convinced by Bertie that they actually were his equals and collaborators, they acquired an undue influence over him which led him to great follies. As when he let Dora "inspire" him to write several rather silly books about free love which did great harm to his reputation, expressing views which he was to find untenable after she foisted two bastard children upon him. Or when, as today in his 90's he is married to a woman of Bryn Mawr who has no more understanding or knowledge of Communism than a nun in a convent insulated against evil has about the world, the flesh and the devil. I surmise from my memory of a talk with them in London in 1954 that the last Lady Russell bears considerable responsibility for the fact that Bertie in his last decade came to ignore his original acute perception of the nature and aims of the Soviet Power.

Influenced as he was by Dora's free love theories as well as by his own polygamous


* The present Lady Russell is not a Quaker but a pacifist of similar persuasion.


inclinations, Russell remained impervious to her arguments in favor of the Soviet dictatorship. He relates in his autobiography that she viewed his revulsion to the "cruelty, poverty, suspicion and persecution in Russia" as "bourgeois, senile and sentimental" while he regarded her liking for the Bolsheviks "with bewildered horror."

I confess that I do not remember much about Dora's political views in 1926 in Cornwall. I must have been too enthralled by Bertie to take note of them, much as they no doubt resembled my own at this time. I remember her as an attractive buxom fresh faced and energetic woman and recall Bertie's remark that living with her was as relaxing as travelling on an express train bearing one to one's destination without effort on one's own part. Dora's main interest in the mid-20's was in birth control and her campaign to induce the Labor Party to go all out for it. One remark of hers stuck in my mind. Telling about a textile trade union worker she had stayed with in Lancashire, Dora, instead of being repelled by her dirty house and unkempt personal appearance had understood that a woman in her circumstances could not possibly do a day's work in the mills and be active politically, unless she neglected her household chores and herself.

Writing to Mother I described Dora as "about the most able all around woman I have ever met." She seemed able to do everything, "is a perfect mother and she writes and runs birth control propaganda" and she was "awfully nice to me."

A decade later I was to accept, all too uncritically, Bertie's charges against Dora. I did not come to realize until the 50's, after his break with his third wife Patricia, Russell's capacity to erase from the tablet of his mind the true record of loves and friendships turned sour.

Today finding a letter I wrote on March 7, 1926, I am amazed to recall that, honored and pleased as I had been, by the Russell's invitation to spend the summer as well as the Easter vacation with them in Cornwall, I hesitated to commit myself to acceptance of an opportunity which many people would have jumped at then as well as today. Not because I did not revere Bertie or was not delighted at the prospect of enjoying the privilege and pleasure of his company. But on account of overriding concern for my lonely mother temporarily "exiled" in Devonshire as a paying guest with our friends Kathie and Stanley Harris. Because while I was in residence at Westfield College and Temple living with his wife in Hampstead, neither of us could contribute sufficient funds to Mother's support and she had sublet the Jessel House apartment. "Dear Mother," I wrote,

I want especially to tell you about an offer I have had from the Russells, I enclose his letter which you might read first. I had dinner with them last night and said then I should love to come at Easter but did not like to promise anything definite about the summer, though I thought I could come for a month if I could arrange for you to come to Mousehole so that I could see you often. Today Mrs. Russell rang up and said she and Bertie did not want at this stage of my career to persuade me into anything but I have been round again this afternoon and have promised to come for April and for July. I saw Temple in the meantime and he seemed to think I ought to go as it is rather an opportunity, isn't it? I like the children and shall, I think, enjoy teaching them. Also, Porthcurno is quite near Mousehole and you thought, dear, that you would like to go to Mousehole in the summer and if you came for July I could see you nearly every day. Let me know what you think, dear? I think really I ought to feel honored.


As it turned out, by the summer of 1926 I was too actively involved in the long losing struggle of the British miners - which followed the collapse of the Genera] Strike-to indulge myself again with the Russells in Cornwall as tutor to their children. I visited them only briefly that summer while accompanying A.J. Cook, Secretary of the Miner's Union, on a speaking tour through the Western Shires to raise funds for the striking miners.

Arthur Cook, who died not long afterwards as the result of his exertions, or perhaps because his heart was broken by his failure to save his people, was a type of labor leader practically unknown in this day and age when high-ranking trade union officials in England as well as America have become indistinguishable in income, mode of living and "status" from the executives of big corporations. A tall, rangy sandy-haired blue-eyed man with a great heart and fighting spirit, he lived almost as poorly as the miners he represented and never spared himself even when sick in his desperate efforts to save his people from destitution.

When we reached Cornwall on Arthur Cook's strenuous speaking tour, during which I occasionally spoke myself but was mainly instrumental in putting him in touch with my fishermen and other "proletarian" friends in Devonshire and Cornwall. I took the Miner's Union leader and his retinue to visit Bertrand Russell at Porthcurno, a small village in a cove some miles beyond Penzance on the way to Land's End. It was an occasion which illustrates Russell's kindness and concern for the practical needs ignored by most philosophers.

It had been raining all day and Arthur Cook was wet and exhausted and so hoarse that he was almost unable to speak after having addressed many small open-air meetings in spite of suffering from a bad cold. While the rest of us chattered excitedly downstairs, Bertie, infuriated by the indifference shown to the Mine Union leader's physical condition by his secretary, who was a hard-boiled left-winger, himself escorted Cook upstairs, carrying a can of hot water, and insisting that his guest change his sodden clothing, put on dry socks and take some rest.

This is one among many small incidents I recall which show Russell's concern for human ills, both great and small. In particular he was always prone to worry about people catching cold through getting their feet wet. At the progressive school which he and Dora established in England in the 30's, it was Bertie who insisted that the children change their socks when they came in out of the rain. And it was Bertie, not Dora, who saw to it that the groceries were ordered and the children properly fed.

How-Well-I-Remember-Bertie could be the title of a book I am unlikely ever to write. His kindness and his naughtiness; his wit and his courtesy and his weaknesses; his enjoyment of family life and his terrific sexual urges which led him to the pursuit of women until long past threescore years and ten. His boyish delight in shocking people by stating his views in the most exaggerated or provocative way possible. His joyful chuckles and the wicked gleam in his eye after making some particularly outrageous statement. The pleasure he took in reducing the sublime to the ridiculous even to the extent of making fun of his own cherished beliefs. His delight in paradox and his facial resemblance to the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland. His logical mind which led him to say B.C.D. down even as far as X, after having once said A, even if the end result was absurd. His courage and integrity, his passionate hatred of cruelty and injustice and his burning sympathy for the injured and oppressed. All his great qualities of mind and heart and spirit uniquely combined with compassion and understanding.

As also the defects which are the reverse side of Russell's genius and humanity. His


exaggerated, sometimes ridiculous, overstatements when he refused to make any distinction between the trees and the wood, or to admit that a difference in degree makes a difference in kind. The contrast between his skeptical and stoic philosophy and his behavior when he became a none-too-scrupulous propagandist for a cause in which he passionately believed. His propensity in the heat of controversy to ignore his own precept that one should always be aware that one may be mistaken. The occasions when his judgment has been warped by some particular personal experience, as when he came to conceive an enduring resentment against America because Catholic pressures in 1940 forced the cancellation of his appointment as Professor of Philosophy at the City College of New York on account of his "immoral" views on sex and marriage. His pride and prejudices as an Englishman and an aristocrat and his fears for his own country which eventually led him to take positions inconsistent with his basic views. His tendency to forget in the heat of controversy his own warning that "opinions that are held with passion are always those for which no good ground exists; indeed the passion is the measure of the holder's lack of rational conviction."

Nor can Bertrand Russell be held guiltless of sometimes shifting the original premise of his arguments without admitting he has done so after his heart or his hopes or his fears had, in fact caused him to change his mind.

Russell's liking for me and my deep affection and admiration for him were perhaps due to some basic affinity in our minds, characters and ideals. I do not. of course, pretend to be in any way his intellectual equal. But both of us had the mentality which pursues beliefs or theories to their logical conclusion, and the temperament which impelled us to commit ourselves unreservedly in defense of our convictions. Neither of us ever paid much attention to Goethe's dictum that the essence of wisdom is to know when to stop. Lord Russell is an aristocrat by temperament as well as by birth, and, above all. an Englishman who instinctively reacts as such to the crises of our time. I, on the contrary, was to become a citizen of the United States by choice while remaining an internationalist at heart, and am perhaps also, as Bertie used to tell me in explaining my predilection for America, a 'social outcast by nature.' But we shared the same basic values and esteemed the same virtues: courage, honesty, clarity of mind, and the toughness of moral and mental fibre to face reality, acknowledge error, cast illusions aside and yet continue on the quest for truth and justice.

The inexcusable crimes in Bertie's view were cruelty and lying in either great or small matters. Thus, for instance, he broke off relations with Arthur Koestler, who was his neighbor in Wales after the Second World War, because Koestler was unkind to his wife, Mamime, and had lied to Russell on some small matter. And as I shall relate in a later chapter Russell was to sever his long friendship with George Bernard Shaw, over me in 1937, when he found Shaw to be cruel and deceitful as well as very silly about the Soviet Union.

I, too, am all too prone to break off relations with friends who disappoint me by not living up to my expectations of their integrity or courage. I can like and respect people who disagree with me and remain friends with them if they seem to be honest, but I hate hypocrites, humbugs and prevaricators, and despise those who seem to share my convictions but lack the courage to stand up and be counted when it comes to a showdown. Like Dante, I think those who are so indifferent or "tolerant" or cowardly as to have no opinion, deserve to be consigned to Hell's anteroom.

In a word, in my judgement of people I share to some extent Bertie's aristocratic prejudices.


The original Greek meaning of the word aristocrat was "the best"; and the term noblesse oblige reminds us that there was a time when the nobility was expected to behave nobly. The aristocratic principle, even if more honored in the breach than in observance by men of high degree, is the antithesis of the "bourgeois" passion for security, and the deification of private property rights.

There could be no greater contrast between an aristocrat in the original meaning of the word and the type of 'conservative' whose main concern is the preservation of wealth, incomes or security. Indeed, as it seems to me, the basic weakness of the so-called 'Right' in America today is its lack of 'virtue' - in the Roman sense of the word, meaning both courage and integrity and a measure of generosity.

This similarity in our temperaments, values, and behavior may account for the fact that my friendship with Bertrand Russell stood the test of time, despite some fierce altercations and temporary estrangements. As also because of his generosity of mind and heart. During the early 40's in America, after Bertie had abandoned his pacifism to support the war against Germany, he was to become infuriated by my arguments which echoed his own former belief that the Second World War would have even worse consequences than the first one. Yet, on one occasion, after we had parted in anger, he told his third wife, Peter, that I had the quality of greatness.

The real greatness was in Russell, who saw his own qualities reflected in his friends and in the women he loved or liked.

I am one of the few, if not the only, woman who enjoyed Russell's friendship for many years who did not have an affair with him. Although he wanted to make love to me, as was his nature, and laughed at my 'Puritan prejudices,' he understood me and helped me to understand myself. And it was at least partially thanks to him that when I fell in love with Arcadi, some six months after my vacation with the Russell's in Cornwall, I did not hesitate to consummate our love.

Through the years I was occasionally to be appalled when Bertie's terrific sexual urges, which were the accompaniment of his genius, caused him to assume the repulsive expression of a lustful satyr. My reverence for him as philosopher and humanitarian enabled me to dismiss these recollections from my mind. But buried in my subconscious they can still evoke an all too vivid vision of his hungry lips and avid eyes momentarily blotting out the image of philosopher and friend which mattered most.

I shall have much more to relate about Bertrand Russell in later chapters. At this point I am remembering through the mist of the years the wonderful month I spent with him in Cornwall in the springtime of my life when, if only I had heeded his teaching I would never have become a Communist, and might have saved my husband from being engulfed ten years later by the Red Tide which swept him to death and me to loneliness for the rest of my life.

* * *

After my month with the Russells in Cornwall I returned to Westfield College and my usual practical concerns. With work still to be done on my M.A. thesis I was looking around for a job in the fall, as also endeavoring to raise some cash to continue paying for the patent fees on my father's invention which we still hoped would eventually secure an income for mother. Temple was in a worse situation than myself since I was getting free board and lodging and £ 100 a year from Westfield College and earning some money by articles and book reviews and lectures for the Workers Educational Association. Writing to Mother in Devonshire from London that spring I say:

Very sorry you feel so lonely and sad. Shall come and see you soon.


Cannot come this weekend because going Cambridge for University Labor Federation meeting.

I can't see how Temple can manage to come. He has absolutely no money at all and is worried about it. Perhaps soon you will be getting money from the pump and will be able to come back, darling. I will look this week for a jumper suit for you.

In another letter concerning her forthcoming visit to London to stay with Temple, I


I got your letter last night although not posted by 9:30! Today and yesterday I have been chasing round for testimonials for a job advertised in the D. Herald for someone to do Research in a Trade Union Office (£300- £350 pa.). I am afraid though, that there are heaps of people in for it - I have met several - and I don't stand much chance without an Economics degree. Baynes has given me a wonderful testimonial; I enclose a copy. Archie (Henderson, Transport Workers Union Secretary) has too, and his may count most. He is still terribly busy and looking absolutely fagged out but he asked after you very particularly.

As it turned out I was soon to be relieved of worry about jobs and money by being appointed to a fellowship at the London School of Economics and Political Science.




Chapter 9


The General Strike of 1926 was the turning point of my early political development. The high hopes raised when it began and what then seemed to me the "betrayal" of the workers by the Trade Union Council and the Labor Party, which had backed down in the middle of the fight, led me all the way into the Communist camp. I became convinced of the reality of the class war and of the truth of the Communist thesis that Socialism could not be obtained gradually by Fabian methods. There was apparently no solution for unemployment and low wages under the capitalist system. Only its overthrow by the unity of the workers of the world under Communist leadership seemed to offer a way of escape from poverty in the midst of plenty, gross inequalities in income and opportunity, periodic economic depressions or crises, and "imperialist wars."

The General Strike stirred all my emotions, the more so as I was then living at Westfield College among the most conservative set of University teachers I had ever met. My crude, somewhat childish, but I believe sincere, revolutionary reaction is expressed in a letter written to my mother in Devonshire on May 10:

I have never lived through such a terrible week. I feel all hot inside and trembling all the time. It is such an unequal fight for us, and I want so much to help. I am speaking tonight at Edgware, I am glad to say. I wish I could speak all day - never was there a more unjust issue and more lies told by a government. Yet the government is so ruthless it may win. It is parading armored cars about and soldiers are all over the place. The buses are running with two policemen on each and volunteer O.M.S. labor. Everything is quite safe for ordinary people like me – I almost wish it were not! I cannot write properly, dear, I am too worried and upset. It is so dreadful not to be able to help and to have to listen to the misrepresentations of the capitalist press. Westfield is impossible except for a few students. I spent last night with the Boothroyds.* I saw Wilmot,** who is half expecting to be arrested for sedition. Anything almost can be called sedition. The Archbishop of Canterbury and the churches proposed terms of peace: withdrawal of both lockout and strike. The Government would not allow the proposal to be broadcast! It would be acceptable to us and not to them.

A few years later I was to realize that the behavior of the British government was like that of a loving mother in comparison to that of the Soviet government toward the Russian working class. But I still remember the passionate anger I felt in 1926 against the "capitalist government" and its most ruthless member, Winston Churchill, who was responsible for the show of armed force and was prepared to have the workers shot at if


* Well known humorist and cartoonist under the name of Yaffle.

** Labor M.P.


the strike went on. (Fifteen years later Winston Churchill was to become for a while the darling of the Communists and their fellow travelers, as also a hero in American eyes as Germany's most implacable foe. But to me he seemed no more admirable then than in 1926, since he went along with Roosevelt in demanding the unconditional surrender of the German people which led to the Communist conquest of Eastern Europe.)

Today, I also realize how tolerant were the Principal of Westfield College and the staff members with whom I argued fiercely in the Common Room and who appeared to me in the guise of 'class enemies' or bulwarks of reaction. No one interfered with me, even when I took a group of the undergraduates to T.U.C. headquarters to offer our services.

The day I was invested with my M.A. degree was the day the General Strike was called off. After bicycling all the way from Hampstead to the Senate House in South Kensington and sitting impatiently waiting in a borrowed cap and gown to receive my scroll, I tore off to T.U.C. headquarters. The bitterness of defeat and the long agony of the miners which was to follow the end of the General Strike have obliterated from my mind the feelings of satisfaction I must have had in having finally achieved more than even Mrs. Burton Brown had expected of me.

My M.A. degree had been awarded with the coveted mark of distinction and a recommendation by the Senate of London University that my thesis be published, for which purpose £ 50 was made available. This led to my being appointed to the Ratan Tata Fellowship at the London School of Economics and Political Science which was one of the juiciest plums in the academic world of my time since it paid £400 a year for two years. I no longer had to worry about how to make enough money to provide for Mother, and a successful academic or political career was open to me. Yet it was now that I prepared to take the fateful step of joining the Communist Party.

The subject I chose for my research and for the book which I was expected to write for publication by the London School of Economics, concerned Eastern competition and the declining Lancashire cotton industry. This may sound an odd transition from my previous work on the Roman Empire, but as I saw it, there was a parallel between the economic and social effects of the competition of slave labor on the condition of free labor in the ancient world and that of cheap "colonial" or Asiatic labor on Western labor standards in the modern world. I had moved from the study of ancient to that of modern imperialism.

The book which I eventually wrote on this subject, entitled Lancashire and the Far East* was to be published without the blessing of the London School of Economics because its principal. William Beveridge, objected to my indictment of British Imperialist rule in India and insisted on the revision of my chapters on India as a condition for his approval.

Subsequently knighted, Sir William Beveridge became famous as the author of the Beveridge Report which laid the foundations of today's Britain's "Welfare State." He was an outstanding example of those, perhaps justly designated by the communists as "social fascists," since his main concern was with the condition of the British working class whose livelihood depended on the preservation of the British Empire and the continued exploitation of its colonial subjects.

Following World War II the United States came to supply the subsidy formerly available for the welfare of the British laboring and middle classes for the maintenance of the standard of life to which they were accustomed.


* Allen and Unwin, London, 1930.


For the most part, the L.S.E. professors, in contrast to those at Kings College and Westfield, were liberals and socialists. Graham Wallas, R. H. Tawney, Eileen Power, C. M. Lloyd (who was also foreign editor of the New Statesman), and above all Harold Laski, to mention only some of the best known names of the lecturers at the L.S.E., exerted far more influence than the few conservative economists and political scientists who taught there.

I naturally felt very much in my element at the London School of Economics and Political Science and soon came to exert some influence there myself, after being elected chairman of the London University Labor Party.

My friend, Jane Tabrisky, who was Secretary of the L.U.L.P., was already a member of the Communist Party, and between us we largely controlled the show. Since London University was a constituency which sent two members to Parliament, our activities and influence had some importance outside college. On one occasion Herbert Morrison came over to address one of our meetings in a vain endeavor to stem the Left Wing tide which I was leading or being led by. This one-eyed right-wing Labor Party leader was a fighter and man of integrity and intelligence besides being a most eloquent speaker, and I respected him even while opposing him. He well deserved to become Prime Minister in later years but was passed over in favor of the colorless Clement Attlee who made no enemies, thanks to his ability to sit upon a fence.

I was also Vice President of the University Labor Federation which comprised the Labor and Socialist Clubs of all British universities. The President was Arthur Greenwood, M.P., a Cabinet Minister in the first Labor government. Elegantly attired, very tall and rather gaunt in appearance despite his liking for liquor, good natured, amiable, and convivial and apparently devoid of strong political convictions, Arthur Greenwood had charm and the impeccable good manners of the British upper class. He frequently invited me and other students to drink a glass of sherry with him on the terrace of the House of Commons, and these social amenities helped him to preserve unity between the warring right and left wing factions of the University Labor Federation. A federation which comprised all the colors of the left rainbow ranging from such avowed Communists as Professor Maurice Dobb of Cambridge, and the aristocratic Irish Earl of Listowel, to Colin Clark, at that time a boyish looking rosy-cheeked and intrepid right wing Labor man from Australia, today internationally known as a brilliant and enlightened conservative economist.

We were a society of 'Lib-Labs' and socialists or 'progressives' who managed to retain a comradely atmosphere in our debates because we imagined that we all wanted to achieve the same end, albeit by different methods. As also because we paid due regard to the old maxim that "the secret of a close community is toleration of each other's idiosyncracies."

Happy days of innocence before Moscow became strong enough to divide the sheep from the goats and the lions, with intent to destroy all who failed to at least act like sheep in the Bolshevik fold.

The majority of our articulate and active members were 'Left of Center.' Among them, the leading light was G. D. H.Cole and his wife Margaret, already well known as economic historians and later also to become authors of successful detective stories. This brilliant and versatile couple wrote humorous verse and staged skits on topical subjects performed by our members. It was largely due to them that the University Labor Federation meetings at Oxford and Cambridge were great fun as well as forums for earnest discussion of the great issues of our time.

By now. besides my stipend from the L.S.E.. I was earning quite high fees as a


lecturer to extra-mural "Tutorial Classes" paid for jointly by London University and the Workers' Educational Association. I was also making a little money and establishing a reputation as a writer by the articles and book reviews I contributed to such publications as the New Statesman, Labor Monthly, and The New Leader, and soon also to the Contemporary Review and other nonpartisan journals.

For the first time since I left school I had no money worries, and had embarked with a fair wind on the scholastic career which I had hoped to pursue a decade earlier while at Prior's Field. As Arnold Toynbee's future wife, who was at this time Secretary of the London School of Economics, was to tell me in America some twenty years after, it was confidently expected that I would become as distinguished a woman economic historian as Dr. Eileen Power, who was a member of the Board which had chosen me for the Ratan Tata Fellowship against all my male competitors. Such was not to be my destiny. I was too deeply involved in politics, or as I saw it then, in the struggle for the emancipation of mankind. The study of history could no longer satisfy me; I yearned too greatly to take part in making it.

In 1928, two years after I had won the Ratan Tata Fellowship, I abandoned my promising academic career. Forever, as it turned out, since a decade later when I emigrated to America after my disillusionment in Soviet Russia, my anti-Communist views were to preclude my obtaining a University appointment.

In later years I was to regret having so light-heartedly thrown away the opportunity given me long ago to become a professor and make teaching my career, for I liked to teach and was successful with my classes. Moreover, the chance then afforded me to live the contemplative life, which failed to appeal to me in my 20's, seemed very attractive to me in my 60's. Today, I would ask for nothing better than a secure niche in the academic world.

Yet even now, in the evening of my life, I do not really regret having by-passed the opportunity given me in my youth to acquire academic fame and material security. It would be very nice to have them, but I ask myself whether I would consider them worth the loss of the experiences, the freedom, the joys and the sorrows which have made life's great adventure worthwhile, and have given me. if not any great measure of wisdom, knowledge obtainable only in a life of strife and struggle and an unending quest for the unobtainable.

As Temple, my long dead brother, expressed it, "We think there is something on the other side of the furthest ridge. There is not, but a further one. However let us go on looking for something we know is silly from all the viewpoints of others."

The 'motive patterns' of socialism, to use Max Eastman's expression, are various. As also the reasons why at various times and places, one man or woman or another has joined the Communist Party. My own case proves that it is not necessarily, or even primarily, poverty or lack of opportunity which makes Communists, since it was only after I began to earn a good income that I joined the Communist Party.

Nor would it seem to be true, to judge from my personal experience, that sex frustrations, or loneliness, or unhappiness in their personal lives lead both young and old to embrace the Communist faith.

I realize, in contemplating and endeavoring to analyze the motive forces of my life, that my unsatisfied longing for husband, home and children played a large part in impelling me into an increasingly absorbing political life. As also how true it is that, in Russell Green's words: "The hobby-horse of one's discontent becomes the Pegasus of one's ambition." But my decision to join the Communist Party came after I was not only


on the way to realizing my worldly ambitions, but had also at long last found a man to love who loved me.

I first met my future husband Arcadi Jacovlevitch Berdichevsky when Boris Plavnik took me to his house on Goldhurst Terrace in Hampstead on a gloomy rainy autumn evening in 1926. I have no recollection of what we talked about as we sat sipping tea through sweets in the Russian fashion around the dining-room table where there may or may not have been a samovar. But how easy to recall and how difficult to convey by the printed word the current which passed between us, the look in Arcadi's expressive eyes which made my heart beat faster, the humorous twist to his generous sensitive mouth, the touch of his hand at parting when we arranged to meet again alone.

We knew we loved one another after only a few meetings, and in the Christmas vacation we journeyed together to Herrenalp in the Black Forest for a premature honeymoon. Premature, since Arcadi was married and it was to take much time, travail and heartbreak before he could divorce his wife and become my husband in the summer of 1928 in Moscow.

Arcadi, whose love was to illumine my whole life, was a Russian Jew, whose family had moved during his boyhood from Odessa on the Black Sea to Lodz in Poland. After studying at Zurich University in Switzerland for his Masters Degree in Economics and Commerce, Arcadi had emigrated to the United States shortly before the first World War. In New York he had married the daughter of a well-to-do family of Russian Jewish extraction. Her name and patronym was Anna Abramovna and they had a young son called Vitia. They had begun to be estranged when Arcadi, in 1920, gave up a $600 a month salary as representative of an American firm in London, to work for only $150 at the newly formed trading organization of the Soviet government known as ARCOS.

By the time I met them in 1926, Arcadi had become Finance Manager of the Soviet Trade Delegation in London, at a salary of $500 a month, which in those days in England enabled him and his wife to live well in a large house with a servant. But he had become increasingly dissatisfied both with his personal life and his comfortable "bourgeois" existence.

Arcadi was not a Bolshevik, but had been a member of the Jewish Social Democratic Party, known in Poland as the Bund, and had retained his socialist ideals. In 1923 he had been asked to join the Communist Party, thus ensuring his future career, in the Soviet service. But he had the feeling that since he had played no part in the Revolution he could not join now that the fighting was over and membership in the Party had become a privilege. Also, and basically more important, Arcadi had the same repugnance as my brother to adherence to any creed or dogma. He wanted to believe that the Soviet Government could and would establish a Socialist order of society fulfilling the aspirations of men of good will for social justice, but he was never able to subscribe to the Bolshevik philosophy.

In spite of what Bertrand Russell called my incurable political romanticism, my father's and my brother's scepticism, and the distrust they had inculcated in me of those who profess altruistic motives, were not without influence on me. Arcadi attracted me precisely because he made fun both of himself and the lofty pretensions of the Communist 'Saviors of Mankind,' even while ready to work harder, and make greater sacrifices than most Communists, in order to help build the good society. He was as witty, intelligent, and charming, and far more handsome and virile than Walter Field, whom I had once loved, but who, as he told my brother, had run away from me in spite


of wanting me, because he was afraid  that  life with me would be dangerous and uncomfortable.

Arcadi loved me for the very reasons which, as my mother had so often told me, were likely to prevent any man I liked from wanting to marry me. Far from wishing me to be a 'good wife' subordinating myself to him and my interests to his, Arcadi loved me because he thought I was different from most women. Being an attractive man, he had long since enjoyed a surfeit of feminine women, and was always concerned that I preserve my individuality, go on with my work, and not succumb to the temptation of becoming just another wife and mother.

Anna Abramovna, never having understood or sympathized with Arcadi's socialist aspirations, could not see why he was not satisfied with a comfortable home, a pretty wife, a child and a well-paid job. To the last it remained inexplicable to her why he left her for me, since as she told their friends, I was not pretty and would never make him comfortable.

In the summer of 1927 I was invited to visit the Soviet Union in my capacity as Vice President of the University Labor Federation. My writings had attracted the attention of Ivan Maisky, then Counselor of the Soviet Embassy in London, and I was by this time well acquainted with the British Communist Party leaders. I had met Petrovsky. the Comintern representative in England during the General Strike, and became friendly with him and his wife without knowing his identity or even his real name. He then called himself Max Breguer and was masquerading as a "Nepman" - meaning a businessman - un-der the New Economic Policy dispensation in Russia which permitted a limited degree of private enterprise. I had accepted him as what he professed himself to be, namely a "good capitalist" friendly to the Soviet Government, and was astonished in Moscow to discover that he was a V.I.P. in the Communist hierarchy and its secret apparatus.

I was regarded, I suppose, as a promising young 'bourgeois intellectual' whose writings displayed appreciation of Marxist theory and whose conversion to Communism would have an impact on British Left Wing intellectual circles. I intended to join the Party as soon as I returned. The propaganda effect would be greater if I joined after, not before, I saw the U.S.S.R.

My excitement at my coming visit to the Land of Promise knew no bounds. My brother from his bed in a tuberculosis sanatorium in Surrey wrote me some words of caution:

My dear Freda:

This is just to wish you luck in your adventure. I think in one way you are quite right. I would do the same thing if I wanted to. I expect. After all, one must follow one's own thinking and one's own desires. It is an adventure, but I do not expect for a moment that you will find what you are seeking for intellectually. Men are much of a muchness everywhere, and they behave much in the same way whatever they profess to believe.

Of course you will see the country and the people and the society as you wish to believe they are, at first. But later, your scepticism will reassert itself.

But don't join the Communist Party. It seems to me a terrible thing for any intelligent person to adhere to any creed or dogma; to have to say that you accept any empirical generalization as an article of faith. I


do not see why you should not work for them and with them and yet reserve your opinion about their fundamental propositions.

These sweeping generalizations are to be distrusted. Even when you are dealing with a subject like physics - a subject by which human desires and fears are little affected in its findings, as more and more is discovered and its fundamental promises examined, you are all the time modifying and modifying.

And what a phrase that "materialistic conception of history" is: 'Matter' - the word is not really used in Physics. Bodies have mass and the mass of a body is its weight divided by the acceleration due to gravity. That is all Physics knows about it.

Matter psychologically is one's sense of resistance - pushiness - quite different. Matter is also a "banner word," a symbol with emotions attached to it used by various sects to throw at one another.

I must end half finished, or I will lose the post. I need another four pages to explain myself. Anyhow, the best of luck, my dear, and all my love.


Failing at that period of my life to appreciate my brother's wisdom, I brushed aside his wise counsel as I had Bertrand Russell's warnings. All their arguments seemed abstract. I could not see that they had any relevance to the concrete problem of how to establish socialism. I suppose I was then like a religious convert whose beliefs are no longer susceptible to reason or philosophical argument. I had faith in socialism as the answer to man's age - old longing for justice and a well-ordered universe; I failed to perceive that Communism, with its false hope of establishing heaven on earth, was a substitute for religion, luring men to worship the devil under the guise of a great emancipator. I replied to my brother: "In spite of what you say, I must join the Communist Party. I cannot live without feeling I am doing worthwhile work. I see no hope in the Labor Party. I think the Communist thesis is right."

Thus, I departed on my first visit to Russia in June 1927, full of enthusiasm and willingness to believe that the Communists were in the process of creating the best economic and social system which the world had ever known.



Chapter 10


I traveled with Ivan Maisky from Berlin to Moscow, together with W.J. Brown, Secretary of one of the most militant trade unions in England, the Clerical Association, whose members were office workers in government service.

Two days after our arrival we stood in the Red Square to witness the funeral of Voikov, murdered in Poland. This was the first demonstration I saw in the "socialist fatherland"; and I vividly recall the exaltation and excitement that filled my heart and mind as I stood close to Lenin's tomb under a blue sky watching the Red Army parade and the thousands upon thousands of demonstrators. My mind in those days was full of romantic libertarian images. I wrote after the demonstration: "People in the street look well fed enough though poorly clothed, and there seems to be such vitality and purpose among the people one meets .... The soldiers in the demonstration especially looked so splendid-more like the Greeks of Xenophon must have looked than like the usual wooden soldier ..."

I was also enchanted by the as yet unspoiled charm of Moscow which, as Bertrand Russell had told me, rivalled Peking among the most beautiful cities of the world. "Moscow is a lovely place," I wrote to Mother, "I wish you could see the Kremlin across the river and all the domes of the churches. I will bring home some pictures."

Visitors to the U.S.S.R. in those days were comparatively rare. There was no Intourist, and only invited delegates from trade-unions and Labor parties got the chance to travel over Russia. One was lapped around with kindness, hospitality, and good fellowship. Nor were outward signs of prosperity lacking. The market places of Moscow and other towns were overflowing with vegetables, dairy products, milk, and meat. New apartment houses and office buildings built in the severe but pleasing style introduced after the Revolution were much in evidence. There were no queues for bread and other foods at the state and cooperative shops, and one could buy the most delicious pastries for only five kopeks. There was a shortage of manufactured goods even in the cities, but it was not to be compared to the almost total lack of necessities a few years later after the "gigantic successes on the industrial front."

One is tempted to imagine what Russia might have become if the New Economic Policy, permitting the peasants to enjoy the fruits of their labor under free enterprise and thus fructify the fertile Russian soil, had been continued. But as early as 1924 the "Scissors Crisis" (the disproportion between the price of manufactured goods and agricultural produce) had split the Central Committee of the Bolsheviks into left and right factions.

Disagreements began over how much to take from the peasants for industrial development, and ended in the bitter controversy over collectivization. With the aid of Bucharin, Tomsky, and others on the right who maintained that any attempt to force the pace of industrialization would destroy the stimulus to labor, Stalin had overcome Trotsky and was soon to exile him and the rest of the left opposition. Once rid of the


Trotskyists, Stalin, in 1929, was to wipe out the right opposition and embark upon an ultra-left policy of forced collectivization and intensive industrialization.

The U.S.S.R. was soon to become a country of starved peasants and undernourished workers, cowed and whipped by fierce punishments to toil endlessly for a state which could not provide them even with enough to eat. But, unfortunately for my own future, I first saw Russia during the brief period of prosperity which began in 1924 and ended in 1928.

My 1927 visit to Russia was marred only by my fellow guest, Billy Brown, an oversexed left-winger who imagined that in the Communist world he would be afforded unlimited opportunity for the indulgence of his carnal appetites. He had wanted to make love to me before in London, where we were politically associated, but it was not until we got to Moscow that I had difficulty in holding him off. Although he knew I was in love with Arcadi, he fancied that in the supposedly uninhibited sexual climate of the Soviet Union I would naturally sleep with him. When his expectations remained unfulfilled, and he had also found it difficult to find a Russian mistress, he turned nasty. This may all have had the desirable long range effect of souring him on Communism, but at the time he caused me embarrassment.

There was a whole class of hopeful leftwingers whose attraction to Communism was at least partially inspired by their mistaken belief that the U.S.S.R., if not yet all that might be desired economically, was at least the paradise of free lovers. For them, sex and politics were always mixed.

Writing Mother from Moscow in July, 1928, I told her:

They are sending me to a place in the Caucasus for two weeks and then home by way of Tiflis and Baku which will take a week or 10 days. The original arrangement has been broken up because Brown has had a nervous breakdown. The last few days have been very trying. Billy gradually became impossible and has been very rude and unpleasant to me. It is too long a story to tell you in a letter and how much is due to Billy's nerves and how much to sex, etc., I don't know. Anyway, we have definitely split and are following our different programs. Billy has behaved just like a spoilt child. Everything in Russia has annoyed him especially the unpunctuality - and the food upset him - he was in bed for two days.

But the occasion of things going wrong was his accusation that I monopolized people: the fact is that people have been awfully nice to me and as I speak German and am a woman, I do perhaps get more attention. But the whole business has been childish I think it is his nerves which are wrong; in fact two doctors say he has a bad nervous breakdown. Also there has been this sex business. In Berlin already he was telling everyone he wanted to find a girl and he went off to find a prostitute and came to tell next morning. Also, he had asked me, moreor less casually, the first night, if I would sleep with him, and I passed it off as a joke. Then he said quite calmly:  "How will you manage so long away from your lover?"

Billy Brown, as I say, was only one among several left-wingers who visited the Soviet Union with false expectations. Years later, when living with my husband in Moscow, I witnessed with considerable amusement the frustrations of an American from Georgia, who came to Russia on a Rosenwald Foundation fellowship, confidently expecting to be


able to indulge his sexual appetites without bourgeois restraints. Unable, to his dismay, to find any girl to sleep with him in spite of the soap, coffee, and other luxuries he had to offer, he married a nice Canadian girl in Paris after six months of sexual abstinence. Admittedly, X, as I shall call him (since he was a nice person and is today not unknown in America), did not know how to go about it. There were plenty of women in the hungry 30's in Russia who were ready to give themselves for "three pairs of silk stockings," to quote the title of a novel at that time, or even for one lipstick, as my husband phrased it. But X made the mistake of imagining that he could find a mistress among the Communist elite who traveled de luxe like himself and had no reason to fall for a trifle.

I drove to Tiflis from Vladikafkaz along the fabulous Georgian Military Road built by the Tsars during their conquest of the Caucasus. A road which skirts high mountains rising almost perpendicularly from the river beds, torrent gorges and narrow valleys of the land known to the ancient Greeks as Colchis. How easy to imagine that Prometheus was chained by Zeus to a high peak in this majestic territory to have his heart devoured by a vulture for his defiance of the gods by setting man on the road to progress by teaching him to make fire. Here Jason had come in search of the Golden Fleece. And here, today, there may still remain, in inaccessible mountain Fastnesses, remnants of the many races which have passed through this land bridge from Europe to Asia, still unconquered even by the all reaching Soviet power.

I have forgotten more than I remember about my first visit to Russia when I was seeing everything in rose, or through the spectrum of my romantic imagination which enabled me, incongruously, to regard Bolsheviks and ancient Greeks equally striving to emancipate mankind from what Swinburne called "the shambles of faith and of fear." But I can still conjure up in my mind's eye my first view of the Caucasus Mountains purple dark in the early dawn as dimly seen from the railway carnage on arrival at Vladikafkaz from Moscow. And of the drive along the Georgian Military Road to Tiflis when my heart stood still with dread and wonder as we sped round bends thousands of feet above the river beds below in this majestic and untamed land "half as old as time."

In view of all the legends and stories about "Circassian beauties" captured or sold to become slaves or harem concubines by Persians, Greeks, Arabs and Turks, I was surprised to find in Tiflis that it was Georgian men, not women, who were strikingly handsome. The women of the Caucasus seemed to me less beautiful than Italians and generally far too fat - a defect doubtless remedied soon afterwards by Stalin's economic policies which condemned all but the Communist elite to near starvation. In 1927 I remembered Elroy Flecker's poem. The Road to Samarkand in which he expressed the oriental love for women whose hips are "as broad as watermelons in the season of watermelons."

No doubt today the gay talented, courageous and handsome peoples of the Caucasus, among whom the Georgians take pride of place, have been reduced to the same drab uniformity or conformity as all the other races and peoples subjected to Communist tyranny. But I saw Tiflis before Moscow's heavy hand had extinguished the enjoyment of life and love, laughter and beauty which distinguish the peoples of the Mediterranean world and which tyrants from time immemorial have found hard to drown.

In Tiflis I became friendly with a woman who was a Menshevik but who defended the Soviet regime and convinced me that there was no terror anymore. The time was as yet far off when I was to learn that Communist terror is so all pervading that it forces all its victims to pretend that it does not exist. Perhaps this woman of Tiflis believed what she said to me because she had convinced herself that now, thanks to the New Economic


policy, incentives had supplanted brutal compulsions as the dynamic of socialist construction. I was at this time as gullible or ignorant as the rest of my liberal contemporaries in the West who, a decade later, came to exert such direful influence on Western policy during the Roosevelt era. But my brief belief in the Communist Party was before Stalin won absolute power and plunged Russia into the hell of forced collectivization.

My first impressions of the U.S.S.R. were obtained during the all-too-brief period of the NEP policy when the Russian "toiling masses" were substantially better off than they had ever been before or were to be again in our time. (Even if today some few of them have refrigerators and T.V. sets, most would still seem to have less to eat than when I first visited Russia forty years ago.)

Returning from the Caucasus to Moscow I had the thrill of travelling in an airplane for the first time in my life. It was supposed to fly to Moscow from Kharkov but came down with engine trouble in a field half-way. The only other passenger was an amiable Italian businessman, and together with the pilot we made our way on foot to the nearest village, and thence by a horsedrawn cart to a railroad station. The Italian, who was middle-aged and corpulent, made heavy weather of our mishap, but nothing could then daunt my spirits or my enthusiasm about Russia. From Moscow, referring to Temple's plea that I should pause and reflect before joining the Communist Party, I wrote to Mother:

"I am sorry Temple is worried about me. I shall come home, dear, but I hope I shall be able to join Arcadi here next year. I have been making inquiries about the cost of living in Moscow and think we could manage and me send you £ 2 a month."

In a postscript I wrote that it was difficult to write without writing a great deal about Russia, and that I was too busy making notes for articles to write more in a letter. "I do feel that things worthwhile are being accomplished in Russia," I added. "I like the spirit of the people and the look of them. Everyone is simply or poorly clad, but everyone looks well fed. Clothes are just made of anything and one can go out in any sort of dress without exciting comment." How welcome this must have seemed to me who had never had enough money to dress well during my adult life.

I returned to England full of enthusiasm and prepared to tell the world about the wonders of socialist construction in the U.S.S.R. Rejecting an offer to stand for Parliament as a Labor Party candidate in the Rusholme division of Manchester, I publicly proclaimed my adherence to the Communist Party, and addressed meetings all over England.

Archie Henderson, one of the National Secretaries of the Transport Workers Union, told our friends: "Freda always belligerently rolls up her sleeves when she starts to talk about Russia."

I admitted that the standard of life in the U.S.S.R. was far lower than in the Western capitalist countries, but went on to explain that this was because Russia needed to accumulate capital for industrialization. I assured my audiences, that since there was no exploiting capitalist class in the Soviet Union, the burden of saving and investment was being borne equally by all, so that there was no such acute misery in Russia as in the era of the British Industrial Revolution.

"Bliss was in that dawn to be alive," as Wordsworth had thought at the time of the French Revolution. To me it seemed that Russia had unlocked the gates of Paradise to mankind, and that I must help to convince the workers of my own country to enter in by overthrowing capitalism and joining up with the U.S.S.R.

Looking back to that distant time, I now ask myself, did I really believe it? Was I, who had studied history, really so naive? I must have been, else I should never have thrown up


my career and encouraged my husband to abandon his comfortable life in the "capitalist world," to go off with me to take part, as we imagined, in the construction of Socialist Society in Russia.

On my return to London from Russia I learned that Arcadi was being expelled from England by order of the Home Office. His expulsion may have been due to the indiscreet letters I had sent him from Russia expressing my complete conversion to Communism. But it is more likely to have been the result of his having been assigned by the Chairman of the Russian Trade Delegation to be one of the small number of Soviet employees permitted to remain on the premises when the British Home Secretary, Joynson-Hicks, raided the Arcos offices in June, 1927.

Although I was flattered to think that I was regarded as a dangerous revolutionary by the British Home Office, it was a great blow to have Arcadi expelled. The Soviet authorities assigned him temporarily to Berlin where I visited him during the Christmas vacation, but he was so busy that we were unable to go off and enjoy ourselves as we had done the previous year in the Black Forest.

Whereas Arcadi had been working so hard on Soviet Government business in Berlin that we had all too little time together, I took my political work so seriously that when, in February, 1928 he was allowed to come to London for ten days to represent Arcos in a lawsuit, I was so busy campaigning as the Communist Party's candidate in the London County Council elections, speaking either to indoor meetings or at street corners mornings, afternoons and evenings, that I did not give up a single evening to him. This was the first election in which the Communist Party came out in opposition to the Labor Party, thus helping the Conservatives to win. Although I had no hope of winning the election, I made a fair showing, gaining a considerable number of votes against both my Labor and Tory opponents.

Two incidents stand out in my memory of my first and last political campaign. One is the remark made to me by a respectable working class wife and mother. "I'm for you and what you say the Communist Party stands for," she said, "but I and many others like me cannot abide those loose-living, hard-drinking, foul-mouthed young men and women of the upper classes who call themselves Communist and support you."

The other is my own behavior on election night when at London's City Hall, after the votes had been counted, the winning Conservative candidate came up to shake hands with me. My upbringing in the traditions of British good sportsmanship warred within me against my belief in the Class War. For a moment I had difficulty in repressing my natural impulse to smile and take his outstretched hand. But ideology triumphed over good manners and I firmly placed both my hands behind my back, albeit with a feeling of acute shame and embarrassment.

Even after I joined the Communist Party I could have continued my success­ful academic career had I remained in England. Although being a Communist in those days was a handicap, my scholastic record and the tolerant attitude of British Universities toward "heretics" of one kind or another provided that they are "brainy," speak with an educated accent and have tolerably good manners, ensured me a University appointment following the termination of my Fellowship at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

In the 20's, the distinction between a Socialist and a Communist was not clearly demarcated. Most Labor Party and Trade Union leaders had already learned enough through experience to hate and distrust all Communists, but in intellectual left-wing circles they were generally regarded simply as people who wanted to achieve Socialism


faster than others, if necessary by revolutionary means. Revolution was only a word to them as to me in those days when like most of my contemporaries I had no conception of what violence meant, or of the horrible "means" or methods which were soon to become standard operating procedure in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

We all laughed and enjoyed the musical skit about my Soviet tour, written and stage managed by G.D.H. and Margaret Cole at a special meeting of the University Labor Federation called to hear my report on Russia at Oxford in the fall of 1927. I remember some lines from some of the songs sung to popular tunes by our members, making fun of my glowing account of the state of Russia. One was called Come to Prison in Georgia, where life was just wonderful, and one could meet either:

Burglar Bill who, flushed with wine

Murdered his registered concubine.


Commissar Trotsky, in for life

Fraction work with Lenin's wife.

The performance ended with myself appointed as Soviet Commissar of Education, while the other members of a U.L.F. delegation to Russia were strung up one by one on lamp posts to the refrain:

Red, white or pink, no difference can we see,

So perish all the British bourgeoisie.

There was also a song with a refrain: "Stick to Marx, my hearty, Damn the Labor Party, Keep the hell fires burning for the bourgeoisie."

It could be that Margaret Cole was to be responsible for my husband's arrest some nine years after she and her husband had made fun of my conversion to Communism. For on my return to England in 1936 I learned that she had betrayed the confidence I had reposed in her during her visit to Moscow not long before when I had told her in strict secrecy my real views. She had, I heard, been going around telling people that "Freda was very soured on Russia" - her term for my profound disillusionment. This was surely not because she was malicious or wished to jeopardize my husband's life, but simply because she had remained as ignorant or innocent as I had once been. She simply had not believed me when I told her in Moscow how dangerous it is to speak the truth under a Communist dictatorship.

Still today in the West there are all too many liberal innocents who cannot or will not understand what terror means.




Chapter 11


Arcadi had asked his wife Anna Abramovna, to divorce him in January 1927, following our time together in the Black Forest, but his separation from her proved to be a long and painful business, complicated by his expulsion from England in the fall of that year. "Mrs. B," as we called her, had first asked him to wait until she could join either her brother in New York, or her sister in Paris, because she could not bear to have their friends in London know he had left her. Subsequently it became clear that she hoped all along that his feeling for me was a temporary infatuation and that if they continued to live in the same house he would return to her.

Arcadi tried without success to obtain a visa for her to go to the United States where her brother was an engineer with the General Electric Company. And by the time he was able to secure a French visa for her, he himself was being expelled from England. Unfortunately for her own future and that of their son Vitia, she insisted on following him to Moscow after a short sojourn in Paris. Since I remained in England to finish my second year as a Fellow of the London School of Economics and to work for the Communist Party, she continued to hope he would change his mind. It was not until I came to Moscow in the summer of 1928 that they were at long last divorced. Arcadi and I then registered as man and wife in the apartment house where we lived.

I had been too inexperienced fully to appreciate Arcadi's difficulties. At times I had rebelled at his long delay in freeing himself to be with me. I had felt that he should either break with her at once or give up the idea of living with me. I knew that leaving his son was very difficult for him, but I failed to understand that the ties between a man and a woman who once loved each other are hard for a sensitive man to break when the woman tries with every means at her disposal to maintain the old relationship. Moreover, in leaving his wife Arcadi was making a break with the "bourgeois" life he had lived since finishing his studies in Switzerland. For him I was a symbol as well as companion in the new life in socialist society which we both wanted to lead.

Nearly ten years later the O.G.P.U. was to deprive me of almost all Arcadi's letters when they searched our Moscow home. But one he wrote to me during this difficult period of our relationship remained hidden within the pages of a book.

"Darling Fredochka," he wrote,

I suppose you are right in your own way, your brutal way, and that I shall never be able to satisfy you as to the validity of my reason for acting in the way I do.

I shall not pick a quarrel on what you say about my "playing about with the idea of living a different sort of life"; "desiring to go on the same way as before" and a number of other things "read at the bottom of my heart." There is no use to argue about things on which we can never agree, and I shall not appeal to you to reverse your decision until I can tell you that the way is clear for my giving you as much of myself


as you can desire. I love you and I cannot and shall not believe that everything is over until you refuse to come to me when I shall ask you to do so on the strength of changes in my family life. There are for me two possibilities only in the future; either I shall embrace fully to the extent of 100 per cent the creed which will keep me going and make me forget you, or I shall accept it partially as I have done until now and you will be my beloved comrade in fighting all doubts which will arise. Nothing else is possible and the "desire to go on the same way as before" is death, which I do not feel I am ready to accept.

Both of us knew that life in Russia would be hard, that living space was difficult to obtain, and that the conveniences and comforts he had for many years enjoyed abroad would not be obtainable in Russia. Also since he was not a member of the Communist Party, he could never rise to a top position in the Soviet State. Arcadi, being well acquainted with both the old enduring Russian character and the Communists with whom he worked in London as a "non-party specialist," realized that my rosy picture of the Soviet Union was naive. But, like myself, he believed that a new and better world was being created in Russia, or could be built, if he and others like him devoted themselves to the endeavor without thought of personal advantage.

When my Fellowship came to an end in July, 1928, I took off for Moscow to join Arcadi, prior to his expected assignment to Japan where I should be able to complete the research work on my book on the cotton industry.

This time no smiling delegation met me at the Moscow station, and no luxurious quarters at the Metropol Hotel awaited me. Arcadi took me to a tiny room, not more than fifteen feet by twelve, with a single bed, a chest of drawers, and two straight chairs. There was not even a table, and I had to cook and iron and write on the wide window sill. But the flat was clean, and there was only one family in each of the four rooms sharing kitchen, bathroom and lavatory. For Moscow that was not bad. Unfortunately the room was not ours, but only lent to Arcadi for a few weeks. During the three months we lived in Moscow that year we moved twice.

Arcadi's salary was only 300 rubles a month, and since we were expecting to leave for Japan at any moment, I could not take a regular job. We just managed to live. Our rent was 50 rubles, meals at a cheap restaurant cost a ruble each. But bread was still cheap; and butter, when obtainable, about the same price as in England. Cigarettes were our greatest extravagance. At the end of each month I used to cart our empty bottles out to sell, or rake through our pockets for forgotten kopeks, to raise the price of a meal.

We were very happy. Discomfort and comparative poverty do not matter much so long as one is in love and has faith. And we both still had faith. Arcadi never regretted his house in London, and I had been poor most of the years since 1914. I wrote to my mother:

I feel sometimes that having found Arcadi is too good to be true. I feel that the fact that we have been able to be happy together in these conditions argues well for the future. We have begun life together in the worst material conditions instead of the best. All the same, we both look forward to the day when we have a bed each and spoons and knives, and a bath and toilet of our own.

The months of waiting in Moscow were difficult and frustrating. I was kept busy finishing a translation from the German of The Illustrated History of the Russian


Revolution* which I had begun in England, and which I counted on to provide money for Mother. I found it hard to work that summer in the uncertainty of our situation and the physical difficulties of existence. It became clear to us that without a considerable investment we would never get an apartment or even a room of our own. The brutal facts of life in the 'Socialist Paradise' were becoming more and more apparent, although I convinced myself that they were only a passing phase.

As usual I was worried about how to provide money for Mother, who was reluctant to rent out a room in our flat in Jessel House to any stranger.

I had hoped to be able to make some money as an interpreter at the Sixth Congress of the Comintern held that summer, having been recommended by Max Petrovsky, alias Breguer, at that time a big wheel in Moscow. But the deafness which was to afflict me far more seriously in later years prevented me. To mother I wrote: "I tried to interpret into a microphone while the speaker speaks but found my hearing was too bad to manage it. Arcadi is very concerned about my hearing and we are going to try and see a doctor. Also I shall be vaccinated before we leave Moscow and I am arranging to have my teeth done. We have just earned £4 on a Russian translation to pay for it."

I attended the Congress as a translator of written papers; listened to Bucharin from the visitors' gallery; saw Borodin walking in the corridors, already disgraced but still a romantic figure; thrilled at the sight of delegates - white, black, brown and yellow - from every corner of the world assembled in the socialist capital, visible witnesses to the "Unity of the Workers of the World."

Even in those days I had some deviations from "the Party line." My communism was essentially internationalistic and I thought of Trotsky as Lenin's heir. But I did not foresee that Stalin would soon acquire the power to destroy all that Lenin and Trotsky and the other old Bolsheviks had hoped to create. Nor had I as yet any inkling of the fundamental canker at the root of the Marxian doctrine which made the emergence of a tyrant such as Stalin practically inevitable. One believes what one wished to believe, until experience bangs one's head against the wall of reality.

At long last after the O.G.P.U. had fully satisfied itself concerning Arcadi and given him a passport, and the Japanese Government having likewise investigated him and given him a visa, we boarded the Trans Siberian Express. It was already October and we left Russia in the chill, wet Russian autumn, with the first signs of coming hardships already visible in Moscow. For some weeks I had been spending more and more time chasing after food supplies from one shop to another. Rationing had not yet been enforced, but the peasants were already refusing to sell their produce in return for money which could not buy them the clothing and other manufactures they required. Russia was on the eve of the Calvary of forced collectivization.

Describing our hasty departure from Moscow and the first days of our long journey, I wrote to Mother in a letter begun on the train on October 27, 1926:

I am afraid, I have not written for a long time but you will have had my wire saying that we left Moscow on the 20th. As you might expect with me and Arcadi, we hardly managed to get packed in time to catch the train as we did not begin 'til 1:30 A.M. the night before and then had dozens of things to do the last day. So after waiting five months to be off we only just managed to catch the train on Saturday night, arriving at the station 15 minutes before the train left!! However, here


* London, Martin Lawrence, 1928. Translation from the German made by Freda Utley, M.A.


we are in a comfortable second-class carriage and having a most interesting journey. Only it is tantalizing not to be able to get off and look at all the places. One gets out at the stations for 10 or 20 minutes and runs about but that is all.

It is already very cold in Siberia. Snow in most places and bitter cold but sunny. Very beautiful after Irkutsk but just flat plains before that. We have already been more than six days in the train but it passes very quickly. Each day time changes by one hour, so one puts one's watch forward an hour every night and really feels one is racing across the world.

The most wonderful part of the journey is the Baikal lake. We got up at 5:00 A.M. to see the beginning of it. The train runs by the side of the lake for hours and hours-it is like a sea. Absolutely deserted except for a few tiny villages. A great lost lake in the middle of Asia. The wildness of the land even near the railway is wonderful after Europe. I am out of Europe for the first time.

At Chita, in Siberia, I left Arcadi - he to proceed direct to Japan, I to China. To my great delight the Comintern in Moscow had entrusted me with secret papers to take to China. I was to travel across the Russian border into Manchuria and on to Shanghai alone, so that I should not be suspect, while Arcadi proceeded direct to Japan. For a day before I left Moscow I had hunted in the shops for a corset so that I could hide the papers in approved Secret Agent style. I had never before worn even a brassiere and was extremely uncomfortable all through that long journey, but the thrill of conceiving of myself as a real revolutionary, helping to fan the flames of world revolution and liberate the "oppressed colonial workers" sustained me through the ordeal of wearing what is today called a foundation garment for the first time in my life.

From Chita on October 29 I wrote to Mother with discretion:

Have decided to stop two days here and have a look around. This place is a day's journey from the Chinese frontier and is already very Eastern. It was the capital of the Far Eastern Republic before the Bolsheviks got control. The people here other than the Russians are Mongols. Unfortunately, one can get little information from anyone.

It is a pity Temple is not here to tell me about the races, etc. I wish I remembered more about Genghis Khan, etc. On the train one passes through great stretches of land and over big rivers of which no one seems to know even the name. The unexplored, unknown parts of the world. It is amazing to think that the Russians managed to colonize as far as this.

All I can today remember of Chita is the intense cold from which I sought temporary relief by boiling myself in hot baths, and the memorials of the Decembrists, the 150 exiled revolutionaries of 1825 who had dreamed of liberty, equality, and fraternity under the Iron Tsar, Nicholas I. Only later was it to be borne in me how mild had been the tyranny of the Tsars compared to that of Stalin. Few nineteenth- and early twentieth-century revolutionaries in Russia were executed or herded into concentration camps to do forced labor as under Stalin and Hitler's 20th-century totalitarian tyrannies. For the most part they were permitted to live in exile in Siberia with their families, and could even escape without too much difficulty if they were so minded. In Soviet Russia in later


years I was to learn that such comparatively humane and civilized treatment of political opponents makes Tsarist tyranny in retrospect seem almost benevolent.

I was looked after in Chita by a lively, energetic, and cheerful little O.G.P.U. man who had formerly been a sailor on American boats, and whom I was to meet years later in Moscow as a minor and most unhappy official at the Comintern. He was the sort of man who loves being conspiratorial for its own sake, and his manner of putting me on the express train to Harbin, from the tracks instead of the platform, into a specially reserved compartment, should have aroused the suspicion of the Japanese or Chinese spies, if there had been any.

I went through a bad half-hour at the Manchurian border. A young German with whom I had got friendly in the dining car remarked to me while we waited at the passport and customs-control office, that the system was to watch the faces of the travelers rather than to search their baggage carefully. A row of huge "White Russian" guards stood behind the Chinese customs officials watching the passengers. I had an innocent face and a British passport and Marshal Chang Tso-lin's police would need to have been very suspi­cious to search the person of a British subject, which was the reason why the Comintern had selected me to be its courier. So I really had nothing much to fear and my papers remained safe "in my bosom," as the old novels would have said.

Arrived in Harbin, I had the shock of discovering that Arcadi was still there and staying in the same hotel as myself. Seeing him quite close as I entered the restaurant for breakfast, I veered away and took a seat as far from him as possible, although longing to speak to him. However, it was a comfort to both of us that he should know I had safely crossed the border.

The Comintern, with the inefficiency characteristic of all Russian institutions, had been unaware that the fighting going on in North China had stopped all passenger traffic on the railway to Peking and that I would, therefore, have to get to Shanghai by sea from Dairen. The money I had been provided with for my journey was insufficient to meet the extra expense of waiting in the hotel at Dairen for passage on the crowded boats, and I had hardly a cent of my own. So in order to preserve enough to exist on in Shanghai for the ten days I planned to stay there, I economized in Dairen by eating only one meal a day. I took the table d'hote midday dinner at the de luxe Yamamoto Hotel and ate all through every one of its six or seven courses under the astonished and amused eyes of the Japanese waiters.

Eventually I got a ship to Shanghai where, according to my instructions I registered at the Palace Hotel and telephoned to a business office asking for a gentleman with a German name and telling him I had arrived with the samples of silk stockings he was waiting for. "Herr Doktor Haber." as he then called himself, came over at once and I handed over to him with considerable relief the sealed and silk encased package which I had concealed so long on my person, and which contained I know not what secret instructions for the furtherance of Communist aims in China.

Some days later I was permitted to meet with leaders of the Communist underground in Shanghai in one of their secret hideouts. Our rendezvous was at midnight in a whitewashed cellar somewhere off the Nanking Road in the British concession, to which I was conducted by a devious route lest anyone should be following me. It was very conspiratorial and thrilling and reminds me today of a Hollywood spy movie. For my Chinese companions it was deadly earnest since the British authorities in the International settlement, as well as Chiang Kai-shek's newly establishment government, were intent on


rooting out and exterminating the remnants of the Moscow directed Chinese Communist party.

I was probably safe from anything worse than deportation from China, but others were risking their lives.

Most of the men I met that night were not Chinese, but Americans and Germans or Ger­man speaking Europeans. The former, like myself, could rely on their governments' pro­tecting them, however reluctantly, against summary arrest, torture or death. But some among those present had become men without a country by reason of their dedication to the Communist cause. Those who came from Eastern Europe or other countries ruled over by dictatorships had no hope of protection from their governments.

They all plied me with questions about happenings in Moscow which I had difficulty in answering. If not crypto-Trotskyists, most of them seemed to be most unhappy revolutionaries who had witnessed Stalin's callous and cynical sacrifice of the Chinese Communists, and were watching with dismay the beginnings of his transformation of the Comintern into a sub-office of the Russian national state.

If I had been able to transcribe and preserve details of my discussions with the Comintern underground leaders in Shanghai in 1928 I could present some valuable historical sidelights on The Tragedy of the Chinese Revolution .*

Ten years later I was to meet victims of this long drawnout tragedy whom I had briefly encountered in the Communist underground in 1928.

In Shanghai, in October 1938, when about to leave for America after six months as correspondent for the London News Chronicle in the Hankow war zone, I was awakened very early by the telephone ringing by my bedside. A man's voice asked me if he could come up but would give no name. I was still half asleep when a white-faced, emaciated and shabbily dressed individual entered the room. I did not remember him but he gave me such full details of my visit to Shanghai in 1928 that I was convinced. He was pitifully nervous, dared not stay long, and begged me to come and visit him and his wife that evening.

They were the once famous couple internationally known under the name Noulens who had been arrested as Comintern agents in 1933 and made headlines when they went on a hunger strike.

I agreed to visit them but I was nervous because Noulens had insisted on my telling no one. For all I knew he might still be a Communist agent or could conceivably be working for the Japanese, and both Moscow and Tokyo would no doubt have liked to have me quietly disappear. So I took my trusted friend Randall Gould, editor of the Shanghai Evening Post, into my confidence. He offered to wait for me in his car at the end of the street and come and rescue me if I did not rejoin him in an hour's time.

The Noulens told me they had been released from prison in 1937 following the outbreak of war with Japan and the ostensible submission of the Chinese Communist Party to the Kuomintang government in a joint defense against Japanese aggression. Madame Sun Yat-sen was supplying them with enough money to exist. But they had been warned to see no one - or so they said, and I believed them. They told me they had so longed to speak to someone they had once known and trusted that they had risked asking me to their home. They were obviously terrified. Austrians without passports and with


* Title of Harold Isaacs book which in its original edition published in England in 1938 is the best and most fully documented account of Soviet policy in China in the 20's and 30's. The edition published later in the U.S. was expurgated by the author to be less offensive to Stalin.


nowhere to go, they feared liquidation if they returned to Russia because they knew too much. I urged them to meet Randall Gould, who was a liberal and a kindly man and who I knew would try to help them. But they dared not.

Poor devils. I felt full of pity for these two white-faced derelicts of an age in Comintern history long past. They had left one prison only to fear incarceration in another. Rejected by everyone, they were too broken in spirit to save themselves and start a new life. I had known men and women like them in Moscow, old revolutionaries whose hopes were dead but who could not break with their past and waited only for death.

"Dr. Haber" seems to have had better luck and more sense. He had organized a real import business as cover for his Comintern activities and developed it into a flourishing enterprise. Some of his employees acted in the double capacity of traveling salesmen and agents of the Comintern with their salaries halved between Moscow and Haber's business account. According to the account given of him in Pattern for World Revolution* by the former Communist "Ypsilon," Haber, whom he calls Comrade L, decided in the early thirties that the Revolution was dead and henceforth devoted him­self exclusively to the business which was by then netting him a hundred thousand dollars a year profit. He calmly returned the amount of the original capital advanced to him by Moscow, arguing that this was all the Comintern had a right to expect since he had all along paid ten per cent interest besides performing his duties as a Comintern agent.

I lived a double, or rather, a treble life in Shanghai, spending part of my time investigating conditions in the cotton industry; some evenings as the guest of "British Imperialists" at luxurious dinner parties and dancing or going to theaters with them; and others in secret meetings with the Communists.

It was part of the game that I should mix with the "bourgeoisie" and appear quite innocent of revolutionary activity; and my cotton industry investigations were in any case genuine. But,l was not cut out to be a conspirator, being all too intent on testifying to the "capitalists" concerning the rottenness of their system and the wickedness of their exploitation of the colonial workers. Thinking on one occasion to kill any doubts they might have about me, I told a Shanghai dinner party that I was doing some reporting for the Manchester Guardian. This was true, and I thought it should establish my bona fides in the "bourgeois" world. To my mind, the Manchester Guardian signified the "capitalist press," but to my compatriots in Shanghai it was "that Red rag," the paper for which "that awful fellow Arthur Ransome" wrote. All values are indeed relative as Hadow used to say. Five years later in Moscow in one of the periodic purges, or "cleansing of the apparatus," it was brought up against me as a proof of capitalist connections, that I had at one time worked for the Manchester Guardian.

Before sailing for Kobe with a batch of letters to be mailed there to Communist agents in Japan, I had myself inoculated against smallpox. Either because it was the first time, or because I went to a careless doctor or the serum was contaminated, or because I got some infection in the cheap and rather dirty hotel in the French concession to which I had moved after completing my mission for the Comintern, the results was so grim as to justify my father's refusal to have me inoculated in childhood when even in England the hazards of vaccination were considerable.

A German doctor in Shanghai after having "done me on the leg" had told me to come back four days later. Finding then that his inoculation seemed to have had no effect, he


* Ziff-Davis Publishing Co: Chicago-New York, 1947.


concluded that I was not liable to smallpox infection, and dismissed me without even putting on a piece of clean lint. The old dressing had fallen off before I left Shanghai, but I didn't bother since the doctor had been so casual about it. That night it seemed a bit swollen, so I went to the ship's doctor and he put on a clean dressing. Next day I felt rather bad and had a lump in my groin and the vaccinated part was so swollen that I went to the doctor again and he said not to worry, it was the natural effect of vaccination. That afternoon I went to bed about 5 o'clock and sent for aspirin. I felt very ill and even a bit delirious that night and had to make a great effort to pack and get ashore next morning, but nonetheless did not feel as bad as the night before. I got into a train at Kobe at once for Tokyo where I arrived next morning at 6:00 A.M. I went to an hotel and had a bath but kept my leg out of it, lay down a bit and later on went off to find Arcadi. My leg was by this time very swollen and painful and I put it all down to the vaccination. Arcadi insisted on my going to a doctor at once and I came to a place called St. Luke's hospital run by Americans but with Japanese doctors. At last I was in competent hands in a beautiful clean place. The doctor said I had been infected and had got erysipelas and must go to bed at once as it would be very dangerous if it spread. I was a bit frightened. The inflammation spread up to my groin and when my temperature went up and I felt generally pretty rotten they took me into the hospital where I spent 2½ days and got down the lump in my groin with ice bags. They stopped the inflammation spreading with some thick black ointment and soon there was no more danger. I have been up three days only I have had to go and have it dressed every two days, till the ulcers healed. The worst of the whole business is that it is and has been very expensive. I have not yet paid the Doctor's bill but it is about 6 shillings a time, and the hospital was 24/- a day, and then there is also the waste of time. In a later letter to Mother I wrote: "My leg has cost £11 already apart from the waste of time. Altogether, I wish very much that I had never been vaccinated. Arcadi never wanted me to and now I have worried him so much. He has been very concerned especially, as he says, because it is my leg and he thinks my legs the best part of me!"

Even after I left the hospital I remained separated from Arcadi except for clandestine meetings. As I wrote Mother:

The worst of it is that at present we are living almost as strangers and only meeting occasionally. This week he is in Osaka and I shall not be seeing him at all. The point is that I must see factories here and be accepted as a research student before I get mixed up with him, he being a Russian. The spying here is terrible and although Arcadi is not a Communist, and I am here for absolutely bona fide reasons, it is dangerous for us to be together at first. It is all a damnable nuisance and soon we are going to the same boarding house to lead an immoral life! But for the moment you will laugh to hear that I am living with a missionary! She is a very nice one and has a charming house on the water, and I have a delightful room and good food but I feel a bit lonely after this long separation - more than a month now - and am longing to be with Arcadi again. I am getting this letter posted in Vladivostock as otherwise, of course, the Japanese police would read it. You will also understand why I wired to stop Lily's letters, which are most compromising politically. This is a country in which it is dangerous to be even a liberal. The University here has me under their wing and I have other good introductions and I don't want to spoil it all by association with


Russians until I have seen all I can. Hence my temporary 'divorce' from Arcadi. So my future letters will be a bit colourless.

It proved as impossible to get some of my English friends to understand the nature of a police state then as later in Russia. John Strachey's wife was so ignorant or silly as to send me a letter addressed c/o the Japanese Communist Party, which was of course illegal and underground - a letter which I naturally never received and learned about only later.

The name of the very nice missionary with the "house on the water" was Miss Henty. She ran a kindergarten school for poor Japanese children and she was a darling. After I had confided in her and told her all about Arcadi instead of being shocked she helped us to meet as often and as discreetly as possible. She also assisted me greatly in my research by introducing me to Japanese friends, interpreting for me, and putting me in touch with teachers and social workers in other cities. Thus I stayed mainly with missionaries or in YWCA dormitories with Japanese girls while busily visiting large textile factories in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya, and small weaving sheds in outlying districts.

But for awhile I was, if not immobilized, considerably hampered by the after effects of my Shanghai vaccination.

On December 27, 1929 I wrote to Mother telling her that I evidently must have got "very run down" in Moscow because otherwise the "vaccination business" would not have developed such complications. "It is nearly seven weeks since it was done," I wrote on December 27, "and the ulcers have only just begun to heal. Also my teeth have been all wrong and I have had a lot of toothache." But I add, she should not worry because, after having just spent three Christmas holiday days at the sea at Atami with Arcadi, "walking all the time" I am feeling particularly well.

My letters from Japan that lonely December of separation from Arcadi reveal both my nostalgia for home and my temporary loss of confidence in myself, which was in part the result of the English Communist publishers of my translation of the Illustrated History of the Russian Revolution having complained of the quality of the work I had done on the second volume while in Moscow. Today I surmise that the real reason why, after having been very well satisfied with my translation of the first volume, they were now complaining and refusing to pay the money due to me, was because of the change in the 'party line' necessitating revision of the text to eliminate Trotsky entirely from the scene. But at the time I was shattered by the complaint about the quality of my work, and feared that I had become "decomposed."*

I was soon to recover my self-confidence as I immersed myself in my study of the Japanese cotton industry and after I had some widely publicized articles published in the Manchester Guardian. But I retained a lingering fear that I might be becoming "decomposed," as when I wrote to Mother: "I am living in the present for the first time in my life and I know it is dangerous."

At the end of January, having accumulated an abundance of data. I went to live with Arcadi in Tokyo at the small house he had rented at Kogaicho 2, Azabu, near the Soviet Trade Representation offices. To the letter I wrote to Mother from Tokyo early in the morning of January 30, 1929, after a long coach journey from Osaka, Arcadi added a squeezed in postscript:

I bargained with Freda for space but she treats room on her paper as if it were a Moscow flat. She is rather stingy but it can't be helped. I must


* This was my husband's translation of the Russian adjective rajlajitse applied to Communists whose revolutionary energy was sapped by residence among the bourgeoisie. The word implies a general softening and giving way to the desire for an easy, comfortable life.


stand it because she is now such a rare guest of mine! Three weeks in three months! I used an extension of space wishing you the best of luck in 1929 and all the years to come. My love to Temple and many thanks for the book you sent me. Best of love, Arcadi.




Chapter 12


My Japanese year was the best in all my life. So happy, so well-remembered that I look back on it through the gathering mist of my coming old age with an aching nostalgia.

Arcadi and I were very much in love and enjoyed to the full the great happiness of being at long last together. We were getting to care more and more for one another as we understood one another better and became increasingly intimate both physically and mentally. Life was full of laughter, thanks to his gift of humor and my release for awhile from the nagging money worries of the past. I described what I felt to Mother in sentences I could not improve on today:

I can realize now the sweetness and joy of your life with Dada and the terrible loneliness afterwards. You, dear, and I think I also, for a time at least-have enjoyed a perfect companionship which simply does not admit of pretenses and squabbles and flirtations, which do in fact come into the life of most people. I waited a very long weary time Mother, and it only came just in time to save me from taking a third or fifth best or, rather, nothing.

We lived very simply, for although Arcadi was earning £100 a month, we hoped to save enough money to buy an apartment in Moscow when we returned - which meant stringent economizing in view of the dependents we both had to provide for. In addition to "Mrs. B." Arcadi had a son in Poland by his first wife whom he was educating, and I had Mother. Besides it hardly seemed worthwhile buying anything but the minimum essentials of furniture and other things since we thought we would be in Japan only a few months. We went on with one table, two chairs, two knives, two glasses and plates, and that was about all. We slept on the floor as the Japanese do on "foutons" but later an old divan was lent to us. It was a Japanese house in which we had two rooms. It was all made of paper and thin wood. No glass and you could put your fingers through the walls in many places. I kept on making holes in the paper so we had plenty of fresh air coming in! There were also plenty of rats which disturbed Arcadi's sleep but I was too deaf to hear them.

By summer 1929 we had four rooms. We went on existing with two writing tables, one round table and three straight chairs, and were still sleeping on the floor-but had acquired six sets of knives, forks, spoons and china. I could see us going on for years like this, always thinking we were not going to stay put more than a few weeks and then staying months. I didn't really mind. It made life "very simple" and I was far too happy with Arcadi.

Moreover, as compared with earlier years of my life, and the future which awaited us in Moscow, we were in clover. We had plenty to eat and ample living space and no serious money troubles.

In addition, as rarely afterwards in my life, I did not have to do the cooking or washing up. We had acquired a wonderful servant. Arcadi had been joking for a long time


that since he lived with me he was kept starving, and after I had been in bed for a few days with an ulcerated throat, we thought we had better do something. So I got rid of my inefficient charwoman and engaged an Amah. After a week she had become a pearl beyond price. She cooked well and was scrupulously clean. We were living as we had never lived. Three regular meals a day! It was too good to be true. Of course, our living expenses went up but we were eating good wholesome food and enough. It was a great change. It was also rather a joke because we had to live up to our servant. She was used to a "proper household." We had to use serviettes, but Arcadi had never accustomed himself to doing without them. Best of all, he was beginning to go to bed earlier. He advanced his usual bedtime from 3:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.! We were forced into regular habits. We paid her 50 yen a month ( £5) and she lived in but found her own food. I hoped she would stay for I expected we were in for a lot of lean living again in the future, so we might as well live a bit better while we could. However, we still didn't buy a bed as it didn't seem worthwhile.

We surmised that our invaluable Japanese servant was, of necessity, a spy. But she was a very nice one. She became so friendly that she told us she had to report on us daily to the Security Police. This did not worry us since there was actually little or nothing for her to report about either of us.

Arcadi's mission to Japan was for the purpose of investigating the possibilities of expanding the market for "Santonin," a medicine extracted from a plant grown only in Turkestan, which cured the worms which afflict and debilitate the people of all rice culture "night soil" fertilizer Asian countries.

Nowadays there are chemically produced synthetics which are equally efficacious, but at this time Russia had a monopoly on the drug and Japan was the largest consumer, be­cause the Chinese and other rice culture countries were too poor to buy Santonin. Arcadi had to study the market situation and decide whether lowering the price would increase sales in Japan and elsewhere, or whether maintenance of the very high Russian monopoly price would be more profitable.

"Monopolistic capitalist" or "Soviet imperialist" as Arcadi's business activities undoubtedly were, they were no more subversive than my investigations of the Japanese cotton industry.

It was, however, the fixed belief of the Japanese authorities that all Soviet employees must be doubling as Communist agents. So much so that when Arcadi was seeking a Japanese assistant in his Santonin promotion and advertising campaign, a well qualified young Japanese who applied for the job said to him, "I cannot do both." "Both what?' Arcadi asked, "Both business and Communist propaganda," he replied.

Wonderfully naive Japanese, I used to think. But they were perhaps no more naive or misguided than Americans today who imagine that every Soviet technician or specialist abroad is clandestinely or openly engaged in Communist propaganda, whereas the truth in most cases is that he is just too, too, happy to have escaped for awhile from the "Socialist Paradise."

In Japan in 1929 when life in Russia was not nearly so hard as it became later, the majority of Soviet employees at the Trade Representation and Embassy wanted above all to remain abroad.

Of course, they could not say so openly, but it was all too obvious. Those who dreaded most being recalled to Moscow were the men who suspected that their wives had married them only in order to go abroad and would divorce them if they were sent home. A  notable case was that of poor Shubin, the middle-aged Counsellor of the Soviet


Embassy in Tokyo whose beautiful young wife was the belle of the diplomatic corps. As only a high grade member of the Communist party could provide her in Russia with the standard of life she had become accustomed to in the capitalist world, she promptly divorced him after they were recalled to Moscow and married Voitinsky, a big shot in the Comintern who later became my "boss" at the Institute of World Economy and Politics in Moscow.

Shubin was a gentle, honorable, and kindly man, a Menshevik who never joined "the Party." Nevertheless, he did not do at all badly for himself on his return to Moscow. After his lovely young wife had duly divorced him to take a higher place in Soviet society, Shubin married Anna Louise Strong, the foremost female American propagandist for the Soviet Union, whose "passionate stupidity" is described in Malcolm Muggeridge's satire on the Soviet Union entitled Winter in Moscow. * In Moscow in the 30's, Shubin, who was a small thin man, would appear like a small tug conveying an ocean liner when he accompanied his massively proportioned wife to Moscow parties.**

The intrigues, the calumnies, and the factional struggles which went on in the small Russian colony of employees at the Trade Representation and Embassy in Tokyo should have taught us what to expect in the USSR. But we thought, or continued to kid ourselves, that this was because the Russian colony was composed of "intellectuals" and that in Russia the proletarians ensured a cleaner atmosphere.

Moreover, both the Ambassador, Tryanovsky, and the Trade Representative, Anikeev. were decent men and the same could be said of Ivan Maisky, later to become Ambassador to Britain, but at this time the Counsellor of the Embassy in Tokyo. Maisky's wife and my friend Madam Anikeev were at daggers drawn and once during Tryanovky's absence from Tokyo a telegram had to be sent to Moscow to settle the delicate question of precedence at Embassy dinner parties and Japanese state functions: who came first - the wife of Maisky, the Embassy Counsellor, or the wife of Anikeev, the Trade Representative? As far as I remember, the question was settled in Madam Anikeev's favor. but the whole Russian colony was split into factions by the antagonism between these two women. They were fairly evenly matched, because although Maiskaya was a member of the Party and Anikeeva was not, Maiskaya had not joined the Bolsheviks until 1924, whereas Anikeev was not only an old Bolshevik but was also of proletarian origin, having once been a factory worker in France. Anikeeva being both a beautiful woman and intelligent, became a sort of First Lady, in spite of Maiskaya's "old Bolshevik" qualifications. Tryanovsky"s wife, an unassuming lady, played no part in the faction fights of Red society. His first wife had been a Bolshevik when he was a Menshevik, and the story told was that during the civil wars she had condemned her husband to death when he was brought before her as a prisoner. Lenin himself had talked Tryanovsky over into joining the Bolsheviks and saved him from the death sentence imposed by his wife. I cannot vouch for the truth of this story, as whispered to me in Tokyo, but at least it explained Tryanovsky's choice of a non-political, rather colorless lady as his second wife. It is more pleasant to have a wife not liable to shoot one on account of one's political


* Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, 1934.

** Shubin was purged in the late '30s and Anna Louise Strong briefly arrested as I learnt on my 1938 lecture tour in America when I met her father, a devout minister, in Seattle, dreadfully worried at his daughter's arrest. Terrified, or clinging to her Communist faith, Anna Louise Strong made all the necessary confessions and is today, in her 80's, comfortably installed in Peking as the grand old lady of Western Communist society among a handful of other defectors.


beliefs. (Decades later their son became a familiar figure in the West as Khrushchev's interpreter.)

Soviet society cannot intelligibly be described without some account of the human element. Russian women are just as prone to social discrimination, pride in their social status, love of fine clothes and admiration, as women in "bourgeois" society. Soviet society has its hierarchies and its jealousies and never was composed of simple-minded, ardent revolutionaries with red cotton handkerchiefs on their heads, intent on constructing socialism regardless of personal advancement and the material comforts such advancement brings. The poorly dressed men and women who march in the demonstrations of the proletariat, to the admiration of foreign tourists, are most of them longing to change places with the "boyars of the bureaucracy"* who watch them from reserved seats in the Red Square.

Despite my mainly political interests, I became interested in Arcadi's business activities on behalf of the Soviet government. I followed his negotiations learning something about business and realized that it can be fascinating. At least when it is on a big scale such as Arcadi's work where he had to use so many kinds of knowledge: finance, economics, and psychology. His understanding of people's characters, motives, and weaknesses was astonishing. At the same time he was amazingly young and happy and sometimes absurdly playful. Even as I write of him now, I smile at memories of his whimsicalities.

Arcadi also taught me chess and was anxious that I should learn to beat him. We doubted that I ever would. Our son was to become a good chess player even as a child without benefit of teaching by his father. Today I often marvel at Jons resemblance to his father in qualities of mind, heart, intelligence, and above all, in understanding of people. Arcadi was a success in private business before he devoted his talents to the service of the first "socialist state," and thereafter became an invaluable asset to his Communist "bosses." Jon. following his graduation from Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service in 1956 was to achieve financial independence by making a success in business in South America.

Morgan Young, publisher and editor of the Japan Chronicle, had told me that once my connection with Arcadi was discovered I would find myself in difficulties and that the police might confiscate all my notes. Warned by him ahead of time that the Japanese authorities had caught up with me, I took his advice to deliver them for safekeeping to George Sansom, the Commercial Counsellor of the British Embassy to whom he gave me an introduction.

Approaching the British Embassy with some trepidation as a class-conscious Communist, I was met by George Sansom with the disarming remark, "What a lovely coat you have on" - referring to a dark blue Harris tweed coat which was my pride and joy, but which Arcadi and other Russians thought inelegant!

Years later in Moscow I was to discover in selling old clothes to a Tartar trader in order to buy food, that the garments regarded in England as best because made of handspun and woven material, were despised in Russia where only machine-made stuff, however shoddy, was considered valuable.

George Sansom, having already charmed me by his appreciation of my coat, proceeded to win my further confidence by agreeing to take all my precious notes on the Japanese cotton industry into safekeeping until such time as the danger had passed over. He also


* The term used to describe the Communist aristocracy by Boris Souvarine in his monumental and unequaled book, Stalin: A Critical Survey of Bolshevism, Seeker & Warburg, London, 1939.


invited me to have lunch with him and his wife, Katherine, and later they visited Arcadi and me at our home and we gradually became good friends. Years afterwards in England, George (later Sir George) Sansom, internationally recognized as the foremost Western scholar of Japanese history and culture, told me that prior to my coming to see him he had been warned against me as a dangerous Communist agent by the British Foreign Office.

The Sansoms met the Chairman of the Soviet Trade Delegation, Anikeev, and his charming wife at our house, although the Soviet and British Governments and Embassies were not on speaking terms. George and Katherine both became quite attached to my husband, and George and Arcadi were mutually appreciative of each other's qualities and knowledge. Arcadi was as reserved as any Englishman and made the kind of ironical jokes which appeal to the English but were to get him into trouble in Russia.

Katherine, who was quite a beauty and was always elegantly attired although not spending much money on clothes, endeavored in Tokyo in 1929 to improve my appearance. She took me to her dressmaker, and, more important, taught me to use cosmetics. I used powder, although not lipstick, and was not unfamiliar with Pond's cold cream. But it was Katherine Sansom who gave me a pot of lemon complexion cream, took me to the first beauty parlor or hair dresser I had ever gone to, and in general interested me in my appearance - as my mother had tried and singularly failed to do.

Although I was by now living openly in Tokyo with Arcadi as his wife, my marital status was ambiguous. In Temple's phrase, I had the choice between "sin or citizenship." My living with Arcadi without any formalization of our marriage became generally known, and, of course, some people were shocked. George Sansom had known for some time, but he realized that it was only to keep my British citizenship and he was extremely decent. Also, Miss Henty, the missonary with whom I stayed before, was "perfectly ripping" about it. She said that I was really married, that it was just the same thing as if I


The Japanese police were naturally suspicious of me because of the secrecy of our relationship. I asked George Sansom for his protection. He told me to refer them to him if I had any trouble. Morgan Young had warned me some time before when I told him about my having a husband to whom I was not legally married that anyone who associated with Russians would be suspect in Tokyo.

The Professor at Keio University to whom the School of Economics had given me an introduction was I wrote "a beautiful example of things here." I didn't know what he knew about my personal affairs but thought that it was probably a good deal. One day when I went to see him. Bertrand Russell's name came up and I saw he was anything but persona grata. This Professor had the cheek to say that Russell had shocked the Japanese very much by living there openly with a woman to whom he was not married! This, in a country where divorce for men was as easy as in Russia; where it was common for couples to live together for a year without registering their marriage; and where people who made their fortunes out of brothels were respected members of society. I planned to write and tell Russell about it, so indignant was I at his daring to criticize so great a man. Whether he was getting at me or not, I didn't know. Anyhow, I looked forward with great joy to telling the School of Economics about it when I got back because he was the Japanese representative on the Economic History Society Committee.

I must here digress to explain my marital status, or lack of it, as also to pay tribute to the British authorities who both then and years later were as helpful as they could be in the circumstances.


According to Soviet law at this time, it was sufficient to register as man and wife with the house management of the block in which one lived to be considered married, and this we had done. The further step of recording a marriage with the district Soviet authorities was extremely simple. As I had seen, when Arcadi divorced Anna Abramovna in 1928, there was a clerk at a table on one side of the room to register divorces and another some few feet away at which to marry. But, had we recorded our marriage at the Soviet divorce and marriage office I would have had to surrender my British passport and become a Soviet "citizen."

Originally, I had wanted to retain my British passport in order not to encounter the difficulties which Soviet citizens experienced in obtaining visas to visit foreign countries. Later it was the fact that I had remained a British "subject" which saved me from being incarcerated forever in the vast prison house which Soviet Russia was to become.

When my son was born in Moscow in March 1934, I registered his birth with the Soviet authorities without giving his father's name, and the British Embassy did me the great favor of inscribing Jon's name on my passport with the proviso that he was not a British subject. And in 1940 in America, when applying for United States citizenship for myself and my son, a sympathetic British consul in New York who happened to have known my brother in the South Seas, gave me the precious document reproduced here:




8th November 1940.


It is hereby certified that the form of marriage which Miss Freda Utley went through in Moscow in the year 1928 is not regarded by His Majesty's Government as binding. Miss Utley is, therefore, considered officially unmarried and she therefore continues to hold a British passport in her maiden-name.

Miss Utley's son, John Basil Utley, was included in her passport at His Majesty's Consulate in Moscow, since she had chosen to register him under her own name, although he is not considered as a British subject for the time being.


H.B.M. Vice-Consul.

This cleverly worded letter enabled me to escape from my old dilemma of "sin or citizenship" without any stigma of illegitimacy on my son.

* * *

Besides the most useful contacts given me by my missionary friend. Miss Henty, I had introductions from the London School of Economics which opened many doors. And I was fortunate in that on my first visit to Kobe I met and began what was to prove a life-long friendship with Morgan Young, the intrepid editor and publisher of the world renowned liberal weekly, Japan Chronicle, and author of several excellent books on Japan. He knew Russell and admired him. He was interesting,intelligent,and humane and was to remain my friend until his death in England at the beginning of the Second World War.

In general I was afforded a rare opportunity to acquire the information I required to write my book and the articles I had contracted to send to the Manchester Guardian Commercial Supplement  on comparative costs of production in  the Japanese and


Lancashire cotton industries. I was hampered only by my lack of any mechanical or engineering training or of practical knowledge of the production process. I had visited a few cotton textile factories in Lancashire while at the London School of Economics but until I came to Japan I had no opportunity to master the many stages of the productive process which transforms a ball of raw cotton into the yarn which is eventually woven into cloth. So I had to pretend to be an expert until I actually became one. This required hard work and constant vigilance lest I betray my ignorance. While posing the questions, noting the answers, and checking them by my own observations of how many workers were standing at each machine producing so much per hour or day from carding to spinning to weaving, enabling me to calculate labor and other costs, I learnt to distinguish one machine from another in the whole complicated process.

I also had to beware of permitting myself to be overwhelmed by Japanese courtesy and hospitality to the extent of neglecting my primary interest in the condition of the Japanese proletariat. It was quite difficult to prevent myself from relaxing after a luncheon with sake toasts, following a strenuous morning walking through the many departments of a textile mill and cataloging my observations and the replies to my questions. I had to overcome both temporary lethargy and a certain reluctance to embarrass my hosts when I insisted on spending the rest of the day inspecting living conditions, and talking to the indentured girl workers who constituted the bulk of the labor force in the Japanese textile industry.

There were some embarrassing times when, myself treated as an equal by my Japanese hosts, I came up against their attitude to their own women. As when the managing director of a big textile mill in Nagoya invited me to dinner bringing his wife with him to the restaurant. I felt very uncomfortable when she knelt in the background to serve us. Or when I was bowed out of a room first while the Japanese women waited to follow the men.

I have never been much of a feminist since I usually like men better than women but I believe in equality of rights and opportunities for the sexes as well as for races and peoples. So I was outraged at the subordinate status of Japanese women in those days, as well as horrified at the exploitation of the women workers.

I remember one amusing episode: in a conversation with an engineer when responding to the usual Japanese enquiry in making social talk, "How many childs have you?" I dodged the question, not knowing whether it was by now known that I was married, and replied with the same query. Whereupon the Japanese engineer replied. "Two. and one in the course of production."

Writing to Mother in March 1929, I say: "I believe I have done some good work. I have just sent a long article to the Manchester Guardian on spinning costs. My report goes very much against the Consular Report issued in 1927 and I think it will make a stir. Last Sunday I spent the day with Arno Pearce, the Secretary of the International Master Cotton Spinners whom I got to know in Manchester when the School of Economics sent me there. He was just leaving after three weeks in Japan and although he has not collected nearly so much information as I have-not visited so many mills - his results fit in fairly well with mine. He congratulated me on the work I have done and said it would be a good thing if I could go to India and study the industry there in the same way. I am afraid though that the expense makes this impossible.

"As I gave a good many of my figures to Pearce I am now in a great hurry to get my stuff published, as, although he would be too decent actually to use them, his report will probably be affected by them. So I have already rushed off one article."


In another sentence in this letter which I read today with wry amusement at my attitude toward life in those distant days I concluded:

"Although I had felt that I had wasted a lot of my time here just being happy, I seem really to have done something."

My second article, 5,000 words long on weaving, had really entailed a terrific amount of work. I had been working so hard I had "hardly missed Arcadi!" who had been away in Osaka. I asked Mother to telephone Emile Burns at the Labor Research Dept. and tell him that: "my conclusions show Japanese labor costs in spinning to be about one-half English ones and in weaving about one-third."

My continuing contributions published in the Manchester Guardian Commercial Supplement in the spring and summer of 1929, for which I was paid £15 each provided some money for Mother, besides winning me recognition as an expert on the cotton industry at home and abroad. And my book Lancashire and the Far East* (although not published until 1931 on account of the refusal of Sir William Beveridge to permit the London School of Economics to sponsor it) was also to win me acclaim as the author of a valuable study even by those who disliked my Socialist and anti-imperialist viewpoint.

Once again I was given the opportunity to take my place as a scholar, economist, or expert in the "capitalist world" with a secure and profitable future. But all my life I could never "stick to one last," or "cash in" on the successes I have achieved in one or another field of endeavor. My mental bent was toward research and the quest for facts, truth, and more than superficial understanding in every branch of knowledge in which I became interested. But my temperament impelled me to get involved in political fights which tarnished my reputation as a scholar; and to dissipate or spread my energies in too many different directions.

Happy as I was in Japan, I had a deep conviction that it was wrong to be living comfortably while surrounded by poverty, misery and oppression. Japan was giving me my first experience of a police state. It could not be compared to the apparatus of compulsion and terror I was to know in Soviet Russia, but the regime was sufficiently tyrannical and oppressive to keep my revolutionary fervor alive and make me feel guilty because I was enjoying life so much.

I decided I must tear myself away from Arcadi and return to England to work for the Communist Party. My letters to my mother reflect the conflict between what I conceived as my duty to humanity and the desire of my heart to continue the wonderful joy of life in Japan with Arcadi. In a letter dated July 5, 1929 I wrote:

"I suppose I really am coming back (probably by September). Now it is getting so close I dare not think of it. Forgive me, dearest, I want to be with you very much indeed but I can now hardly contemplate life without Arcadi ... I feel a fierce desire to stay with Arcadi and seize what life offers in the present. And yet I know I must remain Freda and come home to do some work. I even feel and know I should not keep Arcadi's love if I became just his wife."

Two decades later, hearing Marlene Dietrich sing her unforgettable Berlin song with the refrain "Why in this earthly paradise are we in love with pain," I remembered and wondered why I left Arcadi in Japan instead of enjoying to the full as long as possible the wonderful life we had there together.

Of course, no one knows his real motives. Perhaps it was not really my feeling that one has no right to great personal happiness so long as the majority of mankind starve and toil


* Allen & Unwin, 1931.


without joy. It may have been ambition or the desire to make my mark in the world, which is perhaps the same thing as love of power, which impelled me to leave Arcadi and return to work in the Communist Party in England. Or it may have been the feeling I expressed in several of my letters that Arcadi's love for me was founded upon his conception of me as a revolutionary, an intellectual, an independent woman, not a "mere wife." I felt that if I lost myself in his love I might lose it, that I must somehow continue being what I had been when he began to love me.

Although he knew he would be terribly lonely when I was gone, Arcadi encouraged me to leave him to go back to England to work for the Communist cause in which I still believed. Arcadi, even as I, believed in what the Webbs called the Vocation of Leadership, meaning the duty of all who long for social justice, to sacrifice personal happiness to political work.

Before tearing myself away from Arcadi to work in England until we could meet again in Moscow, we spent the best holiday we ever had together at Tsuruga on the northwest coast of Japan where we shared lodgings with some Russian friends. It was extremely hot but far better than Tokyo, since we had the sea to cool ourselves in and could go around in the cotton kimonos suitable to the climate. I taught Arcadi to swim and he did his best to improve my chess game.

Arcadi used to call me his 'swan song', meaning then, as I understood him, that after his previous unhappy marriages, he saw me as his last best love who gave him all he longed for in his personal life as both wife and comrade, and renewed his hope in the possiblity of creating a world where there should be no more man-made misery and injustice.

After I lost him, some ten years after we had found one another in London, I realized that he had been more prophetic than he knew, since the swan dies in singing its last beautiful song, and it was I who had lured Arcadi to death or slavery in Soviet Russia by renewing his faith that God's kingdom on earth could be established by adhering to the godless faith of the Marxists.

In 1940 when I wrote The Dream We Lost* the only letter I possessed from my husband was one quoted at the beginning of the previous chapter. But while writing these Memoirs I found among my Mother's papers a letter from Tsuruga Arcadi wrote to me in London a few days after we parted and I was on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Vladivostok to Moscow on my way home to England: My darling Fredochka,

I spent nearly a week in Tsuruga since you left and I have already a slight foretaste of what it will be like in the future. The most important is that however hard I try to adapt myself to the human milieu I find it nearly impossible. Humbug, cowardice and lack of culture, not to say refinement, seem to be all pervading with a few very rare exceptions. It is evident that the only way is seclusion, just as we secluded ourselves from all the world when you were here. This mode of living will secure at least that I shall not feel provoked by stupidity or cowardice to say unpleasant truths which are of no earthly use to anyone. I never had such a clear conception of how much the set habits and conceptions mean in the life of any community, as I learned here.

I shall miss terribly my darling comrade but I hope that you will make it worth while by attending to your hearing and preparing for our


* The John Day Co., New York.


future life together. At the same time don't neglect to create for yourself a proper footing in the things that interest you and are essential for you. Your personality should not get dissolved in the small family interests, it would have been too shortsighted, however great may be the temptation to do so.

My darling wife is really very much different from the other women I know, and I cherish that you are so different. I cannot help making mental comparisons and they are all in your favour. My swan song is bound to remain my swan song, however long the separation, and I only hope that you will not forget me. I am with you in my thoughts. I know each day your approximate whereabouts and it gives me some strange pleasure to know which point you have passed already and how far the train has carried you away to a place which will fill you with new joys and pleasure. I love you so very, very much. Yours, Arcadi In reading this letter so many years after, I recall with wonder that I was once so greatly loved by a man with such exceptional qualities of mind and heart as my long lost husband.

Today I regret nothing more in my life than not having savored my happiness to the full and lived out the brief periods Arcadi and I might have had together before we were incarcerated in a purgatory of our own choosing in Soviet Russia. Today, I not only know that the gods are jealous of human happiness but the way to cheat them is not to be afraid of them. To be alive at all is wonderful, and to have known, even for only a short while, the greatest happiness which life can give - to love and be loved utterly - gives life a savor even after it has all vanished with the snows of yesteryear.

To Arcadi, who did not live to see the transformation of the "capitalist system" in the West into a society of greater abundance and opportunities for all than had ever been known anywhere on earth, socialism, even as practised in Russia, still seemed to offer the only hope for the emancipation of mankind from want. He continued to believe, during the worst years in Russia that were to follow our honeymoon year in Japan, that men of good will, even under Stalin's terrible tyranny, could eventually ameliorate the condition of the Russian people and show mankind the way to a better order of society.

Maybe Arcadi with his acute intelligence, sensitivity and lack of illusions would have been as unhappy in any society as he was in Japan after I left him there alone. He needed the sustenance of love and comradeship and faith that somewhere, somehow life can be good and beautiful, which I had given him while I was still young and full of illusions.

Several years later in Moscow he used to say that the position and perquisites of a Communist in the ruling hierarchy depended mainly on how much he had "invested" in the revolution before the Bolsheviks came to power. It is also true that the greater one's commitment to the ideas in which one has staked all of one's heart and mind, the harder it is to cut one's losses. In spite of doubts, I could not let myself believe that the cause to which we wanted to devote our lives was a mirage. Neither I nor Arcadi could quickly cut loose and, by abandoning our tarnished hopes of helping to establish a better world in Soviet Russia, save ourselves.

We had to learn the hard way by bitter personal experience that bad means cannot establish good ends, but by that time it was too late to save ourselves. At various points in our lives it would have been easy for both of us to cut our ideological losses, pursue our


personal happiness, and enjoy prosperity and security in the "capitalist world." Particularly so in 1930 when he, still in the Far East, and I in England were both free to go wherever we wished. But like moths attracted to a flame which, considering that we both had better brains and more experience than most moths, we ought to have had the sense not to be destroyed by, Arcadi and I flew back to Moscow's brilliant red light and to his ultimate destruction.







Chapter 13


In Moscow for a week or two on my way home to England in the fall of 1929, I became aware of the shadows of terror which were already closing in on Russia. Nevertheless, back in London I threw myself into the work of the British Communist party, and tried to bury in my subconscious my doubts concerning the Soviet socialist new order. I worked for the British Communist party among the textile workers in Lancashire and campaigned for the Communist candidate at a by - election in Sheffield. I became a member of the Industrial Committee of the Party in London and wrote articles for Communist publications. I had won a reputation as an expert on costs of production in the cotton industry by my Manchester Guardian articles, and the endorsement of the results of my research by the International Master Cotton Spinners Association. Instead of cashing in on it by contributing well paid articles to the "capitalist press," I wrote a pamphlet for the Communist Party on "What's Wrong with the Cotton Trade."

Arcadi sent me money and I took no payment from the Party. I was able to resume giving lecture courses for the Workers' Educational Association, thanks to Barbara Wootton.* I was also busy on my first book Lancashire and the Far East, which I had begun writing in Japan. I read the works of Marx and Lenin conscientiously and thoroughly, and tried to explain in simple language the basic tenets of the Communist faith which, if one could make them clear to the workers, must make them see that only through the unity of the workers of the world could living standards be improved and unemployment eliminated.

In speaking to the Lancashire cotton operatives, I came up against the basic dilemma of the Marxist revolution, and also against the obstacle of the Comintern's indifference to the sufferings of the working class.

How could one convince the Lancashire cotton operatives that they should refuse to allow the cotton industry to be rationalized, refuse to work more looms, and go on strike for higher wages, when they knew as well as I did that the immediate result of such action would be more unemployment through the loss of more markets to Japan and other competing countries? To my mind it seemed clear that the basic need was to explain Marxist theory to them, to make them understand the meaning of "Workers of the world, unite" by showing that if all textile workers in all countries got together in one organization they could establish higher wages for all; to make them understand that the capitalist system based on production for profit inevitably doomed them to increasing poverty now that other countries besides England were industrialized, and workers in the East with lower standards of life competed against them.

In my pamphlet** I endeavored to express in simple language the "contradictions of


* Now Lady Wootton and a member of the House of Lords.

** What's Wrong With the Cotton Trade: An explanation of the present depression and the Communist policy for cotton workers. Published in 1930 by the Communist Party of Great Britain.


the capitalist system" which forced one to the conclusion that socialism was the only way to solve the problem of poverty in the midst of plenty. "Is it true," I asked, "that because more of everything is being produced all over the world, all workers must be made poorer by wage reductions? Is it true that because the total quantity of goods which the world can produce has grown greater, all workers are to have less of these goods?" This I continued, "is actually what the employers - the capitalists - argue and this is the position under capitalism . . . ." Because, I explained, giving the classical Marxist explanation, "under the capitalist system under which we live, the workers receive much less in wages than the value of the goods they produce."

I possess a torn and battered copy of this old pamphlet of mine, thanks to my old friend and former comrade in the British Communist Party, Michael Ross, who, after abjuring Communism emigrated to America ahead of me and was foreign adviser to George Meany at the American Federation of Labor when he died in 1964. Reading it now, I consider that I did a pretty good job of setting forth in easily understandable terms the basic Marxist theses which were tenable at that time but which have, happily, been refuted during my lifetime by the transmutation of the "capitalist system," in the advanced Western countries into something far better and more progressive than the sterile and stultifying "socialism" of the Communist powers.

By retaining the profit motive as its dynamo but accepting the necessity for some state regulation or control, the system we still call capitalist has demonstrated its capacity to produce more for more people than the socialist system which, in practice, has been found to require compulsion in order to function, and is consequently as inefficient as slave systems of bygone ages, although likewise formidable in war.

Back in the 20's and 30's, international socialism seemed the only way out, and even today one can question whether, had it not been for the Communist and National Socialist challenge and menace, the "capitalist system" would ever have resolved its contradictions.

It is I think wrong to regard the USSR and the USA today as having developed similar systems from opposite premises because this too optimistic world outlook disregards vital political factors. Despite the resemblance between the ever less socialist Soviet economic set up and the increasingly "socialist" capitalist system, the fundamental difference remains between government by consent of the governed under the rule of law, and that of an autocracy- or communist oligarchy relying on complusion to preserve its privileges and powers. Nevertheless there is truth in the Hegelian theory of thesis, anti-thesis and eventual synthesis, as applied to the development of the free enterprise and opposing socialist systems of our time.

One can also view the course of human events in my lifetime as illustrating basic truths expressed in the Morality Plays and legends of the "Ages of Faith." Fear of the devil and hell, caused many a king, baron, or knight and others enjoying temporal power, to behave somewhat better to their subjects than they otherwise would have done, just as in our times the fear of Communism leads to reform.

In England in 1930 I found myself up against the Comintern, which was then pursuing an ultra-left policy and insisting that agitation, agitation above all, was the function of Communist parties. No theoretical explanations, no waste of time or energy in exposing the dynamics of capitalism; just tell the workers to strike and strike whatever the consequences. The Comintern, already transformed into an arm of the Soviet govern­ment, was not concerned with the livelihood of the workers; it aimed only to weaken the capitalist states by continual strikes and the dislocation of economic life. Its primary


objective was the safety of the USSR and it recked nothing of the interests or sufferings of the "toiling masses."

One day in Blackburn, the great weaving center of Lancashire, an elderly textile worker complained bitterly to me that it was all very well for the paid officials of the Communist Party to get themselves arrested for deliberately and unnecessarily holding meetings where they obstructed the traffic, but how could we expect workers with families to do so, since it was an utterly useless performance? He did not know how proud Communist Party members were if, when they went to Moscow, they could boast that they had gone to jail in the class struggle. Such an accomplishment might be held to wipe out the stigma of their non-proletarian origin.

(In Moscow some years later I was to meet again an unemployed worker and his wife with whom I had stayed in Sheffield while speaking for the party. Appalled by the miserable condition of the Russian "proletariat" he went home to affirm that living on "the dole" was preferable to being employed in the "Workers' Paradise." Which reminds me of a joke current in Russia in the hungry thirties. Two elderly women formerly good friends meeting by chance on a Moscow street ask each other how they are faring. One is very poor and hungry, the other tolerably well off. "Is it your son Boris who helps you, or Ivan?" the hungry one asks. "Oh no," replies the other, "Boris is an accountant who can barely provide for his own family and Ivan who works in a factory is even worse off. It's Dimitry who helps me." "Dimitry? What does he do?" "He emigrated and is unemployed in America."

This "joke" was based on the fact that in those days two or three dollars a month in valuta enabled one to buy at Torgsin at cheap world prices the butter and eggs and meat unavailable on ration cards.

I can remember once finding two English pennies in the pocket of an old suit and journeying by streetcar with Jane to buy one egg at Torgsin with which she baked a cake.)

Finally I got myself into trouble with the Politbureau of the Party in London on account of an article I wrote which my friend Murphy, editor of the Communist Review, had allowed to be published. I had been reading Lenin's writings of the "Iskra period" and had discovered that he condemned the "Economists" who maintained that the intellectual has no role to play in the Party and that the socialist idea can spring "spontaneously" out of the experiences of the working class. Lenin had insisted that the ordinary worker, by the experience of his daily life, develops not a full revolutionary class consciousness but only that of a trade-unionist. Clearly, to my mind, in this period of declining markets for Britain, the workers' trade-union consciousness was likely to impel them to accept wage reductions and join with the bosses in attempting to recapture their markets. I did not foresee that this would lead Europe to a fascist development, but I perceived that, unless the Marxist conception of international working-class solidarity could be put across to the workers, they would perforce unite with their employers against other countries.

Already, during the First World War patriotism had proved more potent than Social Democracy. Soon it was to be demonstrated that Hitler and Mussolini could rouse their people to gird for battle under the slogan of the "proletarian nations" against the "Pluto-democracies." Similarly today the "underdeveloped" countries of Africa and Asia show a tendency to unite against the industrialized West - "Have Nots" against "Haves" in the international arena instead of at home.


Although my article was buttressed by quotations from Lenin, I was held to have deviated seriously from the Party Line by maintaining that theory was of primary importance and that the intellectual should not play at being a proletarian, since he had an important part to perform in enlightening the workers and convincing them that socialism was the only solution for unemployment and poverty in the midst of plenty. I was not directly accused of Trotskyism, but I was held to be slightly tainted with heresy.

Even at this stage of my Communist experience I had not the sense to see that nothing good would come out of the USSR and that the foreign Communist parties were already corrupted and impotent. I had a great respect and liking for Harry Pollitt, Secretary of the British Communist Party, who had been my friend before I joined the Party and now prevented the little bureaucrats in the Agitprop Department from sabotaging my pamphlet and my Party work. To this day I find it difficult to understand how this British working-class leader of Nonconformist Christian background came to subordinate his conscience and sacrifice his personal integrity to become a stooge of the Stalinists. In 1930 the fact that Harry Pollitt who was a principled, kind and intelligent man of integrity and courage led the British Communist Party deluded me into thinking that it was still a genuine socialist working class party. Six years later in Moscow I was to be shocked at Pollitt's failure to make any overt protest when Rose Cohen, his much loved mistress was arrested and condemned to a Soviet forced labor camp. True, she had since then become the wife of Petrovsky alias Breguer, the big shot in the underground Comintern apparatus about whom I have already written. Nevertheless one might have expected Pollitt to make an effort to save her.

My basically liberal aspirations and my false conception of the nature and aims of Communism four decades ago, have relevance today, because so many of those who now control the destiny of the newly independent states of Asia and Africa harbor the same illusions about socialism as I had in the 20's.

Listening to Nehru in the 50's was like an echo of my own youth when I knew and understood as little about Communism as he did until the end of his life. And still today although other leaders of the "Third World" have learned through experience bitter truths about the real aims, methods and practices of the Communists, they still conceive of "socialism" as synonymous with social justice.

When I asked my Indian friends what hold the diabolical Krishna Menon, whom I had known in London as a Communist, had on Nehru, I was told "Just Nehru's belief in Socialism." And as late as 1961, Cheddi Jagan, Prime Minister of British Guiana, the then latest British colony to become an independent state, visiting Washington hoping to obtain money from "capitalist" America, told the National Press Club that "only state control of production and distribution can pull a country up from poverty." Nor did such statements apparently lessen his chances of a loan from the U.S. As why should they. since Nehru, whose disapproval of the West was matched by his soft attitude toward Soviet Russia and Communist China, had been given so many millions or was it billions? Harold Laski both during his anti- and pro-communist phases was the most widely known of the professors at the London School of Economics who exerted their influence in the socialist direction. They can be held largely responsible for the political illusions of the elite of Asia and Africa, educated in British schools and universities, who now control the destinies of most of the newly independent countries of the former "colonial" world. Harold Laski is dead and the good he and his disciples did in awakening the social conscience of the Western world to the abuses of the "capitalist   imperialist" economic


and social system of the past is interred with their bones. But the evil they did lives after them in the influence still exerted by their teachings in the "Third World" and among old American New Dealers.

In spite of the abundant evidence provided by the USSR and the "People's Republic" of China that "socialism," far from offering an escape from poverty and injustice, rivets on those who succumb to its lure a tyranny from which there is no escape, the Asian and African students who were my contemporaries at the London School of Economics in the 20's, and those who came after me seem to have learned nothing and forgotten nothing since their student days. They still see the "capitalist imperialist" world as it was then while viewing the Communist empires through a mist of illusion. They continue to believe that "socialism" is the way to emancipate their peoples from poverty, and ignore the terrible lesson taught mankind by the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and, more recently, by Communist China.

While the West has developed a new economic and social system which combines the dynamics of a competitive 'capitalist' economy with the major benefits of a "welfare state", the East, in particular India, became worse off under the doctrinaire Socialist Nehru than under the British.

The old proud and unrepentant British Imperial rule over subject peoples in Asia and Africa is gone with the wind. But British socialist influence over the generation of Asian and African intellectuals who now rule their emancipated countries still impregnates their political conceptions like a delayed-action fallout.

In April 1960, in Baghdad I remarked to the British Ambassador, that England had to a considerable extent been successful in substituting London School of Economics graduates, and others nurtured in the Socialist philosophy in English schools and colleges, as the new ruling class in Asia, in place of the princes and "feudalists" who had been Britain's collaborators in the past. Sir Hugh Trevelyan, who is one of Britain's cleverest and best informed ambassadors, responded with an appreciative laugh. Nor did he dispute my surmise that the course of events in Iraq had shown that "tame" socialists nurtured in the Fabian Socialist philosophy, were all too prone to kick over the traces and become Communists or communist collaborators in times of stress. It is of little or no importance to Moscow whether or not their collaborators have aims different from theirs so long as they continue to damn America for being capitalist and imperialist while never condemning Soviet Russia because of its socialist halo.

No doubt it was useful to the British that they had a second string to their bow in Asia and Africa in the persons of the Fabian Socialists they had nurtured in their schools. The British "ruling classes" have continued to demonstrate their cleverness in staying on top whatever economic, political and social system prevails. In ages past younger sons of feudal lords joined the ranks of the rising mercantile class. Today, after education in the best schools and universities, the sons of the privileged become Labor Ministers advocating "Progressive policies."

* * *

While I had been in Japan enjoying the best year of my life, Temple was going through a very bad period of his.

Endeavoring to perform the arduous duties of House Physician at the Metropolitan Hospital in spite of having one lung deflated by a pneumo-thorax operation, he had temporarily lost his usual zest for life, was drinking too much, and seemed not to care if he killed himself.

Temple used to say that one regrets most not the things one has done which might


better not have been done, but those one failed to do. So I am happy now to have found a letter I wrote him from Tokyo which, in contrast to my many complaints over the years that he failed to contribute his fair share towards Mother's support, expresses my love and concern and appreciation of my brother. Writing to him from Tokyo in February 1929 I said:

Since I got Mother's last letter I have been thinking a lot about you and discovering that I love you very much. Although I have seen comparatively little of you these last years you fill a big place in my life and Mother's letter has upset me. You must do your best to live, Temple. You have always found life good. Is it no longer so? Give up this hospital job and get one on a ship or in a sanitarium. It is worth caring for yourself, Temple, even if you will never be very strong. You have always found so much in life intellectually and surely this must be more than ever true now? Only a short time ago I wrote to Mother that after all it would be you who did the big things....

You remember how Arcadi said you could never be "decomposed." He meant, I think, that for you, the intellectual, objective interests would never be lost. Arcadi liked you so much, Temple. And I find in him all the things I remember of Dada, plus a lover. I am a little afraid of my happiness-the gods are sure to be jealous. I suppose I idealize, but that does not matter. For me he is the perfect lover, comrade, playmate, and husband. We both want a child but are both afraid of what it may do to me-Arcadi wants me to be the old Freda. It is difficult to try to be the two incompatible things in women. To be a woman and yet to work like a man, to look at life like a man does.

I wish I had you here to talk to, Temple. I understand so many things I never understood before. Take care of yourself Temple-life is good. Even for you, Temple, with one lung. Do be sensible about your work and give up this job.

Write to me if you ever have time and tell me what is wrong. I really do love you very much and I know how much I have learnt from you, some of it unconsciously.

By the time I returned to England Temple had secured an appointment on the staff of Colney Hatch, the famous and largest mental hospital in England. Now as I prepared to leave for Moscow, Temple was about to fulfill his long cherished dream of voyaging to the South Seas.

In recalling nearly 40 years later my last year in England as an active member of the Communist Party, I remember best the last days I spent with my brother sailing along the coast of Devon and Cornwall before he took off on his long voyage to find his "dream islands" in the South Seas.




Chapter 14


Originally Temple's voyage had been planned as a joint enterprise with his three closest friends: Rab Buchanan, Walter Field and Gilly Back, who all professed an ardent desire to get out of the rut of their lives in England to sail with Temple to the South Seas. Rab, husband of Jean, sister to Temple's ex-wife Robert, was the most experienced sailor and the only navigator among them. He was also the only one with money and had bought the Inyala for their venture. As Temple told it:

We four met in a pub in London and decided to sail about the middle of July. There was great enthusiasm. We toasted one another again and again. We were all convinced that town life was just silly. We said that all it amounted to was earning enough money to buy enough beer to deaden the memory of how one earned the money to buy the beer. We damned all civilization and swore we would never come home again, that we would find some obscure atoll and settle, and then spend our lives waiting for the cocoanuts to drop off the trees.

As it turned out, my brother was the only one of them who really meant it. When it came to the point of actually embarking across the Atlantic Ocean in a forty-five-foot yawl-rigged sailing boat, built in 1897, they one after another abandoned the venture for one reason or another. Gilly Back, a doctor working for the London County Council, fell out first, after being offered a job at double his former salary to stay on. In early August the others set sail from Brixham in spite of the dire warnings of the renowned fishermen of that Devon town who ridiculed the idea that the Inyala could ever make it across the Atlantic-only to be ignominiously driven back to port in a gale. Rab, incapacitated by sea sickness, had given orders to return in spite of Temple's furious objections and Walter's readiness to sail on although he, too, was feeling ill.

Following this misadventure Rab told Temple that he would not again attempt the voyage from England, but would join him and Walter later in Spain if they could secure another amateur or a paid hand to make the voyage.

Walter stuck by Temple while they endeavored in vain to find anyone else to sail with them, but his morale too gradually seeped away. After Ruby, his mistress whom he later married, came visiting, he too abandoned the enterprise.

Temple would not give up, and Rab now offered to pay the wages of two paid hands across the Atlantic if they could be found. There was no hope of getting anyone in Brixham to sign on since the fishermen there were convinced that no boat as old and with as little beam as the Inyala was fit for the voyage. "These Devon men," Temple exclaimed, "admire boats, like some men admire women in direct ratio to the plumpness of their bottoms."

I had better hopes of Cornishmen. I had friends in Newlyn and Mousehole and thought


I could help Temple fulfill his dream in spite of the defection of his friends. Thus it came about that my last days with my brother were spent sailing with him from Brixham in Devon to Mousehole in Cornwall where two fishermen, one old and one young, signed on to cross the Atlantic in the Inyala.

Temple and I had been very close to one another in childhood and in youth, but in the twenties had drifted apart. I thought he was too little concerned with the fate of mankind, too cynical and hedonistic. In 1930 when we sailed alone together along the southern coast of England, I had come to be tolerant of his attitude toward life, thanks to the beginning of my disillusionment with Communism and the great personal happiness I had found with Arcadi. We became as intimate and understanding of one another as when we had played together as children and while growing up before the 1914 war. Temple's skeptical outlook on men and politics, his professed lack of exalted motives in doing what he wanted to do, and his carefree zest in the enjoyment of living no longer seemed reprehensible to me now that I had begun to shed some of my political illusions.

I could not accept Temple's epicurian philosophy but I already knew, if I did not as yet consciously admit, that the Socialist reorganization of society could not set men free even if, as seemed more and more doubtful, it could better their material condition. Man's happiness or the satisfaction of his yearning depend only to a minimum extent on his material condition. We do not live by bread alone, although without it we die.

As Temple was to write in the fullness of his joy while crossing the Atlantic:

I often say to myself when I take the wheel at night, the sky a blaze of stars and the ship cutting a phosphorescent track through the black, 'Where would I sooner be? Who would I change places with?' I tell myself, 'nowhere and no one.' One lives fully like this - doing things and dreaming . . . . One needs beauty but one is not directly conscious of one's need. Without it one is restless and irritated without knowing why; with it one is happy and contented; one is just glad of the moment, demanding nothing more.

In the night watches, sitting together under the stars while I steered under Temple's directions, he warned me of the certain disappointment which awaited me. "You will probably end up in a Siberian prison, my dear," he said to me one night. "But so long as you don't deceive yourself, they will not break you. Only don't ever be a hypocrite to yourself: that is the real sin against the Holy Ghost."

During the bittersweet years of my life in Russia which followed these last days with my brother, I was frequently to recall Temple's words. And, later on, in America, when sorely tempted to compromise with my beliefs for the sake of material advantage or acclaim, I remembered them and put behind me the temptation to deceive myself and by so doing mislead others.

Together we remembered the days when we had played at being Vikings or Greek and Trojan warriors, when I was seven and he nine years old and we lived in a large house at 67 Finchley Road in Hampstead with a big terrace and garden at back ideally suited to our games, and had ourselves fashioned plumed helmets and wooden swords and shields. Temple was to write:

I remember thinking one night how curiously things work out. The first book I ever read was Nansen's Furthcrest North. This led to a demand for a Norwegian governess, which was granted. She was a dear and very beautiful, and she used to tell me tale after tale about the Vikings. . . . They superceded Diomedes and Ajax as the heroes of my


childhood. I played nothing but Viking Games, and my cup was full when my governess' father, himself a sea captain, sent me a perfect model of a Viking Ship.

Enthralled by Balentine's Coral Island and Robert Louis Stevenson's books, he had dreamed as a boy of voyaging either to the North Pole or the South Seas. Now at the age of 34 he was on his way to his "dream islands" in the Pacific and to enjoy an adventurous life on the high seas.

"How careful parents should be about the first books their children read and the first tales they hear," Temple was to remark in explaining how it came about that he was celebrating Norway's day in the Galapagos Islands in 1931 instead of "looking after lunatics at Colney Hatch and paying income tax."

In childhood and youth Temple and I had both drunk deep of the same wells of legend, history, poetry and romance, but despite the twin sources of our lives, our dreams led us to opposite ends of the earth. Temple, having no illusions concerning the perfectability of man or society, wanted, in modern parlance, to "get away from it all." I was ambitious whereas Temple had no desire by words or works to erect a monument "more enduring than bronze." It was I who had been able to recite the Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam by heart when ten years old. But it was Temple who had taken the Persian poet's advice to savor all the fleeting joys and beauty of life without knowing "why, whence, or whither" we have been put upon earth.

Both of us had rejected "bourgeois values" but Temple's denial of their validity was more fundamental than mine. As he was to write to Emsie Phillips, the girl he met in Barbados and later married in Tahiti:

You see, dear, I do not believe basically as a part of my character, in the values of society. Many people are skeptical about them intellectually, but they are not skeptical about them as a part of their own character as I am .... I believe myself that my own values are based on more fundamental human needs, but nevertheless that is but an opinion, and for certain of them there is nothing to be adduced but prejudice. But I hold them with a whole-hearted fanaticism. A certain number of people in every generation have always thought as I do. The first-rate ones have been poets. The second-rate ones like myself have believed their songs.

To our great joy when Temple and I docked the Inyala in Newlyn harbor, Rab was there to greet us. He prepared to sail with Temple at least as far as Spain, but this time with Temple as captain so that Rab would not have the right to order the ship back to port in a storm, should he again succumb to the sea sickness to which he was prone.

Rab, a Highland Scotsman, shared Temple's longing for adventure and would undoubtedly have gone the whole way with him had not the call of his wife and many children pulled him home, first from Spain and later from Panama after he had rejoined Temple in the West Indies. (Which was odd because Rab married four times and was never faithful to any woman until the last one he married when already getting old but still energetic and leanly handsome as he still is today.)

Temple sailed away from Newlyn in Cornwall toward the setting sun one golden August evening in 1930. Most of the population of the small fishing village of Mousehole close by were there to bid him godspeed on his adventure together with the two fishermen who went with him. He had urged me until the last moment to sail with him if


only as far as Spain, but as usual I was driven by a nervous sense of urgency which caused me to miss some of the greatest pleasures in life.

I was expecting Arcadi soon to meet me in Moscow from Japan where I had left him nearly a year before, and even if there was time enough for me to sail to Vigo, I felt I could not go dashing off with Temple simply to enjoy myself. Although I had already learned enough to be vaguely apprehensive of the future which awaited us in Russia, love drew me back to Moscow. Yet I was sorely tempted to sail away with my brother, abandoning all else to fulfill the dreams we had shared in childhood and youth, when both of us longed to voyage "beyond the pillars of Hercules."

As the lnyala swept by the Newlyn breakwater on which our mother and I were standing, I cried out to Temple: "I must come, too," and he, steering with one hand while he waved farewell with the other, shouted to me: "Jump for the rigging!" As he wrote later in his account of his departure from England, "Freda hesitated, looked as if she was going to, then hesitated again and we swept by."

We never saw each other again. Two weeks after I had hesitated too long to "jump for the rigging" I was on a boat to Leningrad, and wrote from Hamburg: "I am beginning dimly to realize how blind and how much in a rut most people are. They do not want to see everything - it is too dangerous and too windswept and too awful. One must have courage, mentally as well as physically."

How much courage was to be required of me in the future was still unknown to me but I was to learn that it is love which can enable one to endure the death of one's hopes.

Temple, usually as tolerant and understanding of his friends as I have been intolerant when they failed to come up to my expectations, never quite forgave Walter for his defection. Rab he understood and sympathized with and was always grateful to, not only for having provided him with the financial means to enable him to fulfill his hearts desire, but for having been willing to try and try again to sail with him. But for the rest of his life Temple felt bitter about Walter having let him down at the eleventh hour.

"Does Walter ever come to see you or does his bad conscience prevent him?" he wrote to Mother from Trinidad in November 1930. Gilly Back he did not feel so bitter about, there would always be "some divine discontent in him." But Walter would become "a complete little bourgeois" without Temple's influence.

Queer how intolerant I am, he wrote, in a letter recognizing how basically akin we were,

I have never realized so vividly before as when I was struggling to get off, and Walter was struggling to run away, and Freda was helping me to get off, how alike Freda and I are. We both try to constrain others to our dreams, and we can still dream. And the others just want to be comfortable and smug, and go on leading their routine little lives. Then we get furious. But how thoroughly infirm of purpose people like Walter are.

It was, I suppose, because Temple had more confidence in him than in any of the others and missed his companionship most that he could not forgive Walter. In one of the jottings in his log book, after a big sea had just come down the companionway, Temple noted that although he sorely missed Walter's companionship he would rather be alone crossing the Atlantic than having a good dinner at the Eiffel Tower restaurant in Soho on Saturday night, "listening to Walter talking about the sailing he never eventually did . . . and explaining for the nth time exactly why his delicate nervous system could not stand the strain of waiting." And when 750 miles from Trinidad, he wrote:  "Queer how


bitter I feel about Walter. Yet I have not even the satisfaction of knowing he will regret it. He will just get more and more verbose and alcoholic and will sail a thousand Atlantics twixt beer and brandy. The trend of his talk will be that he made a 'great renunciation for the sake of his family and common sense.' "

The remarkable thing was that Temple had almost succeeded in tearing Walter away from his secure moorings in "bourgeois" society, and the anchor of his family affection and obligations. A decade before Walter had told Temple that although he was attracted to me I would be too dangerous and uncomfortable to live with. It was of him I wrote from Japan:

Looking back on things I realize that my unhappy love for Walter made me put all my energies into work, whereas now . . . . I have just received a letter from Walter, by the way. You might tell him what I say. If he admires my brain and capabilities as he says, tell him that he helped me to achieve things by refusing to love me. I can look back on it all very casually now and genuinely say to Walter, "Peace be with you." Tell him there is something in Russell Green's favorite saying: "The hobbyhorse of one's discontent becomes the Pegasus of one's ambition." And yet I am still ambitious only not so vividly so. I enjoy the present too much.

My friendship with Walter was to endure long after Temple's death in 1935 when he wrote that "something gallant and fine had gone out of his life" at Temple's passing. Even after my emigration to America, Walter and I got together in London whenever I visited England until he died in 1958.

Walter, who had almost been my lover before he became Temple's closest friend, combined the endearing Jewish qualities of intelligence, humor and wit, understanding of human nature, kindness and loyalty to friends, wide-ranging intellectual interests and courage in adversity. Temple had enjoyed telling the story of their voyage to Norway with two other amateur sailors in a ramshackle old boat whose mast was shattered in a storm off the northwest coast of Germany. Compelled to take to their lifeboat in raging seas they had stocked it with three ships biscuits and a bottle of whiskey per man, and Walter laughing in the gale when their chances of survival seemed slim, had remarked: "Why so many biscuits?"

It has become a cliche to say "some of my best friends are Jews" usually as preface to some derogatory remark. In my case it is literally true that not some, but most of my enduring friendships have been with Jewish men and women. Both Arcadi whom I married and Walter whom I once loved, had the keen intelligence, wry sense of humor combining appreciation of the ridiculous and the sublime in juxtaposition, and the philosophical detachment to make fun of themselves which, besides loyalty to friends, are among the most endearing characteristics of this many-sided and gifted people. The two of them also represented opposing poles of the Jewish character, outlook and aspirations: the one seeking security or money and devoted mainly to family interests; the other dreaming of international brotherhood or God's Kingdom on earth even while, like myself, believing themselves to be atheists or agnostics.

Stalin was to liquidate the internationalist minded Jews calling them Trotskyists, or to bludgeon them into submission to Russian National Socialism. Hitler made no distinction in exterminating or driving into exile even those Jews who were among the most patriotic Germans as proven during the first world war. The evil both men did lives after them. Today survivors of the Nazi concentration camps, supported by "international Jewry,"


have themselves become super-nationalists. Convinced that their salvation lies in a "blood and soil" Israeli state in Palestine, founded at the price of expulsion or expropriation of its Arab inhabitants, the Zionists have repudiated the international outlook of the Jews who were my closest friends.

After crossing the Atlantic sojourning awhile in Barbados; being shipwrecked in the Galapagos Islands on a Norwegian boat whose captain was drowned and where Temple himself nearly died of thirst, my brother crossed 3,000 miles of the Pacific Ocean in 22 days with a half-caste Barbadian called Mobile as his only crew, and while himself suffering severely from septic sores. British reviewers of the book which his widow and I composed out of his log book and letters after his death* described this voyage in an old forty five foot yawl as a "heroic feat" entitling him to belong to the "truly great company" of Voss and Alan Gerbault. "It was an amazing feat of endurance," the Oxford Times wrote, "for his right lung was practically useless owing to tuberculosis, developed as a result of being gassed in the war. His navigation was faultless and his handling of the boat excellent."

"Queer what a little persistance will do" he wrote from Hiva Owa in the Marquesas in September 1931, "once you have seen these islands, it seems absurd to live anywhere else. Things do not usually come up to one's imagination, but this place is much, much more beautiful that I had dreamt. To live saturated with beauty has a tremendous effect on one's well-being. The sea is in my bones. A good life consists of fight and struggle and anxiety; working twenty-four hours out of twenty-four, with every nerve on strain and death round the corner, varied by periods of complete rest and idleness

The governor of the Marquesas was a French doctor.... "an intelligent of the kind he liked -" the first civilized person he had met since leaving London. Dr. Benoit had taken him home to lunch when he arrived and given him a "real French meal." Within a few minutes they were "discussing Villon, Baudelaire, Communism, Mussolini, Bergson, Nietzsche."

Two months later he wrote that his first impressions had been confirmed. All he asked was to pass his life in the Marquesas: "Their beauty has not been exaggerated: there is nothing to compare with them in the world. Beyond their beauty there is something else; something which soothes and contents one making all else seem of little worth." Stevenson had written that "Few men who come to the islands leave them; they grow grey where they alighted: the palm shades and the trade winds fan them until they die, perhaps cherishing to the last the fancy of a visit home, which is rarely made and yet more rarely repeated. No part of the world exerts the same attractive power."

"Life was gay then" as Neo, an old Marquesan chieftain said to Temple who commented, "It was a very fair thing which the whites destroyed." Already in Temple's time the old days were vanishing before the march of progress.

The missionaries had not yet suppressed the old ways. A man still married all his wife's sisters and a woman all her husband's brothers. Sexual jealousy was almost unknown. The excess of males to females in the proportion of five to three seemed to "make for happiness." As the chieftain of one of the least civilized and last occupied of the islands said to Temple: "One man no good for a woman, no satisfy. Woman needs three men, taken turn. One sleep, one fish, one gather poi poi. Woman want love and play every night many times. One man not strong enough." No wonder that the Moslems, who saw things the other way round, never converted the South Sea Islanders although they got as far as Indonesia.


*A Modern Sea Beggar. Peter Davis. London, 1938. (This publisher when a child was the original Peter of Barrie's Peter Pan.)


The governor, Dr. Benoit, and Temple had struck up a firm friendship, but French law did not permit any foreigner to practice medicine so that Temple was precluded from earning a living in the islands. All he could do was to treat patients for free, unofficially helping out Dr. Benoit, who was spending his life "in a desperate fight to protect the natives from traders, missionaries, T. B. baccilli, filarial worms and other parasites."

In Barbados (before sailing on to the South Seas) Temple had fallen in love with a half-English, half-American girl, Emsie Phillips, whom he could not marry since his divorce from Robert had not yet been made absolute. Writing to her from Colon he warned her what to expect if she decided to forsake her own people and the security of her home among the British ruling class of the West Indies, to share his fate. "You know me," he wrote. "Do you really think there is any chance of stability, worldly success or safety with me?" Her mother and her friends were right. She would be undertaking "a frightful risk with all the odds against you." I offer you hardship, risk, discomfort, poverty, sordidness . . . and something which we two alone know between ourselves." He was going off to the South Seas: "because I must. There is no justification or rationaliza­tion. I just must-well dearest it will always be the same. There will be a dream and "I must" and then for you it will be pay pack and follow."

After reaching the Marquesas he told Mother he had some wonderful letters from Emsie and knew he would be wise to marry her.

But I am free and I want to be responsible for no one. If she had only grabbed me when she could have done. If she had had the courage to send her aunts and uncles to hell and sail alone with me across the Pacific, I would have stuck to her for ever and ever. I cannot think of any woman who would have done so, except Freda - the older I get the more I realize her greatness at a distance.

In spite, or because of, the letter he had written to Emsie, she joined him in the Marquesas nine months after they had parted in Barbados. Later they were married in Tahiti and she voyaged with him as his 'crew' to the Fiji Islands, where they settled and enjoyed for the few years before he died, so happy a union that Emsie accounted herself fortunate among women in spite of her loneliness for the rest of her life.

During the years which followed our last days together Temple and I were as far removed from one another geographically and in environment as it is possible to be. Nor could we easily communicate since I dared not write to him freely from Russia for fear of endangering Arcadi.

Temple sensed my disllusionment. "We neither of us," he wrote to Mother, "quite seem to have found our new world. Freda's letter was very, very interesting and I chuckled and wept and remembered that Shelley used to be her favorite poet."

Recently I have found among his widow Emsie's effects a letter written to them in 1933 while I was in hospital in London following an antrum operation, which I told them to burn but which fortunately she preserved, in which I dared to express my real thoughts:

". . . As you will gather I am thoroughly disillusioned. One could. stand the material conditions even though they get worse and worse (they are infinitely worse than when Mother was out last year) but it is the mental difficulties. Hypocrisy, sycophancy, patronage, lying, etc. The people at the top get everything and pretend they don't. There is nothing of communism or socialism left. I consider there was a counter-revolution in 1927 when Trotsky was turned out. It need not


have gone this way. When I first went there in 1926 everything was different-in 1928 still. But Stalin thinks he can do everything with the whip and the gun against all economic and psychological forces. He is not a Marxist at all and has reversed all Lenin's principles on which the Soviet State was founded. Consequently again I can't tell you everything I mean in a letter or in fact explain myself really at all. But as the best example of what has happened take the complete mess the Comintern has made in Germany and China. International Socialism has been completely sacrificed to "Socialism in one country" - the very negation of Marxism which taught that the only way out for mankind is international socialism. Consequently we have a Fascist world growing up around us and really by now Russia is herself a Fascist state with an established ruling aristocracy and an ideal of economic self sufficiency. If I were free I would join the opposition movement of Trotsky and try to restart an international Socialist movement. By free I mean if only Arcadi was not a Russian. As it is he cannot leave the country and I can't leave him. Nor can I speak or write a word of what I want to say. I am always in deadly fear of bringing him to grief by my incautious tongue. I have to pretend and he and be a hypocrite like everyone else. Being like you of a sanguine temperament I still hope that one day he may get sent abroad again but it is a faint hope because nowadays no one not in the party and not of working class origins is "trusted" to go abroad. The official idea is that they would never come back. One is literally a prisoner. Even I, although English and able to leave the country when I want, feel like a prisoner on parole as I dare not speak and as I am tied to Arcadi whom I love more than ever as the years go on. Perhaps it is the very difficulties and dangers and strain of living which draws us closer and closer. One just turns to each other and no one else. We have lived all this time in one room until a year ago with no servant and me doing all the work. Standing in queue and cooking and washing besides going to the office but we have never quarreled. Arcadi is the most lovable of men and I am still what he calls his "swan song." So that, Temple dear, emotionally I am very happy. Life has given me a lot in giving me Arcadi although it has made me give up everything else I cared about: career, ambition, politics, fortune, Etc.!! I am very anxious to have a child although it will be so difficult. I want a second edition of Arcadi. We have two rooms now since June and if only it weren't for the necessity of bringing Mother here we could be comparatively comfortable . . . .

Will you please be certain to destroy this letter as soon as you have read it. Also will Emsie not tell her relations anything of what I have said of Russia especially not the political remarks. Mother is so nervous that I am writing it all to you in Suva. But I don't see how it can ever get to anyone's eyes in Russia if you destroy my letter. It is terrible to live under a tyranny - secondly do be very careful to write nothing compromising to me or Mother while in Russia . . . .

This letter shows that I had not as yet disabused myself of the illusion that socialism in Russia would have been different if only Trotsky instead of Stalin had succeeded Lenin.


Later I came to realize that the Soviet System required Stalin or someone like him in order to function. A fact today again becoming apparent by Khrushchev's failure and the reversion to Stalinism.

In this same letter, describing our difficult food and housing situation which made it imperative that Temple help me with Mother, I wrote:

It has been hard enough in the past but now I am going to have a child and unless the burden of Mother is taken off my hands it will finish me. When my child is born it will be difficult to get the most elementary necessities - milk and fruit - (obtainable for Valuta) which Arcadi's savings would have procured if Mother had not had to use them. I am afraid you will both think I am piling it on but I am not exaggerating things a bit. Our position in Russia is actually comparatively good—many people are actually starving without even enough bread - I don't expect either of you to talk to anyone else about these conditions because by doing so even in Suva you might get me into trouble. An elaborate game of hush hush is played about all the food difficulties etc. and it is a terrible offense to tell the truth about that or anything else.

When Temple died in April 1935 in Suva, I was still living in Russia, held there by my love for my husband, long after my complete disillusionment with Communism, and a year after the birth of my son, Jon, who was to inherit my brother's most lovable qualities as well as resembling him physically.

I recall sitting on a stone bench beside the Moscow river, on my way home from work on the evening of the sad, grey, cold spring day on which I received the news of Temple's death. Vivid memories of our childhood and youth and of our last sail together crowded in on me. I wept not only for his death but for all the lost hopes and lovely visions which had inspired us in our different fashion to follow our heart's desire regardless of the consequences. I was still alive and had a son, a joy he had never known. But I was confined within the vast prison Soviet Russia had become, whereas he had never known anything but freedom and had found and briefly enjoyed his El Dorado in the South Seas. He had ended up "earning bread and butter again, which is very dull; not the earning of it, but the life I have to lead to earn it." But Temple never knew or imagined the terror and hardship of my life in Russia, or had been compelled to bow his head before omnipotent tyranny, as I was forced to do in order to continue living with my husband. In Suva he had found the conventions of the accepted social order tiresome and the people for the most part "deadly dull" and felt dull himself without the "stimulus of other minds," but he had been spared knowledge of the tyrannical compulsions of the Soviet Socialist order under which I was living. And at the end, he could recall the words which he had scribbled in pencil when he thought he was about to die of thirst after being shipwrecked in the Galapagos Islands: "If I have got to die I have had a fine time and thoroughly enjoyed myself."

Long before in London Temple had written to Mother:

If one goes one's own way, whatever may appear as outward disaster to others does no permanent harm to one's self development, but if one refrains from carrying out one's own will at the bidding of others, or at the bidding of law, custom, morality, material interest, or fundamental weakness, permanent harm is done to oneself, and one's growth is all


twisted awry. It is the failure to follow one's will, not failure after one has willed with all one's power that hurts the soul.

Both of us had "gone our own way" and despite the disappointments of my life in Russia or later I did not then or after regret having done so.

Temple had gone, in his own words written from the Marquesas, where his "curiosity, love of beauty and adventure had driven him seeking his heart's desire," and had "found it many times, gaining much joy and complete satisfaction." Why should he "seek for those solid things which give me no satisfaction and which, as far as I can see, give no satisfaction to anybody?"

Reflecting today on my brother's motivations, I can dimly understand the "hippies" and "flower people" who reject the values of our affluent society by refusing to step on the treadmill of conformity which ensures security and status and a dull life. Today there are no longer any "dream islands" in the Pacific, or anywhere else, to escape to, in search of freedom from boredom or what Temple called the "idiocy of things." Nor are there today in the West any such burning injustices and inequalities as to inspire the generous aspirations of youth to sacrifice for an ideal. Turned in upon themselves, precisely because of the success of "capitalism" in solving its contradictions, some become the destructive element which has destroyed other civilizations. In 1931 Temple could write from the Marquesas that Freda was right in thinking that the old world was falling to pieces and that this meant there was no sense in "piling up treasure, either of money or position." Today we can see that, far from falling to pieces the "capitalist world" has created a system so productive and successful that many of the children of the well to do so long for pain, poverty and struggle that they endeavor to look like unshorn, unshaven and unwashed medieval peasants.

The Western world has not by any means achieved "Utopia," but has come far closer to it than past civilizations ever did. With the result that many of its over privileged youth are finding in Temple's words that "civilization only seems to make life safe at the cost of making it damned dull." Life deprived of struggle and danger and joy in achievement by one's own efforts has no meaning and leads to self destruction.

Man against nature is an older story with more universal appeal than the conflict of nations, classes and ideologies in our industrial age. The "burning heart of man and boy alike rejoices" in every age in reading tales of courage, endurance and adventure. Hence the success of Kon-Tiki in our time because it has the same timeless appeal as the voyage of the Argonauts, the Odyssey, the Norse Sagas and other tales which belong to the springtime of the world.

Temple, according to his description of himself, was something of a leprechaun in Aldous Huxley's meaning. He had little sense of responsibility and had left me to provide for our mother who loved him best. I had worked to support her and was to bring her to Moscow to live with us in our confined space in two rooms because I could not send her money out of Russia. Temple, meanwhile, refused, after settling in Suva, to bring our mother there because he feared she would disrupt his happy marriage by her possessiveness and jealousy of any woman he loved.

I, on the other hand, was too impatient, or intolerant, or lacking in sympathy and understanding to give our mother much of my time, while Temple had held her hand, comforted her, understood her problems and given her the conviction that she was loved and cherished, which was more important than money. He could steel his heart to leave her and the girls he loved at various times. But he had given understanding and sympathy to everyone he knew, or only briefly encountered, whereas I, listening to distant drums,



was more concerned with ideas and prescriptions for the welfare of mankind than with the problems of individual human beings. Like so many liberals and intellectuals of our time, I have been intolerant or arrogant in my convictions, right or wrong. Temple always made a distinction between his critical analysis and his personal affections.

As one of his medical colleagues wrote of Temple, he had "the rare gift of being able to live in peace with other men." A devout old lady in Suva, bedridden in hospital said to her daughter: " I do like seeing my doctors; I've been lying here thinking to myself that I could give them each a new name: Dr. Y's faith; Dr. X, he's hope, but Dr. Utley, he is charity." And one of their friends remarked: " I enjoy going to the Utley's house; you never know who you will find there, from the Bishop to a bum."

"Nobody who knew him could bear the thought of his not having or doing what he wanted," Arthur Ransome wrote in the London Observer in reviewing Temple's book, A Modern Sea Beggar. "Friends, wife, mother, and chance acquaintances were all at one. One man gives him a yacht, another gives him a share in a medical practice, a third, hoping to sail with him, sells his own boat, takes the engine out of it, puts it into Utley's, and does not complain when Utley changes his mind and takes work ashore. All kinds of people seem to have found themselves more alive than usual when in his presence, and to have felt that they could not do too much for him." His book was "incandescent" with his relish of experience "whether pleasant or horrible" and ordinary human beings "bound hand and foot with cobwebs of memory or apprehension will do almost anything for those who can let themselves go."

The following passage from Dostoyevsky, chosen by Temple's widow and friends as his fitting epitaph, was read at his funeral:

Here is perhaps the one man in the world whom you might leave alone without a penny, in the center of an unknown town of a million inhabitants, and he would not die of cold and hunger, for he would be fed and sheltered at once; and, if he were not, he would find a shelter for himself, and it would cost him no effort or humiliation. And to shelter him would be no burden, but, on the contrary, would probably be looked on as a pleasure.

* * *

From Moscow, shortly after saying farewell to Temple in Cornwall, I wrote to Mother telling her that I would soon be leaving for the Far East to rejoin Arcadi and sail with him to San Francisco. The Commissariat of Foreign Trade, endeavoring to keep qualified men abroad, offered to pay my fare to go with him to America. We were given a last chance to escape the fate which awaited him in Russia. We did not take it.

Arcadi insisted on returning to Moscow after his long exile, and I did not have the sense to dash off to Shanghai to try to stop him.

I am omitting from these Memoirs the story of my life in Russia from 1930 to 1936, as originally told in my 1940 book, The Dream We Lost. In the next chapter I tell only how it ended.





Late in August 1936, Arcadi was sentenced, without trial, to five years imprisonment. Vera* telephoned from Moscow to tell me. If I could have got to Russia within three days I would have been able to see and talk to him once more for a few minutes, as Vera did, behind bars separating them by a wide distance. Even this privilege was denied me.

I had tried again and again to secure a visa to return to Russia. Every time I visited my old friend Ivan Maisky, who was now the Soviet Ambassador to England, he received me kindly but told me to be patient and to wait. Either he had been instructed to refuse me a visa, or he feared that if I returned to Russia I, too, would be arrested, in which event he might have trouble with the British Foreign Office. Maisky, with whom I had traveled to Russia on my first visit in 1927, when I was full of youthful hopes and faith in the Soviet Socialist experiment, was a decent and kindly man who had originally been a Menshevik. It is probable that in denying me a visa he thought he was saving me from imprisonment or liquidation. He must also have been motivated by his fear that if this happened he would have some trouble with the British Government. On the morning of my last visit to him to plead for a visa in time to get to Moscow to see Arcadi prior to his incarceration in a Soviet concentration camp, Maisky, pointing to a Mongolian ring on my finger given me by Owen Lattimore, quoted the Chinese saying: "Everything passes." Indeed it does, but in passing it carries with it all that is worth living for. When one reaches the age when one abandons hope for humanity as well as for oneself and has no more tears to shed, one had better die.

From Archangel, on his way to a concentration camp in the far North, Arcadi sent me a postcard, dated 22 September 1936, assuring me of his love and telling me to be cheerful. Early in 1937 I received a second postcard, this time from Ust Usya, in the Arctic regions where prisoners worked in the mines. In May 1937. I received a third and last postcard telling me he was well and he was now doing office work. This implied that he had previously been doing physical hard labor in the mines. I could only hope that his health had not been permanently ruined since his heart was already strained and enlarged from overwork in the service of the Soviet State.

I never heard from Arcadi again. For a quarter of a century I did not know whether he had died from cold, hunger and overwork in the Arctic regions from whence he last wrote to me.

Perhaps of all my many letters and postcards to him none were delivered, and feeling I had abandoned him, he ceased to write. This was the saddest thought of all but I could not believe that he ever doubted my love and my loyalty. The hopes we had shared of a better social and economic order to be created in Russia had gone with the wind long before we were parted. But we had kept our faith in one another and our love had been enduring.

During the long and lonely years which followed the end of our life in Russia, I comforted myself with the thought that if he were still alive somewhere in the vast reaches of the Russian land he would still be making jokes and viewing with tolerant


* Vera Berdichevsky, sister of Arcadi Berdichevsky.


irony the crimes, cruelties and follies of mankind, retaining through all his sufferings the philosophical detachment which enabled him to endure and preserve his integrity even under the Communist terror.

His three postcards were full of confidence in our love. In the last one he said that one year of our five years separation had already passed and he was living for the day when we should be together again.

Emma continued to write to me and to send parcels of food to Arcadi until the late summer of 1937. Then I ceased to hear from her for four months. In December I received a letter saying she had been four months in the "Krankenhaus" - the German word for hospital but probably meaning prison - and had been very frightened. Now that she was out she had at once sent Arcadi a food parcel. She also sent me a new address for him. After that I never heard from Emma again.

Perhaps she was arrested again. Perhaps her letters were stopped. She had proved to be the most loyal and fearless of my friends. Only she had dared to go on writing to me after Vera was arrested. Emma had been my last link, my last source of information about Arcadi. After she was silenced, I was as cut off from him as if he were on another planet.

Our Moscow flat had been confiscated and the friends I installed there thrown out. What was left of the money I had left with Vera was taken when she too was arrested. Emma had our clothes, books and other possessions. I had written her to try to keep the books safe but to sell everything else to buy food for Arcadi. I was never able to retrieve our library of several hundred books.

I did not ask the help of the British Foreign Office until 1938 because I feared to harm Arcadi. When I did so, the officials there did all they could to help me, but since my husband was a Russian subject, this was of little avail.

In the summer of 1938, while I was in China, Maxim Litvinov who was at this time the Soviet Foreign Minister told Lord Chilston, the British Ambassador in Moscow that Arcadi Berdichevsky was still alive. But Litvinov offered no proof and it was obviously to the Soviet Government's advantage to keep my mouth shut by an assurance that my husband was still living. So long as I had hope, I would be expected to keep silent and not expose the truth about Russia, which I, having lived there so long as an ordinary Moscow resident knew so much better than other foreigners.

I could not even place any confidence in Litvinov whose wife. Ivy Low, I knew well but who was avoiding trouble by concentrating her energies on the promotion of Basic English in Russia.

Years later in 1956 my friend Isaac Don Levine, visiting Iran on an assignment for LIFE magazine, met a Georgian woman who had escaped from Russia and who had known a Berdichevsky in the Turkestan village in which she and others had been confined in the 40's following the end of their prison terms. This Berdichevsky, we thought, might well have been my Arcadi since she told Don that he spoke English fluently and had known Lenin in Switzerland before the First World War. I was unable to find out by meeting her because, following her arrival in the U.S.A. under the sponsorship of the CIA. she was put in a lunatic asylum and prevented from having any further communication with Don Levine or any other anti-Communists in America. Such were and are the mixed up hopes and fears entertained by the United States Government eternally seeking co-existence with Soviet Russia.

It was not until New Year's Eve of 1963 that I at long last learned that my husband had died on March 30, 1938, at Komi in the Arctic North. Llewellyn E. Thompson, past and present U.S. Ambassador to Moscow, whom I approached at the time of Mikoyan's


visit to Washington, was kind enough to extract this information from the Soviet authorities and wrote as follows:

Department of State

Ambassador at Large


December 27, 1962

Dear Mrs. Utley:

Further to my letter of December tenth, the Soviet Ambassador has now informed me that Berdichevsky, Arkady Yakovlevich, who was living at Komi, ASSR, died on March 30, 1938.

Sincerely yours,

Llewellyn L. Thompson

Mrs. Freda Utley

1807 R Street, N.W.

Washington 9. D.C.

Our son Jon was with me to comfort me that New Year's Eve when, a quarter of a century after Arcadi's arrest, my last lingering hopes that he was still alive were finally obliterated.



Chapter 15


During most of the years of my life in Russia we had, at best, the use of two rooms sharing kitchen and bathroom with one or more families. This had been our situation when my son was born in 1934 and my mother was living with us.

At long last Arcadi and I obtained our own flat. Paid for years before in foreign exchange and in rubles, and long since due to us by the length of our membership in the Cooperative, we had almost given up hope of ever getting it. Now suddenly it was ours. Not without a struggle, not without another threat by Arcadi to leave Promexport if the Chairman did not help him to secure his rights, but finally ours.

We had to move in the middle of the night because a fight was going on between contenders for our old rooms at Ordinka. Both the Commissariat of Foreign Trade and the Commissariat's Cooperative into whose block of flats we were moving claimed possession. If we didn't let in the people to whom the Cooperative had allocated the rooms, they would not give us the key of our new flat.

So we made a lightning move at one o'clock in the morning. We sent Emma on first with my sleeping son in her arms to take possession and sit on the floor until we arrived with the furniture after admitting the new occupants to our old rooms.

Our new flat had three rooms, a kitchen and bathroom, but alas, no bath. After nearly two years with a bath and no hot water heater we now had a hot water heater and no bath. Such is life, but we were too happy at getting the flat to complain, and a tub was promised "eventually or a little before" to use our favorite Russian expression. We could at least get hot water fast instead of carrying kettles from kitchen to bathroom. We acquired a large tin washtub in which we performed our ablutions and in which I bathed Jon every evening. Promptly at 6 p.m. Arcadi would rush home from the office to be present at this best moment of the day when the sudden appearance of his father's head in the aperture near the top of the wall which divided bathroom from lavatory evoked squeals of joy and radiant smiles from our small son splashing water around the floor of our clean tiled bathroom. Arcadi, who usually expressed his deepest feelings frivolously used to say, "It's the smile that's worth the money."

For the first time in all the years of our life in Russia we could unpack our books and trunks and have ample space for everything. For the first time Jon had a large floor space to play in.

We sold Arcadi's bicycle and typewriter, brought from Japan, to buy furniture. We reveled in our possession of a home all our own. No longer had we to share a bathroom and lavatory, no longer tumble over another family in the kitchen. We ate and slept in a different room. We had real privacy at last. Privacy, the lack of which had been so hard for Arcadi especially to bear. To him, even the presence of a servant was inhibiting, so that he was happiest and most playful on her day off when there was no one to impel him to encase himself in the shell of reserve which protected his too acute sensibilities.

I remember saying to Arcadi after we moved in that, having at last got a home of our


own, we should perhaps soon be leaving Russia. All my life I had been uprooted, or had uprooted myself, after a few years in one place. When I was 9 years old we had left our London home to go abroad. In 1914 the war deprived us of our Surrey country home. In 1928 I had left the little flat in London where Mother and Temple and I had lived after he came home from the war, and which we had been able to make comfortable only a short while before I left England. I had left Japan soon after we started living in a little house where we alone were the tenants. Now, after nearly six years of waiting, we had our own flat in Moscow. It would surely be our fate to move again soon. I did not make my remark at this time with any prescience of the disaster which awaited us. On the contrary, I hoped that some way or another we might all three be able to get out of Russia. Expecting soon to visit England to deliver the finished manuscript of my book on Japan to my English publishers, I wrote Mother on February 24, 1936, that I had only one more chapter to write. My conditions of living were so greatly improved I was managing to do much more work. We had acquired an extra maid for the general housework so that Emma (our Volga German servant) could devote herself to Jon and to sewing and mending. It was cheaper in the end for me to be entirely free from housework. I could make more money and had taken on an extra job as consultant on textile exports, besides doing my regular work at the Institute of World Economy and Politics where I was doing the English translation of a book by Eugene Varga. We were sleeping much better now that we had space for separate beds. Our new flat was "not draughty and gets the sun" and Jon was flourishing. It had been terribly cold 25-30 degrees all the time and I had got my nose slightly frostbitten, but it was alright again. With my English ideas I always saw to it that Jon had a walk every day but we rubbed his nose with grease to ensure against frostbite. Fascinated like other parents the world over by what our child did and said I wrote:

A few days ago we wished so much that you were here to see Jon. We were having dinner. First he climbed up on his chair himself, took a plate, put it down in front of him and demanded tatoes (potatoes). He ate them beautifully himself with fork and then, when he had finished, he reached for cigarettes, took one, put it in his mouth and said: "Mak, mak" (match). All perfectly seriously and naturally! So you see what kind of a grandson you have! You always said he should wait to smoke 'til he was 3! It was so funny that we could not stop laughing. He has begun to say quite a lot of words. He still says damn when annoyed. He also says "come here" as Komm (German) Suda (Russian). He speaks a terrible lot - a real Utley says Arcadi - but one can't always tell what language he is trying to speak.

I finished Japan's Feet of Clay early in March, but it took me three weeks of wangling to secure good paper on which to have it cleanly typed. Ordinary Russian paper was gray, soggy stuff not unlike blotting paper. I could not obtain a supply of anything better until Eugene Varga himself spoke to a Vice-Commissar at the Commissariat of Light Industry.

On March 10, 1936, we had a housewarming party on Jon's second birthday. Without Jane and Michael parties were not as gay as of yore, but the Rabinovitch's came, and also to our great joy, our dear friend from Japanese days, Dementiev, whom we called Mentich. He was visiting Moscow from the South, where he had recently conducted the U.S. Ambassador, William Bullitt, on a tour of the Ukraine.

"Mentich" was a "Great Russian" both in his geographical origins and in his spirit.


Huge, shaggily blond with pale blue eyes in a pallid face he was ponderous as a bear and somewhat slow on the uptake. But after he got the point of a joke his uproarious peals of laughter were heartwarming. Whenever he came to Moscow I opened my heart freely, knowing he was our loyal and devoted friend. An old Bolshevik who had fought gallantly in the Civil War, he took no pleasure in the material privileges he now enjoyed. He longed for the good old days when a revolutionary's life was honest and hard and dangerous and was trying to get himself sent on an Arctic expedition.

Instead he was arrested not long after our last party. I have often wondered whether this was at least in part the result of the unfavorable view of the USSR which Bill Bullitt acquired at this time as contrasted with his championship of Russia in Lenin's day.

On the night of April tenth, Arcadi awakened me from a deep sleep, saying, "We have visitors."

I sprang out of bed to see a soldier in the hall. Two NKVD officers in uniform were in our sitting room, together with the janitor of the building.

The secret police officers forbade us to speak to one another and started on a methodical search of our apartment. We had hundreds of books, and they went through every one of them, shaking out their leaves and scanning their titles.

They also examined all our papers. They could not read English, and strangely enough they accepted Arcadi's word for the contents of my manuscripts.

When they came across the typescript of a book on Pushkin's life in my desk, written by Mark Kazanin, my closest friend at the institute where we both worked, my heart beat faster. Mark had asked me to take it to England and send it to his brother in America for publication under a pseudonym. There was nothing subversive or anti-Communist in it, but no Soviet citizen was permitted to write anything for publication abroad without rigorous censorship and official permission. Arcadi knew nothing about the book and was not on too good terms with Mark Kazanin who was a class-conscious intellectual who looked down on business executives such as my husband, and who was also rather too fond of me in his own peculiar fashion. Whatever he may have thought after glancing at a page or two of the manuscript, Arcadi convinced the NKVD searchers that it was of no interest to them, and when I left Russia a few weeks later I carried Mark's manuscript with me.

We sat silent and tense. The slight up-and-down movement of Arcadi's right foot crossed over his left alone betrayed his feelings. As the hours passed and the search went on, I said to myself over and over again: "They will find nothing and then they will go. They will find nothing and they will go." Thus defensively did I try to keep up my courage, although I knew only too well that the innocent were just as likely to be arrested as the guilty.

When Arcadi went to the toilet, an NKVD soldier went with him, presumably to see that he should destroy no documents. Emma, indignant and nervous, but as ever unafraid, protested when the noise the officers made searching in cupboards and drawers in our bedroom threatened to wake Jon. Arcadi told her to keep quiet and his authority was more potent than that of the representatives of Stalin's tyranny.

When Arcadi's eyes and mine met, we gave each other a smile and a look of confidence and calm. One must keep calm. Is it a dream? Has the end come? Is this now happening to us which has happened to so many others? Will the nightmare pass, or is this the end of our life and our love?

The dawn came, but the search went on. The officers were polite, silent, methodical. They selected a few books to take away, including a volume of Marx and one of Keynes.


They took my letters from Arcadi, preserved through the years. They took my address book. These, some office papers Arcadi had been working on at home, and the books they packed in a bag. At seven o'clock Jon awakened and Emma gave him breakfast.

At eight o'clock they told Arcadi they were taking him away to be examined, but the search was not yet completed. I made coffee. My mind now was filled with only one purpose:  to strengthen him for the ordeal before him.

I knew he was innocent, but I also knew of the terrible, long, exhausting examinations to which the NKVD subjected its victims. Arcadi had been up all night, and might be confused - too tired to think clearly. By this time they allowed us to talk a little. Jon was around the place, and him they could not silence.

I might have asked Arcadi what I should do when he was gone, what I should do if he were imprisoned. But I still hoped he would come home in a few days or a few weeks. I wanted only to give him strength and confidence.

I asked him no questions. I let him rest half-sitting, half-lying on the couch with his head sunk down and his face very pale. I packed a small suitcase with brush and comb, soap, toothbrush, and a change of linen. I also put in a slim volume of Galsworthy stories hoping he might be allowed to have it with him for consolation or distraction.

At about nine o'clock they took him away. We kissed for the last time. At the door I said, "What can I do? To whom shall I go?"

He shrugged his shoulders. "No one can help," he said.

No words of love passed between us. They were not needed. Reserved to die last, he gave me a gentle smile and was gone.

I never saw him again. He passed out of my life on that lovely April morning in his old, Navy blue English flannel jacket, his black head hatless, a slight figure between the two stone faced, khaki-clad police officers.

Emma was in tears. I sent her out with Jon. I walked from room to room trying to think what I could do, to whom I could go, where I could discover what Arcadi was accused of. Finally I found myself vomiting. Fleetingly I remembered learning in a psychology class that die stomach, not the heart, is the seat of the emotions.

"It must be a mistake," I reasoned. Queer things were going on at Promexport. The manager and assistant manager of a department had been arrested a few days before. That last evening Arcadi had told me about it, but he had not suggested that he himself was in danger.

In order to maintain Promexport's position as the leading export organization, Kalmanovsky, the Chairman, had continued to sell certain goods abroad which should, according to a new policy, have been retained for use in Russian industry. This had just been found out by the "Workers and Peasants Inspection" authorities.

Kalmanovsky had placed the blame upon the manager of the department in question, although this man had only carried out his orders and. being non-Party. would have lost his job had he refused to do so.

As finance manager of Promexport, Arcadi signed all contracts. Although he was in no way responsible for the kind of goods exported, it would have been a more or less normal procedure to rope him in for examination. This was, I believe, from what I learned later. the actual reason for his arrest.

But once you were in the hands of the secret police, they didn't let you go easily. If they found nothing against you on one count, they hunted around for some other charge.

The concentration camps were always hungry for more men, always in need of more labor. Almost every citizen had at some time or another said, or been reported to have


said, something critical of the regime, or of the Party line. Moreover, since guilt by association was an integral part of the Soviet way of life, having been associated with a condemned person was often enough reason to get sent to prison.

That first morning I went to the NKVD office in Petrovka, where the officer in charge of the search party had told me I could get information as to the reason for Arcadi's arrest. It was the free day and it was closed. Next day I went again and waited in a line-up with others, only to be told that no information could be given to me yet. I went each day and was always given the same answer.

I went to the Commissariat of Foreign Trade. No one could tell me anything or help me. Philip Rabinovitch, now Vice Commissar under the durable Anastasius Mikoyan told me not to worry; that, of course Arcadi was innocent and would soon be home again. But he himself seemed nervous. When anyone was arrested in the USSR it was as if the plague had struck his family. All were afraid of any contact lest they themselves be contaminated with dire consequences to themselves and to their families.

In spite of the ever increasing miasma of fear in Moscow in 1936, several friends had the courage to see me and try to help me. Sophie Rabinovitch told me to come to their flat, in the same block as ours, whenever I felt like it. Anikeeva, my friend since the days we had lived in Tokyo, tried to give me comfort. Her husband thought it was Arcadi's irrepressible propensity to make dangerous jokes which had got him into trouble.

At the Institute some shunned me, but I was not dismissed. Eugene Varga was kind and tried to get information as to why my husband has been arrested.

One man at the Institute whom i had known years before in London at the School of Economics attempted to console me by showing me that mine was the lot of all. He said, "I don't suppose there is a family in Moscow which has not lost at least one member in the past years either through arrest or typhus."

I went to see Kalmanovsky, the Chairman of Promexport, at his home. He faced me in a dark room lit by a small lamp on his writing table. He was ill at ease and his dark expressive eyes showed panic. I could see he was already afraid for himself, and that no help could come from him. His brother, a non-party man who had been my friend ever since I got to know him in the Caucasus on my first visit to the Soviet Union in 1928. came to see me. He was sunk in the deepest despair at the ever-increasing terror.

I went to see Z. our ex-OGPU friend. He promised to make inquiries. Two days later he told me I had nothing to fear, Arcadi was being held for questioning in connection with the case of the other Promexport men arrested: since he could not be held guilty merely because he had signed the fatal contract as finance manager, I should not worry. He advised me to go to England with the manuscript of my book. By the time I came back he was sure Arcadi would be free. So he said, perhaps not really believing it, but wanting to ensure my safety and my son's.

I then made my decision. I already had a visa to go to England and return having applied for it through the Institute before Arcadi's arrest. I had even managed to secure permission to exchange rubles for thirty pounds sterling for my trip to England to see Japan's Feet of Clay through the press.

I could take Jon out of the country into safety in England and return. All through the long days of anxiety, of traipsing from place to place and person to person, I had feared for our son. Although I had contrived to have his name added to my passport, it was there clearly stated that he was not a British subject.

I knew that the secret police took hostages and frightened men into false confessions


by threatening reprisals on their children. I must get Jon out of the country while I could. Arcadi would want me to save him whatever happened..

I left Moscow by train by night ten days after Arcadi's arrest. Before leaving I handed in a letter to the Lubianka prison for him saying I was going but would return. I shall never know whether or not the prison authorities let him have it.

Philip Rabinovitch sent his limousine and chauffeur to take us to the station. I remember nervously endeavoring to get Jon's socks and shoes on at the last moment.

After we crossed the Russian Frontier into Poland, the sick feeling I had had for days began to pass. My heart sang, "Jon is safe, Jon is safe." I could breathe again. Looking after him on the three-day journey without a sleeper took all my energy and thoughts. Jon was excited and restless. In the first days after Arcadi's arrest he had hunted for his father all over the flat in cupboards and even under the beds.

In Berlin, where we waited three hours between trains, I gave Jon the first banana he had ever tasted and we had a luxurious bath at the station. I remember that bath so well because Jon, in spite of my supporting hand, slipped under the water in the huge tub and came up spluttering "Damn Mamma." This "damn" was his rendering of the Russian words, "Ja tibia dam," meaning "I'll give you what for," an expression he had often heard in the courtyard of our Moscow apartment house where the children played. His speech at this time was a mishmash of English, German and Russian.

It was a strenuous journey, and I was exhausted by the time I took the boat from Holland on the last lap of my return to England. As I was staggering down the steps of the ship to a third class cabin, carrying my son on one arm and clutching a suitcase with my other hand, a friendly voice hailed me. Owen Lattimore, whom I had met shortly before in Moscow relieved me of my burdens and helped me put Jon to bed.

Subsequently in London both Owen and his wife Eleanor became my friends. They were generous to me, not only with their sympathy, but also providing me with clothing for my son from their own boy's outgrown clothes.

I knew that as editor of Pacific Affairs Owen Lattimore was closely connected with the Soviet Government and that they were friendly to the so-called "Soviet Socialist experiment." But since they deplored the mass arrests, imprisonments without trial, and other tyrannical features of Stalin's Russia, I believed them to be honest liberals, sincere in their condemnation of the terror from which I had fled.

My confidence at this time in Owen Lattimore, against whom I was to testify fifteen years later before the Tydings Committee in Washington, was largely due to his independent behaviour at the conference in Moscow at which we first met.

Here I should explain that, after the Kremlin switched over to its "Popular Front" policy, the Institute of World Economy and Politics where I was a "senior scientific worker," had become the Russian Branch of the Institute of Pacific Relations (IPR), destined to play an important and pernicious role in the determination of America's China policy in later years. For the benefit of the visiting Americans, a room had been taken in another part of the town and a notice put up saying "Soviet Council of the Institute of Pacific Relations." It was here that E. C. Carter, president of the American I.P.R., and Owen Lattimore were first received by the leading Communists at the Institute. As I had left the Communist Party years earlier, I could not attend their private meetings. But the Americans came to the Institute for a day long session to consult on Far Eastern questions. I was astonished to see how often and completely Mr. Carter (a former head of the Internationa] YMCA and a very smooth operator) deferred to the Soviet viewpoint. Owen Lattimore appeared to be more independent in his attitude, since


he dared to argue that it was incorrect to designate Mongol society as feudal. From this I concluded that he was not a Communist - an opinion which was fortified later, in London, when he told me he had almost lost his job as editor of Pacific Affairs because he had published an article by the Trotskyist Harold Isaacs.

My delay in getting to England had made it too late for Faber and Faber to publish my book until September. Their reader, G. F. Hudson, Fellow of All Souls, who was unknown to me then but was to become one of my best friends, had sent in a most favorable report.

Mr. Geoffrey Faber, head of the firm, who had had sufficient confidence in me to contract for an unwritten book and pay me an advance on royalties the previous year, encouraged me to hope that Japan's Feet of Clay would be a big success. My hopes soared that by making a reputation in England I might save Arcadi.

Three weeks after I had left Moscow Vera cabled that they were taking away our flat and I must return immediately.

Mother was unable to look after Jon alone and I had almost no money. The Yeserky's, old Russian Jewish friends of Arcadi's who were "non-returners" meaning employees of the Russian trade missions or embassies who had stayed abroad when ordered to come back to Moscow-drove Jon and me down to Ditchling in Sussex late that evening to a small nursery school they knew, run by a Mrs. Shawcross whose nephew was a Labor Party lawyer. Here I left my sleeping two-year-old son to wake among strangers. I feared that finding me gone he would cry desolately but I had no choice. Arcadi needed me most and Jon would be well cared for.

Next morning I left for Moscow via Berlin, from where, during a few hours stop-over, I wrote Mother on May 10th saying:

Darling, I felt I loved you very much when I said goodbye to you and when I saw you waving to me on the platform. Poor Mother who has only me left and I in such a mess. I am not so unhappy now that I am going to Arcadi and I shall see him and perhaps be able to help him. I do hope Jon is happy. I am glad I left him in England. I know you love him, dear, and will look after him whatever happens to us. But I hope it will all soon be over and that I shall soon be back.

I wrote Mrs. Yeziersky from the train asking her to get some shirts and shoes for Jon, as she knew the right sizes. I had just been to the cinema and found that "the similarity between Nazi and Communist propaganda was extraordinary."

The rest of my letter to Mother was concerned with code names and phrases for her to understand what I should mean when I wrote from Moscow.

My worries as always were small as well as great. I mailed a hurried pencilled letter from Warsaw saying I had been so stupid as to leave my toothbrush on the boat and could she get her doctor, a Russian-born Jewish friend of ours who was planning to visit Russia, to bring me one to Moscow "because the new English one I bought is for Arcadi." Russian toothbrushes were like almost everything else, of very poor quality. I also asked Mother to try to get Dr. Yates to bring me coffee, but told her she should not give him my address. I would phone him at his hotel. Then I wrote:

Soon I shall be back in Moscow but no Arcadi to welcome me. Up to now I have felt all right but am now getting excited and nervous. I hope I shall hear soon that Jon at least is all right.

Vera met me at the station in Moscow and told me that our ever resourceful Emma had barricaded herself in our apartment for three days. She had bolted the door and


refused to open it to anyone, but she obviously would be unable to withstand the siege for many more days.

Armed with a letter I secured from Eugene Varga I went to the house management of the block and raised hell. They had intended to take advantage of our predicament to put in a friend of the House Committee Chairman. Once I showed them that I was no cowed wife of a secret police victim, but a foreigner still employed at the Academy of Sciences and able to stand up for our rights, they abased themselves in true Russian Soviet style with profuse apologies.

Our home was saved for the time being, but the news about Arcadi was foreboding. Vera had ascertained that he was now accused of a political offense. What offense they would not tell her, but everyone knew that a political charge was far graver than a mere accusation of having done wrong in business.

There began for me the saddest, gloomiest, most trying and anxious period of my life. Day after day I went to the Public Prosecutor's office and stood in line waiting my turn to speak to an official there. According to the new Soviet Constitution, the State Prosecutor had "supervision of the exact observance of the laws." No one was to be subject to arrest "except under the decision of a court or with the sanction of the Prosecutor."

Actually, when Arcadi was arrested, no warrant or any kind of paper was shown to us. Perhaps the Prosecutor signed batches of blank slips for the NKVD to fill in, but such a formality, if it did take place, was meaningless.

After, as before the promulgation of the new Constitution with its ostensible safeguards against arbitrary arrest, the power of life and death was left in the hands of the Secret Police which continued to imprison anyone it pleased. The only difference that the "inviolability of the person" clause in the Constitution made was that citizens might try to ascertain at the Public Prosecutor's office why an arrest had been made, and had to send appeals through him instead of directly to the secret police.

Each time I finally got to see an official at the Prosecutor's, I was told to come back in four days or in a week's time. When I came back, and had again spent hours standing in line, I was told that the case was now in the hands of another official. When I got to the other official the process was repeated.

After five weeks of this I managed, through the help of an influential Party member to get to one of the Assistant Prosecutors, called, as far as I remember, Levine. He spoke German, and our conversation was brief:

"Ihr Mann hat im Ausland gearbeitet?" "Ja."

"In Japan?" "Ja."

"Nun, er hat dort was gesagt dass er nicht sagen sollte." That was all:  Arcadi was in prison because of something he had said which he ought not to have said six or seven years before in Japan.

Perhaps Anikeev was right. Perhaps it was one of Arcadi's jokes which had been reported and filed away in his dossier which had brought him under suspicion.

I started to appeal. I wrote to the Prosecutor, to Yezhov, then Assistant Commissar of the Commissariat of the Interior, (NKVD), and finally to Stalin himself. I never received any acknowledgement of any of my letters. Meanwhile I went twice weekly to the NKVD to fill in a form asking to be permitted to visit my husband. Nothing ever came of this either.


In May Arcadi had been moved from the Lubianka to the Butirky Prison. This meant either that his examination was completed or that the Lubianka was so full that he had been transferred while awaiting further examination.

We could not know which of these alternatives it meant. If he were already condemned we had to go to the prison every three days to see if his name was yet posted on the list of those being sent away to a concentration camp.

The NKVD did not inform the relatives of arrested persons of their fate. The family had to watch the lists posted on the prison walls. It might be days or months before husband, son, wife, or father was sent off condemned without trial. The only way to know was to watch the lists.

Vera had a friend who knew a woman whose husband was a trusty among the condemned political prisoners in the Butirky Prison, and was allowed a visit from his wife once in twelve days. Through this old comrade of hers we found out that Arcadi was not among those already condemned. He was therefore evidently still in solitary confinement, or with others still under examination.

No one in the queues at the prison and at the Prosecutor's expected that anyone would be given a trial. It was taken for granted that all would be condemned in secret, or, if a miracle occurred, released similarly without trial.

The articles in the New Constitution guaranteeing trial in open court "with participation of the people's associate judges" (Articles 103 and 111) were a dead letter from the beginning, for they contained a joker: "with the exception of cases specially provided for by law," or "except in special cases."

These articles were only intended to delude gullible foreign "Friends of the Soviet Union," who failed to appreciate the significance of the addition of the words "except in special cases." No citizen of the USSR took the New Constitution for anything more than was intended, a thin facade to cover the naked police regime, a cruel mockery of the millions condemned without trial.

After Arcadi was transferred to Butirky Prison, food could be delivered to him every eight days and change of linen every sixteen days. To do this I went early in the morning with a sack or pillowcase and stood in line after filling in a form stating exactly what it contained. If anything forbidden, such as cigarettes, was included, everything might be rejected.

The first time I went, a friend of Vera's, an old Social Revolutionary from Siberia, went with me to help. For the form had to be carefully filled out, and I might make a mistake over some of the Russian words.

Vera's friend was a Socialist of the old school. For hours that morning she helped poor illiterate women who could not write and feared their pitiful supplies of black bread and onion might be rejected unless they could sign their names on the form.

Many of the women with their breadwinners arrested and children to support were obviously half-starved themselves, but they had trudged the streets to bring bread for their husbands.

There was no poor relief in Russia. Neighbors and relatives were too poor to help or too afraid to help. Even if their children were old enough to leave alone, it was almost impossible for women whose husbands had been arrested to get any kind of work.

There were different days for different letters of the alphabet. As far as I can remember, our day included all those whose names began with A, B, C, D.

At this prison it took hours before my turn came to hand in my sack to the NKVD official. Some idea of the huge number of political prisoners in Moscow at this time could


be formed from the large numbers standing in line each day to deliver food to their relatives.

Strangely enough, there seemed more good will and friendliness among these people than in other line-ups in Moscow - a comradeship of the damned. They had little left to fear or hope for. The worst had befallen them already.

On May Day, while I was still in England and Vera had stood in line for me, she heard a man ahead of her say, "Half of the population of Moscow is demonstrating today, while the other half is either in prison or waiting like us at the prison gates."

On my first visit to the Butirky prison, a boy eleven or twelve years old ahead of me, seeing how ignorant I was of the procedures, exclaimed with some scorn mixed with pity, "Is this the first time you have brought food to a relative in prison?" I then remembered the "humorous" story Arcadi used to tell about the kid who got up early to take bread to his mother in the hospital and then to his father in prison. Arriving panting at school a few minutes late he was asked by the mistress of the science class, "How many back teeth does a frog have?" And the boy, sighing deeply, says: "Teacher, I wish I had your troubles."

Often in future years in the West, I recalled this Russian Jewish expression when, hearing people complain of minor troubles, or considering themselves poor or underprivileged when actually they were incomparably more fortunate than the great majority of the Russian people. All values, as also all sufferings, are relative. The most 'underprivileged' people in the Western world are fortunate in comparison to the subjects of a Communist totalitarian tyranny.

In this connection, writing now in 1968 in the United States where, despite the great advance in my time in civil rights and equal opportunities for Negroes, dissatisfaction abounds. I recall the showing in Moscow of an American film picturing the Negroes as oppressed. The Moscow audience, however, was more impressed by the good shoes worn by the Negroes in the film, unobtainable in Russia by all but the privileged.

At the prisons we waited for the proof given us that husband or father, brother, or sister, son or daughter still lived, when in the late afternoon, we were given a receipt, signed by the prisoner for the packages we had handed in that morning. Every sixteen days we were allowed to send in clean clothing and receive back the soiled linen of the prisoners. When I got Arcadi's dirty underwear back for the first time I broke down and cried. It was five weeks since they had taken him away, and this was the first opportunity Vera or I had had to supply him with a clean shirt, underwear and socks. The stuff we got back was filthy, sweat-stained, black with grime. This brought home to me more vividly than anything else what he must be suffering.

The prisons were terribly crowded, and I pictured Arcadi in the heat and dirt of a crowded cell. There would certainly be bugs. He would be sleeping on a plank bed, and the room would be airless. Arcadi who was so fastidiously clean had had to wear the same underwear for weeks.

Yet I comforted myself in remembering his philosophic spirit, and his gift for understanding men and never losing his self control. I hoped he would know from the foreign chocolate and soap I had sent him that I had been to England and had come back and was still at liberty. That should give him good heart to endure.

He might guess that I had left Jon safely in England. In any case, he knew I would provide for our son, and that I could fight for myself. The NKVD would not be able to force him to a false confession through threats against us.

One day in the street I met Berkinghof's wife. He had been taken off the train to


prison on his arrival from Mongolia, where he had been the Soviet Trade Representative. She and their young son had been brought to Moscow by the lure of a false telegram purporting to come from him. They had lived well for years as top ranking members of the Communist Party but practically everything they possessed was in Mongolia. Varya was haggard and white, fearing most for the future of their small son, whom they adored. She was trying to get a job, but was refused employment everywhere.

I heard of one arrest after another among our friends and acquaintances. The scythe was sweeping ever wider and higher. Very important people were being arrested and disappearing without trace. Everyone I knew looked afraid. Panic spread. It was clearly hopeless to try to get anyone to help. All were consumed by fear for themselves.

The radios in the street blared out, "Life is happy! Life is joyous!" Varya Berkinghof and I smiled bitterly as we said goodbye to each other for the last time on Tverskaya street.

Vera did all she could to save her brother, showing the same bold spirit as in her youth when she defied the Tsarist tyranny. But she was as helpless as I was. She bravely assured me that no innocent man such as her brother Arcadi would be condemned, and surely soon would be set at liberty, but I doubted whether she believed it. Poor Vera was still clinging to her belief in the good intentions of the Communist Party. A year later, in April, 1937, she was herself arrested when nearly all those who belonged to the proud category of those who had been condemned to hard labor as political convicts in Tsarist prisons were purged or liquidated by Stalin, who suspected all the revolutionaries of the past.

Emma, my friend rather than servant, looked after me, forced me to eat the meals she cooked for us and tried to keep my hopes alive. A descendant of German farmers induced by Catherine the Great to emigrate to Russia to teach the ignorant Slavs agricultural skills and animal husbandry, my red-haired, blue-eyed and muscular Emma, like other "Volga Germans" had retained not only her militant Protestant faith, but also the steadfast courage which was the hallmark of the Teutonic tribes, described by the Roman historian Tacitus as unconquerable by reason of their bravery, loyalty, and love of freedom.

It was a perfect summer in Moscow. One lovely day succeeded another. In the evenings I would sit reading on our sixth floor balcony, my eyes leaving the printed page at frequent intervals to look down on the courtyard below in the hope of seeing Arcadi come walking along. I imagined the smile and the light or joking words he would surely use when he came home, and shut my mind to the terrible fears which returned with the darkness.

Seeking momentary escape from Giant Despair, I read many books during those long, lonely, beautiful evenings of my last summer in Moscow. The one I remember best is Somerset Maugham's Of Human Bondage. Maybe I still remember this best of all Maugham's books because it enabled me to escape for brief periods from my own anguish, by reading a sadder story than my own. I could identify myself with the main character in the novel distilled by Maugham from his own life as a poor student in London, because I had experienced poverty, loneliness and youthful longings for love in a similar situation. But Somerset Maugham's alter ego as portrayed in this book was never warmed by the "durable fire" of true love "in the mind everburning" which had made my life with Arcadi so happy, despite disillusionment and privation. Even as my eyes smarted in reading Of Human Bondage I could account myself fortunate among women for the love and companionship and understanding I had known even if I had lost Arcadi forever.

All through those months in Moscow of fear and hope for Arcadi I was also consumed


with anxiety for my son and my mother, separated from each other as from me. They both needed me to look after them, while I stayed on in Moscow unable to do anything to help Arcadi or them. My heart ached for my son, alone in a strange place, too young for anyone to explain to him why both his mother and father had vanished from his life. As also for my mother, lonelier now than ever since the death of Temple only a year before. On June 6, 1936, a few days before Temple's birthday I wrote:

There is nothing new since I wrote you last. I am just waiting and waiting. I am working as much as I can at the Institute and still trying to find out what Arcadi is accused of. I think I told you in my last letter that they said I could not be told for another month or perhaps three weeks. I am very lonely but not worrying too much as I feel certain it will be all right in the end.

I have had no letter from you since the one written May 25th. I had hoped to hear that you had seen Jon. I do so long to know how he is. I do not like it that they think he is very quiet. It must mean that he feels strange and shy.

You and Rab, I expect, will drink to Temple's memory on the 10th. I think of him very often and remember his courage and his sunny temperament and wish he were alive with all my heart. I would give much to have him with me now. I love you, dearest, and know you love my son. I hope these dark days will pass soon and that I shall be with you again.

Late in July I received a cable from my publishers in London that I must come at once to correct final proofs of my book due then to go to press. It was impossible to tell how long Arcadi's examination would last. It might be months before his case was decided and I had come to the conclusion that the only way I could help was to go to England and try to exert pressure on Moscow from there.

Standing in line at the Public Prosecutor's and sending in appeals was clearly useless. Moreover, my son had to be provided for in England. I must make some money. I had plenty of rubles, since the thousands we had received from the sale of the typewriter were only partially spent, but they could not be exchanged for English currency.

I decided to fly to England and come back after my book was published. This time, I could not secure a return visa. The Soviet authorities, no doubt glad to be rid of me, gave me an exit visa, but told me to get my return visa in London because my British passport was about to expire.

This was a valid reason, but I could not be sure that it was the real one. However, I had no choice. I had to go to England and could only hope it was true that a visa to return to the Soviet Union would be procurable in London.

During the anxious last months in Moscow I saw my friend Mark Kazanin more frequently than anyone else. I had not been dismissed from the Institute of World Economy and Politics where we were both "Senior Scientific Workers," and I believed that he was a friend I could trust. But after I left Moscow for the last time the seeds of doubt were to be sown in my mind even about Mark.

Arcadi while not liking him much had thought it was a good thing that I had such a friend and adviser at our place of work, and I had not understood until after Arcadi's arrest that Mark really was, or thought he was, in love with me. He had a most loyal and very nice Irish wife whom I had imagined he loved as much as I loved Arcadi. But now, while Arcadi was in prison, Mark wanted to make love to me and said that if only I


would forget Arcadi and live with him he would manage to escape from Russia to join me in the West.

I was both shocked and greatly worried and began to avoid Mark's company. Such is the dreadful atmosphere of suspicion and fear in a police state that no one can ever be sure that friends will not betray you, either from compulsion to save themselves, or for their own advantage. A year later in England I had a cryptic message from Vera given to an English friend visiting Moscow, which implied that Mark had been a secret informer against Arcadi.

A few years ago I learned from Jane, visiting Moscow briefly for the Royal Institute of International Affairs, that Mark Kazanin and his wife were still alive but she had not seen them. This suggested that Mark never was such an uncompromising opponent of Stalin's tyranny as he convinced me that he was. Or maybe he was merely quietly discreet, and thus escaped liquidation. I prefer to believe that his temporary infatuation or imagined love of me, or his fears for his own survival, never in fact led him to become an informer against my husband.

This all sounds very melodramatic, but life in Russia was of the essence of horrible melodrama with too many villains or weaklings and cowards and few heroes. As I have already related, on the terrible night of Arcadi's arrest a bad moment had come when the secret police came across a manuscript on the life of Pushkin, written by Mark under a pseudonym, which I had undertaken to convey to England.

When I left Russia with Jon soon afterwards I carried Mark's ms with me and it was eventually delivered to his brother in America, who was a psychiatric doctor. It was apparently never published and Mark's brother died before I came to the U.S. or soon after. But for a long time I felt guilty about that ms, since I took a risk which might have further increased the mortal danger which threatened Arcadi. And since Mark and his wife survived the war and the worst years of the Stalin era and lived on into the somewhat more "liberal" Khrushchev era, yet never communicated with me through his many foreign friends, the suspicion which I originally refused to entertain concerning my erstwhile dear friend, Mark Kazanin, has come back to me now in writing my Memoirs.

All this time the treatment I myself received encouraged the hope that they were not going to imprison Arcadi indefinitely. True that I was English, but other foreigners had been arrested. Surely if they were trying to frame Arcadi they would do something to implicate me as well.

I had the terrible feeling all along that perhaps he was suffering for my sins. I had never done anything against the Soviet Government, but I had thought a lot against it. And I had not always been sufficiently cautious in expressing my opinions when on trips to England or meeting English friends visiting Russia.

Occasionally I had revealed a little of the truth on conditions in the USSR to friends who visited me in Moscow. Arcadi had been more discreet, never openly expressing "dangerous thoughts," contenting himself with relating the jokes current in Moscow. He had accepted the realities of life in the USSR and convinced himself that no changes for the better were possible through any change in the composition of the Soviet government. He had continued to work extremely hard giving all his knowledge, energy and talents to his job, convinced that this was the only way for conditions to be improved.

Being a Jew and a Russian, he was far more of a fatalist than I; more resigned and philosophical concerning ills that could not in his view be cured, but could be ameliorated if everyone tried to do his own job as well as possible. Indignation and anger were in his view unnecessary and futile.


I left everything we possessed behind in Moscow: books, clothes, linen, furniture and money. The money I left with Vera, telling her to continue to pay the 200 rubles a month we always allowed to Arcadi's former wife, Anna Abramovna, and their son Vitia. Anna Abramovna had had a job for some years past, and Vitia was now in his teens, but I knew that Arcadi would wish me to continue the financial assistance he always provided despite his former wife's enmity.

To keep the flat safe and occupied, I installed in it a man and his wife whom I knew to be decent people who would vacate it if and when Arcadi was set free. They were glad to take Emma on as their servant. In the second room I placed Vera's son Shura and his wife and child, leaving Emma the smallest room as hers by right, whether employed by the other immates or not.

The last night I did not go to bed at all. After packing, I sat down to write a long letter to Arcadi in case he should come home or be sent away before my return - or in case I never got back.

I assured him that whatever happened, even if I did not see him for years, I would continue to love him Life without him was unbearable and unthinkable and I promised that if he were condemned, I would return and try to be near him, but would leave Jon in England. I left the letter with friends, but it is unlikely that Arcadi was ever allowed to receive it.

I left Moscow by airplane at four o'clock in the morning. Emma tried to see me off but was not allowed to come to the airport. She wept and clung to me saying goodbye forever. I assured her I should come back. She was certain that I would never return.

Emma was right and I was wrong. I myself feared that she might be right as I said goodbye to Moscow, where I had known such great happiness and profound sorrow.

Lovely Moscow in the dawn of a glorious summer day with the blue sky over the red Kremlin walls and the risen sun's rays brightening the golden church towers and cupolas. Once a beacon to the world in the hope it had seemed to offer of a just social order and brotherhood of all mankind; now the grave of the Communist ideal which had inspired me to dreams of a better world.

Nine years before, almost to the day, I had stood in the Red Square for the first time, my heart full of enthusiasm and faith. Now I was flying away to the West leaving the dearest person in my life to a fate unknown. Tears blinded my eyes as the plane rose higher and higher and I looked down for the last time on the city where my youthful hopes were buried.



Chapter 16


For years after I left Moscow for the last time on that cloudless July morning in 1936, I lived suspended between two worlds. I had returned to the West but my heart was in Russia with my husband. Although I gradually abandoned hope of being allowed to return to the unhappy land where Arcadi was incarcerated, I could not kill my irrational belief that one day, somehow, he and I would be together again. So even after I burned my bridges in 1940 by writing The Dream We Lost, I neither acted nor felt as if I had lost Arcadi forever.

Gradually I adapted myself to reality and the knowledge that I had to start life again alone with our son. But I put down no roots, feeling myself to be only a transient resident in the world outside the vast prison house called the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. Nor did I, until too late to love and marry again, feel myself a widow.

Looking back across the three decades which have passed since Arcadi kissed me goodbye in the early dawn of the April day which ended our life together, I realize that it was not until my sixties, "with all passion spent," that my heart accepted the finality of our separation. And still today I can see Arcadi as clearly as if he were alive, smiling at me tenderly but with a quizzical expression, encouraging me to go on writing, but doubtful whether anyone could convey to the fortunate Westerners any conception of the realities of life where liberty is not.

The first two years after my return to the West were the hardest. I longed to bear witness to the truth about the Soviet Union, which I had learned by such intimate and bitter experience, but was convinced that if I spoke out publicly I would be signing Arcadi's death warrant. Yet I could not refrain from speaking frankly to old or close friends. Nor could I bring myself to pretend that all was well with the state of Russia when in the company of the deluded liberals who were then falling over one another in joining Popular Fronts with the Communists.

I knew that by lending my support to the false image of the U.S.S.R. current among the liberals and Communist fellow-travellers to whose company I had once belonged, I might save Arcadi. But I could not tell the big lies required of me. Nor did I think he would wish me to do so. Still an agnostic, I was more certain than ever after my life in the Communist jungle that one destroys oneself and others by denying one's convictions either in order to save oneself and those one loves or for the sake of an ideal.

So, for the most part, I kept silent, but even my silence was all too eloquent. Thus, I found myself increasingly cut off from my own kind, meaning my liberal socialist contemporaries who had rejected Communism in the late 20's when I had embraced it, but who were now following my own footsteps down the well-intentioned path which leads to the totalitarian hell.

Back in the 20's when at London University Labor Party and University Labor Federation meetings we had lightheartedly, and usually amicably, debated concerning the way to establish the socialist order of society from which we expected all blessings to


flow, we had all been as innocent as Adam and Eve before they ate of the bitter fruit of knowledge. During the intervening years I had learned that "socialism" far from ensuring an improvement in the human condition could mean, and perhaps inevitably entailed, the establishment of a more stultifying and soul-destroying system than any previously experienced by the sons of men. Meanwhile, many of my old friends in England had been travelling in the opposite direction.

Since the political world would seem to be as round or elliptical as the earth itself, my increasing alienation from my own kind was due to my having travelled further and faster around its spectrum than most of my contemporaries. While I had been drawing further and further away from the Communists, they had been moving ever closer, thanks to the world economic crisis of the early 30's, the Nazi menace, and the Kremlin's successful democratic masquerade.

Few among my former friends had any understanding of my predicament, political, moral or material. Those to whom I dared speak frankly looked upon me askance as an unwelcome returned adventurer who ruffled the calm surface of the sea of complacency on which they sailed. Having plunged deeper and voyaged further than they had dared to do, I had come back from the Promised Land with the unwelcome information that it was a desert. They had preserved their security and their innocence by not taking the ultimate step of joining the Communist Party as I had done long before it was popular to be Red, or at least pink. Now they wanted to be both secure and "progressive" by joining hands with the Communists in Popular Fronts against fascism. The tide of success was running their way. I must have seemed to them like a skeleton at the feast.

In their anxiety to erect a bulwark against fascists and Nazis, most liberals chose to forget or ignore all they had ever known about Communism. To them the issue seemed all too simple. The growing power of Hitler's Germany constituted a clear and present danger. To combat the Nazi and fascist powers seemed to require an alliance with the Soviet Union. But since liberals are prone to rationalize actions conceived out of a proper regard for the facts of power politics, either in order to preserve the good opinion of mankind, or to salve their consciences, they had to convince themselves that there was only one devil abroad. Hitler, and that Stalin's aims were good, however horrible his practices. Thus they were all too ready to stifle their doubts and many of them displayed an increasingly cold-blooded indifference to human suffering. The argument then and later in both England and America ran as follows:

Admittedly, Stalin has created a cruel police regime and has perverted the first Socialist State, but this is only a temporary phase caused by "capitalist encirclement" or the fascist menace. Since its foundations are socialist, the U.S.S.R. offers hope for the future. It is "progressive" whereas Nazi Germany is a "dictatorship of finance capital" and its aims intrinsically bad.

British imperialists of the Winston Churchill stamp simply said that since Nazi Germany constituted a clear and present danger England should be prepared to take the aid of "the devil himself," - to use his own famous phrase in cementing the Anglo-Russian alliance. Neville Chamberlain had thought that an accommodation with Hilter was feasible and more likely to preserve the British Empire than an alliance with Stalin. In Lawrence Denis's brilliant aphorism: the choice between the two totalitarian dictators was "Hitler, who wanted to join the Carlton Club, and Stalin, who wanted to burn it down."

It was a moot point and no one today can say with any assurance that Chamberlain, who considered Hilter to be a lesser devil than Stalin, was wrong since Churchill lived to


see the liquidation of the British Empire which his alliance with the Communist powers was designed to prevent. One thing seems certain: if only, after Nazi Germany attacked Russia, the West had left the two totalitarian giants to fight it out and bleed each other white, the Soviet Colossus would not now bestride Eurasia.

Beatrice and Sidney Webb were leading the procession of socialists and liberals along the primrose path which was to lead, a few years later, to the unconditional alliance of England and America with "Uncle Joe" Stalin against Hitler, which eventually produced this, our world today. With the immense prestige of their long life of historical research, the Webbs made the Soviet Union not only respectable, but admirable. They hid, under their Fabian mantle, the horrors, the starvation, the misery, the degradation of the human spirit and the barbarous methods of government in "Socialist" Russia. Stalin, it seemed to me, must be rubbing his hands in glee, confident that since it had been so easy to induce the Webbs to present a favorable picture of the U.S.S.R., the whole Western labor, socialist and liberal movement could be expected to excuse or condone the purges and terror which were engulfing Russia in a sea of fear. Confident in this expectation, Stalin could afford, he rightly concluded, to throw off all restraint. Otherwise he would not have dared to execute thousands and condemn hundreds of thousands, or even millions, to his slave labor camps without even the mockery of a show trial. By shutting their eyes to the atrocities committed by the Stalin regime, or excusing them, a host of Western liberals, unintentionally, no doubt, rendered themselves accomplices of these crimes against humanity.

The situation was not yet as bad as it was to become after Stalin became our ally against Hitler. But already in the late 30"s there was a growing conspiracy of silence on the Left concerning the dark side of that other world in which I had sojourned. Journals of progressive opinion became increasingly reluctant to publish condemnations of the Moscow purge trials, and began to put new meanings to old words and principles. Some who still called themselves liberals got to redefining liberty to mean "subordination to a common purpose" to quote George Soule in the American New Republic. They went so far as to excuse executions, torture, imprisonment of innocent persons, and other violations of human rights, if only it was done in the name of socialism or a planned economy. Cruelties which horrified them when committed by "reactionaries" or "imperialists" or fascists and racists, were condoned or glossed over provided they were socialistically administered.

To an ever-increasing degree, men and women who had been my friends or associates came to behave as if they subscribed to the Soviet concept that "information does not consist in the dissemination of news, but in the education of the masses ... (it is) an instrument in the class struggle: not a mirror to reflect events objectively."*

Proceeding from their a priori belief that "public ownership of the means of production and distribution" is an absolute good, the "totalitarian liberals" managed to maintain their faith in the "progressive" nature of the Soviet system in spite of all its crimes against humanity. Shutting their eyes and closing their ears to realities, or too far above earth to heed the cries of anguish of the millions of enslaved Russians and other subjects of the Communist dictatorship, they continued to argue that it must, intrinsically, be good because it was "socialist." Thus they helped the Communists to keep others enslaved while themselves retaining their safe and free position in the "capitalist world." And


* Soviet Communism: A New Civilization, Beatrice and Sidney Webb, Longmans, Green & Co., London, 1935.


when  the  anti-Communist  winds began to blow in the '50's, they could truthfully proclaim that they were never, but never, members of the Communist Party.

The human capacity to see what you want to see, even if it isn't there, would seem to be most fully developed among idealists too fearful to test their beliefs in the crucible of experience. As Bertrand Russell had written long before in his 1914 book of essays called Mysticism And Logic: *

It is only in marriage with the world that our ideas can bear fruit; divorced from it, they remain barren. But marriage with the world is not to be achieved by an ideal which shrinks from fact, or demands in advance that the world shall conform to its desires.

Today, in endeavoring to understand how and why so many men and women of good will in the 30's and 40's deluded themselves and others concerning Soviet Russia, I have come to the conclusion that it was precisely because they never fully committed themselves to the Communist cause that they continued to believe in it. Those of us who fully engage ourselves in the causes we believe in submit our ideals to the hard test of personal experience. By publicly professing our opinions, we risk being proved wrong, or being defeated, and have to take our punishment. But those who refrain from risking their "lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor" in any cause, either because they do not care enough or because they are too fearful or too proud to fight, have no right to call themselves idealists or liberals. To quote Bertrand Russell again:

The essence of the liberal outlook lies not in what opinions are held. but in how they are held; instead of being dogmatically held, they are held tentatively, and with a consciousness that new evidence may at any moment lead to their abandonment. This is the way opinions are held in science, as opposed to the way in which they are held in theology.**

To test political opinions or theories about man and society one must find out how they work when put into practice, and to do this some risks must be taken. Instead, the pseudo-liberals who came to exert paramount influence in the press, radio and universities of the West following Hitler's rise to power, remained safe and comfortable in their reinforced steel towers in the rarified atmosphere of theoretical speculation.

Dante consigned to the "anteroom" of hell those who had no opinion. Worse even, it seems to me, are those who profess to have ideals but never risk anything to realize them, preferring security to experience - those whom one might describe as the "demi-vierges" of the political world. But undoubtedly theirs is the kingdom in the democratic world of the West, if not in Heaven.

Those of us who descended to Avernus in our quest for social justice, and came back to the free world with the stigma of "ex-Communist" upon us for the rest of our lives, were attacked from all sides when we proclaimed the truth we had learned by our dreadful experience. Some were bludgeoned into silence by the severe penalties visited upon ex-Communist-anti-Communists by the entrenched forces of the pseudo-liberals who resent those who destroy their illusions, or prove them to have been wrong. But we were the leaven in the free world which saved it by arousing it before it was too late for realization of the Communist menance.


* Barnes & Noble, 2nd edition, 1954.

** Unpopular Essays, Simon & Schuster. New York, 1951.


Describing the harmful influence today of those who still refuse to admit even to themselves how wrong they were about Communism, my old friend Dwight MacDonald wrote in his essay "Liberal Soap Opera":

The faith of the "intellectuals" has turned sour as Soviet Communism has emerged as a totalitarian system like Nazism. But although this kind of liberalism has disappeared as a political force, it survives as a nostalgic myth, so that in most liberal intellectual circles it is still risky to say a good word for Whitaker Chambers, or a bad one against Owen Lattimore. The myth survives because the liberals have never honestly confronted their illusions in the thirties and forties about Communism, have instead merely counter-posed a disingenuous defense, a blanket denial to McCarthy's sweeping attack. One does not learn from experiences which one refuses to examine. The survival of the liberal myth which glosses over Soviet-Communism's shortcomings and correspondingly exaggerates those of American capitalism, is a big factor in delaying the political reorientation that our liberal ideology has so long needed.*

Those who have "invested" their minds and hearts in an illusion or a false belief are even more reluctant to abandon it than speculators to cut their losses in a business investment which has failed. Or to quote Confucius, a man who makes a mistake and refuses to admit it commits even greater mistakes afterwards.

Meanwhile, the idealists, or extremists on the "Right" or Conservative side, preserve their illusion of a past golden age when "free enterprise" was unconfined, by ignoring the sufferings and injustices of that time, just as "liberals" have ignored the cruel realities of the Communist system.

Today, although almost everyone is ostensibly "anti-Communist," there is not much greater understanding of Communism than two or three decades ago when it was as popular to be pink as it is now impossible to be Red. New myths have supplanted the old ones. The days have long since passed when my voice and that of other "premature anti-Communists" was drowned out by the powerful influence of the scribes and pharisees who assured the West out of the depths of their own ignorance that the "economically democratic" Soviet system was better than our own "political demo­cracy." But, as the "power of attraction" of the Soviet myth waned in the light of reality, exaggerated fears of the dread might of the Communist colossus which bestrides Eurasia came to exert a similar baneful influence. Believing that the U.S.S.R. cannot be challenged without risking an atomic war which would make a desert of the world, and misled by an overestimation both of Soviet strength and its appeal among the uncommitted peoples of Africa and Asia, the West dares not raise a standard to which all men ready to fight for freedom can repair.

I was not only politically isolated and finding it more and more difficult to mix with the society to which I had belonged before I went to live in Russia. I was also in dire financial straits during the first year after I left Moscow, before the success of my book, Japan's Feet of Clay. My earning capacities as journalist and lecturer were curtailed by my views which prevented me from swimming with the pro-Communist, Popular Front, tide. I had left behind in Moscow all Arcadi's and my possessions and had arrived in London with only a suitcase. My rubles were not exchangeable, and I had left them in


* Memoirs of a Revolutionist, Farrar, Straus, 1957.


Russia to provide for Arcadi's son, Vitia, and for Emma to send food packages to Arcadi in prison. The £ 2 or less a week which my mother was now receiving from her father's estate was not enough for her to live on, much less help me, and she was too old and too broken in health following my brother's death in Fiji in 1935, to be able to look after my child while I worked.

I perforce left Jon in the Sussex nursery school where I had deposited him the night before I had returned to Russia for the last time, then still hoping that Arcadi could be saved. I visited him often but it was increasingly painful to leave him there, when he cried at my departure. In later years I could never forget that on my first visit to him after my return from Russia he had stamped his foot and rejected me, no doubt because he felt I had abandoned him. Time was when I feared that Jon had been permanently injured psychologically. But as he grew up and suffered other deprivations due to my being unable fully to fulfill the responsibility of being both father and mother, and on account of my controversial opinions, I found instead that he became more self-reliant, as also more loving and appreciative of me than I deserved.

In this connection I well remember a long and intimate talk I had with Anne Lindbergh in 1949 as we drove from New York to the Lindbergh home in Connecticut. She had been saying some very nice things about my son, whom she had known since he was a little boy. Now fifteen years old, he had escorted her from a party given by my good friends Dick and Virginia Williams to promote my book on Germany.* I told her that I had been disturbed in London while staying with Jon with English friends, when they reproached me for burdening my son with knowledge of my financial difficulties and political struggles. Anne Lindbergh thereupon exclaimed that my English friends couldn't be more wrong, and went on to tell me about the unfortunate upbringing of herself and her much loved brother which had rendered him incapable of facing life. Both of them, she said, had been so insulated from reality by their upbringing that her brother, a most sensitive person like herself, was now in danger of becoming a mental case.

Dear, beautiful and kind Anne Lindbergh, either because she is a poet, or because the female of the species is tougher than the male, escaped his fate. But she too, as I told her several years later when she wrote her best seller about sea shells and personal problems of human relationships, eventually sought escape from the great issues of our time which she had boldly sought to face in her 1940 book called The Wave of the Future.

My letter to her on this occasion, to which she never replied, marked the end of my long friendship with this justly famous lady whom I once loved and held in the highest esteem and still admire. She had told me that when she flew with Charles Lindbergh she had known no fear, but when she accompanied him onto America First platforms, her heart quaked and it had required all the courage she could muster to do so. As she wryly remarked, she was then condemned by the same people who had hailed her courage in accompanying Charles on some of his hazardous flights which she had greatly enjoyed. A decade later when she wrote Gift from the Sea she was warmly praised and widely read by the same people who had rejected her when she dared to stand by Charles Lindbergh in his prescient warnings of the consequences of American involvement in the Second World War on the Communist side. As also by all escapists from the pressing problems of our age who take refuge in personal preoccupations.

* * *

In contrast to my American friends of the future who rallied round to help me in


* The High Cost of Vengeance, Henry Regnery, Chicago, 1949.


every possible way when I emigrated to the United States with my mother and son in 1939, my erstwhile English friends were for the most part as indifferent to my economic situation as to my loss in Russia of all I had held dear.

Bertrand Russell and his third wife, Patricia, whom we called Peter, were the outstanding exceptions. They understood my agony of heart and mind, and helped me in every way possible, both materially and by moral support. I stayed with them for long periods at Telegraph House at Harting in Hampshire, sometimes together with my small son. Above all, Bertrand and Peter Russell kept my hopes alive and revived my flagging spirits by the reassurance they gave me that there are some people in the world who fight against injustice and cruelty and really care about the victims of tyranny, under whatever mask it disguises itself.

I had hardly known Peter until now, although I had met her during one of my infrequent short visits to England from Moscow, when she was Bertie's secretary before his divorce from Dora. I had known Dora well during and after the time I stayed with the Russells in Cornwall in those far-off days when I was Secretary of the King's College Socialist Society. But I had never known her intimately or come to love her as I came to love Peter who took me to her heart in my distress. I never knew Russell's first wife, a Quaker, and I have only briefly met his last wife whom he married some years after Peter divorced him for infidelity when he was already in his late seventies. But it seems to me that Peter, for all her faults, was the best of them as well as one of the most beautiful women I have ever known. Tall and slim with near classical features, green eyes, a cupid's bow mouth, and lovely luxuriant red-gold hair, Peter was that rare phenomenon: a beautiful woman with a compassionate and loving heart. In my worst moments she brought me out of the valley of despair by her sympathy and fighting spirit.

Bertie was always so generously inclined to regard any woman he married as his equal that he gave them each in turn credit for original thought when they simply echoed his own theories. Thus, he elevated them into a realm of thought and behavior beyond their intellectual capacities in which they found it hard to breathe. Dora, after taking full advantage of her prestige as the wife of Bertrand Russell to win a name for herself, had boxed him in when she challenged him to live up to his unrealistic theories of free love and equality between the sexes by foisting on him the two babies she had conceived by cohabiting with another man, and also requiring him to support them as if they were his own children. The fact that the father of her two bastards was an insignificant little man who was neither handsome, nor intelligent, and whose only claim to fame was having once been a pro-Soviet Daily Herald correspondent, and who asked nothing better than to be Russell's pensioner, had put Bertie into a horrible position. He could not completely repudiate his free love theories, but it was a little too much to expect that he would regard as his own a boy who had no Russell blood in him. For deep down in Bertrand Russell is a pride of ancestry which all his liberal theories cannot drown. Dora subsequently proved to be mean and cruel. She not only put Bertie on the rack of his own theories. When the final break between them came she stripped him as bare as she could financially, even to the extent of carrying away linen and furniture. It was not perhaps surprising that she became an avowed Communist after the ugly face of Stalin's Russia had been displayed to the world for all who had eyes to see.

Meanwhile, Bertie had married Patricia Spence who was the opposite of Dora Black. Peter had no pretensions to equal or surpass Bertie intellectually. Her relationship with him was perhaps always mainly filial. She was almost young enough to be his granddaughter but she really loved him while also looking after him in a way Dora had


never done. Dora had left it to Bertie to attend to such chores as ordering the food and fuel and attending to all the other daily needs and problems of the school which they ran together for a few years at Telegraph House, besides turning out potboiler books to finance the school. Peter, on the contrary, was a real wife to Bertie and looked after him and their son with a devotion which Dora had been too selfish, or too imbued with an exaggerated idea of her own worth, to do.

Eventually Peter and Bertrand Russell would be estranged and divorced. For the moment I want only to recall their harmonious relationship in England when I first came to know Peter. She was so wonderfully kind to me. She fought for me. comforted me, and gave me courage to endure by her loyalty and sympathy and love. Never as long as I live shall I ever forget my debt to Patricia Russell, who was as kind and courageous as she was beautiful, and devoted herself whole-heartedly to the endeavor to save my husband both for my sake, and because of her compassion for all suffering humanity.

Notable among others who helped me to survive both materially and spiritually, were Malcolm Muggeridge and his wife Kitty, a niece of Beatrice Webb's and author today of an exceptionally interesting intimate biography of her famous aunt.* This book, which she sent me after I was nearing completion of this volume of my Memoirs, casts a revealing light on why and how Beatrice Webb became in old age so pernicious an influence on the liberal-labor movement in the West by her apologia for Stalin's Russia. Starting like myself as a liberal-socialist but drawn to the Soviet Union by its professed aims, Muggeridge had likewise recoiled in horror after his experience in Russia as correspondent of the Manchester Guardian in the early 30's. I had not known him when I lived there. But his book Winter in Moscow written with irony, wit and compassion was perhaps the most effective anti-Soviet book ever written.

Kitty Muggeridge's book reveals the callous ultra-cynical views of her famous aunt, Beatrice Webb, whose comment on Malcolm Muggeridge's disillusionment in Russia was: "Why did he imagine he would like Soviet Russia? He ought to have smelt a rat . . . and carefully avoided discovering its stinking body?"

Muggeridge in his account of his last visit to Beatrice Webb shortly before her death wrote in the Daily Telegraph that having taken "the stoney, desolate path of those who believe that the salvation of the individual lies in the exaltation of the collectivity." there was only one possible destination for her:

The last time I saw her she took me upstairs to see a portrait of Lenin . . . .The lighting, arranged from below, exaggerated  the cruel mouth, the mongoloid eyes and the cheekbones. It seemed a perfect symbol of the age - this product of Victorian uplift, of Fabian endeavour; this architect of the Welfare State and proponent of "ethical' religion, now, on the threshold of death, abasing herself before one of the most ruthless and bloody tyrants of history, who had held up to scope everything she had ever purported to believe in.**

Back in England in 1936-37 Malcolm Muggeridge enabled me to get book reviewing and writing assignments in England, and later on in America when he was correspondent of the London Daily Telegraph in the late 40's he and his wife Kitty and our teenage son and daughter became close friends. Today he is one of the few premature anti-Communists who survived to become a universally known and respected writer and


* Beatrice Webb: A Life 1858-1943. Alfred A. Knopf, New York 1968.

** ibid., p. 250.


television personality. Thanks to his wit, independence of mind and wide ranging knowledge he vies only with William F. Buckley, Jr. as a successful "conservative" commentator.

I would be ungenerous and ungrateful not to remember old friends who helped me before the success of Japan's Feet of Clay put me on the way to earning money again. Sybil, my friend from Prior's Field days, supplied me for a month or two with money to hire a woman to relieve me of such time consuming chores as lighting fires, clearing away ashes and cleaning the flat.

Jane Tabrisky was as always a dear and loyal comrade. Having shared the first years of my Russian experience she understood my situation best and was completely in my confidence. Being Jewish, she was naturally more concerned with the Nazi menace than with the Soviet totalitarian tyranny.

Rab Buchanan, my brother's first wife's sister's former husband, continued to be my friend but his political understanding was limited. Like other well to do Britishers of conservative background but with a penchant for Bohemia, he was drifting left with the Popular Front tide. He never actually joined the Communist Party, but after visiting me in Moscow in 1932 he had written to Temple in Tahiti that he was "still a Communist after having been in Russia but that life is very much like London's: talk, drink, women and parties."

This was easy to believe by a visitor keeping company with privileged foreign Communists. I remember leaving a party given by Ralph Fox, (later to die in Spain), in the early hours of a spring morning with Jane and Michael and Rab. As they walked me home along Kropotkin Street we saw a long line of weary men and women outside a store, waiting for it to open at 9 a.m. They were waiting for a small ration of food. We had left a party where caviar, hors d'oeuvres, ham, wine, vodka, chocolates and fruit had been consumed in abundance, and where as we said goodbye the guests were singing revolutionary songs in drunken voices.

In an earlier chapter I have mentioned H. N. Brailsford who like myself had been a defender of the Russian revolution in the 20's and was by now for the same reasons as myself an uncompromising enemy of Stalin's tyranny. He also now endeavored to help me but I never knew him well as a personal friend.

Leonard Woolf, husband of the more famous Virginia, but far more worthy of fame in my estimation, was one of the other few to whom I dared speak freely. His short book "Barbarians at the Gate" by now forgotten, is a work of greater merit to my mind than Toynbee's ambitious attempt to tell the history of the world.

My recollection of Virginia Woolf, whom I met at one of Kingsley Martin's parties, is unpleasant. At the moment when she, arrogant queen of letters, wanted to break it up she said "Home Leonard," in much the same tone as a lady of high degree in the 19th century addressed her coachman. Which attitude of hers perhaps accounts for Leonard Woolf's twitching hands and the affectionate little marmoset which sat on his shoulder in the office where he edited the Political Quarterly to which I contributed.

* * *

Japan's Feet of Clay more than fulfilled my hopes. It was a best seller in England and also a success in America. I was elated when seeing the Faber and Faber book delivery van carrying on top a banner advertising my book. A French edition was brought out by the prestigious Payot publishing firm in Paris and translations were also made into Swedish, Danish and Norwegian.

I could now at last bring Jon to live with me with someone to look after him and


Mother. I was fortunate to secure the services of an exceptionally nice girl called Rita who being of Baltic origin was now a refugee from both the Communists and the Nazis. She later married an old comrade of mine, Hugo Dewar, then a Trotskyist. They are both still my friends today and I frequently visit them in London.

I was invited to lecture to the Royal Institute of International Affairs, and the Asia Society, and had articles published in journals of repute. Following Japan's attack on China in 1937 I wrote a pamphlet published by the London News Chronicle, entitled "Japan Can be Stopped" co-authored by David Wills, today a correspondent in Washington. Published also in a French translation it was circulated at the Nine Power Conference in Brussel which followed the outbreak of the Sino-Japanese war. Which conference was as futile and unproductive of result in halting Japanese aggression as the League of Nations had been in 1931 when Japan took Manchuria. I recall the Chinese Ambassador saying in Brussels: "The sky is dark with chickens coming home to roost." A memorable remark because it so eminently applies to the present situation in the Far East.

In the spring of 1938 I wrote a short book called Japan's Gamble in China which I managed to complete in six weeks although also busy with A Modern Sea Beggar. Harold Laski contributed an introduction in which he described me as "a distinguished authority upon the economic aspect of Far Eastern politics," and my book as having "that care in documentation which characterizes all Miss Utley's work."

All this led to my being enabled to go to China in 1938 as special correspondent for the London News Chronicle in the War Zone, and thus for a while escape from the agonizing decision whether to tell the world all I knew about Russia whatever the consequences for Arcadi if he was still alive. Since I dared not as yet do anything effective against Stalin's total tyranny I could at least help China in her struggle against the Japanese imperialist aggressors.

A year before I went off to the Far East I made a last attempt to save Arcadi.




Chapter 17



It was not until a year after I returned to England that I decided my only hope of saving Arcadi was to enlist the support of great names among the British liberal elite in an appeal to the Soviet Government. Bertrand Russell had suggested this long before. I had held back for fear that to do so might result only in making my husband's case important enough for the Soviet Government to liquidate him without trace.

By this time I had despaired of securing a visa to return to Russia, but the success of my book, Japan's Feet of Clay, and the world-wide acclaim it was receiving had given me some stature, so that it seemed possible that Moscow would pay attention to our plea.

The Russells and I jointly drew up a carefully worded petition to Stalin, the draft of which was submitted to H. N. Brailsford, C. M. Lloyd, Kingsley Martin and Harold Laski, all of whom were in my confidence and anxious to help me save my husband.

Brailsford was one of the very few liberals who, like Bertrand Russell, had no illusions about Communism or the U.S.S.R. He was writing hard-hitting exposures of the Soviet Union counter to the Popular Front tide then already near its flood. So although he helped draft the appeal he had doubts as to whether his signature would not be harmful. Professor Laski, although previously anti-Communist, had become a friend of the Soviet Union following Hitler's rise to power. But he was still, apparently, a sincere liberal and assured me and Russell that we could rely upon him "to do everything I humanly can to clear up this matter." In one of his letters to me at this time he wrote: "I think it is a perfect case for fighting and I am prepared to fight."

The Russells first tackled Sidney and Beatrice Webb whose recently published book, Soviet Russia-A New Civilization based on Soviet documents and partly written or revised for them by Communist officials and propagandists, had become the Bible of the Socialist and liberal friends of the Soviet Union. Bertie's mother had been a friend of Beatrice Webb's and he had known her since he was a child. Sidney Webb had known my father who had at one time been acting secretary of the Fabian Society. Webb also knew me slightly from the late twenties when I was a Fellow of the London School of Economics and when he and H. G. Wells had both voted for me to become chairman of the London University Labor Party. But when, one lovely sunny afternoon, we drove over the beautiful countryside from Harting to Liphook in Surrey to visit the Webbs, I was doubtful that even Bertie would be able to persuade them to support our appeal. Nor were my hopes raised when the formidable Beatrice, over the tea table, expounded at length on the "progressive" features of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics.

She was the outstanding example of those Max Eastman later described as the "plan-mad liberals" who long to see everyone controlled and disciplined for the good of society. A doctrinaire Socialist with a dried-up heart, she had no compassion for the sufferings of the miserable victims of the "Great Experiment" in Russia. "Planning" justified all, excused all, was worth the loss of freedom and the denial of any standard of morality except the good of the State. In the Webbs' own words in their favorable


reporting of the theory and practice of the Soviet Socialist state:  "Whatever contributes to the building up of the classless society is good; whatever impedes it is bad."

Russians, having never known the blessings of liberty, could very well do without them. They should be well content to live in a socialist state dedicated to the proposition that "public ownership of the means of production and distribution" is the way to prosperity, even if a generation or two starved to prove it.

But, of course, Englishmen were not expected to be subjected to the same ordeal.

Beatrice Webb and other "totalitarian liberals" like her in the Western World never admitted, or failed to see, that their attitude toward the Russian people closely resembled that of British imperialists in their heyday toward "the lesser breeds without the law," who had to be disciplined for their own good by white overlords.

After listening to Beatrice Webb that sunny afternoon in Surrey, I reflected that a century before, doctrinaire British Liberals had been as lacking in humanity or compassion as the doctrinaire Socialists of our time. In the early 19th century, belief in laisscz faire, leaving the devil free to take the hindmost in the competitive struggle-which was supposed to ensure the greatest good for the greatest number - had caused the progressives of that era to harden their hearts and close their eyes to the abuses of a free enterprise system which consigned women and children as well as men to toil long hours in mines and factories, in worse condition and worse fed and housed than most Negro slaves in America.

In Moscow, not long before I sat drinking tea with the Webbs in their beautiful walled garden, I had seen them drive by in a large automobile on their officially sponsored and conducted "investigation" of conditions in the "first Socialist state." Trudging home at the end of another weary day of work followed by standing in line to buy food, I had then murmured to myself some half-remembered lines from a poem my father wrote before I was born and which I had read in an old Socialist song book:

The rich man rides by

In his carriage and pair.

What does he care,

Why should he care?

Russell had told me that he thought Beatrice Webb's admiration for Soviet Russia was due to its Puritanical aspects and her own pleasure in bossing people. She, of course, conceived of herself as one of those who would give the orders in her ideal planned Socialist Society. This was only natural, since, like John Strachey, J. B. S. Haldane, and other British Left wing intellectuals who were admirers or defenders of Stalin's Russia, she belonged to the British governing class, or what is today called the Establishment.* So, of course, did Russell, and to a higher stratum of it. But here one might recall that it was the Tory Lord Shaftsbury who passed the first Factory Act in England to protect workers from rapacious capitalists when laissez faire middle class liberals opposed state intervention to save even little children from inhuman exploitation. As also the fact that Disraeli, another aristocratic conservative, and a Jew, had been far more sensitive to the sufferings of the British poor than the puritanical Gladstone who led the Liberal Party and embodied all the "virtues" of middle class Victorian England.

Bertie's explanation for Beatrice Webb's indifference to human suffering was a Freudian psychological one. She had, he told me, loved Joseph Chamberlain in her


*Labor Party and Trade Union leaders of working class origin had learnt too much about Communists by association or conflict to trust them.


youth, but he failed to reciprocate. She had married Sidney Webb as a substitute. Frustrated in love, this brilliant and once beautiful woman had become a formidable Puritan, longing to deny to others the joys she had never known. She had sublimated her unfulfilled sexual desires into love of power and had become a sort of Puritan Inquisitor. Hence, her pleasure in learning in Russia that cosmetics were hard to come by, and their use by the masses frowned upon by the authorities; and in general, by the evidence given her that vanity and carnal pleasures were discouraged. If she ever realized that the Puritanical principles of the Communists were observed more in the breach than in observance by the Soviet ruling class, this may not have disturbed her. Her main concern was to enforce "morality" on the masses in order that by self denial they should build "socialism."

Sidney Webb was a different character. He was a warm-hearted human being, and kind. Although also an intellectual, he was not completely blinded by theories. But he was dominated by his wife. I knew from sources other than the Russells that little goateed and rather rotund Sidney was overawed by Beatrice. My friend Jane's brother, who wrote for the London Times Literary Supplement under the name of Charques. had found it very funny that while staying with the Webbs, he had encountered Sidney in the middle of the night sneaking down to the kitchen for a snack after Beatrice had refused to let him eat as much as he wanted at dinner. Also, Malcolm Muggeridge, who was married to Beatrice Webb's niece, had told me of Sidney's subjection to his wife. This perhaps explains, even if it does not excuse, how Sidney Webb came to lend his name to the monumental fraud perpetrated on the West by the Webbs' "great" book on "Soviet Civilization". Perhaps, as my friend Isaac Don Levine has said, the Webbs were "the most horrendous symbol of the decay of the Western intelligentsia in our time."

Certainly, the Webbs and those other "liberals" who followed in their train, are to a large degree responsible for the errors and miscalculations which led the West to "snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory" during and after World War Two. Had it not been for the false image of the Soviet Union which the totalitarian liberals foisted on the Western World, we should never have trusted "Uncle Joe" Stalin and enabled him to impose his totalitarian tyranny on Eastern Europe.

On that summer day so long ago when Bertrand Russell took me to visit the Webbs at Passfield Corner, Sidney expressed some doubts concerning the rosy picture of the "worker's paradise" his wife painted. His conscience had not yet been atrophied and he was, I think, still a liberal in the original meaning of the word in spite of his wife's influence, or his fear of her displeasure. Yet I hardly expected that his recognition of the darker aspects of the Soviet regime would prevail against his wife's self-induced belief that all was for the best in the U.S.S.R. because it was "Socialist."

I underestimated Bertie's influence over even the formidable and cold-hearted Beatrice Webb; as also the lengths to which he was prepared to go, not simply to help me personally, but to uphold his principles. He gently intimated to Beatrice that if they did not support our appeal he would never speak to her again.

This ultimatum proved effective. The Webbs wrote a separate memorandum to Stalin saying: "We both of us know Freda Utley and her writings. We warmly commend the accompanying memorial, with which we agree, to the kindly consideration of the authorities. We have not the advantage of knowing Miss Utley's husband, and it is for this reason that we sign this separate note."

Bernard Shaw, whom I had confidently expected to be ready to help, proved a harder nut to crack than the Webbs. Finally, after we had both cajoled and bullied him long and


hard, G.B.S. gave way. But Bertrand Russell was so disgusted at Shaw's attitude that the "Case of Berdichevsky" led to a permanent rupture of the friendship between these two famous men.

The letters exchanged at this time between George Bernard Shaw and his wife, the Russells and myself, have not until now been published. In publishing them now with Bertrand Russell's permission, I am not simply telling my own story. These letters, together with my accompanying narrative, present a dramatic contrast between the character, philosophy, and personal attitudes of these two intellectual giants of the Western World in our century:  Bertrand Russell and George Bernard Shaw.

As I have already related, Shaw and my father were friends in their youth when my father was both assistant editor and musical critic of The Star and Morning Leader and G. B. S., its dramatic critic; as also while both of them wrote for the Saturday Review, belonged to the Fabian Society and were associated with Annie Besant, Charles Bradlaugh, and other prominent free thinkers.

So, when the Russells arranged to take me to lunch with Shaw and his wife with a view to enlisting their aid for our appeal to Stalin for the release of my husband, I felt confident that G. B. S. would help us.

At that time I was happy to be earning ten pounds a week working at the Royal Institute of International Affairs analyzing and summarizing a mass of papers submitted in French, German and English from many countries for a conference on International Intellectual Cooperation. Bertie and Peter came to 10 St. James Square to fetch me with their baby son Conrad in his crib in their car. Peter was nursing her baby and was therefore taking him with us to Shaw's.

I remember that short ride well. It was a lovely spring day and we had great expectations. Nor did it seem, during lunch with the Shaws and sherry beforehand that they would not be fulfilled.

Shaw welcomed me warmly, recalled his friendship with my father in the days of their youth, and told me what a brilliant young man Willie Utley had been. He seemed so very friendly and sympathetic, and also so ready to recognize the darker side of the Soviet regime, that I was soon telling him without reservation of my experiences in Russia. No doubt I talked far too freely, disregarding Bertie's and Peter's advice to be discreet. Shaw led me on, encouraging me by his sympathy and his seeming realization of the tyrannical nature of the Soviet regime, to assume that he was no more in favor of Communist tyranny than Bertrand Russell or myself. Disregarding the Russells" advice I threw discretion to the winds. Convinced that Shaw actually was what he seemed to be: a clever man who hated tyranny, hypocrisy and cant, and could be counted upon to use all his great influence to save my husband, I told him what I thought about Stalin's Russia.

I was most grievously mistaken.

A few days later, on June 2, Peter Russell wrote to tell me that in reply to her letter to Mrs. Shaw, thanking her for her kindness to me, Shaw's wife had written that G. B. S. would do all he could, but that: "It is difficult, as she is so strongly prejudiced against what we are deeply sympathetic to:  the U.S.S.R."

"How could they expect you to be favorable, under your circumstances?" Peter Russell indignantly exclaimed in her letter to me. She had, she wrote, "heard little of what you said to Shaw" at lunch, but when she had "stolen a glance at you both, he seemed to have a sympathetic air."

Bertie was afraid that Shaw had been leading me on to commit myself as an opponent of the Soviet regime, in order to deny his help. Peter wrote that this explanation would


seem "too cruel." Her idea was that the Shaws "are Irish, and Irish people cannot resist seeming to agree and sympathize when they don't;—it's their nature."

"Oh, dear Freda," she wrote, "I feel so depressed about it. Still she says he will do all he can. I feel very unhappy today as though all the misery of the world were my fault and as though there were a recipe for curing it somewhere which I had mislaid. And your troubles have lately come to represent all the rest: they are so typical. Do you ever have the silly illusion that if you stopped trying to endure and just rushed out into the street and screamed about it, people might heed and understand?"

"There seem to be just a few people in the world who are vulnerable and permeable. The rest live in cylinders of plate glass through which they see but do not feel."

"I ought to cheer you instead of letting out my weak despair upon you. Sometimes I wish I were one of the unhappy ones, for then I could tell myself I must endure it and try to think of other things, but I cannot get any consolation out of heroic endurance of other peoples troubles, and so I feel guilty if I alone am happy for a single moment-what a world!"

"Dear Freda, if there is anything else I can do, tell me, for I am wretched if I can do nothing."

"Brailsford's article is excellent and very clever. He is one of the few people without plate glass."

In another letter, replying to one of mine in which I said I realized how foolish I had been to unburden myself to Shaw, Peter wrote:

Don't kick yourself, but kick us when you see us next. I said to be very gentle in your criticism (of Stalin's Russia), but I ought to have realized that it might be all or nothing.

This whole situation between communists and others, which your case shows up so much, makes me unutterably wretched. People become Communists, I suppose, from wishing for human happiness, but very soon they forget about that entirely and care only for fetishes. What the hell is the use of nationalizing the means of production if that is all?

The intimation in Mrs. Shaw's letter to Peter that because I was "prejudiced against" the U.S.S.R., whereas she and her husband were "deeply sympathetic" toward it, G. B. S. was disinclined to help, was not the end, but rather the beginning of Bertie and Peter Russell's efforts to enlist his aid in saving my husband's life.

Peter, who acted as her husband's secretary and as his alter ego in working for the causes they believed in, devoted herself unreservedly to the task of softening Shaw's hard heart, or as eventually proved necessary, bullying him into the realization that he could not expect to retain the friendship or respect of men like Bertrand Russell if he persisted in believing, or pretending to believe, that anyone unsympathetic to, or "prejudiced against" Communist Russia was undeserving of help.

I could not bring myself to give Shaw the assurances he required that I was a true believer in the Communist faith, even to save the life of my husband whom I dearly loved. But Peter, caring little for principles or theories but passionately concerned to alleviate suffering and mitigate man's inhumanity to man, was willing gently to deceive Shaw and even to use her charm to save my husband. She sent a letter to Shaw saying that although perhaps I was "a bit prejudiced," she begged him to make allowances for "Freda's grief and growing despair." She herself, she wrote, "should be more than prejudiced-quite mad and irrational - if I were Freda and it was Bertie in her husband's place." She also


told the Shaws that I "so rarely spoke of it at all that it was no wonder if I spoke a little wildly when I did speak." Her whole letter was designed, as she wrote to me, "to give them the impression that you would be all in favor but for your personal situation which made a balanced judgment impossible.'1

Shaw, after reading my Japan's Feet of Clay, "with great interest" as also the evidence I had sent him concerning its world-wide acclaim, was, after all "thinking what he can do best to help," according to a letter I received from his wife dated June 20. Evidently he had decided that maybe after all I had a little power and was, therefore, worth helping. A few days later he sent me a copy of a letter he had drafted to the Soviet Government. It was, in general, excellent, since he represented me as an important person and my husband's case, therefore, worthy of consideration, but he ended it by saying:

I don't know Mr. Berdichevsky personally nor have I any knowledge of the reasons for his seclusion, but unless they are very grave I venture to suggest that he may be doing more harm to the reputation of the Soviet in the Arctic Circle than he could possibly do in England where he would have no claim on public attention or sympathy.


June 30, 1937

This letter was, as I saw it, too dangerous to use, because Shaw had also written that I was "using every means" in my power "to bring the pressure of public opinion to bear on the Russian government."

I replied, in humble fashion, begging him to delete the above sentence. My letter ran as follows:

Dear Mrs. Shaw: I am extremely pleased and gratified for what G. B. S. has written and even begin to feel some real hope that I may see my husband again. I appreciate very much the fact that he should have said so much and taken so much trouble.

There is just one small point which I am compelled to write to you about. Could the sentence on the second page marked in pencil be cut out? In the first place, it is not true that I have used 'every means in my power to bring the pressure of public opinion to bear on the Russian government.' I have not written a line or even let it be generally known that my husband is in prison without trial. Only my friends know about it.

My friends who have signed the appeal make a point of saying that I have not written or said things which could be objected to by the Soviet government, and G. B. S.'s letter as it stands flatly contradicts them.

I do so hope that you will both forgive my having to ask you to cut out these lines? I am afraid you must both be heartily sick of me and my troubles by now and beg you not to consider me ungracious.

I know that I spoke freely and frankly to you both that day - this is because as friends of Bertrand Russell I felt I both could and must do so - but generally speaking I refrain from expressing my resentment. And I certainly have never tried to bring the 'pressure of British public opinion to bear' - even now, I am only trying to use the pressure of people friendly to the U.S.S.R. and would not dream of letting people who are hostile know of my grievances.


Shaw replied categorically refusing to change his letter. I thereupon wrote to him again as follows:

Dear Mr. Shaw: However useless it may be to appeal to you again to alter what you have written, since your letter makes it clear that I must 'take it or leave it' I simply must protest at your insistence that I intended publicity when I met you. I did not, and what both I and the Russells told you was in confidence. If you treat our appeal to you for assistance in our efforts to get my husband released as a public matter, and as if we had already let my 'grievance' be publicly known, he may be shot out of hand. I am not exaggerating or being melodramatic about it. There is, if you like, a threat of publicity behind the appeal to the Russian government, but if so, the threat ceases to have any force if the matter has already been made public. If you had written that 'they will seek to influence British public opinion,' instead of 'they are seeking' it would not be dangerous.

If either I or my friends had been doing what you say, should we not have written letters to the press or referred to the matter in articles? Brailsford, for instance, who has written articles about the public trials, has never referred to my husband's case and has promised me not to do so. Bertrand Russell has often said to me how much he wishes he were not precluded from speaking or writing about what I have told him.

Even though I dare not ask you to change what you have written since you have told me it is your final word, and since I realize you must be annoyed with me for having involved you in so long a correspondence and having wasted so much of your time, I must beg you to treat the whole affair as confidential and not public.

I know how valuable your time is and I am sincerely grateful to you for having met me and for having written to help me. I deeply appreciate the kind way in which you and Mrs. Shaw received Bertrand Russell's request that you should help me. Please do not merely think me a nuisance and understand how nervous and worried I am at making this appeal at all and my fears at letting anything be sent to Russia which might jeopardize my husband's life. I cannot consult with him and I am fearful that my efforts to get him released may perhaps only make things worse for him. Although I have lived 5 years in Russia I do not feel that I understand it or know what the government's reaction will be to anything. But I do know that expediency rather than justice is what decides things - not only in Russia of course.

Bertrand Russell and his wife wrote the actual appeal, not me, and they took the greatest care in the wording of it. He wished me to let him send an appeal a year ago, but I did not dare to do so and am only doing so now because I feel desperate and have no other hope. We never, of course, intended to ask you to sign the actual appeal, since you hardly know me - It was only sent to you for reference and to show you who had signed it.

Sincerely yours, Freda Utley


Shaw's response to this letter was the end insofar as I was concerned. It is reproduced here as a prime example of the ignorance, brutal insensitivity, and inhumanity of so many of the miscalled liberals of our time who were determined to believe that all was for the best in the horrible world of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which they persisted in believing, in face of all the evidence, was the best of all possible worlds.

4, Whitehall Court (130) London, SW 1

Phone: Whitehall 3160

Telegrams: Socialist, Parl-London

8th July, 1937

Dear Miss Utley

Now that you are face to face with what an agitation for your husband's release means, you are probably quite right in deciding that it is safer and wiser to keep quiet and do nothing. If I have helped to bring you to that conclusion I have done you a very useful turn.

But make up your mind hard. Do not keep on trying to do both, like the lady who cried laces in the streets but hoped nobody heard her. The only thing you can do is to make a devil of a row, at some risk of provoking the Russian authorities instead of intimidating them. That is what you have been doing up to the present, though fortunately you have not yet gone too far to withdraw. But now that you have resolved to withdraw, do so completely. Burn all the letters and take comfort in the fact that the five years will not last forever; that imprisonment under the Soviet is not as bad as it is here in the west; and that when I was in Russia and enquired about certain engineers who had been sentenced to ten years for sabotage, I learnt that they were at large and in high favor after serving two years of their sentence.


G. Bernard Shaw

Miss Freda Utley

68 Jessel House

Judd Street


On receipt of this letter, I wrote Shaw a scorching reply in which I let myself go, telling him just what I thought of him and his foolish ignorance about Stalin's Russia. But I took the precaution of sending Shaw's letter and my own to Bertrand Russell, for him to dispatch mine if he approved of it.

Bertie responded immediately with the following letter:

Telegraph House Harting,


9 July, 1937

My dear Freda:

Shaw's letter is beastly. Peter and I are filled with unspeakable indignation. The odd thing is that Mrs. Shaw writes in the opposite sense. I am waiting till it can do you no harm, and then I shall write and tell him what I think of him.

We posted your letter to Shaw, which we thought excellent. He is a


I hope the letter will prove effective.

All our sympathy,

Yours ever,


On the back of Bertie's letter Peter had written:

I have been wondering whether or not to reply to Mrs. Shaw saying that I shall be in London one day soon and asking her whether it would be of any use to call for a moment alone to try and unravel the misunderstanding. I do think there seems to be a genuine misunder­standing as well as sheer willfullness and cruelty, and I think there may be a little hope left through Mrs. Shaw. Also, Shaw did seem to find me rather attractive - I think he likes red hair! And perhaps I could weep on him. Don't think this conceited.

I have written in that sense to Mrs. Shaw. The worst that can happen is for him to refuse to see me. Bertie thinks he might be nice to my face and say something contradictory to Maisky afterwards.

It is Conrad's bath time. I am as angry as everyone else, but I would lick the beast's boots if this would help. I think he must be a bit crazy. It is Mrs. Shaw who gives me still a little hope.

Much love,


Next day G. B. S. wrote to Peter:-

10th July 1937

Dear Lady Russell:

Charlotte, still much troubled by her cough, is going down to the country today and will be back in London for a couple of days before we have to go to Malverne for a fortnight, after which we are going to spend August at home as a novelty.

I am afraid there is nothing to be done in the Berdichevsky case. When my letter did what it was intended to do: that is bring Freda hard up against the situation, she was terrified, realizing (or imagining) that my attempt at agitation for her husband's release might provoke the Soviet to - as she put it - shoot him out of hand. How far this apprehension is justified we cannot judge, because we don't know what the Soviet has against him. It is presumably something solid, as the Soviet has something better to do than send people to Siberia for fun. Now the only thing Freda can do is to agitate. A private agitation is a contradiction in terms. You say she has done her best to conceal her situation except from her most intimate friends and the notables whose help she is asking. What more could she possibly do in the way of publicity? I have had to remind her of the celebrated case of the lady who was reduced to crying laces in the streets, but hoped that nobody heard her.

She cannot really frighten the Russian government, and may irritate it. So unless she can get a private letter written by someone who has an influential friend in Moscow, making an appeal ad misericordiam, there is nothing for it but to keep quiet and stick out the rest of the five


years as best she can.

Can you suggest anything better?


G. Bernard Shaw

Peter, in sending me a copy of the above letter, wrote to me on July 12 saying that Shaw's behavior was only what she and Bertie had expected. She had proposed meeting Shaw only because she "did not want to give up while there was the slightest hope left." Mrs. Shaw had, in Peter's opinion, "genuinely misunderstood and had wanted to help, but Shaw must deceive her."

Shaw's letter, Peter said, "makes clear what we suspected, that he chooses to believe that your husband is guilty of some awful crime, and that he never meant to help at all."

Peter enclosed a copy of the "stinker" she had written to Shaw in reply, of which she "hoped I approved," telling me that "it seemed better for me to write, as he had written to me," but that she had told G. B. S. that "Bertie concurred."

"He is the worst of beasts" she wrote as her opinion of Shaw, as also that "I am rather proud of my letter to Shaw and I do hope you like it?"

"Dear Mr. Shaw," she had written on July 12, 1937:

I thought when I met you that you were kind. Now I realize that it is only Mrs. Shaw who is kind, and that you, as I had often been told. are frivolous and cruel. And if you really believe what you say about Soviet justice you must also be rather stupid. My husband asks me to say that he concurs in what I write.

Yours faithfully,

Patricia Russell

Shaw's response to Peter's insulting letter was immediate. Whereas rational arguments or appeals to his sense of justice or regard for liberal principles had proved unavailing, the accusation that he was stupid as well as frivolous and cruel caused him to surrender unconditionally.

On July 13 he wrote me as follows, addressing me almost affectionately as Freda, instead of formally and coldly, as heretofore, as Miss Utley, or Mrs. Berdichevsky:

Dear Freda:

Very well, have it your own way: cook my letter to your taste and use it as you please.

You are impervious to any ideas but your own: otherwise I should warn you that the Soviet cares nothing for LEFT opinion: it knows too well how politically powerless and unpopular the Left always is, and being itself the established government and therefore the Russian Right, would like to have all the Left revolutionists safe in Siberia.

It is Right signatures that will help you.

Meanwhile I still suspect that Mr. Berdichevsky's exile may be less stormy than his home life.


G.B. S.

And to Peter he wrote:

My Dear Lady Russell:

Have I to deal with two Terrors instead of one?

I am not, I assure you, making an exhibition of my delicate sensibilities. I am trying, I suppose, to get that poor devil out of Siberia, though I now rather doubt whether his life there is not more peaceful


than it would be at home. Freda does not know how to set about it. Get Right help if you can; Left is no use with Governments. Governments are always Right; and the Soviet is ultra-Right. It knows far too much about Left movements to be impressed by them.

I know that Bertrand "concurs." Of course he does: would you have him wreck his home? Tyrant!

Just as before,

G. Bernard Shaw

In a pencilled note at the bottom of this letter which Peter sent on to me, she wrote: -

Does it mean that he esteems me as formerly or that my attack has failed to annihilate him? I replied: "I think it means both."

Having won our victory, Peter and I were ready to make peace with George Bernard Shaw.

In a letter she wrote to him dated July 23, she said:

Dear Mr. Shaw,

We have been away, and I have just got your letter and one from Freda Utley. What can I say to you now? Words fail me, and so, though you may think you have been outrageously bullied, the victory is certainly yours.

Whether Freda should have sought "Right" help or "Left" and whether you and the Soviet government are "Right" or "left," and what, if anything, the two terms mean, are questions that interest me very little. It was your help that I wanted, and I have got it, in spite of. or because of, my abominable rudeness: and I am grateful and apologetic as I could be. (And again Bertie concurs!)

Yours sincerely,

Patricia Russell

I, myself, wrote to Shaw on July 14 as follows:

68 Jessel House

Judd St.


14 July. 1937

               Dear Mr. Shaw,

I am too happy at your having given permission to delete that sentence from your letter to worry very much about your opinion of my charac­ter, or your conviction that I must be an impossible person to live with!

I should be the last to deny the truth of what you say about the Russian government wishing to place all the Left in Siberia, insofar as the Russian Left is concerned. But I don't think this applies to the Left in other countries - an originally revolutionary government must at least keep up appearances and must rely more on the support of the Left abroad than on the Right.

My mother says to tell you that she agrees with your opinion of my character - she lives with me!

Gratefully, Freda


My mother added a postscript to my letter saying, "I always call my daughter Ann," referring to G. B. S.'s character in Man and Superman.

Bertrand Russell never forgave Shaw, or rather I should say that his low opinion of G. B. S. as a cruel man who was also rather silly was confirmed by this episode. Many years later the Australian author, Alan Wood, in his book Bertrand Russell: The Passionate Sceptic* records: "There was a final irrevocable breach with Bernard Shaw, over a question to do with Shaw's admiration for the Soviet regime. Russell said that Shaw was "cruel, narrowminded and silly," and commented that Shaw 'liked Russia because when he went there it was just as bad as he expected."

In "The Case of Berdichevsky" G. B. S. revealed himself as impervious to the call of justice as subservient to the threat of Bertie's displeasure and all that this miglit entail in tarnishing his reputation.

Although Shaw had shown a side of his character ignored by his admiring biographers, I had to admit, in view of the failure of our appeal, that he was probably right in his own brutal fashion, when he told me that no private appeal would do me or my husband any good, since the Soviet Government took heed only of threats from the powerful even as Shaw himself did. It was his hypocritical pretense, or stupid assumption, that my husband would not have been condemned to slave labor in Russia had he not been guilty of some substantial crime, as also his ridiculous statement that imprisonment in the Soviet Union was "not nearly so bad as it is here in the West" which was so revolting. Shaw was eminently right in telling me that the Soviet Government being "ultra Right" would like to incarcerate all the Left revolutionists in Siberia, but he was inconsistent and illogical in also telling Russell that my husband would not have been condemned to an Arctic concentration camp unless the Soviet Government had "something solid" against him. Presumably G. B. S. considered "something solid" as a desire for liberty even without evidence of conspiracy against tyranny. One cannot avoid the suspicion that Shaw was mainly concerned with his own self interest in retaining his popularity among the Left-wing liberals and the Communist fellow-travelers who then ruled the literary roost, by professing his "deep sympathy" for Stalin's tyranny.

Gullibility or outdated views of the world caused Socialists everywhere to revere George Bernard Shaw as a "progressive" because he had exposed and mocked all "bourgeois prejudices" and Victorian or early Edwardian taboos. They ignored his affinity to the Nazis and facists as well as Communist totalitarians who shared his reverence for power, or what he called the "life force" which has full rein in the jungle world of teeth and claw. Shaw himself had never disguised his sympathy for the practitioners of power of all political persuasions, as when in Japan he had openly proclaimed his support of the Fascist militarists to the dismay of his liberal admirers who had flocked to greet him at the risk of arrest and imprisonment.

I ought not to have been surprised at Shaw's mockery of my agonizing choice, or willful refusal to understand that I was torn between my hope of enlisting his support in my effort to save Arcadi, and fear that by telling the truth about the Soviet Union I should cause my husband to be shot. He may have given me good advice when he told me not to be like the impoverished lady trying to sell laces in the streets but so ashamed that she hoped her voice crying her wares would not be heard. But he gave me his advice for the wrong reasons. It seemed to me at the time that he was merely trying to shut me up in order to justify his own support of totalitarian tyranny.


* Simon & Schuster, 1958.


As I wrote several years later in The Dream We Lost:

The shadow of the O.G.P.U. stayed over me too long. I lacked the courage to proclaim to the world what had happened and risk his death . . . . I was probably foolish not to have made a public scandal out of the matter. I should have utilized the prestige given me by the success of Japan's Feet of Clay (published in many foreign languages as well as in England and America) to raise a fuss in the press. Arcadi's case was so clear a proof of the fact that men are condemned in the U.S.S.R. not only without trial but without any real charge against them. Now I think that I might have saved his life by being bolder, for until the signing of the Stalin-Hitler pact it would have dismayed some, at least, of the "friends of the Soviet Union" to learn that the Soviet Government is even more cruel than the Nazi Government, which does at least allow some communication between its prisoners and their relatives and does inform the latter when a man dies or is shot.

The contrast in attitudes and behavior of Bertrand Russell and George Bernard Shaw goes far deeper than the labels "liberal" or "conservative," "progressive" or "reactionary" which are pasted on philosophers and writers, politicians and poets, whom we like or dislike.

Bertrand Russell belongs to those whom Edith Hamilton called "the aristocracy of humanity." Men such as Euripides and Isaiah who "feel like a personal experience the giant agony of the world." This aristocracy has such a passion for justice, such acute sympathy for human suffering, and so great a fighting spirit, that those who belong to it go all out for what they believe, regardless of the consequences to themselves.

George Bernard Shaw, on the contrary, had a cold heart and seems to have been mainly concerned with his own interest and in showing how very clever he was.

Half genius and half charlatan and a showman above all, he mocked the foolish aspirations of mankind to "sustain the world which his own ideals have fashioned."*

Both Shaw and Russell were self-proclaimed atheists or agnostics who saw no proof of any divine order in this our world where, in Russell's words, "omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way," indifferent to man's hopes and fears. But Russell, unlike Shaw, saw man's best fate, not in submission to the powers of darkness which encompass us, or in worshiping them in the guise of a 'life force,' but in defying a hostile universe with Promethean constancy, sustaining alone "like a weary but unyielding Atlas the world that his own ideas have fashioned despite the trampling march of unconscious power."**

But then, no doubt, Bertrand Russell and I are romantics, as he long ago accused me of being, and which his recently published autobiography amply proves about himself.

Voltaire said that life is a tragedy to those who feel and a comedy to those who think. To Russell, who both feels and thinks, it is a tragedy that men cannot become rational and save the world from destruction. To George Bernard Shaw it was mainly comedy. True that in such plays of his as St. Joan, he could make his audiences weep, as well as laugh, at his portrayal of noble characters defying the fates or tyranny, and even seemed


* A Freeman's Worship by Bertrand Russell. An essay written in 1902 and included in "Mysticism and Logic," first published in 1917.

** ibid.


to have compassion for them. But Shaw, unlike Russell, never personally involved himself in the struggle for the emancipation of mankind. And by the time I met him he had become too cynical or too selfish to believe that anything but power counts on earth or in heaven.

Bertrand Russell, now Earl Russell, scion of a noble family, although he, like Shaw, denied the existence of God, or any absolute values, acted as if he believed in the faith of his ancestors. Or, I should better say that Bertrand Russell was unable to deny the godhead within him and therefore risked himself again and again for what he believed. Consequently he was a poor man for most of the many years I knew him, and at times, as during his last years in America, came near to being as destitute as myself. This was not only because he would not compromise his beliefs for the sake of material advantage, but also, I must admit, because even in old age he loved to shock people by expressing extreme opinions sometimes worthy only of a college sophomore. But Bertie's naughtiness was never malicious or cruel or indulged in for personal advantage.

George Bernard Shaw, on the contrary, although a Celt, or precisely for that reason. was a practical man. He never lost sight of his own material and other interests, seeing no sense in sacrificing himself for the sake of the good, the beautiful, or the true, or for justice for all mankind. Thus he profited hugely from his witty exposures of the shortcomings of Western civilization and the futility of human endeavor and died a millionaire.

Whereas Bertrand Russell was as consistent and logical as he was compassionate, George Bernard Shaw contradicted himself and changed the premises of his argument whenever it suited him, if only to make a clever epigram. As when, as I have related, he believed, or pretended to believe, that Communist Russia was a better place to live in, or to be imprisoned in, than the "capitalist" Western World, but also said that Stalin would like to consign all non-conformists to concentration camps in Siberia. Did Shaw think that he would be safe, comfortable and prosperous in the "brave new world" of the Communists because of his readiness to conform to the demands of the powers which were in process of becoming omnipotent, while posing as a champion of liberty by defying the dead or dying powers which could no longer harm him?

My brother Temple, less involved than myself in man's struggle or man's fate, viewed George Bernard Shaw as a rather comic character who had whored around without ever knowing or caring much where he belonged or what he believed in. Writing to my mother from Suva shortly before his death he said:

Dear, thank you so much for the Shaw book and the Russell. I liked Shaw's book very much - quite different. Nothing new, but delightfully and urbanely written.

It is rather amusing to think of Shaw ending up in Voltaire's garden. Voltaire would certainly have liked it, but what he would have thought of St. Joan or Back to Methuselah-? It is a pity Shaw cannot meet a few of the illustrious shades who have influenced him. Chechkov would certainly approve of Heartbreak House; Nietszche would like Ceasar and Cleopatra - with reservations-but on the whole, cold-shoulder him as a renegade, classing him with Wagner. What Wagner or Ibsen would say to him-? Karl Marx would probably receive him as a sort of faithful husband, who had spent most of his life running after exotic


mistresses, but who, nevertheless, had always explained to them that he was really true to his rather plain wife.

I liked Russell's book but I think it is time he started doing some serious stuff again. The ratio used to be one solid book to one popular one; now they are all popular.



Chapter 18


In the years following Bertrand and Patricia Russell's vain attempt to save my husband's life in 1937, we were to have disagreements, which, although they led to temporary estrangement, were never personal, so that we remained friends. Today I think he is even more wrong than I was, forty years ago, when he vainly endeavored to dissuade me from joining the British Communist Party. He then knew far more about Communism than I. Today I know more about it than he does, or he has chosen to forget or ignore what he once knew so well.

Prejudiced against America by his experiences here; honored in England following his return from America as never before during his long life; winner of the Nobel Prize and darling of the left-wingers (who deplored his original pacifist stand against the Second World War but are delighted that he has reverted to his pacifist principles when it comes to challenging the Communist totalitarian menace) Lord Russell, hedged in by anti-anti-Communists has become difficult to reach.

I venture to believe that, if I lived in England and had remained in as close contact with him as in the 20's, 30's, and 40's, Bertrand Russell would not today be giving aid and comfort to the Communist totalitarian power he has all his life opposed. This conceit of mine is warranted by past experience during my long friendship with Russell.

In 1935 when briefly visiting England from Russia, I had found Bertie hovering on the brink of revising his views on the USSR because, as he told me, he had been impressed by the many favorable reports by western journalists. Of course, Bertie was never so foolish as to believe all the nonsense written about Russia in the 30's and 40's by "liberal" British and American popular journalists. But he had been shaken in his convictions concerning the evil nature of the Soviet regime, by the superabundant "evidence" produced by the most widely read pundits of our time, whose success as columnists and commentators, still today, tends to increase in geometric proportion to the degree to which they are wrong about Russia.

In 1936, he told me that I had come back to England in time to save him from succumbing to the false propaganda of the friends of the Soviet Union which represented that country as in process of becoming a new and better kind of democracy. But in his last years he finally succumbed saying that "Communism is now a very much better thing than it was in 1920 when I condemned it."*

In the spring of 1939 in America, Russell thanked me for restoring his faith in his own beliefs. His vacillating attitude at this time toward the coming war is expressed in a letter, which he wrote to Olivia Holt prior to debating against Maurice Hindus before the Foreign Policy Association in Baltimore. Accepting with "great pleasure" her invitation



*As quoted by Peter Scheer in Ramparts, May 1967.


to stay with the Holt's, and telling Olivia to "give my love to Freda and tell her I am de­lighted to have the chance of seeing her," he wrote:

The debate was arranged without my being consulted, and I don't know exactly what differences there will be between Hindus and me. I still think it was right to try the Munich policy, but it failed, and I no longer feel any hope for peace unless, just possibly, by frightening Hitler. However, perhaps points of difference will turn up. I still think it would be better to let Hitler conquer Europe than to fight him, but that is a Utopian policy.

As it turned out Russell surpassed himself that evening in Baltimore by his refutation of Maurice Hindus' arguments which took no account of the menace constituted by Stalin's Russia, waiting in the wings to take advantage of the coming Second World War. For this I take some credit. Walking in the Maryland woods with Russell and Olivia Holt the afternoon before his lecture I asked Bertie whether he was about to repudiate the views he had expounded in his Which Way To Peace.*

In the future there were to be times when he would get mad at me for playing back to him the record of his former convictions. But on this occasion Bertie, who enjoyed himself most when shocking people, laughed with me in Maryland when I reminded him of how, not long before at Telegraph House in England, he had dumbfounded poor Emil Ludwig by his approval of Neville Chamberlain's Munich policy. A few days after his memorable debate with Hindus, Russell wrote to thank me for having renewed his faith in his own beliefs at a critical moment.

Nevertheless, after Dunkirk he abandoned his pacifism, as also the conviction which I continued to hold that the result of the Second World War, entailing an alliance between the West and Soviet Russia, could not but lead to the triumph of Communism over a large part of the world, which would prove even worse because more enduring and more universally destructive of liberty over a larger area than German hegemony over Eastern Europe.

As I saw it, Bertrand Russell's "Achilles heel" was his deeply rooted patriotism. To him the salvation of England came first, ahead of all or any principles or theories. He could no more get away from his origins than I could from mine. He was an English aristocrat and nationalist however hard he tried not to be. I was not only not a member of the British governing class by birth but had been brought up and conditioned by my youthful experiences to be fundamentally internationally minded.

I remember Peter saying one evening in Pennsylvania, "Do you notice, Freda, that whereas most people say 'they' in referring to the government, Bertie always says, 'we'?" Such was his instinctive attitude as a member of the English ruling class.

Bertie had a grand repertoire of droll stories about his aristocratic forebears and relations which he loved to tell in anticipation of the laughter they evoked in which he gleefully joined in. One concerned the proud Duke of Bedford whose second wife once dared to put her hand affectionately on his shoulder, whereupon he turned on her and said: "My first wife never did that and she was a Percy." A joke perhaps not so funny in America except among those familiar with Shakespeare who remember Harry Hotspur of Northumberland. Bertie also liked to tell about his grandfather, Lord John Russell of the Reform Bill, and his contempt for the upstart Hanoverian Kings who cut no ice in the social circles of the old nobility of England.


* M. Joseph Ltd., London, 1936.


The second volume of Bertrand Russell's autobiography published after I was nearing the completion of this first volume of my own, has shed light on some dark corners of my knowledge of him. It reveals that his aversion to America was old and deep seated, and leaves an impression that these United States were his milch cow until England took Earl Russell back to her bosom.

In the second volume of his autobiography Russell admits that fear for England has always been his basic motivation. However astute his rationalizations of his changes in outlook and the varying policies he supports, the basic factor in the equation is always England's survival. He confesses that at the time he wrote Which Way To Peace his maintenance of his pacifist position had already become "unconsciously insincere." In the face of the "cruel bigoted and stupid" Nazis whom he found morally and intellectually odious "he had clung to his pacifist convictions with increasing difficulty." During the First World War he had never "seriously envisaged the possibility of utter defeat," but "in 1940 when England was threatened with invasion" he found "this possibility unbearable"; and "at last consciously and definitely decided" that "he must support what was necessary for victory" however "painful the consequences!"

The best and worst of the British aristocratic tradition is revealed in another passage from Bertrand Russell's Autobiography in which he writes that "the history of England for the last hundred years is in my blood, and I should have wished to hand on to my son the tradition of public spirit which has in the past been valuable. In the world I forsee there will be no place for this tradition."*

Reading his autobiography makes one aware of Russell's capacity to deceive himself or "rationalize" his changes of course in both his personal and political life. I now understand better what a "thorn in the flesh" I must have been to him in America when as he himself writes "it was a divided self that favored the Second World War. In his own words his "whole nature had been involved in his opposition to the First World War" and he "never since 1940 recovered the same degree of unity between opinion and emotion as I had possessed from 1914 to 1918."**

It is clear from passages in the letters he includes in his autobiography that Russell as early as the spring of 1940 had already ceased to be a pacifist.

In May 1940 he had written from California to Kingsley Martin, editor of the New Statesman, saying that ever since the war began he had felt he could not "go on being a pacifist." And that he now felt he ought "to announce that he had changed his mind," and asking to have this mentioned in the New Statesman.***

The Second Volume of Russell's Autobiography (which I have read only since compiling the greater part of this book) affords much supporting evidence for my long held surmise that "England My England," was always a basic motivation in Russell which he rationalized by divergent arguments at different stages of his inordinately long life. After Russell obtained his sinecure at the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia and lived at Little Datchett Farm near Malvern in Pennsylvania, I visited him and Peter often from New York, in blissful ignorance of how far we had drifted apart. By 1942 however, our differences on the war led to temporary estrangement despite Peter's efforts to maintain our friendship.


* The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, Volume II, Little Brown, 1968, Page 287.

** ibid., p. 289.

*** ibid., p.357.


I happen to have preserved, although in mutilated form, a letter he wrote me in August 1942 after a flare up:

"........... I think it would have been better if, before we met, we had

made more sure of the objects of the meeting. By this time it must be clear to everyone that Gandhi's policy means handing India over to the Japanese. You and I differ so completely about the war that we could only have avoided quarrelling by not discussing this disagreement. I begged you to keep off the subject, and so did Peter, but you wouldn't. We both admire your courage, and are sorry that you have made things difficult. I hope that, when the war is over, if we are all still alive, we may be able to meet again as friends. I am sorry I was unjust, but it was the accumulated result of years of irritation and inability to make you understand how much we disagreed, not only in opinion, but in feeling. Let us try, on both sides, to remember what we thought of each other before the war. For the present no good relations are possible but Peter and I will both continue to have kindly and affectionate thoughts of you, provided the necessity of arguing is removed.

Yours still with affection

(s) Bertrand Russell

I ascribed Bertie's irritation or fury at me on this and other occasions to his unease following his abandonment of beliefs which I played back to him. As I was to write to Lady Rhonda, Editor and Publisher of Time And Tide, with reference to Russell, one cannot repudiate the basis of one's lifetime beliefs without loosing one's balance.

Unlike Russell, I had never been an admirer of Gandhi and I had always wanted America to help China against Japan. But at this time no doubt Bertie was just so infuriated that as he admits in the above letter he was unjust to me. In this connection I here quote from a letter written to me by Max Eastman in November 1957.

Didn't Bertrand Russell use (never mind the bad English) to oppose the liberation of India from British rule? I seem vaguely to remember so.

I'm writing a profile of him for my next book, and while I bow down to his having been so early right about the Bolsheviks, and World War I, I would like to call a gentle attention to one or two points where he wasn't so obviously right. In his recent (very charming) book he seems, in an inoffensive way, to say he was pretty right all along about everything. That isn't quite so, is it?

I'd like to show you my essay-portrait when it's done, if you'd have time to read it critically. It begins: "Bertrand Russell is the most readable of living highbrows. He also knows more than any of the rest of them Not long after the above "fare ye well, but let's not meet" letter Bertie and I were friends again while agreeing to disagree. He had by this time lost his sinecure at the Barnes Foundation ostensibly because Peter, who attended his lectures, insisted on knitting and was alleged to disturb the classes. The real reason was in all probability Peter's undisguised dislike of America where she found life very difficult, and Bertie's desire to return to England now that he had become an all out supporter of the war against Hitler.

Neither she nor Bertie, in spite of their straitened means, could reconcile themselves to


simplifying the routine of daily existence. In telling me about their search for a house near Philadelphia, Peter had expressed her horror or shock at finding a Pennsylvania Dutch family in their beautiful old house "eating in the kitchen in their shirt sleeves." This to me seemed only natural and sensible, but to Peter it was "appalling."

Servants or not, guests or not, the table had to be properly laid in the dining room with candles, gleaming silver, snowy table cloth, wine glasses and wine. I remember an evening when Peter, exhausted by her efforts to serve a dinner in proper style after the departure of the last couple she had lost, and needing also to attend to young Conrad, started getting hysterical. After she had left the dinner table in a tantrum Bertie took me out for a long walk in the calm countryside in the moonlight and unburdened himself to me concerning his troubles. He loved Peter dearly, but she was becoming very difficult.

If only I had noted down the record of this conversation. I might be able to explain better why Peter and Bertie eventually separated. At the time I felt sorry for him because Peter was behaving so unreasonably. Now I sometimes wonder whether Bertie was not equally or more at fault.

It was not until several years after that sad evening in Pennsylvania that Peter left Bertie and now refuses even to bear his name. I remember that walk in the countryside because it was my first intimation that sooner or later I should have to choose between Bertie and Peter, and at that time I was on his side.

Peter was not really a snob although this was the unfortunate impression she gave to many Americans. She was simply unhappy and maladjusted and became ultra-British in her disappointment at finding life in America as the wife of Lord Russell difficult, disappointing, and dull. Even her accent became a little too ultra-top drawer British U. She told everyone she preferred to educate Conrad at home rather than send him to an American public school.*

It had been easier at the beginning of their residence in America when a nice girl they had brought from England helped to look after Conrad and was a friend and companion to Peter. But she had gone home after refusing to marry their friend Peter Blake because he was a German. A curious sidelight on British prejudices since Peter Blake, today editor of Architectural Forum and good friend of Philip Johnson, was of Jewish parentage and educated at Oxford.

i frequently stayed with the Russells for weekends at their house at Malvern and much as I loved Peter, and kind and loyal as she continued to be to me even when I had quarrels with Bertie, I realized by now that he had a stormy petrel on his hands. She was a young and beautiful woman and needed to be courted and entertained as well as loved. While never, I feel sure, unfaithful to Bertie, whom she adored, she needed the society of younger men as escorts to parties and admirers and for youthful companionship. She was totally unsuited to live in a remote house in Pennsylvania often without servants (because few couples stayed long) while expected by herself as well as Bertie to maintain the kind of household which English people of the upper classes take for granted.

However heated the arguments between them, Bertie and Peter got together in blaming America for their troubles. Admittedly America is a difficult country in which to live graciously since domestic help is hard to get and expensive. Admittedly also, Russell had good reason to hate the Catholic politicians and others who in 1939 prevented him from


* Later on in England Conrad went to Eton where he thrived and was no doubt saved from becoming the "spoiled youngster" my son found him to be in 1948 when Jon stayed with the Russells in Wales while I was in Germany.


becoming a professor at New York's City College. On the other hand, there were such people as my friend Sidney Hook, Professor of Philosophy at New York University and one of the most generous, tolerant, principled, and courageous men I have ever known, who were to keep Russell supplied with at least bread and butter by securing him lectures after he lost his stipend from the Barnes Foundation. Nor is there any question that Bertrand Russell owed his livelihood for many years to the success of his popular books in America and the well-paid lectures he had formerly obtained by talking about sex, socialism and pacifism during the years when he could not earn a living in England.

The lectures which Sidney Hook and others of his friends in adversity secured for Russell were, of course, poorly paid. But it shows a singular lack of appreciation that Sidney Hook's name is not even mentioned in the Second Volume of Russell's Autobiography. His only recent reference to Sidney Hook's name is to be found in the aforementioned Ramparts article by Robert Scheer recording his interview with Russell in Wales in 1967 in which Russell is recorded as saying, "I can't be bothered with Sidney Hook." Of course, the reason for this churlish attitude on Lord Russell's part is Sidney Hook's intelligent and perceptive criticism of Russell's attitude on Vietnam and his sponsorship of the Communist inspired "war crimes trial" of the USA in Stockholm.

The second volume of Bertrand Russell's autobiograpy, unlike the first, is obviously not his own compilation, but an expurgated version of his Memoirs omitting vital information and important letters repugnant to the "New Left" exemplified by his eminence grisé Ralph Schoenman, and other mixed-up characters of uncertain motives who have surrounded my old and revered friend Bertrand Russell in his old age.

There is no account, or even a single reference, to Russell's break with Shaw over "the case of Berdichevsky," nor any mention of me. liven when recording the success of his History of Western Philosophy, which brought him back to affluence from poverty long before he won the Nobel Prize, Russell fails to mention that it was I who brought him into contact with my friend Quincy Howe and thus secured him a very generous advance from Simon and Schuster after W. W. Norton had offered only a charitable pittance of S500.*

All in all the worst side of Bertie's character was displayed during his last year in the United States. He had by this time conceived such an aversion to America that he was inclined to see some sinister motive behind American generosity. His disposition to bite the hands which wanted to feed him is shown by the following incident.

I was at this time working for C. V. Starr as economic adviser to American International Underwriters after having abandoned hope of earning a living as a writer and lecturer so long as Roosevelt ruled and it was impermissible to oppose the Communists or fail to love "Uncle Joe" Stalin.** Neil Starr, who was both intelligent and generous although he chose to devote his talents mainly to his business empire, had met Bertrand Russell several times at my New York apartment. He now offered to put up a lot of money to provide for Russell's support either by endowing a special chair for him at New York University, or through the Council of Learned Societies. New York University was unenthusiastic in spite of Sidney Hook, but the Council of Learned Societies was happy


* The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, Op. Cit.,p. 339.

** This was the era when William S. White's Report on the Russians was boycotted and condemned by Bennett Cerf of Random House, together with some 30 American newspaper correspondents who viewed any criticism of our wartime ally as inadmissable.


to accept Starr's offer for itself and Russell. Bertie, however, refused the offer unless he could be subsidized in England instead of in America, which, of course, was impossible. I have a vivid recollection of my argument with Bertie at Pennsylvania Station after he had, as I saw it, let me down, as well as being foolish in rejecting Starr's offer after I had secured it. I argued that it simply was not true that Starr was just another Philistine American millionaire who wanted to "buy" him, but an enlightened and intelligent businessman who wanted to make up to Russell for the grievous affronts he had suffered when first New York's City College and now Barnes had reneged on their contracts with him. As Russell rushed to catch the 5:00 p.m. train to Princeton where they were now living he said to me: "When I disagree with Peter I can't get away from her. But when I disagree with you, dear Freda, I can always escape."

The letter I wrote to Peter at this time, reproduced here, is of interest as showing not only my efforts to help the Russells but my views at this time.

August 20th, 1943

Dear Peter:

I am sorry you should be leaving America without our meeting again, and sorry lor the quarrels which have hung over us this past year. Perhaps you are right to have decided to go to England. There is no point in staying here feeling as you do about America. As you know my own feelings are precisely contrary to yours. Perhaps because, as Bertie once said of me, I am by nature a "social outcast!" In any case I have found here greater opportunity, greater kindness and help and hospitality, and I feel myself far more at ease and at home with Americans than with the English. Of course I do see and appreciate things about England that are better- more political democracy in one sense, and in some ways more tolerance for unorthodox opinions, but even this is mainly true only if one "belongs." The war may have greatly changed things in England: according to my friend Jane who is happier there now than she ever has been, England is now a better place than it ever has been. All the same I fear that you and Bertie are going to be somewhat disappointed because you have been away so long that you remember more of the good man the bad, and I have not forgotten how difficult Bertie found it to get his stuff published those last years in England. I realize that his change of views on war etc. will make it easier but I doubt that he will not again become a heretic. Nor can I see Bertie accepting the idea of a joint British-Russian hegemony of Europe - not that I consider this is likely to happen - a Russo-German entente still seems to me more possible - but it seems to be the current policy. On the other hand, by the way, the possibility of a peace with Germany after Hitler etc. have been ousted seems to me now a slightly more possible outcome than before. But this may be merely wish-fulfilment on my part because I am so afraid of Stalin getting a grip on a large part of Europe. He seems to be playing his cards rather badly at present by making more and more people realize that collaboration with Russia is bound to be impossible if we are to retain any of the values for which we are supposed to be fighting.

I cannot understand the part of your letter about Starr, since I told you and Bertie quite distinctly on the telephone in July that Starr was


waiting to hear from Bertie whether he was prepared to stay in America or not; that if he decided to go there was practically no chance of the Council of Learned Societies taking him on; that the matter had been al­most fixed up before Bertie signified he would go back to England; that if he decided to stay here Starr was ready to start the whole matter up again. I suggested that Bertie ought to see Starr again and tell him exactly. Did he ever try?

I do feel strongly that you ought not to just go without saying or writing a word.

Dear Peter, I do wish you luck from the bottom of my heart. As I said to you when we had that bitter quarrel last year, I shall never forget your kindness and sympathy during that terrible first two years after I lost Arcadi . . . my love goes with you, and my sincerest hopes that you and Bertie will be happy in England, or at least as happy as anyone can be until this terrible war is over. I hope I shall be allowed to stay here and become an American. Not that I don't realize that awful things may happen here in the future, but I still hope they may be avoided - at least I think that the individualist tradition here is so strong that more economic and therefore political freedom may survive than in Europe. The real test in England will come after the war when national unity is no longer spontaneous in face of danger and when Lend Lease stops and the difficult economic position of Britain has to be faced in a more autarchic or self sufficient world.

The very best to you, Peter, and my love,


This old letter of mine besides reviving memories of my arguments with Bertie and Peter about  America  during  the  years  I  knew them best, sheds some light on his increasingly hostile attitude toward America in his declining years when, it would seem he has become too prejudiced to be rational.

Prior to his return to England, in May 1944, Russell was re-elected to the Fellowship and Lectureship at Trinity College, Cambridge, which he had lost when he went to prison during the First World War. He soon afterwards became an honored speaker more popular and financially prosperous than ever before and no doubt came to see his difficult years in America as the result of all our faults.

Today he is happy in that he has been able to revert to the pacifist beliefs he abandoned during the Second World War while also advocating what he conceives to be the best policy for the survival of England, regardless of what may be the fate of the rest of the world if America ceases to endeavor to preserve and protect the liberties of other peoples from Communist oppression. Like other, less enlightened, opponents of British imperialism in its hey day, Russell today has become an advocate of submission to the new Communist imperialism.

Commenting on Russell's hostility to America, which was to become more pronounced and increasingly irrational and prejudiced, even vicious, in the ensuing two decades, I wrote to Lady Rhonda, in the March 20, 1945 letter from which I have already quoted:

I also agree with you in your criticism of Bertrand Russell whom I knew well. I think his attitude about America is prejudiced and unfair, and hardly quite decent after the good as well as bad treatment he


received here. That is another and long story. There are so many Americas and the best of them is what I have always looked for and found here. The trouble is that Americans are still naive about world politics, etc. But they are the most generous people and many tried to make up to Russell for the treatment he received from Barnes and City College. Bertie was one of my best and oldest friends but in the end we disagreed about too many tilings.

Having known Russell so well so long and also greatly revered him, I have now reluctantly come to realize that he, no doubt unconsciously, shifts his ground when it suits his overriding obsession: the security or salvation of England.

Not long ago Bertrand Russell wrote that the success of non-violent resistence "depends upon the existence of certain virtues in the people against whom it is enforced." And that these British virtues enabled non-violence as practiced by Gandhi in India to prevail, but were of no avail against the Nazis. Yet today Russell ignores his own precepts in equating the United States, where these virtues also conspicuously exist, with the Soviet Union where they are repudiated as "bourgeois prejudices." Obsessed by his own brief experience of "persecution" by the authorities of City College of New York, Russell came to the absurdity of equating his, certainly not underprivileged, experience in America with the  terrible persecution in Soviet Russia of heretics and non-believers in the Communist mythology.

Russell's shifts in the policies he advocates are nonetheless usually more logical than either his detractors or his admirers admit. In 1948, following the already apparent disastrous results of World War Two, he said that America should use its atom bomb monopoly to enforce world peace and compel Moscow to let the peoples it had enslaved in Eastern Europe go free. It was only after the West's failure of nerve - or continuing illusions about the nature and aims of the Soviet power, or its humanitarianism or whatever - that Russell, facing the realities of the world situation once Russia had the bomb, began to lead peace crusades, and in effect advocated submission to Moscow as the only alternative to making a desert of the world.

In 1948 in urging a preventative war to destroy Communism he wrote that he had no doubt that America would win in the end, "but unless Western Europe can be preserved from invasion, it will be lost to civilization for centuries" since the Communists would seize Western Europe and we would have to bomb it too. Communism he then argued "must be wiped out and world government established."*

Sidney Hook writes that Russell's moral position is weakened by his former advocacy of preventative war against Russia. But it was consistent for Russell as a realist to accept the logic of the new international situation once America had lost its monopoly of atomic power. Just as in reverse fashion he had come to support the Second World War after the failure of Chamberlain's policy to avert it.

What is both illogical and grotesquely unfair is for Russell now to denounce America for endeavoring in Vietnam to save the people on our side and stem the Communist onslaught in Southeast Asia, after himself having urged us to save Europe by an atomic war two decades ago.

* * *

Despite the growing gap between our views and activities, Russell and I remained friends for a long time. In 1948 he lent me his apartment in London before he and Peter took Jon to stay with them in Wales while I visited Germany.


* Published in the Saturday Review of October 16, 1954 and quoted by Sidney Hook in The New Leader, October 24, 1966.


The similarity of our views on the cruelty and stupidity of Allied policy and behaviour in occupied Germany, even after Soviet Russia's blockade of Berlin, is shown in the following letter, which he wrote me after Allen and Unwin had refused to publish my High Cost Of Vengeance .*


Llan Pfestiniog



Dear Freda,

Peter has asked me to answer your letter. I am sorry about Allen and Unwin, and will write to them. But I think you would do better to go to Gollanz. The book is more in his line, and if we bully Allen and Unwin into publishing they will not push the book. If Allen and Unwin can't be budged, shall I write to Gollanz? I will gladly.

The Lit. Sup, is a most dishonest publication. It dislikes me on religious grounds, being Cath. or Angle-Catholic. Its chief argument for Xianity is that it is fashionable.

To the Duchess of Atholl you begin "Dear Duchess." She is virtuous. dowdy, and industrious; you would never guess that she is a Duchess.

You didn't tell me what my mother wrote about to Forbes. Please do.

Your book has just come but I haven't had time to read it yet. I am sure to agree with it.

It will be lovely if you come to England and we see you again.

Yours ever,


It was good to know that without having as yet read my book, Bertie had complete confidence in the similarity of our views concerning the vanquished Germans thanks to our shared basic principles and sympathies for the downtrodden.

His query concerning what his Mother had written about to Forbes, referred to an anecdote told me while I was a guest of Copley Amory on Naushon Island, concerning Lady Amberley's comment on the poor service even in wealthy American families, as shown by the fact that, when she went to bed for the night she had found her bed unprepared by the turning down of top sheet and blanket.

Referring to his mother and father and the book he compiled on their brief lives, The Amberley Papers, Russell writes that his parents, not having been faced with modern problems, were confident in their radicalism, and although "they opposed aristocratic privilege, it survived intact and they, however involuntarily, profited by it. They lived in a comfortable, spacious hopeful world."**

A world one might add in which even the most liberal reformist aristocrats expected to live in the greatest comfort without ever performing so slight a chore as turning down their bed covers.

I myself, no doubt, have a complex about "washing up" and all that. To me it seems that aristocrats yesterday and successful intellectuals today are equally prone to assume that someone else will always do the dull or dirty work of the world.

Sometimes as I return home laden with groceries from the supermarket, or when


* Henry Regnery, Chicago, 1949.

** The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell, Op. cit., p. 289.


performing household chores which middle-class Europeans for the most part, despite their lower standard of living, leave to servants, I reflect that it is perhaps a good thing that I have never been transported into the world of the privileged, much as I should enjoy its comforts.

I envy the successful writers, professors and bureaucrats, who had never known, or have long since forgotten, what it means to be poor or to count pennies. But I usually pull myself up from wishing that I were one of them by the reflection that freedom from the dull ordinary tasks performed by the mass of humanity insulates the class conscious 'intelligentsia' from reality. As I wrote long ago in an unpublished article written in the days when life was hardest for me thanks to my unpopular opinions, "it all comes down to washing up." The trouble it seemed to me then as now is that most of the would be saviours of humanity always take it for granted that someone else will perform the dirty, dull or disagreeable work which has to be done by someone in any and all systems. And I have always retained my respect for Lenin, as basically a true liberal, in spite of his having led Russia to the hell of totalitarian tyranny, because while in exile in Switzerland he always helped his wife with the washing up. And one of the first favorable impressions I received of America was the fact that even in well to do families the men help with the household chores. One could write an essay on how American mechanical inventions have helped lighten household drudgery precisely because men had to help. For as Temple used to point out to me, women had watched kettles steaming for centuries, but it took a man, Stevenson to notice the potentialities of steam power.

In 1954, after Peter and Bertie were divorced, I visited Russell for the last time in Richmond, a suburb of London, where he was living with his fourth wife. My tea with them was not conducive to any renewed meeting of minds, or a revival of my former close friendship with Bertie. His wife, of course, knew of my friendship with her predecessor. John Russell was by this time an adherent of his mother (Dora) whose favorable view of the Soviet Union was shared to some extent by his second stepmother by reason of her pacifism. The atmosphere was also clouded by the fact that Peter, in her animosity against Bertie had antagonized their son, Conrad, who was refusing to see his father. I got no chance to talk to Bertie alone, except for a brief moment on the steps of their house when after kissing me goodbye he assured me that I should not believe what Peter had written to me about his sentiments toward me. I hope it is the truth despite the letters Peter wrote to me after she had left Bertie which I reproduce here:

18 Dorset House



October 16, 1949

Dearest Freda,

It is funny that my saying I had not heartlessly abandoned Bertie in his old age should have given you the impression that I had. I wrote without explanation or emotion because of your affection for him. But I ought not to let you think he left me - he still found me useful. I was obliged to say that we must separate unless we could be faithful to each other and honest with each other - it did not seem much to ask from me to him as he assured me to the end that he loved me only and profoundly. But he refused and we separated by my wish a month later. I left it open that I would try again on those terms if he would, but he refused. It is since then that I have learned from several independent sources that he has disliked me intensely for years.


It was necessary to say this to correct any wrong impression I had given. I am sorry I broke and said anything at all.

I do not know how to reply to the rest of your letter, because you see I know things you don't know and you seem to know things I don't know, and it is all far more complicated and horrible than I could explain.

I mind so much that no one told me things I ought to have known that I cannot write to you at all without saying that Bertie's friendship for you does not exist. We all found you irritating during the war, dear Freda, but Bertie was horrible about you. I thought at the time that you must have seen some of it, as I used to think years ago that Dora must know he hated her, when he came straight to my room from hers, with his face blazing with hatred, as it was when I went to his room when you had just left it and he told me not to let you come any more. But I know now that his face changes in an instant, and that others have seen it like that when it turned away from me when a second before it showed me love and kindness. Dear Freda, Bertie said that everything about you got on his nerves, that he found you physically repulsive, that you made clear to him that you wanted him to make love to you and that the thought of doing so revolted him. Don't be too hurt, my dear, he has said just as bad things of me-worse, since he has said that I was repulsive to him in every way but physically - and he has said the same to me of many nice women, including his own daughter. I don't know why he is like that about you. Last summer when you suggested coming to Wales to collect Jon he said I must not let you come (It was always me that had to do these unpleasant things for him) but must make some excuse for taking Jon to London to meet you. He will always pretend to like you except for the occasional outbursts you have experienced, because he can't bear that anyone should not like him. If it hurts much dear Freda, think of the hurt to me, to whom it was so painful that he said these things of others but only went to prove what he said, that he and I were alone in this world in love and understanding. I have had the outbursts too, and the remoteness you noticed towards you last summer, which I attributed sadly to age and thought I must love him the more.

It is a sort of madness: hysteria in the strict textbook sense, but the practical consequences for other people are terrible. By talking against each to each he has always put everyone against everyone else among his intimates, and with women it is dreadful, he collects several at a time who each believe that he loves her and hates the others. The good ones want to rescue the poor darling from his misery (as I thought I was rescuing him from Dora who thought he loved her) and the bad ones cash in.

I didn't mean to say all this when I began and I know it will hurt you dreadfully. But it is too horrible to think of your spreading your affection before him and him accepting it, dear, honest, guileless Freda, as I have done. And for myself, I feel I cannot bear one drop more of deceit and pretense.


Forgive me. I love you though he doesn't. You see, my pet, sex is the least of it.


Tear this up - no it doesn't matter. Having once broken I cannot go on pretending I haven't said all this to get you away from Bertie - you can tell from my first letter, that I didn't want to do that, but because your talking of your precious friendship with him is an echo of my own agony and I can't bear it. I have been in misery all day on your account added to my own. Some people he only said horrible things about sometimes but you, like me, have been a constant aversion for years.

18 Dorset House


Feb. 24, 1951

Dear Freda.

Thank you for your card and wishes which I return for you and Jon. My dear I don't have anything to forgive you except your virtues which are indeed more nuisance to you and sometimes to others than most peoples vices, and when I once love people I don't stop unless I find them insincere. Which I have no fear of with you. But as for being intimate that would be for me rather as it would be for you to try to be intimate with a starry-eyed young Communist. Hopeless I fear. You know yourself the solitude of disillusionment. In my case unlike yours no useful purpose can be served by springing it and my case is insoluble. I'm not open to relief.

I don't know where I shall be when you come to Europe again. Somewhere remote I hope. I am just waiting here still for Bertie to make a financial settlement.

Conrad is at Eton enjoying a classical education thoroughly. He towers above me and is very handsome and good and loves me very much, and also loves a nice girl and grandchildren are the only thing I look forward to (by a different girl no doubt).

I am recovering from a long illness, flu and then complications. I was very ill and I am still weak and stupid. I often wonder about Jon. I like him so much. We are both lucky in our sons if not in all things. I shall look out for the book. Good bye, probably, and love always.


It would be beyond my competence and the confines of this book to attempt to judge between Peter and Bertrand Russell who parted in anger after I knew and loved them both. I no longer unquestionably believe as I once did everything he told me about his second wife Dora. By the same token I also doubt the veracity of Peter's account in the above letters. But the two volumes of Russell's autobiography reveal enough of his ambivalent attitude towards the women he loved and did, or did not, marry to warrant some credibility to their sides of the story.

As regards Bertie's attitude toward me I can well conceive that in his fury against me when I brought him up against the unresolved conflict in his mind between his former and recent convictions and attitudes, he may have said things which Peter, as emotional and passionate as he, took to be true expressions of his feelings towards me. Our relationship had become what was perhaps akin to a divorce - not of marriage or any


sexual relationship, but of minds, or souls, if we have them, equally conducive to intemperate statements expressing the sad fury of alienation from those with whom one used to be attuned.

Whatever Bertie's "real" feelings about me may have been he continued to write to me with assurances of his friendship and trust for years after he left America.

In January 1962 he wrote me a friendly note which reads as follows:

Dear Freda,

Thank you for your letter of December 10. I have no objection whatever to your printing the Shaw correspondence that you write about. It was good to hear from you and certainly I am still your friend.

Yours ever,


Acting on Isaac Don Levine's suggestion that it might be possible to ascertain Arcadi's fate, if Russell got Cyrus Eaton to make inquiries, I wrote to Bertie saying:

Reading yesterday in The New York Times that all England will be celebrating your 90th birthday this week, I realize that I should not be troubling you once again with my troubles. But I also know that old age cannot wither nor time destroy your unquenchable spirit, your passionate hatred of cruelty, your love for truth and your concern for all victims of injustice and stupidity. I also venture to believe that it was basically because I believe in the same values as you, and perhaps also on account of some similarity in our temperaments and minds since we both pursue our ideas to their logical conclusion in action, regardless of consequences to ourselves, that our friendship survived for so many years in spite of disagreement and some fierce and even bitter arguments, from the days when you tried to prevent me from making the great mistake of joining the Communist Party in the late 20's, to the time when in America we came to disagree about the Second World War, and now when I disagree with you in your crusade for disarmament at any risk.

In any case, dear Bertie, I know that today as always I can count on you to help me if you can. Arcadi is probably long since dead and if he is still alive he may have married again. I should not feel sad if this were so, indeed I should be happy to learn that he has not been lonely all these years like myself. But even if I have somewhat faded from his memory, if he is alive it would mean much to him and to our son to communicate. And I do not want to die before knowing what was his fate.

Perhaps I should not endeavor to enlist, through you, the help of such a man as Cyrus Eaton who unlike yourself is not one of the pure in heart, or if he is must be very innocent or foolish. I am suggesting that he, rather than you direct, approach the Soviet Government in view of your well known anti-Communist views. But it could be that Don and I are wrong in supposing that an ephemeral political character such as Eaton would have more weight in Moscow than yourself, now that more than ever before you are revered and respected even in


England as well as all over the world. For that very reason Moscow no doubt dislikes you intensely.

I hope that I may be enabled to get to England once again before I die and have another real talk with you after so many years. But, as usual, I have no money, although I may make some out of this book of memoirs, when it is at long last finished.

* * *

Bertie replied promptly telling me of his futile endeavor to save the life of Pasternak's widow and daughter in a letter which made clear not only his unchanged view of Soviet tyranny, but also his actual stand on "the bomb" which he denied meant immediate American atomic disarmament. His letter reads:

29 May 1962 Dear Freda,

Thank you for your letter of May 12. I am sorry to say that I have not any of the letters and papers that you asked about. I am quite glad that you should tell the story of Shaw's brutal refusal to help you. I am writing to Cyrus Eaton as you suggest, but I gravely doubt whether he will be willing to do anything and whether it will be effective if he does. I tried myself to do something for Ivinskaya and her daughter without the slightest success. I must tell you that my policy is not quite what you think. I do not favor unilateral disarmament "by the West" as you will see from the marked passage in the enclosed article. I hope that either through Cyrus Eaton or, if he fails, by some other means you may be able to obtain information as to your husband.

Yours very sincerely,


June 18, 1962

Dear Bertie:

Thank you very much for your letter of May 29, and please forgive my long delay in answering. It was awfully good of you to respond so promptly to my request that you write to Cyrus Eaton. I, myself doubt whether he will or can, do anything, but Don Levine believes that his wife will. He is going to let me know what he is able to do in that quarter.

I was also glad to read your article which you sent me and to be corrected as concerns the policy you advocate. The main reason why I delayed answering your letter was that I originally contemplated arguing some points with you. But I realize that this is impossible to do by letter as also that I might only start a futile argument to no purpose. I had also intended by now to have a complete and corrected version of all I have written not only about you and G. B. S. but about you as I have known you through the years. Remembering those days, thirty-five years ago, when I stayed with you at Porth Curno, I am more than ever conscious of the great debt I owe you, both mentally and on account of the kindness you showed me in my youth as well as in later years. I was sorry not to know you were going to be on the Susskind show, so missed that, but have seen you briefly on another T.V.


program. I marvel and rejoice that you are still as vigorous as ever, look so very well, and have the same unmistakable and well-loved voice.

I also realize from the account in Time of your Susskind interview, that you still indulge in your favorite pastime, "Epatez les bourgeois."

With love,

Freda Utley

It was not until 1963 that I found myself blocked off from communication with him. When I briefly visited England in 1963 and phoned to Wales asking if I might come to visit him, I was first assured by his wife that he would be delighted to receive me, and then put off by the following unconvincing letter:

28 Sept. '63 Dear Miss Utley,

Thank you for your letters to us which have just reached me as Express Delivery is not indulged in the depths of the country where we live. When I spoke to you on the telephone I said that Bertie would. I was sure, like to see you, as of course, he would, if it were possible, but that he had been ill and is under doctor's orders. Unfortunately, I did not get your London address and so could not write you, and after discussing possibilities with Bertie, I asked Mr. Schoeneman. Bertie's secretary, who was in London, to ring you. Long distance telephoning during such a wind storm as we were then having here, is difficult. I am very sorry that he has to give you disappointing news.

Though Bertie is mending well and with astonishing rapidity - as always - he had a very severe cold which left him, naturally, though temporarily, without much energy to spare. It is unfortunate that, at this time of year, especially, when there are a great many visitors from abroad, Bertie's schedule is booked for weeks, even months ahead, and by people who cannot readily be put off. It is not as easy to arrange these matters as it used to be when we lived in London. And there is, added to the normal schedule, the backlog from the fortnight when he could see no visitors. When we discussed what work he has to do and the people he must see during the next few weeks, it became evident that he could not add to either, however much he would like to do so. Perhaps you may be able to consult him by letter about the passages in your ms that you would like to discuss.

I can assure you that Bertie is as you knew him 40 years ago-just as intelligent and sympathetic and delightful as he was then, just as passionate and with judgement unimpaired - but, naturally at 91, his energies are not as phenomenally great as they were then. The are reduced to those of a man of middle age! I can also assure you that he is no more pro-Communist than he was either 40 or 30 or 20 or 10 years ago. None of us who work with him - including Mr. Schoeneman and myself are pro-Communist. Nor Fascist, either, for that matter. He and we too, dislike oppression and persecution and cruelty when and where and under what disguise we find it, just as he did 40 years ago. And I assure you most warmly, that he is disappointed, as I am, that we have got ourselves into such a difficult tangle of work as not to be able