The Way of the Cross
THE WAY OF THE
WITH AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE
G. P. PUTNAM’S SONS
THE Way of the Cross is probably the first piece of Russian War literature translated into English. It is a terribly poignant impression of the fugitives on the road after the great German invasion of Russia in August and September, 1915. It is written by Doroshevitch, a famous Russian journalist, and was contributed to the Russkoe Slovo in October, 1915. Doroshevitch went from Moscow to meet the oncoming flood of refugees, and he went through to the rear of the Russian army, and came back with this extraordinary picture.
At first he met the sparse survivors and first comers, those who were furthest ahead in the procession; afterwards they came thicker and thicker till they were a great moving wall. He tells how they camped in the forests, how they died by the way, how they put up their crosses by the side of the road, how they sold their horses and abandoned their carts, how they starved, how they suffered. The words speak for themselves.
Doroshevitch is chiefly famous for his work on Sakhalin, but he is a very popular modern writer, and very powerful, using an ironic pen. He writes constantly on the Russkoe Slovo, and is a great favourite. Russians buy this interesting paper even for him alone, and read his articles and feuilletons aloud. He has an extraordinary journalistic style, all short sentences, short paragraphs, word-paragraphs, dashes, marks of interrogation. Our own writers should find him interesting. Scores of Russian journalists imitate him and endeavour to write in his way—not always with success. I have been collecting his articles for some time with a view to publishing a volume of his in our Russian Library with Sologub and Kuprin and other living Russians. But here is this extraordinary document—The Way of the Cross. I felt directly I saw it that it must be translated and given to the British public, sent to the trenches, and read by all of us, if only that we may realize the temper of Russia and what the Russians have suffered.
Doroshevitch is a liberal and a progressive, but he is a real Russian and a Christian. This breathless, almost desperate story yet breathes a tender love toward the individual, and there is that Christian mysticism that can see in the White crosses over the fugitives’ graves "Georgian crosses on the breast of the suffering earth." The Georgian is the Russian equivalent of our Victoria Cross, given for valour and self-sacrifice.