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M00.27r 1120-8 MITUIME PHOTO. Ire BORISONNRI ET EGGLER M. Bark, Russian Minister of Finance. Who is Confronted With the Problem of Replacing the Five Hundred Million Dollars Yearly Lost by Prohibiting the Sale of Vodka Published Weekly The Curtis Publishing Company Independence Square Philadelphia London: 6, Henrietta Street Covent Garden,W.C. THE SETUR.D.RY EVENING POST Founded A9W1728 by Benj.Franklin c opyright.1915, by The Curtis Publishing Company in the United States and Great Britain Entered at the Philadelphia Post-Office as Second-Class Matter Entered as Second-Class Matter at the Post-Office Department Ottawa, Canada Volume 187 PHILADELPHIA, FEBRUARY 13, 1915 Number 33 HEN the Russian-American steamer Dvinsk glided from the Arctic Ocean into the White Sea a war bulletin from the iceclad North Cape wireless station was handed to the purser. He was sitting at the dining table— which is a likely place for finding a Russian at all times—and he'began reading the report to the other officers assembled for breakfast. Out of deference to their one first-class passenger, .who was an American, the news was printed in English, in which language the purser jogged along like the well-known wagon on the more than familiar corduroy road. Every ear was cocked for the exciting news. There was something about Poland, the feeling in Italy and the situation in England. Then came a brief paragraph containing the smallest item recorded. The purser read, paused, read it again, and considered silently. Nothing in his face indicated his mental reaction to the modest bit of news. Whether it was too inconsequential to accept seriously or too tremendous for him to grasp, one could not tell. As for his listeners—the American described them visually. He said their faces went passive, like the row of heads in the frieze above the table.' The purport of the words did not enter their souls. Their animation revived only with the next paragraph. It told about the number of men killed in an engagement, whereas the preceding item had made but a colorless statement. The Czar, according to the unpretentious paragraph, had forbidden the sale of vodka throughout Russia during the period of the mobilization. When the liner crosses from the White Sea into the river there is a great deal of moaning at the bar. At certain seasons the ceremony is preceded by exercises with an ice-breaking boat, which jumps on the frozen water with both feet. It makes a path that is not wide enough for a steamer. The Dvinsk takes a chance, gets stuck in the ice and passes the remainder of the day in rescuing itself. A Celebration Without Vodka SOMETHING similar to this happened on the above occasion, with the result that purser and officers were deflected into other channels of thought. When they arrived in Archangel the purser was led still farther from absorbing world interests. He was asked to prepare for a dinner party to sixty guests in honor of the governor. Coaxing, with fair promises, one of the little militant boats that rule the waves in and round the Arctic Circle, he crossed from the dock to Archangel in pursuance of the first, last and only important preparation. He sought to purchase a large consignment of vodka. The government had conducted the sale of this national beverage throughout the empire in shops that it owned. From one to another of these local branches he made the rounds and found them as deserted as the villages of Belgium, with nobody at home except a goat, which stood in the front doorway of one, licking from his whiskers the pink paint he had removed from the walls of the customhouse—this youthful color being the favorite dress of the Russians for their more dignified buildings. Putting two and two together the purser gathered that the modest order he had read out at sea thirty-six hours before must have gone into effect. The Czar had said that no more vodka should be sold during the mobilization; and beginning with that minute no more was sold. The purser devoted himself to the large—one might almost say the national—question of the moment, which was how to serve a meal without the beverage on which the empire had cheered itself through several centuries. He faced a situation concerning which others were engaged in making a like hasty adjustment. The largest reform measure of history was quietly executed by an autocratic government on one of its busy days. With a single stroke of the pen the Czar of All the Russias placed more than a hundred and sixty million people on the water wagon; and, for the most part, they regarded the situation as awkward. This is the empire that holds some of the oldest races and the youngest in its inclosures, and it embraces languages numbering into the hundreds. All the languages and the dialects thereof were devoted to the discussion of how to accommodate the civilizations, from the oldest to the youngest inclusive, to so momentous a change of national custom, and if possible to thwart it. The rich and great were among the first to suffer from the reform. They could not enjoy their zakuska. Between the hours of one and three-thirty the Russian consumes hors-d'ouvres and trickles a thin stream of vodka down his gullet. Without the drink the cold meats lose value. Whisky and champagne occupied a place in some Russian wine cellars, but they constituted a poor substitute— scarcely less satisfactory, indeed, than the one chosen by Michael Narodny, out on the windswept steppes. He and his contemporaries were accustomed to make themselves into a sort of steam-heating plant by the perpetual consumption of the drink. One night, three years ago, Michael's log but was burned. As he, in one of his accustomed drunken stupors, occupied his accustomed bed on top of the stove, no one could ever explain why Michael was not burned too. The calamity resulted directly from his use of the national intoxicant, and to repair his sense of loss he doubled the dose. His communal land slipped from him. It was the same old story, enacted on the banks of the Dnieper, which we have seen many times in our own rich steppes of the Mississippi. Swearing Off for Keeps ON MICHAEL the sudden reform worked what he considered to be a distinct injury. He loved his emperor, but drink he had to have. There was some varnish in the stable where he slept in the compact village out on the Russian prairies, and he drank it after precipitating the shellac with salt. Meantime some of his compatriots throughout the empire consumed all the available perfumery and everything else they could command that contained any percentage whatever of alcohol. Those of them who did not die were very sick, and those who had found no deadly substitutes for drink were sullen. There never was in the history of the world, even in New York on New Year's Day, such a morning after as followed the Czar's order. There never was a more enthusiastic ascent of the water wagon at the end of a few days. The Russian accepts. That is his tradition and teaching. Obedience is the badge of his race. The rich and great in the hotels of Moscow began contentedly to drink cranberry juice with their zakuska. Michael woke up one morning in his stable and found himself not heavy with stupor and trouble, but happy. Inspired by a new energy he worked and deadheaded his way to Moscow, where he fell into the ancestral position of cabdriver, vacated by the death of the last of the line. From over a million and a half square miles of Russian territory similar felicitous reports began coming to the Winter Palace, where the Czar lives. Ivan Semenoff, on the Kama, where it crosses the Trans-Siberian Railroad, no longer had to be tied to the bed that was built into the wall. His strong and healthy daughter had been accustomed to meeting him up the road, conducting him to the log hut, unprotected from the heat of summer and storms of winter, and securing him with ropes that he might not practice violence on his wife, Liza, rendered delicate by long submission to his blows. Ivan was now scarcely sullen and at times smiled. Aureli Petroff, of the coal regions in the south, was reported to have money in his pockets. The Czar, pleased with the success of the measure, issued a further order that no more intoxicants should be sold during the entire period of the war; and he followed this a little later with the mandate prohibiting the manufacture and sale of intoxicants by the government forever. At that time the choice of subjects for conversation began to change. Faces that before went dead at the mention of the new law were now animated at the returns which came in from it. Men killed in battle were not so astonishing to contemplate as the actual, visual phenomenon of men saved in legions by so simple a procedure as making a law. Not war, but prohibition, was the Russian popular topic of the hour. Not gloomy regret for a calamity, but buoyant hope for a salvation, gave the Russian Empire its mood. Everybody caught it, on the steppes and in the cities. Two months after the first manifesto the steamship Dvinsk again made its way into the port of Archangel, and again with an American passenger on board. She was met 3


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