University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
Link to University of Wisconsin Digital Collections
The Literature Collection

Page View

Buchen, Walther (ed.) / The Wisconsin magazine
Vol. VII, No. 8 (May 1910)

Wells, Chester C.
From a far country,   pp. 29-30


Page 29


FROM A FAR COUNTRY
From a Far Country
           CHESTER C. WELLS
  Their native land forever closed against
them, deprived of their citizenship and
menaced by Siberian dungeons, branded
as political traitors by their government
because they demanded freedom of thought
and speech, three Russian students are
studying at the University of Wisconsin,
attempting to fit themselves for American
citizenship and lives of achievement.
  Perhaps no American student has suf-
fered anything like the privations, hard-
ships, and risks of death that have fallen
to the lot of Boris Emmet, Leon A. Gut-
owski and Leonard B. Moiseyeff, who are
entered as special first and second year
students. Each, beginning his education
in the schools of Russia, has be-n com-
pelled to fly from the country, leave his
family, and permit absolute confiscation of
all of his property, as a sacrifice to his
principles. The freedom for which each
became an exile from the realms of the
Czar, has called him to America. New
language, new standards, new people, new
life-all those are terrorless where there is
liberty.
  Pathetic, but vividly romantic, are the
life stories of these men. At St. Peters-
burg universitywhere constant and terrible
rebellion is led against Russian absolutism
by the students, Emmet spent three active
years. Finally captured as a revolutionist,
he fled from Russia to escape death, for-
feiting a ten thousand dollar bail-the half
of his inheritance-and forever severing
himself from his mother, his friends, and
his country. Oppressive soldiery service
forced upon Gutowski, a student at an im-
perial military academy, took him into
many horrible conflicts with Chinese rob-
bers during the Russo-Japanese, war, land-
ed him in the rear of the battle of Mukden,
and then in siege duty at Vladivostok,
from where he escaped to a new world.
Twice Moiseyeff was imprisoned in Si-
beria because of his membership in one of
the  thousands of secret societies that
honeycomb the whole Russian monarchy
by their manipulations for liberty. These
are the tales of sorrow and suffering that
are laid at Wisconsin's feet.
Boris Emmet, still a young man, was
a wealthy Russian student a few years ago.
His father, secretary of the court at St.
Petersburg, and official of the Czar, had
left him a rich inheritance. But Emmet
believed the Russian system was wrong,
and allied himself with the majority of
students in the work of socialism, as Amer-
icans style it; probably nihilism in the
eyes of Russia. He was finally implicated
and captured.   Sentenced to death, he
fled. He sought America, where he mas-
tered the strange tongue, and finally se-
cured a position in the business depart-
ment of a Milwaukee newspaper. He de-
veloped an active interest in socialism.
He was transferred from the business to
the reportorial department of the paper,
and successfully covered labor and social-
istic news. He is now majoring in ccono-
mics and political science at the university.
  With an ambition to become a leader in
the work of socialism, Emmet is working
his way through school. He expects to re-
ceive credit here for work done in St.
Petersburg university and be ranked as a
junior next year. Emmet has taken his
first steps toward becoming a naturalized
citizen of the United States, and is active
in the Socialism and International clubs
of the university.
  Today Leon Gutowski, batallion adju-
tant, ranking as first lieutenant in the uni-
versity cadet corps, one of the five best
marksmen in the school and a member of
the Wisconsin rifle team, regrets the de-
sertion at Vladivostok which forever bars
his nation from him. Better would it have
been, he believes, to put up with the tor-
turous service than yield to the bravado
inclination which led him to embark pass-
age to England. But by hard application
he is becoming an American and prepar-
29


Go up to Top of Page