I hesitated long before deciding to write this third post-October part of my reminiscences. Until our arrival in Russia in 1917 I had worked side by side with Ilyich. My work had been a direct aid to his activities, I had watched him day by day in his talks with people, and known every little detail of the things that had interested him. In the post-October period it was different. Under the new Soviet conditions of work the character of my secretarial activities underwent a change. Its scope was considerably narrowed. Ilyich persuaded me to take up work on the educational front. This work engrossed me completely. Still more gripping, of course, in all its colourful complexity, was the tumultuous life that surged all round me. True, the very intensity of this life somehow drew us still closer together. When disengaged Ilyich used to call me out from the People's Commissariat of Education to go for a walk together through the Kremlin, or to drive out of town to the woods, or simply to have a chat. But he was very busy all the time. I had got into the habit of not asking Ilyich any questions whenever we met, and he would never tell me about his recent experiences beyond a few casual remarks until some time had passed. Usually he would start off on a train of thought which those experiences had suggested. Even now, years afterwards, when rereading Ilyich's articles, I catch the very tones in which he had uttered this or that phrase in conversation before it had come to be written down in his article. But things like this baffle description. As a result reminiscences are bound to be very fragmentary and episodic. I had decided, therefore, to write no reminiscences at all covering the Soviet period. But then I thought that, given against the general background of events, such reminiscences, however fragmentary, might be of some interest. The background itself should merely be the setting, but not a history of events. I am not sure that I will be able to do it. However, since comrades are interested in every little detail that concerns Vladimir Ilyich, I shall try. The accompanying chapters are my first attempt at reminiscences of that type.
December 12, 1933