A. S. Makarenko Reference Archive

The Road to Life
Volume 1



Suddenly Deryuchenko began to speak Russian. This unnatural occurrence was connected with a series of unpleasant incidents in the Deryuchenko nest. It all began when Deryuchenko's wife, who was, by the way, completely indifferent to the Ukrainian cause, decided that the moment had arrived for the delivery of her child. Much as the prospect of perpetuating his glorious Cossack lineage moved Deryuchenko, it had not as yet succeeded in upsetting his equilibrium. In the purest Ukrainian he demanded horses from Bratchenko for the journey to the midwife. Bratchenko could not forego the satisfaction of expressing certain axioms anent the birth of the young Deryuchenko, who had not been provided for in the colony's transport schedule, and the calling of a midwife from town, since, in Anton's opinion--"It'll be all the same, with a midwife, or without a midwife." Still, he did let Deryuchenko have horses. The next day it appeared that it was necessary to take the expectant mother to town. Anton was so upset that he lost all sense of reality and declared: "I'm not going to give you horses!"

But Sherre and I, supported by public opinion in the colony, criticized Bratchenko's conduct so sharply and energetically, that he had to give in. Deryuchenko listened patiently to Anton's harangues, and tried, in his usual florid and magniloquent style, to persuade him.

"Inasmuch as the matter is urgent," he said, "it cannot he put off for an hour, Comrade Bratchenko."

Anton armed himself with mathematical data, in the persuasive powers of which he had a firm belief.

"Was a pair of horses sent for the midwife? It was. The midwife was taken back to town--again a pair of horses.... D' you think the horses care who's going to have a baby?"

"But, Comrade--"

"You and your 'buts' Supposing everyone started such goings on!"

By way of protest Anton harnessed for these obstetrical matters the least beloved and slowest of the horses, vowed the phaeton was out of order, and sent out the gig, with Soroka on the box--an obvious sign that the turnout was no great shakes. But it was only when Deryuchenko again demanded horses, this time to go and fetch the newly-made mother home, that Anton really let himself go.

Deryuchenko, was not destined to he a happy father--his first-born, hastily given the name of Taras, only survived for one week, when he died in the maternity ward, having added nothing of importance to Deryuchenko's glorious Cossack race. Deryuchenko's face wore an expression of becoming grief, and his accents were somewhat subdued, but there was nothing particularly tragic about his sorrow, and he stubbornly continued to express himself in the Ukrainian language. Bratchenko, for his part, could find words in no language at all, so intense were his indignation and impotent rage. Only half-comprehensible, broken phrases issued from his lips:

"Sent the horses all for nothing! There are plenty of cabs ... no hurry ... could easily have waited an hour ... people will always have babies ... and all for nothing!..."

Deryuchenko brought the ill-starred mother back to the nest, and Bratchenko's sufferings ceased for some time. At this point Bratchenko drops out of this mournful story, which, however, had by no means come to an end. Taras Deryuchenko had not yet been born, when a seemingly irrelevant theme crept into the story, but one which subsequently turned out to be not so irrelevant after all. This theme was also a mournful one for Deryuchenko.

The teaching and other staff of the colony received their food ready-cooked from the same source as that which provided the pupils. But for some time now, in recognition of the special requirements of family life, and desirous of easing the work of the kitchen a little, I had allowed Kalina Ivanovich to issue uncooked rations to certain persons. Deryuchenko was one of three. It so happened that I once obtained in the town a minute quantity of butter. It was so little that it would only last in the common stock for a few days. Naturally it never entered into anyone's head that this butter could be included in the uncooked rations. But Deryuchenko was greatly disturbed to learn that for the last three days this precious substance had formed part of the general fare. Me hastened to rearrange matters, and sent in a declaration for transference to the general kitchen, abandoning his claims to uncooked rations. Unfortunately, by the time this transference had been accomplished, the whole supply of butter in Kalina Ivanovich's storeroom had been used up, a circumstance which sent Deryuchenko running to me in violent protest.

"You have no right to make a fool of people! Where's the butter?"

"Butter?" I repeated. "There isn't any more--it's all eaten up."

Deryuchenko wrote a declaration that he and his family would take their rations in uncooked form. Very well! But in two days' time Kalina Ivanovich brought some butter again, and again in the same small quantity. Deryuchenko, setting his teeth, bore up under this reverse too, and did not even go over to the general kitchen. But something seemed to have happened in our Department of Public Education--a long-drawn-out process of the gradual introduction of butter into the organisms of workers in the field of people's education and their charges, seemed to have set in. Every now and then, Kalina Ivanovich, arriving from town, drew out from under the seat a small tub, its top covered with a piece of clean butter muslin. Things got to a point when Kalina Ivanovich would not think of going to town without his tub. More often than not, however, the tub returned without any top covering, and Kalina Ivanovich tossed it carelessly on to the straw in the bottom of the gig, with the words:

"Such an ignorant lot! Can't you give a man something he can look at! What's this supposed to be for, anyway--you parasites? Is it to eat, or to smell?"

But Deryuchenko could no longer bear it, and he again went over to the general kitchen. He was, however, one who could never follow the dynamics of daily life; he failed to see the significance of the steadily rising curve of fats in the colony and, possessing but the feeblest political sense, he had no idea that, at a certain phase, quantity is bound to become quality. And this transformation suddenly burst over the heads of his family. All1 of a sudden we began to get butter in such abundance that I found it possible to issue a fortnight's supply with the uncooked rations. Wives, grandmothers, daughters, mothers-in-law, and other persons of secondary importance, carried away from Kalina Ivanovich's storeroom to their homes the golden-yellow blocks, reaping the reward of their patient endurance, while Deryuchenko, who had incautiously eaten up his fat ration in the imperceptible and unattractive form given it by the colony kitchen, got none. Deryuchenko actually grew pale from misery and the bad luck by which he was dogged. Thoroughly shaken, he wrote out a declaration of his desire to receive uncooked rations. His grief was profound, and evoked universal sympathy, but he still bore himself like a man and a Cossack, and did not give up his native Ukrainian language.

The theme of fats coincided chronologically with the unsuccessful attempt to prolong the Deryuchenko strain.

Deryuchenko and his wife were patiently chewing the cud of their mournful memories of Taras, when fate decided to restore the balance and bestowed upon Deryuchenko a long-merited joy--in the colony order for the day were directions to issue uncooked rations "for the previous fortnight," and butter once again figured in these rations. Deryuchenko went joyously to Kalina Ivanovich with his market bag. The sun was shining, and all living things rejoiced. But this did not last long. Half an hour later Deryuchenko came running to me, very much upset, and wounded to the depths of his soul. The strokes dealt by fate on his hard skull had become intolerable, he had gone completely off the rails and his wheels were beating over the sleepers in the purest Russian.

"Why haven't I been issued fats for my son?"

"What son?" I asked in astonishment.

"What son? Taras! This is arbitrary conduct, Comrade Director! Rations are supposed to be issued for each member of a family--so kindly do so!"

"But you have no son Taras!"

"It's none of your business whether he exists or not. I gave in a certificate showing that my son Taras was born on June the 2nd and died June the 10th--so you are bound to give him rations for eight days...."

Kalina Ivanovich, who had come to watch proceedings, took Deryuchenko cautiously by the elbow.

"Comrade Deryuchenko--who would be fool enough to feed a tiny infant butter? Ask yourself if a baby could stand such food!"

I looked from one to the other in amazement.

"Kalina Ivanovich!" I exclaimed. "What's the matter with you today? This baby died three weeks ago!"

"Oh--so he died? What d' you want then? Butter would no more help him, than incense would help a corpse. Oh, but he is a corpse, if I may say so."

Deryuchenko thrashed about the room in his rage, sawing the air with the palms of his hands.

"For a period of eight days my family included a fully entitled member, and you're bound to issue rations for him."

"Fully entitled? He's only theoretically entitled--in practice he hardly existed. It made no difference whether he was there or not."

But Deryuchenko had gone off the rails, and his subsequent movements were wild and disorderly. He lost all sense of style, even the specific tokens of his existence seemed to have become uncurled and droop--his moustache, his hair, his necktie. In this state he at last turned up in the office of the Chief of the Gubernia Department of Public Education, producing there the most unfavourable impression. The Chief of the Gubernia Department of Public Education sent for me.

"One of your employees has been to me with a complaint," he said. "Look here--such people must be got rid of! How can you keep such an intolerable cadger in your colony? He talked such indescribable nonsense--all about some Taras, butter, and God knows what!"

"But it was you who appointed him!"

"Impossible! Chuck him out this minute!"

To such pleasant results had the gradual interlocking of two themes--Taras and butter--led! Deryuchenko and his wife left by the same road that Rodimchik had taken before them. I rejoiced, the members of the colony rejoiced, and the small plot of Ukrainian landscape which had been the scene of the events described, seemed to rejoice, too. But my joy was mixed with anxiety. The same old problem--where to find a real human being--was more acute than ever, for there was not a single teacher in the new colony. But the Gorky Colony was undoubtedly in luck, and I, quite unexpectedly, came across the real human being for whom we thirsted. Such things do happen! I simply came across him in the street. He was stranding on the pavement, his back to the window of the Department of Public Education's supply section, idly regarding ihe simple objects on the dusty, dung-and-straw-littered street.

Anton and I were taking sacks of grain out of the depo. Anton caught his foot in a hollow in the ground, and fell. The real human being hastened to the scene of the catastrophe, and he and I together finished loading the aforesaid sack on to our cart. As I thanked the stranger took note of his well-knit figure, his intelligent youthful countenance, and the dignity with which he smiled in reply to my thanks. A white Cossack cap was perched on his head with the ease and confidence characteristic of the military.

"You're a military man, aren't you?" I asked.

"You're right!" smiled the stranger.



"Then what can there be to interest you in the Department of Public Education?"

"The Chief. They told me he'd be there soon, so I'm waiting."

"Are you looking for work?"

"Yes. I've been promised work as a physical culture instructor."

"Have a talk with me first."

"All right."

We had a talk. He clambered on to our cart and we drove home. I showed Pyotr Ivanovich over the colony, and by nightfall the question of his appointment was decided.

Pyotr Ivanovich brought with him to the colony a veritable wealth of most fortunate endowments. He had precisely what we needed--youth, vigour, almost superhuman powers of endurance, sobriety and cheerfulness, and there was nothing about him that we did not require--not a hint of pedagogical prejudices, not the slightest posing in front of the boys, no petty selfishness. And Pyotr Ivanovich had yet other qualities--he loved military training, could play the piano, had a certain poetic gift, and was exceedingly strong. Under his rule the new colony took on a new tone the very next day. By jokes, by orders, by chaff, and by example, Pyotr Ivanovich began to get the boys to form a collective. He took on trust all my pedagogical principles, and right up to the end never doubted anything, thus delivering me from futile pedagogical arguments and chatter.

The life of our two colonies began to forge ahead like a well-regulated train. I began to enjoy a sense of reliability and solidity with my staff, a new experience to me. Tikhon Nestorovich, Sherre and Pyotr Ivanovich began, like our experienced veterans, to serve the cause in good earnest.

There were up to eighty members in the colony at that time. The original members of 1920 and 1921 had formed a very close group, and frankly took the lead in the colony, composing at every step, for every newcomer, an inflexible framework of steely will, which it was practically impossible to resist. It was not often, however, that I observed any attempts to show resistance. The colony impressed the newcomers and disarmed them by what struck them as the beauty of its outward appearance, by the precision and simplicity of its daily life, by its many and varied traditions and customs, the origin of which was not always clear even to the oldest members. The duties of each member of the colony were laid down in harsh and inflexible terms, but they were all strictly defined in our constitution, making almost impossible the slightest arbitrariness or display of obstinate despotism in the colony. At the same time the whole colony was constantly confronted with a task as to the need of which there could not be the slightest doubt--the finishing of repairs in the new colony, the concentration of all in one place, the extension of our economic enterprises. That this task was an obligatory one for us, and that we were quite sure to fulfil it, was questioned by no one. Therefore it was that we all reconciled ourselves to countless privations, made all sorts of sacrifices in the sphere of private amusements, better clothes, food, and saved up every spare kopek for hog breeding, seeds, a new harvester. Our attitude to these sacrifices was so calm and good-natured, so cheerful and confident, that I allowed myself a humourous ebullition al the general meeting, when one of the youngsters raised the question of having new trousers made.

"We'll finish up the new colony," I said, "and get rich, and then we'll have new clothes made for everybody--the boys will have velvet blouses with a silver girdle, the girls will have silk dresses and patent-leather shoes, every detachment will have its own car, and every member of the colony will have a bicycle as well. And we'll plant the colony with thousands of rosebushes. D' you get me? And in the meantime let's buy a fine Siementhal cow with these three hundred rubles."

The boys laughed heartily, and after this the cotton patches on their trousers, and their grease-stained grey blouses no longer seemed so very shabby.

The heads of the colony collective were still open to occasional criticism for straying from the path of strict virtue, but who is there in the whole world immune from such strictures? And in our hard task these "heads" proved a very smooth and precise mechanism. What I particularly appreciated in them was the fact that the main tendency of their work had somehow unnoticeably become their own extinction as "heads," and the drawing in of the whole colony.

These "heads" included almost all our old friends--Karabanov, Zadorov, Vershnev, Bratchenko, Volokhov, Vetkovsky, Taranets, Burun, Gud, Osadchy, Nastya Nochevnaya; but more recently new names had crept into the list--Oprishko, Georgievsky, Zhorka Volkov and Alyoshka Volkov, Stupitsyn and Kudlaty.

Oprishko had assimilated many of Anton Bratchenko's qualities: his fervour, his love of horses, and his superhuman capacity for work. He was not so talented in a creative way, nor so vivid, but he had qualities peculiar to himself alone--a fine flow of animal spirits, coupled with a certain gracefulness and purposefulness in all his movements.

In the eyes of colony society Georgievsky was a dual personality. On the one hand his whole outward appearance tempted us to call him a gipsy. His dusky face, his prominent black eyes, his dry lazy humour, a mischievous laxity in regard to private property, all held something gipsy-like. Georgievsky, on the other hand, was obviously the offspring of educated people--he was well-read, well-groomed, and handsome in a towny way, and there was something almost aristocratic in his way of speaking, and his pronunciation of the letter "r." The boys declared that Georgievsky was the son of a former governor of Irkutsk. Georgievsky himself denied the very possibility of such a disgraceful origin, and his papers bore not the slightest trace of so damning a past, but in such cases I was always inclined to believe the boys. He went to the new colony as a commander, and distinguished himself immediately--no one worked so much on his detachment as the commander of the sixth. Georgievsky read aloud to his fellow members, helped them to dress, saw that they washed themselves, was never tired of convincing, persuading and adjuring them. In the Commanders' Council he always stood for the idea of love and care for the little ones. And he had many achievements to boast of. Into his hands were put the dirtiest, most ill-conditioned boys, and by a week he had turned them into dandies, their hair slicked, pursuing their way with the utmost precision along the paths of the colony's life of toil.

There were two Volkovs in the colony--Zhorka and Alyoshka. They had not a single feature in common, though they were brothers. Zhorka had made a bad start in the colony, displaying an unconquerable laziness, a distressing sickliness, a quarrelsome and spiteful nature. He never smiled and but seldom spoke, and I was afraid he would never become one of ourselves, but would run away. His transformation took place without any fuss and without pedagogical efforts. In the Commanders' Council it suddenly appeared that only one possible combination remained for the digging of an ice pit--Galatenko and Zhorka. Everyone laughed.

Nobody could want to put two such shirkers to work together.

There was still more merriment when somebody proposed an interesting experiment: to make a mixed detachment of them and see what came of it, and how much they would dig. After some deliberation Zhorka was chosen as commander, Galatenko being still worse. Zhorka was called before the Council and I addressed him as follows:

"Look here, Volkov. You've been elected commander of a mixed detachment for making an icehouse, and Galatenko will be your helper. Only we're a bit afraid you won't be able to manage him."

After a moment's thought, Zhorka muttered:

"I'll manage him."

The next day an excited monitor ran up to me.

"You simply must come! It's ever so amusing to watch Zhorka drilling Galatenko! Only take care--if they hear us everything will be spoiled!"

We crept up to the field of action in the shelter of the bushes. On the cleared space in the remains of what had been a garden, was the rectangular base of the future icehouse. One end of it was Galatenko's allotment, the other, Zhorka's. Which was which could be seen at a glance both by the disposition of the forces, and by an obvious difference in the productivity of the workers. Zhorka had already dug up several square metres, while Galatenko had only done a narrow strip. But Galatenko was by no means asleep--he was clumsily driving his thick foot against the intractable spade, sticking it into the earth, and continually turning his heavy head, with an effort which was apparent, towards Zhorka. If Zhorka was not looking, Galatenko would stop working, keeping his foot on the spade, ready at the first alarm to plunge it into the earth. It was obvious that Volkov was thoroughly sick of all these tricks.

"D' you think I'm going to stand over you and beg you to work? I have no time to fuss about with you!"

"Why should you work so hard?" grumbled Galatenko.

Without answering Zhorka went over to Galatenko.

"I'm not going to talk to you, d' you understand?" he said. "But if you don't dig from here to here, I'll throw your dinner on to the garbage heap."

"Who's going to let you throw it out? What would Anton say?"

"He can say what he likes, but throw it out I will, so now you know!"

Galatenko looked steadily into Zhorka's eyes and read in them that Zhorka meant business. Galatenko muttered.

"I'm working, aren't I? Can't you leave me alone?"

His spade began moving more briskly in the earth, and the monitor touched my elbow.

"Enter it in your report," I whispered.

That evening the monitor's report concluded with the words:

"I wish to draw attention to the good work of 3-I, mixed detachment under command of Volkov senior."

Karabanov encircled Volkov's head with his powerful arm, exclaiming:

"Oho! Not every commander gets honoured like that!"

Zhorka smiled proudly. Galatenko also bestowed a smile upon us from the door of the office, adding huskily:

"Oh, yes, we worked today--we worked like hell!"

From this moment Zhorka was a changed creature, he went full steam ahead towards perfection, and in two months' time the Commanders Council transferred him to the new colony with the special purpose of brisking up the lazy seventh detachment.

Everybody liked Alyoshka Volkov from the first day. He was far from handsome, his face being covered with spots of every possible shade, and his forehead was so low, that his hair seemed to grow forward instead of upwards; but Alyoshka was no fool, in fact he was exceedingly clever, and soon everyone realized this. There was no better commander of a mixed detachment than Alyoshka--he could plan work skilfully, find the right place for each of the younger boys, and was always discovering new ways and methods of doing things.

Kudlaty, with his broad Mongol face, and wiry stocky frame, was a clever boy, too. He had been a simple farm hand before he came to us, but always went by the nickname "kulak" in the colony; indeed, had it not been for the colony, which led Kudlaty in due time to Party membership, he would have become a kulak, for a sort of animal and at the same time profoundly possessive instinct, a love for property, for carts, for harrows, for horses, for manure and a ploughed field, for all sorts of farmyard work in sheds, in barns, were ruling passions with him. Kudlaty was unassailable in argument, unhurried in speech, and had the firm foundations of the serious and thrifty accumulator of property. As a former farm hand, however, he detested the kulaks with sane determination, believing wholeheartedly in the worth of our commune, as he did in that of all communes, on principle. Kudlaty had long been Kalina Ivanovich's right hand in the colony, and by the end of 1923 a considerable share of the economic administration had been laid on his shoulders.

Stupitsyn was also of a practical turn of mind, but he was quite a different type. He was a true proletarian. He could trace his origin to the workshops of Kharkov, and knew where his father, his grandfather, and his great-grandfather had worked. Members of his family had long adorned the ranks of the proletariat in the factories of Kharkov, and his eldest brother had been exiled for participation in the revolution of 1905. Stupitsyn was, moreover, a handsome fellow. He had finely pencilled brows and small, keen, black eves. On either side of his mouth was a fine knot of subtle mobile muscles, his face was extremely expressive, and its changes were abrupt and interesting. Stupitsyn represented one of our most important agricultural branches--the new colony hoghouse, in which the inmates had begun to increase and multiply at an almost fantastic rate. A special detachment--the tenth--worked in the hoghouse, and its commander was Stupitsyn. He managed to make of his detachment an energetic unit, its members having little in common with the traditional swineherd. They were seldom without a book, their heads were filled with figures, their hands with pencils and writing pads; on the doors of the pens were inscriptions, there were diagrams and regulations ail over the hoghouse, and each pig had its own document. What didn't they have in that hoghouse?

Alongside the leading group were two large groups much akin to it--its reserve. These consisted, on the one hand, in active veterans, splendid workers and comrades, strong, calm individuals without, however, outstanding organizational talent. These were Prikhodko, Chohot, Soroka, Leshy, Gleiser, Schneider, Ovcharenko, Koryto, Fedorenko and many others. On the other hand were the younger boys, a real reserve, even now beginning to show the marks of future organizers. Their youth prevented them as yet from gathering up the reins of government, besides, their seniors were in the ruling posts, and they loved and respected their seniors. They had, however, many advantages over them, having tasted of colony life at an earlier age, and assimilated its traditions more thoroughly, so that they believed still more strongly in the incontrovertible worth of the colony, and above all, were better educated, what knowledge they had being a more active possession. They were our old friends Toska, Shellaputin, Zhevely, Bogoyavlensky, but there were some new names--Lapot, Sharovsky, Romanchenko, Nazarenko, Veksler. These were all the future commanders and active workers of the epoch of the conquest of Kuryazh. And they were already beginning to be nominated commander of mixed detachments.

These groups of colonists composed the greater part of our collective. They were strong in the spirit of optimism, in energy, in knowledge and in experience, and the rest were drawn along irresistibly in their wake. The colonists them selves divided these latter under three headings--the "swamp," the "small fry," and the "rabble."

To the "swamp" belonged those who had in no way distinguished themselves, who were inarticulate, as if they were themselves not quite sure that they belonged to the colony. It must, however, be added, that outstanding personalities did sometimes emerge from it and that it represented a mere phase itself. For a time it consisted, to a great extent, of boys from the new colony. Of little ones we had over a dozen, regarded by the rest as raw material, whose chief function it was to learn to wipe their noses. The little ones, themselves, moreover, did not aspire to any outstanding activities, contenting themselves with games, skating, boating, fishing, sleighing, and other trifles. I considered that they were perfectly right.

There were only about five persons in the "rabble"--Galatenko, Perepelyatchenko, Evgenyev, Gustoivan, and a few others. They were relegated to the "rabble" by common consent as soon as a striking weakness was discovered in any one of them. Galatenko, for example, was a glutton and a shirker; Evgenyev showed himself to be a hysterical liar and chatterer; Perepelyatchenko was a sickly, whimpering cadger; while Gustoivan was "psychic," a sort of God's fool, ever praying to the Blessed Virgin, and dreaming of entering a monastery. In time the "rabble" shook off some of these unfortunate attributes, but it was a long and tedious process.

Such was the collective in our colony at the end of 1923. In appearance, all its members with few exceptions were equally spruce, and all flaunted a military bearing. We already had splendid marching columns, their vanguard adorned by four buglers and eight drummers. We had a banner, too, a lovely silk one, and embroidered in silk--a present from the Ukrainian People's Commissariat for Education, on the occasion of our third anniversary.

On proletarian holidays the colony marched into town to the roll of drums, astonishing the town dwellers and impressionable pedagogues by their austere rhythm, iron discipline and distinguished bearing. Always the last to come to the square, so as not to have to wait for anyone, we would stand at attention, till the buglers sounded a salute to all the town workers, the colonists raising their hands. Then our columns would break up in search of holiday impressions, leaving the standard-bearer and a small guard at attention in front, and a little ensign at the hack to mark the lines of the rear. And this was so impressive that no one ever ventured to occupy the place we had marked out for ourselves. We overcame our sartorial limitations by ingenuity and audacity. We were determined opponents of cotton suits, that gruesome feature of children's homes. But we did not possess suits of better quality. Nor had we new and handsome footwear. For this reason we went on parade barefoot, but managed to make it look as if this was intentional. The boys wore shirts of dazzling whiteness. Their black trousers were of good quality, rolled up below the knees, snow-white undergarments turned up over them. Their shirt sleeves were also rolled above their elbow. The effect was smart and gay, striking a slightly rural note.

On the 3rd of October, 1923, such a column streamed across the colony drill ground. By then a most complex operation, which had taken three weeks to accomplish,, had been brought to all end. According to the resolution passed at a combined session of the Pedagogical Council and the Commanders' Council, the Gorky Colony was concentrated in one place--the former Trepke estate --putting its old estate on Lake Rakitnoye at the disposal of the Gubernia Department of Public Education. By the 3rd of October, everything had been transferred to the new colony. Work shops, sheds, stables, storerooms, dining room, kitchen and school were all there, and the belongings of the staff had been moved. By the morning of the 3rd of October, only fifty boys, the banner, and myself, remained in the old colony.

At twelve noon, a representative of the Gubernia Department of Public Education signed the deed for the handing over of the estate of the Gorky Colony, and stood aside. I gave the order:

"To the colours--attention!"

The boys drew themselves up for the salute, the drums thundered, the bugles sounded for the march past the colours. The flag brigade brought the banner out of the office. Bearing it on our right flank, we bade no farewell to the old place, though we harboured not the slightest hostility to it. We just didn't like looking back. Nor did we glance back when the columns of our colony, shattering the silence of the fields with its drumbeats, passed Lake Rakitnoye, and Andrei Karpovich's stronghold on the village street, and descended to the grassy valley of the Kolomak, marching towards the new bridge built by the members of our colony.

The whole staff and a number of villagers from Goncharovka were gathered in the yard at Trepke, and the columns of the new colony members, in all their glory, stood to attention in honour of the Gorky banner. We had entered upon a new era.