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M y passport protects me because it is backed up by poison gas, tanks and bombing planes. In the USSR I noticed that Letts and Lithuanians and Esthonians were almost as afraid o f the GPU as Soviet citizens, since their passports had no more sub­ stantial backing than diplomatic protests. Again, though I have few possessions, I have some w hich I wish to keep and which others m ay well covet. W hy does a passing tramp’s covetous glance at m y typewriter give me no disquiet? - because there are constables trained to use a truncheon w ith effect, and able in the last resort to invoke the aid o f guns and bayonets.

I don’t know whether I wish I hadn’ t come or not; but I admit to feeling angry about the lies that brought me here. Articles in a m agazine by Bernard Shaw; on glossy paper; illustrated. ’ He looked round at his room ; in a basement and w ith one small window. ’ ‘Ghastly failure. Ghastly misunderstanding. Ghastly betrayal. But I don’t m ind that. To me the th in g’s justified because o f its beginnings. Because for a little w hile the masses stirred, became coherent, dominant. What had to happen, happened; and nothing 46 can ever alter the fact that it happened, or that, in happening, it made the world different.

I f he go t a little tipsy Bulgakov talked about the Ukraine. ‘Y ou should go there,’ he whispered. ‘Even now, when there’s no food. It’s a lovely country. Even now. But before . ’ He cracked his finger-joints and described how happy life had been once in the Ukraine. ‘ O f course, we didn’t think it was particularly happy then; but I can see now . ’ His wife, fearing an outburst that would wake the children and perhaps be overheard, changed the subject. ’ she said, fetching out part o f a loaf o f black bread; the only food they had.

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