MAXIM GORKY VISITS THE TOMB OF GRANT
Rides in an Auto and Eats a St. Regis Luncheon.
MARVELS AT ALL HE SEES
Wonders at the Absence of Soldiers and at Happy Faces in the Streets - Authors to Meet Him
Maxim Gorky got his first daylight view yesterday of the New York that lies beyond the range of vision from his hotel window. In an automobile he rode up Fifth Avenue and through Central Park and Riverside Drive. He visited Grant's tomb and took luncheon at the St. Regis Hotel. As the different sights were pointed out to him he manifested as much delight and wonder as a boy turning over the leaves of a new picture book for the first time.
Gorky's wife accompanied her husband and shared in his delight. Their host was Joseph Mandelkern, a real estate dealer, who, while traveling in Russia last Autumn, was entertained at the home of the Russian author. Mr. Burenin, Gorky's friend and private secretary went along with them.
The sun was low over the Palisades when the automobile rolled up to the mausoleum where Gen. Grant's body lies entombed. The lone policeman on guard near the entrance to the tomb hurried forward with polite eagerness, and, opening the door of the motor car, assisted the members of the party to alight.
"Wonderful!" exclaimed Gorky in Russian. "Wonderful!" And he grasped the hand of the policeman which he wrung while his blue eyes sparkled.
In his grave, emphatic way he began to say polite things in Russian to the astonished policeman, who did not understand a word.
"This is a wonderful country, surely the Promised Land," he resumed, turning to Mr. Mandelkern. "I hope I shall live to see the day when things are this way in Russia. In my country there would not have been one policeman, but a company of soldiers to scowl at you and order you about and a battery of guns in front of a hero's grave.
Gorky knows all about Gen. Grant and the struggle for the Union, and has surprised his friends by his knowledge of American history. He entered the mausoleum, and with uncovered head stood for a long while with his glance fixed on the sarcophagi that hold the bodies of Gen. Grant and his wife. The others in the party formed a group behind him an left him undisturbed.
When they left the dead and returned to the living, Gorky remained on the steps of the tomb and looked out over the river. As he saw the broad sweep of the Hudson, the villa-dotted Palisades on the other side, and further south the smoking chimney of factories on the Jersey shore, the puffing tugs on the river, and the procession of foot passengers and carriages on Riverside Drive, he exclaimed:
"What a marvelous country!"
Gorky told his host that he liked to look at the faces of the people he met in the streets.
"They look so happy, so conscious of their rights," he said. "I hope we shall see faces like that in Russia before long, but we don't see them now. They look like a procession of mourners - the people you meet on the streets of St. Petersburg and Moscow in these days of sorrow and suffering."
As the automobile was driven rapidly down Riverside Drive, Mr. Mandelkern pointed out to his guests the residences of Charles M. Schwab and other wealthy Americans. He told the Russian writer that in the aggregate there was as much money represented in the possessions of the wealthy men of this city as in the entire wealth of Russia.
"I hope no part of it will be subscribed to the national loan the Russian Government is trying so hard to raise," said the author. "In the first place, because I would not like to see any American lose his money, and in the second, because I thing it would be unworthy of any true American to furnish money for the purchase of guns and bullets with which to murder peaceful, liberty-loving Russians who are trying to gain their freedom."
All through the trip Gorky commented on the scarcity of policemen and the absence of soldiers.
"In a Russian city almost every other man one meets is either a soldier or a policeman," he said. I haven't seen a single soldier all day, and only two policemen. Marvelous!"
In Central Park Gorky saw squirrels feeding from the hands of children and sparrows fighting for crumbs about their feet. Gorky is a lover of nature and of animal life, and his eyes sparkled with delight as he saw the little houses built in the trees for birds and squirrels.
"Even the squirrels and the little gray birds seem to realize that they have the right to - what is it you say in your Constitution?"
"To life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," said Mr. Mandelkern.
At the St. Regis Mr. Mandelkern gave is luncheon in a private dining room, because the Russian writer did not wish to enter the public dining room. After luncheon Gorky, to please his host, consented to smoke a Havana cigar. He made a sad job of it, being used only to Russian cigarettes.
Gorky and his party were taken on a tour of the kitchen and wine cellars of the establishment. The Russian marveled anew at what he saw.
"Neither the Grand Dukes, nor even the Czar, have anything like this," he said. "And yet they say in Russia that this country is far behind Europe in this sort of thing."
Mark Twain and W. D. Howells called upon Gorky at his apartments in the Hotel Belleclaire last evening. They remained with him for about half an hour discussing literature, and invited him to attend a literary dinner about a fortnight from now. Gorky accepted the invitation.
Some waiting reporters waylaid Mr. Clemens and Mr. Howells in the hotel lobby after their call. When Mr. Clemens was asked regarding the purpose of their visit he made signals of distress to Mr. Howells, who was some distance away, and said:
"Come here, Howells. You don't look as if you had any information. You are a good man; come back here and tell them all about it, and be sure to make it a private talk so as to get it in the papers."
Mr. Howells modestly averred that the idea of the dinner had originated with Mr. Clemens.
"Yes," said Mark Twain, "we are going to offer Gorky the literary hospitality of the country. He is big enough for the honor. It is going to be a dinner with only authors and literary men present. We want to do it in proper style, and will have authors not only from New York, but from Chicago, and we may have some literary geniuses from Indiana, where I believe they breed 'em."
Edwin Markham, Robert Hunter, and Mr. and Mrs. LeRoy Scott dined with Gorky and his wife last evening. Mr. Hunter said that the appeal on behalf of the revolutionary movement by be issued on Monday, and that some additional names of committee members would probably be announced then. Among Gorky's callers yesterday was Prof. Montague Donner of the Erasmus High School. Prof. Donner is a Finlander by birth, and familiar with conditions in that country.
Return to The New York Times
Quotations | Newspaper Articles | Special Features | Links | Search