The Stuff of which Nihilist Martyrs are Made (Sophie Perovskaya, 1881)

The Stuff of which Nihilist Martyrs are Made.

Sophie Perowski, recently executed for complicity in the murder of the Czar, was, according to the Intransigeant, a woman of the highest endowments and accomplishments, who at the age of 16 devoted herself to the propaganda of socialist doctrines. For twelve years she never shrank from any sacrifice and never showed lack of courage or want of presence of mind. She cast aside honors, wealth, case, and submitted to tile coarsest drudgery. She walked alone the whole course of the Volga, her energy triumphing over old cold, tempests, hunger and malady. She felt that her mission was to rouse the peasant from torpor, and to this end worked as a harvest woman in hay and wheat fluids, sometimes dressed as a man. She lived in miserable lodging-houses, and entered into work-shops seeking for employment. She was forced into violence by persecution. Three years ago, after twenty-four months’ detention, she was condemned to transportation to the extreme north, and her sentence was executed in mid-winter. She contrived to drug the tea of her guards, and escaped. She worked her way back to St. Petersburg in a peasant’s dress, and then to Moscow, where she joined in the railway mine conspiracy. The people with whom she lodged never suspected her of being a lady, she went so bravely through the most toilsome drudgery. She had also lived so much with poor people as to be able to enter into ail their ideas.


“The Stuff of which Nihilist Martyrs are Made,” Los Angeles Herald 15 no. 91 (May 18, 1881): 1.

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