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RUSSIAN VILLAGE COMMUNITIES.

a lift so that you might be taken on free till you had accomplished your curriculum, or whatever they call it. Do you take me, Clem."

"Free sich as in our 'ospital?" suggested Clem.

"All right," said Joel.

"But far'er 'ud never give me money to go up on sich a wild-goose chase to Lunon," said Clem, beginning to sink back into despair. "And mo'rer 'ouldn't hold at he, as she do when the mawthers do want help for an outin'. I might run off and beg my way, but I could never ask as a beggar — not so much as a bit on rosin to make the bow go — when I were a little chap, and just beginnin' to play. It would be mortal hard to ask now, with the sight and 'athout the dawg, yet — even for the fiddle."

"Here you are, Clem. I'll lend you the small sum necessary, from my wages, or rather from my savings," offered the lavish Joel.

"I'm a Dutchman!" exclaimed Clem, with unceremonious abruptness and incredulity, and he proceeded to inquire with an equal absence of hypocrisy, "Dev you? a savings? I thought — we 'a all thought, you was a hand-to-mouth buffer."

"You have all thought wrong then," said Joel composedly.

"Wunno you need your savin's then?" Clem continued to ask anxiously, still perplexed as well as dazzled by the splendor of the offer, and showing commendable consideration for the welfare of his rash friend, "if so be that you and Pleasance — wunno our Liz be mad as Long Dick is thrown over, though it d' be grist to her own mill — make a marriage atween you?"

"Never fear," said Joel. "But I have never said anything of making a marriage with any lass. Mind, I have not said it, Clem."

"But you a looked as if your heels were uppermost," said Clem, with unlooked-for severity of satire. "Sittin' a grinnin' there from ear to ear, kinder like a snake; and as if you were swallered up with pride; and you d' be a-thrustin' your shilling right and left on a wumblin' lad as be'nt a drop's blood to you, and as 'a on'y knowed you slight, to nod to and play a tune to, till this blessed night."

"You are a deep one yourself, Clem, deeper than I took you for. But have you never heard of 'village Hampdens,' and 'mute inglorious Miltons' (Handels and Haydns would be more appropriate in this case), and of folk being so possessed as to desire to draw out the compulsory dumb and win for them speech, hearing, and a reward?"

"If you mean a reward on fiddlin'," said Clem, scratching his head, "all the reward on it as a not come from its own guts, that I 'a found, were worritin', and when I were younger, and not like to keep my own head' wallopin'."

"There's a good time coming," said Joel, rising to go.




From Macmillan's Magazine.

RUSSIAN VILLAGE COMMUNITIES.

The Russian mir, or village commune, has in recent years acquired considerable notoriety in Western Europe. Historical investigators have discovered in it a remnant of primitive Indo-European institutions; and a certain school of social philosophers point to it as an ideal towards which we must strive if we would solve successfully the agrarian difficulties of the present and the future. "C'est une institution" said the usually cool-headed Cavour on hearing it described, "qui est destinée à faire le tour du monde!" Political economists, on the contrary — especially those of the good old orthodox school — condemn it as a remnant of barbarism, and as an obstacle to free individual action and untrammelled economic development. It may be well, therefore, that those who have had an opportuntiy of studying the institution, and observing its practical working, should explain clearly and accurately its nature and functions.

In the Russian communal institutions we must carefully distinguish two elements, the one administrative, and the other economic. And first of the administrative functions: —

As an organ of local administration, the rural commune in Russia is very simple and primitive. There is commonly but one office-bearer, the village "elder" (starosta, from stary, old); but in the larger communes there is also a communal tax-gatherer. The office-bearers are simple peasants, chosen by their fellow-villagers for one, two, or three years, according to local custom. Their salaries are fixed by the commune, and are so small that "office" in these village democracies is regarded rather as a burden than as an honor; but a peasant, when once chosen, must serve whether he desires it or not. If he can show good and suffi-