There were those who would argue the fact that a peasant’s life was one to be envied. The intellectuals, professors, and those of responsibility would say if anyone ever thought about it, that the peasants were a happy people with uncomplicated, simple lives. Their food and surroundings, natural, which contributed to their strong healthy bodies, though it must be said that they didn’t have the self reliance or ability to progress as others had but that was fine as far as they were concerned. The Czar was their father, a strong man who watched over them and they, his happy, hard working children.
This made sense really, as the peasants were not fit for much else when one thought about it, except for hard work and to be ordered about. It was accepted. Serfdom had always existed in Russia and as far as the Czar, his ministers, the noblemen, and the landlords were concerned, it always would. It was the natural order of things. It was as things should be and without any doubt, remain.
Those in the city sometimes thought of the serfs and how lucky such people in the country were. Men singing in the fields, strong armed milk maids churning butter, bountiful harvests resting on long wooden tables ready to feed the happy folk who were tired but content after the day’s toil, free to smoke a pipe and drink a cup of cool cider. They did not worry themselves over what jewels would be worn for the evening, seating arrangements that might be awkward or dance cards that needed to be filled. Dresses to be chosen, silk, with perhaps crepe on the shoulder or cinched about the waist? Gold braid and uniforms, cocked hats and feathers, dashing soldier’s stories and scandalous court gossip! Though pretty and exciting, the social season did require work and could be quite exhausting for all involved. Gentlemen and ladies, coachmen and doormen, footmen and servant girls, so much preparation, yes there was much to be said for the simple life.
A peasant’s reality was quite different from the imaginations and beliefs of others. The luxuries that others complained of they dared not dream of, even if they knew of such things. They were “narod” which meant they were nothing, ignorant people to be used by Nicholas I, Czar of Russia and his wife, Alexandra Feodorovna the Empress Consort as they pleased. They held life and death over these simple people which they could long for with the same feeling. Truth was sometimes hard to understand or difficult to face. Yes, it could be unpleasant the jutting rock truth, which is why most people felt more comfortable in a sea of lies.
Water fell from the sky, pelting the earth with hard drops one at a time and sheets at another causing discomfort for some, sickness and death for others. It was raining, as it had been for the last three days. The road, which could hardly be called such, was muddy, containing deep ruts throughout. On days with such miserable weather, travel would be limited, most people in the area preferring to stay indoors when they could. Better the comfort of their home…sometimes.