[This story has been edited to contain portions most relevant to Mark Twain's position.]
GORKY AND ACTRESS ASKED TO QUIT HOTELS
She Is Not Mme. Gorky, Though He Calls Her So.
REAL MME. GORKY IN RUSSIA
Writer's Companion is Mme. Andreieve, a Russian Actress - He Says She's His Wife in His Eyes
The manager of the Hotel Belleclaire, where Maxim Gorky and the woman who has been generally known here as Mme. Gorky, have been staying as guests of H. Gaylord Wilshire, discovered yesterday from a published story what has been no secret since their arrival - that is, that the so-called Mme. Gorky is not the wife of the revolutionary leader, but Mme. Andreieva, a Russian actress. As a result, both were compelled to leave the hotel. They moved to the Lafayette-Brevoort, at Fifth Avenue and Eighth Street. Late yesterday they left this hotel also, going to apartments at 12 Fifth Avenue. At the Lafayette-Brevoort it was said that they had departed of their own accord.
The relations which led to Gorky and his companion being dispossessed from the Belleclaire, and which may tend to alienate many influential Americans who had committed themselves to aid him in raising funds and arousing sympathy here for the cause of Russian freedom, had long been known to Gorky's friends. They knew that the actress nursed him back to health on one occasion when his life was despaired of. Gorky has another wife and two children, from whom he is separated, but in Russia, where such relations are regarded differently from the American view of them, Gorky has invariably introduced Mme. Andreieva as his wife, and in the little circle of which the novelist was the centre she was taken as a matter of course.
The question arose yesterday whether the revelation of their real relations will not make Gorky and Mme. Andreieva, or, at least the latter, subject to deportation from the United States.
When Manager Milton Roblee of the Hotel Belleclaire saw a newspaper story yesterday regarding the relations existing between Gorky and the woman he brought to this country as his wife he at once asked Mr. Wilshire, whose guests they were at the hotel, to make other arrangements for them.
"My hotel," said Mr. Roblee, "is a family hotel, and in justice to my other guests I cannot possibly tolerate the presence of any persons whose characters are questioned in the slightest manner."
Mr. Wilshire hastened to the hotel and pleaded with Mr. Roblee to relent, but to no purpose. He told Mr. Wilshire that he had not been anxious to have the Russian author in his hotel in the first place, and certainly would never have admitted him had the slightest hint of the circumstances since printed reached him before they arrived.
Mr. Wilshire then went to Gorky's apartment on the ninth floor, accompanied by Joseph Mandelkern, a mutual friend. They had a slight breathing spell before breaking the news to Gorky, who was out driving with Mme. Andreieva and Nicolay, his adopted son, and his secretary, M. Burenin.
Gorky had already been told of the newspaper story, and had given a denial, characterizing it as "a slimy scandal." When they returned Mme. Andreieva walked proudly through the hotel lobby. Gorky followed a few steps behind. He smiled quizzically, and greeted a group of reporters with a military salute as he entered the elevator.
Mr. Wilshire and Mr. Mandelkern were the first to see the Russian author. The Socialist publisher, who has been both host and sponsor for the Russian writer since his arrival in this country, invited him and Mme Andreieva to move over to his residence, in West Ninety-third Street and be his guests there. Gorky bluntly declined this offer, saying that in view of the published scandal he did not feel that he should do anything that might embarrass Mr. Wilshire any further. He added that he wished to be absolutely independent. It was said that Mr. Wilshire departed, feeling hurt.
Before starting out for his drive Gorky had seen some reporters, and said regarding the story:
"The publication of such a libel is a dishonor to the American press. I am surprised that in a country famed for its love of fair play and reverence for women such a slander as this should have gained credence.
"Mme Pieshkoff is my wife. No law that was ever devised or made by man could make her any more so. The insinuation that the relations existing between her and me are illicit is a base calumny. Never was union between man and woman more holy than that between Mme. Pieshkoff and myself. A lie travels fast, and I must overtake this one before it has gone too far. I will have a statement shortly."
After returning from his drive, Gorky gave out a signed statement. Here it is:
"I think this disagreeable act against me could not have come from the American people. My respect for them does not allow me to suspect that they lack so much in courtesy in their treatment of women.
"I think that this dirt is conspired by the friends of the Russian Government.
"My wife is my wife - the wife of Maxim Gorky. She and I both consider it below us to go into any explanation of this. Every one may say what he pleases. For us still remains the human right to overlook the gossip of others. The best people in all lands will be with us."
The author said that the publication of the story would not in any way interfere with his plans in this country.
"It is in great and tragic moments of life that I find the real Maxim Gorky," he said. "I am always strongest when I stand alone. The bitter cup contains the noblest wine of life, and I am not afraid to drain it. All is harmony in my soul. There is music in the air and an atmosphere of poetry all about."
At the Club A house where the American movement in aid of Russian revolution was launched the other night, with Mark Twain as the principal speaker, Leroy Scott, who has been active in behalf of Gorky, said that he felt too bad to talk. Robert Hunter was equally noncommittal. William Dean Howells begged to be excused from any comment.
"Even if it should prove that no official marriage ceremony was performed," said Mr. Wilshire, "that cannot affect his standing as a man of letters or a revolutionist."
Dr. Jacob J. Klinkowstein of 77 McKibbin Street, Williamsburg, said last night that the difficulties surrounding the getting of a divorce and marriage in Russia, if known, would throw a somewhat different light on the relations between Mme. Andreieva and the Russian author.
"No separation or divorce can be obtained in Russia except through the Orthodox Church and after one of the parties to a marriage has made public confession of adultery," said he. "In order to get a divorce at all you must be in good standing both with Government and Church. Gorky was in good standing with neither.
MARK TWAIN'S POSITION.
We Took France's Aid, and Should Help Russians, He Holds.
Much adverse criticism has arisen here through the formation of the committee to purchase arms to aid Maxim Gorky in his revolutionary movement. Many prominent men are on the committee. Mark Twain, one of the members, was questioned on the matter yesterday at his Fifth Avenue home.
"Why," he was asked, "should this country assist in any way the Russian people in their revolutionary movement?"
"Because we were quite willing," he replied, "to accept France's assistance when we were in the throes of our Revolution, and we have always been grateful for that assistance. It is our turn now to pay that debt of gratitude by helping another oppressed people in its struggle for liberty, and we must either do it or confess that our gratitude to France was only eloquent words, with no sincerity back of them."
"But do you think it consistent that Americans, with their so-called love of peace, should aid in a movement to throw Russia into a bloody revolution, particularly in view of the fact that America was chiefly instrumental in bringing to an end the Russo-Japanese war?" To this Mr. Twain replied:
"Inasmuch as we conducted our own Revolution with guns and the sword, our mouths are closed against preaching gentler methods to other oppressed nations. Revolutions are achieved by blood and courage alone. So far as I know there has been but one revolution which was carried to a successful issue without bloodshed."
"In lending, then, our assistance to the Russian people for the overthrow of their despotic form of government, why should we not also start active propaganda seeking the abolition of all similar forms of government?"
"Simply because," replied Mr. Clemens, "we have not been invited to do it. Should the invitation come, as in the present case, we will put our shoulder to the wheel."
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