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WHERE WOMEN REIGN SUPREME.

There is at least one Bpot on earth where | women-have their rights. If they do not it is their own fault* -for they are supreme arbiters of social and industrial conditions, and run everything to suit their own caprices. The place in question is the township of I Besjukovschtschina, located in Central Russia. Whether or not the women had the privilege of naming the place is not known. If they ; are guilty they proved themselves a failure; at the 3ta.lt, for there are several letters in '■ the alphabet they did not employ in designating it. It was in 18G1 that an epidemic had re- I duced the population to the very verge of starvation, and the women, led by Saschka, ordered the men to leave and go to the city to find work, • , The women remained alone and began to till the farms. The men were allowed to return only for tho holidays. i This woman stat* comprises a territory of ten square mites and is divided into soven villages. Sasjcheka a.nd seven other women, the wives of. tho exiled elders, administered all public affairs, such as the levying of taxes, the allotment of acres to the various families, the keeping up of the churches, the playing , of shepherds, &c. They also assume the recruiting ofik-.ur's duties by sending those men who ;iftairi the proper age to town in j order to ;-übmi to medical examination. ( In the summer the fields of the district . afford a peculiar aspect. One may ride over ' the Besjukovschtschina domain from morn- . ing till night without encountering a single male being. ! AH the work, the hardest as well as the | lighter manipulations, is execute! by women and girls of different ages. With naked feet ' and arms they trot behind the plough, throw out scedH, and gather fruit. Here we observe a dozen or more sturdy members of the weaker sex engaged in lifting a mighty rock; again we see others cutting down trees or subduing a bucking horse or a wild bull. Towards evening all hands assemble in the church squares of the seven vfllages'to hear i reports of common interest, the wenieu acting ! mayors, being the speech-makers, who dis- j cuss public questions in decisive and busi-ness-liko manner. This done the women go home to attend to their own affairs. Besides cultivating the fields they keep the roads in order and occasionally set up a new cottage or stable. When, on the occasion of his coronation, the Czar released some twenty thousand j communities of the obligation to discharge j their back taxes, Besjukovschina, not being ; in arrears like the rest., was not benefited, ! and that is nearly the only regretful incid- I ent. Saschka's administration has so far developed in the eves of her partners. A governmental statistician who visited the colony recently gathered material showing that since their enforced grass-widowhood the Besjukovschtschina women die at an earlier period than was their fate during the old days of seifdom.

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WHERE WOMEN REIGN SUPREME. Bruce Herald, Volume XXX, Issue 3030, 24 January 1899

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