In her own words. Mother Avis speaks. Excerpted from THE EVERHARD MANUSCRIPT
Looking at this my sixty-something self will not admit apology nor shrink embarrassed by what my forty-something self wrote—not withstanding my maudlin family portraits; father's feeble proletarian shenanigans; and clear enough are my grief my love for Ernest and my obvious overstating his importance and the magnitude of his contribution to the revolution. But only from time's perspective do we know this, know he was no more revolution's father than I its mother in spite of what those who keep history may write or say about us. Father? Mother? None such of flesh exist—all of us are just the children and grandchildren sons and daughters handmaidens servants acolytes disciples troops making up revolution's tireless striving ranks against injustice and oppression—even now still clawing back but small measures from the greedy clutch of capitalist masters.
Historians will bristle at my errors—both of fact and interpretation—let them; reactionaries and revisionists will crucify me claiming it exposes my elitist background, my prose evidence of education at St. Gilgen and further proof of having been corrupted by privilege—it's true; at least my sycophants will praise it—I can count on that. It is no longer mine. I admit I lacked perspective then, that I was confused by events veiled to me at the time—I was too close, no!—merged with what I wrote. I surrender it—could I destroy it? it is not an important historical document?—but no—I'll give it over to Archives and to Professor Brooks and that young acolyte of his, Meredith—make it their problem let them decide what merit is here what history what interpretations can be suggested; hopefully they'll spare me too much a savaging from critics and too much admiration from zealots.
It is above all else a personal document and so some will say it is of inestimable value for being so but I suspect even that offers another error of perspective on my part and vitiation once more due the bias of love. I smile as I ask your forgiveness for modeling Ernest along such heroic lines—he was my husband and I loved him. All know now he was not—as my Manuscript might lead to believe—so colossal as I would have him loom over the events of his time. He was an exceptional man strong so strong so exceptional to me and as his wife how else could I think of him—I know he was but one of a number of heroes who throughout the world devoted their lives to the Revolution—these had husbands and wives too!—but it must be conceded he did unusual work yeoman work especially in his elaboration and interpretation of working-class thought: 'proletarian science' and 'proletarian philosophy' were his phrases for it.
Perhaps the Manuscript best communicates the feel of the times those terrible times—does it vividly portray my psychology and of persons living then?—our mistakes ignorance doubt apprehensions misapprehensions fears our ethical delusions our violent passions and the otherwise inconceivable sordidness and selfishness of the times? It's not as though these emotions have vanished—these are not hard to imagine—history tells us these things were and biology and psychology tell us why these are but history biology psychology do not make these live—what we accept as fact does not leave us with sympathetic comprehension. Let sympathy come in perusing my manuscript—mayhap readers will enter the minds of actors in my not-so-long ago drama and for a moment have their mental processes be what were ours and feel not only love for my hero-husband but feel what all felt in those days—the vague terrible loom of the oligarchy, the Iron Heel (well-named), descending to crush mankind.