St. Petersburg, May 3, 1901
My dear Hilda!
Arrived as planned after a pleasant journey. Felt a bit off colour on Monday, but have been fine since then. Sunday and Monday were spent working at full speed on the quote for St. Petersburg; the papers were turned in on Tuesday and it seems as if no one in the City Management had the smallest notion about how to deal with the telephone question. The impression one gets is one of general confusion– the only thing they can say in the matter is “common battery”, with which it is supposed that the thing is solved to the greatest perfection.
We planned to visit Lillianoff yesterday since he is the top man in the City Management, but just when we arrived, a disturbance broke out among the workers having taken their May 1 demonstrations to mischievous heights. Our workers were calm and did not intend to take part, but once the threats from the demonstrators led stones thrown through windows, we felt it best to shut the factory down. When the police intervened, there was a bloody altercation – a wild rain of rocks thrown by the demonstrators, not only from the street, but also from the windows and the roofs.
I did not venture to go out into the mob, but the battle was being fought so close to our factory that we could see parts of it through our windows. Rumours would have it that several gendarmes were stoned, but there has been no official word as yet. Lots of soldiers were mustered from the garrison on the other side of our street and order seems to have been restored the same afternoon. Today we have not noticed any disturbances in our neighbourhood and only six of our workers were absent. However, there was a military presence and we have heard that the riots continued at some factories nearby.
We have today exchanged telegrams with von Rücker Riga resulting in the decision to take the night train to Riga. Otherwise our plan had been to take a boat homeward tomorrow.
As I have neglected to write to our big children, please greet them heartily from their father.
My passport is for one year, is only valid a half year here and will lapse tomorrow. And as I will not be able to leave the country prior to that time, I have no concept of what might happen because of this. The first boat we can hope to travel home on leaves no sooner than next Tuesday.
Much love and many kisses to you, Lalle and those who are away, from your affectionate
Husband & Father
Author: Lars Magnus Ericsson, original manuscript.