(Quo Vadis Europa?)
Being Letters of Travel from the Capitals of Europe in the Year 1921
THE RYERSON PRESS
COPYRIGHT, 1922, BY
D. APPLETON AND COMPANY
The Author's gratitude is due to many people in connexion with this book—to Bishop Nicholas of Zicca and the Rev. Hugh Chapman, of the Savoy, and Col. Treloar and Major-General Sir Fabian Ware, and the Editor of the "Narodny Listi," at Prague, and Mr. Hyka,—to these and many others who helped a traveller on his way.
The letters from each capital were published in "Country Life" under the general title of Quo Vadis Europa? A few after-thoughts have now been written on "Extra Leaves," and sewn in between these letters.
No effort at an exhaustive study of any country is made here. The object of the author was to make a rapid tour from capital to capital, "keeping the taxi waiting," so to say, and thus obtain an idea of Europe as a whole. It is perhaps one of the first books of travel written from the point of view of Europe as a unity, and it is hoped it will help to make us all good Europeans.
LETTERS OF TRAVEL
I. FROM ATHENS
(i) On Passports and "Circulation"
II. FROM CONSTANTINOPLE (I) III. FROM CONSTANTINOPLE (II)
(ii) On "Charity" and the Stagnation of Peoples
IV. FROM SOFIA V. FROM BELGRADE (I) VI. FROM BELGRADE (II) VII. FROM BUDAPEST VIII. FROM VIENNA
(iii) On Money and League of Nations Currency
IX. FROM PRAGUE X. FROM WARSAW
(iv) On Nationality and an Armistice Baby
XI. FROM MUNICH XII. FROM BERLIN (I) XIII. FROM BERLIN (II)
(v) On "Clay Sparrows" and the Failure of Freedom
XIV. FROM ROME XV. FROM MONTE CARLO XVI. FROM LONDON XVII. FROM PARIS
LETTERS OF TRAVEL
I. FROM ATHENS
Europe, whither goest thou?—the poignant question of to-day. The pride of Christian culture, the greatest human achievement in history, with, as we thought before 1914, the seal of immortality set upon her, is now perhaps moving towards dissolution and death. Europe has begun a rapid decline, though no one dares to think that she will continue in it downward until she reaches the chaos and misery and barbarity from which she sprang. Affairs will presently take a turn for the better, Europe will recover her balance and resume the road of progress which she left seven years ago—prompts Hope.
"Europe must die in order to be re-born as something better"; "all must be destroyed," say the theorists of revolution. "She staggers and falls and falls and plunges," seem to say the facts with the inexorableness of Fate.
Prophecy can be left to all men—it does not alter the course of events. The historian in the future will ask what was the actual condition of Europe at this time, and it is possible to assume that he would grasp eagerly at an account of a visit by an impartial observer to all the principal capitals of Europe in the year 1921. An effort to record what Europe looks like now, a series of true reflections and verbal photographs of swirling humanity at the great congregating places, the capitals, cannot but be of value. So with the motto: "See all: reserve your judgment," let us proceed.
The winds of the mountains traverse the well-shod civilization of a great city. At the end of each of the long streets rises a mountain, and on the mountain rest the clouds and the sky. You walk outwards, and climb the nearest and most prominent of the heights to the Acropolis, to the mighty slabs of the marble of the Parthenon, simple and pure in the mountain air, a point of view where it is always morning, and you look down from the ancient Athens to the new. Your eyes rest on modern Athens all built in white stone, and extensive and handsome in a setting of mountains and sea, but the heart refuses to travel with the eyes. The heart remains in the ancient city, and there, somehow, is perfect happiness, and it is a place in which to abide.
Not without some sacred thought does one place one's feet upon the bare rock where walked the bright spirits of ancient Athens. The morning sun of Europe, the dawning vision of all that we Europeans could be or mean, dawns again in the soul. As an old or invalid man, or one at least who in middle years has sinned and gone astray, one looks back to the innocence and promise of childhood. Here shone the light of our being undimmed; here was kindled in Europe the faith of the ideal. Yonder is Mars Hill from which St. Paul showed the new way when the light was growing dim. For Greece identified man in part with the Divine, but the new religion gave forgetful humanity its altar of remembrance, affirming that we do not belong to the beasts that perish but are affiliated to the Almighty.
It is perhaps strange that to-day the city which was the cradle of the ideal is a city where there are no ideals at all—either old or new, where Plato now means nothing, where even Bolshevism is not heard of. S——, who took his bachelorate on divinity at Oxford, is writing a sympathetic treatise on Nietzsche and Christianity for his doctorate at the University of Athens. But what a mistake! What an unfortunate choice of place and theme! Who was Nietzsche? "I have changed my title to 'Nietzsche as the Devil'" says S——. "Ah, that's better," says his professor, "that we can understand."
You come down from the heights into the modern city, and you behold the rising civilization of a new Greece. Here without question is a most pleasant city, with acacia avenues and white houses and full-bosomed abundant orange-trees hanging their golden fruits. Thus happily bowered, merchants and bankers pursue their avocations, and shopkeepers display their wares in a pleasant array of modern shops. On the streets walk leisurely an indolent and elegant people; the dark women are especially chic and it must be said refined and restrained, and not so seductive in appearance as the South would suggest. You see also at the many open-air cafes and in the street a very distinguished-looking type of man with finely cut features and plentiful iron-grey hair. You surmise that you are looking upon the most indolent people in the world—not lazy like Russians or Irish, but elegantly indolent, walking so slowly, playing meditatively with their beads—for nearly every man carries his string of jet or amber beads, which he mechanically tells, though without a thought of prayer. They walk with half-closed eyes, and whilst they seem to be thinking, they are but taking a passive pleasure in existence. They sit down together at their cafes which debouch upon the streets, and sip the sweetest of coffee, and light their cigarettes, and regard the world which passes slowly by. There are all manner of mendicants and of musicians flitting to and fro in the sun, like shabby butterflies, and the elegant Greek says "No" to them, not by sound of voice, but by the slightest elevation of the eyebrows and movement of the eye. He sits and looks occasionally at the wonderful hills above him, so fresh, so virginal; but he does not, as an Englishman might do, pay quickly and go out and go up. The modern Greek would never build so high as the Acropolis.
You do not hear a good word said for the Greek by any race in Europe. Italians, French, Serbs, Bulgars, Turks, and even British are all more or less anti-Greek. Whilst it seems true to say that you scarcely find any nation that likes any other nation, yet the antipathy towards the Greek seems more marked than most others. Whatever illfeeling or irritative may be in the air is readily vented upon the Greek. Despite all this, however, the new Greeks are a slowly but steadily rising and prospering people. One hundred years ago they obtained their liberation from the Turk. The Turkish mind was shown to be incapable of absorbing Europeanism. The light of the nineteenth century scared the night-bird back to Asia, and there arose Serbs, and Bulgars, and Roumanians as European nations, and Greece once more arose. Modern civilization suits the Greek much more than it does the Turk. He can understand it and utilize it. Because of it he has risen and perchance will rise. The Greeks are by far the cleverest people in the Balkans, and are perhaps the cleverest of the Mediterranean nations as well.
The Greek temperament swings between the dead calm and passionless on the one hand, to the violent and maniacal on the other. The nation is still convalescent, its development is slow, and it is impossible to say how far new Greece will develop. But its strength lies in its serpentine stillness and ancient unforgotten craft, and its weakness in that absence of ideals and in the sudden violence of partizanship which suggest pathological decay. What Greece does is generally subtle and shrewd; what she says is often madness. She has little sense of humour, and takes offence where other nations would laugh. Thus she wins by statecraft and loses by politics. In thought, and in the spoken word, Greece is outmatched for instance by the Slavs; but in silent action and in administrative policy Greece more often excels her neighbours. You will always hear odious comparisons made in the Near East between Greek and Turk, to the disadvantage of the former. But it seems rather absurd. The Turk, at his best, is a child or a legendary hero—not one of ourselves—whereas the Greek is a serious European with a race-consciousness of civilization thousands of years old.
Athens has quietened down after the political violence of the restoration of Constantine. One sees pictures of the King everywhere—a cavalry officer with high Greek military hat, bushy moustaches, and rather horse-like face. He has large strained eyes with a questioning, impatient expression. All these pictures were hidden during the King's exile, but on his return came forth to light again. Common also are posters of Constantine as St. George, and the Venizelist administration as a three-headed dragon of which Venizelos is the chief and certainly most loathly head. Venizelos has become violently distasteful to the people—though possibly he may return to power by as violent a reaction. The chief reason for his fall was that he offended Greek national pride by being the puppet of the Allies. The revolution which he accomplished at the instigation of the French was highly resented. And all the mortification of the French contempt for Greece was vented upon him. Although Greece won such a goodly share of the booty of the war, she was treated throughout the war with a brutal nonchalance. Venizelos had much respect, but Greece had none. A comparison is often made between the machinations of the Allies in Petrograd in 1917 for the deposing of the Tsar, and the intrigues which forced Constantine to flee. Venizelos nevertheless was one of the cleverest statesmen of Europe—granted one can be clever and not wise at the same time—clever and even stupid, his chief weakness being a crude violence of temperament which breaks out in his speeches:
On vient de vous dire, s'ecria-t-il, qu'il n'y avait pas de germanophiles an Grece. Cela est vrai pour le peuple, pour les homines politiques de tous les partis en grande majorite. Moi-meme je viens de l'attester a la conference de Londres. Mais cela n'est vrai du roi, ni de son entourage. Ceux-la ne sont pas seulement germanophiles. Ils sont Boches de la tete aux pieds! . . .
The good order, the low cost of living, the high value of the drachma, the excellent condition of the army, the enhanced prestige of the Greek nation after the war, all testify to the ability of Venizelos. Venizelos won for Hellas territory which extends from Salonica all the way to the Black Sea, and brought her almost to the gates of Constantinople. The role of neutrality which King Constantine affected would have left Greece without the coveted war-glory, and, of course, without the dangerous responsibility she has now. Thanks to Venizelos, Greece is almost an empire. And the Greeks are glad to have this extra sway. No sentiment has stood in the way of Constantine's Government retaining what its arch-enemy had won. "We may fall out in politics, but where our material interests are concerned you will find complete solidarity," said an Athenian journalist. And it seems true.
Not many signs of altruism are visible in Greece. There are few Germanophiles. "Do not fear for us," said M. Kalogeropoulos, to the French. "Greece will not ally herself to a corpse"—meaning Germany. In fact, there is among the Greeks only Graecophilism. If superlative and clamorous love of country is a virtue—they have it. For Greece, when you are down, you are down. As for fallen Germany, so for Russia in her humiliation Greece has no extra thought or care. Not a humanitarian and philanthropic nation! One wonders how a Greek mind would interpret the "big-brother-love" of the Americans, which prompts the marvellous rescue-work now being done by the United States in all the stricken countries of Europe. There, however, the indolence of the Greek mind and the half-closed eye intervene. There is no curiosity about philanthropy. But it is a Greek word by origin.
One longs to see some sort of love towards the neighbour. There is a mortal enmity towards the Bulgar, a cool reciprocity of Italian dislike, a non-comprehension of the Serb, traditional hatred of the Turk—all these are intensified by egoism. New Greece, with her hazardous northern frontier, needs to cultivate friendship, and will have to employ all her strategy to gain any. Her mainstay is, of course, England. For us Greece has the natural respect which a weak country pays to a strong friend, but she has also a curious covert regard for us as one nation of sailors for another, a petty maritime State for a great one. Her weakness is in asking material favours at the same time as she pays compliments. Greece is almost our ally in the Near East. French rivalry has bound British and Greeks together. In our employ are Greeks; in the French employ, Turks. There is no question but our employees are the cleverer and the more capable, but there is a continual clash on psychological grounds. The Greeks make mistakes and the British are not ready to make allowances. The Englishman demands that his friend shall be a "sportsman"—the Turk is, the Greek is not. Therefore we cannot fit Greece into the jig-saw puzzle which we call the comity of nations. The question is, can Greece cut herself to fit—ought she to?
It is strange to come into the martial display of Athens and find the old war still going on, see the numbers of worn soldiers weighed down with all the impedimenta of "fighting order" coming home on leave or returning to the front, to see the Turkish prisoners of war jobbing at the station and on the streets, to see the handsome Evzones, the soldiers of the King's bodyguard, strutting together in fine style along the cobbled roadway. It is impressive, and shows Greece in a new light. Then the Constituent Assembly with its new Turkish members in their fezes rather takes the eye as a novel synthesis of political interest in the Near East. Athens is a great capital where much that is vital in the future of Europe is at stake. It stands somewhat aside from the general misery of Europe, and for that reason more perhaps can be seen.
Not that Greece has not its poor—its appalling beggars, its miserable war-cripples, its refugees. An extensive strike was in progress in February; it had to be settled by a threat of mobilization. "Any workman not in his place on Monday morning will be called up for the next draft to Asia Minor" proved an effectual way of meeting demands for higher pay. Of the refugees, pity is first awakened for the Russians. Just outside the city of Athens, in old barracks, lie the survivors of the tuberculosis hospitals evacuated from the Crimea—pale and haggard as death—strange wisps of humanity, attended by devoted Russian doctors and nurses; but fed on the scantiest of dry army rations, short of medicine and comfort of all kinds. One ward of dying women with staring eyes, an unforgettable impression!
Whilst in Greece, every Englishman should visit our cemeteries in Macedonia, and realize that we planted many thousands of our people like seeds of a kind in this Grecian soil—that a flower of freedom might grow. On a wind-blown moor, in sight of Mt. Olympus and the sea, ranges one regular array of British crosses—now of wood, but presently to be of marble, with a stone of remembrance in their midst. It will be done well, in the British way. Even the dead might be pleased by what is being done. But here is a strange phenomenon which seems to make a mockery of our sacrifice. Around this wonderful burying ground are growing up a miscellany of alien crosses, of all shapes and sizes, stuck in ugly heaps of upturned earth. Every day a pit is dug and the dead-cart arrives. There is no service, no ceremony. But forty or fifty nearly naked bodies of women and children are shot into the pit and covered over hastily and a cross put over them. They are Russians, the so-called Russian Greeks evacuated from the Caucasus last year, now stricken with typhus and almost famished to death, some 12,000 of them in old army huts, living promiscuously together and attended by one desperate doctor and a few devoted sisters. Europe is heaping her dead around us.
This truly is not near Athens, but above the ruined ramshackle port of Salonica, once a fair city, but now facing the sea with almost a mile of fire-devastated streets. The refugees are confined to their huts, and are under a sort of military control. All the people are proletariat, and ought never to have been taken on board ships and brought to Greece. A few would have been killed by Bolsheviks, but not so many as will die here by disease. They cannot help Russia outside of Russia, and it is beyond belief that little countries can look after them indefinitely. It is pathetic to look into their huts, strung from wall to wall with crusts of bread, the floors multitudinous with people and especially with children; every serious person engaged in the hopeless task of destroying the lice. Even if these people were at once put on transports and taken to Russia half of their number would be destined to death.
The Russian scenes and episodes in Greece foreshadow the immense tragedy to be witnessed in Constantinople and on Gallipoli and at Lemnos. What touches the heart at Athens will ravage the whole being at Constantinople. But of that anon. An episode at Athens on the day of arrival had a spice of novelty in it which soon dulled on the palate in a rapidity of repetition:
It is Sunday afternoon, and on the pavement of a quiet street stands a mute and gloomy man with an armful of what appears to be paper-money. He is holding it out in his two hands.
Impossible that it should be money!
But it is. He is holding about half a million roubles in his hands.
Yes, they are for sale. This for so much, this other for so much.
"I am sorry I have no Greek money, but please take five liras Italian and give it to your comrades. You must be very poor."
A smile appeared on the man's face.
"But you'll take some roubles," said he.
"Well, if you like, just a small note for remembrance. It doesn't matter what."
"Here's ten thousand roubles!"
And he handed out a handsome new note for that amount. It fluttered from his hand to the pavement and was caught on the wind.
"Pick it up quickly! It's ten thousand roubles," one wished to cry anxiously to the passer-by.
Only ten thousand! And for something less than sixpence!
"Europe won't get right before the Russian business is straightened out," said an American commercial traveller at the hotel. He, for his part, was engaged in the profitless task of disposing of large margins of goods at fifty per cent below cost of production whilst the leisurely, crafty Greeks kept him waiting from day to day in the expectation of getting another ten per cent reduction.
"The whole world's out of gear," said the American in disgust. "The war and the Russian revolution are the cause. They have ruined the meaning of money."
I was to find his words true to this extent that at every capital the European problem proved to be inextricably involved in the Russian problem also.
(i) On Passports and "Circulation"
Mr. H. G. Wells, in "The Salvaging of Civilization," has very pleasantly contrasted the States of America with the States of Europe—the Disunited States. America, where you can travel by through trains without showing passports, without customs-barriers, without change of currency and without police-inquisition; America where there is a free interchange of peoples and opinions, Europe lying in unexampled obstruction and stagnation; America with its cheap post and universally-used telephone service, Europe with its expensive, ill-managed posts and local and limited and expensive and contumacious telephone. At the time of writing you can send a letter from San Francisco to London for less than it costs to send a similar letter from one London suburb to another. In America you have inter-state telephone service, you have the constant extension of an elaborate and efficient system, whilst on our side of the water we intelligent Europeans are asking to have the apparatus removed as a hindrance and a failure.
Passports, railway-service, post, telephone, currency—all these may fittingly be considered as aspects of one vital matter, namely, circulation. All living organic unity is dependent on circulation. As the health of the human body is dependent on an unobstructed circulation of the blood, of the lymph, of the air, so the health of a nation or a state or a group of states is dependent on the free circulation of peoples, goods, opinions, money, and what not. A bad circulation results in "pins and needles," and we Europeans have so inverted common sense as to indulge habitually in a policy of pin-pricks. A bad circulation results in cold feet, in local stagnation, in lethargy. No circulation results in death. It means
to die, and go we know not where, To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot.
It may almost be said that Shakespeare's formula for death describes Europe—she goes she knows not where, she lies in cold obstruction and she rots.
In reality it is not quite so bad as that. Though there is local paralysis of an alarming kind, there is also a sluggish circulation. How impeded that circulation is let the traveller judge.
In January, 1921, I took a general passport for Europe. The British passport office facilitated my struggles. For I am a well-known struggler there and am now excused the preliminary heats. I spent a week getting visas in London. I remembered his Excellency of Greece had changed his address. When the taxi-driver had located his new office in Great Tower Street we found that he was having a holiday, celebrating New Year's Day in orthodox Greek style about the fourteenth of the month. I returned in a few days' time and his Excellency was celebrating Epiphany. Next time I resolved to take a precautionary twenty minutes at the telephone and find out whether there were any other festivals on. The Poles, I remember, asked for answers to questions on two sheets of foolscap and charged thirty shillings for a visa that went out of date before I could get to their country. His Excellency of Bulgaria I made several trips to Kensington to find, and I gave him up as apparently non-existent. With the representatives of Latvia I had a troublous conversation and finally obtained another useless visa for forty shillings. The Germans would not give a visa as I was entering Germany from the other side of Europe. I spent about ten pounds in London merely for the application of rubber stamps and Consuls' signatures. In the course of my travels that passport became an appalling wilderness of visas and remarks climbing out of their legitimate spaces to get mixed up with wife's signature and the colour of the hair. The most flattering of these remarks is no doubt that affixed at Sofia station—"Not dangerous to society." But I had to show that passport not only to the police and the military of all nations, but also before entering the gambling halls of Monte Carlo on the one hand and before entering the gates of the Cathedral of Sancta Sophia at Constantinople on the other.
One of the worst places is Vintimiglia on the Franco-Italian line. The French frank you out of their country; the Italians frank you in. You step into a separate chamber and are searched and asked particular and impertinent questions. Before leaving Italy the Italian police demand your personal attendance and take a small due. In some countries you are required to obtain police permission to leave the country; in some not. No one tells you what you have to do. You can take a ticket and proceed gaily to the frontier and then be turned back. This can happen even in the enlightened State of Czechoslovakia. Greece, however, is one of the worst international offenders in this matter. The traveller has to spend a morning with the police, and he may be held up for some days if Church Festivals intervene. If he goes to the frontier without the police stamp on his passport he gets sent back. Two examples of how this lack of international manners works out I append: A German officer captured by the Russians in 1915, was sent to Siberia, escaped and got somehow down to Tashkent, the ex-capital of Russian Central Asia, struggled out of Asia and through Asia Minor in an utterly indigent condition, and this year stowed away on a Greek ship and got to Athens. So great was the interest in his case that a subscription was made for him publicly, and he was given a first-class ticket to Berlin, and a place in the sleeping car was reserved. Incredible as it may seem, he was turned off the express at midnight at Ghevgeli and returned to Salonica by slow train because his passport had not the Greek police visa. Of course he lost his sleeping-car accommodation and resumed his journey homewards by ordinary trains. Another case was that of a young Roumanian returning from the Far East after endless vicissitudes in the Koltchak and Bolshevik adventures. He also was turned off and had to go to Salonica to visit the police.
However, the British authorities could not throw stones at the Greeks. It would be unwise. Constantinople under British domination is one of the worst places of obstruction in Europe. You need a military pass to get in; you need a good deal more than that to get out. The Australian Colonel in charge of the work going on at the Dardanelles gave me a letter to G.H.Q. Constantinople, asking D.M.I. (we still talk of D.M.I.'s) to put my passport through quickly. Here I was met by one of those drawling incapables who make England loathed on the Continent. "I—don't—really—see," says he, and pauses, and looks at my weather-beaten cap and tramping boots—"I don't really see——" Inability is a guiding sign of the administration.
I went to the Allied Passport Bureau, British Section, where a tippable man was keeping a queue of all the rabble of the East, and I was to come tomorrow morning. When the British section had given the visa I went to the French, then to the Italians. One loses one's patience, being kept waiting so long, and one breaks into a room sometimes before one is asked. It was so with the Italians. I stepped suddenly into the room of the man who had to initial my pass, and he was tenderly embracing a charming brunette. He signed tacitly and rapidly and I was gone. . . . After the Italians you seek out the Greeks who are in an entirely different district. Outside the Consulate is a string of photographers with cameras and ricketty chairs. The Greeks require photographs—you sit down on a chair on the open roadway, and in a quarter of an hour you have a sheaf of wet pictures of yourself by which it certainly would be hard to recognize you. Inside the Greek Consulate rages a terrific hurly-burly. You wait and perspire in a vapour of garlic. . . . Then for the Bulgars. The Bulgars have certainly hit on a novelty. The rubber stamp is applied to your passport in one office and the date is written but the visa has to be signed in another office a mile away. Are we then through with everything? No. The Orient Express requires a doctor's certificate that you are free from vermin and infection. For this the doctors naturally charge a heavy fee. For my part I refused to see a doctor and carried the matter off with a high hand at the railway station, where they put me down as "officer in mufti." Apparently officers are exempted from all this. It is only if you happen to be one of the ordinary dirty and despised free citizens of Europe and not a member of any Commission or Red Cross or Y.M.C.A., or military unit—that you go through all this. Europe for the man in uniform!
So useful is the military uniform that some civilians carry their ex-khaki attire in an extra suit-case and put it on when they want to get along. I met an Englishman, ex-officer, in this get-up in the Serbian Constituent Assembly. He could beard whom he liked in Jugo-Slavia clad in an old uniform with ribbons. I heard of another in Austria who was arrested at the chief station in Vienna, having four millions of Austrian crowns on his person. Austrian crowns are worth much more in London than in Vienna, and it is illegal to take large quantities out of the country. But an observant speculator had concluded that a British uniform would give him immunity from search. In this probably he was right, but he had overdone it.
I found the Serbs and the Czechs to be the best people over passports in Central Europe. In Western Europe Belgium is most enlightened, having practically abolished the visa. France is striving to follow Belgium's lead. England in this matter, as in the matter of her charges for postage, telephones, and railway fares, seems to have completely lost that practical common sense which in the past has distinguished her from other nations. She charges foreigners heavily, keeps them waiting, and treats them impolitely. From Americans, for instance, there is a chorus of complaint on the ground of incivility. Not that Americans shine in this matter of passports for their own country. America sets Europe an unenlightened example of red-tape and venality.
What then, is the game in Europe? Why do free men and women spend golden forenoons in stuffy rooms, to fill in forms, to be brow-beaten by police and porters and clerks, treated like criminals or paupers, or unemployed come for an allowance? Perhaps they are paid for it? No, they actually have to pay, and pay heavily, suffering as it were injury on the top of insult.
It was partly explained to me in Munich by the British Consul-General. At Munich there is a Polish Consul and Vice-Consul, but there has been nothing to do, Poland having remarkably little business in Bavaria. The post languished. The Vice-Consul was recalled; the clerk was dismissed. One surmised the Consul himself might go and hand over his minute business to some other consulate which, no doubt, would have done it cheaply. But no. One day a solution occurred to the Consul. All Polish subjects in Bavaria ought to have Polish passports from the Polish Consul. Police orders to that effect were therefore issued. All who claimed to be Polish, or to have been born in those parts of Germany or Austria now Polish territory, were to put in an appearance. They would receive passports and would be duly charged.
But, having registered the whole Polish population, what then?
"Oh, I only give them visas for three months," says the Consul. "Every quarter they must come again."
So he converted his consulate into a revenue-paying establishment. What does it matter about the public? It is only asked to give one day in ninety to these formalities and has the other eighty-nine to itself.
The Polish passport office in Berlin fully confirms this point of view. Here are inordinate crowds whom politics have separated from kith and kin, trying to get passes to go home, to live, to exist. The door-keeper smokes a cigar; the first clerk makes eyes at the women applicants, the girl clerks suck sweets, the Consulate clock runs on, and you pay hundreds of German marks each for the upkeep of the business.
The Poles, or indeed, the British, or the Americans, for we are all tarred by the same brush, might take a lesson from the Czecho-Slovaks, who have at Vienna a bureau which will get your passport visa and your railway ticket for you, and reserve you a room in a hotel in Prague without any fee. The enlightened Government of this new republic understands that that is the best propaganda for their country which can be done. Not that Czecho-Slovakia does not charge for a visa and charge for permission to go out of the country. At Cheb I nearly missed my train whilst an official was weighing up in his mind how much he should charge for allowing me to go through without a visa.
Another aspect of the passport trouble in Europe is local nationalism which at Budapest takes the form of insisting on asking you questions in Hungarian and refusing to understand any other tongue. As you have to spend hours with the police in the Magyar capital before you obtain permission to stay there and again before you obtain permission to go away, this is peculiarly distressing.
Under such circumstances is it surprising that there is stagnation of peoples in Europe? This stagnation is great, and it is noticeable in almost every great city of the continent. It is a rich time for the hotel-keepers. There is scarcely a capital in Europe where you can reckon on finding a room without trouble. The following experiences are symptomatic enough: at Rome I visited about twenty hotels; shut out for the night, got into a "strange place" about three a.m.; Stuttgart, out all night; Sofia, visited all hotels, all full, slept in guard-room of town-patrol; Sofia, second time, shared a room with an officer; Vienna, toured city in a cab and found nothing; Warsaw, spent nine hours going from hotel to hotel, got a room for a thousand-mark tip. In Constantinople you can find cases of three families in one apartment. Wherever you go you are going to have adventures in finding a room, unless you are an officer or a member of an Allied Commission, or belong to the Red Cross or Starving Children's Fund, or some organization that has facilities for looking out for itself.
Poor old Europe! She was more of a unity in the days when we were "an armed camp." We have broken the power of militarism. There has been a revolution in Russia. A British statesman in the House of Commons, in 1917, said it was bliss to be alive, and to be young was very heaven. Some millions of young men died before Armistice Day, 1918. Since then there has been great work clearing away barbed-wire entanglements along the old front. But it seems to be a nightmare task: entanglements multiply upon us faster than we can clear the old ones away. You cannot get across Europe because of the obstructions: you cannot circulate.
LETTERS OF TRAVEL
II. FROM CONSTANTINOPLE (I)
It has been a bleak early spring with snow on the uplands of Thrace. For those who travel from Paris to Constantinople on that Western moving shuttle, the Orient Express, there would be nothing to trouble the mind unpleasantly—except in that the more comfortable we are, the more we demand and the more we grumble. But if you travel by the ordinary unheated train, where even the first-class carriages are more or less bereft of glass and have the windows loosely boarded up with bits of old packing-cases, you taste something of the persistent northern wind which blows down sleet and rain from the Black Sea, from Russia, as it were Russian unhappiness it was blowing down.
You arrive at Sofia at midnight in torrents of rain. You take a cab and visit every hotel, large or small, in the Bulgarian capital, and are refused. People are already sleeping three or four in a room, sleeping in outhouses and bath-rooms, refugee Bulgars from the lost Bulgar territories, refugee Turks, refugee Russians. You return to the station and it is closed for the night, and you have a wordy discussion with the eternal cabman as to whether you shall pay a hundred or two hundred francs—Bulgarian francs or levas which are, however, worth a bare three-farthings each to-day. You find shelter in a wayside cafe which is half cafe, half guard-house for the town patrol. Soldiers are stretched out snoring on the floor. Five levas to sit up, ten to lie down! By that time of night you are fain to lie down.
A dreary journey on to Philippopolis and Svilengrad, with the wind lashing the train, lashing it all the way to the Chataldja lines and the zone of Allied control. Eight passport examinations, eight examinations of your baggage, plentiful two, three, and four-hour stops, a land of ruined railway stations and bare hills, and only late on the second evening after Sofia do you creep into the imperial city.
It is Stamboul at night, agleam with lights, running with mud, flocking with dense crowds. You change some money to piastres at a small booth, and your pocket is at once picked—a common experience. The Pera tram is so crowded that you escape being asked for a fare, which is fortunate, seeing that you have no Turkish money. So across the wonderful bridge on which all the nations of the world are seen walking, up to the so-called pleasant heights of Pera and its hotels and palaces. Here for a dirty little room one pays more than in a first-class hotel in New York. You are fortunate if you find even that soon. A Greek-owned hotel. You scan the names of the occupants—they are of all nationalities of Europe. Russians and Armenians seem most to abound. There appears to be a Scotsman among them, a Mr. Fraser, but he is a Scot resident in Smyrna and smokes a narghile every evening after supper. The lounge of the hotel looks like a creche for the children of refugees. But couples are seen here on the couches interested only in themselves, and a long-haired Russian is at the piano playing Scriabine devotedly and with deep concentration, as if the boisterousness of the children were unheard.
Constantinople has five times as many people as it can house, a city now of appalling unhappiness and misery, and of a concomitant luxury and waste. A scene at night: two children, a boy and a girl, lie huddled together on the pavement sleeping whilst the rain beats down upon them. The crowd keeps passing, keeps passing, and some step over them, many glance questioningly downward, but all pass on. No one stops. I stood at a corner and watched. Then I walked up to the children and wakened them and tried to make them speak. But they stared with their pale faces and said nothing. At a neighbouring pastry-cook's I bought two cakes and brought them to them, and stirred them up to take them, which they did eagerly, each grasping tightly a cake in the little hand. I stopped a Russian woman who was hesitating as she passed. "There are many," said she. "It is quite common. You see plenty babies lying in the rain. When you come? You come off a ship? . . . The only way to help them is give them piastres." I did that, and by that time a little crowd had gathered and every one began to fret and give a little money to them. So the crowd changed its mind, and the children began to have little sheaves of paper-money in their hands. And still they lay in the rain and no one could take them in.
The Russians have got Constantinople at last. It is an irony of Fate. There are a hundred thousand of them there, the best blood of Russia, and the most charming and delightful people in Europe in themselves, though now almost entirely destitute of means. A large Russian army without arms is not very far away, and a Russian generalissimo without power stays in his yacht at Galata. The great city has been outwardly transformed by the Russians who seem at first to have taken over all the business and to have dispossessed innumerable Turks and Greeks. Russian is the predominant language; all the best restaurants and many of the shops seem to be Russian, and Russian pedlars in scores cry their wares in the streets. Greek and Turkish business is modest and retiring, but everything Russian is advertised by large artistic signs. The gleaming lights of innumerable "Lotto Parlours" catch the eye, you pass with the rolling crowd into the cabaret, the music-hall, the theatre, the cafe, the restaurant, the book-shop—all Russian. You see the establishments of Russian doctors, lawyers, dentists, dancing-masters. In an improvised wooden hut you see a celebrated portrait-painter sitting, ready to paint you whilst you wait or execute commissions of any kind. The restaurants all have Russian names and sometimes refer back to business left behind in Russia—the restaurant "Birzha" from Rostof, "Kievsky Ugolok" from Kiev, "Veliky Moskovsky Kruzhok," the "Yar," and the like. These are very tastefully arranged and the cooking is excellent, being under the supervision of celebrated Russian chefs. Thus at the "Kievsky Ugolok" it is well known that the cook of Prince Vorontsof is in charge, and the restaurant does not merely live by reputation but an excellence of cuisine testifies in itself to some master-hand. The waitresses at most of these Russian establishments are often women of society, and some of them very beautiful in the simplicity of uniform. There is a fascinating added pleasure in being waited upon by such gracious women, but the heart aches for the fate of some of them. On each table is a ticket with the name and patronymic of the waitress, thus, Tatiana Mihailovna, or Sophia Vladimirovna. They are on a level with those they serve, and the women embrace them, the men kiss their hands. Naturally there are no such things as tips; service is charged for in the bill. Elegance mingles with melancholy. Russians meet and talk endlessly, and sigh for Russia, and the Russian music croons the night long from the musicians' gallery or orchestra.
The saddest shops are those which, no doubt, belong mostly to Armenians and Spanish Jews, where "valuables" are exposed, the miscellaneous collections of the things the Russians have sold or wish to sell. Here are rings, lockets, bracelets, fur-coats and wraps, gold vases, trinket-cases, odd spoons of Caucasian silver, cigarette-holders,—like so many locks of hair cut from diverse humanity. Here lie intimate possessions, prized, not likely to be sold, seemingly quietly reproachful under the public gaze, baptismal crosses, jewelled girdles, gloves, Paris blouses, English costumes. The refugees must sell all that they have, and some have sold all. I met the wife of a colonel of Life Guards. She was dressed in a cotton skirt, a cream-coloured "woolly," a waterproof, and a wretched cheap collar of fur. Once she never stepped out of her house but into a car. Now in weather-beaten thin old boots she must tramp from place to place over the cobbles, living in one room with her family, washes the clothes herself, scrubs the floor, has no money. The women have won the unbounded admiration of the British in Constantinople. For pluck these Russian women would be hard to rival. But what a destiny! They spend their money, they sell their jewels and rings, they sell their clothes, they take out trays of chocolates to sell in the streets and shiver at the street-corners; to feed their children they sell more clothes. Hundreds of cases have been discovered in which the women are confined to their rooms, having sold almost all their wearing apparel, and having nothing in which to appear on the streets.
The refugee peasantry and working class are mostly confined in barbed-wire internment camps outside the city, and guarded by Sengalese. Twenty per cent get permission to go into the city each day. The seventy or eighty thousand indigent Russians in Constantinople belong mostly to the upper classes. Very many belong to Petrograd society, and are people who fled to the Crimea and the Caucasus, were caught up in the Deniken or Wrangel panic, and transported hither. They are well-educated people, speaking English and French, and well-read and accomplished. But how little are those modern accomplishments when it comes to the elemental realities of life. A beautiful young countess is employed in a bakery to sell bread, and is lucky. An erstwhile lion and ex-general has a job in a laundry. Pride intervenes only to stop them begging. How few are the beggars! But you see the nicest of girls with pinched white faces trying to sell loukoum. Even hard Scotsmen passing by are fain to give them money and take nothing in return.
You see the strangest vendors—children standing at a street corner trying to sell a blouse and a pair of boots, tatterdemalions trying to dispose of unsaleable rags, ex-students with heaps of textbooks trying to sell to those students who, despite everything, are still carrying on.
When new boat-loads of refugees arrive, the street-selling is naturally augmented by a more hopeful crowd, and it was possible to see one day little bears with scarlet ribbons round their necks being offered for sale on the pavement, tiny baby-bears with pink noses and sprawling feet, fed with milk from wine bottles:
"Dvadsat lira, dvadsat lira!"
Alas, the temptations are great. Need becomes more and more incessant. Starvation stares thousands in the face. One sees those who keep their heads up still, but we lose sight of many who are utterly cast down and lost. Many a Russian has gone down here in this great city and been lost, vanished into the hideous underworld of the Levant. They sell all their jewels and then sell the last jewel of all. In the cabarets and night-halls of low amusement there is nude dancing and drink, lascivious Greeks, drunken American sailors capable of enormities of behaviour, British Tommies with the rolling eye, "seeing the world and being paid for it" as the posters say. The public places are a scandal, and the private dens got up in all sorts of styles with rose-coloured shaded lights and divans and cushions for abandonment to drugs and sensual affections must be explored individually to be described. A part of old Russia has come to Constantinople—to die.
In charge of this imbroglio is a British General. The city is under Allied control, and is patrolled by the troops of four nations, but the British is the main authority. G.H.Q. Constantinople occupies a large barracks which faces a parade-ground. Indian sentries march to and fro outside and enjoy thus serving their King, a picture of polish and smartness. Facing the barracks is a smaller building called "The Jockey Club" where the Commander-in-Chief himself and many of his staff meet to lunch or dine, play billiards, or chat pleasantly over their liqueurs in English style.
"What a pleasure it is to see our fellows in the streets so clean and well-behaved, with no interest except in football, and to compare them with the loafers you see everywhere," says General M. "One thing the British Empire can thank the Jews for," says Capt. C., "is that they've ruined Russia." "What's the matter with the Russians," says stout Col. C., "is that there's no punch in them; they're a helpless sort of people, from a general to a private soldier, it's all the same; they cannot cross a road unless you take them by the hand and lead them across." "What's the matter with Col. C. is that he warmed a seat in the War Office all the war," says Capt. T. "If he had ever faced a tenth of what the Russians have faced he'd talk to a different tune." "What I dislike about them is that you see the rich ones doing themselves well in the restaurants whilst other poor beggars are starving outside," says another who does not like the Russians now. "The French aristocrats went to their deaths with a smile," says another. "What do you think? Oh, but you've got a soft spot in your heart for the Russians." "I have a golden rule. I think it is in the worst of taste to say anything against a people who have suffered so much as the Russians. And what should we be doing in their place—if the pride of England had been broken, and we also were all in exile eating the bread of strangers. Should we present as brave a front?" But how difficult it is to put oneself in another person's place in the imagination, and how unreadily it is done!
Still, loathing other nations is a favourite after-dinner occupation of English people, and need not be taken too seriously. As a matter of actual behaviour, none in practice are kinder to the Russians than these same who speak against them. Kindness goes a long way; practical common sense would go further. Most of the Russians want permission to go to other parts of Europe. The British command is theoretically in favour of letting the Russians go. It is aware of the danger and distress of having a hundred thousand starving men and women on its hands. But it cannot extricate itself from the tangle of international red-tape which smothers Constantinople. On the other hand it actually allows thousands of new refugees to come in and make the situation worse. The task of governing the city is so complicated that there is constant irritation. The rivalry of the French with ourselves, and of the Turks and Greeks to one another causes endless trouble. By herself England would, no doubt, govern Constantinople well, cleanly and honourably, but in concert with French, Italians, and Greeks there is not much evidence of a strong hand or a clear mind. There is a strong sentiment in favour of handing the reins back to the "old Turk," as he is lovingly called, and an equally strong one in favour of unique control. "We do not come till we are invited, but then we usually stay," is the formula.
The Greeks certainly still hope that they will hold the city. If the Turks come back and the Greeks remain at Chataldja, and the Allies for economy's sake go away, it will be a great temptation to the Hellenes to try and assist Providence in the fulfilment of the outstanding prophecy by bringing Constantine to Constantine's city.
Now, before entering the Cathedral of Sancta Sophia you must pass Turkish sentries and show your passport. Otherwise you cannot get in. The Turk has sworn that no Greek shall enter, and in order to keep the Greeks out he is ready to hold up the whole world. One day no doubt the Turk will be turned out from his stolen mosque—be it by Greeks, be it by Russians, be it by Bulgars. The war has weakened the Turk more than is generally understood. Turkey does not stand where it did in the nineteenth century, and cannot do so again. The vital capital of Turkey has become Angora. The Kemalists are the force of Turkey, and they are Asiatic. In fact, Turkey has now been turned "bag and baggage" out of Europe, and the Turks are playing a new role in politics and international life.
Pierre Loti, in his book entitled "La Mort de notre chere France en Orient," gives a sentimental defence of the Turk, deplores our English rule, and urges France to endeavour to take charge, making the whole Mediterranean what it has been once before, a French lake. The air of the many blue soldiers in Constantinople, and the continual clash of British and French authority in the city suggest that Loti really speaks for France. There are, therefore, at least four powers which wish to have the key of Europe and the control of the ways of life between Asia Minor and the West. The one power which now does not enter into men's considerations is the one which both traditionally and economically is most concerned—and that is Russia.
LETTERS OF TRAVEL:
III. FROM CONSTANTINOPLE (II)
A night's journey in a trawler brings you to the Dardanelles—the outermost vital significance of dominion at Constantinople. By the use of mines an invincible protection is easily thrown out. By the simple closing of the straits Russian trade is throttled, and even all the powers of imperial Russia before the great war could not open a way. No wonder that all ambitious Russians desired Constantinople and the Straits. If it ever becomes possible for some small power to stand in Russia's way again, there is bound to be a recrudescence of Russia's passion to go south. At the Dardanelles, however, there remains Allied control—British men-of-war, French black troops, Greek governors, and the rest. All boats are challenged coming in, none going out, and otherwise there is freedom of the seas.
A sentimental interest which is more than usual directs Britain's gaze, and especially the gaze of the Empire, to Gallipoli, and that is the interest of sacrifice. Here is the scene of a great and glorious attempt in war, and here lie many thousands of our dead.
The flag of Britain flies over Anzac, and every 25th of April (Anzac Day) at Anzac Bay and throughout Australia and New Zealand, services are held to commemorate the landing in 1915, and the bold attempt to win through, to beat the Turk and liberate the Russian. It is all pure poetry now, the wrecked lighters stuck in the sand, the sweep of Ocean Beach, the rounds of Suvla Bay. You see it one day, and all the sea is impotently angry, raging against a shore which does not reply; you see it another, and it is lapped in an eternal peace; you see it as it is going to look hundreds of years hence, when all the cemeteries are fitted out in stone, and the cypresses have grown around them, and the British have gone home, and no one visits Gallipoli any more—serene, untroubled.
You run from the once bullet-swept water's edge to the slight shelter of a sand-bank, and walk by the narrow sap into "Shrapnel Valley," still strewn with old water-bottles and broken rum-jars, by a trench then to "Monash Valley," and there probably you start coveys of partridge, which abound now in great numbers, or you start the silver fox or ever-present hare. Wild life has returned as if there never had been a sound of gun. You walk the path up which the rations went in the old days, and see the litter still. You see the great charred patches where stores were burned before the evacuation. How untouched all seems between these giant crags! How vividly you see all that they saw, the grandeur of Nature, the glimmer of the sea! You can still smell the Dardanelles expedition, and tread in old footsteps which hardly have been worn away.
It is an astonishing position, dominated by vast inaccessible ridges. Leaving the so-aptly named "Dead Man's Gully" on the left, you look up to the "Sphinx," that perfect position of the sniper, climb to "Battleship Hill," and then to Chunuk Bair. In an hour or so you may walk all the way we ever got. And we did not need to have got much further than Chunuk Bair. Down below on the one hand is the sea where the men-of-war lay and thundered with their guns. But across and in front gleams in the sunlight what was the Promised Land, the roofs of Chanak and the purple narrows of the Hellespont.
The New Zealanders will have their special monument here beside the cemeteries where their many dead are lying. They took Chunuk Bair, and unsupported, pressed on to win the day, only to be outnumbered and met by terrible odds of swarming Turks. You may pause now and pick an anemone in that terrible no-man's land, where the skeletons of our old dead, picked clean by the jackals, were found otherwise untouched when we came again in the November of '18. You can see the damped, slightly discoloured patches where dead men lay, and even find still now and then a human bone—of friend or foe, who now can tell?
We have gathered together the bones and have buried them all, be they English or Turk, and have decently cleaned up Gallipoli—as Englishmen would. Australians and New Zealanders work there now with simple devotion and energy, and are astonishing the Turks, who ask, "If they do so much for the dead, what will they do for the living?"
A few army huts on the height above Kellia Bay mark the headquarters where Col. Hughes and his Anzac staff are living. From ever-windy hills they look across the Narrows to the wan house where Byron lived. Gangs of Greeks are working for them. The extremity of Gallipoli Peninsula is as it were an imperial estate, and every day a round of work goes on at Helles, at Greenhill, at Suvla, and the rest. With the coming of summer the ships are coming with the marble, and the stone slabs will climb the hills where once our fellows struggled upward. It is a fine undertaking. No ranks are distinguished in the gravestones, and all are equal in sacrifice. But dominating everything will be a tall white obelisk to be put up on the highest point of Helles, visible to all ships passing through the Gate and going forth upon the seas. Australia will be there. England might lose its interest in the Dardanelles—but the Empire never. The younger men have their eyes upon it. And what a contrast the Laodicean atmosphere of G.H.Q., and the frankness of an Australian and New Zealand mess!
A certain widow of a brave general who died in the attack, has, through wealth and influence, obtained permission to erect a personal monument to her husband on Gallipoli. If this is carried out it will be greatly resented by the Australians, who say, "If wealth can purchase a monument, there are plenty of rich Australians who would readily erect memorials to their gallant kith and kin who perished here." A pity if the equality and simplicity of the Gallipoli cemeteries is broken into.
An exchange of hospitality with H.M.S. "Tumult," standing off Chanak, kept us in touch with the outside world, giving us the wireless messages each day. Thus we heard of the application of the "sanctions" to Germany, the conclusion of the trade treaty with Soviet Russia, the fall of Batum, and other items of world interest. The first officer told us how they stood off at Sevastopol and took on Russian wounded, the most appalling cases of suffering where there was never a murmur from the men, and the Russian sisters sat with them all day and all night with a never-tiring devotion. The Commander and every one were strongly Russophile—won to them by personal contact with the Russians, and that although the ship "stank like a pole-cat" before it could bring the refugees to port.
The Commander very kindly gave me a passage to Gallipoli, where a large part of Wrangel's army was encamped. We tore up the channel at an unexampled pace, the cleft north wind driving angrily past as the destroyer rived its way through. And in an hour we came to the ramshackle capital and main port of the peninsula, where a host of khaki-clad soldiers stared at us from the quay.
General Wrangel's army numbered about eighty thousand men when it was transported from the Crimea, and about ten thousand had left him for one cause and another at the time when the French presented the ultimatum—"Go to Brazil or back to Soviet Russia, or we shall cut off the rations on April the first." Wrangel's war material, his guns and machine-guns and ammunition, were given mostly to the Georgians, who promptly lost it to the Bolsheviks or sold it to Kemal. The Greeks certainly complain that the Kemalist army, after being almost devoid of artillery, suddenly became possessed of it in a mysterious way, and shelled them with French shells. The Greek set-back at Smyrna is no doubt partly attributable to the disposal of Wrangel's weapons. His ships and stores were mostly commandeered by the French, and the value of them set off against the rations supplied to the army.
France probably thought originally that she could yet employ these forces in a further adventure against the Bolsheviks. Her idea doubtless was to throw Wrangel's army into the scale on another front of war whenever opportunity should arise. Britain, in refusing to support Wrangel, actually cut herself free from an enormous amount of material responsibility in case of Wrangel's failure.
Wrangel's army was not aided by us as a fighting force, and it could not as a matter of policy be aided by us in its tragical plight after the debacle. It had to depend on the French.
Wrangel, it is said, had a guarantee from the French that they would ration his army when they took upon them the transport to Gallipoli and Lemnos. France would no doubt have continued to do so but that the conclusion of the trading treaty between Russia and England showed that the external fight against the Bolsheviks was over, and, indeed, put France in a highly disadvantageous position. For as long as France retained General Wrangel she could not reasonably hope to enter into trading relationship with Soviet Russia.
The position of the army was greatly complicated by the hundreds of thousands of civil refugees who all, more or less, looked to Wrangel as their leader, and grouped themselves around him—all of them, however, in an equally parlous plight.
Curiosity to see this army took me to Gallipoli. There has been very little sympathy in England for armed intervention in Russia; the Ironside expedition, the Judenitch folly, the vast undertakings with regard to Koltchak and Denikin, were highly unpopular with the masses if indulged in by society. This was not because English people affected Bolshevism, but because they dislike military adventures in the domestic affairs of other nations—and also because the nation was not taken into the confidence of the War Office in this matter. Even the name of Wrangel has been somewhat obnoxious. When the Bolsheviks seized the Crimea there was even a sense of relief in some quarters—the coup de grace had been given to the counter-revolutionary adventure.
France, however, had felt that in backing Wrangel she could not lose very much if he failed, but might reap a golden reward should Fate play into his hands. If a favourable internal revolution had occurred whilst Wrangel held the Crimea, France would have been the favoured friend of the new Government of Russia, but Britain would naturally have been out in the cold. And France did not give Wrangel much material support. It is a mistake to think that France spent any very remarkable amount on the Wrangel expedition. But France has been much annoyed at the subsequent trouble it has cost her. And, whereas you will find individual British officers with an unstinted admiration and affection for the Russians, you find little on the French side but cold politeness or contempt.
An interesting figure is Col. Treloar, ex-Captain in the Coldstream Guards, a soldier of fortune, now serving in Wrangel's army from pure devotion to the Russians. Appalled at the tragedy of the Russians, here is a man who does not mind speaking out. He was with Denikin before Wrangel, and explained that General's downfall by the scoundrels and incapables by whom he was surrounded, and a curious type of English soldier in the rear capable of selling vast quantities of supplies. Wrangel fell because the enemy was infinitely better equipped. The barrage in the Crimea was more like that of a grand attack in France than anything previously encountered in the Russian fighting. In Treloar's opinion, Wrangel's army still remained an army, and should be granted an "honourable return to Russia," i.e., be put down somewhere on the Black Sea shore with arms and ammunition, and left to make what terms they could with their enemies.
At Gallipoli thirty thousand troops with fifteen hundred women and five hundred children were put down. Some of these are housed in the town, but most are in tents on the hills outside. The American Red Cross does very remarkable work ministering to the sick and to the women and children. In general one has learned to distrust huge charitable organizations, but they do upon occasion give opportunity to extremely kind and simple-hearted men and women to give their life and energy to suffering humanity. Such a case is that of Major Davidson at Gallipoli, and another that of Capt. MacNab at Lemnos, where men are working not merely for a salary but for sheer love of their fellow-men.
Davidson belonged to the Middle West and had probably seldom been out of it before. He breathed American and was as pure a type as you could find. Nothing of the cynicism of Europe about him, for he was that old-fashioned and extra-lovable product, the God-fearing man. He was kind to every one, and had the natural religion of being kind. His door-keeper and sub-clerk at the main hut was an old Russian aristocrat with a face that reminded one of Alexander III. "Well, Count?" Davidson would query when he saw him, and smile cheeringly; "anything fresh?" The Count had a rather characterless and cruel lower lip like a bit of rubber. He was capable of a great deal, but he was quiet and obedient in the presence of Davidson as if he had found a Tsar again.
"We must have a Tsar," said the Count to me. "But he must be terrible. What the Russian people need is cruelty—not machine-gun bullets and shells, but cruelty. They do not mind dying. The whip must be used!"
The gospel of the knout! His countess bade me pay no attention when he said things of that kind. He was in reality the kindest of men and could not bear to look on suffering.
He had lost lands, position, wealth, power of all kinds, in the old Russia. He had something against the Russian people. In a curious way he disapproved of Davidson's kindness. A man in rags would come in for a pair of pants. Davidson would give him a pair out there and then.
"He does not understand us Russians. He should make him come five times and then not give it him. That is the only way to get respected."
Davidson took me over the whole camp to all his hospitals, and showed all there was to be seen. Wrangel's army seemingly arrived with nothing. One might have expected to see a hopeless rabble, all dirty and living in rags and filth, insubordinate and unkempt. How surprising to find the very opposite—an army apparently of picked men, very clean, well-disciplined and orderly, living in an encampment on which every human care was lavished. Apparently the lower their hopes the greater had become their discipline and amour propre. On a daily ration of half-a-pound of bread and two ounces of very inferior "mince," the men still preserved the stamina to do daily drill, dress with care, and keep their tents in order. The tents had been mostly lent by the American Red Cross, and the beds inside were improvised from dried weeds. In the large green marquees, officers' quarters were divided off from the men's by evergreens. In the hospital tents, little wooden bedsteads had been framed everywhere of rough wood cut from the trees with sabres and bayonets. In other tents regimental chapels had been arranged, and religious paintings on cotton stretched upon hanging military blankets. Stove-pipes for fires had been made of old "Ideal" milk-tins stuck to one another in tens and twelves, with the bottoms all cut out. Outside the various headquarters, behold formal gardens of various-coloured stones, new cypress avenues planted, a rostrum in a sort of park for Wrangel to make his speeches from, new-built sentry-boxes with pleasant shades, a sun-clock, and the like.
The soldiers mostly wear their medals, and naturally have a large number of them. Each has a war-history which all might envy to possess and none envy to go through. Questioned individually, one found them loyal to their chief, but complaining bitterly of their rations. Not many were preparing for Brazil or for a return to Russia. Their future presented itself as a strange and difficult problem—both collectively and individually.
Of the people in the married quarters one did not obtain such a favourable impression. Rooms were divided into three parts by hanging army blankets, and a family was in each part. Windows were lacking, insects very plentiful, and dirt unavoidable. Here were a number of typhus hospitals in charge of the Red Cross, a children's feeding-station and nursery, a lying-in hospital. Two mosques were used as hospitals and presented a remarkable picture, the patients lying in a circular group amid columns covered with Arabic inscriptions. Russian doctors were at work, and disease had been well stemmed. Mortality was very low. Only when the hot weather comes—if the army is still here—one fears for the ravages of dysentery and fever.
Of course there were discontented spirits in the army, and some who talked of marching on Constantinople should rations cease, but there were only a few rifles and little ammunition left in the men's hands. By sheer weight of numbers they might achieve something, but Constantinople is a hundred miles away, and that is a great distance for famished men to go.
Two nights lying on the deck of one of Wrangel's transports brought me back to Constantinople. This vessel was controlled by French officers, but captained by one-eyed Admiral Tsaref, of what was once the imperial Fleet of Russia. She did five knots an hour when the weather was fine; the railings at the stern had been carried away, and many parts of the ship were tied together with rope. The five French officers on board each had a cabin to himself; Russian officers, American Red Cross, and myself, slept where we could. The French also had their meals served to them separately. Nevertheless, we were a jolly company on board, and played an absurd wild game of solitaire each night, and the only tedium was the slow way we splashed like a lame duck up the narrow seas.
In the harbour in Constantinople in the morning a bright sun shone on four hulks packed from stem to stern with Georgians, the latest comers to Imperial City. They waited and stared whilst we slowly steamed to the French base. Then in a short while we were in the great capital again amid the surging masses of humanity.
I was asked by Count Tolstoy, the aide-de-camp, and also by Treloar, if I would see the General, and accordingly did so, boarding a caique at Galata, and being rowed to his yacht "Luculle." First I saw the Baroness Wrangel, a bright, bird-like lady, trim and neat and cheerful, speaking English like one of us. Baron Wrangel is a tall, gaunt, and very remarkable-looking personage. His Cossack uniform with ivory-topped cartridge-cases intensifies the length of his body and of his face. He has all the medals there are, but only wears two, a Vladimir Cross at the centre of his collar, like a brooch, and a Georgian on his chest. His head is long, and his cheeks seem to curve inwards from his temples. There is sparse grey hair on his whitish scalp, and lifting his full-sleeved arm he scratched his head with an open penknife whilst he talked.
In a strong military voice he said that two million Russians outside Russia acknowledged him as their leader. The French alternatives of Brazil or "Sovdepia" he considered shameful. Soviet Russia he always referred to as "Sovdepia"—the new name for it. Exodus to Brazil without preliminary conditions meant, he said, white slavery. Return to Sovdepia meant the chresvichaika and execution. Time, he believed, was on his side. The Allies would need his army yet, and would be foolish if they deserted those who had sacrificed themselves to the Allied cause. Like many other Russians, Baron Wrangel believes in the coming complete disruption of Europe. Germany is almost bound to go the way of Russia.
That was the voice of Baron Wrangel, and one had the impression of a fine character which would stand the test of adversity. A soldier, however, and not a statesman or a prophet. But perhaps it takes neither a statesman nor a prophet to see that Europe is in mortal danger.
* * * * * *
The supreme problem at Constantinople and on the peninsula seems to be to liquidate the Russian population fairly and honourably. Even those who have no sympathy with the military adventures in Russia will feel the call of humanity here. The Russians are not guilty of any crime: they are only terribly unfortunate.
Shortly after I saw Wrangel, he was isolated by the French authorities and forbidden to visit his army. The French then began the forcible return of the soldiers to Soviet Russia. As an alternative they could go to Brazil. But the first transports for Brazil were stopped by wireless. The Government of Brazil, after all, did not agree to receive the Russians. So these miserables were put on the island of Corsica. Of the others little is known. Large numbers have been returned to Russia. Serbia and Czecho-Slovakia have covenanted to take a few thousand.
As for the civilian refugees, a hundred thousand of them are in desperate straits. They cannot live in Constantinople, and they cannot get away. It is a death-trap for them. For the women it is a trap far worse than death. They are unpopular people in Europe now—the gentry of Russia, people of education and gentle upbringing, the people of the old landed families. I observe that with the signing of the trade treaty with Soviet Russia funds have at once been started with the object of feeding starving Russians in Russia. Charities are a British and American vice, but something, not necessarily money, is due to the Russian refugees. Human attention is needed—an honourable effort to solve the problem of making these Russians self-supporting economic units. Mr. Ilin, at the head of the Russian organization, is the man to approach. He is a capable, quiet Russian, who is under no illusions as to the enormity of the task or the difficulty of coping with it.
I met a Countess Trubetskoy, as poor as poor. "All I ask is something to take my mind off our coming fate," said she. "Imagine it. I am reading the Tarzan series of novels right through. Just to forget." They wish to forget, and we, who used to talk of loving the Russians,—we have forgotten.
(ii) On "Charity" and the Stagnation of Peoples
In company with Mme. Tyrkova-Williams, I subsequently visited the offices of the "Save the Children Fund" in London to try to get some extra help for Constantinople, being convinced that the sufferings of the children there far exceeded those of the children of Vienna and Budapest and Prague. But no money can save the Russians at Constantinople, or the "little things" which Wrangel's army leaves behind them. Refugee men and women ought, perhaps, to be fruitless, but they are not. The birthrate at Gallipoli and Constantinople is high, and the lying-in hospitals are full. Is it not a characteristic paradox of life that babies should keep coming into a world that cannot find room for the parents? To provide for all these Russians for any considerable time would involve the collecting of more money than the rich of the world have to spare. When the hospitals of London are threatened with closure for want of funds, it is clear that mere "charity" is a useless resort. "Charity" moreover leaks. Though it is much puffed up and advertiseth itself, and is supported on the public platforms with sounding brass and tinkling cymbal, nevertheless it faileth. There is knowledge, and it remains, prophecies and they are fulfilled, but this thing which we call "charity" faileth, it vanisheth away. "The fund will soon be exhausted," we hear on all sides. Why not, then, try love? Why not try human action? Let men and women think a little more and forget mere money. Inspired political action is required, the refugees should be given some means of helping themselves and should be distributed over Europe in countries where for adults there is the chance at least of finding work, and where for the children food abounds. Constantinople is an overcrowded caravanserai. There is no lasting means of living for more than one-fifth of the population, and almost no chance at all for the Russians. In Serbia, in Bulgaria, in Bohemia, in France and England, and in the New World there are at least chances of life for the homeless. At present there is scarcely a nation in the world that will take in the unfortunate Russians unless they are possessed of material means. France in this is adamant. She keeps the Russians waiting longest of all. And yet her responsibility for these Russians is very direct. The Russians helped to save France in the war, and these Russians were used by France to try and regain her lost investments in Russia. They believed in a generous noble France which never abandoned her friends. It is dumbfounding to the Russians that it should be France that is now forcing them either to die or to return to Soviet Russia.
Rather than go back to "Sovdepia" many who think their lives are forfeit there are ready to resort to desperate means of escape. They steal over to Kemal and fight for him, or they sign on for Brazil, or stow away in one or other of the many ships in the harbours. But whilst adventurous escapades are possible for the men there is not even that way open for the women and the old folk and the children. Many are sure to die before they find salvation. The way to save the greatest number is assuredly to allow the refugees to circulate freely and find what life they can. Has not England been plastered with the notice, "Don't pity a man; find him a job." That is something to apply to the Russians. We cannot find them a job, but at least let us give them a chance. There is room in Europe for these Russians, and they would not prove long a burden once they were in the way of life.
In any case a great stagnant pool of human beings such as is found at Constantinople, makes a dangerous place in the body politic of humanity. Is the blood of all of us a little distempered? It comes from foul pools and sluggish channels where conditions of health are absent.
LETTERS OF TRAVEL
IV. FROM SOFIA
The last night at Constantinople was memorable, and it is strange to contrast the brilliance, the clamour, the poignancy, of that time with the quiet gloom and dirt of Sofia. Dinner with two young Russians at the "Kievsky Ugolok"; vodka was taken as if it were part of a rite. We were served by a beautiful woman with little hands. All the lights were shaded and the violins crooned.
"The best of my youth gone in senseless fighting," said Count Tolstoy. "Twenty-two to twenty-eight, think of it; surely the best years of life, and campaigning all the while, from Insterburg to Sevastopol, and who knows what more."
"I am going to cut it all and start afresh," said Col. S. "I don't believe in the cause. If I could get a little farm in Canada or California!"
"Well, you are married and have children, that makes the difference. You are bound to them. But honour binds me to Russia—whatever happens."
"It's a strange time."
"Who knows what will happen next in Europe!"
"Do you think European civilization will fall?"
"I think it possible that it may."
"In my opinion also—it may happen. The fall of Russia is just a forewarning—it will all go down."
Once more the favourite theme of conversation.
Going home at midnight, one sees the miscellaneous crowd still on the street. From an open cafe window a gramaphone bleats out the strains of "Pagliacci" into the street, as if "Pagliacci" also were a refugee and was on the streets. Listening to it there came the thought that our whole modern way of life, of which that opera is sufficiently characteristic, was being chased from its home, chased out into an unkind elemental world to beg its way. Then on a corner of a street a hoarse woman calling repeatedly her price like a hawker at a market, "Chetiresta! Chetiresta!" Quite a decent lady in Russia, the wife of a bank-clerk or petty official, but now up against it, the great it of revolution. Four crooked lanes go down to Petits Champs, all a-jingle with Greek music and tinkling glasses and women's laughter. The great glass-house cabaret below is refulgent with electric light, and you see the figures swirl in a "Grande Danse Moscouvite." You climb the mounting street to where dusky but handsome Punjabi soldiers stand in front of the British Embassy, looking with sinless gaze on sin passing by, and then to the hotel. You sleep in the office of the hotel, between two safes, because there is no room to be had anywhere. Your curtainless windows are right on the street, and the endless razzle-dazzle of night-life goes on. In the disturbed after-hours of midnight or early hours of morning you may see a dozen or so drunken sailors pulling cabs and cabhorses on to the pavement, two sailors on each horse, cuffing its flanks with their hats, shouting and screeching, and evidently dreaming of the Wild West whence they come, the Turkish cab-drivers absolutely placid and passive, however, and the Turkish gendarmes unalarmed, whilst strapping fellows of the American Naval Police with white bonnets on their heads, and neat blue jerkins, rush in and literally fell the sailors one by one with their truncheons, and fling them sprawling to the side-walk.
Next morning it is brilliantly and cruelly sunny, and on the way out of the city the eyes rest on a young woman dressed in the fashions of 1917, but with burst boots and darned "tango" stockings, and rent, shabby dress. The strong light betrays the disguises of a long-lived hat and shines garishly on the powder and paint of a young-old face. So Constantinople goes on.
What a contrast when you return to Sofia! It is a day's journey in the express—a very short time, far too short to efface the vivid impression on the senses made by Constantinople. Perhaps in one respect Sofia resembles the great city, in that it is overcrowded. Arriving at night, you are lucky to share a room with a Bulgarian officer. The latter is lying in bed, and does not seem perturbed at a civilian being put into his room. Perhaps he has been staying a long time without paying, and the management is retaliating. There is a bed which has sheets which may have been laid fresh for a German officer in 1915, and you wisely follow the custom of the country and sleep with your clothes on.
Next day, when you step out on to the streets of the Bulgarian capital, your eyes almost refuse to take in the change. You have such a strong expectation of the moving picture of the Constantinople street that you feel, as it were, robbed and astonished, as by a spell cast over your world. You have been transported by enchantment to an entirely different scene. Here is a strange quiet. A peasant population has come to town in heavy clothes and heavy faces. Despite the war and all the trouble it has meant, there is a feeling that all able-bodied men and women are provided for. Here is none of the elegance and indolence of Athens, or of the ingenuity and cleverness of Constantinople, but a steadiness and drabness of a peasant clumsiness mark the new Sofia. It is neither so pleasant nor so promising a place as it was in 1915. The soil of the black years is upon it.
Sofia was a peasant city without much fashion or style then, and this aspect has intensified itself. The peasant is the born enemy of the town, and whilst he may be perfect in the country he is a boorish and non-comprehending fellow when he comes to the capital to rule. The peasant in power has very little use for the brighter side of civilization. The more the latter is cut down the better for him. He has, unfortunately, grasped the truism that "without the peasant nothing can exist," and he is much disposed therefore to take more of the profit of living for himself and cut down the expenses of civilization.
In Bulgaria we have the curious anomaly of peasant communists in political power and a king. Monarchy and a sort of Bolshevism.
"So you are all Bolsheviks here?"
"No, only peasant-communists."
"Is that not similar?"
"No. We have no international programme. International politics do not interest us. We do not want any more wars. Governments make the wars and the people have to fight them. Ask anyone, Did we want the last war? Do we ever get anything out of wars? No. And now we have an administration who will keep us out of trouble."
The speaker was an ordinary Sofian proletariat, earning his living in a bakery. He seemed much pleased with Bulgaria as she is now; did not want a port, or talk about plebiscites, or the alleged nationality of those who dwell in the wildernesses of Macedonia.
So it is, a people of few words and not much racial ambition is in power. The old diplomatists and politicians, the "bourgeois," as they are now called, are all in opposition. Most of the educated and cultured and rich are out of office and power. They pursue the same old course of Balkan intrigue, communicating their opinions to you in stage-whispers, but intrigue merely ends in intrigue and does not lead to action. The old regime and old politics naturally find allies in the press which, having been so venal in the past, finds it difficult to turn to honest journalism. The venality of the press in Balkan countries is a characteristic which does more harm to nationhood in these parts than is understood. It springs from the original practice of giving State subsidies to authors and journalists and newspaper proprietors, on the ground that the reading public is too small to support such people entirely. Receivers of subsidies are naturally chary of writing against their patrons, and a great opportunity arises for interested parties to buy the press. The advisability of buying sections of the Balkan press is urged upon foreign Governments. So journalism and the organs of public opinion become not only physically debauched but poisoned at heart.
For that reason one need not pay much respect to the recrudescence in the press of attacks upon Greece. It is true, Bulgaria has lost Dedeagatch, her southern port, her window on to the Aegean, and a Greek army is between Bulgaria and Constantinople, but peasant Bulgaria will thrive quite well without a port; she virtually never used Dedeagatch, and it would be obvious foolishness to shed more blood for the possession of this remote harbour. The exit of Varna on the Black Sea suffices for all the wants of new Bulgaria.
One meets many partisans of Bulgaria. English people naturally like the Bulgars at first sight. The Bulgar is a good fighting man, and that makes a strong appeal to the man of the world. He is simple, not bumptious, gives himself no airs of traditional culture or modern education, and therefore recommends himself. The cynical and false opinion of 1914-15 regarding Bulgaria—that she would come in to the war on the side that bid most money—is forgotten. And the disloyalties of Bulgaria, disloyalty to the Russia who set her free and to her erstwhile ally Serbia, are overlooked. The stupid Bulgarian hates and intractabilities are ignored, and the new European partisans would raise and strengthen her again, some being even ready, in opinion, to set her flying against Greece once more.
There is one constructive hope which appeals to most thinking minds, and that is, that at some time in the future Bulgaria could be merged in Jugo-Slavia or federated with it. Serbia abandoned her own good name and took this name of Jugo-Slavia or Country of the southern Slavs, that she might form the basis of a commonwealth of all the southern Slav nationalities. And if she embraces Croats and Slovenes why not Bulgars, too? It is said that the Bulgars, in order to ingratiate themselves with their war-allies, pretended that they were not Slav, that they were in reality also Huns, kindred of Hungarians and Finns. But a people with a language so like Russian could hardly cling to that deception. The best way to avoid trouble in the Balkans is to have larger, more comprehensive states. Therefore, one looks forward to the mergence of Bulgaria in something better and safer by and by.
Many Russians have found refuge in Sofia, a few thousand of the more lucky ones who have managed to get away from Constantinople. I daresay it is not realized how difficult it is to get out of that city to go even such a short distance as Sofia. Even for an Englishman it is difficult enough. What takes days for one of us takes months for a Russian, and then he has to have sponsors. However, when once he gets to Sofia, he finds the cost of living reduced five times. A pound sterling would keep a Russian in Sofia for a week, but in Constantinople for not much more than a day. Of course you can starve for nothing in both cities: the cost of living ceases to be important when you have nothing at all. But Sofia abounds in cheap white bread and butter. You get a pat of about two ounces with your morning roll. Vienna and Berlin may be on black bread, Budapest without butter, but Sofia does not lack. And sugar seems plentiful, and meat is not dear. Oranges are cheap, and the wine of the country is accessible. Manufactures, of course, depend on the exchange, and are expensive. There is cheap entertainment, the inexpensive tedium of the cinema and the use of a theatre. Once more Russia in exile affords some cultural help with performances of the Theatre of Art, concerts, and ballet. Peter Struve has taken up his abode, and now makes bold to re-issue one of Russia's principal critical reviews, the "Russkaya Misl." Here in Sofia is a Russian publishing house, which has printed a translation of Wells' impressions of Bolshevik Russia, and "At the Feast of the Gods," by Bulgakof, and Struve's "Thoughts on the Revolution," new books of value which suggest that the old Russia still lives.
Asked how the Bulgars behaved toward the Russians, a foreign and therefore perhaps neutral diplomat replied: "The Bulgar will not do anything for people in distress. He is an egoist. He'll let his own father starve rather than sacrifice anything of his own. He has cause to be eternally grateful to the Russians, and now he has a chance to pay back something of what he owes, but not he. He treats the Russian as a beggar and an inferior, just because he sees him in a state of failure and misery."
A Serbian, asked whether Bulgars and Serbs could come to an understanding, said "No, because when the Bulgars were put in power over Serbs by the strength of German arms they set about abolishing the Serbian nation. In a cold-blooded way they went through the whole of Serbia, murdering and destroying. A nation like the Bulgars," said he, "is incapable of friendship."
A Greek, asked, "Could there not be an entente between Greece and Bulgaria, a burying of the hatchet," replied: "No, there is a mortal vendetta between us. There is something in the Bulgarian which makes our people see red."
When these matters were referred to a Bulgarian, he smiled, and said: "We shall obtain the protection of England or France; that will be enough. Bulgaria is impregnable against enemies. Let any nation try and take Bulgaria and her mountains, see what it would cost in human lives. But these wars, what is the use of them: does anyone ever gain anything by them?"
Bulgaria gained her freedom by a war. But of that it seemed untactful to remind this denizen of Sofia. Besides, he was a kind of Bolshevik. If Bolshevism were to sweep Europe, he would not be put out of doors. Bulgaria also would be in the political advance-guard of world-progress.
"You do compulsory communal labour in the fields every year, do you not?"
"Such a law has been passed. You see, we are an agricultural people. Food is our life. The war greatly disturbed our population, and it was not easy to get labour, or to get it at a reasonable price. So compulsory labour was introduced—every man to do his share in producing the daily bread."
So Bulgaria has met the peace. She was our enemy. But her money is at least worth more than that of one of our Allies, and compares favourably with that of another. The cost of living is low. Wages have gone up to a considerable extent, and the able-bodied working-man has enough for himself and his family. One saw how much more stable is an agricultural state than an industrial one. If our Europe goes down in economic ruin it does not at all follow that little states like Bulgaria will be engulfed. On the contrary, Bulgaria as she is constituted to-day would almost certainly survive. It is industrialism and large business upon which our Western superstructures depend, not on the tilling of the soil.
"Humanity, however, first depends on bread," said a Bulgarian in a restaurant. "If civilization falls, it does not follow that humanity will fall."
There was plenty of bread on the table in front of us.
"Well, thanks for the bread. But you know the text. There are some of us who still want to live by the Word."
LETTERS OF TRAVEL
V. FROM BELGRADE (I)
A personal friendship with Bishop Nicholas of Zicca brought the gift of his rooms in the Patriarchia, opposite the Cathedral. Nicholas, better known during the war years as Father Nicholas Velimirovic, being on a mission to the United States, his simple white-walled rooms hung with bright-coloured ikons were free, and could be a home for a wanderer in an over-crowded city. Kostya Lukovic, who during the war graduated at Cambridge, treated me as if I were the England to whom he could repay the gratitude he owed for our hospitality to him. Dr. Yannic, also known to us in England, then a priest, now temporarily secretary to the Constituent Assembly, was also very kind. A recommendation from Balugdic, the Minister at Athens, opened many doors and obtained a separate carriage for me at night on some wild trains. Archimandrites and Abbots entertained me lavishly at the shrines of the Frushta Gora. It can therefore be said that the Serbs know how to treat an Englishman well when he passes through their country. Salutations therefore, and thanks! They fought like lions, and they suffered as none others suffered in Europe's terrible ordeal. A Serbian spark at Sarajevo fired the arsenal of European militarism, and a common ungenerous thought sometimes blames the spark instead of blaming the recklessness of those who allowed Europe to be enkindled. And there used to be some who could not forget Serbia's dynastic history. But that has been forgiven, and Serbia has purchased a good name by a shedding of blood and a national unhappiness unparalleled in the war. People said, "Serbia is no more, Serbia can never be again." Yet after complete loss of country to the most malevolent of foes, and after the agony of Corfu, behold still Serbia fighting. And was it not the vigour of Serbia's reconstituted army in 1918 which, under Misio and a French Marshal, struck the critical blow at the Bulgar which ruined the whole German confederation—brought about the surrender of Bulgaria and Austria, and led infallibly to the Armistice! Whatever happens in the new political turmoil, Serbia has won our admiration and gratitude in the West.