Magyar Megmaradásért

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An Outlaw's Diary: Revolution - Chapter V

CHAPTER V

November 3rd.

A raven sat on a branch of the chestnut tree. It did not fly away when I opened my window, but sat there like a stuffed bird and stared with half-closed eyes into the yard. Near the black bird a few big red leaves fluttered on the bare tree, like bleeding scraps of flesh on a skeleton. And the raven sat on top of the skeleton against the rusty sky and rubbed its beak now and then against the branches as if it would scrape some carrion from it. Then again for a long time it sat motionless and stared unconcernedly at the ground beneath it. Suddenly it swayed as if it were going to fall, sprang clumsily away from the branch, and slowly took its flight into the autumnal air. Whither is it going and what is happening there ?

Alarming news comes from all parts of the country. Home-coming soldiers and inflamed mobs are pillaging everywhere. As yet the news relates to no definite locality, for there is no post, and the newspapers pass over in silence anything that might' create prejudice against the new power, yet the glare of conflagration is to be seen in all directions. Many people fled from the capital after the 31st of October, but in vain; risings awaited them in the very places where they hoped for safety.

The government took good care that this should be so. Károlyi's party, as well as the socialist and radical party, got together agitators whose duty it was to incite the lower classes. And these did not confine their attention to the returning soldiers, but lectured the peaceful country folk concerning " the results of the glorious revolution and the dangers of the counter-revolution. " They threw firebrands wherever a conflagration was likely, and blew into flames such smouldering fires of revolt as they could find.

At the tram station the newsboy openly offered for sale the papers of subscribers : no more newspapers will be delivered, and those who want one must go and fetch it, they rudely asserted. They all seem to have learnt the same lesson. The voice of the street becomes coarser day by day and in every word there is an intonation that savours of class hatred.

Crowds gathered in the town. Meetings were being held everywhere. In front of the House of Parliament a few thousand workmen and the people of the Ghetto had assembled. Speeches inciting to violence were heard on all sides. The contractor Heltai, now commander of the garrison, and a socialist agitator called Bokányi, addressed the crowd :

" Down with Kingship ! Down with the House of Lords ! We want new elections ! But the elections won't be made by Lord Lieutenants but by the People's Commissaries ! "

The People's Commissaries... Trotski and Lenin's henchmen in Hungary ! So now the rebellion which dubbed itself the national revolution dares to speak openly of these ! Everything here is being ordered after the Russian pattern. In the barracks the men of the garrison have dismissed their officers, elected representatives, and constituted Soldiers' Councils, which are developing into a new power. The head of this new power is a socialist journalist called Joseph Pogány-Schwarz. The vice-presidents are Imre Csernyák, a cashiered officer, and Teodor Sugár-Singer, a Galileist with a shady past. Pogány has declared that " the military council can have only one programme : the final abolition of the army ! " and while day by day he arms more workmen with the help of the socialist party organisation, he dissolves feverishly the old Hungarian army. Nor does the Minister of War remain inactive : he has organised Zionist guards and has armed the members of the Maccabean Club. Ladislaus Fényes, who from being a journalist has turned into the Government Commissary of National Guards, has enlisted and equipped more and more vagabonds and escaped convicts with sailors' uniforms.

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A motor-car passed me, going slowly. It was a beautiful car and its window was ornamented with a label : " National property, to be protected. " Near the label, inside the car, I saw the face of Michael Károlyi. I was in no laughing mood, yet I could not help laughing at this. " National property ! " ... The nation must be in a sad plight indeed. " To be protected ! " ... Is that the only thing which is to receive protection ?

By Károlyi's side his wife was visible. Now and then there was a cheer— " The King's car, " said somebody near me. I felt suddenly sick. He goes about in the King's car and is cheered. Stephen Tisza travels in a hearse and stones are hurled at him. The face of Tisza appeared so vividly in my thoughts that it seemed to stand before me... I remembered a summer afternoon during the war. Mixing with the crowd, Tisza came towards me in a light summer suit. The descendant of a long line of horsemen he was slender and looked young; his shoulders were broad, his waist narrow, but his face was worn and as if shrunken with grief. Deep wrinkles ran to the corners of his mouth, and as I recollected him I thought of the strong, sad look in his eyes and the movements of his shoulders. Only his shoulders moved; he walked with an easy, elastic gait, as if he were strolling along a forest path, and his hands swung lightly...

The vision passed, and I was brought back to earth by some unkempt vagabonds cheering Károlyi. And the living man there in the car seemed more like a corpse than the dead man of my thoughts. His long, bloodless body was thin and bent. His narrow head, with its artificial stern expression, lolled on his shoulder as if it were too heavy for his neck to support. His watery, squinting eyes shifted blankly from side to side. His mouth was slightly open, as if his long, round chin had drawn; down his fleshy cheeks. I remembered an ivory paper-knife I had once seen, the handle of which was carved to represent an unhealthy looking head, worn smooth by much use. He reminded me of that sallow ivory head, the neck of which had been turned into a spiral, like a screw. The screw of Károlyi's neck had come loose, and his head dropped sideways. His wife was rouged in a doll-like fashion and her beautiful big eyes sparkled. Her voluptuous young mouth smiled in rapture, and she seemed to be drinking her success from the air greedily.

I looked after her. The car had long disappeared but it seemed to me as if the smile of those painted lips had left a trail of corruption over the suffering, harassed people. It spread and spread... Stephen Tisza's body is covered with blood. The frontiers of the country are bleeding. The enemy is victorious without having vanquished us. The army goes to pieces; the throne has fallen. St. Stephen's crown has lost Croatia and Slavonia. The rabble robs and pilfers. A Serbian army has crossed the frontier.

And the painted lips smile, smile...

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Only a few days ago Michael Károlyi had said in jest :

" The smaller the country becomes the greater shall I be. When I was leader of the opposition, the whole of Hungary was intact; when I became Prime Minister Croatia and Slavonia had gone; there will be five counties when I am President, and one only when I shall be King. "

If only the miserable deceived millions could have heard this, they for whose benefit he proclaimed on the 31st of October with the recklessness of the gambler : " I alone can save Hungary ! " They believed him !... And yet mysterious Nature itself had warned the country to beware of him.

The deformed offspring of a consanguineous marriage, the heir to the enormous entailed possessions of the Károlyis, was born with a cleft palate and a hare-lip. He was fourteen years old when an operation was performed on him which enabled him, against the will of Divine Providence, to learn to speak—so that he might beguile his nation and his country into destruction. A silver palate was put into his mouth. The boy struggled and suffered. He wrestled with the words, and if his poor efforts were not understood by his companions he went into violent fits of temper. The only one who could have understood him, his mother, died early. His grandmother and his sister guided the poor boy through his unhappy early days. His progress in school was slow and the results of examinations deplorable. He passed his baccalaureat at the same time as my brother, yet he practically knew nothing and could not even spell. He passed all the same : " The poor, young invalid ! " That served him as a passport everywhere. Fate decreed that the misshapen youth should live, and he lived to take a cruel revenge for its cruelties.

His physical shortcomings prevented anyone from expecting much from him, so that almost everything he learned, did or said, surpassed the extremely low standard his family had set for him. His relations recognised this " ability " and admired him. And this delusion was the root of Károlyi's ever-increasing vanity. He became convinced that he was an extraordinary man and that he was predestined for wonderful things.

When he came of age he entered into possession of one of the greatest estates in Hungary. He could dispose freely of an enormous income. He had no need to keep accounts, and he kept none. He spent recklessly. He gambled, indulged in orgies. People laughed at him. Nobody took him seriously. His spendthrift life, cards, and the political role he assumed later, absorbed fabulous sums. But his fortune could still stand it. He was surrounded by sycophants. And he believed the flatteries of his cringing parasites. His megalomania at last became pathological. Without possessing the necessary aptitude, he now conceived the idea of making up for what he had neglected in his idle youth. He began to read. And when husbandry, political economy, sociology, were accumulated in an indigestible hotch-potch in his brain, he aspired to become a leader of men.

At the head of the conservatives stood Stephen Tisza, by race and tradition the very model of Hungarian conservatism; another faction of this party was headed by Count Julius Andrássy. In these camps Károlyi could never be anything but a secondary figure; leadership was beyond his reach. This fact drove him to the extreme left. Spurred by his unhealthy ambition for power he assumed the absurd position of leader of the radical democracy, a demagogue playing with national catchwords, though he was an aristocrat by tradition, had no national feeling whatever, and had constantly proclaimed himself essentially a Frenchman at heart, the spiritual descendant of his French great-grandmother. His faction was in need of a figurehead. It found one in him.

The clash between him and Tisza came when Tisza, then the President of the Commons, tired of the barren fights of eternal obstruction, and in anticipation of the future extension of the franchise, wanted to assure the decency of the proceedings in the Hungarian Parliament by a revision of the standing rules of procedure. The parties sounded the alarm. Personal feelings were much embittered. Andrássy and Károlyi found themselves in the same camp and both were mortally offended when Tisza imposed his haughty will with merciless firmness.

It was by the application of the new rules that Károlyi happened later to be expelled from the House by physical force at the hands of the parliamentary guards. On this occasion he was heard to declare, foaming with rage, that he would get even with Tisza, even though it should be at the cost of his country's ruin. His frenzy became akin to dementia as the result of the duel he fought about this time with Tisza, who managed to impress him once more with his contempt even at the moment of giving him armed satisfaction. Henceforth it was always the opposite to anything Tisza approved of that he desired, and consequently his gambler's instinct forced him to put his money always on some other card than that on which the nation, through Tisza's foresight, had risked its stakes.

By this time his entourage was composed almost exclusively of Freemasons, and his person became the centre of attraction of that suspicious gang whose aim was to incite Hungarians against Hungarians, and Christians against Christians, so that it might gain the upper hand—in proof of the adage inter duos litigantes tertius gaudet. Shortly before the war Károlyi went with some of his adherents to the United States to collect party funds. No account of those funds was ever rendered.

The outbreak of the war found him in Paris. His financial position had now become strained. The life-interest in his property, heavily mortgaged, left him no surplus. Yet he went on spending and gambling. Nobody knew whence his money came. Nor did anybody know why he alone was allowed to leave France at the outbreak of the war, while obscure individuals were mercilessly interned for its duration.

It was after his return that Károlyi began to spread the infection which, on the 31st of October 1918, like a septic sore that had long been festering, broke out in putrid suppuration.

........

The lamp-lighter came up the street. The glass of the lamps rattled and the little flames flared up. Over the bridge an arc of light appeared in the mist rising from the river. In the tunnel under the Castle Hill old-fashioned lamps lit up the damp walls. Two soldiers were walking in front of me, otherwise the tunnel was practically empty. Their voices resounded from the roof—they were quarrelling in a strange thieves' jargon. On the other side a well-dressed man came towards us on the pavement. The two soldiers discussed something in their incomprehensible lingo, then crossed together to the other side, saluted the stranger and, as if asking him a question, bent towards him. Obviously they were asking him the time. The gentleman drew his watch. One of the soldiers grasped him suddenly by the shoulders, the other bent over him. A loud shout rolled away under the vault, and next moment the two soldiers were running in their heavy boots with loud clatter towards the other end of the tunnel. It was quickly done and created no sensation. The whole thing was quite in keeping with our daily life nowadays.

This night vagabond soldiers again visited the empty villa and shots were fired near the garden. The dogs barked no more. Have they been shot, or have they got accustomed to it ?

........

November 4th.

I went through the rooms again. In front of the gate the carriage was awaiting to take us away for the winter, from among the trees to among the houses. The small light of the carriage-lamps filtered hesitatingly through the mist on to the bare branches of the shrubs. A vague anxiety took hold of me. It seemed to me that hitherto we had looked on from the shore, but that now we were going to wade into the turbulent, muddy flood. Whither will its torrent carry us; what is to be our fate ?

I went all over the house, and, one after the other, opened the doors of the cupboards and the drawers. I left everything open so that if burglars did break into the house in winter the locks might not be forced, the cupboards not smashed with hatchets. The fireplaces cooled down slowly. We had had no fires during the day in order to avoid accidents after we had gone. In one of the grates the embers still retained a little warmth, the others were as cold as the dead. I fastened the grated shutters in every room. In the semi-darkness, against the whitewashed walls, the old furniture, the old storytelling engravings, friends of my childhood, the big vase, the parrot-chandeliers, the coloured glasses in which the flowers of a hundred summers had blossomed in the rooms of my mother and my grandmother, all looked at me as if in sorrow. I looked also at my books, the old Bible on the shelf, at everything for which no room could be found in the vans and which had to be left behind.

Things too have tears... What if the empty house were pillaged ? If I were never to see again the dear things full of memories ?... Why do you leave us here ? the abandoned things seemed to ask, and I felt as if I were parting from devoted, living beings, which patiently shared our fate.

My mother called from below, waiting, ready to start, in the hall with my brother, who had come for us so that he might be there should the carriage be waylaid. As we went out of it the old house lapsed into lethargy and everything closed its eyes. The key turned, the pebbles clattered on the drive, and the carriage went slowly down the slope of the hill.

At the bridge over the Devil's Ditch my brother-in-law was waiting with his little daughter, and she got into the carriage. Reckless soldiers had overrun the hills and life was so insecure that they did not dare to keep the young girl at home. In town things may be quieter... Beyond the cemetery we came to the booth of the excisemen. We waited for a time in the mist and as no policeman, no exciseman appeared, we passed on through the open barrier. The outlines of armed soldiers and sailors peopled the ill-lit streets of Buda. The forms of a few frightened citizens who were trying to get home appeared now and then, but were soon absorbed by the night.

Beyond the bridge over the Danube the town was floating in light. Big arc-lamps were burning, as of old when a victory was reported from the battlefields. Flags floated from the houses. In the fashionable streets the crowds thronged for their evening walk, and as the carriage passed Károlyi's portrait could be seen in the shop windows among stockings and ribbons, furs and sausages.

I felt relieved when we came out of the sea of people into quieter streets. The carriage stopped at our house in Stonemason Street. Under the porch a half-turned-on gas lamp was burning, which threw a light up to the ceiling but left everything under our feet in darkness. The house seemed to have become shabby during the summer. The staircase was dull and ugly. The fires smoked and nothing was as it used to be when we came in olden times to our friendly winter home. Disorder, covered furniture, draped pictures. It was like wearing summer clothes on a frosty winter day.

" Well, we are settled for the winter now, mother dear, " I laughed, to make it seem more cheerful. My mother laughed too and we both pretended to be happy.

A clumsy little German maid rushed about among the trunks and did nothing. Our faithful farmer neighbour, who had kindly escorted the luggage, was struggling with the fires. The housekeeper boiled some water over a spirit lamp. My mother went to and fro, and wherever her hand reached order sprang up. All at once the little green room assumed a friendly appearance and tea steamed in the cups on the white covered table. Home was home again and we smiled at each other.

" The many war winters have passed, and this is going to pass too. "

" This is worse than the winters of the war, " my mother said with unusual gloom.

I looked involuntarily at the window. Out there beyond, a big town was breathing, but it was impossible to get information from its chaos. The scum had got the upper hand; was any resistance being organised ? It was impossible that things should remain like this ! One regiment coming back in order, one energetic commander, and Károlyi's band will tumble from power.

Newspapers lay on the table, and my eyes fell on a proclamation of Károlyi, which he had made in the presence of the representatives of the Budapest press : " From the 1st of November Hungary becomes a neutral state, " he declared. " This tired government... " He did not say what the Entente powers would say to this neutrality. Further on he spoke of the Minister of War... " He had immortal merits in obtaining peace. History will not fail to recognise the credit due to him; Linder has rendered to the Hungarian people services of eternal value and usefulness... "

I remembered the disgraceful scene in front of the House of Parliament, a scene cunningly contrived by those in the background... " I do not want to see any more soldiers... " I had heard since that it was for this sentence, promised beforehand, that the social democrats gave the Ministry of War to the obscure Linder. The price of his portfolio was the disruption of the army. And Károlyi spoke of history's gratitude !

On the last page of the paper I found accidentally an extract of the conditions of the armistice.

Immediate disarmament, the withdrawal of our armies from the North Sea to the Swiss frontier... When I read on my eyes faltered. Then they were filled with alarm. The last terrible condition (unknown in modern warfare) followed : Prisoners of war to be returned without any reciprocity ! This seemed incomprehensible. Our enemies want to retain as white slaves soldiers, heroes who had faced them armed in open battle. Then another pain stabbed me : We must lose the coast, Dalmatia, the dreamy blue islands, the fleet to whose flag so much glory was attached, the monitors of the Danube. We must deliver up all floating material, the commercial harbours, and ships.

The scorched, lifeless Carso, wild tracts of rock under an azure sky, great murmuring forests, and there, down below, the sea, and, like corals and shells on the shore, Fiume, Hungary's gate to the seas. It was indeed a bitter thought. Italy, with thy hundred ports, why dost thou rob us ? We have only this one ! It was a tiny fishing village, like so many others in the bay of Quarnero. We made it what it is : it sprung up from Hungarian labour, the gold from Hungarian harvests of corn and wine has flowed there to raise dams, to build quays, to work a wonder among the stones. Fiume is our only port...

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And beyond, that which was not ours but which we loved dearly, the rosy bastions of the Dolomites, reaching into the clouds, the home of the Tyrolese, and Riga on the shores of Lake Garda, peaks and ravines, sacred by so much Hungarian blood. What the war could not take is peace to take from us ?

Beside myself, I walked up and down in my room till morning, haunted by despair, utter, complete despair.

........

November 5th.

In place of the free morning of the woods, the gloom of a narrow street looked in through my window. The wall of the opposite house drove my eyes back to my books, my furniture, my pictures. Now I saw their beauty again, and I was glad that they were there with me.

The many old books in the bookcase behind my writing-table ran up the wall like the fading gold of an ancient embroidery. Above, on the red wall, in a frame surmounted by the Pope's triple crown, in a soft haze the Madonna of Venice by Sebastiano Ricci. The portrait of Castruccio Castracani and a Dutch Old Man in a sable-bordered green mantle. The clock ticked under the Empire mirror. From the escritoire with the many little drawers, a copy of San Lorenzo the child-monk, the most beautiful piece of sculpture of the early Renaissance, looked into my room with a youthful challenge.

The fading gold of ancient frames, the stale green of old furniture. The colours toyed with each other in silence and the red curtains and walls threw a russet light over things as if a magic sunset had been caught between the window and the door.

Next to my room, in the small drawing-room, the old water-colours hung over the sofa. My ancestor, the powdered, pigtailed old gentleman, in his romantic breastplate of the Hardegger Cuirassiers, my grandfather's handsome young head, and beautiful fair women with locks on the sides of their faces. Opposite, on the piano, between the golden Old Vienna vases, stood my mother's portrait as a child, in all its delicacy. And on the mantelpiece the butterfly-shaped pendulum of the marble clock told me endless tales of the past.

I loved all these things so much, or rather I became conscious of my love for them because fear was now added to my affection. Shall we keep them ? Will they remain our own ?

In the evening I was on Red Cross duty at the railway station. The clock on St. Rocus' chapel proclaimed it half past six. The trams, crammed full, raced down the street, with people hanging on outside like bunches of grapes. It was impossible to get into one. I had to walk, and as I came to the more remote parts of the town I remembered October 31st. The pavement was thronged with criminal-looking men, suspicious vagabonds, drunken sailors, Galician Jews in their gabardines. Whence did this rabble come ? Or did it always live here among us, only we did not know it ?

The neighbourhood of the station was swarming with people. Disarmed, ragged soldiers sold cigarettes and sticky sweets; one or two asked for alms. Near the wall, on a stair covered with a waterproof, some obscene books were lying about. Dirty men sold pencils, purses, tobacco. A boy in a gabardine offered broken bits of chocolate from a tray. There was something Balkan in this noisy scene : a red cross flag floated over the murky street. People went freely in and out through the doors of the station. No tickets were required—anyhow, it would be impossible to stop the mob—the guards had gone. Russian soldiers in sheepskin caps, Roumanian and Serbian prisoners of war, like a stampeded herd, broke through the throng. These at least could go home. And my hand went to my heart.

Wounded soldiers, drinking tea and eating slices of bread, sat on the benches in the carbolic-scented, stuffy air of the former Royal waiting-room, which was lit up sparsely. It was the first time I had been on duty since the Revolution. During the many years of war so many stretchers had gone through this Red Cross room, so much suffering and moaning and knocking of crutches, that it seemed to me now as if all these turned back with reproaches and asked continually : " What good was that sea of suffering, all these deaths, if this is to be the end of the road ? "

Round the low-burning gas-stove sat some sergeants of the Army Medical Corps. Further away, in a cold corner, a few disabled officers had retired. The insignia of their rank on their collars were missing. They were pale and thin. One of them leant his elbows on his knees and buried his fece in his hands. Another's head was bowed down on his chest. Never in my life have I seen men more dejected than these : they just sat there without moving. And while I looked at them I realised with an aching heart that the horrible betrayal, " the glorious revolution " has wounded the wounded, and far, far away, in the many soldiers' graves, has killed the dead anew.

A hospital train arrived; it brought Germans. In silent line one stretcher after the other defiled through the door, and the men were laid in a gray row on the floor. Under torn, bloody, great-coats, pale patient ghosts. A hospital from the Southern front had been evacuated in haste. " The Serbians are advancing... "

The old bandages soaked with blood were dirty on the men : an awful stench of corruption spread over the place. And between the stretchers a Jewish sergeant, in brand new field-uniform, with golden pince-nez, sporting a red cockade, walked haughtily up and down. I had never seen him in the place before. " I have been delegated by the Soldiers' Council, " he remarked. And this man, whose very appearance betrayed the fact that he had never been a soldier during the war, now stood there, his legs apart, between the wounded and spoke to them with impertinent condescension.

I told the doctor that the men required new bandages, it was two weeks now since they had been put on. " There are no bandages, " said the doctor sadly and went back to his room. I did not see him again that evening. The reeking air was now and then rent by a moan, a quiet sigh. That was all. But nobody spoke. The men thanked one with a weary look for the bad decoction and the bread that tasted of sawdust.

" Our men are still fighting against the Serbians, " a fair Bavarian mumbled, when I leant down over him. It was only when the red-cockaded sergeant had retired and the other orderly had gone to smoke outside on the platform that there was some talk between the stretchers.

" How are things at home ? " the Germans asked. " We have no newspapers, we know nothing. People say that there they have made a revolution too and that they want to banish the Kaiser. "

Wounded Hungarian soldiers sat on one of the benches and talked of the Italian front :

" It was after our men had laid down their arms that the Italians began to shell us. They used heavy artillery and killed whole regiments. Whole divisions were surrounded. They report three hundred thousand prisoners and a thousand guns. All is lost. "

" Newspapers too reported that the Italians continued to fire at us for twenty-four hours after we had fired the last shot. "

" More men were killed during the armistice than in the bloodiest battle, " an officer grumbled.

He who had buried his face in his hands now looked up :

" Pacificism has begun with more bloodshed than war. If we had held the front for another two weeks what has happened to us would have happened in Italy. That was the reason they hurried so. That was why we had to capitulate without conditions. The trouble was with the reserves; they were in communication with Budapest. They received wireless messages from the National Council... "

This talk reminded me of the message Károlyi sent in the name of the government to the Higher Command : " I freely accept responsibility for everything. " He also declared that : " The popular Hungarian government desires to take all steps for peace negotiations itself. " Originally he wanted to go personally to Padua, but was prevented by the Higher Command. Yesterday the rumour got about that as he could not negotiate with the Italians who had been charged by the Entente to represent it in its dealings with the Monarchy, he had appealed to Franchet d'Espèray, the Commander-in-chief on the Balkan front. The French General had answered that before he would negotiate with him, all the troops on the Hungaro-Serbian frontier must retire fifteen kilometres into Hungarian territory and that the German troops be disarmed within a fortnight. The abandonment of Hungarian territory was required... We must oust our last friends, who still defend our frontiers which our own people have forsaken. Give up Hungarian territory... There can be only one answer to that : a refusal... But rumour says otherwise : Károlyi is going with his adherents to Belgrade, perhaps he has gone already... Incomprehensible ! Surely I have not dreamt it ? I read in a newspaper the report of the Chief of the General Staff that in consequence of the armistice all hostilities had ceased on the Italian front. What are the negotiations of Belgrade about ?

There was a great noise in front of the door. Tea was clamoured for and rough voices filled the room. Some of the talk was bitter. Most of the men coming from Austria had been robbed of everything. In Vienna Red Guards robbed the Hungarians at the railway stations. Their haversacks had been taken, some had their coats torn off their backs, their boots, rations, even their pocket-knives had been filched from them. They came home hungry and furious and clamouring.

Then I caught sight of the sergeant with the red cockade. He mixed with the men and whispered secretively with first one then another. I asked a tall soldier, with a peasant's face, if all the men were coming home. Were there no troops remaining on the frontier to defend the country ?

" To be sure we don't stop there; we are going home; we even left the guns as soon as the news reached us that we need no longer be soldiers. " He produced a crumpled copy of a radical evening paper from the pocket of his coat and waved it in his hand. " Here, in this paper too it is written that the Minister of War has said himself : ' Now we have peace.' "

So the War Minister's announcement : " I do not want to see any more soldiers " had already reached the front. The fatal words were lying in wait on every road by which Hungarian soldiers were coming home.

It was about eleven o'clock when I went off duty. As I went through the gate two men slunk to the wall. They were soldiers—officers. One of them spoke excitedly and snatched at his head. He gave me the impression that he was mad. " I brought the regiment home fully equipped and in perfect order, reported at the War Office, offered my services to the country, and they told me to disarm and go home... "

I heard no more, but that was enough. We could have no hope in those who had come as far as this. But perhaps somewhere else, far from the town, somebody will be found who can keep his men in hand, march them to the capital, and disperse Károlyi's rabble. That is the only hope left to us, there is no other.

Through the noisy thoroughfares the tram wound its way into dark side-streets. From St. Rocus' chapel I walked home. In our street the steps of a patrol resounded. I turned rapidly into the house. Behind me the shriek of a woman rent the silence of the night. As I ran up the stairs my mother stood in the ante-room waiting for me. Goodness knows how long she had been waiting, but she did not reproach me. I could see by her face that she was worried. Only when I went to bed did she say imploringly : " Another time don't stay so late. "

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