Magyar Megmaradásért

Nem adjuk fel

 

Sze2020Oct21

An Outlaw's Diary: Revolution - Chapter XI

CHAPTER XI.

November 27th.

After all this humiliation, shameful submission and silence entire districts of the country are raising their voices in protest.

The Széklers in Transylvania have risen; the flag of the Székler's corps has been unfurled, and Count Stephen Bethlen has organised a Székler National Council. Transylvania is graven on his heart and he has remained faithful to himself. He has always sacrificed everything to the good of the country. It is encouraging to hear his name in these times when everybody thinks only of himself. And after Transylvania, Upper Hungary raises its voice, the towns of Zips, Zemplén and our faithful brethren the Slovaks, whom neither gold nor the lash will persuade that they belong to the Czechs. The Bunyeváts swear to stick to their fatherland and so do the Catholic Serbians; and far away in the North the Ruthenians, Rákoczi's own folk, that gens fidelissima et carissima, protest violently—they, who live precariously in the depths of the Carpathians, on the road by which the Galician Jews invade us. I know their poor little villages, pounced upon by the army of leeches in gabardines, bloodthirsty, insatiable, on its westward march. That is the road by which, for decades, the Polish and Russian Jews have come to us; they cut off their payes, side-locks, in Kassa, throw off their gabardines in Miskolocz and become barons and millionaires in Budapest.

Successive Hungarian Governments have left the Ruthenians of the frontier undefended against this invading horde, and yet these pious people have remained, for all their poverty, patient and faithful to us. And now they stand by our side, desperately; they don't ask for autonomy, they want no special privileges, they just want to remain one with us, because we have never harmed them. Neither the propaganda of the Ukrainians and Russian Imperialists, nor the schismatical attempts at their conversion, nor anything else has had any effect on them. They are clamouring for Hungarian schools, while a foreign race speaking in the name of Budapest denies them their very nationality; and their Bishop, Andrew Szabó, sends the following message in their name : " There is no need of a declaration of loyalty on the part of Hungary's Ruthenians, because this people has never faltered. "

But this does not suit Mr. Jászi, the Minister for Nationalities. He wants to transform our great geographical unit into a sort of Eastern Switzerland, and he has invented a new name, Ruszka-Krajna, for the green counties of whispering woods, the ancient part of Hungary inhabited by the Ruthenians.

There he stands, in the midst of a poisoned town, the son of Russo-Polish Jews, declaiming, with all the destructive vigour of his race, separatist theories against associations made by nature itself, forgetting that, while in Switzerland the extreme branches of three races join in a common summit, in Hungary the peoples' streams flow into a common basin, the strength and soul of which must always be the Hungarian people.

And while he holds forth, and declares that in a single moment he is going to efface the history of a thousand years, these thousand years of Hungarian history shout from every side in desperate protest. Széklers, Slovaks, Ruthenians, Germans and Catholic Serbians clamour like suffering brethren, appealing to each other over the indifference shown by a muzzled land. The voices of their anguish come like a storm down the mountains and join over the Great Plain under the November sky in a harmony that knows no discord. And the winds on their myriad wings carry the sad appeal on and on, and sow it as a seed for the future from which, one day, we shall gather a rich harvest of revenge

........

November 28th.

The protests from our outposts have died away and the tragic ray of light has been swallowed up in the general gloom. As long as the despoilers of the nation are in power it will always be like that. The Government has given millions to the Transylvanian Roumanians and has supplied them with a profusion of arms, taken from Hungarian soldiers, while it leaves the Hungarians and Széklers in sweating terror, defenceless in the midst of an enemy that clamours for their lives.

Károlyi's Government supports everybody who is against us. To-day, for instance, while I was on duty at the railway station, I saw special trains being put together with feverish haste. Roumanian agitators are calling together in Gyulafehérvár a Roumanian National assembly which intends, it is said, to declare for the separation of many purely Hungarian counties of Transylvania. And to facilitate the business the Hungarian Government puts special trains at the disposal of our enemies ! The whole thing is as though someone were grinning maliciously over a body writhing in agony.

There was great activity at the station to-day. The old refreshment shed of the Red Cross has been transformed into a refreshment room for returning soldiers. We who had for many years worked there with the Red Cross offered our services in vain. White bread, which we had not seen for a long time, and sausages, were distributed to the soldiers by Jewesses who wore neither hat nor cap and looked unkempt and untidy. They had been sent by the Social Democratic party, and care for the soldiers was only a secondary part of their duty : they distributed handbills and talked propaganda to the returning men. Notwithstanding our Red Cross and our papers one of the women came up to us and asked us to leave the place, as they had been put in charge of it.

With my sister and a friend we went back to the other refreshment room. " We have been kicked out, " I reported. We were now told that the Government, after having dismissed those who had directed the work of the Red Cross during the war, had appointed Countess Michael Károlyi to the head of the Red Cross—as Delegate of the Government. This position had always been filled gratuitously by grey-haired noblemen, but now Countess Károlyi voted herself a salary of eighty thousand crowns and had it paid out to her for a year in advance.

" One of her assistants has already been here, " said someone belonging to the Red Cross. " She made a great fuss and declared that Countess Károlyi would turn out all the ladies who had formerly done the work. "

" It will be a noble sight, " I said; " I shall stay and see it through. "

At this moment the sergeant with the red ribbon came in. Two soldiers with fixed bayonets followed him. They came straight up to me. " We have found some suspicious leaflets on the platform, royalist muck... "

" I don't know anything about any leaflets, " I answered, delighted to hear that some had at last made their appearance.

" The scent leads here, " the sergeant said threateningly, " it is said they are distributed here. "

" Search me, " I said, and turned out the pockets of my white apron. But I was too happy to dissemble : I laughed heartily

........

November 29th.

I stood in front of the cashier's little glass cage, leaning my elbows on the cool marble slab. There were only a few people coming and going in the big offices of the bank; a few servant girls sat about with their deposit-books in their hands.

" How's business in these days ? " I asked the cashier as he pushed my money over the counter.

" We have never been like this before. War-time was a perfect golden age in comparison. " He leant toward me and spoke in a whisper. " The Jews are exploiting the country and the Government shamelessly. The salary of a minister used to be twelve thousand crowns. The ministers of the popular Government have allotted themselves two hundred thousand and have had it paid out for ,a year in advance. For overtime, they take one hundred and sixty crowns an hour. The number of Ministers and Government delegates increases every day. There are forty Secretaries of State running about Budapest. Every radical journalist wants to be at least a Secretary of State. Treasury notes are printed as fast as posters. It is said that the popular Government has spent three milliards in a month— twice as much as the most expensive month of the war. This peace is an expensive thing, and one can't say that the republic is exactly cheap. We are racing towards bankruptcy. Many people are taking their money to Switzerland... "

What I possess shall remain here. If the country is ruined, we Hungarians will be ruined with it, at any rate. "

" It is wise to take precautions however, " the cashier said. " It is rumoured that all gold and silver is to be commandeered. "

On my way home his last words kept coming to my mind. Among our old family papers there is a little scrap of a document dated 1848, addressed to my grandfather, Charles Tormay; it is a receipt for the silver he had delivered to the mint to cover the issue of Kossuth's banknotes. My father once told me how on a certain day all the silver was heaped up on the dining-room table. He was a little boy at the time, and asked how he would be able to stir the sugar in his coffee if all the spoons were taken away ? " With a wooden spoon, " his mother said. My father could not bear the idea of that, so he hung about the silver till he managed to steal a little spoon. Everything else was melted down, and that little spoon is the only thing that remains of our old family silver.

They gave it, and we would give it, but not to this crowd. I wouldn't eat with a wooden spoon for the sake of the entire government

........

November 30th.

A yellow fog has descended on the town. The houses have disappeared in it, and the rooms are dark, as if the windows were covered outside with mud-coloured blinds. Though it is forenoon, the lamps are burning in the houses, as if a corpse were laid out in every room in the town. I never saw a fog like this. It looks the very picture of our lives.

Fog... clinging, dense fog. People choke as they walk, in an accursed land; they slip about in the sticky, heavy mud, and can neither halt nor run. A doomed city is our prison. The hearths are cold, we have no light, and all the doors are shut. Streets end in darkness, and at the street corners cold blasts strike one, coming no one knows whence. One cannot escape it. One has to go on, under dark windows, through the fog, across deadly alleys. Nobody looks out of the houses, and there is no sign of life about. The air seems to be a sloppy glue closing suddenly over one's mouth like a horrible, gigantic hand, and stopping one's breath. We shudder with discomfort and misery, and if we try to lay hold of something solid, the walls recede before our groping hands, and the doors move like ghosts. They are not locked, just ajar, and they open noiselessly inward. Behind them somebody stands and waits, waits with open eyes in the dark, conscious of some awful news impending : Hungary has lost something again... In the next street, in all the streets about us, red ferocious beasts are lurking with soft noiseless steps, ready to pounce...

That is our present life. Fog, yellow, clinging fog, in which the town, with all its streets and houses, glides on mud towards a bottomless abyss.

Day by day more cockades of the national colours disappear from the soldiers' caps, and as each one disappears it leaves a wound : a spot of blood... red buttons take their place. In one of the main streets yesterday a red flag was displayed on a house. In the northern suburbs communists meet in shady little inns, and in the streets foreign-looking men harangue chance crowds from dust-bins or the tops of hand-carts. With sweeping gestures they declare : " Everything is yours ! Take everything ! "

These words are all over the town to-day, and Károlyi's Government says it all the time, in every one of its declarations : " Everything is yours ! " It says it to socialists, communists, radicals, Czechs, Roumanians, Serbians...

tc_od1-28

Having begun with the Roumanians, Jászi now takes counsel with the Slovaks; and while the Czechs' troops descend, unhindered, into the valley of the Vág, and occupy town after town, the precious springs of Pöstyen among others, Jászi, Diener-Dénes and a fellow called Braun hand over to them our thousand-year-old rights. Jászi has already presented them with five Hungarian counties and offers a common administration for ten more. He bargains, humbles himself, and libels our rule of a thousand years. And even while he was shamefully giving up everything, and stupidly betraying the Government's hopeless inability to act, it turns out that the whole of the negotiations were nothing but a trap. After having surveyed the situation here, Prag has informed Budapest officially : " No negotiations whatever with the Hungarian Government have been authorised by the Czecho-Slovak Republic... "

Such are our rulers. They sell us over and over again every day. What I was told in whispers is now admitted by the Government itself, because Vlad, the leader of the Roumanian guards in Transylvania, has given the show away. To display his strength and power, he told the unfortunate Hungarian inhabitants of Transylvania : " The Roumanian guards have received from the Hungarian Government ten million crowns and fifty-five thousand infantry equipments. " Now even the deaf can hear what the Government does with the arms it has filched from our soldiers, who, notwithstanding their disbandment, were anxious to defend the soil of their country. It gives the arms of Hungarian soldiers to Roumanians, while it collects the weapons of Hungarian citizens for the benefit of ruffians, escaped convicts and vagabond deserters.

The eternally harassing question : what is going on ? has ceased to worry me. Now I know that everything that happens is barefaced treason, unlike any thing that has ever happened in my people's history. The clauses of a secret red treaty dictate every purpose, every action, and its stipulations influence everything that has happened in Hungary since the 31st of October.

........

December 1st.

Once upon a time December meant something lovely, glittering, cold, white, and the warmth of bright fires. Now its whiteness is death, its cold is torture, and everywhere the fires are out.

The cold at night is awful. Its breath penetrates into the rooms, and terrifies one. When the maid told us this morning that there was no coal left in the cellar, I could not believe her. I took a candle and went down the winding staircase into the dark. The coal dust crackled under my feet and the light of the candle flickered to and fro on the cobwebbed wall. The cellar was empty; only a few logs of wood were lying in a corner. It was some time before I realised what that emptiness meant. I did not move, but just stood rooted to the spot while my breath steamed in the candle-light.

We had received our coal-permit eight months before, and were sent by the coal-office to a big coal merchant. Week after week passed and we got no coal. I wrote, sent messages, went myself at last. On the stairs of the building misery and cold were thronging patiently, and sad-looking people were loafing about in the office. I had to wait as though in the anteroom of a minister. Now and then the lady secretary called one of us by name. Jewesses in fur coats and with diamond earrings were standing behind me and laughing among themselves. They had come after me, yet they were admitted before me. Beside me a poor woman in a shawl was waiting and a gentleman in a shabby coat which had seen better days. The woman complained quietly : for days she had been unable to cook because she had no fuel. The gentleman, a judge in a high position, said that his children could not get out of bed, but had remained there for over a week, because their rooms were so cold.

We waited patiently for hours. Noon passed. The secretary looked at her watch and said aggressively : " Too late, come to-morrow ! "

" But here is my coal-permit ! I got it in April. " The spirit of rebellion rose in me. I felt for the others too, for all of us who waited there, Hungarians, who no longer had any voice in anything.

The coal merchant, the secretary, both were Jews. These people have usurped every office and they put off from one day to another what is due to us, or throw it at our heads as if it were a charity. Tomorrow ! With clenched fists I went the next day, and the day after... Patient women, weeping old grannies, pushing, angry men. The coal merchant crossed the ante-room quickly, and imploring voices tried to catch his attention. But he answered back like a dictator deciding a question of grace : " Wait your turn ! "

Again I went, and befurred and bejewelled women came down as I went up, gloating over their success. I heard what they said—they had got what they wanted; and everywhere it is the same. With the impotence of a subdued race we go away empty-handed, and there is no place where we can assert our rights. They have the power, and they laugh in our faces.

And the coal in our cellar has been used up and we live in unwarmed rooms

........

December 2nd.

The morning was still dark when the ringing of a bell broke in upon my dreams. It worried me, floated over my head like the buzzing of a bluebottle, stopped, and started again. I woke.

It was the telephone in the ante-room.

" The farmer ? Oh yes, near our villa ! Last night burglars entered the villa... my sister's too ! I understand... "

At the police station I received but cold comfort.

" I don't see what good it can do to take your complaints down, " said a little man who seemed to be a clerk. " Last night sixteen villas were pillaged on one hill alone. As for the town, God alone knows how many houses and shops have been visited by burglars. We can't go into such matters. Where could we find enough detectives, when those we have already have other irons in the fire ? "

" They are searching for counter-revolutionists, " said a gentleman, whose flat had been burgled last night too. " Robbery is free in this country nowadays. "

I was sent from the ground-floor to the second, and thence to the ground-floor again. I wandered through stuffy corridors from one untidy office, smelling of ink, to another, and at last I was promised that inquiries would be made.

Here too everything had changed. New men had replaced the old Hungarian officials in the police-force. They had got this into their hands too.

The north wind blew sharply across the bridge, bringing a promise of snow. Like giants' brides, the white hills of Buda stood up against the cold wintry sky, and on them the bare trees cast shadows like blue veins over the sunlit snow. Everything glittered. For a moment the beauty of it thrust the town, the trouble, and the burgled house into the background. On the way I met my sister Mary. She too was coming from the police station and had two constables with her. The crown had been removed from the cap of one of them, the other still wore it.

" So you have not taken it off ? " said I.

" Kings may come and kings may go, but the holy crown will remain in its place, " he answered.

" Are you very busy ? " I asked, to change the subject.

" It would not do for things to remain as they are. "

" After all, it was the adherence of the police that settled the matter, " I retorted.

The two men looked at each other, but said nothing. Meanwhile we reached the house. The snow on the roof glittered against the blue sky. On the ground there were footmarks in the snow, which led to the terrace. It was obvious that the burglars had climbed the creepers on the wall and had entered the house in that way. In nearly every room a kitchen-knife was lying on the table with its handle standing out beyond the edge, so as to be easy to catch hold of, had the intruders been disturbed. In the hall a lot of things were tied up in a bundle.

'' They intended to come back, " said one of the policemen.

The cupboards were open, and a lot of things had been taken away, while the floor was littered with things they had rejected when they were making their choice. The red, white and green flag was torn from its staff and bore the marks of heavy, muddy boots. The big Bible, as if shot through the heart, had a bullet hole through it.

" There are clues enough for me, " I said to my sister. " I have already found the culprits : the products of the revolution have been visiting us. "

The constables looked at each other.

When I got home I told my mother what had happened. She listened to me with a stern face, in silence.

" They carried away whatever they could. They even stripped the mattresses. They scribbled filth on the walls. "

" These times levy toll on everybody, " said she. " What about those who are driven from their homes, whose houses are burnt down, who are murdered ? If only fate will be satisfied with this and ask no more from us, if this is all we have to pay, we shall have no reason to complain. " And she did not mention the matter again.

The evening papers were brought in. One name dominated them all : Gyulafehérvár... In the town where John Hunyadi, the Hungarian paladin of Christendom against the Turks, lies buried, over his grave, on the field at the foot of the castle, the Roumanian Irredenta under the name of " Roumanian National Council " has carried a resolution : " Transylvania, the Banat and all the territories of Hungary inhabited by Roumanians are united with Roumania ! " ... This happened in Gyulafehérvar, and Károlyi's Government sent the Roumanians by special train to this assembly of treason ! He even armed a bodyguard for them, and has given them millions !

Once more life seems like the dream of a demented brain. " Everything is yours, " says the Government, so that it may take what the robbers cannot carry off. They share and share alike, and what care they that in making their division they break our hearts ? The Hungarian population of Transylvania, abandoned, humiliated, betrayed, must tolerate that its ancient land should be thrown by Budapest to an uneducated, newly-risen Balkan state, whose shepherd folk, fleeing from the cruelty of its own princes, came to Hungary asking for hospitality, a few hundred years ago. The Széklers have lived for fifteen hundred years in Transylvania, and the semi-barbarous Roumanian people now laugh in the face of the original inhabitants, and by right of robbery declare that what was always ours is now their own.

The street is quiet. The town listens with a stony heart. The stars alone tremble above the roofs as if a great sob rose to them de profundis

........

December 3rd.

I went to Buda, to the Castle Hill. We had a meeting at five at Count Zichy's palace.

This house was built in the eighteenth century and is one of Buda's finest palaces. Maria Theresa, powdered and bewigged, once lived here, and her presence still seems to linger about the walls. The stone staircase rises loftily to the hall on the first floor, whose low, decorated roof is supported by white pillars. On the white walls glittered the gilt frames of old pictures.

The lamp had not yet been lit, but a fire was burning in the wide marble fireplace and shed its light around from below. It shone back from the beauty of ancient bronzes, ran over the walls, and under its flickering touch far-off Chinese springtimes came to life on the old porcelain, and then melted again into the gloom, suddenly, as the flicker passed by. The tall furniture stood haughty and clumsy, conscious of the fact that it had always been there.

When the lamp was lit others came in, shivering, and we all gathered round the fire like conspirators, for we all suffered the same pangs, we all wanted the same thing. We knew that the hour had come, that we had to call out the women from behind their locked doors. In the history of Hungary women have not often appeared. They have never had to fight for their rights, because there is no code in the world which protects the rights of woman so well as ours did—even in the darker centuries. They could live quietly in those days, and the handsome narrow faces of Hungarian women shone only in the mild light of the home fire. Those were Hungary's happy days. But when the land was afire and misery was reaping its harvest, then the Hungarian women rose to the occasion and stood in the fore-front of the fight. Our country has never suffered greater distress than now, and, as we sat there, we all knew that the women would respond to our call and would sow the seed of the counter-revolution. Not at meetings, not in the market-place, but in their homes, in the souls of their men exhausted by the hardships of war, men who are down-hearted to-day but who, to-morrow, will not dare to give the lie to the women who believe in their courage...

I read the draft of the programme in which, hidden among social and political reforms, I had attempted to sum up the vital needs of the whole womanhood of Christian Hungary.

" Let us set forth clearly what we want, " said Countess Raphael Zichy. All agreed, and at the head of the programme we stated, clearly and tersely, the Holy Trinity for which we meant to stand : a Christian and patriotic policy, the integrity of the country, and the sanctity of the family.

" I do not doubt the result, " said Prince Hohenlohe; " I have done much organising in Transylvania, and I know what women can do. "

When we left and dispersed in the quiet streets of Buda, I felt that I had entered on a new path, which might become my path of destiny

........

December 4th to 7th.

Henceforth life took on a new aspect. I shook off the paralysis of despair which had made me a passive sufferer of events. Till now, like a cripple deprived of the power of movement, I had brooded deeply over everything that came within my ken, but at last I had become an actor in deadly earnest in the tragedy, and I could waste no more time over details.

The day after the meeting in the Zichy Palace I wrote letters, telephoned and called to my side a few brave, energetic women. We had no time to waste, and we decided that each of my guests should invite to her own home her reliable women friends, and that we should address them, so that they in their turn might spread the idea of the organisation of Christian Hungarian women. There was no other solution, for the Press had ceased to be free. The few Christian and middle-class papers which would otherwise have been at our disposal had begun to be terrorised by red soldiers. Our ideals had been condemned to death by the Social Democrats; they had declared war against patriotism and Christianity. As for the integrity of Hungary's soil, they had declared in their official paper that it was no business of theirs...

We had perforce to return to the primitive means of olden times. The idea was spread by word of mouth, and we separated so as to be able to do more work. Emma Ritoók visited one end of the town and I the other. Like the primitive Christians, women gathered now here, now there. I visited dingy lodgings, baronial halls, schoolrooms; through dark streets, in the gloom of hostile alleys, I walked in snow and wind day after day. Women understood me, and their souls glowed with courage and decision in these sad times of exhaustion and resignation. With very few exceptions they signed my lists, those who did not had been forbidden to do so by their husbands. Never once did I find among them the cry of resignation " It is all over, effort is useless. " I respected them and was grateful to them, for they were simple, great and faithful. And while I thought of them in my wanderings from one modest home to another, and tormented myself about the misfortunes of our country, one scene for ever kept passing before my eyes. Though the snow was falling and it was dark I could see an eastern city under a burning sky; a house with pillars, the house of Pilate, and in the hall stood Our Lord in bonds. In front of the house a crowd, mad with hatred, clamoured : " Crucify Him, Crucify Him ! "

That is what they are shouting against our fettered country to-day. They drag it down among themselves, put a crown of thorns upon its head, smite it and spit upon it. They load it with a heavy cross and drive it unto the place called Golgotha. They nail it to the cross, so that it shall be able to see with its dying, bloodshot eyes, how they cast lots for its vesture at its feet. Then they put it into a sepulchre and roll a great stone before it, sealing the stone and setting a watch so that it shall not be able to rise...

His disciples and followers hid in despair and left His grave alone—they had no more hope. But on the third day, very early in the morning, women went through the blue dawn to His grave. It was women who saw His resurrection... The memory of that beautiful, sacred vision must have remained in their eyes. For thousands of years it has always been women who have seen resurrection on earth.

Now, too, they see it, or would they follow me ?

I did not want to be their leader, but the idea wanted it and ordained that I should be its apostle. When I was tired, when I felt down-hearted and doubt assailed me, whenever I felt unworthy of the call, I always remembered that the love for one's country and people which is put into one's soul is the measure of what one is able to achieve. It will succeed, it must succeed; and my voice, broken with much speaking, recovered before another meeting at the other end of the town, and women who had heard me already ran in front of me in the street, so that when I reached the new meeting they were waiting for me there, and listened to me again.

Late at night, dead tired, I struggle home, and flee to my mother for rest. We sit for a long time in the little green room, and she encourages me if I am weary, and she always finds the word that heals. Then, late, we go to sleep. The evening is long and gives me rest. I speak of my wanderings—and what I had felt dimly, as if in a haze, while my fatigue lasted, revives with imperative insistence, and I can think of nothing else

........

To-day a new misfortune has overtaken Hungary. The French Colonel Vyx, who has lately come to Budapest as head of the Entente's military mission, has sent a memorandum to the Hungarian Government, which contains the price of the Czechs' high-treason. The victorious Powers claim from Hungary the evacuation of all Upper Hungary, because they recognise the sovereignty of the Czecho-Slovak State and consider its army as an allied army...

I could hardly stop myself from trembling : a wave of utter sorrow and degradation passed over me. The heralds of right and justice, the new saviours of the world, regardless of the conditions of the armistice, simply order us to deliver up our country's great outpost, the Carpathians and eighteen of our most lovely counties, to those who never owned them, who are called the " allies " of the Entente although for many years they had been the main support of Austria's power, and its chief executioners. We Hungarians could tell a tale about that. After our war of liberation, they, as the secret agents of Austrian absolutism, agents provocateurs, and hangmen plenipotentiary, tortured Hungary's people more cruelly than any conqueror has ever done. And Venice and Lombardy could tell a tale too. There the memory of imperial torturers, " gli sbirre austriaci, " still haunts the country, and most of those were Czechs. It is they who are responsible for the turn things have taken, and yet, as allied forces of the Allies, they now participate in the execution of the armistice which directs the occupation of the old Monarchy's territory !

At the beginning of November fifteen complete Hungarian divisions came back from the front. If they were still here...

I was horrified and looked at my mother. She was thinking of the same things as I did. And like people who, sitting up with one whom they love and who is dangerously ill, try to strengthen their faith in his recovery by speaking of times when the patient was strong and healthy, we two began to talk, in our vigil of olden times, of lovely summers in the distant highlands. When we were still children our parents wanted us to get to know every part of our country, and every holiday they found a cosy little nest for us in some different county. Summers in the Carpathians ; charming little spas, villages in the forest, quiet, secluded little towns among the mountains... The green fields of the Mátra... the Pressburg of Maria Theresa... the towns of the Zips, and Kassa with its ancient cathedral... the High Tátra reaching into the clouds... the wilderness of Bereg... the forests of Marmaros... and the heaving waters of the Tisza... Past lovely summers—past with Hungary's soul.

tc_od1-29

But we shall take it back !... And next day I was up again and carried the word to the women and poured my faith into their hearts. The streets and squares are now darker than ever. A new order has been published that shops are to be closed at five, and so the shop-windows are dark after that hour. I passed in front of a Kinematograph, where big coloured posters near the entrance " featured " Tisza's death. An actor was made up as Tisza, and an actress represented Countess Tisza : Denise Almássy too was impersonated. The manager had had the reel staged on the authentic spot of the murder. Did he get the murderers to play their own parts, I wonder ?

As I passed, I listened with disgust to the remarks exchanged by people coming out from the performance. All Pest is whispering about a sailor who boasts everywhere that it was he who killed Tisza. It is also said that Countess Almássy, while dining at the Hotel Ritz, recognised with horror one of Tisza's murderers. She asked, " Who is that man ? " And somebody answered : " The President of the Soldiers' Council, Joseph Pogány. " But it was only an invention, for Denise Almássy has never been in town since the murder. All sorts of rumours get about. It is said that at the War Office the Government has paid out hundreds of thousands of crowns to suspicious individuals who have rendered great service to the revolution. The members of the first Soldiers' Council have received considerable amounts, nobody knows why. But Károlyi probably knows, and if he cared to look into matters he might find Tisza's murderers among them.

We live in a quagmire and around us Bolshevism is organising more openly every day.

I went home along the banks of the Danube. A small lighter towed a long raft down stream. A man sat on the stairs of the embankment, and his head was bowed between drawn-up knees. A child passed me, its bare feet wrapped in bits of old carpet and the ends of the strings with which they were tied up dragged behind him in the mud. The shops were already closed and the streets were in darkness. At the edge of the footpath a queer little figure was alternately stooping and standing up. As I got nearer I saw that it was an old woman, clothed in an old-fashioned cloak of beadwork and with a shabby bonnet on her head, who was searching among the garbage in the dust bins that stood by the side of the street. A little basket hung on her arm, and she was collecting putrid bits of food.

This town is haunted by strange sounds. Foreign money rings, banknotes rustle, and one cannot see who gives or takes. But the recipient sells his services for the foreign money and then whispers something broadcast in the streets. The cloaked woman among the garbage boxes, the despairing man on the stairs, and the child whose feet protrude naked from scraps of carpet, they all hear it.

A crowd gathers, no one knows whence, and soldiers and sailors appear. Suddenly someone jumps up on a box and begins to make a speech.

" It is all the fault of the gentle-folk, the counts, the priests and the bourgeois ! They ought to be knocked on the head, every one of them ! "

Szóljon hozzá!

Biztonsági kód
Frissítés

Latest comments

New Articles

Further reading on: Our history

Látogatók

Hungary 68.2%Austria 1.3%
Romania 5.1%Canada 1.1%
United States 4.5%France 0.9%
Ukraine 3.4%Sweden 0.8%
Russian Federation 2.8%Switzerland 0.4%
Germany 2.4%Netherlands 0.2%
Slovakia 2%Australia 0.2%
United Kingdom 1.9%Kuwait 0.1%
Norway 1.4%Italy 0.1%
Serbia 1.4%Poland 0.1%

Today: 816
This Week: 3033
Last Week: 4835
This Month: 14430
Last Month: 18110
Total: 2493823