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An Outlaw's Diary: Revolution - Chapter XIII


December 23rd-24th.

Everyone I have spoken to within the last few days has expressed anger and disgust over Mackensen's arrest. Countess Raphael Zichy told me she met Michael Károlyi accidentally, and told him straight out what she thought about it.

" It was bound to happen, " he answered cynically, " the worst that can happen now is that I shall have the reputation of having been the first ungentlemanly prime minister of Hungary. "

We met again in the Zichy Palace, the same group as last time. We had intended talking about our women's organization, but, somehow, we could not avoid the subject of Mackensen.

" We must write to him in the name of the women ! " said I, and there was a chorus of approval. I was entrusted with the writing of the letter, and Prince Hohenlohe offered to translate it into German, while the others promised to collect signatures.

I wrote it the same night : it gave me no trouble, for it was already in my mind. I repudiated Károlyi's base deed, scorned it, branded it in the name of womenkind, and asked the Field Marshal to forgive what had been done against the will of the nation. We were helpless at present, but the day would come when Hungary's people would raise up a statue of him on the rocks of the Carpathians which he had defended.

My mother was the first to sign my sheet. Then I started for town, and in the evening brought home with me many signatures. A message was waiting for me at home to say that Countess Albert Apponyi was going to Fóth, and as she too had signed the letter, she would take the message of Hungary's womanhood to Mackensen for Christmas.

It was little enough, but we had no more to give. The Field Marshal understood. He read the letter at once and was deeply moved when he expressed his thanks.

Thus came the eve of Holy Christmas.

Along the pavements grimy heaps of snow were melting. Squashy black mud covered the streets, the gas lamps flickered palely, and the shops were closed at an early hour. ' The trams had stopped. The town was needy and cold.

When, in accordance with our yearly custom, my mother and I went to spend the holy evening with my sister Mary, we saw armed drunken soldiers loafing about the streets. All round us there was firing going on, and the windows of the houses were in darkness.

Everywhere in Hungary the windows are dark today, and there is shooting among the houses of peaceful people. Only the frontiers, the dangerously receding frontiers, are quiet under the wintry sky. Over the snow-covered fields of Transylvania a Roumanian general is marching on Kolozsvár with four thousand men. Yesterday his advance guards entered the town of King Matthias Corvinus. I wept when I heard it...

The French Lieut.-Colonel Vyx has sent another memorandum. He has advanced the Entente's line of demarcation once more, and has now pushed it beyond Pressburg, Kassa, Kolozsvár, beyond many lovely Hungarian towns. And the Czechs and Serbians are still advancing...

Never has Hungary known a sadder Christmas than this one. There are no lights on our Christmas tree, it has been turned into a gallows tree and bound to it stands our generation, wounded more deeply than any Hungarian generation has ever been wounded before.


Christmas Night.

An icy wind was blowing when my mother and I came home through the unfriendly streets, and volleys were being fired in the direction of one of the barracks. We went out and came back amidst the clatter of firearms, and between the two journeys there was the picture of my sister's home, the usual room, the dwarf pine tree, with spluttering, bad candles, and, on the table, covered with white linen, the children's presents. They at least enjoyed it. The little boy thought that his brother's patched up rocking horse was new, and that everything was lovely. Poor children of a poor age, it is as well that they don't know what our Christmasses were like !... A hundred candles, a noble, grand fir tree reaching up to the ceiling. The smell of pure wax mingling with the perfume of the fir, fresh from the Vág valley, and every wish of the year was satisfied under that tree. Beyond that, I saw another tree, then another, and another, many more... Burning candles and green fir trees carried me back into the years of the past : an avenue of shining Christmas trees, the end of which is so far away that in the depth of its perspective I can see myself quite small. There, far away, I was a child, like those who now count me among the old. Then all the old folk were still with me, the dear old ones who stand between us and death when we start life. There are many of them, many defending rows, so that we cannot see the end of the road... As we advance, one after another they disappear. My two grandmothers, my father... One defending row after the other has fallen out, and now only my mother and Uncle Géza, her brother, stand in front of me... I am coming to the front myself; like the others before me, I am hiding the end of the road from the children who are growing up...

When childhood has passed, the festivities of Christmas are always damped by the quiet sadness of memories. And this year it is not only the past of individuals but the past of our country, our people that haunts us. How lovely Christmas used to be... Hungary's Christmas ! So naturally lovely that we did not know...

Christmas bells ! When they called to midnight mass their clanging mingled with the rattle of machine-guns.


December 25th-30th.

In the good old times the last week of the year used to be one uninterrupted holiday. This year it is only a horrible part of the desperate road we have to tread. The news spreads from one to the other : to-morrow—the day after to-morrow—on New Year's Eve at the latest—there is going to be great slaughter in the town. Everything one sees is cruel, rough and repellent. I have hidden from it these last few days, and, near my mother, in the peace of my home, once more I have had time to think.

The Government speaks of elections, and promises this sham legal confirmation of its power for January, as the Entente refuses to deal with it under present conditions. Meanwhile the Social Democrats are trying to win over the villages, so the reform of the land-laws is again to the fore. They have always been a poisonous wound in Hungarian life, and should have been altered, justly, soberly, many a year ago. Previous governments have postponed it unscrupulously; the present government wants to use it as a firebrand. Buza Barna, the Minister for Agriculture, has promised so much land to those who want it that he wouldn't be able to find it even if he were to divide up all the entailed and private estates; and he has promised it for such an early date that it is technically impossible to deal with the matter in time.

The intention is obvious. After the Russian pattern, they want to gain the peaceful peasants' adherence to their revolutionary principles. So they promise land to everybody. This lying promise has spread with evil results : following the example of the workers in the towns, the agricultural labourers have now stopped work. They expect to till their own plots in the spring, so why should they work for others now ? No autumn sowing is being done, and while the country is starving, maize, potatoes, beetroot, swedes and vegetables worth millions remain in the fields unharvested. Agitators visit the villages, inciting the people against private property and landlords, and appealing to the servants and labourers to take possession of the land.

As the Budapest Soldiers' Council rules over the military administration of the government by means of its government delegates, so the Budapest Workers' Council lords it over the civil administration through its Socialist ministers. The leaders of the Soldiers' and the Workers' Councils are all of the foreign race, and they never tire of advancing their intentions of spoliation, wrapped in the Utopian dreams of Bolshevism. The Workers' Council at its last meeting in the New Town Hall settled the fate of land reform by simply overthrowing it, by declaring that the land was common property—that all private property must cease. Then they settled the question of taxes in a manner that effectually rendered any further discussion unnecessary. They proposed a hundred per cent, tax on all property—i.e. confiscation.

These declarations and propositions are spreading rapidly all over the country and preparing the minds of the people for the second revolution, which Zsigmond Kunfi, Lenin's emissary, threatens us will break out if the middle classes show resistance or dare to organise, or go so far as to attempt to give satisfaction to the powers of the Entente, who would prefer to deal with a middle class government rather than with the present rulers of Bolshevist tendencies. " There is need for a new revolution, " says he, " and it will come. "

The Government made no provision for order, coal or food during the Christmas holidays, but promised a new revolution instead—and it is with this promise that the terrible year makes its exit.


December 31st.

It was by accident that I went there. In front of the Maria Theresa barracks the soldiers had erected barricades of benches and seats on the pavement. They laid their loaded rifles on the backs of the seats, sat there and drew a bead on everybody who approached. " Get away from here ! " they shouted. Now and then a shot rang out, but no damage was done.

I went into a shop; it was already crowded, and people were talking excitedly. Somebody said there was to be a communist meeting in the barracks.

Béla Kún was to come from the Francis Joseph barracks, where he had incited the men to drive away their officers, but the soldiers could not make up their minds. Most of them watched the proceedings from the windows and then somebody fired a shot down into the yard, whence the fire was returned. There was a lot of firing and Béla Kún and his associates disappeared in the confusion. The soldiers then began to maltreat their officers and broke into the armoury, where about four thousand of them obtained arms. They are coming now, and are going to occupy the streets...

Four thousand men ! It was precisely that number of Roumanians who occupied Kolozsvár, but there were no four thousand Hungarians to face them. By order of the Government Lászlo Fényes had disarmed and sent away the Székler guards. It was in vain that Fényes was beaten later on by desperate Transylvanian fists, for four thousand Roumanians had meanwhile torn Kolozsvár from the country...

I was brought back to the present by people running past the shop. Someone shouted " The Communists are coming ! " A panic followed. Everybody rushed into the street, and the shops' shutters were drawn down quickly behind them. Red rags appeared on houses, and the middle of the road became as empty as if it had been swept clean. An armed lorry passed.

" There ! That one on the right, that's Béla Kún ! " Hands pointed to a vulgar-looking, yellow-skinned, dark-eyed, puffy-faced individual. His hat was tilted to the nape of his neck and his overcoat was open.

As I was going home by a round-about way I pondered on the man I had seen. Where had I seen his face before ? Suddenly I remembered. Shortly after the October revolution a man was addressing some disabled soldiers from the top of a garbage box near the railway station. I had been astonished at the time to see how this ghetto-Jew, who spoke bad Hungarian and had only lately discarded the gabardine, managed to get a hearing. I remembered that clearly. He had a common fat face and his eyes blinked while he preached against the existing order. His blubbering mouth opened and closed as if he were chewing the cud. He shouted in a hoarse, lifeless voice. He grew warm, and as he spoke he removed his hat frequently and wiped the perspiration off his baldish head with the palm of his dirty hand. I had wondered at the ugly foreign people who were listened to now-a-days by our folk. People who can't speak Hungarian set one Hungarian against another.

There was no doubt whatever about it. The man on the garbage box and the man whom the people pointed out as Béla Kún were one and the same.


I heard later what had happened in the barracks. There too Béla Kún made a revolutionary speech. Before he started, two Jewish corporals had attempted to prepare the soldiers, but the soldiers threatened them and they were lucky to escape. Then Béla Kún tried to speak. The soldiers arrested him, boxed his ears, shoved him into the lock-up and turned the key in the door. Everybody was pleased; the soldiers cheered their officers, and it seemed for a moment that the soldiers of the Maria Theresa barracks would stand their ground and beat anarchy. Then Joseph Pogány arrived in a motor car with his escort. He inquired excitedly what had happened, cursed both officers and men, and hurried to Béla Kún. They had a long conversation in the lock-up, then Pogány solemnly released the Communist and drove him off in his car. Meanwhile the mutinous soldiers from the Francis Joseph barracks arrived. It was quick work. When Pogány's motor started with Béla Kún in it the soldiers were already shouting with all their might " Long live Communism ! "

In the afternoon Countess Károlyi, escorted by her husband's secretary, an officer called Jeszenszky, visited the barracks. In the evening it was the talk of the town that there was going to be a mutiny, and that the citizens were going to be massacred at night. Explosions were heard now and then in the dark, and the rumour spread that the communists had blown up a munition factory and the railway bridge. They were all false; it was only the soldiers out on a spree. They fired the heavy guns, threw handgrenades, dragged machine-guns into the street and fired them just to pass the time away.

Midnight drew nearer amid the clatter of fire-arms. As at Christmas, we again gathered at my sister Mary's. The New-Year's punch was standing ready in long fluted glasses, and the children kept looking at the clock.

I had a letter in my hand; it had come from the capital of Transylvania with the last Hungarian post, behind it the barrier had crashed down. It was just like getting news of the death of a relation during the war, and after he had been buried receiving the last letter from his hand. My heart bled, though I did not know, and had never seen, the writer of the epistle. I read it out aloud :

Kolozsvár, December 23rd, 1918.

" I have just read in the Sunday issue of ' Az Ujság ' your article ' Awake.' I cannot describe what I felt when I read your lines, and yet I feel I must write to you. Every word of your terrible, biting truth has engraved itself upon my heart. It is this tone, this hard, bitter language, that we need to-day; we need it as much as a starving man needs a bit of bread, as a drowning person needs something to cling to. That is what we want : the proclamation of our confidence, our self-respect, to a world in which every nation boils with patriotism while we Hungarians, alone, proclaim internationalism, humility, and resignation—far beyond the necessities of our miserable condition.

It is true : our leaders don't feel Hungary's death—and, what is worse, our poets are silent as if they too were insensible to it. I cannot thank you enough that in this back-boneless, collapsing, suicidal Hungarian world you have had courage enough to throw it in our teeth. How many Hungarians like you are there in the de-nationalised heart of our country, and how many Hungarian writers besides you feel there, what we feel here, when this evening brings us the burden of the certainty that to-morrow, on Christmas Eve, Roumanian troops will tread the streets of Kolozsvár ?

I write these lines from the unhappy soil of Transylvania on the eve of the occupation of its capital. I beg of you don't forsake us poor Hungarians in the future. Write for us. We welcome your lines, your writings, as prisoners in their dungeon welcome rays of sunshine. It is possible that politically we shall fall to pieces, that the predatory nations who fall upon us will tear us to shreds, but the meeting of Gyulafehérvar cannot make a law, the Government Council of Nagy Szeben has not power enough, and the Roumanian occupation cannot bring in an army big enough to tear from our hearts that which was written there by your pen. As long as the Hungarian spirit lives, there is hope for our resurrection.

I remain, etc.,

We looked at each other. This letter came, not from a single individual, but from Kolozsvár, from the whole of unhappy, amputated Transylvania.

" What will there be in a year's time ? What will remain of Hungary ? " Our prophecies were gloomy indeed; the crowning mercy of hope alone remained. Then my brother-in-law said : " They can tear us to pieces, but they'll never prevent us from getting together again ! "

I asked my mother what she thought.

" It is your affair now. I shall watch you. "

The clock struck.


January 1st, 1919.

This year people dare not wish each other a happy New Year. They murmur something, then cast their eyes down with a strange expression, as if they were looking into an open grave.

Kassa has been occupied by the Czechs ! Under the tower of its old cathedral, down in the crypt, Rákoczi's skeleton hands are clenched and he asks : " Is it for this that you brought my body back from Turkey ? " On the same day the Hungarian troops left Pressburg at the instigation of the confidential men of the Budapest Soldiers' Council. The local Workers' Council thereupon assumed control, and to-day, on New Year's day, the Italian Colonel Ricardo Barecca entered the town at the head of a Czech regiment. On the bank of the Danube, beside a marble equestrian statue of Maria Theresa, two Hungarians stand with " Moriamur pro rege nostro " on their lips : did they cast their eyes down in shame, is it only the stones that still say this in Pressburg ? Meanwhile the Government informs the country with pacificist satisfaction that : " in order to avoid bloodshed the armed forces of the popular government have retired everywhere. "

During the last few weeks the life of us Hungarians has been like an attempt to climb out of a putrid well into daylight. We have toiled painfully upwards, we have made desperate efforts to escape the slimy horrors of the water, but in vain. The wall of the well, like a slippery drain, grows higher above our heads, the water rises behind us, and there is no escape. Slimy stagnant water, beastliness, utter beastliness.

Yesterday Mackensen was surrounded by French Spahis in the castle of Fóth. He is now guarded like a criminal, and people are saying that Károlyi is responsible for this.

It is an old-established custom with us that on New-Year's day the Prime Minister should make a speech, retrospective and prospective. Michael Károlyi delivered his speech this morning. He accused the past and renounced the future, accused the old system of being responsible for all our misfortunes, and, as the only means of salvation, proclaimed his feeble-minded hobby : " We must seek help for Hungary's cause in pacificism, for in that name alone shall we conquer... Should pacificism fail, then I say : finis Hungarix. "

Pressburg, Kassa, Kolozsvár... pacificism failed to save them. And the man who said on the 31st of October : " I alone can save Hungary, " cries to the deceived millions on New Year's day : " finis Hungarix. "

This cowardly declaration roused me from lethargy. I felt that from the moment when Károlyi renounced his prey, our unhappy country became our own, our very own. If it is over for him, it must start anew for us. Henceforth I shall work more, and more ardently.

In the afternoon we met at my Transylvanian friend's house. But before I started from home various people rang me up on the telephone, and warned me not to go out because riots were expected. Some made excuses for non-attendance, some said they had been warned by the police, others had received hints from Károlyi's immediate surroundings. Though it was scarcely four o'clock when I left home, I found that the concierge had already locked the front door of our house. Hardly anybody was visible in the dead streets, shops and house-doors were all shut. The houses looked repellingly, selfishly down on me, and I had the unpleasant feeling that if anything happened to me not one of them would open its door to rescue me. I felt depressed by a sense of expulsion and outlawry. He who has never walked in the daytime through an empty town, where there is no soul, no carriage abroad, where all the houses are shut up, has never felt what real loneliness is.

Only a few of us met in my friend's room : a few women and a politician or two, dropped in at intervals. We were all sad and depressed, and nobody started a discussion. The only thing we decided was that our organisation should be called the National Association of Hungarian Women.

Before we parted my Transylvanian friend asked me what our material resources were. I had not thought of this, so was embarrassed, and felt rather ridiculous... We hadn't got a penny !... This is the result of having an organisation presided over by someone whose creative power is restricted to the writing-table, someone who could imagine the possession of untold treasures when her pockets were empty. I could go off to distant countries while sitting at home with my head between my hands. I could create a scorching summer while the snow was falling, and one flower was enough for me to make a spring. I could build houses and harvest golden crops, though I possessed no land, no bricks, no garden and no fields.

My friend laughed and whispered : " Don't let it out, but if you want anything tell me. "

When I went home the town had regained its usual aspect. The nightmare had departed, the doors were open, the traffic had come back again into the empty streets, and nobody could tell whence the false alarm had come, whether the communists had meditated a rising, or Bartha's scattered officers' corps had projected one. It's just one of our daily frights.


January 2nd-3rd.

Two peculiarities in the life and the manners of old people have become clear to me lately.

In our generation it has never mattered much who over-heard what one said. We are accustomed to speak openly. The security in which we lived until lately made our opinions free and gave our age its undisciplined character. I have often noticed that my mother and people of her age speak in lower tones than we do, and more discreetly. They were bred in times when there was always someone unwanted listening. The spy system of Austrian absolutism taught them to be cautious. My mother has often remarked : " You would talk of anything before anybody. " I used to think that this restraint was the outcome of the educational principles of a more refined age. But since the present illegal government, afraid for its power, has taken to watching us with spies and agents-provocateurs, I have realised that the superior, reserved expression of our elders is not merely the outcome of a more aristocratic spirit pertaining to a world that has gone, but that it had its ultimate source in self-defence.

In the same way another peculiarity of theirs has become plain. They built their houses and made their furniture in a different way from ours. When I was a child I used to love hunting for secret drawers in ancient furniture, and concealed rooms and recesses in those cunningly built old houses. I remember that whenever I went through the abodes of past ages, old castles, manors and houses, I used to take a peculiar delight in their elaborate and intricate construction. The secret hollow spaces in the walls attracted me, and invisible cupboards—they contrasted so strangely with the smooth lines of our modern houses. I realise now that all this was not due to mere fancy. I realise that there is no precaution of this sort taken in building a house which does not spring from a wish for either attack or defence. The hidden recesses designed by the old architects, the secret drawers in old furniture, the reticent, cautious speech of former generations, all these were only protective against a danger which threatened. In the last few weeks public security has grown weaker and weaker, and the rumour has been spreading with increasing persistence that the present spendthrift government intends to lay its hand on all gold and silver in private possession. I often look round in despair at the smooth walls of our house, which refuse all help. If is not possible in these days to bury anything in the woods. The leaves have fallen long ago, poaching soldiers are roaming about everywhere, and the townspeople go out to steal wood all over the place. It is only in one's own home that one can hide anything.

I had a look at the cellar the other day, but its concrete floor would only yield to a pick-axe, which would make a noise, and leave tell-tale traces. The attics are out of the question, for we have had to remove even the few things we kept there : it is not even possible to hang the washing in them, for there are specialists of the burglar fraternity who operate from the roofs of Budapest.

I spent sleepless nights pondering over the question where we should put our silver when I brought it home; I even thought of the hollow window frames. If we took up the parquet flooring it would give very little space and we could put only a few things under it.

It was my mother who solved the problem, and we decided that I should bring the plate chest home from the bank. This was not quite as easy as it sounds, for I didn't dare to do it by myself. A few days before, we had sent my sister some curtains and pictures in a hand-cart, and a small party of soldiers had simply taken the bundle off the cart and gone off with it. So I asked a cousin of mine to come to my help. He donned his uniform and armed himself with a revolver, and under his martial escort I drove through the town. Whenever soldiers or sailors approached us a lump rose in my throat. So many dear momentoes, so many old family things were hidden in that box—practically all our valuables were rattling in the ramshackle old cab !

I got home dead-tired. The day dragged to an end, and when at last night fell and we could close the shutters without raising suspicion, and the maids had gone to bed, we three started to hide the things. My mother wrapped them up and then tied long strings to the handles of the ewers and salvers. Meanwhile I hammered small nails into the top of my bookcase, tied the strings on them and let down the salvers behind the case, one after another. It was an excellent plan : nothing was visible, either from above or from below : the things dangled peacefully in mid-air. The tea-pots and ewers gave us more trouble, but there again my mother had an idea. In the drawing-room a large mirror hung in a corner and there was a big space behind it; so we hung the teapots and jugs by strings from two hooks at the back of it.

A single electric bulb lit up the gloom of the room. A chair was placed on the stove, my cousin, in full uniform, stood on the chair, and my mother and I handed the things, dangling from their strings, up to him. He bent up and down as if he were decorating a Christmas tree.

It was long after midnight when we had finished, and as I got into bed I remembered that evening when I had seen the people in the opposite house hiding their clothes, and I sympathised even more with them now. In fact I approved of their action. The state requisitions clothes ostensibly for the soldiers, but the soldiers never get them. It is just robbery, under the guise of Socialism, like everything else nowadays : the collectors and distributors keep anything worth keeping. Many a janitor and hall porter appears suddenly in mackintoshes of British make, or valuable fur-coats, and not a soul dares to say anything. The second-hand clothes shops are full of clothes that have been commandeered.

When it comes to commandeering the silver it will be just the same. And as I went off to sleep I was as pleased with the spaces behind the mirror and the book-case as a smuggler with his cave.


January 4th.

There are few people in the streets to-day. I left home early, for this morning the police came and told us that they were going to make a fresh examination of the villa where the burglary took place. After much running about, however, we found that the police had forgotten the whole affair, that no inquiries had been made, and that the official papers, as well as my own complaint, had been mislaid. That is what usually happens nowadays.

There is great excitement in town : the workmen are taking up a threatening attitude towards the managements of the factories. The Ganz engineering works were surrounded this morning by armed men, the managers were dismissed, and new ones appointed—under the control of the shop-stewards.

When I reached the bottom of the hill I had to wait a long time for a tram. Only one man was waiting besides me at the stopping-place. He wore a checkered pork-butcher's cap and a ragged, dirty uniform, and in his button hole he displayed the Socialist emblem, the red man with a hammer. The stopping-place was at a lonely spot, and I felt uncomfortable, for the man kept on looking at me.

I thought it as well to know with whom I had to deal.

" Has there been an accident, that there is no car ? " I asked him.

" Maybe, " he said abruptly. And then, as if irritated by my presence, he got angry. " We shall put things straight in no time, " said he. " We've settled with the Ganz works. The trams will come next. But first of all we're going to socialize the state railways, and shall dismiss the managements of all the works and yards. In the provinces we shall take things in hand too. Béla Kún and Comrade Vág have swept the coal-mines of Salgó Tarján. "

" It was a sad sweep, " said I. " The result was eleven killed and about a hundred wounded. Do you know that there was scarcely a house left standing afterwards ? "

" The Communist workers behaved all right. It was the rabble that plundered the town. "

" I was told that Béla Kún set the armed workers against the unarmed population. It is said that the miners used dynamite to blow up the town. They took possession of the depots, the railway station, the post office. Roving gypsies couldn't have done all that. It was a well organised rising. "

The man looked down, smacking his leggings with his cane. When he looked up again there was hatred in his eyes.

" It's just as well that you gentle-folk should understand that from now on that's how things will be done. Everything has been yours long enough, now let it be the people's. "

" Don't you suppose that those you call gentlefolk have risen from the people ? To rise in the social scale one has to work, and it is worth working for. Only it is not often the work of a single life, but of several generations, till at last one reaches the goal. If from the start there is no possibility of getting on in the world, it will mean that industry, hard work and intelligence will be deprived of their reward. Would you work without a prospect of a pleasanter life ? "

" No, " the man said hesitatingly. Then, as if angered by his own back-sliding, he said rudely : " They tell a different tale in the Unions. "

" The Jewish leaders... "

" Well, that's true, they are Jews, every one of them, " he admitted grudgingly. " Whose fault is it ? The gentle-folk's, who would not mix with us. They never troubled about us, and left us to the Jews. "

" There you are right, " I rejoined, and he took off his cap when I got into the tram.

I came home feeling chilled, and met three men on the stair-case, two soldiers and one in civilian clothes. The maid who opened the door informed me that they had come to commandeer lodgings.

" Did you let them in ? Why did you not tell them that we already had a certified lodger ? "

" It was no good. They pushed me aside and came in. Poor, dear old lady. They were so rude to her. They went everywhere, looked at everything, and told her she would not be allowed more than two rooms. "

Naturally my mother was upset. A dentist with four children had put in a claim for three of our rooms with the common use of the kitchen and bathroom. If I remember rightly his name was Pollak and he had lived till then in the ghetto.

I flew into a rage. I had never heard of any lodgings being commandeered for Transylvanian refugees : they are expelled, while Galician refugees of Austrian nationality are planted in our midst. What are they afraid of ? What are they fleeing from, that they thrust their way into the homes of Christians ?

" I'll arrange it all, don't you worry, " I said to my mother. " We haven't come to that yet... "


January 5th.

It was my mother herself who took in the invitation, and the man who brought it made her promise solemnly that she would deliver it into my own hands alone.

I knew what it was about, and early in the afternoon I started on my errand. It was five o'clock before I entered the door of the house owned by the Franciscans. Some gentlemen were on the staircase before me. We met in the rooms of Stephen Zsembéry, a former deputy. All the leaders and principal members of the anti-revolutionary parties were present with the exception of Count Julius Andrássy, who had mysteriously disappeared, and Count Apponyi, who has retired from politics. Count Stephen Bethlen proposed the union of all parties, as the only means of saving the country. At first he was supported, then objections were raised and—when we broke up it was decided to meet again soon, in order to come to some final decision.

I was sad when I went home. On the way I remembered a story I had once written of how an inn stood on the plain, on the great military road. Warriors passed in great numbers, on their way to recover Buda from the Turks. They hailed from all the corners of the earth. There were only two Hungarians in the inn, but they could not get on with each other : they quarrelled, came to blows, killed each other. Over their bleeding corpses their greatest foe said happily : " That is a good job : if they had not killed each other, we never could have got the better of them. "

These two Hungarians have had many names in the course of the centuries. Once they were called Ujlaki and Gara, at another time Kuruc and Labanc; then Görgey and Kossuth, quite lately Tisza and Andrássy. And to-day our perennial ghost seemed to have walked during our labours.

Æterna Hungaria...

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