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An Outlaw's Diary: Revolution - Chapter XVII


March 1st-5th.

Winter is still with us, but the winds bring signs of awakening from afar. March... the month of fevers and commotions. On the earth fatigue and restlessness chase each other. Flooded rivers race along. There is no visible sign of it, yet spring is there somewhere over the horizon.

Whose spring is this to be ? Ours or theirs ? Signs of evil omen prophesy against us. The monster, raised from the dark by Károlyi's party in October, shows its head daily more boldly and now grips the city with innumerable tentacles. Its suckers pierce the flesh of Budapest, and where they fasten themselves the streets become convulsed, and, like blood, red flags trickle out of the houses.

The Galileists openly avowed at their last meeting that they are Communists. At the instigation of Maria Goszthonyi and a Jewish Communist woman the Socialist women demonstrated in the Old House of Commons against the religious and patriotic spirit in the schools. On the initiative of John Hock, himself a priest, orators clamoured in favour of abolishing the Catholic priests' celibacy. Revolutionary orders from the War Office and the Soldiers' Council spread all over the country. Pogány has sent instructions to the various military detachments that they should, with the help of the confidential men, elect officers of the most advanced political opinions and dismiss the others.

In the Town Hall the Workers' Council has now passed sentence of death on the system of small holdings and on the distribution of land. This distribution would at least have left Hungarians to some extent possessed of their birthright. But that would have retarded the plans of our new conquerors. So they want to socialize it and create producers' co-operative Societies, controlled from Budapest, and directed, instead of by the old Hungarian landlords, by people who, as Kunfi said : " are inspired by the new spirit of Hungary. " They want to achieve the revolution of the soil even as they achieved their political revolution. After the wheel, they want to lay hands on the ship itself.

Outside the walls, no less than inside, the red plague is spreading. I remember the first red flag hoisted. It hung alone for a long time, then it was followed by others. The rebellion of October ordered the beflagging of the town. The perpetrators of that crime commanded an obscene display of joy in the hour of our great disaster, and Budapest donned in cowardly fashion the festive decoration imposed upon her, while the country was being torn to pieces all around. In the days that followed she did not dare to remove it : she stood there, beflagged, during the downfall, under the heel of foreign occupation, like a painted prostitute, and the national colours became antagonistic to our souls, an insult to, a mockery of, our grief. Though it sounds like the talk of a madman, I say that I began to hate the colours for which I would formerly have loved to give my life.

Now the red, white, and green flags are disappearing rapidly. But the soiled colours of the nation are not replaced in the country's capital by the black of mourning. Every day there are more and more red flags in the streets of this unprincipled town, which is always outrunning itself and stamping its past into the mud. Once I loved this town and wrote its romance, so that its people might learn to love it through my art[4]. Now I have become a stranger within its gates and have no communion with it. I impeach it and repudiate it.

And this accusation is not raised against the foreign race which has achieved power, which has attained its end by sheer perseverance, ingenuity, industry and pluck—but against Magyardom and the whole nation, who have, heedlessly, incapably and blindly, given up their own heart—the capital.

All past powers and governments are responsible for this. The reproach concerns to the same extent those politicians who are still debating about shades and won't see that to-day there are only colours, and won't feel that in a short time there will be no more colours, but only one colour, and that that one will be—red.

This bitter thought brought to my mind a Red soldier whom I saw when I was on duty at the railway station. Some armed men came into the hall where we have our Red Cross. They were commanded by a strapping young Hungarian. He stopped in front of me and asked me whether I had seen ninety-six men pass there. They came from Dees, were Whites, armed, and their track had been lost.

" I haven't seen them. " Then my eyes caught sight of his cap. A broad red ribbon was sewn round it. " What have you done with the red, white, and green one ? "

" We lost that on the Piave, " the soldier answered.

" There you lost the black and yellow one[5]. You have torn off our own colours yourselves. " As I said this I looked straight into his eyes. He couldn't stand my gaze : he snatched the cap from his head and hid it behind his back :

" Well, and you gentlefolk, why don't you ever give us a lead ? "

Many times have those words echoed in my ears since then, every time a soldier or a workman has flung at me the accusation of want of leadership. It seems to be a characteristic of our politicians and intellectuals.


March 6th.

An old woman stood on the edge of the curb and made queer, whining sounds. People looked at her and went on. A few street urchins jumped about her and laughed at her. When I came near I noticed that she was blind. She was making heartrending appeals out of her eternal darkness to the passers-by, and wanted to cross the busy street, but there was none to give her a helping hand. For a moment or two I looked at the people : they were mostly poor : labourers, labourers' wives. They passed unmoved, caring for none but themselves.

The community of Marxian proletarians came to my mind. Those teachings which kill human community kill class community too. The times which tear the Saviour from the cross crucify humanity in His place.

I took the old woman's arm and led her through the medley of trams and carriages.

" I am sure it is one of the gentlefolk who leads me, " the woman said; " our own people have become so cruel, even to their own kind... "


March 7th-8th.

I live from day to day. I have not yet been called before a tribunal. I am not arrested, but their accusations against me remain, nobody has torn up the warrant for my arrest. Why they hesitate about executing it I don't know, for I shouldn't trouble to ask them why they arrested me, and certainly wouldn't accept any intervention on my behalf. I wouldn't ask them for anything.

I am free, and yet I am not. I had intended to visit two provincial towns in the interest of the Women's Association, but I was warned that if I were to leave Budapest it would be considered flight, and I should be arrested. What am I to do ?

The elections are coming off shortly. I work too, though I don't believe in them. The situation would be just the same if, regardless of all intimidation, the patriotic masses were to secure a majority. Social Democracy is not particular about its means; it has roused the workmen with the story of the world-saving powers of the equal and secret ballot, and now when this has been obtained and it ought to submit to its judgment, the official Government journal says right out : " If Socialism were, for whatever reason, to lose the battle, it would be ultimately obliged to resort to arms against the counter-revolution... " The election can't help us. Something else will have to happen.

And it will happen. It is in the air. A monster cord is tightening round us, and when it snaps it will draw blood from those it strikes.


March 9th.

The red fist is raised higher every day and becomes more and more threatening. In a friendly way it points occasionally to the gallows, and then towards gaol. This morning it has again honoured me with its attention. The official paper of the Social Democratic headquarters, under the title ' The visiting Counter-Revolution, ' makes an onslaught on those who, without the knowledge of the Government, are communicating with the envoys of the Entente, and, in company with others, it calls me a counterrevolutionary spy.

Somebody gave me the paper on the staircase of the Protestant Theological College. The Evangelical students were giving a concert, and between the songs I was to give an address. The words of ' The People's Voice ' were still buzzing in my head when I stepped on the platform. I told the Protestant youths that every patriotic action which serves its purpose, that every patriotic word that hits the mark, regains a scrap of our torn country. The People's Voice accused me this morning of being a counterrevolutionary spy. I don't deny it, I try to inform foreign countries of the state of affairs by word of mouth and with my pen. I read an article of mine which a compatriot and his Swedish wife had taken to Stockholm for the Svenska Dagbladed. It was called : ' An appeal from a nation's scaffold.' I left it to my audience to decide whether that was counterrevolution or patriotism.

When I came to the end of my address a loud voice shouted : " We want a hundred thousand similar counter-revolutionaries ! " And the whole audience jumped up and took up the cry.

A wave passed over the hall, a wave which grows, spreads over the country, while from the other side there comes another wave coloured red. Which is faster, which will be the first to break the dyke ? It is all a question of time.


March 10th-11th.

The street was silent. There was no shooting last night and the obscene shouts of drunken patrols were not heard. It might have been about half past one when a cart came down the street and stopped at our front door. " Surely they have not come to fetch me in a cart ? " I thought, but all the same I collected my papers and stuck them under the bookcase. There was an odd noise below, as if something were being broken open. Then there followed steps carrying a heavy weight. The thought occurred to me that they might be robbing our cellar. I put out my lamp and went to the window. The street was practically dark, but I thought I could distinguish a cart and a few human figures.

What if they were stealing our coal ! The idea made me shudder. I ran to the concièrge, made him open the door, and went out into the street. The cart was standing at the cellar-stairs of the neighbouring house, where a carpenter had his workshop. The night birds were dragging furniture out of it. One of the dark figures stood in front of me : " Good evening, Miss, " he said.

" Good-evening, " I answered, and with the egotism bred of our times I was glad that it was not our cellar into which they had broken. " Goodnight, " I added politely. " Good-night, " came the answer.

Only when the door had shut behind me did I realise that these well-intentioned people might easily have knocked me down.

Such are the " Winter's Tales " enacted in the nights of Budapest...


March 12th.

In the name of the women of Hungary we made a last attempt to-day to unite the adherents of law and order. The leaders gathered at my house : we all realised that this was our last chance. And when at length, after long discussions, we women were left to ourselves, all we could do was to sum up our efforts in the words : " we have failed again ! "

Before going to bed the housekeeper brought her account books to my mother. She fixed her inquisitive eyes on me and said : " You look tired, miss. You've had so many visitors to-day ! Perhaps it was an important meeting ?... "

Instinctively I answered : " We discussed whether it would be possible to have the children's festival this year. " And then straight out, in self-defence, I asked : " Your fiancé, he is Pogány's chauffeur, isn't he ? "

She was taken aback by my sudden question and gave herself away :

" He carries Pogány sometimes, sometimes Böhm. "

That was just what I wanted to know.


March 13th.

Many people are stopping at the street corner, where a new poster is shrieking from the walls. It represents a giant workman bending over the Hungarian Parliament, at his feet a bucket of paint, and with a dripping brush he is painting the mighty mass of granite, which is our House of Parliament, red. Above the picture is the appeal ' Vote for the Social Democratic party. '

The everlasting pile of stones, and—red paint... That sums it up completely—even more than was intended.

The other day we stuck up our tiny poster. It was a map of Hungary : on a white field the green frontiers, and above, in red letters; ' National Association of Hungarian Women. ' They are free to cover the walls with yard-long posters : ours was no bigger than a hand and took up little enough room, yet they could not tolerate it. I saw a little boy tearing them off.

" Why do you do that, sonny ? It does not hurt you. "

" I get twenty crowns a day to tear down those in national colours. "

All around us foreign invaders are tearing our country to bits with impunity. In the capital, hired little Hungarian boys destroy its image.

The future lacerating itself.


March 14th.

I think that has pained me more than anything else. The face of that boy has haunted me ever since I saw it. Whose contrivance is it that we should come to this ? A new teacher walks among the children, a devilish red shadow has mounted the teacher's desk. It takes away from us the last thing that remained to console us. It started many years ago in the factories, then it prowled about the barrack-squares, and now it invades the schools. It puts up " confidential " boys and girls in opposition to the teacher's authority and gives them everything they were not allowed to touch before. " It was all stupid lies, " it whispers incessantly, and gives them the idea of Divinity as a target for their pea-shooters, and the map of their country, with all it stands for, to make kites with. It even betrays their parents to them : " don't respect them ! " it says. " You are only the result of their lasciviousness. They only sought their own pleasure in your existence, and you owe them neither gratitude nor obedience. "

The devilish red shadow threatens morals with ever increasing impudence. " Let the human mind be set free, " said Kunfi, and he replaced religious teaching in the schools by the exposition of sexual knowledge. Jewish medical students and lady doctors give erotical lectures to little boys and girls, and, so as to make their subject quite clear, films are shown which display what the children fail to understand. I heard of two little girls who lost their mental balance in consequence of these lectures. Some children come home disgusted and fall in tears into their mother's lap. But there are also those who laugh and say horrible things to their parents. After robbing the land the theft of souls has started, and Jesus appeals in vain that the little children be allowed to come unto Him : they must go no more.

A woman came to our office to-day. " The children turn against me, " she complained, and her voice broke. " School has robbed me of their hearts. "

I tried to console her, but she only shook her head : " What has been defiled in the children's soul can never be cleansed again. "

I did not know what to say. After all, she was right.


Talk is buzzing behind me. Voices are raised. Somebody coming from Sopron says that the Austrians are covering the whole of West Hungary with their propaganda. The Czechs want a Slav corridor in those parts, right down to the Adriatic Sea. Another voice gives news of the British : " Don't you know ? They have decided that the whole navigation on the Danube is to pass into the hands of the Czechs, including all Hungarian vessels " ... " The Roumanians are advancing steadily, " says a whisper. " In Paris they cannot advance the line of demarcation as fast as they pass beyond it. "

In one county the Workers' Council has expelled the landlords and various estates have already been socialised. Young Jews from provincial towns now direct and control the old stewards and bailiffs who have grown old in hard work on the estates. One voice rose in alarm : " The Government is impounding all banking accounts and safe-deposits. There is a run on the banks. Something awful is going to happen. "


I looked at the woman near the window who was wiping the tears from her eyes. Lands, rivers, old estates, acquired fortunes, money, gold—they are lost, but they can be recovered. But what that woman is weeping for is lost for ever.


March 15th.

This is the 70th anniversary of our glorious revolution of 1848. During the period of Austrian absolutism which followed it the nation commemorated it in secret. Then once more the flowers of that day, the national flags, were allowed to be unfurled freely. Anthems, songs, speeches, processions with flags. For half a century March the 15th was a service at the altar of liberty.

This day has never passed so dull and mute as it has this year. The flags, which have practically rotted off their staffs in the last few months, have lately become rare, and to-day they have not reappeared. It is said that it was by request of the Communist party that the Government has repudiated this day, though it claims to be its spiritual descendant.

The town, quiet during the day, went to sleep early. The March wind blows cold and chases through dark empty streets. The shop-signs swing like black shadows, and the brass plates of barbers' shops dance in the air.

Our street sleeps too. Through its dream a step breaks now and then. In the next room the clock with the alabaster pillars strikes midnight in hesitating strokes. Who goes there, in this stormy night ?

I seem to see him. He is tall and wears an old-fashioned shabby dolman. His white shirt is folded over it, and the wind plays with the soft collar. His face is scarcely visible, so far has he drawn the cap over his eyes. He goes on and on, through empty, unfriendly streets. His spurs clink, and his big sword knocks against his boots. A motor races through the streets, its interior lit up by an electric bulb. A heavy-featured fat man leans back into the cushions. A patrol turns the corner. " Pogány, " says one of the men. The boots of Red soldiers tramp unsteadily on the pavement. They pass the man in the dolman, look in his direction, but see him not. His fluttering collar touches them, but they feel it not. And he just glares at the red gashes left on their caps where the national cockades have been torn off.

" What have you done with my rosettes ? "

His face turns paler than death. He goes on. His eyes wander over the empty flag-staffs between the red flags.

" What have you done to my flags ? "

His way takes him past some lighted windows. They are working up there in an editorial office. Red soldiers stand with cocked revolvers in front of the editorial table. They are the censors, and the rotary presses hum in the cellars. Compositors in linen overalls, besmeared with ink, lean over their work.

" What have you done with my free press ? What have you done with its freedom born in March ? "

He leans over the compositors' shoulders, and his eyes pass over the letters. They do not see him, nor hear him ; they go on composing the line : " Under the statue of Alexander Petőfi, Eugene Landler spoke of the significance of March 15th. The choir sang the Marseillaise. "

" What have you done with my songs ? "

He goes on again, dark and alone. He knows the streets, he knows the garden, the big quiet house with its pillars, between the rigid, wintry trees. He has reached the Museum. Under his hand the handle of the locked, barred gate gives way. The guardian wakes and looks out of his shelter. Nothing—it was a dream. The wind whistles, and the wanderer's collar flutters as he mounts the lofty stairs and stops at the top against the wall. He looks down, standing long immobile, and asks the winds why there is nobody to call : " Magyars ! Arise ! "

" Don't they know it here ? Who are the masters now, under Hargita and on the fields of Segesvár ? "

He is tired and would like to stretch himself at ease after the long sad road.

" To whom have you given my grave ? "

There is no rest and there is no place for him to go to, he whose ghost had led me through the town on this homeless fifteenth of March.

Oh let him go, let him go in silence, for should he remain here and raise his voice to-morrow the Government of ' Independent Hungary ' would arrest him as a counter-revolutionary[6].


March 16th.

I was at Fóth to-day, where I had intended to address the village women. But the bubbles rise no longer in the wine of Fóth. Spring has a heavy, foreboding atmosphere there to-day.

I went with two friends. Beyond the town white patches of snow were melting on the awakening black soil. The waters of winter flowed with a soft gurgle in the ditches.

" We cannot have a meeting to-day in the village, " I was told. " Another time, next week... there is a Social Democratic mass-meeting in the town hall, and a memorial service for those killed in the war at the cemetery. There is a lot of excitement, and I'm afraid the meeting of women would be interfered with. "

We listened to the speeches from a window of the town hall. They differed widely from Budapest's orations. Here, the half-hearted war-cries were shouted under the national colours and mixed with hero-worship. It was the same in the cemetery. Then suddenly a drunken soldier stood up on the mound of a grave. Hatred was in his face and dark threats poured from his lips : " Let the gentle-folk learn. We are going to teach them. They cheated the people, and drove them into death. But just you wait now that we have got the power... "

Night was falling when our crowded train entered Budapest. There were no cabs, they have been on strike for the last four days, and I couldn't get on to an electric car. A soldier shoved me aside and dragged me off the steps. I watched him pushing his way in among the passengers to make room for himself. Apparently somebody shoved him back, for he drew his revolver and began to shoot at random. The car stopped, the passengers jumped off, women shrieked and there was a panic.

I walked along the streets. Nearly everywhere the pavement was pulled up and here and there red warning lamps blinked near the holes, but there were no road-menders. I thought of an old engraving of the French revolution. In the picture there were narrow old houses, and between them barricades on which figures in tight check trousers, and with top hats, but without coats, were shooting with very long guns with fixed bayonets. Barricades ? Why, these paving stones practically offered themselves for that purpose.

What is it preparing for, this town which becomes stranger every day ? What is it scheming now, when nearly every voice in it has been silenced and only the mind of the rabble finds expression ? As I passed under the mass of the cathedral I looked up at its tower where a big bell hangs, high above all the towers and bells of the town. I remembered its voice. If only it might speak—but not to call to Mass. I want to hear it sound the tocsin, in desperate appeal...


March 17th-18th.

People speak to me and I answer them; what I say sounds quite natural, yet I am only partly there, only bodily; the rest of me is walking ahead of myself and counting the hours.

I made a speech at a meeting to-day, and then wrote letters in the office, after which I had a talk with the secretary. Perhaps people didn't notice that my mind is now haunted by a single idea, an expectant desperate idea. The secretary had been in the country... Bad news... He had spoken to Bishop Prohászka, who told him that a sharp plough is being prepared to tear up the soul of the Hungarian people. It will make a deep furrow, but it has to be, so as to make the ground the more fertile.

" It will be so, " I said, as if I had heard the words of the bishop with the soul of Assisi repeated in my dream.


The night between 19th-20th March.

The last embers died out in the fireplace : I began to shiver, yet I did not move. I sat in my chair in front of my writing-table and felt shudders running down my back.

I ought to have written my last manifesto in the name of the Association. I began it, but at the end of the first sentence the pen stopped in my hand, would not go on, drew aimless lines, and went on scratching when the ink had dried on it. Then it fell from my hand and rolled on the table. I took up a book at random, held it for a long time in my hands, and looked at its lettering. I don't know what it was. I closed it and shut my eyes. One hears better like that, and I am waiting.

The hours struck one after the other. Twelve, one, half-past one, a quarter to two... I put out the lamp and opened the window.

I went back to my table. The cold was streaming in through the open window and made me shiver.

The silence quivered, and it seemed to me as though a huge artery was throbbing in the air.

The clock struck two.

It is time now... Every nerve in my body was at high tension, my neck became rigid.

I don't know how long it lasted. I felt colder and colder. The clock struck again. Perhaps it was fast... About half an hour may have passed. My stiffness began to relax, as if the very bones of my body had melted; my head drooped.

So they have postponed it again !

It had been fixed for two o'clock this morning. We have arms enough, and the police and the gendarmery are on our side. But the signal did not come. The bells of the cathedral never sounded.

What has happened ? Will it sound to-morrow, or the day after ?

If only it is not too late...


March 20th.

The night of the counter-revolution had been fixed for so many dates and had been postponed so many times that hope began to tire. Will it ever come ? I thought. With an effort I roused myself from my weariness and concentrated my whole mind once more on expectation.

The town, too, seemed expectant, the very streets on the alert—at any rate so it seemed to me : there was an expectant silence in the very dawn. There were no newspapers—it is said that the compositors have struck for higher wages. I went to the bank. The Government has impounded all deposits, and no money is to be got anywhere. The shutters are drawn and the crowd outside pushes and swears in panic.

All sorts of rumours are flying about. Somebody reports that the Communist army is preparing something : disbanded soldiers are holding threatening meetings all over the suburbs, insisting on the release of Béla Kún and his companions. It is also reported that Michael Károlyi is planning something. In his hatred he had once sworn that he would destroy Tisza, even if the nation had to perish with him. Tisza is dead, but his soul has risen against Károlyi in the whole nation. And so Károlyi prepares a new vengeance. It is rumoured that this is not directed against Magyardom alone, which has regained consciousness and repudiates him, but also against the Entente, which will have nothing to do with him.

What is going to happen to us ?

I went to the meeting of the Party of National Unity this afternoon and exchanged a few words with Count Stephen Bethlen. He said that great changes are to be expected; the powers of the Entente had informed Károlyi through their representatives that they would show consideration to a level-headed Government. To give weight to their demand they threatened us through Colonel Vyx with new lines of demarcation. Count Bethlen thought the situation less desperate than it had been lately, and I was reassured for a time.

I came home with a friend through remarkably crowded streets. She lived a long way off and we were late, so she stayed with us for the night. I roused myself in the evening and we worked together on the women's manifesto. It was about midnight when my mother came in to us, and, as I usually do when I have written something, I asked her opinion and followed her advice. Then she drove us off to bed. When I was left alone I tried to allay my restlessness by polishing the manuscript. Thus the time passed. It was two o'clock.

Suddenly, I don't know why, yesterday's excited expectation came over me again. I looked up and thought I heard the clanging of a bell a great distance away. My throat became dry, and my heart beat madly. I threw the window open.

But out there all was hopelessly quiet. It was just an hallucination... For a while I leaned out into the cold, black street. A shot was fired. Then the night resumed its stillness.

" I can stand it no longer. " How often did we say that during the war ! Then came the protracted debacle of autumn; then winter, and our country was torn to pieces. We can't stand it... But we stood it. And who knows how much more we shall have to stand this spring ?

I leaned on the window-sill, and in the dark I began to see visions, as if I were dreaming a nightmare. Suddenly the visions became definite. I saw myself in a big ugly house, with unusually high windows, opening in its bare high walls. We were sitting in the last room, waiting for something which we could not escape. There was no door in the room leading into the open, and down there the gate was wide open, with nobody to guard it. Through the draughty porch steps came inwards, and nobody stopped them. They came up the stairs. For some time one door in the house opened after another. One more, and one more, each nearer than the last...

We can't stand it any longer... The minutes stretch to horrible infinity, and yet we cannot move, and expectation becomes terror. The steps are already hesitating at the last door. Something is happening there. Nobody is yet visible, but the door-handle moves, slowly, carefully, and then it creaks.

For God's sake open it. Let anything happen, whatever it is, but only let it happen !


March 21st.

Rain falls, and water flows from the dilapidated gutters. The drops beat on the metal edging of my window and sound as if a skeleton finger were knocking, asking for admittance.

The hall bell rang. It was Countess Chotek bringing a contribution for the Association. Then Countess Mikes arrived, though it was not yet nine o'clock. She whispered in my ear : " I have very bad news. I must speak to you. "

I took the money and we went out. She told me in the carriage that a reliable person had been present yesterday at a Communist meeting. The majority of workmen had gone over to the Communist party—the iron and metal workers had all gone over—and they had decided henceforth to oppose the parties in power and at the same time break down the counter-revolution.

Is the demoniacal magician who with his evil eye has cast a spell of suicidal lethargy over the whole nation now going to close his hand definitely on his benumbed prey ?

We went to the offices of the Association and had scarcely arrived there when Countess Louis Batthyány rushed in and signalled to me. We retired to a corner. It was only then that I noticed how thin and deadly pale her tace was. She spoke nervously. The Government had resigned. Colonel Vyx had handed it an ultimatum. The Entente has again advanced the line of demarcation and now asks also for a neutral zone. And Károlyi, on reliable information, wants to hand over the power to the Communists.

So that was Károlyi's vengeance...

Elisabeth Kállay and her sister came in. On hearing the news they rushed off again to inform Archduke Joseph, and went also to Stephen Bethlen to ask him to attempt the impossible with the delegates of the Entente.

Within the last few days Colonel Vyx has withdrawn the French Forces from Budapest. All in all there might be about three hundred Spahis in the neighbourhood. He knew what was going on. Was he intentionally depriving the population of the town of their only safeguard ?

Countess Batthyány got up to go. Before leaving she whispered in my ear that I must escape during the night, as my name was on the first list of persons to be arrested.

I went home. It poured the whole afternoon and the rain beat a tattoo on my window. I telephoned for my sister, speaking softly so that my mother, who was ill in bed, could not hear. She knows nothing as yet.

Later, a friend came to tell me that it was essential for me to escape, they had decided to hang me; so when Countess Chotek came back I returned the money to her which she had brought in the morning for the Association, saying, " It would not be safe any longer with me. " She brought the same warning as my other friend.

" I won't go, " I said. " It would be cowardice to run away. If they want to arrest me, let them do it. I shall stay here. "

" But we shall need you later, when we can resume our work, " my friend said, and tried to persuade me. " I would take you with me, but you wouldn't be safe there, for they're sure to search our place for my brother. " I listened to her patiently, but I felt neither fear nor excitement, perhaps because of a curious illusion I had that the talk was not about me, but about somebody else.

About seven o'clock a young journalist friend came to us, deadly pale. He closed the door quickly behind him, and looked round anxiously as if he feared he had been followed. He also looked terrified.

" Károlyi has resigned, " he said in a strained voice. " He sent Kunfi from the cabinet meeting to fetch Béla Kún from prison. Kunfi brought Béla Kún to the Prime Minister's house in a motor car. The Socialists and Communists have come to an agreement and have formed a Directory of which Béla Kún, Tibor Szamuelly, Sigmund Kunfi, Joseph Pogány and Béla Vagó are to be the members. They are going to establish revolutionary tribunals and will make many arrests to-night. Save yourself—don't deliver yourself up to their vengeance. "

Even as he spoke, shooting started in the street outside. Suddenly. I remembered my night's vision... We are in the big ungainly house... the door handle of the last room is turning, and the last door opens...

An awful voice shrieked along the street :

" Long live the dictatorship of the proletariat ! "




[1] The People's Voice, a Social Democratic newspaper.

[2] It should be remembered that the Hungarian Freemasonry had become, like the Grand Orient de France, a political association and is fundamentally different from English Freemasonry. [Translator.]

[3] Joseph II. would never consent to be crowned.

[4] The Old House.

[5] Black and Yellow Avas the flag of tho Hapsburgs, consequently of the Austro-Hungarian army, and was always disliked in Hungary as antagonistic to national aspirations.

[6] The ghost is Petőfi, the national poet of Hungary, who, on March 15, 1848. roused the country with his famous song " Magyars ! Arise ! " He fought in the War of Independence and died a hero's death on the battlefield of Segesvár, in Transylvania, where he lies in an unknown grave. His poem, the national song, started the revolution. ('48)

[7] The second part of Miss Tormay's diary, containing the account of the Commune and of her escape and pursuit, will be published as soon as possible.

Cecile Tormay: An Outlaw's Diary: Revolution – Original – PDF

Cecile Tormay: An Outlaw's Diary: Revolution – Book Format – PDF

Part Two: An Outlaw's Diary: The Commune

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