Ugrás a tartalomhoz Lépj a menübe
 


Cecile Tormay: An Outlaw's Diary: The Commune /2

CHAPTER III

March 29th.

Communists from Aszód have arrived in the village. The glass screen between myself and reality has suddenly cracked. The agitators dragged a table in front of the town hall, climbed on it and addressed the crowd. When we asked the coachman what bad happened, he looked down and gave an embarrassed, evasive answer :

" They are going to stay till to-morrow... "

These Communists boasted that the workmen of the aeroplane works at Aszód had got the town in their power and that the directorate had had the lord of Iklad, Count Ráday, and his wife, arrested.

The news has only just reached us. When the Rádayis heard of the proclamation of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat they wanted to go to Budapest with the manager of the aeroplane works. But the Communists of Aszód were quicker than they. They closed the barriers, and the Lord Lieutenant of the county and his wife, who had nursed the wounded in the hospital of Aszód during the war were escorted back by armed Red soldiers, some of whom she had herself nursed back to life. They locked the Countess up in the Reformatory, the Count and the manager they put up against the wall. A firing squad was drawn up : a lieutenant enquired if all was ready. At the last moment they let them go. It was all done for amusement, to give them a good fright. One often hears of such things nowadays ; the novelty and strangeness of it are wearing off.

Countess Ráday did not know that her husband was still alive until he returned to her.

But this villainy was relieved by a generous action. When the people of Iklad heard what had been done to their landlord and benefactor, they rose and armed themselves with scythes, and went to his rescue, but before they reached Aszód the prisoners had been sent to Budapest. For a long time this band of armed peasants threatened the Reformatory. Unfortunately not every village is like Iklad and not all landlords like Count Ráday.

Other news reached us too, uncertainly and stealthily, from castles and towns. Then the first newspapers came from the capital : the great day they had prepared and announced had at last dawned, and we shrank from its contact. With what a voice was it proclaimed ! Our language had never yet been prostituted in this way, their alien press uses our tongue to torture us. It spits on our past with grinning contempt and drags in the mire everything that might still promise a better future. The triumph of the revolution howls from its pages. Vulgar brutalities, foaming, abject hatred, are enclosed in the wrappings of world-saving theories.

The only paper of the Counter-revolution has been suppressed : the conservative Budapesti Hirlap has been strangled and the subscribers sent ' The Red Newspaper. ' The newspapers which have been allowed to continue their existence approve, fawn, incite and lend their old reputation to facilitate the conquest of the groping, tottering countryside. Unsuspecting people absorb the poison from the papers to which they have been accustomed. Ideas become confused ; even the honest lose their bearings. The papers propagate their news as ordered by the head of the Bolshevist press-directorate—a Jew.

If ever the time comes to call to account this soul-killing, defeatist, alien press, which revelled over the revolution, over Károlyi, the capitulation, the Republic, the foreign occupation, and now lauds Béla Kún and Bolshevism; should ever that time come, I can imagine the defence : '... the terror, ... brutal force ...' But why do the papers carry on ? Why do they not stop publication ? The press-dictator elucidates this point when he declares proudly, " the Free Union of Journalists played an important role in the preparation and realisation of the political revolution in October and the social upheaval of to-day. " These mouthpieces of Hungarian public opinion have for the last few decades been exclusively Jews.

Though I shudder with disgust yet I cannot resist the temptation of taking the newspaper into my hand, and I read ' The People's Voice ' of March 25th :

"The work has begun ... The courage to demolish, the relentlessness of destruction and the unfaltering determination to rebuild, these are the spiritual instruments by which the Proletarian State must be established and its socialism must be realised. "

What can be their physical instruments when destruction is only a spiritual aid ? I read on : " Lenin predicts victory in the near future ! ... The Russian Red army is victorious in the Galician frontier, and the enemy is in flight. The victory surpasses all hopes ... The position of the Imperialist Government in England is shaken. Hungarian events have caused the downfall of Clemenceau ... Serbian imperialism is on the verge of complete collapse. The southern counties have accepted the principle of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. There are signs of disruption in Serbia. The Proletariat is preparing for the final battle. "

The papers lie in a heap, and I pick them up at random : " The Revolutionary Government has decided to raise a Red army. It has been decided to change the names of the barracks from that of imperialist kings and militarist generals. In future they will bear the names of Lenin, Marx, Liebknecht, Rosa Luxemburg ... "

A Red army instead of the national army. Instead of Francis Joseph and Maria-Theresa barracks we shall have Lenin and Rosa Luxemburg barracks.

" Austria has recognised the Hungarian Soviet Republic and has accredited the envoys of Béla Kún... Two new Soviet Republics : On the 28th a Soviet Republic was proclaimed in Wiener-Neustadt. In Chotin the Bessarabian Soviet Republic has been proclaimed. At the elections for the Workers' Councils in Brunswick the Communists have gained a victory. "

My nerves began to give way : though it might be all untrue, I could stand it no longer. I fled, out of the room, out of the house, out of the garden ... In the village the drum was beating. " The Revolutionary Government has decreed ... " I turned back. Is it impossible to get away from it for a moment ? I locked the garden door behind me so that I should hear it no longer. A white dog was playing on the lawn and its mistress followed ; she was carrying a Viennese newspaper.

" At the request of Clemenceau allied troops ruder General Mangin are to be sent against Béla Kún's Soviet Republic. Balfour protests. The British— "

"We are the prisoners of the Entente and what happens inside the prison depends upon the gaolers. "

Suddenly the window-panes rattled with the vibration of a distant, dull boom.

" Guns ! " we both exclaimed simultaneously. " From the direction of the Ipoly river. Far away ... At last ! ... " Then we suddenly looked at eaoh other in amazement ; what we felt seemed so incredible. It is to our enemies that we must look for liberation, to France, to the country of Franchet d'Espèrey, Colonel Vyx, and to our little neighbours who for months have been robbing and tearing our country. What has happened to us ?

Humanity has sometimes forgotten for centuries the plans and the power of the Jews. The fate of Egypt, the conquest of Canaan, the dissolution of Rome, the religious strife in Byzantium, the decline of Spain ... these and many other things. And far away are the great persecutions of the Jews, which were always the consequence of too much audacity, too great activity, on the part of the chosen people. These persecutions, the fruits of exasperation were never of long duration, and after them Jewry quickly sank back into obscurity, whence it threw sand into the eyes of the peoples that they might be blind for a generation and forget.

In the years before the war the suspicions of the Hungarian nation, so often aroused before, had been lulled to sleep. We saw how the Jews, coming from the East, took possession of the land after acquiring the liquor shops of the villages. From the little draper's shop in the town they laid grasping hands on our whole economic life. We saw them during the war withdrawing into safety and acquiring millions while our own folk gained crutches. We heard that the Zionist Congress of Paris carried the following resolution : " Jewry must try to get possession of Budapest first, then Hungary, so as to have a base for the establishment of its world-rule. " And many of us read in 1917, during the war, the declaration of their leading spirit in Hungary, published in Világ, the mouthpiece of Freemasonry : We reserve our institutions, our means and our men for a superhuman effort later on. " Now the later on has arrived, has emerged from obscurity. Twenty-four Jewish People's Commissaries lead the rest and pronounce judgment of life and death upon Hungary.

The sound of an enemy gun is heard in the distance, and suffering humanity breathes freer and thinks of liberation. Perhaps it will come nearer and shoot down the walls of our prison... But no : happier nations would never be able to understand that that was needed.

........

March 30th-31st.

Items of news arrive daily, but there is no sequence. Only a few days ago it was announced that ' the British Foreign Secretary protests. London will not permit it ... Thirty thousand French troops have embarked in Marseilles... ' Now the talk is of General Mangin's Anglo-French armies : he is on the way and has taken the field against the Bolsheviks.

I put out my candle and sat alone in the dark. A vision of spectres rose about me, shaking their heads, apathetic spectres of suppressed doubts which extinguished all hope. What if nobody comes to our help, if the nations allow us to perish miserably while they stand round and watch us being eaten up by the worms which arise from our own decay ? Surely we cannot descend utterly into the depths unless the victorious Great Towers permit it ? Why do they not prevent it, if they do not want Bolshevism ? With Károlyi for ever cringing, Colonel Vyx, the head of the Entente's Military Mission has stopped at nothing. Taking advantage of his position he has trodden for months on our self-respect. He has treated the Eastern bulwark of Europe, a highly cultured people with a lineage as ancient as his own nation's, like the French officers treat the savages in their own colonies. Why did this egotistical little Jew of Alsatian origin, possessed of plenipotentiary powers, withdraw all the French troops from Budapest on the eve of the proclamation of the Dictatorship ? Why did he permit the Posts and Telegraphs, over which he had absolute censorial sway, to serve Béla Kún in the preparation of his revolution ?

Some day these questions will be answered. The message signed by Colonel Vyx, published in the papers of the 26th, although the provinces only got the news to-day, throws some light upon one point. The Military Mission of the Entente unexpectedly appeals " in the name of conciliation and justice " to the Revolutionary Government " to give without delay every possible publicity to the following communication. " It refers to the document in which Károlyi announces his resignation : " In his proclamation to the Hungarian people the President of the Republic said that the Mission of the Entente had stated that it would in the future consider the lines of demarcation as political frontiers. I formally declare that this is an erroneoas interpretation of the words used ... It has never been intended to suggest such political frontiers. "

So it appears that once again Michael Károlyi has deceived the nation. But is it not curious that Colonel Vyx's mission has delayed this explanation until now ? Why did it not take action at once, when Károlyi endeavoured to justify his resignation by the alleged finality of frontiers fixed in the Entente's note ? Why did it allow him to use nationalist arguments in order to throw Hungary into the arms of Bolshevism ? And why did Colonel Vyx permit Béla Kún to creep in under the same nationalist flag which had covered Károlyi's exit ?

Who consented to play the game of these two abject creatures in the fateful hour when the stakes were a country's fate ? The tardy explanation of the Entente Mission inevitably creates the impression that Colonel Vyx played into their hands, or, at the least, that he showed considerable partisanship in their favour.

The exposure of Károlyi's deception concerning the fixing of frontiers shows the falsity of Béla Kún's battle-cry : " For territorial integrity ! " Now that he wields both armed forces and finances, he sings another tune. He has declared to a correspondent of the Viennese Neue Freie Presse : " In Soviet Hungary we do not insist on territorial integrity ... We do not recognise any economic frontiers. " These are the men who have Hungary's fate at their mercy ! The very thought makes one's blood boil. Is all our ancient pride of race, all our glorious history, to be thus trampled under foot by Jews ? Why does the Entente delay ? Why does it give Bolshevism time to recruit an army for its own support ?

The Red Soldier, a new daily paper, has just appeared in Budapest. Propaganda is active : Pogány recruits, Számuelly directs. What a nightmare it is ! The cradle of the Red army is draped with low-class comedy. Its advertisements take the shape of newspaper paragraphs and vicious posters. From a world of brothels, of cheap upholstery, of merry-go-rounds, of foul-mouthed agitators speaking from red stands, is the Red army recruited.

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It is proposed to hold Red soldiers' gala performances at the theatres, and the newspapers are devoting unending columns to rapturous approval of the idea. " The temple of the Muses stands in festive attire ! " Yes—and to the sounds of the Internationale the crowd rushes the free seats. In every theatre a different leader will address the audience : the Galician Neros will mount the stage and play their parts. " There is no such thing as one's own country ! Long live the country of all the Proletarians ! An army is the tool of nationalist society. Death to militarism ! Long live the Red army ! "

Someone knocks at my window : it is Elisabeth Kállay in a fur coat standing in the twilight. Yes, by all means let us go. The evening has become heavy and unbearable indoors. Let us get some fresh air.

We walked along the river Galga, and frost from the hills came on the breath of the icy wind. Coming home we crossed the courtyard. There was a light in the stable and a pink-cheeked, fair little girl was sitting on the threshold. Indoors a woman was sitting on a stool beside a cow and one could bear the milk squirting regularly, sharply, into the pail. The coachman doffed his hat and remained bareheaded, a farmer who was leaning against the wall stood up and saluted us. I could not help thinking of the war-cry of ' The Red Newspaper ' : " Class war must be carried into the villages ! " They were talking of the agitators in Aszód.

Let them bark, " said the farmer placidly ; " first we'll see what those people in Budapest are up to. "

I could not distinguish his face but it seemed to me that it was not an individual but the whole Hungarian peasantry, suspicious, cautious, who had spoken. The Hungarian peasant speaks little and is not over-fond of work. Now he leans on his plough and watches gravely who shall be the owner of the soil.

" Michael Károlyi has promised it to us. It is true he did not redeem his pledge, and what he gave of his own was, as it turned out later, no longer his property. "

" The Communists have promised even more, " said Elizabeth Kállay in the cautious way which the times had taught us.

" They only promise the townsfolk that everything is to be theirs, " said the farmer; " here they say that the land too, is common property. "

"Well, well, " said the coachman, " it is not easy to understand these new-fangled laws. "

" That is why we first listened to the Communists, " continued the farmer reflectively. " We wanted to see what was going to happen to the land. But later on ... " He remained silent for a time, as if debating with himself if he ought to speak out or not. So the coachman continued : " When they started to talk about the law abolishing religion, we did not like it. "

" That's so, " agreed the farmer ; " nor did we like it when they made a law that, if I may be excused mentioning such things, if people lived together for a year in free love, that should make them a lawfully wedded couple. " There was silence for a time. The men, ashamed to talk to us : of these matters, seemed to whisper among themselves.

" But what roused the women into white heat, " the farmer laughed. " was the decision that even a married man could marry like this over and over again, as his old marriage was automatically dissolved by any subsequent union. "

The former gravity had disappeared.

" After that the Communists were in a hurry, I can tell you, to get on their carts. They would not dare to come back here at any price. "

The woman had finished the milking some while ago and was standing in the stable door beside the child. Now she spoke from her dark corner :

" They said they would make picture-shows of the churches, and that there would be no more illegitimate children, nor any inheritance, and that the State would take over our children. "

At these words the little girl clung crying to her mother's skirts. " Mummie dear, " she implored, " you won't let the horrid State take me away from you ... " The woman shook her head. The coachman laughed and said : " I don't know, if you are really naughty... "

The child howled, so her mother picked her up in her arms and in that one tender movement negatived all Communist ordinances. She disappeared, carrying the weeping child and seeming to become one with it. I followed them with my eyes : beyond them, set in a sea of darkness, were the soft outlines of the sleeping village : the roofs of the cottages alone were visible under the starry sky. And Lenin is to come here too !

Bled white, the villages sleep and offer no resistance. But in their very dreams the villagers cling to the soil; and the soil is their country, and their country is Great Hungary.

My heart went out to the villages. The village, the Hungarian village, is selfish like a child, indifferent like a sign-post, and as strong as wind and weather. Its sins are the wild revels derived from its vineyards; the desire for fecundity in men, women and soil alike. Its blessings are sowing and reaping.

There is here a ray of hope. Will the Hungarian village be our salvation ?

........

April 1st-2nd.

Even a few days seems a long time when one is counting the hours. And now the second week has gone and there is no sign of our distress coming to an end.

Bolshevism is destroying with the impudence of ignorance and building with the inexperience of barbarism. Lenin decreed that the old order should be ruthlessly destroyed and the new order constructed without delay. The Bolsheviks of Budapest hasten to obey. With such insatiable zeal do they set to work that their topsy-turvy legislation is but a disclosure and a legalisation of their previous arbitrary actions.

The papers give practically no other news. They aim blows at human ethical conceptions and at Hungarian life. They provide a defence for evil-doers and for brigands.

The Jewish Commissary for Justice has proscribed the administration of justice, for he has suspended the sittings of the law-courts !

Never before have I realised to what an extent we are at these people's mercy. Károlyi set the criminals free ; the criminals let crime loose to supply their needs. Immorality and lawlessness require the freedom of crime for their sway. To produce unlimited means for its rule Bolshevism abolishes the private property of others, distributes it among its own adherents, and uses it to pay its servants.

Anxiety is now perpetually with me : I feel like a person going late at right through a dark abandoned street who hears moaning from behind a closed window. It is impossible to enter : no policeman can be found. What is happening ? Dark speculations haunt one's mind as long as night endures.

Class hatred has established spies and watchers in all the houses of Budapest : the secret agents of the new power are to be found in every house ; they watch, blackmail, and report. On their good-will depends the distribution of food-tickets within the house, and those whom they suspect are deprived of bread. Their sanction is required to obtain permits if one requires wood, soap, or boot-laces, and Proletarians alone receive the permits. There is a meatless week in Budapest. The countryside is refusing to send supplies, and food is running short. Yet they proclaim boisterously that Plenty is the outcome of social production ! It is the business of the ' confidential man ' in every house to see that the Proletarian should not notice the wolf at the door. But it is the intellectual workers who are on short rations : the middle classes are to be deprived of food tickets. Everything is for the Proletarian. Such privileges have never before been known, but it is not love for the Proletarian that inspires these privileges ; it is the hatred for the Hungarian Christian citizens, the delight in their sufferings, that are the principles upon which the new rulers govern.

Under the guise of philanthropy Galician Jews and Proletarian rabble are planted among the hated bourgeoisie. The kitchen is common property and the middle-class occupier is obliged to put his furniture at the disposal of the intruders. Home is home no longer. Even in the restricted area assigned to them the bourgeoisie is to have no peace. The Jewish Dictator of the capital has decreed : " Baths for the Proletarian children ! " It sounds a very human provision, but is really only a pretence for new provocation. A tendencious poster has appeared, announcing that the bourgeoise women who ' from their silken couches used to step into their perfumed baths " shall make room for dear little Proletarian children, who till now were deprived of the luxury of cleanliness. The order runs :

"... We also requisition the bath-rooms of private dwellings once a week, on Saturdays, for the whole day, for the gratuitous bathing of the children sent by schools and nursery schools with their certificates. The owners of the bath-rooms have to provide gratuitously the necessary fuel, lighting, towels and soap.—Moritz Preuss. "

And the class they call bourgeois can buy neither fuel nor soap ! They want the bourgeoisie to perish, perhaps they revel in the idea that they may thus introduce vermin and infection into clean homes. Abroad they create the impression of being philanthropists, and at home they amuse the rabble. For days the houses of Budapest have been terrified by the rumour that Tibor Számuelly Intends to allow the mob three hours' plunder.

My own home was continually in my mind. I could see my mother sitting alone among her household gods. I could see her walking through the rooms, touching now one thing, now another, things that remind her of my grandmother, of my great-grandmother, of old times, things that are part of her life ... She cannot write to me, nor can I write to her. I long to go to her for a day, or only for an hour ...

As I said this Elisabeth Kállay looked at me :

" Do you know how many of us are already in prison ? Do you want to go there too ? "

It seemed to me that my mother's face was leaning over me and that she repeated : " Don't worry about me, and don't come home till ... "

A carriage drove through the gate, came slowly up the drive and stopped in front of the house. A carriage in the village! The hospitable generation which lived before us saw nothing terrifying in that. But now I asked myself : " Have they come to requisition ? Are they agitators, Socialist delegates, or detectives ? Are they on my track ? "

My heart beat fast, and a plan occurred to me. I resolved that if they came for me I would escape by the other side of the bouse, where there is a little door under the walnut staircase, and that thence I should make for the vineyards, and over the hillock on to the main road. I was quite astonished to find how exactly I remembered every ditch, every lane, as if from the very start I had observed the country with a view to a possible escape.

Then came a sound of movement and of laughter, starting under the porch and spreading all over the house. The newcomer was a friend, Baroness Apor, lady-in-waiting to the Archduchess Augusta. She brought us newspapers and news. A Vienna paper gave a long account of how Count Louis Salm had boxed the ears of Michael Károlyi in the street—the latter was in Vienna on behalf of the Revolutionary Cabinet. As he was emerging from the door of a house of doubtful reputation Count Salm ran up to him : " Take that for the Italian front, that for Hungary ... " and as the blows fell each was similarly explained. A crowd gathered round them and a cab was passing. Károlyi made desperate signs for it to stop. Then Count Salm exclaimed : " Look at him, this is Michael Károlyi who has betrayed Hungary ! " The cabman swore a big oath, lashed out with his whip at Károlyi, turned his horse and drove on, while the blows were still falling hard. I wish it had been a Hungarian who had given them !

Baroness Apor told us that Archduke Joseph's palace had been occupied by the Red commander. The furniture had been carried off and ' communised ' by the comrades.

The Archduke and the Archduchess had been compelled to flee on the evening of the 21st. They escaped on foot in pouring rain, to the accompaniment of a good deal cf shooting in the town, and hid with some faithful friends until next evening. Then they managed to escape in a ramshackle old coach through the excise barriers of Buda and made off for the hills. The Archduke travelled south with two aide-de-camps ; the Archduchess went to Alcsuth after having given all her jewels to her husband for travelling expenses. He will attempt to get into communication with the French commander in the hope of raising the nation.

New hope ! ... The room seemed to brighten up and life ceased to seem a burden. Perhaps after a week, or a few days ... No, neither after a few days, nor hereafter— because when it came to crossing the frontier into occupied territory the Archduke turned back : he could not bring himself to leave that last bit of our country which is the only hope of our resurrection.

Meanwhile his son had been arrested and had been taken on a springless cart to Kanizsa, his guards telling him all the way that Számuelly was waiting there to settle his business. They asked him if he wanted a ' black coat ' for his journey, and pointed to trees : " This one would do nicely, or do you prefer that one '? " Now he is imprisoned in Budapest.

So is the former Prime Minister, Alexander Wekerle, and Bishop Count Mikes, and Count George Károlyi who hates the Communists. Countess Raphael Zichy stayed at home, refusing to leave. Is she repeating her famous saying : " There is no terror, there is only cowardice ! " " Under prctence of looking for arms, " Baroness Apor told us, " armed Red soldiers invade houses at night. The safe deposits have been broken open and pilfered by the Government. It is impossible to withdraw money from the banks. All jewelry worth more than two thousand crowns becomes ' public property. ' Mine has been taken too. A friend of mine preferred to throw her pearls into the Danube. Anybody who still possesses anything is hiding it if he can. There is a perfect exodus to the hills of Buda. At first people only buried little jewel-cases. Then came the rumour of a new order. The larders were going to be ransacked. Off to the hills went the barrels of lard, the boxes of sugar and tea, the household linen.

One of us broke in :

" Yes, but what do people say, how long will this last ? " " Nobody knows. People are in despair. News is contradicted as soon as published. Károlyi negotiates with the Missions of the Entente in the name of the Bolshevik Government. The Italians, they say, are sympathetic. It is even said that they are disposed to recognise the Soviet Republic. The Italian delegate, Prince Borghese, is a great friend of Béla Kún and the beautiful Jewesses of the Commune. It is also rumoured that a Boer general called Smuts is to be sent here to force the Bolshevik crowd to resign. " Baroness Apor glared rigidly before her as if she saw something terrible.

Számuelly is getting more and more to the fore, " she continued after a short pause. " The Government threatens in his name whenever it wants to cause alarm. The others ere busy drawing up the new Constitution. They speak and issue orders as if things were to remain like this for ever. "

None of us said anything. Our thoughts were so similar that speech was superfluous.

........

April 4th.

Sometimes nobody visits us for days; but it happens occasionally that people come to see us. As soon as I hear their steps on the gravel I run and hide in my room. The other day while I was sitting there Countess Dessewffy was saying in the drawing-room that the police were after me, but that she knew I had made good my escape to Switzerland. It seemed quite amusing. With the exception of one friend nobody knows that I am here or who I am. This is Baron Jeszenszky, whose property is near by, at Kövesd. He often goes to Budapest. Then we wait impatiently for the news he brings back. Anything that gives hope finds credence with us. Baron Jeszenszky waves his hand in despair : " Mark my words, this will never come to an end. "

The more we contradict him the more pessimistic he becomes. If, however, we agree, he gets angry and becomes hopeful. " What lack of faith ! "

I feel similarly inclined, and so does everybody else, for we express our doubt only in the hope of being contradicted ; we try hard to raise sonic hope in ourselves and are angry when it is thrown over.

We went early to bed and I read Sir Thomas More. The book opened where the conquering Utopys reaches his island where he is going to found the realm of universal happiness :

"... But Kyng Utopys, whose name, as conqueror, the Iland beareth (for before his tyme it was called Abraxa) which also brought the rude and wild people to that excellent perfection in al good fassions, humanitye and civile gentilnes, wherein they nowe goe beyond al the people of the world : even at his firste arrivinge and enteringe upon the lande, furthwith obteynyge the victory... "

Sir Thomas More, the forefather of Socialism, imagined it like that. He wanted to found his land of universal happiness on a gentle, civiliscd people. Will there ever be people like that on this earth ? Until there is, Socialism will remain the island of Utopia.

........

April 5th.

The men of the village Directorate came up to the castle to-day. There was some formality about their visit, and they wore their black Sunday hats. Mrs. Benjamin Kállay received them herself. The bad man of the village spoke the loudest among them, and whenever this occurred the others cast their eyes down and nudged their neighbours : " Come, speak up, now ! " I thought of the little peacock-blue Sévres vases up in the drawing-room the Persian dishes and the old hand-painted fans in the glass-case. How were they going to describe them in their inventory ?

One of them declared that no more wine must be brought up from the cellar, for prohibition had been enforced. Nothing in the house must be removed, for it all belongs henceforth to the State. The others nodded as they looked around. " The people from the towns are going to come soon. " And so they left without making an inventory.

The day has not yet come, but what of the morrow ? Incertitude is increasing daily. Everything becomes transitory. In one's plans one does not even dare to make arrangements for the following day. Generally one makes no plans at all. Days and hours become independent units, without continuity or cohesion among them.

The Sunday hats of the Directorate were flocking back to the garden gate. One of them lingered behind, then seized the opportunity of turning back. He stood there before us, an old man, humble, hat in hand, with sad eyes :

" Dear little lady, " he stuttered shamefacedly, " might I ask your Excellency for a little wine ' ? Nobody will know. I want it for an invalid. A young woman who is dying. " A bottle was given to him and he hid it furtively under his coat.

The Soviet Government threatens with its summary jurisdiction anyone found drinking wine. Not even the sick are allowed any. But drunken soldiers stagger unmolested in the glitter. The People's Commissaries have champagne orgies in their special trains and throw the empty bottles from the windows. They have drinking bouts in the Soviet House of Budapest, the former Hotel Hungaria, which they have requisitioned. The occupants were expelled without notice and within a few hours the Commissaries, some with their wives, others with their mistresses, occupied the place.

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Everything I see, everything I hear, carries my thoughts to the guilty town, bids them seek among its million people, for the sake of one! To-day I received the first message from home. Charles Kiss, our faithful friend, has escaped from among the accursed walls and brought me a letter from my mother. She is well ; she has already left for our cottage among the hills of Buda. She was in want of nothing, nobody interfered with her. They have not been looking for me. Thus Kiss brought me nothing but good news.

While I listened to him I was filled with joy : " Then there is no longer any reason why I should not go home ! " At this his face changed suddenly. No, not yet, better wait a little longer ... And as he argued the point I suspected his former statements more and more. So they had only been designed to re-assure me !

Hans Freitag, Councillor at the German Legation, had come to see my mother and had warned her that I ought to escape if I were still there. Now the removal of my mother to the hills had a different meaning to me : my mother had to choose between her flat in town and her cottage in the hills. Need for choice came suddenly and she had moved the previous day. But I learnt that the flat was now occupied by very decent people; the Red soldiers who brought them behaved quite nicely. They had put altogether three families and a school into the flat ; they were Jews and Proletarians but it was all right, no harm had been done, everything had gone smoothly. Only a little furniture and a few pictures were left behind in the flat.

Slowly I began to visualise the whole thing. Red soldiers ... That meant she had been expelled by forte. All sorts of insignificant trifles swept through my head. The tiny treasures of the old show-case ... The snuff-box which had a tinkling little tune hidden within it ... The yellow porcelain dame with her crinoline and her unnaturally slender waist... Where have they gone to, these friends of my childhood ? And the ash-tray which used to stand near the clock ? Has it gone ? And the water-colours 1 And my mother's work-basket, her patience cards ? The crucifix from Ravenna on my bookcase ? Who has removed it ? My manuscripts, my books, my pictures ?

The Jewish Commissary of Education had decreed that books left in houses became the property cf the Soviet Republic. All collections of books have to be reported. Valuable pictures become common property.

Charles Kiss re-assured me : " Everything is still there, " but I could believe his kind-hearted statements no longer. A torturing picture haunted me incessantly : I saw a home pulled to pieces, strange people in our rooms and the front door, through which my lonely mother had to leave, wide open.

The subject had been changed a long while ago, but I had not noticed it. I realised it only when I heard someone say : " It will last longer than we had expected. "

I shuddered as a hopeless silence ensued. The ticking of the clock above fell on our ears. One by one the minutes dropped into eternity seeming to make time unbearable. Yet from the silence of despair victorious hope dared to raise its head.

" The People's Commissaries seem to be already quarrelling among themselves, " said Charles Kiss. " They are even said to have come to blows. Számuelly wanted to get the Red army into his own hands. "

" Yes, they may quarrel over a question of power, but when it comes to oppressing us they hold together. "

" Yet it ended with the downfall of Pogány. The adherents of Számuelly informed the Soldiers' Council that he intended to abolish the system of ' confidential men ' which had been so successful in poisoning the mind of the remnant of our army. Now the Social-Communists require a well-disciplined, serviceable army.

" Marxism only sticks to its principles, ends and catchwords as long as they serve as weapons to attack society. The ' confidential men ' would not stand the plan. It happened yesterday. In the afternoon they drew up the International Red Regiment, which is ready for any mischief. Accompanied by an infuriated mob of dissatisfied workmen and hungry good-for-nothings they went up to the Royal Castle. They invaded St. George's Square, clamouring for Pogány. The ' confidential men ' of the regiment broke into the Commissariat of War. From the balconies they urged their men on. The system of ' confidential men ' to which Pogány owed his shameful power, by means of which he had removed Ministers of War and terrorised the whole nation into submission, now became the instrument of his own downfall. "

The dogs barked somewhere in the grounds. This alone broke the silence. Then Charles Kiss went on :

" In a few minutes the news spread over the town. Many heard the howling of the demonstrators who were cursing Pogány. People were already saying that he had been hanged and that Béla Kún had been hanged at his side. Later on it turned out that the news was false. All that had happened was that the Cabinet had increased the umber of its members and had made certain changes. There are now more Jewish People's Commissaries than ever. Pogány and Számuelly have become Commissaries for Education. Béla Kún controls the War Office. Then people found a new ray of hope. We put all our confidence in General Smuts. "

" So the news was true after all ? "

" We expected a lot of him, " Kiss went on. " Budapest was confident that a British general, one of the Delegates of the Paris Peace Conference, would not come to an agreement with Béla Kún and his company. The town was full of hope. Everybody had some good news. Számuellv's declaration was attributed to the general's coming. "

" What sort of declaration ? "

He took a newspaper out of his pocket and spread it over the table. There it was, in huge type, in a conspicuous place. It was characteristic of the world we lived in that it was considered within the province of the Minister of Education to make such a declaration.

" For several days unscrupulous elements have been spreading the news that I intend giving permission for general plundering. This is a base calumny and a disgraceful lie. I appeal to the Comrades to give me an opportunity to face the scoundrels who spread this newp and to make an example of them. I ask them to help me to put those who spread this news before a Revolutionary Tribunal and have summary justice meted out to them. Tibor Számuelly, Assistant People's Commissary for Education "

" When it became known, " Kiss went on. " that General Smuts, though he had ordered rooms in an hotel, had not even entered the town but had summoned Béla Kún to the railway station, there was no limit to our illusions. But it did not last. This morning the Communists informed us triumphantly of their success ; the Entente had entered into negotiations with the Governments of Moscow and Budapest ... "

My mind reverted to Brest-Litovsk. We did not know it at the time, but it was there that we lost the war. Now even the victors may lose it in Budapest and Moscow.

" General Smuts came here. " Kiss added sadly, " not to threaten but to negotiate. The journalist friends of the People's Commissaries told us that General Smuts had offered the Government a favourable line of demarcation. If Béla Kún will consent to come to some arrangement, the Powers are prepared to compel the Roumanians to retire eastwards and to form a neutral zone occupied by British, French and Italian troops. The journalists also say that the General will recommend in Paris that the interested States should hold a conference which would fnally fix their respective frontiers. He promised to use his influence to persuade the Powers to invite Béla Kún's Government to Paris. He will have the blockade raised and provide fats and other articles of which we are in need. All he required in compensation was the cessation of all attempts to spread the idea of a world-revolution. The success made Béla Kún dizzy. He would be satisfied with nothing. The attempt of the Entente to compromise with him has strengthened his position incredibly, and now he is proclaiming to the world that the Great Powers are afraid of him. He wants no increase of territory, he wants free trade and free propaganda in the neighbouring States. "

Last autumn, the great collapsing Monarchy appealed to Wilson and asked for his intervention. Through Mr. Lansing, his Secretary of State, he sent the following answer : " We will not negotiate with you. " And with cruel irony he referred the peace-begging Power to its little neighbours. Then he did not deign to speak to us, but he has no hesitation in bargaining with Béla Kún. Are they really afraid of him ? Or do they think that he will surrender Hungarian nationality in exchange for the freedom of Bolshevism ? Is the national ideal of Hungary more dangerous in the eyes of the Entente than the national ideal of the Jews ? The British General has gone. His steps die away in the distance. He has knocked at our window and we could not move and appeal to him. The villains have tied our hands and gagged us and we strain at our bonds in helpless agony.


CHAPTER IV.

April 6th.

The woman for whom we were asked for wine yesterday was buried to-day. The coffin was placed on the ground in the clean-swept little farmyard, and her mother arranged the corpse as though she were putting it to bed. Suddenly she knelt down beside the coffin and with her trembling, rugged old hand stroked the rough boards and cried aloud : " Good God, why hast thou taken her from me, why could not I die in her place ?... "

Thus do mothers address grim death. What will they say when the attempt is made to take their living children from them ? Her lament became louder and louder and dominated the ceremony. The Cantor said farewell to the deceased in verses, singing them to an old-fashioned melody which he repeated over and over again. This melody contained the memory of ancient bards and the sorrows of wandering troubadours ; the verses mentioned by name all the mourning relations, each of whom, as his name was pronounced, sobbed loudly, as though expressing his personal grief in the general mourning. When the husband was named he pressed his face into his doffed hat and his shoulders shook with sobs. The others had their turn, but the old woman alone lamented from the beginning to the end.

Everybody wept over his own sorrow, in the coffin alone there were no tears. The tree in the yard stretched over it, and as the branches swayed in the wind the dim sunlight threw their shadow over the coffin. The shadow revealed that there were fresh buds on the branches, signs of nature's resurrection, and I realised that spring was coming.

" In Paradisum... " The priest blessed the coffin, blessed it as he blesses an infant at a christening, the couples at a wedding, with the same large movement which has served since the time of Christ for the blessing on this earth of new life, of love and of death.

In Budapest the Red Power has decreed that from this day Christ's churches are to be closed and kinematographs established in them. The Christian priesthood is threatened with the halter. The teaching orders are expelled and the nuns driven from the bedside of the sick and the cradles of the orphans. The dresses of their Orders are torn from them. Their buildings become Communist meeting-places and the scenes of secret orgies.

Theoretical Socialism has declared that religion is the private affair of the individual. Now that it has got past the stage of theory and has entered that of bloodthirsty reality religion has ceased to be a private affair, for not even the soul must possess private property. Private property has been abolished and common property has been substituted. Religion is no longer a private affair, it is public business. And public business in Hungary is now controlled in the name of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat by twenty-six Jewish People's Commissaries, who this day crucify the Word with the same panting hatred with which they crucified Him two thousand years ago. And the people stand now as before, unimpressed, at the foot of the Cross, again not understanding what is being crucified above its head with laughter, contempt and hatred.

It is easier to drive cattle on than human beings ; this the Communists realise. By taking from the people its religion they take everything from them but the couch, the platter and the cup ; they deprive them at a stroke of morals, philosophy and beauty.

The people knelt round the coffin and prayed, because someone was there to tell them to pray ; they turned to their inner selves, above the cup and the platter, because there was someone who told them that there was a God above.

Then the funeral procession wended its way out of the little farmyard. Four men lifted the coffin, one of them the dead woman's husband. His head leant against the boards as though leaning on her shoulder. The weeping crowd followed them up the hill-side. The bell tolled in the steeple above the roofs. And the bell was still ringing for the dead when, the funeral over, the mood of the people had changed. The girls, gay in their finery, displayed their charms. Two farmers bargained over the purchase of a cow. A young man pinched the arm of a grinning maid.

...........

April 7th.

News reached us to-day. After driving the King from Schönbrunn, Vienna has driven him from Eckartsau too. An escort of British officers protected him and his family. Henceforth he is to live in Prangins. Thus the little mountainous region whence long ago Rudolph, Count of Habsburg, set out towards the Imperial Crown, bearing in his hand his great destiny, has now, after eight hundred years, received his heir, holding nothing in his hand but the past. But there is as much force in an historical past as in an historical future.

The event provokes a few sardonic lines, set among the brief news items of the Red papers. The French mob shouted insults at its King when he was taken to the Temple. To-day the rabble shouts too. But the Hungarian nation has nothing in common with the rabble. The same crowd which knocked down one night the statue of Francis Joseph in Budapest and smashed the effigies of kings on the millenary memorial, is now vomiting insults shamelessly in the columns of its newspapers. But it is the foreign hand, the foreign voice, that acts and speaks.

The double-headed eagle which swooped down on so many thrones of Europe, has returned with broken wings to the mountains. Its shadow passed like a cloud over the fields of lost battles.

A short notice is all that the foreigners' press has to give to the King of Hungary. Those who fawned before him in endless columns so long as they could use him against the country, now have no more to give to him when he in turn can give no longer. Cowardice knows no mean between cringing and slinging mud. As for the Hungarians, whatever they may think, in presence of the misfortune of a man and a King, they bow respectfully and in silence.

King Charles IV. expiates not only his own mistakes, but those of his predecessors for four centuries. The descendant pays with the loss of his country, because the ancestors would never make Hungary their home. The dynasty allowed its advisers systematically to weaken Hungary. And this camarilla, to keep the people of the Great Plain in check, has let loose upon it every possible nationality, ending with the immigrant gabardined fathers of Béla Kún and Számuelly. But it was not alone upon us, it was upon them too. The Habsburgs never understood that our strength was their strength and our weakness their weakness. Their whole country was made up of peoples which were attracted by their kindred beyond the borders. The peoples of the Monarchy were all looking outward. The petted Austrians looked towards Germany, the Poles towards Warsaw, their favourites, the Czechs, towards the Slav giant, the Roumanians towards young Roumania, the Southern Slavs towards Serbia, the Italians towards Italy, the Jews towards the Jewish Internationale. The Hungarians alone had no such kin. We did not look anywhere, nobody tempted us beyond the frontiers. And yet the rulers preferred all the other peoples to us, and loaded them with goods, treasures and power. And now the peoples have gone, taking with them our land, our goods, our treasures. This is the harvest of four hundred years policy of divide et impera ; the peoples are divided, but the Habsburgs rule no longer over them. Between the torn pieces the crown has fallen to the ground.

........

April 8th.

There were elections yesterday in what is left of Hungary. Now that Socialism is in power it shows how it carries out the principles of universal suffrage and secret ballot, which for decades were the catch-words with which it endeavoured to seduce the electorate. The time has come when no obstacle to Marxism exists, all ways and means are at its disposal. In the village since early morning men and women have been flocking to the communal hall. In the Soviet Republic, Proletarians alone have a vote, but those who do not avail themselves of their right are deprived of their food tickets and are liable to be summoned before the Revolutionary Tribunal. Priests have no votes. Hungarian gentry cultivating their own land have no votes, nor have crippled heroes nor invalided officers. Lawyers are not Proletarians. But any Russian or foreign Jew can vote if he is a Proletarian. And the Jews who, before the social upheaval, claimed that they belonged to cultured classes, have now turned Proletarians. Even the sons of bank directors. At the town-hall door stood a man who handed out the printed list of the official candidates.

The voters looked at the list. One or two read it and swore.

" Let's cross this one out and write our cousin's name instead," the women advised. The returning officers shouted : " Let no one dare to cross out the names of candidates or substitute others in their place ! "

" Well, Mr. Comrade," a labourer asked, " then what am I to do with this bit of paper ? "

" You just go and vote with it, comrade," was the answer, and the ticket was taken out of his hand.

" Devil take it ! " exclaimed the men, passing lists over the table. And in this spirit the proud and triumphant Proletariat elected its council.

In the neighbouring villages and even in Budapest it was done in the same way. Comrade Landler's emissaries had prepared the lists of candidates in advance. Preliminary meetings and the assembling of crowds were prohibited. Even the privileged class of Budapest working men only saw the printed list of the candidates when the voters entered the booth.

Somebody who had visited Budapest told us who were the candidates of the People's Commissaries. In one single constituency there were twenty-two comrades whose name was Weiss a typically Jewish name. Under the supervision of Red soldiers everything went off smoothly. In one single ward only was there any disturbance. There the terrorists had not dared to forbid gatherings ; consequently the electors put their heads together, made up a list of their own, and defeated the official candidates. This little incident was quickly settled by the Commissary for the Interior : he simply annulled the election and the official list was declared duly elected. Socialism has shown how it applies its own principles when it achieves power. The advocates of the unrestricted freedom of the press tolerate nothing but the official newspapers. The champions of free assembly will not tolerate the gathering of a few people in the street. Those who incessantly clamoured for a reduction of working hours have introduced forced labour. The frenzied enemies of militarism shout at their recruiting meetings : " Join the Red army ! " The foul-mouthed demagogues of secret universal suffrage impose on the people their official candidates.

The foreign intruders have put the roof on the edifice of which Hungarian labourers had been the masons and bricklayers. Does Hungarian labour see at last for what ends its trade-unions have been used ? Those who attained power through the trade-unions are now attempting to destroy them. By a single decree the Jewish tyrants of the Soviet Republic have abolished the unions. The Commissaries of Hungary boldly declare in their official newspaper, ' The People's Voice ' :

" Part of their task has been achieved by the power displayed in the great battle of class-war... They caused the upheaval of the Proletarian Revolution. Class- war is marching on victoriously and has left trade-unionism behind it. It has become superfluous. The humanitarian task of trade-union organisations must come under State control. "

........

April 9th.

Catastrophes get more and more frequent, evil spreads and takes root. Early in the morning of the 7th a Soviet Republic was proclaimed in Munich. Will Bolshevism stop there or will it involve unfortunate Red Austria ? If our premonitions are realised the horrible rule which attempts the subjugation of the world will extend from the Eastern border of Asia to the banks of the Rhine.

Bestial tyranny spreads like a deluge over the earth, and the bloodless victims of the war are dragged helplessly into the vortex. It has already swept away towns, countries, even continents in its uncurbed stream. It has surged up from under the earth through the gratings of gutters, through the doors of dark dwellings, down the marble staircases of banks, over the columns of the newspapers. The groping, mystical Slav, the high-spirited yet conservative Hungarian, the meditative clumsy Teuton, what a contrast of races ! Yet the realisation of the Soviet system has been accompanied in every case by wonderfully similar symptoms. The awful conception shows no trace whatever of the racial characteristics of the three peoples, yet it has been carried through on the same plan and by people of the same psychology in Moscow, Budapest and Munich.

When Russia collapsed Kerensky was ready, and Trotsky's spirit was watching behind Lenin's shadow. When Hungary was fainting and reeling from loss of blood, there, behind Károlyi, were Kunfi, Jászi and Pogány on the look-out, and they were followed by Béla Kún and his band. And when Bavaria began to totter, Kurt Eisner was waiting to organise the first act. As with us and with Russia, the second act followed and there stood Max Levian (Lewy), the Moscow Jew, to proclaim the repetition of the Proletarian Republic and the replica of Hungarian and Russian Bolshevism.

tc_od2-08

While I was tracing the connection of the bloody events, my mind turned to certain incidents of the past. Early spring was looking through my window and gentle winds fanned my face. But I thought of a dense, sticky fog. It was from the fog that a man's howl rose : " Long live the Revolution ! To death with Tisza ! " There it was again, howling from the staircase of the House of Parliament : " Let us see no more soldiers ! " What demoniacal power, hidden by the fog, prompted these cries ? What power cast its spell to lure a haughty, brave nation into shame, cowardice and perdition ? Months have passed since I first asked this question, and the obvious answer revolted my conscience, which required time to be convinced. But Calvary has taught me the lesson. Now I seek no longer, I know. It is not by accident that the scourge and the executioner, the law and the law-giver, the judge and the sentence, of the Turanian Hungarians, the Teutonic Bavarians and the Slav Russians were one and the same. The racial differences of the three peoples are too great to render that mysterious resemblance possible. It is clear that it must originate from the soul of another people which lives among them, but not with them, and has triumphed over all three. The demon of the Revolution is not an individual, not a party, but a race among the races.

The Jews are the last people of the Ancient East who survived among the newer peoples of shorter history. As the carriers of biblical tradition they have been assured a certain tolerance and they look for the accomplishment of certain ancient curses. Despised in some places, they were feared in others, but everywhere they remained for ever foreigners.

The Jew comes uninvited and declines to go when dismissed. He spreads and yet holds together. He penetrates the bodies of the nations. He invisibly organises his own nation among alien peoples. He creates laws beyond the law. He denies the conception of ' patrie ' but has a ' patrie ' of his own which wanders and settles with him. He scoffs at other people's conception of God and yet builds churches of his own everywhere. He laments the fallen walls of Jerusalem and drags the ruins invisibly with him. He complains of his isolation but builds secret ways as arteries of the boundless city which has by now spread practically throughout the world. His connections and communications reach everywhere. Otherwise how can it be possible that his finances and his press should, wherever they may be centred, strive for the same goal all over the world ? How is it that his racial interests are identical in a Ruthenian village and in the heart of New York ? He praises one individual, and the praise rings over the globe. He condemns another, and that man's ruin begins wherever he be. Orders are given in mysterious secrecy. What the Jew finds ridiculous in other people, he keeps fanatically alive in himself. He teaches anarchy and rebellion only to the gentiles, he himself obeys blindly the directions of his invisible leaders.

Mirabeau was led towards the Revolution by Moses Mendelssohn and the influence of beautiful Jewesses. They were there, in Paris, behind every revolution, and they appear in history among the leading spirits of the Commune of 1871. But they are only visible during the hours of incitement and success ; they are not to be found among the martyrs and the sufferers. When the returning powers of order proceeded to take revenge on the Commune, Marx and Leo Frankel had fled.

It was during the days of the Turkish Revolution that a Jew said proudly to my father : " We made that : the Young Turks are Jews." I remember at the time of the Portuguese Revolution Marquis Vasconcellos, the Portuguese Minister in Rome, telling me : " The Revolution of Lisbon is instigated by Jews and Freemasons." And to-day, when the greater half of Europe is in the throes of revolution, the Jews lead everywhere in accordance with their concerted plans. Plans like these cannot be conceived in a few months or a few years. How, then, is it possible that people have not noticed it ? How could such a world-wide conspiracy be concealed when so many people were involved ? The easy-going and blind, the bribed, wicked or stupid agents of the nation did not know what the game was. The organisers in the back-ground belonged to the only human race which has survived antiquity and has remembered how to guard a secret. That is the reason why not a single traitor was found among them.

........

April 10th.

Baron Jeszenszky paid us a visit.

" You would not recognise Budapest any longer. There are queues in front of all the restaurants. Many people take up their seat on the kerb early in the morning, so as to make sure of a dinner. They have to take tickets beforehand if they want to get a meal, just as one used to book one's seat for the theatre. The meals too are like stage meals, for they consist of tiny portions of bad food which have to be gulped down in a hurry because the following number is waiting impatiently. A porridge of millet, greens and stewed cabbage, that is the menu. That is the food for which people wait for hours and pay exorbitant sums. They enter hungry and leave hungry. They stagger, sick with hunger. Everybody is emaciated."

Only the new privileged classes, the families of People's Commissaries, the millionaires of the Revolution and the body-guard of the Cabinet, the ' Terror Boys, ' live well. I thought of the Batthyány palace. A band of terrorists occupied it in the first days of the Commune, and they have remained there ever since. The grand drawing-room, where I used to see masses of azaleas between the magnificent old furniture, is theirs, with everything that artistic and beauty-loving generations have collected. I wonder who listens now to the ticking of the old clock which once belonged to Michael Apafi, Prince of Transylvania ? What hands finger the ivory Christ of Countess Louis Batthyány ? Dreadful tales are told of the palace. It is said that those who are dragged there by the terrorists are never seen again.

Baron Jeszenszky then spoke of other things.

" Palaces are treated worse than other places. The finer the mansion the dirtier the people who are installed in it. Cooking ranges are put into the drawing-rooms, their chimneys rest against the brocade-covered walls. Libraries are transformed into sculleries.

Somebody mentioned the National Club.

" The whole place is unspeakably filthy," Jeszenszky said. " The silver, the whole equipment, the library, have all been confiscated. The office which disposes of the property of the Church has been established there. An unfrocked priest of the Piarist Order sits there organising the despoiling of the Church and the confiscation of the property of the various creeds. The provincial Soviets receive their orders to attack convents and the palaces of bishops from this place. "

Evening was darkening the windows. The clock struck. For a while we stayed with Jeszenszky, then we walked towards the village.

" Let us look at that house which is for sale, " said Elisabeth Kállay, as we turned off the main road.

We crossed a small farmyard. The house was surrounded by mud, and it took some time before the good wife could be found. She asked us to wait as the master was out, and brought us chairs. A young man strolled out from the stable, doffed his hat, and sat down on the stairs. Now and then he looked stealthily at us, then went on smoking his pipe in silence.

Lenke Kállay spoke to him.

" One knows little that is good and little that is bad about this new order," he said cautiously. " There are some who like it and some who don't. It may be true that the Government intends to give every farmer three hundred acres and make them free of taxes." Then he cast his eyes down and began to stir the mud with the point of his boot. " You see, they will confiscate nothing but big fortunes, and that for justice's sake. "

The sound of a cart was heard approaching from the main road. Elisabeth Kállay turned in that direction.

" I have heard that carts and horses are being requisitioned for the Red army. "

The attitude of the man changed suddenly. He raised his head threateningly and his voice was full of rage : " Just let them try. I will knock down the first who touches mine ! "

........

April 11th-13th.

Palm Sunday. Spring has come. Easter is approaching through awakening nature, and yet this Palm Sunday is very different from all those I can remember. The days of persecution, forgotten for thousands of years, are rising from their grave and haunting us. Life is like the ravings of a fever-stricken brain ; the Christian faith is persecuted in Hungary to-day. Our churches are in danger. Kunfi, the People's Commissary for Education, the Jew who has so often changed his religion, has decreed that the priests must read from the pulpit every Sunday for three weeks only that which they are directed to read.

The apathetic village has cast off its apathy : as if rising in defence of its property it becomes demonstrative. In the be-ribboned costumes of the country, girls in white shirts, with long waists and short skirts, women in shawls, are going up the hill-side. Behind them comes the throng of men. The procession has a determined obstinate look about it. Besides its faith, beyond its prayers, there is in the soul of this people the old Hungarian spirit of rebellion. There are many of them ; the whole village, even the invalids, have turned up. The banners of the church are swaying slowly, higher and higher up the hill. A cross, carried aloft, shows against the sky. The little sun-kissed square in front of the church swarms with men in black and women in all colours of the rainbow. Bells ring and the smell of incense pervades the cold air of the church. Palm leaves are consecrated by the priest at the altar.

I hid behind the Kálays in the dim light of the oratory. The crowd surged at the end of the aisle, furrowed faces, seamed with toil. In front of them little girls, starched little figures rendered artificially ugly, their tightly-plaited hair standing up on the sides of their heads, like little horns ornamented with ribbons. The boys stood on the other side. Those who stood bare-footed on the cold flags raised their feet alternately to warm them against their legs. A tall boy nudged his small brother. The little one looked back, but prayed on without laughing. Even the children seemed more serious than usual. I have never seen a more serious crowd.

The poor village organ struggled pantingly with the Gregorian chants. Under the motionless church banners the human voices rose, some high, some low, a little out of tune and clumsy. Yet the ancient liturgical song, the thousand-year-old mournful song of Palm Sunday was very touching.

" ... And they betrayed the Son of Man to be crucified... "

These words, so often heard, fell like blows on my heart, and had now a new meaning for me. I felt that this Palm Sunday was not a commemoration of the past, but a statement of the dark happenings of the present. Christ was undergoing a fresh Passion on this earth. The ancient plaintive tune of the Passion continued in the church.

" ... Then did they spit in His face, and buffeted Him : and others smote Him with the palms of their hands, saying Prophesy unto us, thou Christ, who is he that smote Thee ? " As if all the church were thinking the same, a shudder went through the crowd : the same people had smitten Him two thousand years ago.

" ... And when He was accused, He answered nothing... "

It seemed an awful duty to repeat the cry of the Jews from the Gospels : " Let Him be crucified ! " And the words followed by which the people of Jerusalem accepted the responsibility for the sentence :

" His blood be on us and on our children ! "

There was a moment's silence, as if the people were following the burden carried by their voices. And then, as from afar, the song resumed :

" ... And led him away to crucify Him ..."

The organ, like a decrepit old shepherd, gathered the flock together. The voices rose in unison and clamoured in such despair as has probably never been heard in this our land :

" ... My God, my God, why hast Thou forsaken Me ? "

The people chanted it with pale faces, with broken hearts, and in that moment every one of them was Christ and Christ's words were their own.

The sounds had died away, and yet a feeling as of a wound remained. The church door opened and through the doorway the bright sunshine floated in. And the centuries-old hymn of Hungarian Catholicism rang out in a last appeal. It spread, rose, and mingled with spring, and its eastern rhythm and western faith clamoured to the endless blue sky.

........

April 14th.

Nowdays I often feel like one who has lost his way in an unknown country on a dark night. He dares not move : he stands in the dark and waits for the sun to rise. But sunrise never seems to come, his terror becomes insufferable, and his mind becomes unhinged.

The whole of Hungary is in darkness to-day. Those who were once together are separated. Each isolated district bears its tribulation in solitude. What is happening in Transylvania, in Upper Hungary, down in the South, beyond the Danube, or in Budapest itself ? In the dark one hears nothing but the awful crash of collapse, one is ignorant what has fallen down and where the cataclysm happened. Then all of a sudden news comes in secret whispers. The whole country is falling. In Transylvania and in the South the Roumanians and Serbians rule with the scourge in their hands. In Upper Hungary the Czechs labour to fill the prisons. They persecute and punish everything Hungarian. But for that, life must be more tolerable there than in the Red area, because there people have the hope of resurrection. The events here, if they are to continue, can only end in death. In Budapest and in all that remains of Hungary the miscreants are erecting gallows. At first they promised integrity, bread, peace and freedom. Now they are sneering at our territorial integrity. They give us starvation instead of bread, a Red army instead of peace. Here and there the disillusioned, betrayed victims raise their voices. Deception, as a means of government, can never be anything but transitory, and can only be followed by the honest truth or by terrorism. What will become of us ? How often have we asked that question ?

I gazed out upon Nature's calendar. When I left home it was still winter ; it snowed now and then and the bare branches showed up black against the bleak sky. Then one day the sickle of the moon appeared, like the windblown flame of a torch, above the hillock, and green clouds covered the bushes. The green clouds have turned into young leaves and beyond the hillock above the steeple night raises a round red disk in the sky. Many days have passed. Enough days for the moon to grow to its full size.

........

The Night of April 14th-15th.

The embers have died in the stove. I watched them for a long time : now they are collapsing, and it is cold. There has never been a cold like this, yet I sit here and write, though there is no reason for it. But after all, I do not write for others, I do not write to keep a record of my thoughts, I write only to relieve my feelings.

Charles Kiss came this evening, running the gauntlet of the police in order to bring me news.

It may be an afterthought, but it seems to me that I knew he was coming. I believe I felt something impending, something I had feared for days, something unavoidable. In the evening the others had discussed the coming Easter festivities. I did not join in the conversation ; I kept out of it whenever I could, and perhaps it was this that gave me a lonely feeling. There is such a thing as presentiment.

I am not allowed to stay here.

To-day everybody who is Hungarian is outlawed and homeless on every inch of Hungarian soil. To their bloodhounds our ' rulers ' throw the lives of those who dare to fight against them. I have fought against them and my life has been proscribed.

They have selected for the deed a certain Mikulics, a one-eyed terrorist, nicknamed ' the Cyclops ' by the others. I never heard of him before, but it appears that he is the plenipotentiary chief of the Air Service. Számuelly said of him that he was so cruel that even he could not stand up against him. This man has been commissioned to settle with me. He himself said : " I must do away with her. " And henceforth my life will depend upon my ability to avoid him. There is another one also who is after me, and he too is quite unknown to me. He is the head of the newly-established Secret Service, and is a bosom friend of Számuelly. He is called Otto Korvin, though his real name is Klein. He is a hunchbacked little Jew who used to be a bank clerk.

The idea of it fills me with terror. A hand seems to be feeling for me, slowly, steadily, trying to grasp me. I have had that feeling ever since Charles Kiss told me about it. Faithful friend ! How concerned he was, and how pale he looked ; he could only talk in whispers. When his carriage stopped under the porch, Lenke Kállay shouted to him :

" Do you bring good news ? "

" I'll tell you when we are alone. " And when no one else was within earshot he told us the news he brought. I remember clearly that I nodded and wondered at the same time why I did so. My mother has been examined... Eight armed soldiers surrounded our cottage. Meanwhile detectives examined everybody in the house separately. It lasted two hours. They were threatening and declared that it was useless to try to deceive them, they were on my track and knew full well where I was.

My mother showed the letter I had written to her and declared it had reached her from the other side of the Danube. That was all she knew about me. She seemed cool and composed all the time and she looked so haughtily at them that suddenly they ceased calling her comrade. They even took their hats off and talked to her bareheaded. After they had left, my sister Mary found my mother in her room lying on the sofa. She was in a state of collapse and cried bitterly. On her table lay the warrant for my arrest.

" I cannot bear the sight of it, " she said. " Put it somewhere where I cannot see it.

" No tears came to my eyes, and yet I was sobbing inwardly and unseen. I saw by their faces that they thought I was quite collected.

My brothers and sisters were questioned too, principally Vera, who had worked so much with me in the interests of the Counter-revolution, and Géza. They were called to the police station. Charles Kiss also was arrested. He came before a Jewish monster called Juhász, the head of the investigation department of the political police. The other officials were just like him. The office was all dirt, confusion and Jews.

" They filled me with disgust and when I found myself unguarded I escaped." He laughed like a naughty boy who had played a prank. And I laughed too, though my heart was breaking. Then suddenly I thought, what if they were to arrest my mother in my place ? Or take some other hostage ? ... The room reeled round me at the thought.

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" I must go home and give myself up, " I stammered.

All of them began to argue at this. It would be sheer madness, they said ; nobody would suffer for me.

" I shall bring disaster on this house too... " I tried to find words to express my regret. Meanwhile the others were planning my escape. I only realised this when I heard that my family wanted me to fly the country.

" Through Balassagyarmat ..." I heard Elisabeth approve the plan. Aladár Huszár was sure to help me across the river Ipoly.

It was Lenke Kállay who pointed out that it was essential that the servants should not know whither I went. I was to travel to Aszód as if I were going to Budapest, turn back there and go to Balassagyarmat. I shuddered with disgust : the station of Aszód with its red flags, the fat political delegate, the fiddler, the Internationale, came to my mind.

I remembered a seat on the platform and reflected that I should have to sit there from seven in the morning till five in the afternoon. The people would be able to look at me without my being able to hide my face.

As soon as I was alone these details assailed me with redoubled force. I leant my forehead against the windowpane, which felt smooth and cold, and soothed me as a cool hand might have done. I looked at my watch. It had stopped : I had forgotten to wind it up. A carriage rattled by under the window ; it was taking Charles Kiss to the station. To-morrow at the same time it would carry me, and I shall be alone. I had refused to go with him, my fate must not be shared by others : anyone arrested in my company would be dragged down with me to the same disaster. Let him go, if possible, in peace ; let him make his escape, my gratitude will go with him. No one has ever shown me greater kindness than he.


CHAPTER V

April 15th-16th.

My last day in Berczel. It seems to me as if a mischievous hand had passed over the pleasant picture and had effaced it. Here and there a tinge remained. This morning the sun was shining on the lawn in front of my window and in its golden rays the dog scampered eagerly. Afternoon wore quickly on, and the sun shone no longer. The ears of corn rustled together in the gilt clock on the wall. How many grains are there still in store for me ?

Young George Kállay went for Baron Jeszenezky, whose advice was certain to be worth having. When he was told what had happened he grasped the situation at once. He wrote me a letter of recommendation to the dismissed magistrate of Aszód and took charge of my papers.

" I shall put them up the chimney. They may not find them there." Beyond the garden on the crest of the hillocks the train from Aszód was passing along like a tiny, smoking toy.

This train had been haunting me the whole day. Now it was gone. For this one day I need not fear the arrival of the bloodhounds. And if they should come to-morrow they will find the place empty.

" A carriage from the station should be here by now," said Lenke. So they had been thinking of the same thing. The horn of a motor car resounded on the main road. Mrs. Kállay looked up from her embroidery : " I had a bad dream last night. I dreamt that a big motor stopped in front of the house and that detectives stepped out of it. " The car had passed the garden gate, but the shock it had given us remained. Now I could think of one thing only ; the slow passage of time and the wish that it would pass faster. If only I were gone from here and knew that the people who had befriended me were no longer incurring danger on my behalf ! I made a miserable attempt to say something to that effect : " Thank you, and please forgive me. " Henriette Apor gave me her box of matches : there were only a few left in it, yet it was a precious gift, for there had been no matches in the house for a long time.

I never thought a human being could be so alone in the world. Now everybody must be for himself only. I had premonitions of death, and thought of those I had seen, whose deaths I had witnessed. I began to understand their feelings at the approaching struggle in which none could render them aid. It had been of no use to hold their hands, to adjust their pillows, to sit up with them. And now there was nobody even to hold my hand, to sit up with me.

The rain began to fall in scattered drops, as though a sad spirit had wept upon the window panes. On that fateful night of March it had rained thus when I left my home and the streets resounded with the shout : " Long live the Dictatorship of the Proletariat ! " These had been the words that brought calamity upon us. Here with the rain the feeling of outlawry and isolation seized me, and I faced a dark vindictive world. I shut my eyes, wishing I could escape from myself.

I may have slumbered restlessly, tossing about, for a few minutes ; then I jumped up as if I had been shaken and began to dress with needless speed by the light of the candle. It was dark outside when the door of my room opened quietly. Elisabeth Kállay was standing there. She came to bid me farewell, and the action steadied me. We shook hands : " God bless you ! "

When the big gate of the castle opened before me, the piercing cold cut me like a knife, and I shrank back. Night stood in front of me like a damp black wall, through which I must pass. For an instant I felt as if someone were dogging my footsteps. The gate slammed with a bang behind me and made me feel as if all gates had closed on me and as if I were excluded from everything ; a homeless, countryless, beggarly wanderer on earth.

I penetrated deeper and deeper into the damp blackness, making my way through the garden towards the stables where the carriage was waiting for me... The wheels splashed in the mud, rain poured, my shoulders and my skirt round my knees were soaked. Dawn was breaking when we reached the main road.

From the way-side station a dark, cold little train carried me through the frosty morning. I may have fallen asleep for awhile, but I remember the last violent jerk : Aszód ! It was just the same : putrid filth covered the platform. There, on the side of a waggon, was the inscription written in human excrement : " Death to the bourgeois ! " The station was if possible even dirtier than before. Notwithstanding the early hour, a sad and sleepy deputation with red flags was waiting there. One of them said at the exit that there was going to be a recruiting meeting, a comrade from Budapest was going to make a speech, his special train was already signalled. This made me hurry. The parcel of food given me before I started was pulled from under my arm, but it did not matter. My valise was already in the cloak-room and I hurried off towards the town. A red flag was floating on the Reformatory like a piece of raw flesh. There were flags everywhere, and strange big posters covered the walls. The lines on them appeared to represent mad knots of tangled intestines. When I looked more closely, my eyes made out the outlines of horrible soldiers, pregnant giant women, skulls, blood-stained workmen, bare to the waist, glaring at me. " Join the Red army ! " " Alcohol is dead ! " " To arms, Proletarians ! "

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I was so tired that everything frightened me. The bare trees on the sidewalk stood in a row as if waiting for victims to be hanged on them. The dais which stood covered with red under the grey sky in the middle of the market place looked like a scaffold and the houses seemed to watch it wickedly, disdainfully. The streets were covered with mud : the repulsive mess spread all over the place and the houses alone seemed to keep it within its bed. If one of them had been removed, it seemed that the mud would have overflowed the whole country.

People lived in these surroundings, dragged themselves resignedly along in the black mire, surrounded by the monstrous posters. Nobody rebelled, they just let themselves sink and drown. This resignation stretched beyond the town, and the whole country surrendered to its fate.

A Jew dressed like a townsman except for his cap passed in a carriage, stopped, and beckoned. Two men of the working class ran up to him. He pointed towards the market and gave orders. The men listened respectfully. Then the man in the cap looked at me, and as his gaze fell on me I felt the blood rush to my head, for he turned back as if he knew me. It seemed to me that I too recognised this weak face, these thick, soft lips, these shapeless ears. Perhaps it has bowed before me over the counter of some Budapest bank, this puffy face which now looked slimy and dark as if it had been shaped out of the mud. But it passed from my sight.

A number of Red soldiers were loafing in front of a low house. They wore flat caps ornamented with red ribbons, and red-bordered blouses after the Russian pattern. This group impressed me strangely and filled me with anxiety : they were not Hungarian soldiers, they were enemies. They were the armed servants of a foreign power, the sole relics of our disbanded army ! The Red army ! Hungarian national guards, Hungarian hussars, were you disbanded to become like these ? This was the first time I had seen the Red guards of the Soviet.

Behind the soldiers the walls were posted with orders and regulations. A door was wide open and machine guns could be seen pointing from the disordered yard within. A few steps further a woman was standing on the pavement talking through an open window. She kept glancing anxiously behind her and I heard her sigh. Nowadays only those who look round in fear and sigh can be trusted, so I went up to her.

" Can you tell me where M. Sárkány, the magistrate, lives ? " " That door there." The woman looked frightened and went away quickly. I entered a small house.

" No, Comrade Sárkány is not in, he has left town."

The earth seemed to give way under me. What was I to do ? Could they let me in, I asked. I had come from far and was tired. But it was no good. Then I said I had a message, and at this I was allowed to enter. It was still early in the day. I had a long time to wait. Then Mme. Sárkány came in. While she read Baron Jeszenszky's letter, she became more and more excited.

" Then ... I see ... That is the reason ... the Reds have been looking this morning for a lady and a gentleman. "

I thought of Charles Kiss. Was it possible they were looking for us ? "

You cannot stay here, " said Mme. Sárkány. " The house is watched. Bokányi has come from Budapest and is going to give an address in the market place. There are journalists with him. They are going to be quartered here and they are sure to recognise you. " She turned very pale. No, you cannot stay here. The best thing you can do is to take the next train and travel on to Hatvan."

The instinct of self-preservation rebelled in me so that I was astonished at the heat with which I replied : " That would be to run straight into the prison gate. Why does everybody send me nearer Budapest, when the train is the most likely place where I could be recognised ? "

" Here you are not in safety for a minute. "

" If I could get a carriage... " Then a sudden idea came to me. " I could go to Iklad, to Countess Ráday... "

Mme. Sárkány nodded and left the room at once. How long she was away I could not tell, I only know that she came back once more and told me to get ready as there would be a carriage for me presently. I was very cold, and asked for a cup of tea. Then I hesitated before making my next request. Could I have a few matches ? In great haste she gave me some. " Be quick ... Be quick ! " The door was torn open and an old lady stood on the threshold. Her face was grey and she clasped her head between her hands.

" It is too late. The Reds have taken the carriage ! "

I went out all the same. Three soldiers stood near a cart and I pressed money into the hand of one of them. He looked at it stealthily so that the others should not see. I implored them to let me have the cart. I did not want to go far, not half an hour, and I would send it back... While they were debating the matter I suddenly jumped into the cart and the driver whipped up his horses. " To the station, for my luggage ! "

The soldiers shouted insults after us but the noise of the wheels drowned their words. The cart was covered with liquid manure. There was a hole in one of the bottom boards and through it I could watch the road running past. I shuddered ; once more I had to cross this awful town.

At the station I snatched my valise. " Be quick ! Drive on ! " Then suddenly I caught sight of the mud-faced man with the cap. The coachman looked back at me and seemed to understand my trouble ; he gave the horses their heads and the rickety little cart flew over the sea of mud. The puffy face looked after me, but we turned off into a side street and the low houses and closed shops were quickly left behind. Astonished faces peeped out of the windows : I must have looked rather quaint in my town dress on a manure cart ! Motor-cars passed from the opposite direction, probably carrying agitators from Budapest. Nowadays one only sees Jews in motor-cars. Instinctively I covered my face with my handkerchief. The road passed under the walls of a fine old castle : its outlines appeared for an instant against the grey sky from among the trees of the park. It was the only spot of beauty in the sea of mud.

" The one who lived there committed suicide," the driver said, pointing with his whip towards the castle. The board put across the cart which served me as a seat was jumping to and fro. I caught hold of the edges of the cart and leant forward.

" Who lived there ? "

" It used to be a boarding school. Little ladies were taught in it. "

I asked for more details.

" Well, you see," he said, weighing his words, " when the new order of things came, a comrade was sent down here. He was no older than fifteen and he was a Jew, the beggar was. He used to declaim to the school children in the market place ... "

I asked him to go on.

" I am ashamed to speak of these things," the man grumbled, " but, with your leave, that son of a bitch used to explain aloud there in the market-place how children were produced. He also said that one need not obey one's parents. He also said that it did not matter if girls went wrong, it was only the priests who pretended that it was a sin. No more need to worry about bastards, the State would look after them. " He pushed his hat back on his head and expectorated violently. " Damn his eyes ! No more God, no more honour ! Here in the boarding school he said the same thing as in the market-place. He encouraged the little misses to make love freely with the boys. He had pictures to show them how it was done. The headmistress just wept and wrung her hands. At last she did for herself. "

The cart rattled. Something seemed to shake within me too. I looked down and saw the road through the hole in the bottom : the earth receded rapidly under the cart. When I looked up at last the town was no longer in sight, I had left the execution ground.

Rain now began to fall anew, but I did not heed it, for a fresh breeze was blowing over the fields, and those whom I met, peasants on carts or on foot, were different from those in town. A village came in view, a house, a garden full of flowers. The cart entered the yard of Iklad, and a girl came running towards me from the corridor : "

They are not at home ! Since they have been taken to Aszód they have not been allowed to come home."

I was very cold and very tired : " Might I stay here a little till the train for Balassagyarmat comes ? " " Please don't ! " exclaimed the frightened girl. " We are expecting the Communists every minute. They are coming to requisition things. " " Of course, it does not matter ... " And I thought of the heavy clang with which the gate of Berczel had closed behind me. All gates were closed as this one now.

" Let us go," I said to the coachman.

By this time the girl had recovered her senses. " You might go to the house of the railway guard, and wait for the train there. Uncle Nagy, the guard, is a kind man, he'll let you. " And she added something about bringing me some dinner when the Communists were gone.

Under centenarian trees, on the other side of the road, the guard's house was hidden beside the roadway. A fowl-house, a little stack of wood, a garden with quaint little flower-beds ... A tall elderly man, dressed in the blouse of the railway guards, came towards me. He touched his cap and asked me what I wanted. The office was closed, the train would not arrive till five ... So he was going to send me away too ... I felt again how tired I was, wet to the bone, and ravenously hungry. I spoke slowly, so as to gain time and to be able to stayer a little longer under a roof, out of the rain, and also to nurse my hopes a little. But the man did not send me away. He shrugged his shoulders :

" Of course you are welcome to stay here if you like. But you won't find it over comfortable. "

I laughed from sheer joy, laughed aloud. I could stay, and it was my host who apologised ! Tears came to my eyes : comfort ? He did not realise what royal comfort he offered me. A corner where I would withdraw out of sight, a nook whence I should not be driven, a seat which is not drenched with rain and on which I might rest.

His wife came in too, a kindly little woman, aged before her time. She invited me into the room and wiped a chair with her apron, then began splitting wood in the kitchen. When the fire had burnt up she opened the door so as to let in the warmth.

Warmth ! As it slowly thawed me it also thawed my heart. At first my mind remained inactive, I was just happy. Then I began slowly to take notice of the things around me. Under the low roof, above the piled-up bed, a text was hanging in a gaudy frame. I read it over and over again during my long wait, and yet I cannot remember it. Oleographs and family portraits hung on the walls, the women sitting in stiff poses, the men with long, waxed moustaches. A fretwork basket stood on the chest of drawers. Everything shone in a reddish, warm light. A red piece of cloth served as a curtain over the window. And as I sat on my hard chair the guard's hut seemed slowly to become strangely familiar to me, as did the room with its cheap ornaments, as if I had been there before. But then the house stood in another landscape, far away, on the Carso, amidst bleak rock, on a wild mountain. Then I was young, and writing my first novel : Stonecrop. That other house, to which I had given the youth of my creative power, stood between two tunnels. And it dawned upon me that perhaps there was no such thing as hazard, that even little guards' houses return to you the love you have once bestowed upon them.

Something caught my eye, I had not noticed it before a calendar hung on the whitewashed wall and I read in the dim, reddish light : April 16, 1919. That recalled me to reality. Carriages passed on the road coming from the direction of Aszód stolen carriages, and in them sat suspicious-looking people, Jews in fur coats, and they all drove into the courtyard of the castle. I watched them from behind the red curtains. They entered the house noisily : was it not all theirs ? And the windows of the castle stared in rigid astonishment out into the garden, as if they wondered what was happening behind them.

Hours passed by. In the castle yard the Communists were packing up, taking whatever they fancied. I sat quietly in my room and looked out through the window. Sometimes a noise made me draw back, then I returned to my post of observation. It may have been about noon when a hand-driven trolley car arrived from Aszód. Voices issued commands in the small office and steps were heard all over the house. I held my breath in alarm. At last they went, and silence ensued. Dinner was ready in the kitchen : there was a smell of boiled potatoes. I was very hungry and the good woman offered me some, but there were so few on the little earthenware dish. " No, thank you, it is too early. "

Later on the girl sent a message from the castle that the Communists had eaten or carried away everything eatable from the kitchen and the larder. She could send me no food, but would I write my name down so that she might inform the Countess when she came home ? I remembered the alias Elisabeth Kállay had selected for me to hide my identity when I came to Balassagyarmat : ' Elisabeth Földváry ' ... I repeated it to myself several times. It seemed funny that henceforth this should be the name by which I should be known. The guard's wife tore the date from the calendar and told me I could write it down on that, but I did not do so, and she took no notice. She came and went, working in the house like an ant, tidied up her kitchen, then took the red curtain from the window and began to wash the window panes.

The rain had stopped and a cold wind whistled and howled, driving the clouds before it. In the house the signal bells hummed all the while. The guard came in, rolling a grimy little signal flag in his hands, and spoke to his wife about the Communists. If this went on much longer they would carry off everything from the castle. He spoke to me too, and told me that when the people from Aszód had arrested Count Ráday he had been compelled to wash the Jews' cars in the street. " But he gave it them ! He turned up the sleeves of his shirt and ordered the scoundrels to watch him, saying ' now you shall learn how to do this job properly ! ' The guard laughed to himself : the story pleased him immensely : " But then the men of Iklad got out their scythes, and the next two villages joined them. They were going to fetch the Count and the Countess with six horses, because each village in- sisted on supplying at least two horses for his carriage..."

Suddenly the guard went out. I saw his cap in front of the window and he held the signal flag in his hand. With a great clatter a clumsy goods train passed over the rails. Soldiers with red ribbons were escorting it and shouted at him as they passed. A chalked inscription ornamented the black waggons : ' Long live Béla Kún ! Long live the Red army ! '

" The vagabonds, they are conveying arms ! And as for the Directory of Aszód, they are a lot of cruel Jew boys. The people live in terror of them. Even at night the inhabitants have no rest. During the war the Czech deserters were kept in cotton wool at the aeroplane factory. Now they are the greatest Communist heroes. They steal more than all the others together. " Then he scowled. " But things will be different soon ! It is no good giving us a lot of their worthless bank-notes. They won't take us in. We railwaymen will have something to say in the matter ! "

The telephone rang in the office : Aszód on the line, my train was signalled. My lassitude vanished suddenly, but as I stepped out of the little house I felt as if a veil had been torn from my face, and the exposure seemed physically painful.

Slowly, hissing and panting, the train approached. People were sitting on top of the waggons, people hung from the steps, and even the buffers had their riders. I tried to get up but was pushed back. I ran along the train but not a door would open, for inside the people were pressed against them. I ran on and on, saying to myself ' anywhere, anyhow will do. ' I struggled with another door-handle. The train started. What on earth shall I do if I lose it ? The guard came to my rescue at last, but boxes and trunks blocked the door. Someone pushed me forward, someone else pulled. My bag hit me in the back. And then I could move no more and the train carried me away.

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I had got into an old condemned carriage and an icy wind blew unhindered through its unglazed windows. People were crowding against one another on the narrow floor women, soldiers, an officer, a dirty fat man. Wedged between them, I stood on one leg, the only foothold I could secure, indeed I was practically suspended by the pressure of their fetid bodies. But as things were I thought myself lucky. I had to take my ticket on the train, and when the conductor forced his way to our compartment he asked me for my trade-union permit. So now they were going to make me get off again, I thought. I pretended to look for it in my bag, but the officer who was crushed up against me spoke to the conductor and shewed him some paper : " make the ticket out for two. " The conductor did so and the officer pocketed tickets for himself and for me. I paid him the fare, he too was going to Balassagyarmat.

Suddenly I found myself standing on both feet, and thus I noticed that the crowd had diminished. At every small station someone got off and there were no new passengers. Now one could look through the window into the corridor of the carriage preceding ours. A young man in a fur coat sat there smoking ; he wore a soft hat and his face was flushed with the cold. For a time I looked at him indifferently ; then suddenly I began to feel uneasy. I didn't want to see him, yet I felt my eyes attracted by him. My apprehensions steadily increased : I was angry with myself, it was all imagination ! But if this man should be searching for me ? ...

We reached the station which serves Berczel : I had left it twelve hours earlier, in the morning. How tired I had become since then ! The door of the next carriage opened suddenly and the man in the fur coat jumped on to the platform and strode towards the stationmaster's office. He was searching for me ! I was as convinced of it as if somebody had told me. He was going to Berczel and he would not find me there ! I felt incredibly happy. He had but to turn his head ... Good-night, comrade ! Good luck ! All sorts of mocking words came to my mind and I felt like making faces at him.

Passengers elbowed their way past me and several got out. The door remained open and the cold streaming in brought me to my senses. I turned my back to the door and looked at the path wending its way across the green squares of fields and meadows. Suddenly I felt as if something had struck me on the chest : the man in the short fur coat was standing in the door looking at me ! He was resting his chin in his hand and held his head a little on one side as if he were trying to remember something. Every drop of blood left my face. Without thinking, instinctively, in self-defence, I turned to the opposite window. But I could not see the landscape, everything was blurred before my eyes.

How long did it last ? I only know that I felt as if something had vanished behind me. The minutes seemed to gather into masses and fall into hollow space. I felt I was falling with them. Good God, how long is this to last ? Let him clutch me by the shoulders, if he likes, let him arrest me, but let something happen, let the suspense come to an end ! Then I began to take heart : after all, what does it matter now ? At least let the scoundrels see that I am not afraid. I pulled myself up, as high as I could, and forced a smile to my lips.

The train started and the shock banged the door to. Was it possible ? For an instant I felt the reckless delight of salvation sweep through me : I breathed freely : I scolded and cheered myself mentally. Poor fool, how could you have such delusions ! Then the whole carriage reeled before my eyes : the man in the short fur coat was sitting on a box next to me ! He was sitting there with his knees drawn up like a mischievous imp.

In spite of myself my jaw began to tremble : I was afraid with a fear I had never known before, and notwithstanding the cold the sweat rolled down my face. But still I managed to keep myself erect and presently forced myself once more to smile. All sorts of possibilities coursed madly through my head. If I were arrested nobody would know of my fate, and the one-eyed monster into whose hands I was to be delivered could dispose of me without difficulty. My mother did not know that I was travelling, the Kállays whom I had left, the Huszárs to whom I was going, would each be ignorant that I was not safely with the other. One could invoke the Entente Mission on behalf of prisoners at Budapest, but if I were trapped now, nobody would seek me until too late...

The man was still sitting on the box. He rolled a cigarette, blew out the smoke and now and then looked up at me. I shall never forget his eyes. Some travellers got into the train at the next station and the corridor again became crowded. Two men who wore red buttons in their coat lapels waxed enthusiastic over the revolution : " That we should have lived to see it ! " One could guess that they were speaking from fear. The man on the box nodded. How contemptible were these people who were Hungarians and had sold themselves to the foreigners ; the whole thing was degrading and dirty ; my pride revolted at it. To be arrested by this scum ; miserably, without an attempt to escape ; to wait for fate like one paralysed, unable to move ! My passivity suddenly weighed on me like a great shame. I grasped my bag and forced my way through the crowd into the next compartment. There too the passengers stood jammed between the seats. Next to me was wedged a man whose face I remembered vaguely. He had a thin, fair moustache and wandering eyes, and kept making notes in a book, tearing out the pages and going on writing. However, I soon gave up watching him, for I noticed that the man in the short fur coat who was sitting in the corridor got up every now and then and looked into the compartment as if he were watching me. I waited for an opportune moment, and when he sat down on his box and was out of sight of me, I snatched up my bag and went further along the train. I had no plan, I only wanted to go on, get away, do something. It might succeed. I might escape at the next station. I might jump off the train.

As I was moving away from the fair-haired scribbling man, he suddenly pushed something between the handle of my bag and my hand. Then I remembered how curiously he had looked at me and had then written in his book and torn the page out. I thought I felt a scrap of paper in my palm, but I went on quickly from carriage to carriage, each more crowded than the other, between human bodies, boxes, trunks, baskets. I was pushed about, handled roughly, and sworn at. Whenever anybody looked at me I felt as if my face were being skinned. Why did they all look at me so familiarly as if they had seen me before ? Why had I not got a face like everybody else ? I pushed on. Suddenly I could go no further, I had come to the end of the train, to the last carriage. There was an empty place near a broken window ; all the sparks of the engine were blown into it by the wind, so nobody wanted it. I withdrew into that corner and covered my face with a handkerchief ; it protected me and hid me. Nobody paid any attention to me so I opened the little paper in my hand. A sentence was written on it in irregular halting lines. I remember every word :

" A warrant against you, with your portrait, is circulating here. Escape. If caught they will do for you. "

Was it death, or was it just fear I felt then ? I carefully tore the paper into little bits and threw them out of the window. Everything was in a haze ; there were people in the compartment, I could hear voices, but everything seemed remote ... I was alone with myself. About an hour may have passed, perhaps more : I liked to think that time was flying, I liked my little corner, although the wind blew through it and cut my face like a knife. My limbs ached on the hard seat and I was ravenously hungry : since last night I had had nothing but a cup of tea. Suddenly everything became dark, and soot-laden smoke filled the compartment. Before I grasped what it was the chance had passed. A tunnel ... If I had thought of it earlier I might have ... Nonsense, I should have broken my neck.

The train stopped : we were on the open track. There was a deep ditch along the embankment I might get off here. The passengers crowded to the windows and someone shouted from outside : " It's not likely that the train will be allowed to enter Balassagyarmat. The Czechs are shelling the station. " I made myself as small as possible in my corner. It was nonsense, all nonsense ... Then there was another station. Red soldiers everywhere. I saw the man in the short fur coat again ; he was running about the station, then stopped and stared towards the place where we had pulled up in the open. He shook his head and seemed to be swearing. Was he looking for me ? At all events he jumped back into the train.

Night was now falling and we had to wait a long time in the station, for the engine-driver had gone to an inn for his supper. A passenger said that they had sent for him but that he had replied : " Let them get up steam themselves. "

It was night before we started again, and rain began to fall. Slowly light began to stream towards us through the clammy darkness, and people in the compartment got ready to get out. A voice said " Balassagyarmat. " I stood near the door, opened it suddenly, threw out my bag and jumped. The other doors opened a good deal later, when I was already running through the exit towards the town. Nobody asked me for my ticket, or took any notice of me. I reached a paling, overshadowed by a huge walnut tree, leant against it, and waited till everybody had passed, people and carriages. For an instant I caught sight of the man in the short fur coat going towards the town. Then the lights of the station went out, and I was alone in the dark at the foot of the tree.

It was over ! And yet the terror remained. I still felt that strange will searching for me in the dark, saw the hand industriously groping for me, missing me over and over again. It had not yet found me, but perhaps later on ... Instinctively I ducked in my hiding-place. The hand missed me. It had missed me till now, but every time it seemed to get nearer its goal. The watching motor car in front of the doorless house in Stonemason Street ; the Red soldiers in Aszód ; the man with the dark puffy face and the one in the short fur coat... Every time the hand had been nearer. One lucky movement and it would have got me. It had been so yesterday, it might be so to-morrow, but at any rate it had missed me to-day and I was still free.

I looked round and my eyes became accustomed to the dark. Where was I to go ? A broad street overshadowed by trees led from the station to the town. Should I follow that ? I retained a confused memory of the instructions Elisabeth Kállay had given me. Soldiers came towards me, then a few people, at last a little boy. I resolved to confide in the latter. " Will you help me to carry my bag ? "

The boy caught hold of it but it was too heavy for him, so we carried it together. After all, that had not been my object. What I really wanted was to find the house of Aladár Huszár. The boy was not quite sure of it, but he led bravely on through the rain. We left gardens and small villas behind us and came in sight of a church by dripping trees and a soaking sandy road. A woman was standing in one of the doorways : She put us right : " The end of the town, the last house but one. " New anxieties now took hold of me : up till the present I had only worried about finding my way, and now that I had found it, it occurred to me that they might have left the town. Aladár Huszár had the reputation of being a counter-revolutionary and was suspected by the new power. His wife was the president of the county branch of the Federation of Hungarian Women, and she had been attacked by the local Socialist-Communist papers.

The boy passed through an iron gate and we went up a few steps till we came to a door with glass panes. I was very nervous. I was going to ask for shelter from people who themselves were threatened. I felt painfully ashamed of myself.

" There is the bell ! " the boy said. Yet I still hesitated.

Only those who have stood on a stranger's threshold, doubting the quality of their welcome, can appreciate my feelings.

The boy deposited the bag, asked for his money and ran away.

The ringing of the bell broke the silence of the house, and the sudden sound frightened me. I imagined the uneasiness caused to those within. In these times even a knock in broad daylight is enough to cause alarm.

Rapid stops approached from the further end of the long corridor and a frightened maid asked me what I wanted. " Will you say that Elisabeth Földváry has arrived ? " Doors opened ; there was a ray of light, and in its beam a fine setter ran barking towards me, followed by Aladár Huszár. I had only once seen him before, but I recognised him at onoe ; his fair head and his broad shoulders showed up clearly against the lamp light. For an instant he looked at me searchingly : " Elisabeth Földváry ? ... "

By now we were alone, and I whispered my real name to him. He jerked his head in surprise. " We were told yesterday that you had escaped to Switzerland. "

" Help me to get across the Ipoly ! "

" There's no hurry, we will discuss it ; now come inside quickly. " He picked up my bag and we went into the house as if we were old friends. We crossed the small hall and entered a room in which the light was reflected from the glass doors of high bookcases, and comfortable furniture stood on oriental carpets. I was met by a remarkably beautiful young woman. Her forehead was like marble and her eyebrows met over her big blue eyes shaded by dark eyelashes. Her face was cold and her features seemed nearly rigid. I felt anxious : What was she going to say ? She seemed neither astonished nor nervous, though she had lately been told I had escaped abroad, and she behaved as if it had been the most natural thing in the world for a stranger wanted by the police to drop in on them in the middle of the night. She gave her orders quietly, calmly :

We will make up a bed here in the library ; we have no other room. Red officers are quartered on the first floor. They wanted to plant Communists in our two spare rooms, so we put our old coachman there. "

I leant wearily against a book-case : the room was going round. Then they gave me hot food, and I could detect in the sympathetic expression of Huszár that hunger, sleepless nights, cold and suffering had left their marks upon my face. My dress was hanging on me and my hands trembled. The children, two little girls and a boy, came in. They were told I was a relation of theirs. In a few minutes I watched them being put to bed.

Outside, the rain was falling and the world was full of Red soldiers, detectives, hatred, misery, dirt, fear, humiliation. In here the little children were praying in their long white nightgowns and over their bed a tiny red, white, and green flag was dangling like an emblem of faith. The electric lights went out : it was eleven o'clock. The house became quiet. We stayed up for a time round a single candle. Words were unnecessary between us. We all felt equally the terrible misfortune of our country : the sufferings of each of us were due to the same cause.

" Many good friends have fled this way," said Aladár Huszár.

" Will you help me over, too ? "

He shook his head. " The river is in flood and the bridges are guarded. It cannot be managed yet. You must stay here ; it is only a question of days. Colonial troops have been seen near by and my men tell me that there are some at one of the bridges. To-day we heard that British troops had arrived. They say there are thirty thousand of them. The French are in Arad. They may come here this very night. Wait for the downfall of the Soviet. "

I was tired, dead tired, but in spite of my exhaustion his words refreshed me as though they heralded the coming of dawn. It seemed strange not to be sent away. They did not want me to go. I should be allowed to rest a little. I felt extreme gratitude but could find no words in which to express it.

Cecile Tormay: An Outlaw's Diary: The Commune /1

Cecile Tormay: An Outlaw's Diary: The Commune /2

Cecile Tormay: An Outlaw's Diary: The Commune /3

Cecile Tormay: An Outlaw's Diary: The Commune /4

Cecile Tormay: An Outlaw's Diary: The Commune /5

Cecile Tormay: An Outlaw's Diary: The Commune /6

Cecile Tormay: An Outlaw's Diary: The Commune – Original – PDF

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

Part One: An Outlaw's Diary: Revolution