Ugrás a tartalomhoz Lépj a menübe
 


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

CHAPTER VI

BALASSAGYAKMAT, April 17th.

I thought my excitements had come to an end, but ill-fortune has looked me in the face again. It has just glanced at me, but has not seized me yet. And now, how long shall I be here ? Shall I be driven away, or will this be the scene of my capture ?

I can no longer see the end of my road. I never seem to know when I shall be able to put a full-stop at the end of my sentence. It makes no difference. If my diary must remain a fragment, fragments can bear witness. Every clod plays its part in a land-slide, and there is some fragment of the great tragedy in every particle that composes it.

When I woke this morning it took me a long time to realise where I was. The daylight was reflected from the glass doors of a bookcase, and I heard the sound of a reed-flute. The primitive melodies of the cow-herd mingled with the trampling of the cattle. But where was I ? Something gripped my heart and forced the truth from it. A fugitive, an outlaw ! I looked out of the window : cows were coming down the little street on the outskirts of the town. Everything was different from my surroundings of yesterday. The house opposite was indifferently, ignorantly looking at its reflection in the puddles. Somewhere in that direction the railway station must lie, and the road to it crosses the square in front of the town-hall. I had a good idea what this square must be like. A big market with arcades, an old fountain, the old town-hall with its tower ... Yes, it must be like that.

" Good morning ! " The children's clear voices called me from the next room. Breakfast was ready on a glass-covered verandah, opening on to the back garden. The old flower-bed under the sprouting ornamental trees had been replaced by vegetables, but shrubs remained, and beyond the fence were trees, shingled roofs, little gardens. Aspen trees, willows and graceful, slender poplars were reflected from a soft, brilliant mirror the Ipoly in flood. On the other side of the river were the vineyards where the Czechs were encamped. For two months their guns have been trained on the town.

I mentioned my notes ; Huszár gave me some paper and a pencil. Then the front door bell rang. Who could it be ? It was unusual to have visitors at that hour. Gregory, the faithful old coachman, put his head in.

" Two armed Reds are here ! " he exclaimed.

I clasped my hands in terror. Mrs. Huszár turned white to the lips :

" What are we to do if they are after you ? The town is full of detectives. " She went out and when she came back she was laughing. " I was never so frightened in my life. They asked me : ' Does Comrade Huszár live here ? ' Then one of them made an awful face and added : ' We have been informed that there is a—er—library in the house.' I really thought they had found you. And all they had discovered was our library !

" It was a good library ; I spent a long time among its volumes, and found them representative of Hungarian history and of the development of Socialism. I determined to study.

" You'd better write a book," said Mrs. Huszár. " When we have got over these times, let people know what we have gone through."

........

April 18th.

Good Friday. At the feet of Christ's cross, under the black sky, on the Red land, Hungary has been crucified among the nations.

We hoped that an attack on the town would be delivered this night by the Czechs. It sounds sheer madness, and yet it was so. It was different last year, when Károlyi had opened our frontiers and our predatory neighbours could walk in undisturbed on our unconscious, shackled towns. Balassagyarmat was the only one that rose to arms and drove out the intruders.

Hideous change ! We are waiting for the Czechs ! And this day all those who are Hungarians in the republic of the Jewish tyrants are waiting in suspense.

........

April 19th.

The night has passed. At dawn only a few stray rifle bullets whistled over and into the Ipoly, disturbing the surface of the water for a moment, but the river soon resumed its smoothness and everything is now as it was yesterday. There is no change, and our deliverers still hesitate. But within our shamefully constricted frontiers the outlines of the picture become clear, and the undermining of society goes on with devilish speed. The newspapers which reached us this day publish an incredible order—the sixty-second within three weeks.

" The Revolutionary Cabinet considers it its duty to revise the procedure of such criminal proceedings as have been instituted before the proclamation of the Soviet, so as to save from punishment those Proletarians who were called before the tribunals by the old order in the interest of capitalism alone, and, on the other hand, to punish severely, those who have sinned against the working Proletarians. "

This order is without precedent in the history of human law. It destroys at a blow the progress of centuries. It endows the privileged and only recognised class, the Proletarians, with the monopoly of crime.

Even in the administration of justice, Bolshevism stands on the basis of class hatred and serves the class war. If the Proletarian has robbed a member of the middle-classes, he cannot be punished ; if he has murdered a bourgeois, he cannot be condemned, because his actions were simply acts of self-defence against the tyranny of capitalism.

And after abolishing crime as such, it proceeds to the destruction of its traces. All records are burnt in stacks, and the files of criminal proceedings which might involve those in power to-day are made away with. Béla Kún embezzled the funds of a workmen's benevolent society. The papers of the prosecution have been burnt and the leader of the Soviet has purged his honour in the ashes.

Once the Roman Empire of the West, Byzantium, Friul, Saxony, all paid tribute to the old Hungary. The profiles of conquered Emperors, of Caesars and of Princes, minted in gold, flowed into the Danubian province of Hungary, and later on the harvests of peace sent their surplus into the treasury of the land, the fruits of valour and of work.

To-day the ruling power burgles safes. Protected by its ordinances, it steals jewels, gold and precious stones, proclaiming, " No compensation is due for property delivered to the State. " Everything that can be exchanged for foreign gold is confiscated. Even stamp collections which are worth more than two thousand crowns are taken, the happiness of little schoolboys, the hobby of collectors.

The head of the Directorium of Balassagyarmat returned yesterday from Budapest. Huszár heard him relating proudly in the street that he had spoken with Béla Kún himself. The position of the Soviet Republic has been considerably strengthened abroad and at home, and the economic conditions are excellent. Béla Kún has declared that he has such a reserve in jewels, pearls, medals and art treasures that there was no bourgeois Government in the world that could compete with him. Negotiations are on foot for the disposal, in Holland, of these treasures. Huszár's next statement filled me with shame and anger. Béla Kún was bargaining with foreign antiquaries for the sale of the Holy Hungarian Crown ! It is said they offered him 170,000 crowns for it. The stones are second-rate, the gold is thin, there is just the historical value left. 170,000 crowns for the past glories of the Kings of Hungary ! That is their value to-day.

The Cabinet is still expectant : will anybody bid any more ? And if one day there is a higher bidder, Béla Kún and Számuelly, Comrade Landler and the others, will open the iron-bound chest in the Coronation Chapel, lean over it, finger it, and the Jews will take Europe's oldest royal crown[1] to the auction room. Will they have time to do it ? I thought of what the president of the Balassagyannat Directorate had said. They all talk as if they were to last for ever. Meanwhile, the other bank of the Ipoly, the hill with the vineyards, keeps silent.

If things were to remain like this for long ! The idea tortures me incessantly and forces me to think of my unhappy position. My hosts are hospitable, kind, touchingly so, but have I the right to accept their generosity ? Aladár Huszár has given up his office, he declines to serve the Soviet. His wife's jewels have been seized, they have no food coupons. What is consumed to-day cannot be replaced to-morrow. Every gift means a privation for them. And what if I should be found and arrested in their house ! There are ten years of penal servitude in store for those who shelter me. I must do something. If there is no change presently I shall have to go. Have the waters of the Ipoly receded during the night ? Perhaps the Czechs are not guarding the banks any longer ? Perhaps the bridge is open ?

" Let us wait, " said Mrs. Huszár. " We confidently expect an attack to-night, and that would save you. "

" Let us go and have a look. Maybe ... "

We walked slowly along the bank of the river. The air was clear and fresh and the wind rippled the flooded waters.

A woman came along the road with a hamper over her arm and greeted us.

" Do you come from the other bank ? "

The woman nodded : " We have a little field over there. But in future, from to-day, the Czechs have refused to let me pass. They shoot at anyone who approaches the bridge. They are preparing something. "

As she passed on we looked at each other and then towards the bridge. That road then existed no longer. The barbed wire in the middle marks the frontier. Reds and Czechs stand on either bridgehead. The tree which had fallen across the river near the gardens, the living bridge over which fugitives had quite recently crawled across, is now under water in mid-stream. The Ipoly is like a sea. The silver stream is flowing over the green velvet of the inundated fields and meadows. The willows on the banks draw a veil over the silver. Against the lovely blue background of the distant hills, the poplars look like rows of furled flags. All nature seems in ecstasy. Birds sing in the dazzling sunshine.

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A cart rattled behind us full of soldiers, carrying bread for distribution among the guards in the villages. It passed us quickly and disappeared at the turning of the road, but the smell of bread remained in the air.

It is the Saturday before Easter. The churches are watched by the mercenaries of the new power and I must avoid their eyes. Only the banks of the river and the main road are free to me. And yet I am in church. Under the long cupola of the branches, the mild winds of spring sound like an organ, recalling to me the eternal mysteries of the Resurrection.

........

April 20th.

Events cast their shadows before them, and as they arrive they enter the shadow.

Our little street on the outskirts of the town was unusually restless this morning. As the bells recalled the memories of past Easters to my mind, the neighbouring villagers were passing under my window in picturesque costumes on their way to church. I could hear the sound of footsteps, the rustle of petticoats, even a threat in the loud voices of the young men. A few of them wore red and white flowers with green leaves stuck in their hats.

On the other side of the street, soldiers were leaning out of the window of the Reds' guard-room. A few were loafing about in the street. They looked suspiciously at the peasants and as soon as these had passed they talked among themselves excitedly.

One soldier rang our front-door bell and insisted on being given a suit of clothes, as he was going to a wedding.

Gentlefolks had plenty to give him. To give more weight to his claim he began to boast his prowess : " The attack is expected at Uszok. We are going to wipe out the Czechs and unite with the Russians, who have already crossed the Carpathians. " He took what he had exacted under his arm and hurried off.

When Aladár Huszár came home he spoke more cautiously than usual.

" There is much ado among the comrades. On the 16th the Roumanians attacked between the Szamos and the Maros. The Red International Regiment fled at the first shot. How the Russian and Viennese Jews ran ! They stormed the trains in their panic, and left the poor Széklers to their fate, even before the Roumanians had developed their attack. "

We looked at each other : we had never imagined it like this. Even when our sufferings seemed most unbearable we would have wished it otherwise. Where are the British and the French troops ?

" The members of the local Directorate suppress the facts," said Huszár, after a long silence. " At any rate it looks suspicious that they should again talk so much about the World Revolution. The World Revolution is always to the front when their own affairs are on the decline. Their newspapers are full of it ; Italy and France are seething. Soviet rule has become more powerful in Munich. The proclamation of the Soviet in Vienna is only a question of hours. "

How much of this is true ? How much lies ? Aladár Huszár began to roll cigarettes. He offered me one : they always offer, always give, and I am for ever asking and thanking. A match ? I should have liked to ask for one, but could not say the word, so I just held the cigarette in my hand. Mrs. Huszár nodded to her husband : " Give her a light ... " He jumped up and went to the writing- table and brought back a small cigarette lighter in his palm. " Here is a little Easter present for you. "

His wife let her sewing fall into her lap and looked at me. " Well done, " she said, " I hate seeing you obliged to ask for every trifle, when you yourself have given up everything. " At that moment I saw behind the lovely cold face the warm heart it endeavoured to hide.

Huszár took his hat. " I will go to the railway station for a newspaper." He seemed restless.

" What has happened ? " asked his wife.

He hesitated for a moment. " The Directorate has received a secret order by telephone. The Cabinet has decided that hostages are to be taken. " A cloud seemed to pass over the brightness outside, and I felt suddenly cold. This news was the most terrible we had yet heard. Hostages ! The foreign race is going to guarantee its life with Hungarian lives ! A very little time seemed to have passed before the door flew open and  Aladár Huszár stood there, his eyes shining and his face drawn with excitement.

" They are done for ! " He was so excited that he laughed spasmodically, while his eyes were full of tears of emotion. " Look here ! " He waved the newspaper in front of us : " The Revolution is in danger !

" In turn we snatched the newspaper out of each other's hands. The General Staff of the Workers' and Soldiers' Council had met on the 19th at the Opera House. It was Kunfi who addressed the crowd :

" The Entente is forging a ring of iron round Soviet Hungary. "

We looked at each other. So they will not let us perish after all ! Human mercy comes to the rescue at last !

" Just listen ! Béla Kún himself admits that they are done for : ' According to reports the Roumanians have taken Szatmár-Németi. The inhabitants at once abolished the Soviet Republic, hoisted white flags and raised cheers for the King. Private property was re-established. The Roumanians are advancing on Nagy-Várad. In Debreczen, however, the workmen managed to suppress the Counter-revolution. Everybody must go to the front. If necessary, we are ready to die for the Dictatorship of the Proletariat ! ' "

We have learned to read between the lines of ' The Red Newspaper. ' They are afraid, and in their fear they threaten furiously. The electrician War Minister threatens the working classes : " Anyone committing acts of indiscipline will be dealt with as if he were a Counter-revolutionary. " As for the bourgeoisie, Pogány shook his fist at it during the stage meeting at the Opera.

" Comrades, we must inform the bourgeoisie that from this day we consider it our hostage. (Violent applause.) Let the bourgeois take notice that they will get no respite from any advance the Entente's army may make, because every step which brings the Serbian and Roumanian armies nearer shall be made a bitter trial to the bourgeois amongst us. (Stormy applause.) Let not the bourgeoisie rejoice, let it not stick white flags out of its windows, for we shall paint them red in their life-blood ! " (Raving applause lasting for several minutes.)

Then Számuelly mounted the tribune : " The Proletarian country is in danger ! " he exclaimed. " Death to all the enemies of the Proletariat ! Death to the bourgeois ! Although no blood has yet been shed in defence of the Republic, the blood of the Proletarians may yet flow, but then bourgeois blood will flow too. "

And the audience, the foreign crowd of the Workers' Council, clapped furiously as the Jew, Számuelly, prophesied the shedding of the blood of the Hungarian Proletariat and the Hungarian bourgeoisie, stirred up against each other. Labour, driven to the slaughter, is to vent its fury and destroy the intellectuals. Magyardom is to crush Magyardom's brain with its own hand.

Madness ! They sentence both their slaves and their enemies. Will they last long enough to accomplish the destruction of the nation ? The general assembly on Saturday before Easter resolved that every Proletarian must rise to arms in the defence of the Dictatorship.

One is oppressed by a sense of calamity. The Roumanians in Nagy-Várad ! But on the other hand, the horrible Dictatorship is falling. Humanity has pity on us. Even if the Roumanians make encroachments now, peace will restore our territory to us.

There were steps in the street. A man stopped on the kerb and looked up at our window. I remembered that I had seen him on the same spot yesterday. Mrs. Huszár pressed her husband's arm. Then the street lamps were lit, and we watched from the dark room. The sinister shape was still standing at the corner.

........

April 21st.

The town remained quiet and the house was wrapped in silence. I could hear nothing but the throbbing of my pulse. Was that man still standing at the corner ? After midnight the roar of a single gun disturbed the night. I waited, but the ominous silence returned. Such must be the silence in a lunatic asylum at night. ... The lamps burn low in the corridors, and now and then steps pass between the cells. The watchman makes his round. ... Out there the Red patrols pass under the window. Dawn begins to break : salvation has failed again. And yet the hours are flying for us. If the powers of the Entente delay, the Dictatorship will make us pay for their attempts. Let them hurry, lest they be too late. The Dictators are proclaiming their threat that blood will flow. They are covering the walls with posters : " To arms ! " " Advance, Red soldiers ! " " Rise in defence of the Proletariat ! " " The Revolution is in danger ! "

The fleeing Reds have been reformed near Debreczen and Nyiregyháza. A number of battalions and batteries have been removed from this western theatre. Trains are running at unusual hours : the Directorate is nervous. The petty tyrants proclaim the victories of the Red army, the reckless courage of the Proletarian heroes. Booty, innumerable prisoners ! The newspapers write in the same strain. From the capital come telephone messages and telegrams in cypher. Meanwhile the Czechs are shouting from the other bank : " Hey, Reds, there is a Red Easter in store for you ! " It is said that many soldiers deserted this night from the town : certainly there seem to be fewer about than usual. They are disillusioned now ; when they enlisted, they were told : " Down with war ! Henceforth a soldier's fife will be exempt from danger. Red soldiers will have good pay and they can do whatever they like. " And now, all of a sudden, revolutionary court martials are established. Béla Kún abolishes the Soldiers' Councils and the ' confidential ' system, and behold, the soldiers have to go to war !

Towards evening we went to the bank of the river. Tiny armed figures were visible on the other shore, and single soldiers passed us in haste ; they had already removed the red from their caps and a few wore bonnets of the old pattern. A cold wind was blowing, driving back the waters in silvery ripples, and shaking the aspen trees ; a shudder passed over the reeds. Another soldier came along from the town. When he caught sight of us he left the road and made quickly for the fields.

" He's deserting ! "

The small figures with bayonets on the other bank were gradually absorbed by the darkness. A tree in blossom alone stood out white against the leaden grey sky. Our souls knew hope again. If only the frosty wind does not kill the early spring !

........

April 22nd.

No news has reached us : the telegraph wires are silent : people have even stopped whispering in the street. The soldiers are leaning indolently out of the guard-room windows, and the Czech guns are silent.

No news ! Yet suddenly an awful reminder of the times we live in reached my ear. A child was singing in the street. I could not see it, but could hear that it was coming nearer and nearer, so I began to listen. The little songster was just crossing the end of the narrow street and for an instant the break in the houses gave his voice free access to us. " My father ... my mother ... " It was a small boy and he was balancing himself on the kerbstone as he repeated the refrain. Then I caught the words :

" My father, my mother, you may—for all I care... "

The song went on, to the stupid tune of a Budapest music-hall ditty. I have heard many disgusting things told of the new schools established by the Bolsheviks, but I think this was the most disgusting and the most disastrous. The degradation of the Hungarian schools was not the achievement of a day : it was started unobserved before the war by our Freemasons' educational policy and by Freemason mayors of the capital. Then Károlyi came and prepared the way for Bolshevism in the education of Hungary's younger generation. The mass appointment of Jewish masonic professors and teachers ; the Bolshevik reform of school books ; the destruction of the souls of the children ; the degradation of parental authority ; the systematic destruction of moral and patriotic principles ; the revelation of sexual matters ; all these were the work of Károlyi's Government. The Soviet Government, when it came, had only to change a few men and names, and the whole machine was ready to their hand, to work exclusively, and to their entire satisfaction, in the interest of revolution.

One shudders at the thought of those who have the education of Hungary's childhood and youth in their hands. They all belong to the foreign race. The Commissaries for Education : Kunfi, the morphomaniac ; Lukács a degenerate ; Pogány, who is openly accused of murder ; and Számuelly, the murderer in Russia of captive Hungarian officers. The dictator of the students, or so- called ' young- workers, ' is an assassin, the same Lékai-Leiter who had attempted to kill Tisza on the steps of the House of Parliament the day before the outbreak of the Revolution. Murderers and men devoid of moral sense, how should they consider schools as anything but the means of propaganda, as devilish laboratories which may serve to poison young guiltless minds ? Normal education is a process of civilization : Bolshevik education is demoralisation.

In the dormitories of girls' boarding schools young Jewish masters are made to sleep, so as to accustom the little girls to the presence of men. Jewish medical students accompany little girls to the mixed bathing places that they may kill all modesty with ridicule. Sexual education grows apace. The purpose of nursery schools has been changed : the teachers have been informed confidentially that the kindergarten must be used to estrange the children from their mothers and supplant the family. All toys are declared common property in order that the children may forget the crime of private ownership. And while our rulers are forcing the present generation of youths into the Red army, they decree that playing with lead soldiers must be forbidden to the coming generation, lest one day the slaves dream of liberation.

An order has been issued that the old reading and history books must be given up : they are being replaced by new history books, written by people who do not even know our language. The workshop of destruction is producing new school books, for the Commissary for Education has given instructions that in future all school books must preach the gospel of class-war. Hungarian literature is no longer to be taught ; henceforth nothing but ' universal literature ' is to be taught in Hungarian schools. Such scraps of our history as are allowed to be taught are falsified and systematically besmirched : " John Hunyady was a mountebank, Matthias Corvinus a charlatan, Denis Pázmándy a scoundrel. " It is not difficult to understand the purpose of the little boy's blasphemous song : let the children despise their fathers and mothers so that even at home parents may fail in their efforts to repair the destruction wrought in the schools.

For fifty years a devilish fiend has been slowly robbing the Hungarian people of its soul. Now that it has attained power it is destroying that soul with feverish haste, lest they should recover their soul when they regain their consciousness.

........

April 25th.

Black and white shapes are circling in the sky : the storks have come back, birds of so many legends and stories. They left us in the autumn, stayed away for many months, and yet they have found their way back to their own ragged nests on the trees along the banks of the Ipoly.

I looked at them as they descended, calm and peaceful. They did not attempt to take possession of a strange nest, of another bird's home. Mysterious, inviolable laws lead them to their own nests, regardless of the fact that in our country, at the foot of their trees, a man may no longer claim his own home. ' Every house becomes common property, ' and he who dares to oppose this order is tried by a Revolutionary Tribunal.

Someone had gone out of the room and left the door open. I could see a man in the corridor and heard him say that he had just come on foot, now and then getting a lift on a cart. He brought a letter for Aladár Huszár from his mother at Budapest. I could not help envying Huszár for me there is never a letter, nor any news.

Huszár showed me his letter : it read as though his mother were taking leave of him on her death bed. They are starving in the capital and are living under a perpetual threat. If three people stop to talk to each other in the street they are promptly driven apart by the former boisterous advocates of the right of free assembly. Nobody is allowed in the streets after ten o'clock at night ; even family gatherings at home are prohibited, and after eleven o'clock all lights have to be extinguished in the houses. People are spied on in their own homes by the ' confidential men ' who are quartered on them, and anybody who dares to move a hand is denounced. Poor Mrs. Huszár complained bitterly in her letter that a man-servant whom she had dismissed for theft had since been quartered on her with his wife. They are her guardians. Another old lady was compelled to find quarters for prostitutes, who received Red soldiers at night. And these people have to be fed. They get drunk, dirty the furniture and cover the floor with filth. There are no servants : she herself has to clean up after them, to save the place from pollution. Meanwhile the storks return to their last year's nest. Nature disregards man-made ordinances and continues her eternal laws.

Instinctively I looked at the newspaper. News : the advance of the Roumanians has been stopped. Lower down were three nominations : the Revolutionary Cabinet has appointed the distinguished typewriter salesman, Böhm,[2] Commander in Chief on the Eastern front. The Chief of Staff of this ridiculous and humiliating Commander is to be the Austrian comrade Aurelius Stromfeld, the very man who sent a note to Károlyi informing him that the final victory of the Russian Soviet armies and the World Revolution were inevitable. What new misfortune is this gifted but misguided megalomaniac preparing for us ? The third nomination was that of Számuelly to be the President of the Tribunal of Summary Jurisdiction established on the Eastern front. He is to be the absolute judge of all Counter-revolutionary movements behind the front. In his order issued from General Headquarters he stated his intentions clearly : " I do not ask the bourgeoisie for anything, but I should like it to engrave my words on its memory : whoever raises his hand against the power of the Proletariat signs his own sentence of death. As for the execution of the sentence, it will be our business to attend to that. "

Who is this man who has the power to speak like that ? Whence does he come, he who from this day onwards can dispose of our lives without further appeal ?

He appeared in the dark beginnings of the Revolution, at the side of Béla Kún. They crossed the Russian frontier together. Both brought with them the instructions and the gold of Trotsky.

I remember him : it was last winter, and at that time Visegrád street was the well-known ' secret ' nest of the Communists. Two figures were coming towards me from the corner, from the direction of ' The Red Newspaper's ' editorial offices : one was Maria Goszthonyi, who under the name of Maria Csorba filled important functions in the Soviet and roused the Communist rabble by her reckless speeches ; the other was a young man who, although he had no hump yet bore on his face that curious expression common to hunchbacks. I learned later on that this man was Tibor Számuelly.

His grandfather came from Galicia in his gabardine with a bundle on his back. Tibor Számuelly came young to Nagy-Várad, and without possessing any special gift for writing and endowed with a superficial education only, he became a journalist. I may say here that my information concerning him has been obtained from people who knew him personally at that time. In the café's he used to seek out quiet corners and sit if possible alone at a table. He practically never removed his black gloves he always wore black clothes and a black tie, and his long straight black hair was combed back from his forehead. His clean-shaven consumptive-looking face was furrowed with blue-black shadows.

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Presently this son of a Polish Jew became a Bohemian eccentric, and wore clothes after the English fashion ; but the change was only skin-deep, his soul was filled with the ardour of the crowded Synagogue. It remembered the dim lights of the eves of the old faith's Sabbaths, the seven lighted candles, the lust for vengeance of the despised. He mixed little with Christians, and as for the Christian women of bad fame with whom he came into contact, it was only to humiliate them (so he said) that he sought their company. He spoke with hatred of everything that was Hungarian, though he disguised his own characteristic name under a Hungarian form. At the beginning of the war he was writing short unimportant articles for a newspaper in Fiume. Then he joined the staff of the Catholic Hungarian Courier.

He was called up for military service when war broke out. For a time he cleverly managed to postpone joining his regiment and then for a while he shirked in various orderly-rooms behind the front. Later on he surrendered to the Russians, and when the Revolution broke out there a sudden change took place in the demeanour of this Jew boy, who till then had been rude and overbearing with his subordinates and cringing to his superiors. He quickly rose above the others. Soon he was seen recruiting for the Red army among the Hungarian prisoners of war. He used threats and every conceivable pressure. The Jewish Czars restored his freedom, and in astonishing proof of racial solidarity, the insignificant little Jew of Nyiregyháza became a commander in the Russo-Jewish army of the Soviet. And then, at last, it seems, he gave the rein to his long-nursed hatred : he ordered the slaughter of ninety-two Hungarian officers, prisoners of war.

Last year, in November, he came ' home,' and soon after met Károlyi at Béla Kún's quarters. Henceforth the two met often, and it was under Károlyi's protection that he proclaimed at Communist meetings : " Death to the Bourgeois ! " On the eve of March 22nd he was already Assistant Commissary for War : now he has become President of the Revolutionary Tribunals.

Before he left Budapest for General Headquarters he was sitting one afternoon in the window of Budapest's smartest confectioner's and was looking out on the square. Several people who were close by heard him say : " I am going to build a guillotine on this square. So many bourgeois must be killed that the tumbrils will have to drive through pools of their blood."

Somebody who had been to Budapest told me that Számuelly was surrounded by terrorist guards, that his special train was provided with machine guns, and that an executioner always travelled with him. In the Journalist's Club, the revolutionary ' Otthon, ' the once obscure reporter, has become the most important personage among the journalist representatives of his race. One of the most prominent among them, Alexander Bródy, is said to have embraced him at a champagne supper and to have hailed him as " Our prophet ! "

Yes, that is what he is, their prophet ! ... Now that I think of him, the memory of his dark hyena-like features becomes more and more distinct. He grins appreciatively at his new power. I can see his black sleek head and his hand beckoning death. Gallows are erected wherever he goes. And the gallows, like black Hebrew characters, remain in the landscape when his special train has passed on to some other rebellious district. It is in these black characters that this foreigner is inscribing his name upon our history. Tibor Számuelly has been brought up in the secret rites of hatred and belongs to an ultra-orthodox sect of oriental Jews which is stricter in the observance of its ceremonies than any other. The sect of Chesidem resembles the Hebrews of the Old Testament, grave, prejudiced and dark. It shuns the light of the sun. Its adherents admit of no other truth than that which is contained in the Thora, and that only because it is there. This sect interprets the covenant strictly and to the letter ; ' an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth ' is the foundation of its creed.

Számuelly's degenerate soul has been formed and shaped by these rites and teachings. Thus he has become the most characteristic type of this sect whose ruling spirits for many years have lived and increased stealthily in our midst. Hatred has been given free rein, the type has thrown off its mask, and the thirst for vengeance, stored up for innumerable years, is about to be quenched. In the person of Számuelly the Revolutionary Cabinet has found an executioner for the Hungarian people who is blood of its blood, soul of its soul.


CHAPTER VII

April 24th.

As it was getting dark last night a man crept into the yard.

He looked round carefully : the street was empty : suddenly he ran up the back stairs.

Alarming news had been spreading over the town during the day : bands of terrorists are going about arresting people. The Cabinet is issuing open threats, becoming reckless in its fear of overthrow. Strict orders are being sent to the provincial towns. The Directorate of Balassagyarmat has been dismissed, having been accused of weakness and of favouring the gentlefolk. New men are coming forward, a young fellow scarcely twenty years old is to be the Dictator of the proud county. Another of the same type is to command the garrison. Jews have gone, but still Jews are coming. They have orders to take hostages in the county, so that should the Czechs attack these could be thrown to the fury of the mob.

Something is necessary to occupy the rabble whilst the Directorate is making its escape.

Lights in the windows disappeared earlier than usual this evening, and the steps of the patrols resounded through empty, overawed streets.

 Aladár Huszár is the friend of a people who are of no importance to-day. The man who stole in by the back door brought a warning : he must escape, they are going to arrest him to-night. So Huszár left his home and went into the dark streets.

The cold penetrated everywhere, even through the walls. We were sitting in fur coats. The candle had burnt to the end, and there was no firewood in the house. Suddenly we heard the noise of rifle-butts banging furiously upon the door.

Mrs. Huszár looked at me : " Is it for him, or is it for you ? "

We put out the candle and opened the window a little. Soldiers were standing outside. " Is anything the matter ? "

" No, " came the answer ; then a face emerged from the obscurity : " We're only making preparations. " The face looked scared. " We're looking for the comrade commanders. "

" They've gone out. "

There was a good deal of swearing. Then : " The good-for-nothing scoundrels ! "

I wondered if the officers had deserted too !

........

April 25th.

To-day has been like a nightmare. Bayonets have been glinting in front of our windows. About noon soldiers poured through the main street. They climbed fully armed into commandeered carts, and drove furiously towards Orhalom. The Czechs have opened their attack ! At nightfall the clatter of arms was heard in the direction of the prison. Doors slammed and dogs howled in the dark : the Communists were taking their hostages...

The telepathy of common disaster enables us to guess each other's thoughts ; we say nothing, but we are thinking in common ; never has there been such sympathy among suffering humanity. On the Saturday before Easter, only a few days ago, Aladár Huszár remarked : " I am so sorry for you. It must be terrible to have to leave one's own home, not knowing whither to go and not being sure of a safe lodging for the night. " To-day I thought precisely the same thing concerning him. He has gone, with his faithful friend George Pongrácz. To-morrow they will come here to fetch him and will search the house. We shall all be questioned. And if they recognize me...

Well, so be it !

........

April 26th.

It is impossible to sleep these nights, and the lumbering steps of patrols passing in the icy darkness alone mark the progress of time.

Early this morning a Red soldier called and inquired after Aladár Huszár. " He's got to report at once. " Then another came and questioned the servants. Mrs. Huszár was unperturbed. They told her that if her husband did not turn up they would arrest her in his place, so she proceeded to pack a small bag, just as I had done not long before. About noon detectives came and held a consultation in the ante-room. Then they went through the house systematically, and as they proceeded I fled before them, from room to room. When I could go no further I hid under the staircase, feeling rather like an annual caught in a trap. Would they find me ? What good had my efforts been ? Again I felt the invisible hand groping around me...

They went, but others soon came. Across the road, at the corner, stood a sentry, his face turned towards the house. In the afternoon posters appeared on the walls—red paper with huge black letters : " He who receives a visitor in his house will be summoned before the Revolutionary Tribunal. Any stranger found within the town after twenty-four hours will be expelled. "

Life has fresh troubles in store for me every day. I am resigned to my fate : but ten years' hard labour are in store for those who have taken me in !

Mrs. George Pongrácz came to us, her husband has had to fly for his life. They have only recently been married. Poor girl, she is left quite alone. We tried to devise some plan to escape from this place. Mrs. Pongrácz said at last : " In a village not far from here there's a dear old lady whom I know very well ; nobody would look for you there. "

We decided on it hurriedly. Mrs. Pongrácz wrote a letter to her friend, Mrs. Michael Beniczky, at Szügy, and told her that Elisabeth Földváry, a poor relation of the Huszárs, with a weak heart (!) begged her hospitality for a few days as she was afraid of the Czech guns. Then she left, and we made hasty preparations. Mrs. Huszár hid her husband's arms and clothes and then we collected all the letters and papers in the house that might have been dangerous and made a fire of them in the nursery. Huszár's desperate counter-revolutionary writings went up in flames—letters, handbills, appeals of the Women's Federation—a sad auto da fé : months of hard work, hope and enthusiasm were committed to the flames. However, the children enjoyed it and danced round the unaccustomed blaze ; even we ourselves drew nearer and were glad of the warmth.

We were called up again during the night : a cart stopped in front of the house, and the steps of soldiers resounded. Those who will live after us will never be able to understand the terror and anxiety which were conjured up by a few steps in the night, a cart stopping in front of the house... " They are coming ... ! "

Mrs. Huszár went to the door. They were soldiers—two Red officers come to commandeer night quarters. They marched in and took possession of a room upstairs, and for a time we could hear them moving about overhead.

Are the Czechs going to attack ? But the great silence of expectation continues undisturbed under the frigid sky.

........

April 27th.

The riverside churches were ringing their bells for Mass, and the town had turned its face in their direction. Our street was empty, except for the Red soldier on sentry duty at the corner. Mrs. Huszár went with me to the door, and when the Red sentry looked towards the town I slipped quietly out. His back was turned to me and I escaped his notice. I carried a tiny parcel under my arm, containing just a few things. How little suffices for our bare needs ! Mrs. Pongrácz followed me, and we went quickly across the main street.

I had not been in this direction since the evening when I arrived here, and my imagination had replaced the topography of the town on the banks of the Ipoly by quite a different place. It had placed an ancient town-hall with a venerable tower on the market place, where none actually existed. It had placed around it old-fashioned houses with arcades where in reality were tiny shops crowded together and an old fountain in the middle of the square.

I looked round, but reality left no impression on me and the picture of my imagination remained.

Whenever people came towards us I experienced a feeling of terror ; I raised my handkerchief and pretended to blow my nose.

" If there are many more people coming, " I said, laughing even in my distress, " I'm likely to get a sore nose. " Red soldiers were standing at the railway crossing, and they asked us where we were going.

" We are only going to Szügy, near by, to spend the day. " There came another few yards of street with suburban houses, and suddenly we found ourselves on the main road among endless open fields basking in the sunshine. There was a sharp wind blowing, but spring hovered over the woods of the neighbouring hills. The wayside flowers stood in the grass like long-waisted, wide-petticoated little peasant girls. It was like a feast-day, a Sunday of a hundred bright colours. Suddenly I felt an inexpressible desire for freedom. For weeks I had been hiding among friends, stealthily, making myself as small as possible, like one endeavouring to make his way through a thorny thicket. Now at last I had reached the open and the sun was shining on my face. I laughed with sheer joy, and the wind mimicked my mirth as it swept softly over the land.

As if the main road were a church parade, carriage followed carriage in long procession, fat young Jews in service uniform with the Soviet cap lolling within them.

Fine thoroughbreds pranced beside them, stolen horses with grooms in stolen liveries. A smart turn-out approached rapidly, the harness and trappings ornamented with the silver arms of a count. The coachmen wore a Hungarian livery. Lolling back on the cushions was a vulgar-looking man, and beside him a shapeless but smartly dressed female was making herself comfortable.

" That is the Dictator of the county and his wife," whispered Mrs. Pongrácz ; " I recognise Count Mailath's mackintosh. The dress his wife is wearing belonged to the Countess, she wore it when her husband was installed Lord Lieutenant. These people have taken possession of the castle of Gárdony and have had all the furniture they want sent from it to their own house. The ' comrade ' is said to be vastly annoyed because coats of arms and crests ' disfigure ' the cigarette-cases he acquired there. " I turned my face towards the fields ; the reflection of the sun glittered in a circle round the spokes of the wheels and dust rose in long clouds beneath them. When they had passed and the dust had settled I looked anxiously behind me. Presently peasants on foot overtook us ; it is only honest people who walk nowadays. One barefooted old peasant carried his boots dangling from his crook over his back. Poor deluded millions ! Do they still believe that everything belongs to the Proletarians ? Do they still believe it when the carriages of their former rulers throw the dust into their eyes as their new masters ride by in them ? When will the peasantry of this credulous country crush those who have dared to trick it ?

I caught sight of the spire of a church beyond the turning of the road, and shingled roofs hiding among the trees. There stood the fine old County Hall, with its double roof dating from the period of Maria Theresa a red flag floating over it. And plastered all over the walls of the cottages were the joyful posters : " Long live the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. "

We left the main road. A red handkerchief waved from a pole on top of a peasant's cottage : the Directorate had resided there. Then we crossed an abandoned cemetery, a tall crucifix standing out darkly above the high grass that covered the tombstones. But the sun was shining and the wind blew freshly. We came to a neglected old garden ; within the open gate of wrought-iron Red Guards were loafing ; happy or unhappy, whoever liked could go in and out. A large number of munition cases were stacked in the wood shed and on the terrace of the old manor-house. I looked at the inscriptions : Explosive. No. 15 ecrasite shell.

" There is enough here to blow up a town with."

Mrs. Pongrácz nodded. " In the next field there's a Red Battery. The Czechs in the vineyard are shelling it. "

Beyond, above the shingled roof of the manor house, two morose old firs rose towards heaven, their lowest branches touching the young grass. The house with its pillars reminded me of the old garden in Algyest which was my childhood's delight. But here the soldiers had trampled down the grass of the lawn, and the heavy munition waggons had cut deep ruts in the road. Near the gate where the soldiers were, crumpled paper and broken bottles were lying about. But behind the house, on the other side, the garden was practically untouched, and amidst the young awakening of Spring it was beautiful in its wild tangle of growth.

A door opened and an old lady came towards us. She had scarcely looked at me when she said : " You did well, child, to come to me. "

She had scarcely looked at me ! This was Hungary—indeed the old, hospitable Hungary which to-day is forbidden by the immigrants ! ... " Anyone receiving a visitor in his house will be summoned before the Revolutionary Tribunal ..."

The overgrown garden peeped in through the grated window ; the trees were covered with moss, and old stone seats lined the path. Here was peace. The path was over-run with grass and my feet left no mark on it. I can stop here, even I to whom rest has been so long denied. No search will be made for me here, and I shall be able to sleep at night. There will be no knockings at my window, my dreams will not be haunted by the sound of cartwheels, the ringing of bells, the tramping of feet...

........

Szügy, April 28th.

The sun shone into the room ; its rays rested on the old furniture and travelled on with soundless steps. Mrs. Beniczky, who was sitting at the writing table, turned now and then towards me and spoke in a low voice, cautiously, for listening ears are everywhere. She inquired about my family, for she had known the Földvárys in other days.

My answers became more and more confused. Later on she began to talk of the Counter-revolution and mentioned my name, my real name, spoke of me, of my real self. The blood rushed to my face : she must have thought I had not heard her, for she repeated her question: " Do you know what happened to Cecile Tormay ? My daughter met her last winter. "

" They say she has escaped to Switzerland ... " How ashamed of myself I felt ! I had stolen into this house under a false name, with false credentials. I had asked my hostess for shelter, though I knew it meant danger to her. I hated myself, and it was on the tip of my tongue to tell her the truth. Oh, why could she not see that I was deceiving her, she who received me with the words : " You have done well, child, to come to me. " We were three at dinner : a visitor had come from Balassagyarmat to see Mrs. Beniczky. We talked of books, and the guest, who had no more notion of my identity than our hostess, mentioned The Old House.

" What has happened to Cecile Tormay ? I am told there is a warrant out against her. " It was fortunate that I was sitting with my back to the light. Again I stuttered something about Switzerland.

As if speaking to herself, Mrs. Beniczky said : " But why did she not come here ? I would have hidden her so that nobody could have found her. " What a burden of self-reproach these words lifted from my conscience ; they told me that it was not entirely by favour of an assumed name, but to some extent for my own sake, that I was received here.

........

April 29th.

This morning the garden beyond the two tall firs was deliciously quiet ; the trees and shrubs seem to exclude everything that makes life vile and terrible.

Later in the day one of the maids overheard some soldiers talking near the pump. Somewhere in the neighbourhood a priest has been arrested and they are going to execute him because a red, white and green flag has been found in his possession. To the Revolutionary Tribunal with him who treasures a Hungarian flag ! The ' Cabinet ' has ordered that every flag, with the exception of red or black ones, must be given up. Poor Hungarian flag ! Between the black and yellow of the Austrian and the red of the Bolsheviks, fate has granted it scarcely an interlude in which to float freely over a free people in a free country. Henceforth the national flag is proscribed in the land of the Hungarian nation.

The soldiers went on to talk of other things. One whispered : " Have you heard that Comrade Számuelly is hanging people in Hajdúszoboszló ? ... " Reality has penetrated the garden with all its hideousness. Trees and shrubs can keep it out no longer. Death to everything that is Hungarian ! In the county of the noble Hajdú, the Jewish Dictatorship, in flight before the Roumanians, is hanging people—Hungarians. From General Headquarters Comrade Böhm is driving our people to the slaughter-house. It is said that the pavements of the capital are drenched with rivers of blood. At night there are frequent splashes in the Danube between Buda and Pest. People disappear and never return. The gaols are crowded. Early risers find pools of blood on the chain bridge, with a crushed hat beside them. Who has been murdered ? Who are the murderers ? There is no answer, but the blood and the news spread.

........

April 30th.

The blossoming plum-trees stood like brides in the grass : whenever the breeze rose their white veils fluttered. Time was marked only by the shadow of a slender tree which swept like a giant clock-hand over the lawn and disappeared. Evening fell.

On the main road a soldier on horseback came slowly into sight. He wore the gay hussar's cap of olden times and his dolman swung on his shoulder with the paces of his horse. He looked as if he had stepped out of a picture-book of the past into a strange world of new soldiers with Soviet caps. A Hungarian hussar, a bugler ! Remote from the present as his appearance was, the sound of his bugle seemed even more to belong to the past, and the cool evening resounded with the ancient call a call composed by Haydn, a solemn call : ' To prayer. ' The music spread and the forbidden call echoed through the village.

In front of the gate the hands of the Red soldiers went instinctively to their caps. But they stopped halfway, for all prayer is forbidden. On the other side of the road the political delegate to this front, the little Jew Katz, was walking about in patent leather boots. Suddenly he recognised the tune of the bugle call, and his face became distorted with rage. He ran angrily towards the bugler. The soldiers looked down as though to avoid the Syrian eye of the Revolutionary Tribunal.

For some time after silence had been restored and the dust had settled down I stood there, waiting. Nowadajs one is always waiting. How many things have failed to come ! The ultimatum of the Entente, the French army from Marseilles, British relief troops, the opposition Government in Fiume, counter-revolutions, regiments of officers attacking from beyond the frontiers, relieving Szekler battalions... And yet it was good to hope : it helped one to live. But these are things of the past. Now it is only the Rumanians who are coming, and Számuelly is having people hanged...

The night was long and restless. I put out the candle for economy's sake and for hours lay motionless in the dark. Wherever my thoughts strayed they encountered filth and blood.

Then suddenly, out there in the spring night, a nightingale began to sing. I groped my way through the dark room and opened the window. You little artist, the only artist who may practise his art freely in this sad country to-day ! What was it I read in the newspaper this morning ? " Order ... National Council for Intellectual Production. ... The publication of intellectual products is exclusively in the hands of the National Council ... " Art is the vehicle which conveys to us the eternal mystery of the universe. Art is faith wrought into the visible. Art is an aristocracy. Art has precursors, and woe to him who attempts to limit its expanse with shackles. He kills thought, he strikes the image of God as it were in the eye.

Those who have adopted the precepts of Karl Marx speak to-day of ' party art, ' ' mass art, ' and ' co-operatives of spiritual production. ' What perversely wicked fools are these people whose leader claims to be an author and yet kills literature in Hungary ! George Lukacs-Lowinger, the hydrocephalic little Jewish philosopher, son of a millionaire banker, who became a Proletarian apostle through the influence of his Bolshevik wife. As Deputy Educational Commissary of the Soviet he had the book and music shops closed down, and after having thus stopped all literary life and effort, he invented ' the literary register ' ! He discovered that talent had to be classified, and that each class had to be shut up in a separate drawer, like the goods in a grocer's shop. He therefore decreed that writers were to be divided into three classes, and that the question as to which class a writer belonged was to be decided by a special Directorate. The authors are to receive monthly salaries according to the class to which they are allotted, and for this salary they have to write. They have no other source of income, but the fixed salary is paid to them whatever they produce, so long as it is in accordance with the interests of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat and Class War. Needless to say, the Communist poets all belong to the highest class.

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........

May 1st.

Early this morning the sounds of a Gypsy band came from the village, playing the Internationale ; thus I realised that this was May Day.

Strict orders have been issued that the village is to be draped in red. A red flag must be hoisted on the town hall, and red ribbons are to float from the windows of the cottages.

The Gypsy band came up to the house and played on the terrace, and the soldiers sang. Mrs. Beniczky and I withdrew to the bottom of the garden. Everything has been commandeered by the Reds : a roast is preparing for them in the kitchen, and other dishes were in process of making. To-night there is going to be a ball. " Two balls, " said the chambermaid, " because we Proletarians refuse to dance with the peasant girls. "

Once upon a time May Day was the day of youth, the day of festive excursions for little sempstresses, students, apprentices and children. Then it became the day of manifestations, and, later, of threats. The new saviours of the world promised the millenium for this day. On a blood-soaked land the blood-maddened masses are streaming towards the final battle which is to bring them an utterly unattainable victory. Red flags unfurled in a storm of blood are floating under a sky painted red by incendiary fires.

The first of May has been selected by the Communists for the birthday of the world revolution. Lenin's messages are being scattered broadcast. Moscow has sent its propaganda gold. And the Dictators of the Proletariat are offering their slaves the scent of blood, so that this May shall be their victory.

In Budapest preparations for this festival have been going on for weeks. They hoped to celebrate it with a victory for the Red arms, but for victory they have had to substitute shams. The further the Red army has been forced to retire in the East, the louder they proclaim their Red May.

Panem et circenses ! There is no bread, the capital faints for lack of food, so let there be a circus for the people. The last rags are falling from the backs of the destitute millions, so let the town be garbed in red. Entire houses are covered with it ; bridge-heads, terraces, walls ; even the electric trams have been painted blood-red. The Revolutionary Cabinet has exchanged thirty millions' worth of cattle in Vienna for the red decorations of starving Budapest. The programme of the festivities is so long that the newspapers have no space to report the defeats on the Eastern front.

There are meetings and processions everywhere ; everybody has to join in ; everybody has to decorate his house ; otherwise ... May, Spring, glorious feast of freedom, he who dares to remain indifferent to these will be summoned before a Revolutionary Tribunal.

The entire capital has turned red, and on the red back-ground gigantic white plaster statues have been set. On the drill ground a red-covered coffin, two stories high and forty-five yards long, has been erected to the memory of Martinovics, to the leader of the peasant rising, Dózsa, to Charles Liebknecht of Spartacist fame, and to Rosa Luxemburg.

tc_od2-16

The entrance of the tunnel under the castle hill in Buda is draped in red, and plaster statues of Soviet soldiers with terrifying faces and with rifles raised ready to strike are standing beside it. The naked red giant, hammer in hand, of ' The People's Voice ' is displayed at the street corner :

" Death to the bourgeois ! "

The memorial of our millenary is also covered with red. Over the statue of Arpád, the conqueror, which has been covered with planks, a plaster statue of Marx has been erected. In front of the House of Parliament, like a blood-covered giant bladder, is a red globe. Andrássy's statue has been covered by a red Greek temple, and there again, ten yards high, are the heads of Marx, Lenin, Liebknecht, Engels and Rosa Luxemburg. Plaster, plaster, red cloth (made of paper), red columns, red flag-staffs and flags, wreaths, five-pointed Soviet stars. A sickening red disguise over the deadly pallor of the Hungarian capital.

A red rag rouses a thirst for blood in a frenzied bull. What is it they want, there, on the banks of the Danube ? What is it all for ? Is it a sudden madness, or is it the accomplishment of the frightful prophecy of the Apocalypse ?

I took up my Bible. The prophecy and its realisation stood out in red letters before my eyes. But a few days later in the prophecy there comes one on a white horse, dressed in white linen. And the white one vanquishes the red.

........

May 2nd.

News has just reached us : the Bed army has retired before the Rumanians and has crossed the Tisza. The Serbians have occupied Hódmezővásárhely. The Czechs have occupied Miskolcz and are attacking in two sectors.

The population is helping them and there is no resistance ; the Reds are in flight. What a terrible position is ours : the invaders fill us with horror, and yet we await them eagerly : we look to assassins to save us from our hangman.

And while we bite our lips in helpless anguish our sufferings are unheeded by humanity, which is concerned only with the fact that the Soviet Republic protects foreigners. The Republic of course has decreed that its agents must behave with the greatest courtesy to foreigners, and it has established an ' Office for the protection of Aliens. ' Is there not a single foreigner who thinks of asking his own people for help for us, who did not intern them during the war and are now persecuted slaves in our own country ?

In past centuries the Rumanians and Serbs fled to us for asylum against their own tyrants, and to us also came the wandering Jew. But now they are all working together to wipe us from the face of the earth. Yet we shared with them everything we had, and they readily received our protection. It is said that only a misguided fraction of the Jews is active in the destruction of Hungary. If that be so, why do not the Jews who represent Jewry in London, in New York, and at the Paris Peace Conference disown and brand their tyrant co-religionists in Hungary ? Why do they not repudiate all community with them ? Why do they not protest against the assaults committed by men of their race ?

A storm is coming, and its breath bends the trees of the garden. The branches of the old firs rise and fall over the lawn like slime-covered oars on a turbulent lake. The leaves of the aspen are thrust apart by the wind as if it were blowing aside the hair from a face walking against the storm. The willow bends as if it were gathering flowers in the grass. The guns thunder near Őrhalom. The wind is rising, and already it is roaring like furious giant hounds barking at the setting sun.

The soldiers say that the Czechs are going to attack to-night.


CHAPTER VIII

May 3rd.

A wild night, like a witches' Sabbath. The nightingale did not sing, the only sound was the roar of the guns. The shells are still stacked on the other side of the wall of my room, out there on the terrace, and if in the dark a shell were to strike here, not one stone of the village would be left on another. But there is so much misery nowadays that no one troubles about such things.

Again the attack did not come off, and during the whole night the garden was wringing its green hands. I was awakened early by excited voices, all talking of the hopeless situation of the Proletarian army. The Rumanians have occupied the bridge-heads at Szolnok and are marching on Budapest. Béla Kún has fallen.

The rumours spread through the villages, and the peasant members of the small Directorates, recruited by force, are saying with pallid lips : " I cannot be blamed, I have only done what I was told. No harm can come to me, I never wanted it. " The Communists of Szügy have suddenly become very polite : the Red soldiers actually saluted us. " What is going to happen ? " I asked one of them, and as I did so a drunken voice shouted in the yard : " Down with the Dictatorship of the Proletariat ! " The political delegates to the front have vanished, and disorderly, ugly indiscipline has taken hold of the men. Sergeant Isidor Grosz shouted his orders in the village street in vain, no one paid the least attention to him. One of the soldiers shouted at him : " Shut up ! You left your battery, didn't you, comrade, when the Czechs were shelling us ? " I remembered the story of this Isidor Grosz. He went to see his fiancee, having written out a pass for himself and forged his commander's signature to it. When he turned up again his commander brought him before a court-martial. Then the 32nd regiment of heavy artillery began to grumble, and Isidor Grosz ran straight to Béla Kún to complain. The discipline in the Red army is as loose as this everywhere, which explains the feeble resistance it is making. Meanwhile Comrade in Böhm, the Comxnander-in-Chief, declares that Proletarian self-respect is everywhere victorious.

The door opened ; Mrs. Beniczky looked round and then said in a whisper : " The Counter-revolution has broken out in Balassagyarmat. People are shouting in the street : " We never were Communists ! " Our people have seized a telegram : in it the Soviet Cabinet has disclosed the situation. It has fallen. "

Steps came along the terrace. We looked round in alarm. It was Mrs. Aladár Huszár.

What had happened in Balassagyarmat ? And her husband ? She made a sad gesture, then said that I must go with her. The Czechs were attacking and Balassagyarmat was preparing to receive them. They only want the railway fine. Szügy is not going to be occupied, so that if I remained here I should still be in the Soviet Republic. We should have to hurry.

" So they have not fallen after all ? And what about the Counter-revolution ? "

She told us hastily that a meeting had been held at the square in front of the county hall. Captain Bajatz, who last winter had driven the Czechs out of the town, announced from the balcony that the situation was hopeless. " It is a military impossibility to hold the town. " An officer then exclaimed : " Down with the Dictatorship of the Proletariat ! " Whereupon Comrade Sugár, the political delegate, elbowed his way to the front on the balcony and incited the people against the bourgeoisie and the officers. " They must be extirpated ! Spare neither women nor children ! It is they who have brought the Czechs down on us ! " The attitude of the crowd changed suddenly : fists were raised and bayonets pointed towards the bourgeoisie. Blood flowed. Captain Bajatz fled : he was last seen riding towards Kóvar, and as he reached the bridge the Reds opened fire on him. That was the gratitude of Balassagyarmat for his having saved it once. However, he spurred his horse and with two other officers rode over to the Czech lines. Since then the other bank of the Ipoly has livened up. And in the streets of the town the Proletarians are clamouring for our death and shout that they are going to kill the hostages if the Czechs enter. " The whole town is in an uproar, and the railway barriers are guarded. Let us go ! "

I was loth to go, and Mrs. Beniczky looked affected too. She said nothing, but she must have wondered that I should leave her now, when it was fear of a Czech bombardment that had driven me here.

" I must explain. ... It was not because of the of the bombardment that I came here. "

" I knew that much, Elisabeth ; it was not fear that brought you here. But I did not question you, I just enjoyed having you. " The assumed name suddenly became unbearable.

" Dear Mrs. Beniczky, I am not the person you think. "

She stepped back and looked at me in surprise. " But who are you then ? "

Her eyes sparkled when I told her. " Goodness me ! But then ... " She kissed me and her face showed clearly that she was anything but displeased. " Mind you come back if things turn out otherwise than you expect. " And she looked after us as long as her eyes could follow.

Most of the soldiers had removed the red ribbon from their caps and had replaced it by a white flower. By nightfall whole troops of them were going off. A bandy-legged, unkempt young Jew was hurrying towards Mohora. " There goes Béla Kún's soldier ! " the Reds shouted. They laughed and one of them spat in the dust.

As we approached the town the country became more and more deserted. We could hear the sound of rifles in the distance. The poplars along the Ipoly were bent as though the weight of the leaden sky pressed them down. Everything bowed to the wind, the dust raced along, and petals were swept in showers from the fruit trees. When we had reached the streets two soldiers, pale as death, came running past us. They glared at us suspiciously, with frightened eyes. Others followed them, carrying rifles and haversacks. They shouted excitedly at us :

" Into the houses. Nobody must remain in the streets. " Another group came running along, dragging a little fair-haired lieutenant with them. They were holding his hands, and pulling him along so that he should not escape. They even implored him : they needed him. Opposite some railings they knelt down, the raised stocks of their rifles pressed against dead-white cheeks.

" The Czechs are here ! "

We reached the house and banged the door behind us. Machine guns rattled and a gun roared, making the windows shake. Opposite, under the palings, soldiers bent low and ran feverishly towards the barracks at the end of the town.

" There they are, near the wood. They have crossed the Ipoly ! "

No human being was now visible in the streets. The rattle of the machine guns continued, and the guns fired more rapidly, the shells whining through the air above our heads and bursting in the vineyards towards Szügy. A cloud rose wherever they struck the earth.

" The church spire of Kóvár has been hit, it's disappeared altogether."

On the main road some cows were rushing along in a wild stampede, the heavy coat of the cow-herd swinging right and left as he ran. Everything was dashing for shelter.

The street became darker and quieter, and the rifles alone broke the silence of the night. The electric lights were out, the current had failed.

Hours passed, then heavy fists were heard banging at some door. Armed men clattered past our window and went on towards the prison. The unsuccessful Counter-revolution had disclosed the honest people. Another door banged in the next street : they were taking hostages.

And in every part of Hungary doors are banging like that to-night ...

........

Balassagyarmat, May 4th.

We are still ascending our blood-covered Calvary ; later on its stations may show up clearly. There, at that corner, did they put the cross on our shoulders, there did they smite our faces, there did they spit into our eyes, there did we collapse under the cross, and nobody came to help us to bear it. We had to rise and drag it further.

Yesterday we thought we had escaped. Yesterday the news came that the Cabinet had fallen and that the Red armies were everywhere on the run. To-day they have shunted the ill-success of their arms and the people's fury on to the bourgeoisie. The game of the Károlyi revolution is being repeated. Instead of pogroms, let there be massacres of Christians. They spoke of it at the market-place : Számuelly is coming to restore order. The lives of the fallen Red soldiers must be revenged.

Mobilisation ! ... The newspaper seems to be composed entirely of exclamation marks. ' To the factory- workers ! ' Order ! ' ' Appeal ! ' ' Decree ! '

Comrade Pogáy has sounded a tocsin of alarm : " The news from the front is bad. Our defeat at the front means the return of the Dictatorship of the Bourgeoisie, our victory means the conservation of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. Everything depends on organised labour. To-day the position is this : the revolutionary Proletariat of Budapest can no longer trust the front, on the contrary, it rests with the Proletariat of Budapest to save the front by its revolutionary impetus. The Dictatorship has reached its crisis. ... "

Only after this confession did the newspaper give a belated account of the May festivities of the capital. The town in scarlet : hundreds of thousands in the streets : an exodus to the woods : illuminations, fireworks ... And the poor people who expected to be fed on the festive occasion staggered back like madmen to the great incertitude, hungry, and their eyes sore with the scarlet glare.

The deadly colour of the red madness was still on the walls of the houses when at 2 p.m. the trembling Cabinet met in the great room of the Town Hall. Meanwhile rain had begun to fall, and the thirty millions' worth of red paper-cloth was soaked ; red streamed down the houses, the walls, the plaster statues, the pavement. Everything was painted red. It is said that the town looked like a huge blood-covered slaughter house. And then the news spread that the Dictatorship had fallen.

The newspapers reported the details of the emergency meeting of the Workers' Council. Béla Kún shouted to the audience that " The masses of the Red army are fleeing before the hireling armies of Imperialism. Looking now, " he said with raised voice, " at Soviet Hungary, I remember a story by Gorki. Gorki went to Paris in search of the spirit of Revolution, seeking its aid for the struggling revolution of the Russian Proletariat. He searched for the ancient Revolution, crowned with the good Phrygian cap, he searched and inquired, and at last was led to a hotel where he found a courtesan, a woman fallen more or less to the level of a street prostitute, and he asked her not to give herself to the Czar, but to help the Revolution. But the woman the Revolution had turned into a courtesan gave herself none the less to the Czar ; so Gorki ends with these words : ' I wanted to spit my bloody, purulent saliva into her face. ' "

That is the kind of thing Béla Kún remembers when he looks at ' this Soviet Hungary ' and he dares to say it to a race to whom Louis Kossuth once said : " I prostrate myself before the greatness of the Nation. " Kossuth prostrated himself while Béla Kún thinks of expectorating.

I read the report to the end : nobody seems to have risen to choke the words in his throat. In his awful Ghetto-lingo Béla Kún went on : "

... It is not the Rumanians, it is our own troops who are a danger to Budapest. We had to disarm the units which returned from the northern part of the Tisza, so as to save at least their weapons for the Proletariat. The morale of the troops is such that Budapest is helplessly at the mercy of a Rumanian attack. The question arises, comrades, shall we give up Budapest, or shall we fight for Budapest ? I have always told my comrades that I know neither morality nor immorality. I know of only two things ; those that are useful to Proletarianism and those which endanger Proletarianism. And I declare that it is dishonourable to tell the bourgeois the truth if this truth is to be hurtful to the Proletariat. But, comrades, I will not deceive the Proletariat. I will tell you that the workers' battalions are wanting in the fighting spirit which would entitle us to think of the salvation of Budapest ... "

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Thus does this man speak of his own character, the man who in his absolute power admits that : " We were a small group, in opposition to the majority of working men, when we started the fight for the Dictatorship. " And he reveals the terrible secret of his success : Károlyi's high treason. " I feel somehow that if the Dictatorship were to perish now, it would perish only because it gained a bloodless victory. It was too cheap, it was given us for nothing... "

In fact, it cost nothing except Judas' money and perhaps the existence of Hungary. For now Béla Kún has renounced the whole of Hungary and is ready to satisfy any territorial demands the Czechs, Rumanians and Serbs may raise, on condition that his power is left to him, and " Budapest, where the protest against capitalism can make a stand. "

His is no longer a human thirst for power : it is an insatiable animal greed, which allows the limbs of its prey to be torn off as long as it can devour the heart. After having bartered away the land which the nation has held for a thousand years in exchange for a single town, he has telegraphed to our hungry neighbours, offering them the ancient soil of the nation. And all he has to say to his comrades about this unexampled deed is this : " It was not for our pleasure that we sent those telegrams to the surrounding bourgeois states... "

A stranger soul has never used stranger language in Hungary.

While Béla Kún was declaiming : "I am not in despair ... I do not want to make you despair, comrades ... you will never hear despondent words from my lips... I shall never give it up... I say we won't be down-hearted ... bad times, but not hopeless ... " news was brought to the assembly : the position in the field is not hopeless ! The attitude of the meeting altered at once. The orator became truculent once more.

" If possible we must defend the Dictatorship before Budapest, through the Bakony, to Wiener Neustadt ... We must not resign our power ! "

The Workers' Council then adopted a resolution that it is the duty of organised labour " to defend to the last drop of blood the achievements of the Dictatorship of the Proletariat. "

How this defence is to be conducted was revealed by a comrade called Surek : " Honoured Workers' Council ... The bourgeoisie is grinning and rubbing its hands everywhere. We must freeze this grin on its face ! To-morrow we must go to the factories and our first duty will be to exterminate the bourgeoisie effectively, in the strictest sense of the word.

We must keep our pledge that when the Entente comes here it shall find nothing but mountains of bourgeois corpses and a determined Proletariat. Enough bourgeois must not be left alive to form a Government. "

In deference to foreign countries this speech was not reported in the papers ; but political agitators are spreading the words of Comrade Surek.

Now and then a bowed female form passes the window, her face set towards the prison, carrying food for some hostage. The observation post of the Reds has been established on the prison roof, just above the hostages.

Let the Czechs shell it ! Soldiers stop the women, inspect their baskets and take whatever they fancy. Then they say, as a parting greeting : " That is the last dinner you need bring ! If the Czechs enter, we shall hang the swine."

........

May 5th.

The bombardment has ceased and the town is creeping out of its holes. But people pass each other stealthily, without exchanging words, as if they dared no longer talk. And above the county hall the wind is toying with the red flag. A blood-red shawl is floating in the spring breeze : Szolnok has been retaken.

In the afternoon Gregory, the Huszárs' coachman, came running horror-stricken from the town : the Reds have declared that instead of  Aladár Huszár they are going to arrest his wife.

It was about ten o'clock when there was a knock at the door.

" Let me go," I said to my friend. Are they coming for her, or has her husband come back, or are they searching for me ? The candle guttered in the wind, and at the garden gate three men with fixed bayonets emerged from the dark.

They pushed me aside without saying a word and marched up the stairs into the room. I ran and got in front of them.

" What do you want ? "

They strode towards me menacingly and suddenly I found myself surrounded. They looked round suspiciously, and the leader said roughly : " Why is there a light in this house ? "

I gave some explanation. One of the soldiers, a long, angry-faced man, leant over me threateningly :

" This is no time to have lights burning. Just you look out ! If we catch you again we shall hang you on that lamp-post there, at the corner. "

When they went I felt as if a throttling hand had released my throat.

........

May 6th.

I have been thinking of my mother all morning. This is her name day, and I cannot be with her. Fate is continually pushing back the hands of the clock that will strike the hour of our reunion.

The town is beflagged with red flags. What has happened ? Szolnok ? Or is it some other victory ? The Powers of the Entente have ordered the Rumanians back, and now they are standing waiting beyond the Tisza. Meanwhile we perish here.

Számuelly has no time to come here, luckily : he is restoring order in the towns which put out white flags on the arrival of the Rumanians. Six Hungarians were hanged on the 3rd of May. Mrs. Huszár received the news, one of the victims being a relation of hers, Béla Batik, an only son the war left to his mother. Számuelly sat in judgment over him. " Off you go to the gallows ! " said he, and he himself put the halter round his neck. Then he lit a cigarette and clapped Batik on the shoulder saying : " It will be all right, my hangman has the knack of it. Listen, you dog ! I grant you the time it takes me to smoke this cigarette. If you will tell me meanwhile the names of your accomplices I will let you off. " He then sat down on a chair and smoked while the other stood under the gallows with the rope round his neck. The cigarette was finished. " Long live the White army and Hungary ! " Batik shouted, and Számuelly released the trap with his own hand.

Bloodstains multiply everywhere. We now know the names of at least two of the victims whose blood has been spilt on the chain bridge. They were Alexander Hollán and his father. They had worked hard all their lives and they were slaughtered by those who called themselves the leaders of the ' workers. ' It happened on the 27th of April. All over Budapest it was forbidden for anybody to be in the streets after 10 p.m. The window blinds had to be drawn and if a light was visible in a window the ' Terror Boys ' fired at it.

Armed lorries were continually rushing about in the dark streets. The town listened with bated breath : hostages were being taken. Motors were racing up the castle hill : it was a hunt for human victims. When these had been collected a car crossed over to Pest and stopped on the bridge. The two Hollán s were hustled out on to the lower quay. Probably it was there that their captors intended to do the deed, but for some unknown reason they ordered their victims back again into the car. They started off but stopped again at the pillar and obliged the tortured men to get off. The motor-car waited near by and those in it heard a violent altercation going on in the dark. Shots were then fired and there followed two splashes in the Danube.

Nobody has seen the two Holláns since. The story of the happenings was told by Karátson, a Secretary of State and one of their fellow prisoners. Then, one does not know how, the news filtered out and is being whispered to-day behind the closed doors and windows of Budapest. Many know it, only poor Alexander Hollán's wife is in ignorance. The Communists declare that her husband is in gaol, and at noon her little grey shadow waits day after day amongst the other women at the prison gate. She brings food and linen to her husband and sends messages, and thanks the terrorists at the gate for transmitting them. Meanwhile the Danube carries her dead gently towards the sea.

The prisons are crowded with hostages awaiting their fate. Death perpetually hovers over them, for they are threatened daily with execution and daily one or another of them is led off to the prison yard. They blindfold him and fire over his head for fun. The hangmen of to-day greatly enjoy gloating over their victims' fear. Yet to produce terror is the delight of degraded souls. Hearsay reports hundreds who are the innocent inhabitants of prisons, but names cannot be ascertained. Yet we know there are Archduke Joseph Francis, Bishop Count John Mikes, Alexander Wekerle, the former Prime Minister, the president and the vice-president of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, several former Ministers, court dignitaries and members of parliament, generals, lord lieutenants, landlords, and many others, among them the aged Count Aurel Dessewffy, Lord Chief Justice, who was dragged by Red soldiers from the side of his wife's deathbed to be cast into prison. There is the elite of the Hungarian nation, with many others whose names have not reached me. Many unknown people, students, women, farmers, manufacturers, even some workmen. They are all hostages prisoners in their own country pawns for the lives of Béla Kún, Számuelly, Pogány, Landler and other comrades.

........

May 7th.

Now and then comes the sound of distant gunfire. Whence does the wind bring it ? The Reds have beaten the Czechs back all along the Ipoly. A new poster has been stuck on the wall of the house opposite, it is an appeal to the inhabitants of Balassagyarmat by Comrades Riechmann, the political delegate, and Singer : " Comrades ! We have vowed on our ideals that if any among you who want to restore the old order raise their sacrilegious hands against us, we shall strike them down with our iron fists and smite them like a hammer smites the anvil. What do they want ? To bring back the old criminal order ? Do not attempt the impossible, because henceforth the slightest attempt will mean paying with your lives, and we will deal with you as with ordinary assassins who are a danger to human life. Behold your heroes, sitting in gaol and waiting for the sentence of justice for their vile, incredible treasons ... What does the country mean to the bourgeois ? You have seen how it created happiness and comfort for them, while our share was misery ... And we declare to the bourgeoisie of the whole world that we will not give up our town and our country, because now they are ours, it was we who defended them for fifty-two months ... Long live the world revolution ! Long live Béla Kún ! "

Comrades Singer and Riechmann ! They cannot even write the Hungarian language, and yet they dare to claim not only our country but its defence during the war which they successfully shirked for fifty-two months. Let them behold from their graves, those who have fallen on distant battlefields, those whose feet were frozen in paper boots,, those whose wives hungered and shivered in the queue ! Among my relations fourteen followed the call. All of them were young. Eight of them will never return. Do they behold these things from their graves ?

At the end of October the disbanded soldiers came back from the world-war clamouring for pogroms. In November they were already demanding the blood of their own kin. The air was full of secret promptings : ' Everything shall be yours ! ' Later on there came the shout : ' Plunder the gentle folk ! ' Those who first whispered saved thus their fortunes and their lives. And the people chose as its leaders the owners of the gin-shops and declared the landlords their foes. And Comrades Singer and Riechmann declare to-day that our country is their country and no longer ours. The leadership of the nation which was once Széchényi's, Kossuth's, Deák's and Tisza's, is now theirs.

........

May 8th.

Béla Kún has asked the Rumanians for an armistice. His offer expresses deadly fear. If he can retain the rest of mutilated Hungary in his grip he will renounce any territory, is ready for any sacrifice.

Madarescu, the commander of the Rumanian troops in Transylvania, answered three days later. In his conditions he never mentions the Soviet but always speaks of Hungary. He insists on the disarmament of all Hungarian forces. He requires that the Hungarian Command shall acquiesce in the execution of the ultimate conditions whatever they may be. He requires the delivery of all arms, guns, ammunition, means of transport, equipment and provisions. He demands all railway material and armoured trains, and orders the return of all prisoners of war, hostages and civilian population carried off by the retiring army. This reparation is to be done without any obligation of reciprocity on Rumania's behalf. That is how Hungary is spoken to to-day ! And the Dictatorship of the Proletariat, which has helped the advance of the Rumanians from the Maros and Szamos to the Tisza, may count this humiliating tone among its achievements. It is we alone feel the pain. When on the 1st of May the Rumanians crossed the Tisza, Béla Kún prepared for flight. The families of the People's Commissaries were packing up.

Big sums were smuggled out of the country. Then the Rumanians were stopped by the Entente, so Béla Kún gained time. He organised the workers' battalions and to-day he answers Madarescu's armistice proposals by mobilisation. So we continue in agony.

New orders have been posted up in the streets of Budapest :

" To save the Proletarian Revolution we order the general mobilisation of the Proletariat. Budapest will from this date be under martial law. We appeal to the Proletariat to do its duty to the last.

The Revolutionary Cabinet. "

And the hated and persecuted middle classes are ordered to pay the blood-tax for the salvation of their executioners : " Every officer of the reserve who is under forty-five years of age must report for active service. Those who refuse to obey this order ... " If the middle-classes do not obey, they are threatened with the Revolutionary Tribunal ; the Proletarians, however, if they enlist, " will receive in addition to their pay the usual wages of workmen. "

No, it is not yet over, indeed it is beginning once more.

In Budapest the comrade Commissaries and their wives are reviewing the troops, and the electrician Commander-in-Chief is starting in the royal train from his Headquarters to inspect the troops in the provinces.

The Galician Neros are now quite at home in their bloody and fantastic role. Their chronicle, ' The People's Voice ' which until lately has spent all its energies in undermining authority and in attacking militarism, now reports in rapture : " Comrade Böhm inspected the troops and expressed his complete satisfaction at their appearance. After the review the Commander-in-Chief travelled with his whole staff to the front, where he inspected the advance line and received the reports of his generals. Comrade Böhm has expressed his confidence ... "

It is an old familiar text, only the name of Comrade Böhm has been substituted for that of the Archduke. 1914 . . . 1919 !

Here in this place it is not very easy to hold a review, for the greater part of the garrison has evaporated. The place of Captain Bajatz has been filled by a local butcher's assistant who commands the army from a coffee house. Comrade Riechmann is the chief of the general staff.

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Towards evening the news spread that the Czechs are going to surround Balassagyarmat to-night. A nightingale was singing in the moonlit garden, and voices rose in the garden next door : " If the Czechs do not come to-night it will be the end of the hostages. The soldiers have been shouting all day under the prison walls ' You are going to die, you swine ! ' At that moment a cannon roared in the vineyards.

" Bless your sweet little throat," exclaimed the voice of an old woman.

" Don't bless it so loud or you will find yourself in prison. "

" But the nightingale ! " stammered the old woman.

" Of course, " someone laughed ; " I thought you referred to the Czech gun. "

Wild firing came from the Ipoly, and bullets whistled right and left. We ran towards the house. Near the shed a bullet passed so close to me that I felt the wind of it : it passed over my head and struck the wall like a mad wasp. The shutters of the houses were closed rapidly, they give one at any rate a feeling of shelter. Bullets continued to spatter on the walls. Every now and then we rushed out, looked round in the moonlight, and then rushed back again. All the while the wasps are buzzing round the house.

........

May 9th.

On the sunny side of the street, tired, ill-looking, prematurely aged people came slowly from the direction of the prison. The hostages have been released. The order came from Budapest :

" The Soviet takes hostages when danger is imminent. As the Soviet is at present in no immediate danger, we order their provisional release. "

The wife of a railwayman came into the yard with eyes red with weeping. The soldiers had deserted their post, so Comrade Riechmann and the butcher's commander ordered the railwaymen out. They at least love their country, and last winter they opposed the Czechs. Now they have driven them back again, having made forty prisoners. But thirty-eight railwaymen are missing, and Comrade Böhm is going to credit internationalism with this victory won by Hungarian nationalism.

A carriage rattled down the street. Nowadays whenever a carriage stops anywhere all the windows and walls of the neighbourhood are on the alert. We noticed that everybody was looking in our direction.

Gregory the coachman put his head through the door : " Here they are ! "

Detectives. I hid my notes in the sofa cushions and fled before them from room to room. They requisitioned uniforms and field-glasses. They also inspected the library and told us that the piano was public property. Even sewing machines are taken by the Government, and it makes no difference if the owner is a tailor. Thus are they killing home industries. They took all the tobacco they could find, nor did opera-glasses escape ; " The army needs them. We give no receipt. These things no longer belong to you, nothing belongs to you. " And they took them. As they left they questioned the maid in the corridor :

" And where may your master be ? "

I heard the girl reply mockingly, " In town ! "

" Don't play the fool ! " the detective shouted, " we know he has run away. We are searching the whole county for him. " Again the girl chaffed them. " What an idea ! How can he have run away ? They are pulling your leg. He comes home every night. "

" Well I never, " said the man to his companion, and they whispered among themselves. The maid thought herself very clever and laughed contentedly.

When they had left, Gregory the coachman came in.

" They said they will come back and watch for him every night."

Mrs. Huszár advised me to go back to Szügy till this zeal blew over.

In the afternoon the sky became clouded. The fusilade died down. The stuffy heat preceding a storm weighed heavily on us. In town they were burying some soldiers, unfortunate victims of the Red war. The passers-by stopped on the kerb and stared at the funeral, while the procession passed slowly under red flags. A red cross was borne in front of it, then came the coffins, draped in red, followed by two vulgar-looking girls, in red dresses, carrying wreaths of red flowers tied with red ribbons. Under the grey sky, on the grey road, death, dressed in red, proceeded towards the cemetery. And among the green fields, in verdant peace, the garden of Szügy was waiting for me.

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