Black Lamb and Grey Falcon, A Journey through Yugoslavia, Rebecca West



THAT was the end of our Easter journey. We said good-bye to Constantine at Kotor and caught our great white shining boat, and before we slept laid eyes again on Dubrovnik, which was complete beyond the habit of real cities against the whitish darkness of the starry June night, complete as a city on a coin. In the morning the Dalmatian coast slid by us, naked as a quarry, until at dusk we came to Sushak, the port where we had started. The next day we travelled back towards Zagreb through mountains which had seemed, when we saw them last, to be incapable of knowing anything but winter, to be committed to snow, but were now lion-coloured and so parched that it seemed inconceivable they should know any hour but noon, any season but summer. Now, as then, nothing human dared to be abroad. In valleys so archetypal of desolation that the memory stirred with forgotten Biblical names, and muttered of Horeb and Baca, scarlet flowers and colourless boulders wavered in the glassy, heat-demented air, and there was no more actual movement anywhere. The high pastures and the pine-forests of the Croatian uplands, where girls with coloured head kerchiefs kept their cows and woodcutters in round caps swung their axes, were a relief not only to the eyes but to the lungs and the muscles.

Three or four hours short of Zagreb, we left the train and spent a day at the Plitvitse Lakes, the most laughing and light-minded of natural prodigies. Here the creative spirit is as far from the normal as at Niagara or the Grand Canyon or the Matterhorn; but it is untouched by the tragic or by terror, it is dedicated solely to gaiety and loveliness. Sixteen lakes, some large, some small, lie among lawns and wooded hills, joined by glittering and musical waterfalls that are sometimes spiral staircases and sometimes amphitheatres and sometimes chutes, but are always ingeniously pretty, without a trace of the majestic. It is rare to find great beauty on this plane; Mozart put the finest metal of his genius into Susanna, who is nevertheless a soubrette, but there are few analogies in any art. Here, for a morning and an afternoon, we walked between the green shades of the woodlands, where light was ambient, and the light of the waters which rose clear through the green shadows, and we talked of Constantine. This place was in a sense his discovery. He had gone to it as a boy, when it was still in Austria and unvisited because it lay in the territory of the barbarous Slavs, and he had often celebrated it in his work. Some of his phrases came back to our memories and made us miserable by their aptness, for we both loved him, and now he was utterly lost to us.

There was embarrassment and uneasiness in our grief. For we could not have been more anally divided if there had been between us a bitter personal dispute in which all three had behaved as badly as possible. Yet there was nothing of the sort, merely impersonal differences. We were English, Constantine was a Slav Jew with a German wife. But we had grown up in a world which told us that to transcend such differences and to insist that intercourse should depend on the recognition of individuality was the mark of a civilized person, so we felt that we had been childish and ill-bred in permitting the estrangement to declare itself. This, however, we knew to be nonsense. The truth was worse than this. The past had bade us overlook racial and national differences because they had then no significance to compare with that which must follow from the clash between one man's good faith and another's roguery; for all Europeans were agreed in their ideal of a moral society. Since then the world had altered. Now different races and nationalities cherish different ideals of society that stink in each other's nostrils with an offensiveness beyond the power of any but the most monstrous private deed. My husband and I thought Gerda's black was white, she thought our white was black; Constantine's eyes were as ours, but his heart was with Gerda, and he could not compel her as the clever should compel the stupid, for he felt himself weak, being of a stateless and persecuted people. That the subject of our difference was political and not sexual or financial made it less and not more reparable.

Late in the afternoon, as we drank coffee and ate bread and cherry jam on our balcony, the light grew steely, the great lake below us blackened, a searching cyclonic wind tossed every single tree-top in the forests to a green twisting peak. The scene was suddenly hidden by curtains of shrieking rain. "Our thunderstorms are very fine," said the waiter in dreamy pride, "and they usually last for three days." He was surprised that we ordered an automobile to take us to the station. In the remoter parts of Europe one is always coming on vestiges of antique literary movements, and this waiter belonged to the romantic epoch, though he was actually quite a young man. It seemed to him proper, since we were persons of some means and education, that we should follow the style of the lovers in The Sorrows of Werther, who at the sound of thunder fell into each other's arms, trembling with sensibility and murmuring the name of the German poet who had written an ode to a storm: Klopstock, it unfortunately was. Three days of thunderstorm, to people with luggage like ours, should have been like a Bayreuth Festival.

A quick train took us to Zagreb by nightfall. In the restaurant of the large modern hotel near the station we felt again, though more intensely, that resentment at being glutted with material goods and at the same time deprived of certain more important essentials which had come on us before the comparative abundance of the Budva shops. There were countless dishes on the menu, but the people around us were colourless and inexpressive. Their clothes did not tell us where they came front or what they were, and their vivacity fell short of explaining its causes to the onlooker. Here, we thought as we lay ungratefully in our comfortable beds, the life of the soul would not, as in the other Slav lands, take forms visible to the corporeal eye. In this the morning proved us wrong. It was to be written before us, in letters as large as Zagreb, that here also, as at the Plitvitse Lakes, romanticism still lingered, but took a less innocent form than a swoon beneath a thunderstorm.

The town we at first imagined to be simply on holiday, as Roman Catholic towns so often are, for most of the shops were shut and many people were sitting on the benches in the public gardens. But soon we were perplexed by an incongruity. It was apparent that this was no festival but a day of mourning, for there hung from many windows the long narrow black flags which all over the Balkans mark a bereaved household. Yet it was pleasure that the people seemed to be expecting. They were looking sly as if they knew someone meant to take it from them, but they were certain of enjoying it in the end. We forgot all this when we came to the market-place, for whatever was afoot in the town the peasant from the country cared more about selling his goods, and the stalls were out and the umbrellas up round the statue of Yellatchitch. Again it was startling to see peasants with such large stores in their possession: though when we had bought a sackful of lustrous and luscious black cherries for a penny or two and an elaborately embroidered tablecloth for a few shillings and remembered that these people had to buy a certain amount of manufactured goods, such as boots, farm tools, and kitchen-ware, it was apparent that to them this plenty must be a mockery of itself. Without anything like Italian or German importunity but with a sober thoroughness, the people were showing us what they had to sell, when a babble sounded and they looked over their shoulders. A crowd was pouring down the steps that fall from the cathedral square to the corner of the market-place. The woman who had spread out some tray-cloths in front of us compressed her lips and folded up her goods, then turned about and began to take down the umbrella that sheltered her stall. The spring was stiff and her fingers crooked on it as she said wearily, "It is the funeral of the three Croats who were killed by the Serbs at the Song Festival at Senj. There will be a riot, you had better go."

Six months later, in London, I learned what had really happened at Senj, from an English girl who had actually seen the shooting. She had been motoring from Zagreb to Dubrovnik, and a collision with a cart had meant she had to stay at Senj for forty-eight hours while the local garage carried out repairs. On the second day of her sojourn the town was given over to a Congress of Croatian and Dalmatian Choral Societies. Often, on the Continent, clubs that are ostensibly dedicated to simple and straightforward pastimes have a covert political purpose. In Poland, for example, table-tennis associations were often foci of Jewish liberalism; and in Croatia and Dalmatia people apparently only sing part-songs if they are convinced Separatists and followers of the dead Raditch and the living Matchek. There were a great many of these part-singers here. They flocked in from earliest dawn in such numbers that the peace of the town was shattered, though some extra gendarmes had been imported during the previous night. Throughout the day, which was very hot, there was much singing, and towards evening there was much drinking, liberating the political sentiments as well as the voices of the choristers. By dusk the gendarmes, who had been jeered at and baited since morning, were trying to impose order on narrow streets packed with crowds roaring seditious songs, through which horse-carts and automobiles which were taking home members of the remoter societies could hardly force a way. At one cross-roads a gendarme was running up and down among the pedestrians in a vain attempt to clear a way for a charabanc full of choristers; both the people in the street and in the charabanc were shouting taunts and insults at him. Suddenly there was the sound of an explosion. The gendarme believed that he had been fired at by the people in the charabanc, and that was the first impression of the English girl, who was standing a few yards away from him. Actually a small automobile, hidden from them by the charabanc, had suffered a tire-burst. But the gendarme, hot, tired, exasperated, and frightened, spent no time in investigation. He shot back at the charabanc and killed five young men.

The Croat leaders, who are not native, cannot have believed that the Yugoslav Government wanted a gendarme to pick off five Croats of no particular importance in circumstances which admitted of no concealment and were bound to provoke far-reaching resentment. But they were not moved by this consideration to allay the passions of their followers. These now poured down the steps and spread all over the marketplace, entirely surrounding the peasants who, with increasing gloom and haste, were dismantling their stalls and gathering their wares into heaps. "You should have gone," said the woman who had been selling us linen, "the gendarmes are here, and there may be shooting." From the side of the market-place opposite the steps there were advancing some twenty gendarmes, holding their rifles ready for use. At the sight of them the crowd, which numbered at least a thousand, stopped singing. Then, in one corner, several young men in succession shouted anti-Serb, pro-Croat slogans, and the people round them raised fierce cheers. At that the gendarmes began to charge them, not savagely, but as if to get the demonstrators moving, and immediately the crowd in front of them fell silent, while those behind them broke into louder slogans, fiercer cheers. The gendarmes stopped, wavered, spun about, and charged the new storm-center. As soon as they were underway the second group of patriots became quiet and submissive, drawing back timidly, while the first group raised shouts and cheers that were war-cries, that incited to bloodshed, and made a threatening rush at the gendarmes' back. The wretched creatures wheeled round again, and the whole market-place burst into hoots and whistles.

This demonstration must have been rehearsed as carefully as an American football game; and indeed, in spite of its mournful cause, it was a game to those who took part in it. The glee that the city had been promising itself since morning shone undisguised from their faces, and if there had been any in the Cathedral who had remembered to grieve for the dead youths, there were none here. All were lost in the intoxication of their sport, in defiance of the claims of pity and not less of self-preservation, for it was as dangerous as any on earth. They were wrestling with their natural friends, their fellow-Slavs, while their natural foes, the Germans and Austrians, the Italians and the Hungarians, stood round them in a circle, waiting for the first sign of collapse that would make it safe to fall on them and strip them and slay them.

Adequate reinforcements arrived for the gendarmes, the crowd melted, the peasants sighed and set about putting up their stalls again and displaying their wares. We finished our transaction with the linen-seller, but she would not discuss what had been happening round us. "It's politics, all politics," she said, "no sensible person talks about politics." But the man at the next stall we stopped by, who sold leather-work, was eager to tell us that two "of us Croats" had been murdered by Serb gendarmes in cold blood. He spoke with a peculiar whining drawl, complaining and yet exultant, but his eyes remained cheerful, and he must have taken little interest in the affair not to have discovered that more than two were being buried. "Let us go to the University," I said, "there we will find Valetta, and he will tell us what all this is about." We went through narrow streets where some shopkeepers were putting up their shutters and others were taking them down, all with a look of furtive glee, and the long black Rags were flapping from every second house, and we found the open space round the University given up to a static kind of riot. Gendarmes were standing on the steps in front of locked doors, while a number of young men walked up and down before the building, sometimes breaking into mocking cheers and shouting slogans.

"Will you be good enough to explain to us what all this is about?" asked my husband, addressing a little man in a mustard-coloured suit who was standing at a street corner. He was one of those individuals to be seen in the larger towns of the Balkans, or in Scandinavia, or in any country with a predominantly peasant population, who, though poor almost to the point of beggary, and driven to the most menial occupations, are sustained in happy gentility by their possession of Western clothes and urban status. "I am delighted to be of service to strangers of quality," he answered, in old-fashioned and flowery German. "What has happened here is that the students were anxious to make a demonstration about the massacre of Senj, and the authorities will not have it, so they have closed the University." "And what was the massacre of Senj?" asked my husband. "Why," said the little man, falling into the same complaining and exultant whine, "Serb gendarmes down there at a Senj Festival killed some of us Croats for no reason, with dum-dum bullets." Without strength or skill or land, he would not have lasted out a single winter under a Nazi regime. He could only hope to survive in just such a loose and unspecialized economy as this Yugoslavian state, against which, in obedience to a political habit as mechanical and irrationalized as a facial twitch, he was complacently rebelling. Just then my eye was caught by two large, loosely formed spheres in neutral colours, one blackish grey, the other brownish black. These were the behinds of two peasant women who were employed by the municipalities to weed the flower-beds at the corners of the square. They where being idiots, private persons in the same sense as the nurse in my London nursing-home, who was unable to imagine why the assassination of King Alexander should perturb anybody but his personal friends. They were paid to pull up weeds, and they wanted the money, so they continued to pull them up, even when the students raised a shout and brought some gendarmes down on them not fifteen yards away. As I looked at those devoted behinds, bobbing up and down over their exemplary task, and the smug face of the automatic rebel, I thanked God for the idiocy of women, which must in many parts of the world have been the sole defender of life against the lunacy of men.

On our way back to the hotel we saw a dozen gendarmes slinking back into a police station, turning their faces away from a booing crowd. They looked very frightened men, and that is not to say that they were cowards. They were well aware that a Croat need pay no higher price than three years' imprisonment for killing a Serb gendarme and had been known to get off with eighteen months. And they must have been well aware also that there was hardly a soul in the city, save the Serb population, who here are wholly disregarded, to feel one movement of goodwill or pity for them. Before we left Zagreb we spoke of the demonstrations to several people, in the shops, at our hotel, and at the railway station, and all save one, who was not a Croat but a Slovene, expressed a loathing for Yugoslavia, and for all the instruments of its being. In every case the reason for that loathing was candidly exposed as dislike for the inferior Oriental civilization of the Serb, the South Slav. The Croats' place, it was felt, was with the West: which implied, with what remained of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. We were to find out just how reciprocal that feeling was on the next stage of our journey.

After midday we took the train to Budapest, and all the hot afternoon we travelled through fields that were purple and white and rose with flowers, or smouldered brass-coloured with ripening grain. In winter the mud of the Central European plains makes them seem, to the urban visitor, the very essence of the negative; in summer their fertility, which has nothing of vegetable innocence about it, which is charged with a sense of abandonment and gratification, make them as positive as any mountain range. Then the darkness came, and with it the lights of Budapest. They dazzled us. In no Balkan towns are there such lights, nor is there any such hotel as the Dunapalota, with its polished floors of costly woods, its thick carpets and its tapestries, its lavishness of finely woven and extravagantly washed linen on the tables, on the waiters' bosoms, in the bathrooms, and on the beds. Nor in any Balkan town are there shops such as lined the streets we walked in the next morning, shops stuffed with goods, all new and fresh, none mildewed or faded, of many different patterns, far beyond the requirements of strict necessity. "Are there so many kinds of shoes?" I marvelled, before a window that was itself a marvel, with its width of plate-glass. "And why did you break your journey at Zagreb?" asked our friends in Budapest. "There is nothing there."

In a sense it was true. The lights of Zagreb are hardly lights, compared with the staring brilliance of Budapest. And we could not explain the sense in which it was not true, for here there was no such pursuit of ideas through the vaults and corridors of the mind as was the custom at Zagreb. In no cafe in Budapest were we invited to discuss the greatness of Vaughan the Silurist, or the nature of the spirit. The conversation here was preoccupied exactly to the degree and to the intensity which it had been when I had last visited it in 1924, with the need for the territory lost to Hungary by the Treaty of Trianon. There had been sold everywhere in those days a map, inscribed with the words "Nem, nem soha," which is Magyar for "No, no never again," and showing the country in a black ring of the lands that were formerly hers and were now joined to Czechoslovakia, Roumania, Yugoslavia, and Austria. It was still being sold, and it appeared to be a complete map of the Hungarian mind. The hairdresser at the Dunapalota talked Irredentist propaganda to me from the first moment that my head came out of the suds till the last moment before it went under the dryer, not as if he were a fanatic, for he seemed of comfortable temperament, but as if he knew nothing else to talk about. The only new element that had succeeded in surviving alongside this preoccupation was pride in the growing intimacy with Italy. Our friends boasted of the splendid reception that Budapest had given to King Victor Emmanuel a week or two before, and even offered to take us to see news films of the processions.

This was as near national imbecility as may be; it exceeded the folly of the Croats. These people were attending to none of their internal problems, though they had an unreformed land system which prevented the peasant from feeling full loyalty to the state, and their financial policy had committed them to a degree of industrialization incompatible with their limited markets. The areas they desired to reclaim were by a substantial majority not Hungarian by blood, and had always loathed them and their rule; so the reclamation would confront them with grave administrative difficulties. And the sole hope of maintaining Hungarian independence lay in continuance of the dispensation set up by the peace treaties. If the state of Europe were such that Czechoslovakia, Roumania, and Yugoslavia could be dismembered, then Hungary could be annihilated. She has no military or strategic or political advantage that she could use as a bargaining point; she would be ground to powder between the upper and the nether millstones of Germany and Italy Though she would probably be given her lost territories as a bribe to expedite her submission, they would be of no use to her. They servers her interests. formerly only because Austria was anxious to build up a solid Dual Monarchy to counterbalance the Hohenzollern Germany or the one hand and Russia on the other, and irrigated Hungary with an artificial prosperity. Germany and Italy would have no such reason for pampering her; they would steal her grain and cattle, partition her flood her with traders and colonists, attack her language, attempt to destroy her identity.

"We cannot think," said our friends to us, as we sat drinking apricot brandy in rooms glorious with Gobelin tapestries and Aubusson carpets "why you English do not support our revisionist programme more strongly. After all, we Hungarians are so like the English, our lives are governed by the same conception of the gentleman?" Had they no better, we suggested, get on good terms with their Balkan neighbours and join them in preparation against the evil day? They thought not How could they ever be on good terms with those neighbours, they demanded, isolated in their obsession as goldfish in a bowl, until the stolen lands had been restored? And of the evil day they would no think. A young man paused in playing the piano to say languidly, "If I should come to a war against Nazismus it will be very unpleasant, for one will not know on which side one should fight." Astonished, we asked him what he meant. "Well," he explained airily, as if he spoke of something that was going to happen only in a play or a novel, "it will be a war between Nazismus and Kommunismus, and the one is as bad as the other." That there were other ideas which humanity might consider it worth while to defend could quite easily be forgotten in this country, on whose heart was written the not subtle, not complicated text, "Nem, nem soha." But the cause of our astonishment was not that forgetfulness. This young man was a Jew, and we would have suppose that he would lie in no doubt as to whether he would fight for or against the Nazis, if only because the Nazis themselves would have felt no doubts on the subject. "Yes," said an Englishman who had long lived in Budapest, "the Jews here are all like that. The tide of anti-Semitism is rising around them. Not a single Jew was asked to any of the parties given for the King of Italy. Yet they seem quite unresentful against the Germans, who called that tune, or the Italians, who are keeping it up."

But they were not unresentful against the Slavs. Jews and Gentiles alike were puzzled and irritated because we had spent so long in Yugoslavia. "But what do you find to do there?" they asked. "You found it beautiful? Yes, I suppose it is, but then the people are such barbarians, the life is so savage, it is like going among animals." People who, I must own, seemed not greatly superior to me in refinement, described how they had been unable to enjoy the scenery and architecture of Dalmatia because of the revolting manners of the inhabitants. Remembering the Professor at Split, the man with the port-wine stain at Hvar, the Cardinal and his family at Korchula, I thought they had been singularly unfortunate or were insanely delicate. I heard again the legend that the whole of Trogir, not only a small stone relief of a lion, had been destroyed by Yugoslav vandals. I heard many anecdotes: one related to an expedition of steamer tourists from Kotor up to Tsetinye which was marred because a doctor, accustomed, it was said by way of explanation, to live in Africa, had struck, though only lightly, a Montenegrin chauffeur. On hearing of this event, I closed my eyes as if some heavy explosion were about to take place in the room. But turning the subject to Croatia had not at all the effect that would have been hoped for in Zagreb. "But the Croats are so stupid!" said our Budapest friends, their voices rising in the squeak of laughter that comes with memory of a joke learned from Nanny in the nursery. It appeared that in the old Austro-Hungarian Empire the Croats were as the Wise Men of Gotham, as the natives of silly Suffolk, as the men of Pudsey seem to the men of Leeds. I think that is the only part they have ever played in the Habsburg cosmos.

The Croats looked to the German-speaking world and had received nothing but a sense that sweet and decorous it is to hate all their brother Slavs. The Hungarians looked to the German-speaking world and had received nothing but a sense that sweet and decorous it is to despise all others than oneself, and to seize whatever these despised others might think to be their own. This destructive education had imposed itself even oh the Jews, who once were a great creative people, who are now the greatest interpreters of modern European creativeness. What was in them had been emptied out and spilt on the earth. There was not even left to them the necessary fear that should leap up in a man's breast to defend it from his enemy's sword. And it was not any post-war exhaustion, nor any perplexity caused by the world slump, that had depleted them. Long before the war, the Jewish "revolver journalists" were notorious. They sat at Zemun, on the Hungarian-Serbian frontier, and sent back to Budapest and Vienna wholly unreliable and desperately venomous dispatches representing Belgrade as a nest of anti-Habsburg conspiracies. It is often alleged in defence of these international saboteurs that they were moved by respectable racial motives: the anti-Semitic policy of Russia had inspired them with a desire to take vengeance on all Slavs. Unfortunately for this apology they had fulfilled their mischievous function with equal ardour during the years when Serbia and Russia were enemies. They were acting not as Jews, but as Germanized Jews.

It is as if a fountain of negativism plays in the centre of Europe, killing all living things within the reach of its spray. This lethal action is not to be conceived as a Teuton reaction to the Slav. It knows no such racial limitation. Life, under any label, is the enemy. That was to be demonstrated to me in Vienna by a golden-haired girl who presented herself one evening at my hotel on what I found an embarrassing errand. I found her in our sitting-room after an unpleasant incident. We had lunched with a friend out at his house beyond Baden-bei-Wien, and we had been driven there by the chauffeur who always served us during our visits, a thick-set man in his early thirties, with yellow hair and blue eyes that looked blind, like Gerda's. On our journey home there had been a sudden thunderstorm, and to avoid the height of its violence we drew up at a wayside inn. The three of us sat and drank beer in the well-scrubbed little saloon, and presently there came up, as could have been foretold, the subject of Vienna's economic distress and political unrest. The chauffeur, his voice falling into the whine that can be heard in Austria whenever it has to be recognized that loaves do not grow on trees, said, "It is terrible for us Viennese, terrible. And we are all so disappointed, for we had hoped that things would be better. Did I not drive for Major Fey in the February Revolution, because I thought that it was going to put an end to talk, and that Major Fey and his party were really going to do something, but here we are, it is just the same as ever." I groaned aloud.

That February Revolution of 1934 lives in popular memory for its malevolent destruction of the Karl-Marx-Hof and other blocks of apartment houses; but worse than that was its nihilism. A group of people with no economic or political ideas had believed that they could magically induce prosperity simply by destroying another group of people whom they believed, not wholly with foundation, to have such ideas. They had no other programme. Schuschnigg, who was their nominee, stood for absolutely nothing, for no principle, for no theory, even for no opinion, except the rejection of everyone else's opinions. I had been for the last few weeks with people so poor that the chauffeur's food and clothes would have represented an extreme of luxury that they could never hope to enjoy if they worked for fifty years. They could outbid him on his own excuse, and their history showed, when it had brought them a ruler of spurious royalty, that the springs of ferocity were high in them. But they would not have gone out and destroyed a number of their brothers in the cause of pure nothingness. "To put an end to talk... really going to do something..." The peasants on the Black Mountains of Skoplje, the Bulgarian pastrycooks at Ochrid, the innkeeper's son at Petch, the old woman walking on the road over the Montenegrin mountains, none of them was involved in arguments so void of content that such phrases would have come to them. As the chauffeur looked at us, wondering at our sudden silence, his gaze was astonishing in its blindish quality. It was as if there were a stupidity behind the retina which admitted only light, which excluded all else that man usually learns by seeing.

In my sitting-room I found the golden-haired girl, with a letter from a Viennese friend of mine who coaches university students in English, saying that this was one of his favourite pupils and that she had chosen my works as the subject of her thesis. I was naturally appalled. I explained that I was a writer wholly unsuitable for her purpose: that the bulk of my writing was scattered through American and English periodicals; that I had never used my writing to make a continuous disclosure of my own personality to others, but to discover for my own edification what I knew about various subjects which I found to be important to me; and that in consequence I had written a novel about London to find out why I loved it, a life of St. Augustine to find out why every phrase I read of his sounds in my ears like the sentence of my doom and the doom of my age, and a novel about rich people to find out why they seemed to me as dangerous as wild boars and pythons, and that consideration of these might severally play a part in theses on London or St. Augustine or the rich, but could not fuse to make a picture of a writer, since the interstices were too wide.

To my annoyance the golden-haired girl treated this explanation as a proof of modesty, which it eras not, and I saw something inexorable in her intensity, which I could not regard as proof of my importance, in view of the determination of every German university student to find a subject for his thesis which nobody has treated before. I remembered how one such student had gained his doctorate by a thesis on Mealy Potatoes, a Drury Lane dancer, mentioned on one single occasion by Dickens, whose identity he had tracked through London parish registers, and how he had been surpassed by a successor whose effort was entitled "Die Schwester von Mealy Potutoes." The golden-haired girl belonged to this inexorable tradition, and my uneasiness did not prevent her from putting to me a long list of questions. But my answers soon made her even more uneasy than I was. She wanted to pigeon-hole me into a recognized school, and demanded to know what writers had influenced me. It disconcerted her when I reported that as a young person I had tried to write like Mark Twain, that he still seemed to me more fortunate than the princes of the earth in his invariably happy relations with his medium. "But is not Mark Twain an American?" she asked doubtfully. "And a humorous writer?" It was instantly clear to me, as it would have been to any writer, that literature was a closed territory to her and that she would never be able to read a single book. In spite of my glowering she continued, but we found no common ground in the discussion of any of my preferences, even when she accepted them as legitimate.

Presently she said, "I have enough about English writers now," looking at her notes with some sullenness, as if she foresaw trouble before her in pushing my mind, which appeared to have lost its label, into the proper pigeon-hole. "Tell me," she asked, "about the European writers that have influenced you." "There was Dumas first of all," I said, "whose Three Musketeers, whose Count of Monte Cristo, taught one in the nursery what romance was, how adventure could prove that what looks to be the close-knit fabric of life is in fact elastic. Then in one's early teens there was Ibsen, who corrected the chief flaw in English literature, which is a failure to recognize the dynamism of ideas. The intellectual world is largely of English creation, yet our authors write of ideas as if they were things to pick and choose, even though the choice might be pushed to the extremity of martyrdom, as if they could be left alone, as if they came into play only as they were picked and chosen. But that ideas are the symbols of relationships among real forces that make people late for breakfast, that take away their breakfast, that make them beat each other across the breakfast-table, is something which the English do not like to realize. Lazy, bone-lazy, they wish to believe that life is lived simply by living.

"Yes," I continued, glowing with interest in my theme, though my listener was not, "Ibsen converted me to the belief that it is ideas which make the world go round. But as I grew older I began to realize that Ibsen cried out for ideas for the same reason that men call out for water, because he had not got any. He was a moralist for an extremely simple sort, who had heard, but only as a child might hear the murmur of a shell, the voice of the philosophical ocean. Brand is not a play about religion, it is a crude presentation of the ascetic impulse. The Doll's House is not a play about the emancipation of women indeed none of the fundamental issues of that movement are touched but a native and sturdy suggestion that in the scales of justice perhaps mean integrity may weigh less than loving fraud. But with my appetite for ideas whetted by Ibsen I turned back to the literature of my own country, which was then claiming to satisfy it. For this was the time of Galsworthy, Wells, Shaw "

"Ah, Show, Show," cried the golden-haired girl, pronouncing it to rhyme with "cow." "Shaw," I said irritably. "Yes, Show, Show," she went on, "we have not talked of him. I suppose you admire him greatly." "Not very much," I said. "How is that possible?" she asked. "Here we think him your greatest writer, next to Shakespeare and Oscar Wilde." "Next to Oscar Wilde, perhaps, but not to Shakespeare," I snapped; "and now that I re-read him I cannot find traces of any ideas at all. Wells at least had an idea that people would have ideas if they were taught by other people who had some, and was also almost as sublime a controversialist as Voltaire when he met with an irrational fool, but Shaw stands for nothing but a socialism which has nothing to it except a belief that it would be a nicer world if everybody were all clean and well fed, which is based-on no analysis of man and depends on no theory of the state, and an entirely platitudinous denunciation of hypocrisy, which nowhere rises to the level of Tartuffe. Of course our country has produced better than Shaw and I found them later, but they are not easy to find, for there is a lack of continuity about our literature. A man starts up in isolation, inspired by an idiosyncratic passion to write about a certain subject, but rarely inspired to read what other people have written about it. That is why French literature is of such service to the mind, since each writer is fully aware of his own culture, and knows when he takes part in an argument precisely to what stage his predecessors have brought it."

"But what is this you are saying about French literature?" interrupted the golden-haired girl. I repeated it, and she exclaimed in amazement "French literature! But surely all French literature is trivial and artificial?" "Trivial and artificial!" I echoed. "Abelard! Ronsard! Joachim du Bellay! Montaigne! Rabelais! Racine! Pascal! La Fontaine! Voltaire! La Rochefoucauld! Balzac! Baudelaire! Victor Hugo! Benjamin Conscant! Proust! And Diderot  did you never read Le Neeeu de Rumeau?" "I do not read French," she said; "hardly any of us learn French. But surely all these people put together do not equal Goethe?" I grieved, for it seemed to me that any one of them had as much to say as Goethe whose philosophy, indeed, boils down to the opinion, "Ain't Nature grand?" I said, "It is a pity you cannot read Montaigne; he also thought much about nature, though he thought of it not as grand, but as inevitable." She looked at me as if she thought that was no very great discovery to have made, and I looked back at her, wondering what word would convey to her the virtue that lies in the full acceptance of destiny realizing that my words would convey it to her better than Montaigne's. For there was as yet nothing in her which could appreciate what he meant when he said that nothing in the life of Alexander the Great was so humble and mortal as his whimsical fancy for deification, and that it was no use thinking to leave our humanity behind, for if we walked or stilts we still had to walk on our legs, and there was no way of sitting on the most elevated throne save on the bottom. I found myself smiling as I remembered how he adds, inconsequently and yet with the most apposite wisdom, that for old people life need not be so realistically conceived, "Or, la vieillesse a un peu besoin d'etre traitee plus tendrement."

Though I was completely preoccupied as I stared at her face, my eyes eventually pressed some information about it on my mind. I realized that her brows and her cheekbones were cast in a mould that had be come very familiar to me in the past few months, and that she was fair not negatively, like a Nordic woman, but after the fashion of the golden exceptions to the dark races, as if she had been loaded with rich gold pigment. A suspicion made me look at her visiting-card, which I hat been twisting between my fingers, and I exclaimed, "But you are not an Austrian! You have a Slav name!" She answered, "I have lived in Vienna nearly all my life," but I did not notice her tone and objected, "All the same you must be Slav by birth." Miserably, shifting in her chair, with the demeanour of a justly accused thief, she said, "Yes! Both my parents are Croats." I was embarrassed by her manner and said, "Well, I suppose you speak Serbo-Croat as well as German and English, and that is another language for your studies." She answered passionately, "No, indeed, I speak not a word of Serbo-Croat. How should I? I am Viennese, I have lived here nearly all my life, I have not been to Croatia since I was grown up, except for a few days in Zagreb." "And did you not find the people there very clever?" I asked. "I did not speak to them," she cried scornfully. "I thought it a horrible little town, so provincial." "Are you not at all proud of having Slav blood in you?" I exclaimed. "Why should I be? What is there to be proud about in being a Slav?" she asked blankly.

Such is the influence that Central Europe exerts on its surroundings. It cut off this girl from pride in her own race, which would have been a pity had her race had much less to be proud of than the superb achievement of defending European civilization from extinction by the Turks. It cut her off from enlightenment by that French culture which has the advantage over all others of having begun earlier, branching straight from the Roman stem, and having developed most continuously. What it offered her instead was sparse, was recent. It might fairly be defined as Frederick the Great and Goethe. In music it might have offered enough to compensate for all its other lacks, but it had annulled the harmonies of Bach and Beethoven, Mozart and Haydn, by its preference for the false genius, Wagner. It had left this girl flimsy as a jerry-built house with no foundation deeper than the nineteenth century, when loyalty to her Slav blood and adherence to the main current of European culture would have made her heiress to the immense fortune left by the Western and Eastern Roman Empires. Not only Constantine, but this girl and her family, and many others like them, had made this curious choice. Nothing is less true than that men are greedy. Some prefer poverty to wealth, and some even go so far as to prefer death to life. That I was to learn when I returned to England.

This return meant, for me, going into retreat. Nothing in my life had affected me more deeply than this journey through Yugoslavia. This was in part because there is a coincidence between the natural forms and colours of the western and southern parts of Yugoslavia and the innate forms end colours of my imagination. Macedonia is the country I have always seen between sleeping and waking; from childhood, when I was weary of the place where I was, I wished it would turn into a town like Yaitse or Mostar, Bitolj or Ochrid. But my journey moved me also because it was like picking up a strand of wool that would lead me out of a labyrinth in which, to my surprise, I had found myself immured. It might be that when I followed the thread to its end I would find myself faced by locked gates, and that this labyrinth was my sole portion on this earth. But at least I now knew its twists and turns, and what corridor led into what vaulted chamber, and nothing in my life before I went to Yugoslavia had even made plain these mysteries. This experience made me say to myself, "If a Roman woman had, some years before the sack of Rome, realized why it was going to be sacked and what motives inspired the barbarians and what the Romans, and had written down all she knew and felt about it, the record would have been of value to historians. My situation, though probably not so fatal, is as interesting." Without doubt it was my duty to keep a record of it.

So I resolved to put on paper what a typical Englishwoman felt and thought in the late nineteen-thirties when, already convinced of the inevitability of the second Anglo-German war, she had been able to follow the dark waters of that event back to its source. That committed me to what was in effect some years of a retreat spent among fundamentals. I was obliged to write a long and complicated history, and to swell that with an account of myself and the people who went with me on my travels, since it was my aim to show the past side by side with the present it created. And while I grappled with the mass of my material during several years, it imposed certain ideas on me.

I became newly doubtful of empires. Since childhood I had been consciously and unconsciously debating their value, because I was born a citizen of one of the greatest empires the world has ever seen, and grew up as its exasperated critic. Never at any time was I fool enough to condemn man for conceiving the imperial theory, or to deny that it had often proved magnificent in practice. In the days when there were striking inequalities among the peoples of the earth, when some were still ignorant of agriculture and the complex process that lies behind the apparent simplicity of nomadism, and were therefore outrageously predatory in their hunger, when some were still candid in their enjoyment of murder, those further advanced must have found the necessity to protect their goods and their lives turn insensibly into a habit of conquest. In those times, also, it could well be that barbarians might possess a metal or a plant for which more cultured peoples had invented a beneficial use, and might refuse them access to it from sheer sullenness; and then, should one hold a communist theory of life and believe that all things are for all people, an attempt to break down that refusal must be approved. It is true that long ago it became untrue that peoples presented any serious damage because of backwardness; the threat of savagery has for long lain in technical achievement. For many centuries. too, a war waged by the civilized for access to materials unused by their primitive owners has failed to remain absolutely justifiable for long, since the inequality between the parties involved tempted the stronger to abuse. But if these moral sanctions for imperialism could not be claimed without hypocrisy in its later stages, they then acquired the value of all hypocritical pretences, which is to give a good example. The theory of the British Empire that it existed to bring order into the disordered parts of the earth was more than half humbug, but it inspired to action those in whose love of action there divas nothing humbugging. These fought plagues and flood and drought and famine on behalf of the subject races, and instituted law courts where justice, if not actually blind when governors and governed came into conflict, was as a general rule blindfolded. These services might be conceived though probably nothing could be more irritating to those who were its objects as chivalrous acts, and those who performed them as veray parfit gentil knights. This had the wholly satisfactory result that the common people, proud of their empire and its builders, adopted the standpoint of chivalry.

One evening in London forty years ago, my mother came into my nursery and, all glowing, described how she had been coming home from a tea-party in the central district when she had seen a crowd standing in front of an hotel, obstinately cheering some curtained windows. So long and loudly did they cheer that at last the curtains were drawn, and some bearded men, wooden-faced with bewilderment, bowed out of the brightness into this curious night. They were the Boer generals, come to sign peace after their defeat in the South African War. This scene might be regarded as the apotheosis of complacency, were it not that the spirit which informed it resulted a few years later in the grant to South Africa of a constitution handsomer than vanquished had ever received from victors, and a quarter of a century later in the enactment of the Statute of Westminster, which gave most of the British dependencies the fullest measure of self-government ever conceived possible within an imperial framework. This is a fairer tale than is written on most of history's pages; and since the English enjoy few moral and intellectual advantages over other races, it is unlikely that they alone should be prompted to excellence by the idea of Empire.

But I saw in British imperialism room for roguery and stupidity as well as magnificence. A conquered people is a helpless people; and if they are of different physical type and another culture from their conquerors they cannot avail themselves of anything like the protection which would otherwise be given them by the current conceptions of justice and humanity. Carlyle, who said he loved God but really worshipped Timurlane, put the economic consequences of this situation in a nutshell when he wrote, in a pamphlet called The Nigger Question, that "it is the law of our nature" that the black man "who will not work according to what ability the gods have given him" shall not have "the smallest right to eat pumpkin or to any fraction of land that will grow pumpkin, however plentiful such land may be," but he has "an indisputable and perpetual right to be compelled, by the real proprietors of said land, to do competent work for his living": that is, to work for the white owners of the West Indian sugar plantations. This attitude is even more dangerous than it appears, for if a man has power to make another man work for him against his will, he certainly has power to determine the conditions of this work; and unless he is a man of the rarest integrity he will see that these conditions keep him rich and his servants amenable. Capitalism at its greediest is thus given its head, and labour is kept brutish, so the general level of civilization and culture sinks. This must be the tendency of Empire, in so far as it is founded on the occupation of countries settled by another race, and time has not medicined it as might be hoped. Carlyle wrote of a rebellion in Jamaica in 1865 because of another rebellion a commission was appointed to inquire into the condition of West Indian labour in 1937.

There is also the difficulty, which did much to wreck Rome, of accepting the services of men fitted to govern the wild periphery of Empire without making them persons of influence at its core, where another sort of governor is needed. Soldiers and administrators, who are without limit in patience and understanding when they are dealing with those whom they regard as children, whether these be their subordinates in a service or members of another race, have no time and no bent for learning the different method appropriate to dealing with those who are their equals in race and before the law. ft therefore seems to them that the first thing to do before society can be put on a proper basis is to exaggerate all social inequalities, and to this end, which may be wholly irrelevant to the actual social problems confronting them or to the tradition of their people's culture, they will sacrifice all other considerations. Thus it was that the later Roman emperors destroyed the structure built up by the old Romans, which gave the citizen considerable freedom in exchange for his submission to the essential discipline of the state, until they themselves felt wholly alien from Rome, and visited the city only for a few days of their reign, or perhaps not at all. Thus it is that "Poona, "which is the name of a city in the Bombay presidency, is used, half in jest and wholly in earnest, to convey a reactionary strain in politics which could not be associated with the name of any English district.

In contemplating Yugoslavia these disadvantages of Empire are manifest. I can think of no more striking relic of a crime than the despoilment of Macedonia and Old Serbia, where the Turks for five hundred and fifty years robbed the native population till they got them down to a point beyond which the process could not be carried any further without danger of leaving no victims to be robbed in the future. The poverty of all Bosnians and Herzegovinians, except the Moslems and the Jews, is as ghastly an indictment of both the Turks and their successors, the Austrians. Dalmatia was picked clean by Venice. Croatia has been held back from prosperity by Hungarian control in countless ways that have left it half an age behind its Western neighbours in material prosperity. Never in the Balkans has Empire meant trusteeship. At least, there are such trustees, but they end in jail. The South Slavs have also suffered extremely from the inability of empires to produce men who are able both to conquer territory and to administer it. This does not apply to the portions that belonged to Austria and Venice, for these powers never conquered them and acquired them by the easier method of huckstering diplomacy; but it is the keynote of the Turkish symphony. In Sir Charles Eliot's profound book, Turkey in Europe, he says of the Turks that if "they quoted from the Bible instead of the Koran, no words would better characterise their manner of life than 'Here have we no continuing city,'" and describes a room in a Turkish house as "generally scrupulously clean, but bare and unfurnished," to such a degree that a European would be bound to believe that "a party of travelers have occupied an old barn and said, 'Let us make the place clean enough to live in; it's no use taking any more trouble about it. We shall probably be off again in a week.'" Nothing could be more proper than this disregard for comfort, this refusal to relax, so long as these men were conquerors in the act of extending and confirming their conquests. But in the administrators of a vast territory this meant sluttish disorder, poverty, disease, and ignorance. It meant, above all, that the tax-collector milked the lands each year as if this were to be his last extortion before they were abandoned by an army that must always press forward. Here and there individual Slavs were saved by the only foreign missionary which has ever benefited the Balkans: the Oriental love of pleasure. Here and there Turks pleased their sensuousness by surrounding themselves with poplar groves, fountains, and prosperous Christian neighbours who also learned to be sensuous. Dalmatia derived an exceptional benefit from that Frenchman of unappreciated excellence, Marmont; he too spread about him his sensuousness as oil upon troubled waters. But he was overruled by his master Napoleon, who proved the rule and could not keep in peace what he had gained in war.

The contemplation of Yugoslavia suggests other, and catastrophic, aspects of Empire. Certain doubts as to the efficacy of the imperial system as an aid to civilization past any exceeding primitive phase had arisen in my mind when I was writing an essay on the life of St. Augustine. Africa, it had seemed to me, would have been considerably happier if Balbus had never built a wall. Those doubts were immensely reinforced by my Yugoslavian researches. The Dalmatian coast is one side of a coffin. Within lies dead Illyria: a great kingdom which was slain by the Roman Empire in the name of a civilizing mission. The Illyrians were drunken, the Romans said priggishly, not knowing what Suetonius was going to do with their own fair fame; they were pirates, they could not maintain safety on their high-roads. But if a bandit robbed and murdered a family and afterwards declared them to be of such disgusting character that he had fulfilled a public duty in annihilating them, we should hesitate to believe him, particularly if there were any evidence to the contrary. Here there was much. Illyria held up its head among the Eastern powers whom Rome never equalled in subtlety or splendour; Alexander the Great, beside whom any Roman shows as mediocre, was three parts Illyrian; and after the Illyrians had been conquered they produced many men who, intervening in Roman affairs. dwarfed all their contemporaries of Italian birth. It is therefore not possible to believe the Roman version.

Checked by the clock, the conquest of Illyria cannot be justified. It took two hundred and fifty years of open warfare, followed by fifty years of rebellion and pacification, to procure a peace that lasted only a hundred years. But this peace was maintained only by gifted Illyrian. who were obliged to take over the management of the decrepit imperial machine and were therefore exercising their ability under a handicap to which they might not have been subjected in a free Illyria. Moreover, even their gifts were rendered unavailing by a catastrophe directly due to Empire. The barbarian invasions which brought the empire to a standstill and sank much of European civilization without trace, swept westwards over the continent at the pace of a flame. This might not have been so if they had encountered the close-knit opposition of states whose political administration corresponded with their racial and economic frontiers. But all such states had been destroyed by Rome. In their place had been established a flabby federation of peoples, long demoralized by subordination to an alien control itself rendered highly inefficient by political and economic and military misfortunes. The Mongols had only to touch such peoples to knock them over.

This is a hypothesis and no more; but 'its probability can be judged by our knowledge of Africa, with its much more documented history. Rome destroyed Punic civilization because it had not yet arrived at the conception of trade and could not understand that a rival might also be a customer, and because it wanted North Africa as its granary. It gave as bad an account of this victim as of Illyria, and not more credibly. For here, too, the vanquished race took over the victors' business. The Illyrian line of Roman emperors known as the Restitutores Mundi were remarkable; but the African Fathers preserved the Christian Church with the salt of genius when it might have perished with the rest of society, and thus it secured the continuity of Western culture. Through the greatest of the African Christians, St. Augustine, we know how it was with these gifted people and their fertile land when the barbarians came. North Africa had not been allowed to lead its own economic life, and had been organized as a cell in the Roman Empire; when its host fell into bankruptcy it was itself infected with financial decay. Property became useless owing to the intolerable burden of imperial taxation, and the Church was embarrassed by the number of estates handed over to it by owners incapable of bearing their responsibility. Many of the artisans and labourers were so poor that they ran mad and joined bands of wandering sectaries who combined religious frenzy with suicidal mania. The news of this collapse travelled southwards, and tribesmen crept up from the dark heart of the continent to gnaw at the edge of civilization, immensely aided by the circumstance that the empire was then split by a feud between a spindling emperor and his domineering sister, which split again into an intricate series of feuds between several military factions. The Governor of North Africa, an unhappy man named Boniface, of whom we know a great deal, was unable to find out to what authority he owed his fealty. He was thus forced into the position of a rebel, and two Roman armies had been sent against him when the Vandals launched their attack on the bedevilled provinces. There, with the help of the many elements which were distracted by misgovernment, they established easily enough the state of ruin which has persisted in these parts, save for a brief period of Islamic culture, throughout the subsequent fifteen hundred years. Thus the idea of Empire is rendered suspect on the territory where it seems to have most justified itself. In modern Africa the phrase "the white man's burden" is far from being ironical: countless Europeans have given their lives to save Africans from such ills as sleeping sickness and the slave-trade. But it is dubious whether this missionary service would ever have been required if spontaneous African culture had not been hamstrung by the Roman Empire.

It is possible that Rome destroyed far more human achievement than she ever fostered. By Byzantium the Balkans were given much, but that was only when the Western Empire had fallen upon difficult days, when aggression was a half-forgotten dream, so unremitting was the need for defence. It is certain that the Balkans lost more from contact with all modern empires than they ever gained. They belonged to the sphere of tragedy, and Empire cannot understand the tragic. Great Britain was useless to them, except for Mr. Gladstone, who would have been shocked if he had known the truth about the Christian rebels, who therefore pretended they were other than they were, and who by that hypocrisy served the truth; and except for certain noble women, such as Miss Irby, who travelled with her friend, Miss Muir Mackenzie, all through Macedonia when this was a dangerous enterprise, told the truth about Turkish maladministration, and afterwards started a school for Christians in Sarajevo where fortitude was among the subjects taught. But Englishmen have usually been foolish about the Peninsula, being imbued with the imperialist idea that it is good to have and therefore apt to draw the false conclusion that those who have not are not good. The nineteenth-century English traveller tended to form an unfavourable opinion of the Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire on the grounds that they were dirty and illiterate and grasping (as poor people, oddly enough, often are) and cringing and inhospitable and ill-mannered (as frightened people, oddly enough, often are). He condemned them as he condemned the inhabitants of the new industrial hells in Lancashire and Yorkshire, who insisted on smelling offensively, drinking gin to excess, and being rough and rude. Even as he felt glad when these unfortunate fellow-countrymen of his were the objects of missionary efforts by philanthropists drawn from the upper and middle classes, he felt glad because these Christian Slavs were in the custody of the Turks, who were exquisite in their personal habits, cultivated, generous, dignified, hospitable, and extremely polite. His gladness felt a cold check when the Turkish Empire collapsed. Philanthropists should not go bankrupt. But in the twentieth century his grandsons transferred their enthusiasm to the Russian and Austrian Empires, and regretted that one or the other was not custodian of the Balkans. Even after the war, which showed both these great powers soft as rotten apples, and the Serbs as strong in the saving of European civilization, many Englishmen lamented that the Balkan peoples were not under the tutelage of the charming, cultured Austrians.

How strange a dream it was, it is, that the Southern Slavs should be reared to civilization by Russia! The Old Russia was not even a true empire, she was not even a modern state, she was rather a symbol of immense spiritual value but of little material efficacy, by which millions of people, scattered over vast and alienating territories, and bruised beyond belief by past defeat, were able to believe that they were taking part in the drama by which man shall discover the meaning of his extraordinary destiny. Nothing had ever enabled these people to recover from the disorganization inflicted on them by the Mongol tribe known as the Golden Horde, who occupied their country for nearly two hundred years, and cut them off from the Byzantine Empire in its paradoxical apotheosis, when it was a dying and a fecundating power. During this long night the land fell into confusion, and though there have emerged from it some colossal geniuses, compact of fire and smoke, to prove the value of the stock, few of them have had the appropriate quality of nursemaids. There could have been nothing more fantastic than the idea of handing over the wretched victims of the Turks, who needed above all else tranquillity and order and their own way, to the care of the Russians, who themselves had been plunged by Asiatic influence into a permanent and impassioned state of simultaneous anarchy and absolutism: nothing, save the idea of handing them over to the Austrian Empire.

It is difficult to write the plain truth about the Austrian Empire as any historian not a Roman Catholic propagandist knows it. The lilacs and chestnuts of Vienna, the gilded staircases and crystal chandeliers of its baroque palaces, its divine musicians, great and little, have confused the judgment of the world; but a defence of the Japanese Empire which relied largely on its cherry blossoms and pagodas and the prints of Hiroshige would not convince. It is delightful to drink the heuriger ovine in the gardens of Grinzing, but all the same Mr. Gladstone was not speaking intemperately when he said that he knew nothing good of Austria. It represented just as much of the German people as could be organized into unity. The rest of them were too quarrelsome and unaware of any reason to prefer harmony to disharmony to sink their local differences, and it is probable that the Austrians would have remained in the same state had it not been for the threat of Turkish invasion. They were witless and careless to a degree that can be judged by their tolerance of the Habsburgs as their rulers, century after century.

This family, from the unlucky day in 1273 when the College of Electors chose Rudolf of Habsburg to be King of the Romans, on account of his mediocrity, till the abdication -of Charles II, in 1918, produced no genius, only two rulers of ability in Charles V and Maria Theresa, countless dullards, and not a few imbeciles and lunatics. While they were responsible for Germany they lost it Switzerland and plunged it into the misery, from which it has never wholly recovered, of the Thirty Years War; they brought on Spain a ruin that seems likely to endure for all time; they made their names spell infamy in the Netherlands. If in Austria they appeared to have been successful in driving back the Turks, it is because they had developed a certain technical ability in the course of generations spent in organizing failures and afterwards retaining their thrones, and were thus able to procure foreign generals, such as Eugene of Savoy and John Sobieski, to lead foreign troops against the invaders. Their actions were again and again horrible: the campaign by which the Emperor Ferdinand converted his largely Protestant dominions to solid Roman Catholicism was one of the most hideous in history. The very, beauty of Vienna was a testimony of the gulf between the rulers and their people. For Austria is not naturally rich; too much of it is mountainous, and too much is agricultural land ill served by communications. It could afford these baroque palaces only by the most merciless exploitation of its peasants and artisans. To do the Habsburgs justice, they made no hypocritical pretence that they paid any undue regard to the interests of their people. "He may be a patriot for Austria," the Emperor Franz Josef cynically inquired concerning a politician who had been recommended to him as a possible Minister on the ground of his patriotism, "but is he a patriot for me?"

The Habsburgs and their people alike were at their worst in their relations with the alien races of their empire. Austria annexed Hungary after the Turks had been driven out, and never learned either to work in amity with it or to coerce it. It lost its Italian possessions by sheer brutality and administrative incompetence. And it was still entirely uncritical of a twofold passion that had raged in the German bosom since earliest times. "The Slavs," the Saxons were informed by a manifesto of their princes and bishops in the eleventh century, "are an abominable people, but their land is very rich in flesh, honey, grain, and herds, and it abounds in all crops when it is cultivated, so that none can be compared to it. So say they who know. Thus, you can both save your souls and acquire the best of land to live in." Eight hundred years later, Bismarck, when he was revising the Treaty of Berlin, was seized with fury at the sight of one clause, and ran his pencil through it again and again, because it safeguarded the rights of the Kutzo-Vlachs, an inoffensive people whom he falsely believed to be Slav; he then continued to draft the treaty to the end of delivering the Balkans up to the hungry maw of the Austrian people.

This was the most persistent, the most vivid strain in the German character. It reconciled the German Austrians to admitting the Hungarians to equality within the empire by the Dual Monarchy, for the Hungarians also hated the Slavs and would not forget to use their independent power in harrying the Croats and Serbs within their borders. "You look after your barbarians," the Hungarian statesman, Andrassy, assured the Austrian Chancellor, Beust, "and we will look after ours." A great part of Austrian internal political life was given to naive assertions of the German Austrian's inalienable right to enjoy every sort of favouritism at the expense of his Slav fellow-subjects. When it was ordained that German civil servants working in Czech districts must learn Czech, thus putting them on a parity with Czech civil servants, who were obliged to know German, all German Austrians revolted and their representatives obstructed all parliamentary business till the ordinances were withdrawn. This is the only positive feature in the political life of nineteenth-century Vienna. That age was not noble anywhere, since then the ignorance of townsmen, who must inevitably be very ignorant unless they are very learned, lay as a thickening shadow on human thought, but in Vienna it was even less noble than in the rest of Europe. There was manifest a clericalism that was seven-eighths political obscurantism of a childish type; the class greed of a bureaucracy far too numerous for the country's resources; a liberalism that represented nothing more than the opposition of the industrialists and bankers and lawyers to the landowners; and a Christian Socialism which was anti-Semitic and dedicated to the protection of the Spiessbuerger, the mediocrity who despises the working man but has not the wit to attach himself to the more fortunate classes, and cries out to be hoisted up into a position of privilege by party action. This latter was Nazism without that audacity which is its only handsome attribute. The automatism with which the Habsburgs carried on their inherited tradition of external order made them control this movement so that it never had a leader more objectionable than the famous Mayor of Vienna, Dr. Karl Lueger, who, though he was barren of any ideas save hatred and greed, acted within the limits to which the bourgeoisie then confined themselves. But the dynamic force of that and all other Viennese movements was loathing of the Slavs.

So much I had read in books. But in Yugoslavia I saw with my own eyes the German hatred of the Slavs: as a scar on the Slav peoples, in the chattering distraction of Croatia, and the lacerated moral beauty of Bosnia; as an abscess on a German soul, shen Gerda looked on the seven thousand French graves at Bitolj and wounded a husband who had treated her with infinite tenderness by saying sourly, "To think of all those people giving their lives for a lot of Slavs"; as a womb swollen with murder, in the German war memorial at Bitolj. For the first time I knew the quality of the parties to this feud. I saw the solemn and magnificent embroideries of the Slav peasant women and knew what degeneration of skill and taste was represented by the bright little flowers and hearts on the Austrian belts that the skiers like to bring back from St. Anton. I saw the Serbs, who make more sombre expeditions than open-air meals at little restaurants in the Wienerwald, who go in pilgrimage to the Frushka Gora and see defeat itself in the person of the Tsar Lazar, laid in a golden shroud: it is headless, as defeat should be, since it is a frustration of personality, but its hands are preserved, as is fitting, for it is the hand that is the sign of humanity, that distinguishes man from all other animals, and it is conflict with defeat that divides human beings from the natural world. I saw the Serbs, to whom the subjects of the Habsburgs could certainly teach nothing. Twice the Serbs drove their would-be teachers out of Serbia, and being vanquished the third time, not so much by arms as by sickness and famine, fled through icy mountains to the sea, rested for a little space, then fought them a fourth time, and were victorious. Such is not the proper relationship between pupil and professor. I saw in Yugoslavia many people such as the mother of the idiot child at the tomb of Sveti Naum who said to us, "I don't know what to say to God about this, there's so much to say, I don't know where to begin, it's such a strange thing to have happened," and the old woman who walked on the mountain road in Montenegro, asking the skies, "If I had to live, why should my life have been like this?" There were others, such as Militsa, who is a poet and a scholar and a woman of the world, yet recognizably the sister of these women, to prove that they were not merely exhibiting a pristine excellence preserved by the lack of use, that their subtlety was no superficial bloom which would be brushed away by their first contact with modern civilization, that their stuff was of the sort that can achieve what is most cause for pride among human achievement. I knew that few Austrians had shown the degree of sensibility that would enable them to instruct such people, and that it would not have mattered if there had been few or many of them, for they would have recognized that people like these have no need to be instructed by other human beings, but can learn for themselves.

I said to myself quite often, as I wrestled with the material of this book, that now what was well would at last happen. For the old Turkey had gone and its successor had no interest in Empire, and Russia was a Union of Soviet Republics, and the Habsburgs were fallen; and the treaties of Versailles and Trianon and St. Germain had set the small peoples free. Freedom was for these people an ecstasy. That I knew to be true, for I had seen it with my own eyes. Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Czechoslovakia, and Yugoslavia, they were all like young men stretching themselves at the open window in the early morning after long sleep. To eat in a public place in these countries, to walk in their public gardens, was to fill the nostrils with the smell of happiness. Nothing so fair has happened in all history as this liberation of peoples who, during centuries of oppression, had never forgotten their own souls, and by long brooding on their national lives had changed them from transitory experience to lasting and inspiring works of art. It is not even imaginable what they would have achieved, had they been given time to acquire the technique of self-government, for though there are free peoples, and these have contributed largely to civilization, they have been free because they were fortunate, and have not, like the Slavs and the Finns and the Balts, learned that wisdom which "is sold in the desolate market where none comes to buy, And in the withered fields where the farmer ploughs for bread in vain."

It surprised me that many Englishmen and Americans, who professed to be benevolently concerned with the future of man, were not in the least exalted by this prospect. The left wing, especially, was sharply critical of the new states and all that they did. This was inconsistent in those who believed, often to a point far beyond the practical, that the individual must be free to determine his own destiny, and it was partly due to a theory, so absurd that not even its direct opposite has any chance of being true, that nationalism is always anti-democratic and aggressive, and that internationalism is always liberal and pacific. Yet nationalism is simply the determination of a people to cultivate its own soul, to follow the customs bequeathed to it by its ancestors, to develop its traditions according to its own instincts. It is the national equivalent of the individual's determination not to be a slave. The fulfillment of bath those determinations is essentially a part of the left programme. But the liberation of an individual or a people may lead to all sorts of different consequences, according to their different natures. The nationalisms of Hungary and Ireland have always been intense, but Hungary has always been industrially ambitious and resolute both in maintaining a feudal land system and in oppressing the aliens within her frontiers while Ireland, though she desires to annihilate Ulster, wishes to be a peasant state with industries well within manageable proportions. It was extremely probable that all the countries liberated by the peace treaties would tend to be liberal, since their populations had long been in active revolt against the absolutism of Russia, Turkey, and Austria-Hungary, and indeed, considering the difficult conditions they had inherited, their practice kept close to liberalism. Nevertheless the left wing regarded these new :states with the utmost suspicion, and if they visited them immediately allied themselves with the opposition parties, even if these were extremely reactionary. Thus I was often surprised, when I spoke of Yugoslavia to Bloomsbury intellectuals, themselves free-thinking and Marxist, to find them expressing the warmest sympathy with the Catholic Croats, even those of a far more reactionary cast than Matchek's followers.

Any discussion of these points was complicated by the tendency of these intellectuals to use the words "nationalism" and "imperialism" as if they meant the same thing. It is fair to say that three out of four times that English and American authors write of French nationalism they are thinking of French imperialism; these are two distinct strands in the life of France. Napoleon was a French imperialist, but he was completely detached from French nationalism, which was natural enough, as he was not a Frenchman; and Charles Peguy was the flower of French nationalism, but was actively hostile to French imperialism. But not all talk on this subject rose even to the high level of this confusion. As the state of Europe grew worse innumerable people, most of them Americans sighed, "Ah, it's the fault of these small nations," and had not the faintest idea what they meant when they said it. They cannot have thought it was really the small nations that were shaking the mailed fist, and indeed when they were pressed they fell back on allegations that the small nations had impeded the free flow of European trade by the tariff barriers within which they enclosed themselves. But the Scandinavian and Baltic countries offered no ground whatsoever for this justification, and if the Balkan countries had never formed a Danubian federation, it was because Italy, with the intention of keeping these countries weak so that it might some day seize them, saw to it at conference after conference that they were forbidden to form any such associations.

All this campaign against the small new states was inchoate, and uninformed to a point well below the general level of the people who took part in it. They must have had some prejudice against them; and this I found astonishing, for if there is an assurance in the Europe of our day that sometimes life goes well, a promise that some day it may go better, it is offered by these countries. I cannot but think it exhilarating, from the point of view of both the Turks and the Slavs, that the Turkish tax-collector no longer beggars the peasants on the Skoplje hills and plains for the benefit of a pasha whom the Turkish peasant also had no cause to love, and this was but one example of the supersession of the disagreeable by what was at least more agreeable, which I assumed was desired by all reasonable human beings. But I remembered, and both the art of the Byzantine frescoes and the speculation that underlies all but the most trivial of Slav conversations confirm my remembrance, that human beings are not reasonable, and do not to any decisive degree prefer the agreeable to the disagreeable. Only part of us is sane: only part of us loves pleasure and the longer day of happiness, wants to live to our nineties and die in peace, in a house that we built, that shall shelter those who come after us. The other half of us is nearly mad. It prefers the disagreeable to the agreeable, loves pain and its darker night despair, and wants to die in a catastrophe that will set back life to its beginnings and leave nothing of our house save its blackened foundations. Our bright natures fight in us with this yeasty darkness, and neither part is commonly quite victorious, for we are divided against ourselves and will not let either part be destroyed. This fight can be observed constantly in our persona) lives. There is nothing rarer than a man who can be trusted never to throw away happiness, however eagerly he sometimes grasps it. In history we are as frequently interested in our own doom. Sometimes we search for peace, sometimes we make an effort to find convenient frontiers and a proper fulfillment for racial destinies; but sometimes we insist on war, sometimes we stamp into the dust the only foundations on which we can support our national lives. We ignore this suicidal strain in history because we are consistently bad artists when we paint ourselves, we prettify our wills and pretend they are not parti-coloured before the Lord. We pretend that the Thirty Years War disappointed the hope of those who engineered it because it brought famine to Central Europe, famine so extreme that whole villages were given over to silence and the spreading weed, so extreme that bands of desperate men waylaid travellers and ate their flesh. Yet perhaps these engineers of war did not like villages, and felt queasy at the thought of a society enjoying wholesome meals. It seems that, choked with our victory in the last war, we now have an appetite for defeat. The new states were full of life, Yugoslavia shook its clenched fists and swore it meant to live. Therefore England and America and France turned away, for what lived disgusted them; they wanted a blanched world, without blood, given over to defeat.

They would not interfere, therefore, with the marginal activity that ran parallel to the continuous national effort which I was chronicling. From time to time out of the text there emerged little black figures which postured on the white paper beside it, achieved a group which was magical, an incantation to death, and ran back again into the text, which carried on its story of the main and legitimate historical process.

Till then there had been a certain detachment between these irregular abandonments of the legal process and the large movement of history. The black little figures rushed out of the text and made their magic mark in the margin and disappeared; and the stout column of the text continued as before, only betraying by a later variation from the expected that the magic had been efficacious. The development of the nineteenth' century was certainly affected to a slight degree, almost invisible save to the specialist eye, by the assassination of Prince Danilo of Montenegro, and to a more marked degree by the assassination of Prince Michael of Serbia; and when Alexander and Draga were murdered and Peter Karageorgevitch came to the throne, the map of Europe seemed to have been repainted in brighter and more discordant colours. But Danilo's death did not make my great-grandmother cry; I doubt if my grandfather was ever reminded by discomfort that Prince Michael of Serbia had left this earth; I did not eat different food or wear different clothes because of Alexander and Draga, or think different thoughts. The attentat at Sarajevo had a totally different effect. Its magical operation on the text was immediate. I and nearly all women in Europe wept times without number, said again and again, "Ah, that is because of the war," and learned to eat against hunger, to dress for warmth, to think not for amusement but to find the clue out of the maze. We were marked by an impersonal event as deeply as by any of the classic stages of the personal life. And after the darkness of the contending armies cleared from Europe it could be seen that the map had been painted yet once more. in colours still more brilliant, which were also harmonious.

It might have been that the eye of the future should see Europe for some space of time as a pale West like a fading fresco painted by genius, a troubled and writhing German people, a barricaded and preoccupied Russia, and a chaplet of shining small countries, delighting in life as intense .".s human society has ever known. But there was an intractable element that would not be satisfied with this dispensation.

The Sarajevo attentat represented three of the dominant factors in history. Princip was inspired by nationalism; the Austrian officers who let Princip have his way were imperialists; the parties to the other attentat, which was not committed because Princip forestalled it, were children of "Apis," lovers of slaughter for its own sake. But there was one important factor in modern times which had no share in the attentat, and no part in the satisfaction that followed the peace, though it had had no part in the satisfaction that preceded it the mindless, traditionless, possessionless section of the urban proletariat which had sent Luccheni as its representative to murder the Empress Elizabeth of Austria, but which, largely owing to the site of the crime, had no say in the murder of Franz Ferdinand. Its interests were therefore not specifically raised by the war that ensued, and they were curiously neglected after it. The new age was eager for reforms and was not niggardly in paying for them, but it made no drastic reorganization of the social system. This was partly due to the supineness of the left wing. They are the proper people to make any revolution; it is their trade. But they were too busy discussing the distant Bolshevist experiment in Russia to have the time or energy to work out their local salvation. This gave the revolutionaries of the right wing their chance.

Mindless, traditionless, possessionless, Mussolini came to power. Italy was predestined to be the first country in the world to hand its destiny over to a member of this class, for though France had a large urban population it had an inveterate tendency not to be mindless. Great Britain had strong traditions, and the United States had possessions, while Italy had many peasants who had been industrialized for a generation or so without becoming cultured, had lost the tradition of its small states without acquiring a new national one, and was very poor. Mussolini was its predestined leader, for while he had not sufficient intelligence to lift him out of this class, he had not too little to acquire some knowledge of the theory and practice of social revolution from an apprenticeship to the left. If he had achieved his rulership in times of peace he would have sought to commit some act of violence that would provoke a war; since his hour came when the whole world was sick with a surfeit of armies that programme was manifestly ill timed, so he had to find some method of applying violence to peace-time. He retrieved, whether from the half-comprehended talk of a clever comrade or by skimming a volume in the threepenny box outside the bookshop, the Code of Diocletian; and being either unaware or careless that Diocletian had perished of despair in his palace at Split, because he had failed to check the descent of ruin on the Roman earth, he enforced that Code on his country. This was a comical venture. For Diocletian had some excuse for seeking to stabilize by edict the institutions of an empire that had lasted for over a thousand years, but it was imbecile to attempt to fix the forms of a country that had been unified for less than a century and was deeply involved in a world economic system which was no older than the industrial revolution.

Mussolini, indeed, rested his case for the revival of the Code on nothing so acceptable to the high faculties of man as its capacity to further well-being. He recommended it because it had to be applied by violence, which he alleged to be the highest thing in life. But in peace the opportunities for violence are limited and not remunerative. He had to resort to war. He had taught his followers to enjoy the taste of assault, and he had to satisfy this appetite by promising them the wide mass murder of a European conflict; he had raised their material standards by lavish expenditure on social services the state could not afford, and he had to placate their new greed by promising them sea-power like Britain's and an empire in Asia and Africa. The first step towards any of these ends was the destruction of Yugoslavia. Its Dalmatian coast was necessary if he were to have command of the Adriatic; through its hinterland ran the high-road to Asia. But he lacked the heart for fair fighting. Traditionless, he had not learned what all but the most primitive communities have learned, that it is better for both parties to a conflict if there is no treachery on either side. He therefore strove to win his battle beforehand by fomenting revolution among Yugoslavian nationals in Croatia and Macedonia. But there he made an error. Belonging to the bored and under-employed urban class which is always glad of the excitement of a street fight, he could not understand that peasants quickly tire of guerrilla bands trailing backwards and forwards over their lands, interrupting work vitally necessary to a good harvest. So he looked north, to Austria.

Vienna still stands. That is to say, it is as it was. A great town en-genders its tradition, which cannot be destroyed, because it is sown through the brains and loins of all men born within it or under its shadow, and because it determines the form of local customs and thus for ever afterwards constrains those who enter it from other parts to its way of living. So it was with Constantinople, which was made by the Byzantines in the image of their magnificent dreams, which imposed those dreams on the Turks, of wholly alien natural genius, who drove out the Byzantines. So it is with Vienna.

That city seemed at first to accept the destiny it had thrust on itself by its provocation of war. Henceforth it had to be poor; for it had always been that by nature. Only the merciless exploitation of its peasants and its Slav subjects had enabled it to support the extravagance of its aristocracy, the solid comfort of its bourgeoisie. But in its diminishment it might have known an age as great as its own eighteenth century had it reconciled itself to being a small town without vainglory but glorious in its university and its opera, its baroque palaces and art galleries, its lilacs and chestnuts, its abundance of Jewish genius. It could not, however, check the tradition which had struck its roots deeper and deeper during the nineteenth century, which was growing rankly among the ruins of Vienna and was even spreading rankly through another soil.

For this tradition had found its perfect instrument in Adolf Hitler. It must always be remembered that Hitler is not a German but an Austrian, and nothing he has brought to post-war Germany had not its existence in pre-war Austria. There is nothing original in his demonic fancies save their intensity. He is a man of the same class as Luccheni and Mussolini, a recruit to the hopeless and helpless urban proletariat; and like them he is mindless and possessionless, and, so far as the human tradition goes, traditionless. He did not know why the difficult and sometimes dangerous process of thinking is held in esteem; he did not know that fourteen hundred years before an emperor had proclaimed that a ruler "must be not only glorified with arms, but also armed with laws," and that all communities have been forced to hold that opinion or perish; he had not an inkling that it is actually healthy- for the human race to prefer what is agreeable to what is disagreeable. He was a poor craftsman, with no pride in his craft, which was natural enough in the child of one of those parasites on our social system, a douanier. But what he had heard in his childhood lingered in his ears. His father's native village was only a few miles from the family estate of Schoenerer, who founded the Pan-German movement that swept Vienna at the end of the last century, and there is nothing in Mein Kampf which was not in Schoenerer's programme. There is the same racial pride, the same anti-Semitism, the same hatred of the Slavs, the same hostility to the Church. Schoenerer's movement was, however, stultified by his determination to find his followers among the educated classes. There was a hair-splitting tendency in those who had been exposed to culture which rendered them unable to admire the simplicity and strength of this platform, in which every plank was cut from hatred of vanity. Two leaders, neither of them peasants or workmen, both bureaucrats, recognized that the only hope for their faith lay in spreading it among the Caliban class of urban workers who were outside the trade unions. They started a German Socialist Workers' party, almost indistinguishable in programme from the Nazi party, which held three seats in the Austrian Parliament of 1911. Hitler is simply an exporter of Austrian goods, which he sells with an energy due to the dynamic passion for blood which is his special idiosyncrasy. For the pleasure he takes in murder is so great that "Apis" now seems a moderate man who sometimes stamped his foot when annoyed.

Hitler, however, was working out his destiny in Germany, and there was no such dramatic figure in Vienna, but only the old actors conscientiously performing the same comedy on the themes of extravagance and Schlamperei. The financiers and industrialists acted their parts with such zest that they not only brought down their own house on their heads: they shattered the economic structure of the whole world. The collapse of the Credit Anstalt in 1931 caused the German crisis which perpetuated the world slump of 1929. These proceedings were unchecked by the political forces of the town, which was as frivolous and factious as it had ever been. The left wing produced some devoted and even saintly trade unionists and too many adherents to the type of international socialism which unfits its disciples for dealing with local problems. All alike were feckless and unaware that when a socialist-elected authority spends money as if socialism were already established, although it is not yet strong enough to overthrow capitalism, it provokes a formidable reaction. The right wing was what might have been expected from a community which was still capable of looking over its teacups and saying to a foreign visitor, "Can you tell me if Mr. So-and-so belongs to the first or second rank of English society?" The only hope for Austrian independence lay in comradeship with the Danubian states, who might have formed with her a solid block of defiant young nations, ready to face the rising forces of Nazism and Fascism, with their backs against an even more defiant Russia and Turkey. But Austria was still sneering at all peoples to her east, still vaunting herself as «the frontier of Europe." She looked west for her salvation, and when, like the rest of the world, she tumbled into the pit of the slump, she conceived a sick fancy that all her troubles would be ended if she were joined in a customs union with Germany. This, with a good sense that has been more than justified by the subsequent course of history, was forbidden by the powers as a threat to European peace; but in any case it was useless as a prescription for Austria's economic malady, for Germany was as sick as she was, and two states which are bankrupt for precisely similar reasons are not more solvent than one. Some of the right-wing politicians were aware of this, but there was nothing shrewd in their awareness. They were determined to keep their independence, yet fomented this desire for union with imperialist and internationalist Nazism, or else inspired their followers with an equally suicidal enthusiasm for imperialist and internationalist Fascism. To these insane impulses they sacrificed everything: honour, decency, humanity, and that other thing which a man sacrifices when he fails in these qualities towards the people of his own blood. The smoke curled up from a peculiar offering of this sort in February 1934.

One of the most typical features of post-war Vienna were the working-class tenements, built by the Government of Vienna, which was as far left as the National Government was right. These large buildings presented a modern and rationalist appeal to visitors who were already seduced by the lilacs and chestnuts of the Viennese gardens; and anywhere the sceptic who looks a housing scheme in the mouth is sure to be denounced as a hard-hearted wretch who grudges poor children a decent home. But the truth is that these tenements were a shocking extravagance for a ruined city. For they were not needed. Though the Vienna of the Habsburgs had been disfigured by abominable slums, the shrinkage in the population made it unnecessary for the poor to inhabit them any longer. They had simply to move up into the accommodation their former masters had vacated. There were acres of villas built, and well built, for the bourgeoisie and upper classes, which now stood in neglected gardens, either unoccupied or occupied by owners who had to starve to pay the taxes. These villas could easily have been subdivided and the gardens cut up into allotments for the new tenants. But instead they were left to decay, and the Town Council of this distressed and dwindling city spent over fourteen million pounds in luckily happened that on February the seventh the French Government fell, after the disastrous battle of the Place de la Concorde which revealed to the world the strength of fascist influence in France; and Dollfuss was quick to read the lesson. On February eleventh his Vice-Chancellor, Major Fey, and Prince Starhemberg went out into Vienna and led the police and the Heinnvehr in a systematic battue of the Social Democrats. They had very little difficulty in finding their victims as so many of them were residents in these huge blocks of fiats. These they surrounded, bombarded, and cleared of their inhabitants. Civil war can keep secret its casualties, and it has never been ascertained how many of these luckless tenants were killed, imprisoned, or turned loose homeless and destitute; but such victims must have numbered many thousands. It was at this holocaust that my chauffeur with the blindish blue eyes had assisted, by driving Major Fey about from massacre to massacre, because he thought it was time somebody did something.

[Previous] [Next]
[Back to Index]