Chapter IX. The Road To Constantinople

Rumania and Bulgaria

The express left Budapest in the evening, all night and all next day rolled eastward across the Hungarian plain, and toward dusk climbed up through the cool Carpathian pines and over the pass into Rumania.

Vienna and the waltzes they still were playing there, Berlin and its iron exaltation, slow-rumbling London - all the West and the war as we had thought of it for months was, so to speak, on the other side of the earth. We were on the edge of the East now, rolling down into the Balkans, into that tangle of races and revenges out of which the first spark of the war was flung.

Since coffee that morning the lonely train had offered nothing more nourishing than the endless Hungarian wheat-fields, with their rows of peasants, men and women, working comfortably together, and rows of ploughs creeping with almost incredible leisure behind black water-buffalo cattle; but as we rolled down into Predeal through the rain, there, at last, in the dim station lamps, glittered the brass letters and brown paint of the Compagnie Internationale des Wagons Lits - and something to eat.

The cars of this beneficent institution - survivors of a Europe that once seemed divided between tourists and hotel-keepers - outdash the most dashing war correspondents, insinuate themselves wherever civilians are found at all, and once aboard you carry your oasis with you as you do in a Pullman through our own alkali and sage-brush. The steward (his culture is intensive, though it may not extend beyond the telegraph- poles, and includes the words for food in every dialect between Ostend and the Golden Horn) had just brought soup and a bottle of thin Hungarian claret, when the other three chairs at my table were taken by a Rumanian family returning from a holiday in Budapest - an urbane gentleman of middle age, a shy little daughter, and a dark-eyed wife, glittering with diamonds, who looked a little like Nazimova.

"Monsieur is a stranger?" said the Rumanian presently, speaking in French as Rumanians are likely to do, and we began to talk war. I asked - a question the papers had been asking for weeks - if Rumania would be drawn into it.

"Within ten days we shall be in," he said.

"And on which side?"

"Oh!" he smiled, "against Austria, of course!"

That was in April. When I came through Rumania three months later soldiers were training everywhere in the hot fields; Bucarest was full of officers, the papers and cafes still buzzing with war talk. Rumania was still going in, but since the recapture of Lemberg and the Russian retreat the time was not so sure - not, it seemed, "until after the harvest" at any rate.

I asked the Rumanian what he thought about Italy. "Italy began as a coquette. She will end" - he made the gesture of counting money into his hand - "she will end as a cocotte." He waved a forefinger in front of his face.

"Elle n'est plus vierge!" he said.

The wife demurred. Italy was poor and little, she must needs coquette. After all, il faut vivre - one must live.

Something was said of America and the feeling there, and the wife announced that she would like of all things to see America, but - she did not wish to go there with her husband. I suggested that she come with me - an endeavor to rise to the Rumanian mood which was received with tolerant urbanity by her husband, and by the lady who looked like Nazimova with very cheering expressions of assent.

"When you return from Constantinople," she flashed back as they left the table, "don't forget!"

These were the first Rumanians I had met. They were amiable, they spoke French - it almost seemed as if they had heard the tales that are usually told of their little capital, and were trying to play the appropriate introduction to Bucarest.

Here it is, this little nation, only a trifle larger than the State of Pennsylvania, a half-Latin island in an ocean of Magyars and Slavs. On the north is Russia, on the south the grave and stubborn Bulgars (Slav at any rate in speech), on the west Hungary, and here, between the Carpathians and the Black Sea, this Frenchified remnant of the empire of ancient Rome. Their speech when it is not French is full of Latin echoes, and a Rumanian, however mixed his blood, is as fond of thinking himself a lineal and literal descendant of the Roman colonists as a New Englander is of ancestors in the Mayflower. At the Alhambra in Bucarest next evening, after the cosmopolite artistes had done then-perfunctory turns and returned to their street clothes and the audience, to begin the more serious business of the evening, the movie man in the gallery threw on the screen - no, not some military hero nor the beautiful Queen whose photograph you will remember, but the head of the Roman Emperor Trajan! And the listless crowd, drowsing cynically in its tobacco smoke, broke into obedient applause, just as they would at home at the sight of the flag or a picture of the President.

Bucarest, like all the capitals of Spanish America, is another "little Paris," but the Rumanians, possibly because unhampered by sombre Spanish tradition or perhaps any traditions at all, succeed more completely in borrowing the vices and escaping the virtues of the great capital they are supposed to imitate. It would be more to the point to call Bucarest a little Buenos Aires. There is much the same showiness; a similar curious mixture of crudeness and luxury. But Buenos Aires is one of the world's great cities, and always just beyond the asphalt you can somehow feel the pampa and its endless cattle and wheat. The Rumanian capital is a town of some three hundred thousand people in a country you could lose in the Argentine, and there is nothing, comparatively speaking, to offset its light-mindedness, to suggest realities behind all this life of patisserie.

You should see the Calea Vittorei on one of these warm summer evenings between five and eight. It is a narrow strip of asphalt winding through the centre of the town, with a tree-shaded drive at one end, and the hotels, sidewalk cafes, and fashionable shops at the other, and up and down this narrow street, in motors, in open victorias driven by Russian coachmen in dark-blue velvet gowns reaching to their heels, all Bucarest crowds to gossip, flirt, and see.

Down the centre in the open carriages flows a stream of women - and many look like Nazimova - social distinctions so ironed out with enamel, paint, and powder that almost all might be cafe chantant singers or dressmakers' marionettes. Some cities have eagles on their crests, and some volcanoes. If you were going to design a postage-stamp for Bucarest, it struck me that the natural thing would be a woman in the corner of an open victoria - after seeing scores of them all alike, you feel as though you could do it in a minute: one slashing line for the hat, two coal-black holes, and a dash of carmine in a patch of marble white, and a pair of silk-covered ankles crossed and pointed in a way that seems Parisian enough after one has become used to the curious boxes in which women enclose their feet in Berlin. Coming up from Bulgaria, which is not unlike coming from Idaho or Montana; or from Turkey, where women as something to be seen of men in public do not exist; or even across from the simple plains of Hungary, these enamelled orchids flowing forever down the asphalt seem at the moment to sum up the place - they are Bucarest.

Officers in light blue, in mauve and maroon - mincing butterflies, who look as if an hour's march in the sun would send them to the hospital, ogle them from the sidewalk. Along with them are many young bloods out of uniform, barbered and powdered like chorus men made up for their work. You will see few young men in Europe with whom the notion of general conscription and the horrors of war can be associated with less regret.

Streams of more frugal nymphs, without victorias but with the same rakish air, push along with the sidewalk crowd, hats pinned like a wafer over one ear, coiffures drawn trimly up from powdered necks. Waiters scurry about; the cafe tables, crowded in these days with politicians, amateur diplomats, spies, ammunition agents, Heaven knows what, push out on the sidewalk. The people on the sidewalk are crowded into the street, motors honk, hoofs clatter, the air is filled with automobile smoke, the smoke carries the smell of cigarettes and coffee and women's perfumes - it is "Bucarest joyeux!"

Some French music-hall singer - when I came through it was Miss Nita-Jo - will tell you all about it at one of the open-air theatres in the evening. All about the people you bump into in this sunset promenade -

"Des gens d'la haute, des petits creves, Des snobs, des sportsmans, des coquets, Les noctambules, les vieux noceurs, Les grandes cocottes - oui! tous en choeur..." - all about Capsa's, which, though but a little pastry shop and tea-room, is as seriously regarded in Bucarest as Delmonico's or the Blackstone, which is, of course, with dreadful seriousness (to see one of the gilded youths of Bucarest enter Capsa's at five-thirty, solemnly devour a large chocolate eclair, and as solemnly stalk out again, is an experience itself), and all about the politicians and the men who are running things. Everything is in miniature, you see, in a little nation like this, which, although only as large as one of our smaller States, has a King and court, diplomats, and army, and foreign policy. All in the family, so to speak, and the chanteuse will sing amusing verses about the prime minister as if she really knew what he was going to do, and, curiously enough - for things are sometimes very much in the family, indeed, in these little capitals - maybe she does know!

Of course the Calea Vittorei is not Rumania, though a good deal more so than Fifth Avenue is America; nor are the officers posing there those who would have much to do with directing the army if Rumania went to war. Ten minutes away from the city limits and you might be riding through the richest farming country in Wisconsin or Illinois: hour after hour of corn and wheat, orchards, hops, and vineyards, cultivated by peasants who, though most of them have no land and little education, at least look care-free, and dress themselves in exceedingly pleasing homespun linen, hand-embroidered clothes. Then higher land, and hills as thick with the towers of oil-wells as western Pennsylvania, and, just before you cross into Hungary, the cool pines of the Carpathians and the villas of Sinaia, the summer home of the court, the diplomats, and the people one does not see very often, perhaps, in the afternoon parade.

It is a pleasant and a rich little country. You can easily understand why its ruling class should love it, and, set apart from their Slav and Magyar neighbors by speech and temperament, want to gather all Rumanians under one flag and push that, too, into its place in the sun.

And this, of course, is Rumania's time - the time of all these little Balkan nations, which have been bullied and flattered in turn by the powers that need them now, and cut up and traded about like so much small change.

Rumania wants the province of Bessarabia on her eastern border, a strip of which Russia once took away; she wants the Austrian province of Bukowina and the Hungarian banat of Temesvar on the west, but most of all the pine forests and the people of Transylvania, just over the divide - you cross it coming from Budapest - largely Rumanian in speech and sympathy, though a province of Hungary. As the Rumanians figure it out, they once stood astride the Carpathians - "a cheval" ("on horseback"), as they say - and so, they feel, they must and should stand now.

We are a nation of fourteen million souls - six less than Hungary, but a homogeneous state, solidly based. Our soil gives us minerals and fuel and almost suffices for our needs. Our people are one of the most prolific in the world and certainly not the least intelligent. We have behind us a continuity of national existence lacking in other nations in this quarter of the globe. In our modern epoch we have assimilated French culture with indisputable success, and have given in every field proof of a great faculty of adaptability and progress. We can become the most important second-class power in Europe the day after the war stops; in fifty years, when our population will have passed twenty-five millions, a great power. We shall be a nation content with our lot, and for that reason a factor for peace. A greater Rumania responds not only to our ideas but to the interests of Europe. The Magyars have had every chance, and they have lost. It is now our turn.

This is a characteristic editorial paragraph from La Roumanie, which is the voice of Mr. Take Ionesco, who, more than anybody else, is the voice of those who want war. Once in the government, but at the moment out of it, Mr. Ionesco keeps up a continuous bombardment of editorials and speeches, and with his-vigor, verve, and facility reminds one a bit, though a younger man, of Clemenceau and his L'Homme Enchaine. Rich, well-informed, daring, and clever, with a really fascinating gift of expression, he will talk to you in French, English (his wife is English), Rumanian - I don't know how many other languages - about anything you wish, always with the air of one who knows. We have no such adventurous statesmen, or statesmen-adventurers, at home - men who have all the wires of European diplomacy at their finger ends; look at people, including their own, in the aggregate, without any worry over the "folks at home"; know what they want much better than they do, and to get it for them are quite ready to send a few hundred thousand to their death.

Mr. Ionesco writes a long, double-leaded editorial every day, and very often he prints with it the speech, or speeches, he made the night before. In a time like this, he says, those of his way of thinking can't say too much; they must be "like the French Academicians, who never stop writing." Now and then, in the intervals of fanning the sparks of war, he takes his readers behind the scenes of European politics, of which he knows about as much, perhaps, as any one.

I arrived in Paris the 31st of December, 1912, in the evening. M. Poincare received me the 1st of January, at half past eight o'clock in the morning - an absurd hour in Paris. But I had to go to London in the afternoon, and M. Poincare to the Elysee at ten o'clock for the felicitations of the New Year. I asked M. Poincare for the support of France in our difficulties with Bulgaria. M. Poincare said... I said... and later events proved that I was right.

He is always sure of himself, like this - no doubts, no half-truths, everything clear and irresistible. I went to see Mr. Ionesco one evening in Bucarest - a porte-cochere opening into a big stone city house, an anteroom with a political secretary and several lieutenants, and presently a quiet, richly furnished library, and Mr. Ionesco himself, a polished gentleman of continental type, full of animation and sophisticated charm, bowing from behind a heavy library table.

The room, the man, the facile, syllogistic sentences in which it was established that Austria-Hungary was already moribund, that Germany could never win, that Rumania must go in with the Entente - it was like the first scene from some play of European society and politics: one of those smooth, hard, swiftly moving things the Parisian Bernstein might have written.

Across it I couldn't help seeing the Berlin I had just left, and people standing in line with their sandwiches at six o'clock to get into the opera or theatre - the live human beings behind that abstraction "Germany." And I said that it seemed unfortunate that two peoples with so many apparent grounds of contact as the Germans and French must so misunderstand each other. Their temperament and culture were different, to be sure, but they were both idealistic, sentimental people, to whom things of the mind and spirit were important. It seemed particularly unfortunate that everything should be done to force them apart instead of bringing them together.

Mr. Ionesco listened with some impatience. Unfortunate, no doubt, but what do you wish? War itself is unfortunate - we must take the world as it is. No, they were with France and down with the Germans. France conquered meant the end of Rumania, subservience to Austria; France victorious, freedom, fresh air.

He gave me a copy of a speech in which he gladly admitted that he was a "responsible factor." People talked of going slow and sparing blood. Well, they might get something by sitting still, even become a great country, but they could never become a great nation. It was not territory and population they wanted, but the sword of Rumania to join in remaking the map of Europe. When the delegates gathered around the green table, they did not want the one from Rumania, as he was at the Congress of Berlin, only able to make visits to chancelleries. He must go in the same door with them, and say: "In proportion to my population, I have shed as much blood as you."

He had always regretted not having children, never so much as to-day; but if he had a dozen sons, and knew that all of them would fall in the war, he would not be cast down. Even if the territory they wished could be occupied by a simple act of gendarmerie - he would say no - they must enter Budapest itself (it is only twenty-four hours' railway journey from Bucarest!) - not till then would Austria admit Rumania's superiority. People accused him of working for himself. Who was Take Ionesco in comparison with the fate of a race? As for ambition, well, he had one, and only one - he wanted to see the Rumanian tricolor floating from Buda palace, and before he died to know the moment in which he could pass before his eyes the eighteen hundred years of Rumanian history from the arrival of Trajan at Severin to the entry of Ferdinand at Budapest, and cry: "Now, Lord, let thy servant go in peace, for mine eyes have seen the saving of my race!"

The Rumanian tricolor was no nearer Buda palace when I returned several months later, but Mr. Ionesco was no less hot for war. Even if Germany won, he said, they still should go in, because they would at least keep their own and Germany's respect. "Go to war?" - the phrase was inexact. "We have been at war for eleven months, only others are firing at us, but we are not firing at them. We are in a war that will decide our existence, but the soldiers dying to defend our rights, instead of being our soldiers, are soldiers of the Allies. The Allies will win, but if any one thinks that, having won without us, they will have won for us, he must be mad. Their victory without us may preserve our material life, but it will never save our moral life nor that of future generations."

Mr. Ionesco and those who agree with him belong, it will be observed, with the romanticists - they are for the bright face of danger, great stakes, and, win or lose, putting all to the touch. Those who did not agree with them were men without souls, hagglers and traders, as if a nation could figure out the number of cannon-shots and prisoners, and go where the going's good! It made interesting reading as you sat at one of the cafe tables, with the crowd flowing by and the five-o'clock papers coming fresh from the press. The other side - and it included the King and most of the government, inasmuch as Rumania had not yet gone to war - had the more difficult task of making caution interesting. In their editorials and speeches Ionesco and his followers were jingoes trying to drive the nation to a Rumanian Sedan.

"A people is great, not only for its numbers of soldiers, but for its civilization, its artists, and intellectuals. A nation militarized is marked for eternal death, for a people lives by its thought and not by force." There was an amusing retort, the afternoon I returned to Bucarest, to one of the fire-eating retired generals, picturing the quaint old fellow as thinking that people were born only to die bravely, and knowing nothing of Rumania's rule as the "defender of Latinism" in the Balkans, "tooting the funereal flute and showing us the mountains - there is to be your tomb!"

There was a time, when the Russians were taking Przemysl, when Rumania's tide seemed to be at the flood - if ever it was going to be. That chance was lost, and Rumania found herself standing squarely in the track of the stream of ammunition which used to flow down from Duesseldorf to the Turks - when I was at the front with the Turks, practically all the ammunition boxes I saw, and there were hundreds of them, were marked "Gut uber Rumanien" - and, later, in Russia's path to Bulgaria and Servia.

One of these days a hot thrill might run down the Calea Vittorei, and all at once Capsa's and the other little booths in this miniature Vanity Fair would seem strange and far-away. But until that day one could fancy the romanticists and realists lambasting each other in the papers, the soldiers grinding away in their dusty camps, the pretty ladies rolling gayly down the sprinkled asphalt, and the chanteuse singing over the footlights:

"Que pense le Premier Ministre? On n'sait pas - "

("What thinks the Prime Minister? Nobody knows - ")

"Is he for the Germans? Has he made a convention With perfidious Albion? Nobody knows..."

The Gate to Constantinople

Only the Danube separates Rumania from Bulgaria, yet the people - of the two capitals, at least - are as different as the French and Scotch. The train leaves Bucarest after breakfast; you are ferried over the river at Rustchuk at noon, and, after trailing over the shoulders of long, rolling plateaus, are up in the mountains in Sofia that evening. The change is almost as sharp as that between Ostend and Folkestone.

You leave French, or the half-Latin Rumanian language, for a Slavic speech, and the Cyrillic, or Russian, alphabet; names ending in "sco" or "ano" (Ionesco, Filipesco, Bratiano) for names ending in "off" (Radoslavoff, Malinoff, Ghenadieff, Antinoff, and the like), and all the show and vivacity, the cafes and cocottes of Bucarest, for a clean little mountain capital as determined and serious as some new town out West.

It seemed, though of course such impressions are mostly chance, that the difference began at the border. In Rumania, at the Hungarian border, they took away my passport, which in times like these is like taking away one's clothes, and, though I assured the customs inspector that I was on my way to Constantinople, and in a hurry, it required four days' wait in Bucarest, and innumerable visits to the police before the paper was returned. Every one, apparently, on the train had the same experience - the Austrian drummers looked wise and muttered "baksheesh," and in Bucarest an evil-eyed hotel porter kept pulling me into corners, saying that this taking of passports was a regular "commerce," and that for five francs he would have it back again.

There is a popular legend that the clerks in Bucarest hotels are supposed to offer incoming guests all the choices of a Mohammedan paradise, and the occasional misogynist, who prefers a room to himself, is received with sympathy, and the wish politely expressed that monsieur will soon be himself again. My own experience was less ornate, but prices were absurdly high, the waiter's check frequently needed revision, and one had a vague but more or less continual sense of swimming among sharks.

These symptoms were absent in Bulgaria. The border officials seemed sensible men who would "listen to reason"; the porters, coachmen, waiters, and the like, crude rather than cleverly depraved, and the air of Sofia clear and clean, in more senses than one.

Modern Bulgaria is only a couple of generations old, and though all this part of the world has been invaded and reinvaded and fought over since the beginning of things, the little kingdom (it seems more like a republic) has the air of a new country.

The aristocracy had been wiped out before Bulgaria got her autonomy in 1878, and, unlike Rumania, where the greater portion of the land is in the hand of large proprietors, Bulgaria is a country of small farmers, of shepherds, peasants, each with his little piece of land. The men who now direct its fortunes are the sons and grandsons of very simple people. Possibly it is because we Americans are also a new people, with still some of the prejudices of pioneers, that we are likely to feel something in common with the people of this "peasant state." They seemed to me, at any rate, the most "American" of the Balkan peoples.

There is, of course, one concrete reason for this: Robert College and the American School for Girls (Constantinople College) at Constantinople. It was men educated at Robert College who became the leaders of modern Bulgaria. The only Bulgarian I had known before - I met him on the steamer - had gone from a little village near Sofia to Harvard. His married sister had learned English at the American School for Girls; her husband, a Macedonian Bulgar, had worked his way through Yale. The amiable old general, who was always in the library at the Sofia Club at tea time, ready to tell how the Dardanelles and Constantinople could be taken, had learned English at Robert College and had a son there; the photographer who developed my films also had a son there - and so on.

Snow-capped mountains rise just behind Sofia, and the brown hills thereabout, like the rolling plateaus along the shoulders of which the train crawls on the way down from Rumania, are speckled with sheep. Sometimes even in Sofia you will meet a shepherd patiently urging his little flock up a modern concrete sidewalk and stopping now and then for some passer-by to pick up a lamb, "heft" it, poke it, and feel its wool before deciding whether or not he should take it home for dinner.

These shepherds wear roomy, short box-coats of sheepskin, with the leather outside and the wool turned in, like a motor-coat; homespun breeches embroidered, very likely in blue, and laced from the knee down, and a sort of moccasin or laced soft shoe. They are as common in the streets of Sofia as are the over-barbered young snipes in the streets of Bucarest. On market days the main down-town street is filled with them - long-limbed, slow-moving old fellows, with eyes and foreheads wrinkled from years of squinting in the bright plateau sun, faces bronzed and weathered like an old farmhouse, shuffling down the pavement and into and out of shops with the slow, soft-footed gait of so many elk. And if you were designing a stamp for Bulgaria you might well put one of these hard-headed old countrymen on it, just as in the other capital you would put the girl in the victoria pattering down the asphalt.

Two newspaper correspondents of the more or less continuous string that were filing from one Bulgarian leader to another to find out what Bulgaria was going to do, amiably permitted me to trail about with them, and thus to see and talk a little with some of those who are steering Bulgaria's exceedingly delicate course - men whose grandfathers very likely wore those sheepskin coats with the wool turned in.

None had the peculiar verve and dash of Take Ionesco, but one or two were decidedly "smooth" in a grave, slightly heavy way, and all suggested stubbornness, intense patriotism, and a keen eye for the main chance.

There is little "society" or formal entertaining in Sofia, little display and little, apparently, of that state of mind which, in Bucarest, is suggested by the handsome, two-horse public carriages at a time when there are not enough horses and carriages to go round. One-horse carriages are impracticable, because the Rumanian, or at least the Bucareiio, thinks one horse beneath his dignity, while a trolley- car - although there are trolley-cars - is, of course, not to be thought of.

People on the streets and in the parks were "nice"-looking rather than smart, and the young officers from the military school, who were everywhere, as fine and soldier-like young men as I had seen anywhere in Europe. They and the common soldiers, with their fine shoulders and chests and wiry torsos, looked as though they were made for their work, and took to it like ducks to water.

The palace is on the central square - an unpretentious building in the trees, with a driveway leading up from two gates, at which stand two motionless sentries, each with one stiff feather in his cap. It is such an entrance as you might expect to find at any comfortable country place at home, and one day, when some student volunteers went by on a practise march, and cheered as they passed, I saw the King, with the Queen and one or two others, stroll down the drive and bow just as if he, too, were some comfortable country gentleman.

There is a music-hall in Sofia, but on the two nights I went to it there were scarce twenty in the audience. There are various beer gardens with music, and, of course, moving pictures, but it was interesting, in contrast with Bucarest to find the crowd going to the National Theatre to see Tolstoi's "Living Corpse." The stock company, moderately subsidized by the government, gives drama and opera on alternate nights. I barely got a seat for the Tolstoi play, and the doorkeeper said that the house was always sold out.

The Bulgarians, in short, are simple, and what the Rumanians would call "serieux" - you must abandon all notion of finding here anything like the little comic-opera kingdoms invented by some of our novelists. It was in Bulgaria, as I recall it, that Mr. Shaw put "Arms and the Man," and the fun lay, as you will remember, in the contrast between the outworn, feudal notions of the natives and the intense matter-of-factness of the modern Swiss professional soldier.

You will recall the doubts of the heroine's male relatives as to whether Bluntschli was good enough for her, their ingenuous attempts to impress him, by describing the style in which she was accustomed to live, and his unimpressed response that his father had so and so many table-cloths, so many horses, so many hundreds of plates, etc. Who was he, then - king of his country? Oh, no, indeed - he ran a hotel. Mr. Shaw's fun is all right of itself, but has about as much application to Bulgaria or Sofia as to Wyoming or Denver.

By one of those frequently fascinating chances of geography, this little nation, which has a territory about as big as Ohio, is set squarely in front of the main gate to Constantinople, and saw, in consequence, the powers which ruthlessly bullied it yesterday now almost at its feet.

Rumania stands in Russia's path, on the one hand, and, with its railway, in Germany's on the other; but Bulgaria does both, and, in addition, blocks the whole western frontier of Turkey and the only feasible chance to land an army from the Aegean.

After their disastrous attempt to run the Dardanelles in March, the English and French had been somewhat in the position of an army trying to capture Jacksonville, Florida, for instance, and instead of marching over from Georgia, compelled to go away down to Key West, and fight their way up through the Everglades. They had in front of them hills behind hills and an intrenched enemy whom they could not see generally and who could always see them. Behind them was only a strip of beach, the sea, and the more or less uncertain support of their ships. So narrow was their foothold that even if they had had more men, they could scarce find place to use them.

Could they but land in Bulgaria, they might cut off the Turks from Europe at once, accumulate at their leisure a sufficient force, and push down methodically from a proper base to the Chatalja line, fighting like men instead of amphibious ducks. The thing looks easy, and the twisted hills and hidden batteries of Gal-lipoli Peninsula were so heart-breaking a maze to fling good men into that you can well imagine the Allies used what pressure they could. But if it was important to them that the gate be opened - let alone that Bulgaria come in herself - it was just as important to the Germans and Austrians that it be closed. And who was to say that if Bulgaria threw in her lot with the Allies and attacked the Turks the Central Powers might not even start a grand offensive down through Serbia - and people talked of this in Sofia months before it actually began - connect up their lines all the way to Constantinople - and good-by to their little peasant state and her hard-won independence!

A little state must think of these things. She hasn't the men nor the staggering supply of ammunition lightly to go into a world war like this. And then the Bulgarians had had their fingers burned once - they were not looking for adventures.

You will remember the Balkan War of 1912-3, and how the Bulgars fought their way down almost to Constantinople and were everybody's heroes for a time. Then came the quarrel between the Balkan allies, and presently Bulgaria was fighting for her life - Serbia on the west, Greece on the south, Turkey on the east - and then, when she was quite helpless, the Rumanians coming down from the north to perform the coup de grace.

It was not a particularly sporting performance on the part of the Rumanians, nor could the turning over to them of the Bulgarian part of the province of Dobrudja greatly increase Bulgaria's trust in the powers which permitted it in the treaty of Bucarest.

"It's our own fault," an Englishman said to me, speaking somewhat sardonically of the failure of the Rumanians to go in with Italy in spite of having accepted a timely loan from England. "We put our money on the wrong horse! No, they'll keep on talking - they're the chaps who want to get something for nothing. Think of the treaty of Bucarest and the way we patted Rumania on the back - she was the gendarme of Europe then. 'Gendarme of Europe!' ... I tell you that any army that would do what the Rumanians did to Bulgaria has something wrong with its guts!"

An army goes where it is ordered, of course, but it is true, nevertheless, that the Bulgarians are likely to think of their neighbors on the north as people who want to get something for nothing, and that they who had borne the brunt of the war with Turkey lost everything they had gained. The Turks, "driven from Europe," calmly moved back to Adrianople; Rumania took the whole of Dobrudja; Bulgarian Macedonia went to Serbia and Greece. However much Bulgaria may have been to blame for the break-up of the Balkan League - and she was stubborn and headstrong to say the least - there is no denying that the treaty of Bucarest did not give her a square deal. It was one of those treaties of peace (and you might think that the men who sit around the green table and make such treaties would learn it after a time) that are really treaties of war.

No, Bulgaria was not looking for adventures, nor accepting promises unless she had securities that they would be carried out. You could not talk to any intelligent Bulgarian five minutes without feeling the bitterness left by the treaty of Bucarest and the fixed idea that Bulgarian Macedonia must come under the flag again. But though this was true, and the army mobilized, and on a fine day every other man on the streets of Sofia an officer, the stubborn Bulgars were still sitting tight. If they got what they wanted without fighting for it, they were not anxious to throw away another generation of young men as they had thrown them away for nothing in the Balkan War.

By this negative policy - the pressure, that is to say, of not going to war - Bulgaria had induced Turkey, by the time I came through Sofia again three months later, to turn over enough territory on the east so that the Bulgars could own the railroad down to Dedeagatch and reach the Aegean without being obliged to go into Turkey and out again. It even seemed that Bulgaria might be able to keep her neutrality to the end. Her compromise with Turkey was not so odd as it seemed to many at first. She had fought the Turks, to be sure, but now got what she wanted, and when you come to think of it, it might well be more comfortable from the Bulgars' point of view to have the invalid Ottomans in Constantinople than the healthy and hungry Russians.

Both these small states, in their present hopes, fears, and, dangers, are an instructive spectacle to those who fancy that in the crowded arena of Europe a little nation can always do as it wants to, or that its neutrality is always the simple open-and-shut matter it looked to be, for instance, in the first weeks of August, 1914. We are likely, at home, to look on all this cold-blooded weighing of the chances of war with little patience, to think of all these "aspirations" as merely somebody else's land. Fear or envy of our neighbors, international hatred, is almost unknown with us. All that was left behind, three thousand miles away, and the green water in between permits us to indulge in the rare luxury of altruism. Yet these hatreds, these fears, and ambitions, inherited and carefully nourished, are just as real - particularly in little states like these - as the fact, odd and apparently unreasonable as it may be, that in a bit of country, which might be included in one of our larger States, one lot of people should speak French and think like Latins, and another speak Slavic and think another way, and that neither wants to be absorbed by the other any more than we want to be compelled to speak Spanish or be absorbed by the Mexicans.

The "aspirations" of both these little countries have realities behind them. It is a fact that one gets a whiff of French clarity and verve in Rumania, though it comes from a small minority educated in France, and the Rumanian people may be no more "Latin" than we are. And it is an interesting notion - though perhaps only a notion - that Rumania should be the outpost or rear-guard of Latinism in this part of the world; a bit of the restless West on the edge of the Orient.

For virility and earnestness like that of the Bulgars there is a place, not only in the Balkans, but everywhere. The qualities they have shown in their short life as an independent nation are those which deserve to be encouraged and preserved. And if it were true that this war were being fought to establish the right of little nations to live, one of the tasks it ought to accomplish, it seemed then, was to give the Bulgars back at least part of what was taken from them.