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Arthur Ruhl

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.

Gallipoli lies by the Sea of Marmora, and looks out across it to the green hills of Asia, just where the blue Marmora narrows into the Dardanelles.

The little side-wheeler - she had been built in Glasgow in 1892, and done duty as a Bosporus ferry-boat until the war began - was supposed to sail at four, but night shut down and she still lay at the wharf in Stamboul. We contrived to get some black bread, hard-boiled eggs, oranges, and helva from one of the little hole-in-the-wall shops near by, watched Pera and its ascending roofs turn to purple, and the purple to gray and black, until Constantinople was but a string of lights across Galata Bridge, and a lamp here and there on the hills.

Next morning, after news had been telephoned in that the submarines had got another battleship, the Majestic, we climbed again into the covered wagon and started for the south front. We drove down to the sea and along the beach road through Maidos - bombarded several weeks before, cross-country from the Aegean, and nothing now but bare, burnt walls - on to Kilid Bahr, jammed with camels and ox-carts and soldiers, and then on toward the end of the peninsula.

The press department of the Foreign Office in Vienna duly presented the application to the press bureau of the Ministry of War; the latter conveyed it to the "Kaiserliche und Konigliche Armee-Oberkommando Kriegs-Presse-Quartier," a day's railroad journey nearer the front; the commandant made his recommendation to the chief of the General Staff. The permission itself percolated back to Vienna presently, and early next morning I took the Teschen express.

At the head of each iron bed hung the nurse's chart and a few words of "history." These histories had been taken down as the wounded came in, after their muddy uniforms had been removed, they had been bathed, and could sink, at last, into the blessed peace and cleanness of the hospital bed. And through them, as through the large end of a telescope, one looked across the hot summer and the Hungarian fields, now dusty and yellow, to the winter fighting and freezing in the Carpathians.

We left Nagybiesce in the evening, climbed that night through the high Tatras, stopped in the morning at Kaschau long enough for coffee and a sight of the old cathedral, rolled on down through the country of robber barons' castles and Tokay wine, and came at length, in the evening, to Munkacs and the foot of the high Carpathians.

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