The Prison House
February 6, 1916.
DAY before yesterday I went to see Mrs. M——. She is weak and desolate. It is overcoming her at last. She wept before Revota. I remained with her only a very short time. She was so weak that sleep was overcoming her.
DEAR MOTHER, — These days I have been in the Ratiborice Valley with Babicka.2 I was tired and remained in bed. Every movement required an effort; and I took Babicka into my hands and lived there with her. I was moved by her loving righteousness, her righteous kindness, which flowed from a deep heart. A closed, concentric world — simple and beautiful. In the present-day rush, in the atmosphere of steam, electricity, intellectualism, and Ibsenism, this book acts like a healing potion. Here we have to think about the woman question. I know one Babicka like that, among women who have had schooling: her room is bright, she rises early, has an ear for everybody, but not a single superfluous word. She grew out of the soil as an herb out of the wayside, from among poor people, orderly and just, for whom work is a matter of course and rest is a holiday. She is simple and good — without plans. The others are not so well balanced — but then, in all classes, rare people are not numerous. Here we have a girl — a bank clerk. Her type is also that of Babicka. She is the first to rise in the morning. The lamp still burns; outside, the dawn is breaking; this little girl jumps up, washes, folds her blanket with a sprightly air, shakes her pillow — and then calls out: ‘Now rise, ladies, rise; the soup will be here in a moment.’ Not for a moment does she waste time; site finds work for herself and others; yet she is only a simple girl. Here we have evidence that everything will become settled again, and this fine natural type will become predominant with us. Also, I know a nurse of such firm character: she is strong, but merry at the same time.
Dear mother! If only I could be in Bystricka now! That would be immeasurable !
Morning, eight o’clock. The pots with the steaming coffee — the cream in a pitcher —we take breakfast in the open court. Opposite, on the other table, are the earthenware bowls of the farm-laborers who have gone into the fields after breakfast. And then — off to work. I remember how gladly I went into the garden for vegetables, around the circular flower-bed, past the currant bushes and white lilies; and back of that hedge of the currants and lilies is the vegetable garden. The walk with a border, on the right-hand side of the currant bushes, is overgrown with grass and plantain; it is covered with dew and green, and the vegetables also stand in dew. So: carrots, parsley, celery — the onions are entirely washed out by the rain. And one’s heart is so light.
Then I prepare everything in the vaulted kitchen, — one pot next to the other, — and near eleven we begin in earnest. Above the stove, flies are so numerous that it looks black — just as though this had to be. The boys go into the pantry for bacon; they joke together, investigate the preparations for dinner, and are off again. Is this all true? It was all so long ago. And then those rainstorms in the garden; the hen who laid her eggs away from the nest, and had to be followed into the hayloft to see where she would stop. It is on the other end, so that I must crawl under the roof—and there indeed I find a nest and in it ten white eggs. That is the ground on which I am at home; and then the whirl of the new world. Fundamentally I am to this day a conservative creature. This year I would have ended my seeking on a field dear to me — those babies in Holesovice.3 But what seekings and struggles they were — I do not know whether I shall ever be happy again. Mother dear, this night I was with you; my heart bleeds; how near to one another we could have been!
DEAREST MAMA, —
This afternoon we went for a walk in the cold, sunny weather. Just now, some older, merry soldiers went by, drilling. The women in the courtyard change with time. I am now the oldest inhabitant, almost. It is this way with the food arrangements. The prisoners who have no money of their own get very poor rations. At six o’clock, early soup; at ten, bread; at eleven, soup again, and beans or peas; and at six in the evening, soup again. A few buy something in addition, and some buy food from the card — that is, coffee, meat, fruit. In the evening, butter, cheese, eggs, sausages, and so forth. I spend about four or five crowns a day for food, often less. Now that my term seems to be a long one, I must somewhat reduce my expenditures.
Dear mother, I think about you so often, and of the beautiful life which, now that we are left alone, we could have had together. I am wishing much peace and strength for you. You have it in you. I should like to write more; but the life is so monotonous here that the inner life does n’t broaden out much either. I am too nervous to study, and so I busy myself as best I can, a little reading, a little sewing, etc., etc. I love you so dearly.
Evening. The light is on. The room large and bare. A doctor is going to Germany by way of Prague! My God, what a feeling it must be! Everything has an end.
Last Tuesday I had no paper so I have not written for a long time. I thought that my letters were too monotonous, and that it was too bad to rob the time of the censor. But now I know they are a comfort to you, I shall try to write more often, if I can.
Your last letter touched me. The gardens with the families in them which you can see from your windows — yes, indeed, mother, it is just the time: 1915 and 1916 — such stormy years! And yet one must take both sad and happy things. And the eternal justice will bring something stronger and mightier out of the blood. I can see how much human sympathy is called forth by human suffering; and people will have taken a step forward in the great change of events. War brings so many people out of themselves. I remember how the seriousness of the many faces surprised me when I returned from my vacation in 1914. Without showing a trace of emotion, the soldiers strode by, strong and manly.
And those who saw this seriousness felt too that it was beautiful to have a noble end to live for, and that it was easier to battle than to measure worth with poverty and misfortune in the peaceful daily fight of life. For it often seems to me, in social hygiene, for instance, that the rare, lone worker must stand at his post like a soldier sentinel, unseen and faithful, and finally from the masses of these soldiers will come a victorious army.
Happy, happy are those who stand at their post! I have sought out a modest post for myself, in the care of the nurslings — a little house and quiet work. Others are happier; I should only like to cry aloud into the world how happy is he who can work, and people would wonder who was making such disagreeable remarks. It is easy to understand. Yes, indeed, it is true.
I dream that I am at home and can see the loveliest country, green, with flowing water. Lately we walked together through a park; we came to a beautiful terrace, but I did n’t want to go any farther; there were steps. You see, when I go to my bunk I really am going home. During the day I am nervous, but at night I only tell stories; but not so often either. I say adieu to the cell and am in the open air. I can see the white statues of the vestals on the Forum and the blue heaven above, the crimson roses which grew up by the marble; and then again I am far away on Lake Geneva; the moon shines; our little sail-boat leaves the shore and reaches the middle of the lake; the wind dies down, there is n’t a breath; the sails gather no air, and we stand still in the quiet night. We sit quietly. So we stay for half an hour; then a breath, and we sail toward the shore. And again I see a poor, poor little house near the stockyard — on a dirty bed lies a child with tuberculosis of the back: I see the eyes, which burn into my soul, such a deep, old expression. The child was an old man, and I saw those eyes when I was amid the luxury of my friends and was unhappy in it.
Well, adieu. I am always,
MOTHER, to-morrow is the 15th of March,4 a day which one will not forget. Life is the most worth-while thing one has: noble, striving human life. I should like to concentrate my life in simple service, granting death nothing. I could say much about that, but it is hard. Do not think that I do not grant Herbert his peace. He was good and beautiful and died in great sorrow. How could one talk about it? How could I ever speak about it? The deepest things are without words, as self-understanding as an element. Problems are nothing! Only the real world matters.
Mother, I wish you good-night and kiss your hand.
DEAR, DEAR MOTHER ! —
I want to tell you what I have just experienced. I have had a nervous breakdown. Every night I have waked and not known where I am; and then I could not remember why I am here. I had a suffocating beating of the heart, and it has lasted over two months. Now I hope I can live, but I was very near complete breakdown. My mind was divided into two parts: the one was a dull emptiness, and in the other I felt a buzzing and could not follow conversation. I felt that I did not belong here; and the thought that I could not have you followed me and robbed me of the possibility of living. Therefore, forgive me if my letters have lacked necessary reserve and clearness of thought. There were whole days during which I did not live. Now I hope this sickness is past. Mother, I know it should not be, but I am not a calm person, if one takes everything into consideration. I have special strength, but only in one sphere of life.
To-day it is raining, but we have had wonderfully beautiful days. I wanted to tell you all this, for I have become very hopeful.
March 24, 1916.
MAMA! I have written a couple of sad letters. Please forgive me. You are sick, and so brave. However, one must take what life brings and as well as one can. We are having very beautiful bright days, and it is very good. You can hardly imagine how many different stories of people and traditions come together in one cell. Yesterday, the pretty little Jewess was released. She became as white as the wall, and could not understand that she was a free person. Her tradition and religion were a good example of the good Judaism: an intellectual, keen justice. She prayed every day.
There is also an East Friesland woman, who grew up in a beautiful open country, married an Austrian count, and lived for a long time in Southwest Africa. She is evangelical— a sister. She suffers so much under confinement that she is very nervous. Tradition is very important.
A good example of our best peasant background of the prosperous type is our little lark.
I would love to go to church on Good Friday. This day has always affected me powerfully since my childhood. I see the dark clouds torn asunder as Christ breathes out on the Cross his great, beautiful soul, which understands the whole of human suffering. How many artists have been inspired by this moment: by the beautiful tender figure of John and the mother’s broken heart! Yes, indeed, antiquity is firm and resilient as steel. Modern times, the victorious, fully understanding Christendom, respond to the human heart, to a free heart, through fear of God and love of mankind. Is that mawkish? I will not have it! But when I see Him living and suffering here, I am entirely freed from modern desire for pseudoliberalism, which never agreed with me. But I see here that the professional women of the German Empire also incline to a certain critical world-philosophy, which is a symptom of the time of tradition. It is quite as simple as every great truth — that which is not seen by the dazzled mob, and which blooms in simple loving hearts. My life as it may be given to me will be given to active prayer. The truth for which I strove through my work has become quite clear to me through suffering. There is now very much suffering in the world, and I have heard it many times, like a beautiful swan-song. The feeling of the spring lives in nature and deep love in humanity. I am thinking of a little church in the mountains: of candles in each hand, which one had to use to light the song-book; the little boys who made mischief, and one little boy who had gathered around him many, and sits surrounded by candlelight, his little nose sticking above his festive little necktie brightly lighted.
Mother, I love you and understand you completely, and remain
DEAR MOTHER, —
Thank you for Englis.5 I have already begun to read it. I am now quite industrious and very well. If I were only a little bit free, I would be truly satisfied. We are having wonderfully beautiful days. The auditor has told me that you wish to come. Do it only if it is not too hard, for the journey is very fatiguing.
When I received the Life of the Poor, I had a great desire to leave my cell and go to work. It was the one thing that interested me. Just think, I will soon have been in Vienna for half a year; and even though it is very monotonous here, time goes really very fast. Yesterday, the church counselor visited me again. It is very good of him. He is a good man.
It is a great joy to go out into the free corridor. Yesterday, I looked at the Ring Strasse for a few minutes. The people were going up and down happily, and did not know how to appreciate their free motion.
Do you see Anicka now and then? She is extraordinarily like Herbert, even in her expression. I am worried about her. I was always so happy when I could play with her. An old man once said quite emphatically that he cannot have any feelings, for he has never had children: he has not seen how they grow slowly, and change from day to day. It is an ordinary observation, it is true, but it is very fitting. Jane Addams and such people, who have a maternal feeling for children, have therein their strength: when a little fist, tiny as it is, is truly a whole world for a heart. The admiration and the joy which the outer world awakens: one becomes accustomed to the world when one is grown; the world seems to be no revelation so long as one is not busied in selfcreative work, and the world does not look the same through their eyes if one is not bound by love to little folks.
I hope that I shall now be calm and well, taking everything as it comes, having always hope. I do not feel like writing to-day. Farewell. A kiss from
DEAB MAMA, —
I am so sorry that you are so weak. I promise to do better and write more. I thought I would find my imprisonment quite plain and useful, but it is not as I thought. I suffer so in it! But what can one do? I hope it will have an end. If the end were only in sight! But here I am writing again things which I should avoid. I read this little essay, which pleased me. I am sending it to you.
Mother, can you send me a new picture — the one you think is good ? I often imagine how we could have lived together, when I see the clouds and the blue sky; then one would be quite free. To-day there were beautiful groups of clouds, and the wind came in from the city and freedom. I imagine how it is in front of the fire: everything as simple as possible. I always admired simplicity. It was the same way with all the forbears on grandmother’s side. I always felt very much at home there. Do you know how I felt when I was with Uncle Frank? The whole spirit of the Pilgrim fathers was there also. Never, never will I forget the picture. I can see the house which stood in the garden. The birches had their first green tinge and the flower-beds were the first promise of spring, which seemed to bring their tender leaves up out of the snow — crocus, snowdrops, hepatica. And the old man said, ‘Many years ago I had a niece Charlotte, who was very dear to me. Is it possible that this is her daughter?’ And I can see the April evening as we stood on the shore of the lake. Ah, mama, what a pure good world it is! Simple, true, beautiful, and, one may say, Christlike. People seem to fear that word less now.
So very often I think of Jane Addams. She is a great person. How happy I am that I have been allowed to know such people. How thankful I am. I can see before my eyes the hall in Hull House. The fire crackled in the fireplace. A group of people around the table — two working-girls, a contractor, a doctor, a ‘quadroon,’They were talking about a strike. Jane Addams, calm, selfless and still, quite crystallized in her desire, without a trace of softness or insecurity, and at the same time so womanly and good, with a sweet face, calm, prophetic eyes, the hands of a talented person, a white frill the only relief to her simple dress. Ah, yes, a human being is a miracle of God !
I can tell little news of myself. The light of the soul flickers and, if God wills, it will burn in quiet pursuit of the good in which I have believed all my life. Put it out? Why? Ah, there is a God in the world! Shall I write, or is it too stupid? I have no way to judge. I only want something to do.
DEAR MAMA, —
Just think, I have read Nemcova and reveled in Grandmother’s valley, which I saw last summer in the true smile of the sun. The life there is described as static, and in it there is a great peace. Circumstances fit like the parts of a picture-puzzle in children’s play. And so the good pious eye of the old woman can see this whole life, which she, with modesty and clearness, herself has wonderfully fitted for filling her place in the world. Her religion is remarkable, her wisdom sweet. And so a person can live, and also die, involuntarily. I thought of my grandmother, who grew up in the traditions of the Pilgrim Fathers. Great differences, and yet again alike in many ways. It was always a joy to run through St. Nicholas and to find the tender passages which had pleased the unknown grandmother. Her illiterate negro friends all had the atmosphere of love that belonged to her.
Well, now I am coming for a little talk, and it would be the best thing if I could sit down on the edge of the bed and take your hand. I won’t laugh so much, but it won’t be necessary. Shall I tell you a story — a story about this place? To picture my room companions, I would like to introduce one of the girls. She is competent in her manner. She has a musical temperament, which the other people do not like. She gets up right on time, folds up her covers, and with energetic steps begins the day. Although she has a very heavy punishment, she is always satisfied. Only, in the evening, she often stands by the window, pale of face, and watches a gleaming star, which is so far, so pure, and so friendly. In the evening she kneels by her little bed deep in prayer. A people that has such girls has something good in it — something healthy. She is pretty, too: rosy, with intelligent gray eyes. She is now learning French with a very pleasant teacher of painting, who, when she takes off her glasses, is a true peasant type, phlegmatic and honest. The little Pole tries to grasp the meaning of declensions, and has succeeded a little.
The woman from East Friesland often describes the North Sea and the people, for whom I feel a great sympathy. She is nervous. She has wonderful hair, — two huge plaits, — and it is certainly lovely to look at.
There, now, I should describe myself, should n’t I? There is not much to describe — health, industry, interest. But what can one do? How fine it is I have such good people here. The wardens are very decent. The food does well enough. Satisfying, enough, is n’t it? But I hope it will come to an end, for I cannot stay here very long. How happy I would be in my work! How free from every trifle that is usually so hard to do away with. Teaching, and then to consecrate myself to social work. Ah, what a life! But I will be an old woman. I am. The entire suffering of humanity overwhelms me. Wickedness is lack of divine light, the divine light which is the eternal source. I should be thankful.
[Miss Masaryk and Kotikova worked together as teacher and pupil. Every day, at a regular hour, Miss Masaryk gave Kotikova lessons in Greek and Roman history, and in Czech grammar and composition. She told her of the places that she had visited in her travels. Always after their friendly talks their spirits rose.]
I go to sleep at eight and wake up at two, and I hear the bakers as they go to work. The night is still; the light burns in the room; all are asleep; outside it is very quiet. I can see a star near the chimney in the distance; I can hear a train whistle in the quiet night, and then stillness again. I shall probably be awake a couple of hours. Memories come fast; conversations do not, but the faithful faces and the dear places come to me out of the dark night. They are more beautiful to me through memory, as a stone is more sharply delineated in bright, clear water, still more splendid in color. There is no cell here, but a winter morning, so beautiful that it seems like Sunday on a week-day.
Have you still cocoa? I bought a supply in advance, and if you do not need it, you might send a little to the children. Prices are going up terribly.
Yesterday Dr. Samal was here. That was mighty nice of him to take so much trouble. I was very glad to have the greetings of his sister and the Drtina family. I forgot to send greetings to them. Please do it for me. They are such good people.
I am very happy that you are taking care of yourself. Dear mama, there is so little of interest to’write about. Please forgive my letters. I wrote the fifth of March instead of the fifth of April, and it is truly April — almost Easter. I would love to send you some flowers, but it cannot be done. Many kisses from your old true ALICE.
DEAR MOTHER, —
Greetings! for I know you are thinking of me.
I think about the years gone by, of the parties in the beautiful garden of Waldstein Street, of the dining-room with its outlook into Thungasse, always with satisfaction. To-day I have the beautiful gift of sunshine and a soft wind, which fully anticipates May. I am keeping holiday only to spend the hours of the forenoon thinking — nothing more. I have also a beautiful book.
Oh, if one could only see what next year will bring!
Soldiers are marching by; the bugles blow merrily.
Once more, heartiest greetings.
I am working! do you know what that means for me? Years ago I was standing before sunrise by the sea, with all its rising waves in front of me, and gleams of bright rosy color far on the horizon — all making a feeling of unforgettable freedom. Can you believe that yesterday I experienced the same feeling, in the third story of the state prison? The sea of social facts in all their regularity opened before my inspired eyes, in complete order and therefore in great, beauty. The feeling that I never express except in the w’ords, ‘the courage for bold endeavor’ (der Mut zum hiihnen Fleiss), was clear to me. Dear God, grant me the possibility of taking this path! I have great long years in preparation. Social pathology is like an element, as water to the fish, the free air to a bird, to human beings the kingdom of helpful love on earth. It is a world in itself. Every science has its specific material.
If I only had a piano, I could bear anything; for one imprisoned has feelings which the free person does not know; and if one wishes to make these feelings harmless, one should allow them to be harmoniously expressed. But after all, it is just as well that they can’t be expressed on the piano, for otherwise the state prison would become a beautiful orchestra in the centre of Vienna. But we shall some time hear Fidelio together, shan’t we?
Mama, what are the goldfish doing that I had at the police court? They are wonderful in movement. I used to look at them hours at a time, with the black spots on their little heads, golden, transparent among the green water ornaments. I felt how unending the world is in a tiny drop of water, as well as in cosmos. What is Anicka doing with you? Are the new plants growing yet?
It does n’t matter if you have no school. When I am free I shall work for you; we shall live so simply and independently. How gladly I would start to-day and work for you. God grant it will be soon, my child!
I have n’t seen my lame dove in a long time. My pupils are getting along finely; the countess is on her own feet to-day — otherwise no news. Farewell, take care of yourself, and don’t forget me. Others wear themselves out in order to enjoy the fruits of their labor. My lot is to wear myself out for work. And I intended and wanted to do good. ‘But somewhat much of this,’ said Hamlet.
Your Alice kisses you — I am really very near you, poor little mother.
P.S. Have you sent the Czech novels that Dr. Samal promised?
Heartiest greetings, dear mama; I have been in such a fury of work today, that I have n’t had time to write to you.
I dreamed last night that I was stroking your white hair. I hope that my work makes me strong and free, for you know how I love it. I send many kisses to you and beg that you stay well and happy in trouble.
I am as always,
Dreams, mama, are the most real and the most beautiful things about this prison life. To-day I was in wonderfully beautiful woods — deep and dark they were — and in the valley flowed a clear brook. The earth was not yet inhabited; it was in olden times. On a small plain stood a chapel, the Palatinate, Roman but modern. It was so remarkable to see the mediæval as well as the most modern, the newest architecture. High above were several chapels and castles — it was so beautiful that it was refreshing.
For two weeks I have had no mail. I am anxious to know if you are well. I am the same as ever, except that the world seems a little different, and I too feel like a different speck of humanity here in state prison. To-day Mrs. Kassowitz-Schall was here; she is good and faithful.
It gives me a wonderful feeling to see people fresh from the street, in summer blouses and straw hats. My sealskin is out of time.
Often, however, I am very sad. I think over my life and my hopes, and often I feel actually near you. I should like to be near you, helping you as a good friend close at hand. But one should not be sentimental — that’s certain.
I kiss your dear hand.
DEAR MOTHER, —
Your letters are so sad. I was very, very disturbed; but I hope that now I shall have better news from you. Take care of yourself.
To-day Dr. Samal was here, the Consistory (Herr Oberkirchenrath), and also Belli, with his wife. It was so good of Dr. Frank to allow me to have so many visitors. If you did n’t have your freedom, you would know what it means to see free people. Freedom clings to them. Just as when someone fresh from frost and snow comes into a warm, gloomy room, the fresh air breathes from them — so are free people. They are like nature’s flowers from the fields and woods — the most secluded receive refreshment. But enough of the cure; let’s hope all will be well. If it ends well I shall some time be thankful for this hard test. Yes, it is hard. If it only could be over soon!
If I could only take care of you. I should like most of all to find a place in the country, either as a nurse or in an orphan asylum, or something of the sort; then you could be with me. Or else in a lyceum — there is much to do there, too; but now I have the feeling that I should like to be somewhere near to nature, under God’s sun, where I could be near to Him.
MAMA, — If ever you happen to talk to anyone who works in the maternity home, I wish you would ask them how many children have been born there, and if they give the Skysolamin-Morphium twilight sleep. I’d love to see the little things (infants) — what kind of a picture awaits them, the little warriors! The best thing about the work is that it is not at all public, but when arranged properly, it is entirely private. I think that many women will find happiness in this field of work; some have, already. In Germany there are cities where a third of all births take place in such hospitals. When I think of the homes, let alone the beds, in which our children first see the light of day! And it seems to me a good thing, if even educated women carry the home in their hearts. It is a fire that warms wonderfully.
It may be that the motto of the first Emancipation is equality with men! but in that sense, that is the question; good and bad — through differentiated acts — soul and body — will blossom now as always.
Mama, it is hard to chat; my heart longs for you but I can’t express it; it sounds like flattery always to say the same thing. It longs for you and for my work. My life was so simple and happy! When I look back on it, it is hard to realize what can happen to one. Oh, well!
I am so glad that my good child is here —
Always cheerful and so forth;
Always natural and clever too.
Well I think it’s enough.7
Sometimes, however, she is very pale when she looks at the stars. My dear Fatherland! the villages, with the pond in the middle of the square, the geese around it; the cows come home in the evening, the evening bell rings. She has grown up in this environment. It is much better to belong to one nation, to have one tradition. I feel like that here too, but what can one do? If I could choose again, you would be my mother just the same. You are calm, good. I am like the storm-tossed waves. Upon these waves the sun is reflecting so beautifully, as if its brow was resting upon my breast, or some such feeling.
Movement alone has always been worth a great deal to me. An albatross at sea has for breadth of wing about three metres — with wings folded, he can hardly walk. I am like that. Mother of mine, love your poor sea-bird! I always wished to go around the hard places. I felt a sharp constriction in the manifold layers of appearance.
Kisses from your ALICE.
[The story can be completed by the following extracts from newspapers.]
(Chicago Herald, April 19, 1916)
AUSTRIA HOLDS CHICAGO WOMAN
University of Chicago Settlement Hears Member is to be Executed
C. R. CRANE SEEKS AID
A telegram from C. R. Crane who is in New York received at the Settlement House Saturday stated: ‘Miss Masaryk is in serious trouble. Send photograph and sketch of her career made by American friends of no foreign connection.’
(Chicago Herald, April 25, 1916)
40,000 IN APPEAL FOR U. S. TO SAVE WOMAN IN PRISON
We, the American friends of Alice Masaryk of Prague, whose mother is an American woman, have learned with deep concern of her imprisonment in Austria on a charge of high treason. Knowing as we do her nobility of character, her fine sense of honor, her humanitarian interest, her distinguished scholarship, we urgently request the ,State Department to use all possible influence with the Austrian government to insure against any summary action being taken in her case.
(New York Times, April 30, 1916)
SEEKS AID FOR CAPTIVE GIRL
Representative Sabath Visits State Department
Mr. Sabath learned from the State Department that, as Miss Masaryk is a foreigner, the State Department cannot directly interfere with the matter. Although her mother is an American woman, the daughter partakes of the citzenship of Professor Masaryk, her father. Sec. Lansing, however, indicated to-day that the State Department would probably make an informal inquiry through Ambassador Penfield at Vienna for the purposes of ascertaining the facts. It is believed that the inquiry by this informal method would demonstrate the interest of the U. S. in the case.
(London Times, June 9, 1916)
THE CASE OF MISS MASARYK
To THE EDITOR or THE TIMES, —
SIR : I see that Professor Münsterberg of Harvard has tried to whitewash the Austrian government by asserting that my daughter is kept in prison pending a preliminary trial. As a matter of fact, my daughter was imprisoned on November 5, and has now been several months in prison without a preliminary trial. This clearly shows that the government at Vienna has no legal title to proceed against her. My daughter is kept in prison in order to persuade the Austrian public that she was in close political touch with me. But that is not true. I have always taken the greatest care not to involve my family in my work, and the government has absolutely no legal title to imprison women as hostages. The question is not whether and why I left Austria, but whether the government had a right to imprison my daughter; and if she has been imprisoned, why the investigation is delayed to such an extent. The answer is very simple. My daughter has been imprisoned as other Bohemian men and women have been imprisoned — to terrorize our people. Quite recently our greatest living poet, Machar, has been thrown into jail on the pretext that he had published an anti-Austrian poem in America. But this poem is merely a reprint, issued without his knowledge, from a collection of his poems published in Bohemia many years before the war, with the permission of the Austrian censor.
PROFESSOR THOMAS GARRIGUE MASARYK.
LONDON, June 8.
(New York Times, August 20, 1916)
MISS MASARYK FREED AT LAST
Miss Alice Masaryk, who has been a prisoner in Vienna on a charge of high treason many months, in which it was reported several times that she had met the fate of Edith Cavell, the English nurse, who was executed by the Germans, was liberated on July 3rd according to an announcement made late last night by Alexander Van Nuber, the Austrian consul general here (N. Y.). On July 31st it was reported from Washington that she was in danger of being executed and Ambassador Penfield notified the State Department that she was being detained in Vienna on a charge of having tried to aid her father in his escape from Austria.
Immer munter und so weiter;
Stets natürlich aber klug.
Nun ich dachte — ’s war genug.
- Earlier letters by Miss Masaryk were printed in the November issue.↩
- Babicka (Grandmother), by Nemcova, is the great Czech epic.↩
- Holesovice is a poor, industrial section of Prague.↩
- First anniversary of lier brother Herbert’s death.↩
- Professor Englis was appointed Minister of Finance, May 25, 1920. He is the foremost political economist of Czecho-Slovakia. The reference is to Financial and Peace Problems of the Czechoslovak State.↩
- Her thirty-seventh birthday.↩