“I was in Germany two entire months and liked the people.” So wrote Landor in the year following Waterloo: and extending the period by a month, I can say the same. But let me hasten to add that I was never in my life in a country where I did not like the people. This is not Internationalism; it is simply love of mankind.
Returning travelers have not greatly enlightened us upon the state of affairs in Germany. The ordinary tourist is singularly gifted with lack of observation, and financiers sum up what they see and hear in some broad generalization.
But we are hungry for particulars. How does a sick nation look? Are the Germans rude to Americans? What do you see in the streets? In the churches and theatres? Are they fat? How's the beer? Do they still love the Kaiser?
I can best answer these natural questions by quotations from a journal, written on the spot, in German, the major portion of which consists in transcription of conversations held in that tongue.
Fresh from the ruins of Montdidier, Noyon, and the bleakness and horror of Verdun, I found myself in Karlsruhe. Immediately my journal became a hodgepodge of nothings: the flood of novel impressions was overwhelming; there was too much to record. The traveler should, we know, be an artist; he should divert himself only with the significant. But was it significant that the elevator boy in the hotel wire a ring with a coat of arms engraved on it? That the beer was thin? The police polite? And that there was no nightlife? What did it signify that people one saw in the street were extraordinarily grave and extraordinarily quiet? The continental peoples are grave, compared with our jocose fellow citizens, and especially in their hours of business. What I seemed to perceive, however, was not so much seriousness of demeanor, as a lethargy and listlessness; complexions inclined to be yellow; men moved slowly, spoke in low tones. The pride of life was not in evidence. What did it mean?
If Karlsruhe resisted definition, Munich was ten times worse. At first sight, the exterior of the town was not strikingly altered: the Ludwigstrasse was as bare, broad, and empty as ever, Theatinerstrasse as crowded; and, crowd looked well-dressed and well-nourished. The town was full of spending money. Were they Germans or foreigners? In the theatres it was impossible to get a seat, except for a performance three days later. The expensive hotels, the Vierjahreszeiten and Regina Palast, were jammed. The shop windows displayed furs, lace, jewelry, and the restaurants were conveniently popular. London was drab and dismal in comparison. In Paris, nearly every woman wore black. Were these Bavarians then as well-off, as unconcerned as they seemed to be?
Walking in the Hofgarten, I met Baron X whom I had known in 1912. He had lost an arm, and a son, in the war—the latter killed by a shell from our American troops. After the agreeably formal salutation which all continental peoples accord you, he replied to a question of mine in regard to the condition of things, that it was very bad, and though I might not see it at first, I would later. 'And, by the way, your American troops, though they exposed themselves too recklessly, were better soldiers than we had any idea they would be.'
In the Theatinerstrasse I met one whom I shall call Smith, to avoid giving him notoriety. He was a young fellow, with a sterling record in the war, of a kindly disposition; and now on his way to Oberammergau. 'Well,' he said, 'can you beat it?
'Why the Germans! This burg is a riot. It's just one big spend. Where do they acquire the shekels? They say they can't pay the reparations: why, they're rotten with riches!'
Was he right? My other American acquaintances made much the same comment. But then, they spoke no German.
The fact was—and you had only to open your eyes and ears to discover it—that the town was filled with foreigners: Italians, Swedes, Slavs, Czechoslovaks, and, above all, a legion of Americans. Our fellow countrymen are easy to distinguish: they and the English only among the races of the earth wear their hands in their pockets; and only our fellow countrymen, only they, bump you as they pass on the sidewalk. Having to report to the 'police,' I questioned the Chief of Police, and he told me that on a day in July there were seven thousand foreigners in Munich, a town of five hundred thousand.
These were the well-dressed, easy-looking people one encountered, these and the German war-profiteers, who had taken possession of the two famous hotels.
Of this latter class it is difficult to speak without some acerbity. They were loud, coarse, pushing, insolent, and overbearing. To the white-faced, haggard-looking servants of the hotel their manner—but no, it cannot be described. Had the Revolution taught them nothing? On the very corner where a certain countess had been raped, robbed, and slain, I saw a vulgar-looking woman, sitting in her high-powered car. She was covered with diamonds, and, red with either passion or paint, she was scolding her chauffeur, who stood at attention, coldly indifferent, looking rather like a demi-god; and there she sat, flaunting her riches, and losing her temper—there, at the very corner! —So soon so bold!
But one's own riches likewise arrested one's attention. On entering Germany, one became suddenly wealthy. In Paris a dollar was worth two; but once across the Rhine, the rate of exchange staggered belief. Breakfast cost eleven cents, luncheon twenty-three, and for half a dollar you had an excellent dinner of several courses, with a bottle of light wine. In the strictly German and reactionary hotel to which I presently betook myself, I had a large, clean, comfortable room, which cost me twenty cents per day. When it came to buying, your best hat cost a quarter, and a heavy woolen overcoat three dollars. If you tried hard, you could spend two dollars during the twelve hours of a day; but to get rid of a third dollar cost effort. Things were, at last, as they should be; you had more money than you knew what to do with, and you were merry with reason. But you were only a millionaire of the moment, for presently prices rose. In September they shot up prodigiously, and at the same time the shop-windows began to look empty of goods. Production had ceased. In the three months of my stay, flour rose four hundred percent, and leather six hundred.
What with this rise of prices, and the blunting of a novel pleasure which follows upon its repetition, one presently acquired a degree of callousness to this new wealth and I observed in myself even a certain sort of meanness setting in. I began to be able to look about me more narrowly, and to ask myself what was the true state of affairs among the actual German population.
In one of the delightful narrow streets which give on the Frauenkirche, I saw a child of seven or eight years, dressed in blue, with russet leather shoes, who seemed to waver in her walk. Presently, she stopped and sank slowly down on the sidewalk. There was no sound, but a decent-looking woman Picked the girl up and gave her to a policeman, who carried her in his arms to a drug store. When I asked the woman what ailed the child, she said, with no special feeling: 'It's not had anything to eat.' Odd, that a well-shod and well-dressed little girl should want food!
Later, as I sat in the great Hofbrauhaus, drinking a glass of fairly thin beer, a student of the University and his mother took their places at the same table. They were people of refinement, and bore the look of quietness I had noted in Karlsruhe. The lad took from his pocket a package and unfolded it, and the two shared the contents—rye-bread and a sliver of cheese; hardly enough for one person. As the lad looked a trifle pale, I asked him when he had last eaten, and he replied at six that morning. 'We don't have much to eat,' was his after comment.
A week later, I shared as an onlooker in a singular ovation given a university professor. His friends had gathered to celebrate his departure from the University. As we stood the sidewalk there came out a young man dressed in workmans clothes, carrying his tools and a nondescript bundle; and my acquaintances at one began tolaugh and to congratulate him; for this was the professor. The salary attaching to his profession post not being sufficient for the support of his family, he was joining the industrial class.
On the same day, a certain Lutheran minister, in a small town near Munich, locked the church-door, bade his assembled flock farewell, and walked off into the country to become a farm-laborer.
Now, it is true, all bodily labor is a satisfaction, and to some of us, habituated to its use, a delight: but these two men were leaving the works of the intellect behind them for good and all. They could have no hope of returning to their previous occupations.
These, and a multitude of less usual events, indicated the true state of things: the middle class, the so-called brain-workers, were being starved out and down into the Industrials-—not for a day or a year, but permanently.
The clerk, the lawyer, the man of science, the woman with a small income, were betaking themselves to the factory, the forge, or the field. Among these was a poet whose verses I had long known and a biologist known the world over. At this rate, what was to become of the nation?
The pallor, slowness, quietude, and almost apathy I had observed in Karlsruhe I now saw on the side streets of Munich. Every third or fourth child had boils or blotches on its face; all the children born since the outbreak of the war were either spindle-shanked, or seemed to suffer from rickets. This can only mean that one class of the townspeople was severely underfed. You could buy diamonds, expensive dinners and other luxuries at a price too high for any but the profiteer or tourist. The motor-cars of exiled kings were for sale and in use, the Royal Arms still visible on them; but plain, necessary rye-bread was, for most Germans, terribly expensive, and you could not come by a glass of milk save through a doctor's prescription; milk was reserved by law for children in the hospitals.
In this class of brain-workers must be added the families of former army officers. The wives and children of these are as insufficiently clad and as undernourished as those of the professional class. After eating at their tables, you stole off to a restaurant and ordered a second meal.
What about the other classes? I took pains to see something of the industrial workers, especially in the smaller towns on whose ancient pavement no tourists cast a shadow. The men I met were discontented, even savagely so; but they had work, and were fairly well fed, for I saw them eating, When, later in the fall, factories began to close down, the situation altered for the worse.
But the peasant class contrasted still strikingly with the mental workers; for food prices were rising; and they had, many of them, saved money, actual gold, during the earlier years of the war. To-day, I was informed, they had it, not in banks, but in stockings or coffers, hidden in the hay-mow. I spent some time with certain of these small peasant proprietors, working with them by day, and at night, eating and drinking with their families. The supply of eatables and drinkables in their several homes was lavish. In the towns, among those fairly well off, one egg a day was considered an extravagance; cream was never seen; in fact, throughout all Europe, it was the hardest thing to come by at any price. And in Bavaria wine was not drunk, and cheese was eaten sparingly. But at the tables of the farmers a bottle of wine was a matter of course, and on one occasion champagne was drunk. They ate cheese in quantities. I saw a man eat six or eight eggs at one meal and drink all the cream he wanted.
Congenial as I found them, there were signs of demoralization; they showed the effect of this chance-come prosperity by their rude and heartless attitude to the poorer classes in the towns. When these latter came out to the country to market, the peasant refused, as often as not, to sell his goods, and the manner of his refusal was neither pretty nor polite. Why should he sell to these poor devils, when the great hotels, catering to the profiteer and tourist, would give him three times as much? One wishes it were not so; but this peasant piggishness must be put down with the rest.
As experience grew more and more complex, I wondered not a little what the general state of things really was. In Munich, on an evening in September, overhearing three workingmen speak of a Communist meeting to take place an hour later, I put on my roughest clothes, found the door, and began to shoulder my way in with the crowd. My card being demanded, I said I had none, but was an American; and, insisting upon this in the English tongue, I pushed my way in with the rest.
It was a roughish crowd, of perhaps fifteen hundred men, in a poorly lit hall, with many standing and much interruption. The speakers spoke to the point, especially the orator in chief. The Republic as constituted was a shadow, bourgeois, makeshift; inefficient, idle, corrupt. The dictatorship of the Proletariat should take its place.
There was but one question debated while I was in the hall. When should they abolish the Republic? Between speeches, men spoke together in knots, and questions were put to me in regard to American democracy. Having heard all I wanted of the Red Sunrise rushing up the political horizon, and neglecting common prudence, I answered plainly, and perhaps shortly, that American democracy was much more than a thousand years old; that it was an ancient, historic phenomenon, based on the temper of a single race, inimitable by other races, and no more to be understood of a class-conscious German proletariat than the Laws of Manu, to which indeed it bore no small resemblance,
I was promptly hustled out of the hall. If I recall the phrase correctly, an Irish orator on a like occasion stated that he was 'ejected with contumely and contusions.'
The following day I was permitted to attend a meeting of professional, military, and other highly educated men, where opinion on the whole was conservative. But here again there was only one subject under debate: 'Shall we wait for the inevitable revolution, or shall we anticipate it? In case the Reds rise, what action shall be taken?'
The general sense of the meeting was that law and order should at any cost be upheld; the Republic sustained; and the revolution dealt with to the best of their ability, when it came about. But no one had a good word for the administration, or the Republic as constituted. On the other hand, there was fiery denunciation of the murderers of Rathenau.
There were eminent men present, and what most impressed me was this certainty that revolution was to come and must be prepared for. Much was said of the difficulty of putting down possible riots with the means left at their disposal by the Interallied Commission of Control. I was not surprised, for in looking over the barracks of the Landwehr, or country police, I could not fail to observe that the machine-guns, three in number, lacked carriages; that there were no bayonets for the rifles; and that the permitted number of rounds of ammunition was incredibly small. I am told that they hide their weapons of war. I imagine we should do so in like case. But as I write these lines, I see that the English general responsible for the finding out and destruction of concealed weapons of war makes light of any serious concealment.
At the noon hour of a cold September day, I ate my lunch with some ten or more factory hands, on the outskirts of a small town. We sat about on boilers, barrels, and kegs, and discussed the Kaiser, America, Hindenburg, the Revolution. With one exception, they were a genial lot, extremely curious as to America; the best of companions, as indeed their countrymen not infrequently are. The exception, a handsome, burly, sour-looking youngster, silent at first, presently spoke up.
'I don't know who or what you are, but if you're an American, you must be a revolutionist!'
I smiled and told him to go on.
'Well, this Republic we have is nothing; it's no Republic; it's a bourgeois; we're going to kick the guts out of it; and soon too; we [the proletarian industrials] are going to be the governing class, and nobody else is going have a look in—not your educated kind, nor any other kind. Your educated people have made a nice mess of it. We're done with you, damn you! We workers'—here he showed his hands—'make the world, and we're going to rule the world.'
As he spoke, I recalled a gray morning of 1913, when I had met a gang of robust-looking workers in the meadows and beechwoods around the monestary of Andechs. Innocent of evil intention, I addressed them in the customary Bavarian phrase; 'Grüss Gott' (God keep you).
Their reply was instant and energetic: 'To Hell with God!'
In the Prinz Regenten Theater that evening, I sat next to a young and delightfully dandified officer in civilian clothes. Between acts I conversed with the young man, and he presently said this:—
'You find fault with my country because we don't bow our heads in dust and ashes, because we are not repentant. I never heard that your Southern States repented. Didn't they simply accept the fall of the dice? Or did you Northerners compel them to weep in public, and acknowledge their transgressions?'
Before we parted, he said simply and seriously: 'I admire your countrymen, especially for their energetic conservatism. But in foreign affairs you seem to be wanting in good sense. Look at what is now happening. Your government and the English are driving us into the arms of Russia. I loathe Trotzky, but I had rather be a soldier in the Bolshevist army than an economic slave to the French.'
As October drew on, the evidences of suffering were more readily discernible. Women no longer young told me they dreaded the cold of winter more than the gnawing of unsatisfied appetite. Said one lady: 'I lie awake for hours and shiver and cry.'
'I fear we are a people about to be destroyed,' a Lutheran minister was saying in the course of his sermon. 'I fear we shall go the way Austria has gone. It is sure that we have sinned as a people; let us bow our heads and submit to the suffering God administers; worship God.'
Calling on my physician, a man eminent in science as well as medicine, and handing him his fee of two dollars, I was pained and embarrassed by the expression of his gratitude, for, on thanking me, he burst into tears. 'If you had not by chance come in,' he said, 'and consulted me, I should not have known where my children's dinner to-morrow would have come from.' And in the course of conversation he told me that he had just been at the death-bed of a patient, a lady of refinement and culture. She had not sent for him, though she had been down with pneumonia for ten days; but when she had lapsed into unconsciousness, her sister had called him in. It was too late. People of her class, he added, can no longer afford a physician; they die without one.
But the actual state of well or ill-being, the degree of wealth or poverty in the German Republic, is not to be guessed at by a tourist. I saw only what I saw, and that in South Germany.
They exhibited as much warmth toward the English as you could reasonably expect, since men are not inclined to feel over warmly to a nation which has defeated them in war. Their attitude to America was one of hope for the future; they were extraordinarily solicitous of being understood by us. For the French, as foes in the open field, I heard nothing but plain and high commendation. But the French policy since the war arouses their deepest indignation. The treaty of Versailles, the determination—so they put it—of the French government to destroy the German nation, fills them with a passionate hatred of France.
Turning to our own history, we know that the period and process of Reconstruction embittered the South more than the four years of war which preceded it. Must injustice and tyranny follow on every defeat? Is this what is happening in Germany? I am at one with Dean Inge, in the belief that all the nations of Europe must bear, each in its degree, the guilt of the Great Disaster.
The Germans deny that they were the authors of the war; but for them, as once for our Southern brothers, the war is over; they accept their defeat, and they desire, as our Southern brothers once desired, a return to the works and ways of peace; some sort of common understanding; some sort of economic cooperation between nations; they look to time and trade as the great healers; they want peace, but they also want justice; to their minds, the Peace of Versailles is a peace contrived for the ruin of the Teutonic peoples. They may be wrong, but a good deal of the higher English opinion appears to agree with them.
I heard more pacifism talked in Germany than anywhere else in my life. The former Kaiser was spoken of with indignation, his flight with contempt. I met almost no one in any class who wished to restore the Hohenzollerns. Amongst military men the general desire was for a constitutional monarchy, and they looked to England for a model.
Von Kaiserling, the greatest of their present-day thinkers, a man of increasing influence, suggests in his latest book an elected king, with the executive powers of an American president. I have recorded the dissatisfaction with the Republic as constituted, and this is natural enough. For the administration is weak, and the official chiefs do not embody and represent German character to the Germans themselves. Many Frenchmen regard their Republic in the same way. It irritates them their political leaders should be men so wanting in the more brilliant and engaging French qualities. But the French Republic survives; the German one may possibly continue to function.
But the question of economic condition, the relative wealth or poverty of Germany, will not down. Are the Germans in bad case, or are they seeking to delude the world. The question goes to the root of the matter, but it is one for men of finance to answer. American tourists return in shoals to their native country and report the Germans to be busy, fat, rubicund, and rude; the exterior of things to be unchanged, and all classes equally prosperous. I did not find it so.
There was everywhere the sign of carelessness, dirt, and decay. Civilians of both sexes wore old and rusty garments; or, because of its cheapness, had adopted the Bavarian costume, with its bright contrast of colors. Apart from profiteers, people on the street looked either anxious, or sour and embittered, or listless or abstracted, or in a dull despair. There were respectable persons of refinement, who begged of one. One learned from prelates, physicians, and officials certain facts:
Suicide was on the increase, and abortion, hitherto the most infrequent of crimes, had appeared. Children's hospitals were overcrowded. The children in the towns had very largely ceased to play games, or to play at all. The faces, as the human current swept by you, were gray and bloodless, and none more so than those of the University students.
In September, the children and the aged showed signs of feeling the early cold of north Europe. There was, too, more sourness, more cheating, more surly and ugly rudeness from German to German than, with my previous experience in view, I could have dreamed possible. If you moved among the poor of either sex, you were met at once with the assertion of 'equality'; and throughout the continent, equality asserted threateningly, and with insult.
The general impression received from three months in South Germany was of a people on short ration, mentally distressed, and living from hand to mouth; a people terribly shattered, terribly demoralized. They were industrious without hope; their moral nature was weakened, their courage undermined, or worn to the point of irritation. Had I hated the Germans when I entered their country, I should have left it with my thirst for vengeance satiated.
I saw nothing of North Germany, where the race is possibly more powerful, more willful, and at the same time more highly industrialized. Let me, therefore, leave any summary of conditions to others, and report upon the one sinister phenomenon that impressed me most—the fall of the middle class.
There was painful evidence of the decay of that class on all sides. Lawyers were leaving the law, ministers the church. In September, I accompanied an eminent man of science to the door of a pawn-shop, where he was to sell most costly and delicate instruments, expecting to receive for them about one twentieth of what they had cost him. He wanted food for his children; he sold his tools; thus ceasing to function in his chosen profession.
Multiply his case by the thousand, and you have a picture of things as they now are.
The professional class, which creates and sustains civilization, is being rapidly abolished. It needs no Trotzky or Radek to destroy it; the tyranny of circumstance suffices. Owing to the fall of the mark, the rise of prices, and the general dislocation of things, the salaries of these men are not sufficient for their support; and if, in addition to their salary, they were recipients of an income, this is now no longer forthcoming. The scholarship, science, medicine, and art of Central Europe are actually disappearing.
The discoverers of the spectroscope, of the antitoxin for diphtheria; the creators of the Ninth Symphony and the inventors of the higher criticism; a race that produced Kant and Goethe in modern times, and to which the whole of Northern Europe is indebted for the Protestant Reformation; the people that produced Luther, must necessarily perish as a creative force. That is, their civilization will cease to exist. But, civilization once rooted out and gone, cannot be wished back into being. There is a dream among men that this is not so. We think of Civilization as of the Earth or Air:—it cannot conceivably suffer diminution, or be absent, but it must be recalled that modern science and its child, modern civilization, or progress, are not like the Roman state and culture, robust and enduring things, iron and granite, which only time and erosion can destroy: they are as frail as any weed, and yet more frail. For they depend on money; on a class of highly bred human animals with well-trained minds; on a degree of leisure in that class; and on a selfless enthusiasm. Let the educated men and women of a community become hewers of wood and drawers of water—all is over; the thing ends; you have a dark age.
The more prosperous nations must then carry the people which is thus depleted of its mind, as the living tissue carries dead matter. That, in as far as it affects us, the loss is potential and in the future, does not make it any less a loss.
If the forces now active in Germany continue to play on the social system, her hundred millions of people will cease to function in that state of things we call progress; and it needs no prophet to foresee that we and the whole world must suffer a secret, but actual and progressive impoverishment. The general body of mankind will want what it would have possessed. The mind of man will be so much the less productive of values, and hence there will be that much less of good to share among the peoples of the earth.
A due regard for our own welfare and that of our children should awaken our interest and move us to action. For my own part, I hold no brief for Germany. But neither do I for France. No, not even for England. These romantic enthusiasms for this or that country are out of place in America. A man may prefer Italy to France, or France to Italy, but such private and personal predilections are not ground for any general policy or action. The only solid ground for such action, the motive which would inspire alike interest and action, should be, not the good of Germany, but the welfare of all Europe; and no enthusiasm less large, less generous, and less prudent than this should satisfy us. What we Americans owe to France or England is not to be underrated. None the less, our general civilization and culture are not derived solely from England, or from France; but from Europe as a whole.
We Americans are the spiritual sons of Europe. Her past is ours, and it is no dead bond which unites us; the relation is living and continuous. Our roots of to-day are in Europe; and unless the sap of her mind and heart feeds American growth, the leaves on our tree of life will whither and fall. This conception is not always altogether relished by some of our people, but it is none the less true that the world is to-day one, and that our connection with Europe is vital in the sense that energy is given and received; and by energy I mean life. If Europe declines, we shall share in the declension. If she is weakened, we shall be. If she falls, we shall stagger; and if we fail to consider her lessening welfare as affecting our own, we shall pay in moral, physical, and intellectual stagnation.
The sum of the matter is that unless Europe prospers, we cannot progress; and unless Germany prospers, Europe cannot prosper; and without her middle class, Germany cannot exist, much less prosper.
The feeling of our people is, no doubt, adverse to our entering into the field of European politics, adverse to our joining the League of Nations as it is now constituted; and I believe that in so feeling our people evince great political wisdom. But, on the other hand, we cannot wash our hands of European affairs, declare ourselves self-supporting, and totally unaffected by the precipitate decline of European civilization. The main question is not whether the French have done well and wisely in taking over the coal-fields of the Ruhr, and not whether we shall side with them or the English. The main question for us is whether, in the first place, we think it advisable to sit still and see Germany compelled, forced, thrown violently by the stupidity and chauvinism of other nations into an alliance with Russia. And, in the second place, whether we feel that we can and ought to permit the mind of Germany to decay, her mental activities which support and enforce our own to cease.
I cannot, and do not for an instant, believe that such is the temper and desire of the American people. Men of known probity, of the highest eminence, have spoken with knowledge of the facts; but our people do not hear them, do not know who they are. Adolf Harnak and Georg Brandes have told us of the abyss into which German science and learning are falling; but their words reach only a very few. We remain without knowledge; and a few of us remain resolved, passionately and blindly resolved, to stamp upon everything German, to continue our hate, our fear, and to destroy and abolish, if we can, everything Teutonic. And yet, already, half France and all England are far from this mood. Already England is on the road to some sort of modus vivendi; some sort of good-will, and arrangement to live peaceably together. Certainly, the situation is desperate, and the need immediate and pressing. Delay on our part can only mean the prostration, it may almost be said the annihilation, of all learning, all cultural values, all science, of all that is great and life-giving, not only in Germany, but throughout Central Europe.
But, to heal the sickness of the world there is more needed than loans, or credits, or moratoriums. We must have, and must show confidence in the human virtue of a human being. Magnanimity to a fallen foe is our tradition, and we have every compelling reason not to break with our own past in that matter. If there is no reconciliation we know what the outcome will be.
The progressive impoverishment of the brain-working class opens up strange vistas and awakens apprehensions that are of the gravest. It is natural to ask, Where will it end? Do all highly educated men sell the tools of their trade, and become hand workers? Or do they sometimes take another course of action, a course honorable to them, possibly, but which if pursued will bring us within measurable distance of the wreck and downfall of European civilization?
On my last night in Munich, I dined opposite a gray-haired man of sixty with a scarred face. As we fell into conversation, he told me his training had been that of an engineer; he had served in the war; was a major-general retired. There was no work to be had; he was now a clerk in a bank; was studying Russian. A Russian grammar was on the table. Asking why he was learning Russian, I received an answer which caused me grave reflection.
'As things are now going,' he said, 'our only opportunity to rehabilitate ourselves, to get on our feet,—to exist at all as a nation,—not to starve,— is some sort of alliance with Russia. I mean to go there, and offer myself as an engineer, and of course an officer in any future war. Yes, we are being driven into the arms of Bolshevism. Of course, I don't like it, but I have to support my children.'