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conversations were to take place between Orlando and myself, with the view of reaching an accord between us, either temporary or final; anything that we agreed on would be supported by Colonel House, and would be carefully considered by President Wilson on Colonel House's recommendation; in other words, whatever Orlando agreed to with me would bind Italy, but not America.

My path in the matter, so far as personal relations were concerned, was made easier by my close friendship with Count Macchi di Cellere, whose death, a few months later, was a real loss to his own country and a sad blow to his many friends here. And while Signor Orlando kept the negotiations strictly in his own hands, the Count di Cellere was frequently, and Baron Sonnino occasionally, present at our talks.

These rather extraordinary conversations with Signor Orlando, which took place at the hotel of the Italian delegates, and which were necessarily carried on in French, were always entirely amicable and cordial; indeed, Signor Orlando's attractive personality, combined with his juristic attitude of mind, precluded any other course of discussion.

I often recall a few words of Signor Orlando which seemed to me to speak in part his thoughts on the meetings of the Council of Four. I was talking one evening with him and Marshal Joffre, who said to Orlando, in French, 'Do you know any English?' To which Orlando replied that he knew very little 'Nothing,' he added, 'except these words, "eleven o'clock, I don't agree, good-bye."

Now, there is one sort of solution almost always possible in a diplomatic discussion, and that is a modus vivendi, an agreement to postpone final decision and to arrange a status for the intervening time. In view of the diver

gence of thought between President Wilson and the Italians, this seemed one way out of the difficulty, and it was discussed in various forms. But there were obvious objections to any such postponement, and the terms of the intermediate status, the questions of temporary occupation and of temporary government, presented new problems without solving old ones.

The real attitude of the Italians was not one of eagerness for the application of the Pact of London; they regarded it rather as a claim which they might reluctantly be forced to press. Orlando said to me that that treaty was his last line of defense; that, if no solution were possible, if no delay were obtained, he would be compelled to fall back upon the Pact of London, for he would have nothing else, although he did. not like it and did not believe it was in accordance with the principles of President Wilson.

So the talks with Signor Orlando soon turned toward the possibility of a definitive agreement, and I proposed a formula, the most important point of which was that Fiume should be an independent city and free port under the protection of the League of Nations. This suggestion was not wholly novel, but it was the first time, I think, that it had been definitely made in that form in the negotiations. It differed from the views of the American territorial advisers, who would have preferred to give Fiume to the Jugo-Slavs; and it at the same time rejected the Italian demand, which would have made Fiume Italian, or, at least, have put it under Italian protection.

My own belief at Paris was — and despite the episode of d'Annunzie, I have never seen any reason to change it— that a fair vote by secret ballot of the inhabitants of Fiume would have shown a very large majority in favor of a free city and against either Jugo-Slav

or Italian sovereignty; people usually vote according to their own ideas of self-interest; and that Fiume, which is essentially a port of through traffic both ways, would be more prosperous and more developed under its own control than under either that of Italy or that of the Jugo-Slavs, particularly in view of the Hungarian and other traffic, seems to me clear. I do not intimate that that fact, if it be a fact, is conclusive, but it is certainly entitled to some weight.

It soon appeared that President Wilson would accept this solution as to Fiume. The Italians hesitated. But in their inner feelings, the members of the Italian delegation were not at all of one mind about Fiume. After all, Fiume represented a dream of Italian sentiment rather than a reality of Italian needs. And there were not lacking Italian statesmen who thought that, by insisting on Fiume, Italy would be seeking a shadow which might well mean abandoning some real substance. And finally Orlando yielded and agreed that he would accept the solution as to Fiume. I thought for a moment that perhaps Colonel House had again achieved the seemingly impossible, and that the Adriatic question was to be solved.

But there remained Dalmatia, the islands off the coast, and Istria. The first presented comparatively little difficulty, though causing much discussion. The Italians claimed only one or two towns on the mainland, and Baron Sonnino, unyielding as he is usually pictured, said that Italy was not inflexible about the islands.

Baron Sonnino has often been painted in the black colors of a reactionary, and no one knew better than he that the indictment had been drawn. He said to me once with a smile, 'If we come to an agreement, you might add a clause to the effect that Baron Sonnino should retire from office, for that might help

to get the agreement accepted'; and 'after all,' he added, 'I am an old man, and have been in office as Foreign Minister since the war began.'

Reactionary or no, Baron Sonnino had all the charm of the old school, and his manner made me recall the remark of Lord Rosebery, who said that, while he agreed with the Liberals, he preferred to dine with the Conservatives.

V

All that was left was the location of the Wilson line in Istria; the Italians wanted it moved east at its southern end, over toward Fiume, so as to leave in Italy all of Istria, with a boundaryline touching Fiume itself; but here President Wilson, still resting on the recommendations of his territorial advisers, refused to yield; and the Italians were equally firm, considering that they had already given up too much, or at least enough, of their claims, and that the physical junction with Fiume was indispensable from their standpoint.

Indeed, national aspirations are so bound up with national sentiment and tradition, that it is not a matter of pure fancy to recall that the Italian claim of 1919 had been phrased six centuries before the Conference of Paris, by Dante, in one of the most famous lines of the Inferno, where he spoke of the sea east of Istria as 'the Quarnero, whose waters are the confines of Italy and bathe her farthest frontiers.'

So on this point of Istria, a comparatively minor one, if the situation is looked at as a whole, the negotiations broke down and failed to result.

Whose duty was it to yield? The answer depends on the point of view. The American territorial advisers, rightly considering the Pact of London a nullity as to the United States, considered, not only that Italy had received great concessions, but that she had

really yielded nothing at all. Their opinion was that, as Italy had been given the strongest possible frontier in the north, a grant which included as Italian even the southern part of the Austrian Tyrol, and as the remaining land-frontier had been drawn east of the ethnic line, Italy had received all her just claims; and they considered, too, that Italy would be safe as to the Adriatic, an opinion shared by the American naval experts.

The other argument was that, assuming the correctness of the views of the American territorial advisers, the importance of reaching a solution outweighed the importance of the change in the line in Istria; that the difference between the two proposals was not great enough to be a difference in principle, but only in degree; that the advantages of a present solution so nearly correct in theory, a solution in which Italy had yielded her claim to Fiume, a claim which, whether defensible or not, had aroused passions and feelings of a grave character, should not be dismissed in favor of the mere possibility of a slightly different solution later on; and that a continuance of such a difference between two neighboring countries involved grave risks of war; or if not the risk of war, that it involved at least the possibility of the application of the provisions of the Pact of London-a treaty which everyone, Italy included, wished to discard.

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I am frank to say that the latter was my own view; I thought that President Wilson should have yielded for the sake of the greater good of a final settlement as against the lesser good of the assumed correctness of the Wilson line.

Whether I am right or not, certainly the failure of the settlement brought about a year and a half of uncertainty, and made possible the mimic war of d'Annunzio; and the final result, as we

shall see, was more favorable to Italy in regard to Istria and the Wilson line than the solution proposed in the conversations that I had with Orlando.

Whether one agrees or not with the stand of President Wilson, one cannot but admire its courage and its disregard of political results; the man who stands for what he thinks just, even when his course is bound to lose votes, is almost as rare nowadays as the great auk. Those political results followed as surely as the night the day; the opposition to President Wilson capitalized his stand on the Adriatic question, and from their flotation of the sentiment which that stand had aroused drew large dividends in ballots.

After President Wilson came back to Washington, discussions continued at Paris and by exchanges between the various governments. Their most important feature was the proposal to Italy, made in December, 1919, by Great Britain, France, and the United States jointly, in which President Wilson, under the advice of Dr. Bowman, of the American Geographical Society, made substantial concessions from his earlier views. But this proposal was not accepted, and it was followed by the accord of January, 1920, between France, Great Britain, and Italy, under the leadership of Signor Nitti, an accord which President Wilson refused to accept, but which, so far as it related to Jugo-Slav relations with Italy, was in substance incorporated into the final agreement of the Treaty of Rapallo.

I omit any discussion of the occupation of Fiume by d'Annunzio-that amazing madness which destroyed for months the trade of a commercial city and brought about increased feeling among the various partisans on all sides, but which convinced no one who was not convinced before, and left the official attitudes of the governments of Italy and of the Jugo-Slavs unchanged.

Nor can I do more than allude to the matter of Albania - an important part of the Adriatic question, but one not so much discussed at Paris.

All ideas of any partition of Albania, or of an Italian protectorate, or even of Italian occupation of the port of Valona, have been finally abandoned. By a treaty signed on August 2, 1920, Italy, retaining only two headlands near Valona and the island of Saseno, off the coast, recognizes the independence of Albania within the frontiers of 1913; any doubt as to the separate existence of Albania is at an end: she has a real and apparently stable government of her own, and has, indeed, become a member of the League of Nations.

But the final settlement of the Adriatic question between Italy and the Jugo-Slavs is not unrelated to the inconclusive Paris negotiations. That settlement took place last autumn, and its moving cause was the American election on November 2, which obviously left Italy a free hand and which brought keenly home to the Jugo-Slavs the advice of the Scriptures: 'Agree with thine adversary quickly, whiles thou art in the way with him.'

For just ten days after our election, there was signed on November 12, at Rapallo, a little winter resort near Genoa, a treaty between Italy and the kingdom of the Serbs, the Croats, and the Slovenes, which settled their differences as to the Adriatic, and settled them as the Italian government, not as

the Italian extremists, wanted them settled.

It is interesting to compare the terms of the Treaty of Rapallo with those proposed at Paris. Italy gets four island groups in the Adriatic, of considerable strategic but little other importance; and in Dalmatia a little territory at Zara. Fiume, with a small strip running along the gulf, becomes independent. Thus far, we might be in Paris instead of at Rapallo. But the Wilson line in Istria becomes a thing of dreams. Not only do the Italians get a frontier touching that of Fiume; not only do they get all of Istria; but the line near Laibach goes even east of the line of the Pact of London, making a strategic frontier even more strategic than before.

I called the Adriatic negotiations at Paris a failure. Perhaps I was too harsh: although they did not reach any final result, they demonstrated the obsolescence of the Pact of London, they paved the way for an agreement to be reached between the parties, and they showed the moral fibre of a man who wanted to be right, even while he was President.

I try never to think of what might have been at Paris, for nothing is more vain than to recast a mythical present from an imaginary past. One must be a philosopher and think of Sainte-Beuve's striking phrase in his introduction to the Memoirs of Saint Simon: 'On ne refait point l'histoire par hypothèse.' (History cannot be made over by supposing.)

THE CONTRIBUTORS' CLUB

PERIOD FURNITURE

In our town, as in others like it, the recent years have proved epochal. First there was the War, and after that the H. C. L., and after that the Coal Boom, and after that the Interior Decorator. On every hand new houses are going up and old ones either coming down or undergoing a transforming process of rejuvenation.

Contractors and builders are bustling busily, and our afternoon bridge clubs flow gently along, like the tide of Sweet Afton, to a murmuring stream of period furniture, oriental rugs, glassed-in porches, grass-cloth hangings, refectory tables, and breakfast alcoves.

One morning I received a call from an interior decorator. He was a pleasant little gentleman with a portfolio under his arm, and he greeted me with so obvious an assurance of being expected that I asked him to come in.

'I have called,' said he, 'about the period furniture for the library and dining-room, and I have here'-indicating the portfolio - 'the photographs of the special "pieces" which our Mr. Astrachan has selected for those rooms. The designs are extremely chaste, as you will see, and entirely correct in line and detail. If you are at leisure

And then it developed that he was a pleasant little gentleman who had made a mistake.

He had been assigned by Messrs. Astrachan & Kolinsky, Interior Decorators, of Fifth Avenue, to take charge of the furnishings and fittings of an extensively remodeled mansion farther up the street, whose owner bore the same name as my own. The homes in this section

of the town are not numbered, and inquiries at the hotel had resulted in his arrival at my door.

Followed explanations, profuse apologies, and a bowing exit.

Our interview had taken place in the hall, from which, through uncurtained doorways, were widely visible the contents of the library, the living-room, and the dining-room; and during the brief colloquy the pleasant little gentleman's glance-heavily bounded by tortoise-shell — had embraced with the sweeping observation of an expert the varied appurtenances of those apart

ments.

Incredulity, shocked disapproval, a look akin to horror, following his swift survey of the dining-room, passed rapidly in procession across his mobile countenance; and as he politely backed away, it was with the feeling of one artistically condemned that I closed the door.

In the hall I stood still and looked about me.

'Period furniture!' Surely no dwelling-place in all the town was so thoroughly period-furnitured as mine! The dining-room, now, the dining-room, whose time-honored plenishings had received that devastating lightning glance from Mr. Astrachan's dismayed deputy, - were not that massive board of convoluted oak, and those six accompanying chairs, 'Jacobean'? They were great-uncle Jacobean; indirectly inherited by my husband at the dismantling of his bachelor relative's oldfashioned domicile. The sideboard and china-closet- also inherited, but not from the same source were eloquent emblems of an obsolete pattern, whose

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