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My family was in hardship, and although they did not ask me for anything, I knew that any financial help from me would be a great aid to them.
What was I to do? I hardly had enough for my board, but they knew nothing of my circumstances, and never would I want them to know. And when would I be able to help them? My father, deprived of my help, had to pay now in order to have some one in my place, to bribe the chief of police, and to keep up such a large family. Oh! when would it end, when would it end? If I only had the money! Money, money, how hateful you are, but oh, how I need to have you!'
Enfolded in the dark clouds that again spread over my horizon, I began to lose ground. My head burning and my thoughts confused, I ran down the stairs to the street and carelessly wandered among the crowded pushcarts.
'A penny, a penny a sweet potato, a penny a pickle,' rang the loud voices of the peddlers.
Sweet potatoes, pickles, bananas on the pushcarts; a skirt, a waist, a front, a yoke, in the basket at the side of my machine; the letter from home, money my boss all danced before my eyes, in dark confusion.
Flowers! I stopped near a flowerstore, attracted by the American Beauties in the window. Unthinkingly, I walked in.
'Well, madam, wedding, birthday, funeral bouquets - which do you desire?'
'Wedding, birthday, funeral bouquets,' I repeated absentmindedly. 'Funeral bouquet,' I said.
'For how much?"
'How much?' I repeated. I began to count my change. 'A dollar, twenty-five, forty-five, sixty-nine cents. For a dollar sixty-nine cents, please.'
The man looked at me in amazement. 'We don't sell for a dollar sixty-nine cents; a dollar fifty, if you please.' 'Let it be a dollar fifty,' I said carelessly.
With the bouquet in my hand, I walked home. My room-mate was away in the picketing line; her shop was still on strike. I did not expect her until late in the evening. I had plenty of time.
The flowers: the beautiful white rose, the lilies-ah! that heavy odor intoxicated me! Why did I not get an American Beauty, that I am so fond of?
An American Beauty in a funeral bouquet? Oh, yes a funeral, death — suicide my home-my people
My room-mate returned unexpectedly; I sent her out. Slowly I turned the gas. To help it more quickly, I soaked a handful of matches in water and drank off the sickening liquid
When I regained consciousness I was in the hospital, doctors and nurses around me. Unfortunately, I had been brought back to life. The matches had failed to do their work. The next day Clara and my room-mate were with me - Clara, her eyes filled with tears.
"You foolish child, to do such a silly thing!'
I spoke to none of them; I was so tired. I wanted to be quiet, to have nobody around me, to be left alone to my own thoughts.
After four days in the hospital, I was well enough to come out.
'Will you not come to us, where mother will take good care of you for a time?' Clara begged me.
I refused. I wanted to be no burden to anybody. She brought her mother to the hospital. Both insisting, I at last consented. Where else was I to go, my last cent spent for the flowers?
(To be continued)
THE DECLINE OF THE BERLINER
BY ADELE N. PHILLIPS AND RUSSELL PHILLIPS
STRANGELY enough, on the steamer returning with us to America were the two American newspaper correspondents upon whom Germany most relied to mould public opinion in this country. Although we were given to understand that these gentlemen represented the combined newspapers of the United States, we have since learned that they represented rival interests. For months after the outbreak of the war the foreign correspondent was a persona nons grata in Germany. Then the German government awoke to the harm it was doing itself by letting the Allies monopolize the front page, and the newspaper correspondents were welcomed. Nevertheless, they were not wholly trusted, and a close watch was kept on them at the front or in the cities by the authorities, and their reports were closely censored.
The two correspondents who crossed the sea with us were greatly favored. One had succeeded in obtaining an interview with the Pope, and his report, most favorable to the Germans, gained for him entry into the offices in Wilhelmstrasse and absolute freedom of the wires. The other, whose name has since been connected with the Count von Bernstorff exposures, was perhaps nearer the government and learned more of its movements. Certainly he maintained the same intimate relations after Mr. Gerard's departure, and as he did not leave Berlin until late in July, he must have acquired some interest
ing information, which, though we have sought it eagerly, we have not seen in print.
We had met the first-mentioned correspondent many times in the house of a relative. Indeed, upon our arrival in this country, the first person to greet us on the pier was this gentleman's wife, who came to meet him and who expressed great surprise at seeing us on this side, as she knew of our long residence in Berlin and thought that we had forfeited our American citizenship.
It is amazing how much the German government depended on the reports of these correspondents to dispel the evil impressions caused by its flagrant violations of international law and the laws of humanity. The reports of other correspondents were rigidly censored; but the messages of these two were cabled as written, sometimes without being passed upon by the censor. We have heard one of them boast of it time and again. Obviously the reports were handed to the Berlin editors at the time of cabling; for the moral effect that it was hoped these messages would produce was dwelt upon daily by the leading newspapers of the city.
In the stormy days before the severing of relations with this government the influence of these two men, greatly overestimated, was almost childishly relied on to avert the break. After Mr. Gerard's departure their cabled reports were depended upon to disseminate the bitter feeling that had been aroused by the severing of relations. In other words, in the propaganda which fol
lowed, the saintly rôle was played, the German government posing as much misunderstood, and relying upon the correspondents to convey that impression to the host of German sympathizers in this country, with the hope of embarrassing the authorities in Washington.
It was one of these men who figured in the Skager Rack incident, in which Scheidemann, the Socialist leader, openly accused the government of duplicity. The correspondent was taken aboard the so-called victorious fleet, and it was rumored - yes, it leaked into print that an old ship was painted to resemble the battleship Moltke, reported by the English and denied by the Germans to be lost, and pointed out to him as the victorious hulk riding upon the waters. Thereafter a message was cabled ridiculing the British claims of victory.
It was this tendency to dissemble, to conceal or pervert the truth, which awakened us to a new phase of German character. It was the eagerness to absorb the slightest report of victory, whether verified or not, and the elation which followed; the malignant satisfaction evinced at the tales of cruelty; the delight in the extreme suffering of the unfortunate people who stood in the way of the desired end, which amazed and revolted us. Living among them so many years, we had always found the Germans, and especially the Berliners, so menschlich, so eager for the good opinion of the outside world, and their home life so gemütlich, that we could not credit this radical and amazing change of character.
In the twelve long years previous to the outbreak of the war, during which we had resided in Berlin, we had not encountered this spirit. We had been always kindly received and had appreciated to the utmost the hospitality extended to us, which, as everybody knows who has resided in the city for
any length of time, is boundless to the stranger upon whom the burgher centres his affections. Those characteristics which lie so near the surface, and which have been transmitted from generation to generation until they have been allied with the natural designation of Deutsch: cleanliness, fearlessness of expression, candor, der Mut (moral courage), probity, and an inherent love of justice had endeared them to us. From a mere formless plan, casually conceived, arose an overwhelming desire to dwell among these people, because of their rugged instincts, their admirable characteristics. The passing years did not weaken the early impressions, but rather deepened them, until the esteem in which we held them had ripened into a strong and enduring affection.
It would have been difficult to keep from loving these people as we first knew them. A certain blandness; an ingenuousness, actuated by noble candor and love of truth; a lovable simplicity in the greatest of them; a modest disavowal of accomplishment - Ach, bewahre!- in those who had achieved something of value; a respectful awe of the progressiveness and the vast resources of the great country we had just left, in which so many of their own people had found happiness, charmed us and drew us closer to them. In turn, our fondness for them inspired a respect which endured until the white heat of resentment arising from defeated purpose and imaginary wrongs caused them to turn from us. To minds so deeply impressed as ours the reaction was doubly great, the awakening very bitter.
Hitherto, it was only in military circles that one heard the refrain chanted of 'Der Tag' and 'Über Alles,' and all ' they implied. But with the outbreak of hostilities new traits began to be perceptible even in the gentlest and most
refined student, philosopher, and the most phlegmatic of burghers alike - that distressed the most casual observer. A nebulous moral turpitude befogged their mentality. Duplicity and perfidy were the gods of the hour. The men degenerated into savagery; the women became unsexed. The national honor was swept away with one brief word of command.
In the almost tigerish rage which followed the Belgian opposition, the Germans became a people characterized by cruelty almost maniacal in its ferocity. Centuries were bridged, and the savageries of the early days of the Christian era came trooping over the span. Thumbs were turned down and kept down. A deaf ear was turned to the cries of distress which followed the accumulated wretchedness that the decision entailed. What psychology can analyze the mentality of a peaceful, law-abiding people suddenly imbued with a lust for blood?
With the greatest sorrow we had witnessed the orgies that followed the sinking of the Lusitania. Horror-stricken Americans in Berlin were compelled to sit in silence while some burgher, suddenly transformed from an amiable, jovial being into a gloating fiend, would tell of the greater horrors yet to come. Christianity, even civilization itself, could receive no greater setback than the mighty roar of acclaim which arose from the jubilant crowd on the occasion of the parade of the crews of the submarines through the streets of Berlin to celebrate the resumption of Schrechlichkeit.
The Americans witnessed these hideous demonstrations in wonderment, sick at heart, amazed at the callousness of a hitherto God-fearing people reveling in the reports of wholesale murder. Still less could they understand the savage resentment displayed to another body of men from the U-boats, again
paraded to impress the Berliners when it was demonstrated that the muchheralded campaign was doomed to failure. As early as May of the present year rumors had been seeping into Berlin of the navy plot, the discontent and the threats of mutiny in Kiel, Cuxhaven, and Wilhelmshaven. In consequence, this body of men was received in coldness and silence, and in the poorer quarters vile epithets were hurled at them and accusations of treason. The people would have rent them limb from limb, nothing but a display of authority by the officials keeping them within bounds.
It seemed as if in his rage the German was lashing about in a fury that would destroy all within reach, for the sinking of neutral vessels was an occasion for even greater rejoicing. The destruction of anything carrying cargo that might interfere with the success of the Germans was demanded. No nation or people on earth had the right to stand in the way of victory. The land and the sea were created for one purpose to further the success of the Vaterland.
These were the policies advocated by the mad philosopher Nietzsche, which, however, had for a time relaxed their hold on the average mind, and had receded into the past when Pan-Germanism was forgotten amid overwhelming prosperity and commercial expansion. Suddenly his 'science of things possible, inasmuch as they are possible,' became the law. The 'little lambs fattening in adjacent meadows'-as the mad philosopher styled the small nationsmust be devoured, fleece and all. Although the feast had long since been prepared by official Germany, it could not be conceived that the menschliche Leute, who prated eternally of peace, would absorb the plans so eagerly.
In the months before war was declared, we had noted with amazement the increasing affection of Germany for
her unspeakable ally-Turkey. It was a well-known fact that the country was financing the Empire of the Crescent, and was, for reasons since revealed to the world, hobnobbing very affectionately with her. In intellectual circles we had also noted a tendency to apologize for the actions of the Turks, and in some instances to condone them, by people who have since denounced and condemned the suffering Belgians for the cruel deeds of their former royal master in the Congo. According to uttered and published statements, the Turk in his worst days had been misunderstood. We have even heard seemingly intelligent people willfully deny that the various massacres of the Armenians were inspired by government officials.
At the house of a friend, an American physician, we met a close relative of Enver Bey. The tales that this man told of the wholesale massacres of Christians who did not approve of Turkey's entrance into the war were bloodcurdling. Yet they were listened to with glee by people who were mourning for their own dead; by women who a few months before made great ado if their children so much as cut a finger; by men who daily sank on their knees to pray for their own boys at the front.
The massacres which this Turk spoke of would have been greater but for the man whom, upon learning our nationality, he particularly described to us in his quaint English, as 'ned-a-i-r-e Protest-a-h-n-t, Catolica, but vaht you call Israel-e-e-t.' He meant Israelite; and the man was Abram I. Elkus, American minister to Turkey.
We positively could feel the resentment radiate from the people present as the Turk dwelt at length and with fiendish indignation upon Mr. Elkus's successful efforts to shield the unfortunate Armenians from an aroused and cruel government. It was one of the VOL. 121 - NO. 1
few times when we were publicly affronted, or when we suffered for our relationship to the 'indirect enemy.' But the anger of the guests of the American physician at the interference of Mr. Elkus was white hot, and numerous uncomplimentary remarks were audibly uttered. Two or three of the guests abruptly rose and left the house, without a word of farewell to their host. The remaining guests drew away from us and gathered about the Turk, to listen eagerly to other tales of horror.
Our host was most embarrassed and apologized in a low voice, in English, for the rudeness of his guests. But we were too full of sorrow to resent the incivility, and we soon left, wondering whether, if our own country, grown more dear to us as we realized the blood-madness of that other country, were drawn into the fray, we should degenerate into brutal, ferocious, savage creatures, demanding the destruction of our fellow men. There were some people in the room who refused to speak to us afterwards, and who strenuously objected to our presence even at Red Cross meetings.
Pan-Germanism's stronghold is in the aristocratic class, the military contingent, and among the upper middle class the class whose minor titles roll so grandiloquently on the tongue, who have grown rich on war-profits. In spite of the 'Über Alles' refrain, PanGermanism never did have a hold on the lower class. The common people were too completely shackled by the rigorous regulations of the despotic nationalism, to dream of 'places in the sun' or colonies across the sea. They were taught to obey, not encouraged to think of something bound to come to pass by God's natural law and the Kaiser's. It was not until the first stages of the war, the almost successful dash to Paris, that the common people began to slap one another on the back and