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instead of fulfillment, an exile to a country where life was a struggle for the bare necessities of the body-food and shelter. I looked at his handsthin and white and nervous. What hideous, despairing moments he must know!
I asked him a question. His eyes blazed suddenly.
'Do not speak of these things! They are not to be spoken of, much less to you.' He looked as though he hated me. 'I beg your pardon, I am nervous. You must excuse me.' He went away hurriedly.
'Poor chap!' Professor A
said. "It is hard for us all in this heat. And, yes, some of us have more imagination than others.'
A man in a uniform came into the garden. He walked to a tree in the centre, and stood in the shade, a long sheet of paper in his hand. There was a stir among the Jews. Those lying down got up and approached him. The women, with their children, dragged themselves nearer. Every one stopped talking. The apathy and indifference gave place to strained attention. There was a kind of dreadful anxiety on every face a tightening of the muscles round the eyes and mouths, as if the same horrible fear fixed the same mark there. I have never seen a crowd where personality was so stamped out by a single overmastering emotion. The gendarme began to read in a singsong voice.
'What is he saying?' I whispered. "The names of those who are to leave this afternoon,' Mme. C replied. The garden was absolutely still except for the monotonous voice and the breathing of the crowd. Oh, yes, and the flies! It was not that I forgot the flies, only their buzzing was the ceaseless accompaniment to everything that happened in the camp.
'How horrible this is!' Mme. C
They all know it must come, but when it does, it is almost unbearable. It is truly a list of death, Many of them here cannot survive another stage of the journey in this heat. And yet they must be moved on to make place for those who are pressing on from behind. In this very crowd were five old men who were killed on the way here, by the soldiers, because they could n't keep up with the procession. How could these civilians be expected to endure such hardships? They are townspeople, most of them having lived indoors all their lives, like you or I.'
'Like you or I!' No, no. It was unbelievable. I could not put myself in their place. I could not imagine such insecurity - that lives could be broken in the middle in this way.
'How useless it all seems!' I said.
took me up. 'Do you realize that whole Galician towns have been moved into Siberia this summer? Part of the way on foot, part in baggagecars, where they stifled to death in the heat and for lack of water and food. One carload was n't listed, or was forgotten by some careless official, and when it was finally opened it was a carload of rotting flesh. The bodies were thrown into the river by the frightened official, but a soldier reported him and he was court-martialed. One crowd of several thousand was taken to Siberia. They reached Tomsk. Then the government changed. What was the need to transport these Galician Jews, the new minister argued. A useless expense to the government. A waste of money and time. Let them go back to their homes. So the Jews were taken back over the same route, many more dying on the return journey, in the jails, and camps, and baggage-cars, or by the roadsides. They found themselves once more back in their pillaged
towns, with nothing to work with, and yet with their livelihood to be earned somehow. They began to dig and plant and take up the routine of their lives once more. They began to look on themselves as human again. The grind of suffering and hopelessness began to let up and they had moments of hope. And then the reactionaries came into power with their systematic oppression of the Jews. Back to Siberia with them! This in midsummer heat. I saw them as they passed through Kieff for the third time, a few weeks ago. Never shall I forget them as I saw them last. The mark of the beast was on them. You could n't call them living or suffering or martyrs any more. They were beyond the point where they prayed to die.'
The gendarme had finished his list. The tension relaxed. Some of the Jews settled back into their former apathy; others gathered in excited groups, pulling their beards and scratching their heads; still others walked up and down the paths, restless, like so many caged animals.
A man and a woman with two children approached the gendarme deprecatingly. The man asked a question, indicating the woman and children. The gendarme shook his head. The man persisted. The gendarme refused again, and started to move away. The man detained him with a hand on his arm. Another man approached. He spread out both hands, his shoulders up to his ears. All three men spoke Polish in loud, excited voices.
'What are they saying?' I asked. "The gendarme has just read the names of the woman and children, who are to leave this afternoon. The father's name is not with theirs. Naturally, he wants to be with his wife and children to protect and care for them as best he can. If they are separated now they can never find each other
again in Siberia again in Siberia - if they live till they
get there. The third man is alone. He is willing to give up his place to the father, but the gendarme refuses. "His name is written. Yours is not. It is the order," he says.'
The gendarme now left the garden. The woman was sobbing in her husband's arms. He was patting her hair. The children hung at their mother's skirt, crying and sucking their fingers. As I left the camp, the Jews were gathering about their rabbi. He stood in his long black robes, one hand raised.
Lately, our conversation at table has been suppressed by the appearance of a young woman whom the rest suspect of being a spy. She is dark, and never utters a word. All through dinner she keeps her eyes on her plate. I said something in French to her the other day, but, apparently, she did not understand. Across the table, the Morowski boys laughed at me. I suspect that they, too, had tried to speak to her, for she is pretty, and had been snubbed like me. I don't know how the idea of her being a spy got round. She may have been sent here to keep her eyes on the Polish refugees in the pension.
Her room is in our corridor, and this morning Marie saw, through the open door, Panna Lolla and Janchu talking to her. It appears that Janchu had been inveigled in by bon-bons, and Panna Lolla had gone in after him. Panna Lolla said the young woman was so lonely. She is a Pole and wants to leave Russia. She hates it here. But she has no passport. She showed Panna Lolla an old one that she wants to fix up for the police authorities. But she can't speak Russian, and is very frightened. She asked Panna Lolla if she knew any one who could write Russian. Marie forbade Panna Lolla
to go near the woman again. It is just as well, for Panna Lolla likes excite ment, and is capable of saying anything to keep it going.
We were arrested four days ago · and you will wonder why I keep on writing. It relieves my nerves. Ever since the revision Marie and I have gone over and over the same reasoning, trying to get at why we were arrested. To write it all out may help the restlessness and anxiety and yes - the panicky fear that rises in my throat like nausea. Life is so terribly insecure. I feel as if I had been stripped naked and turned out into the streets, with no person or place to go to.
It was four o'clock, and we had just finished dinner. In an hour and a half we were leaving for Odessa. All our trunks and bags were packed, and our traveling suits brushed and pressed. And suddenly the door of our apartment opened. Six men came into the room, two in uniform, the other four in plain clothes. It never occurred to me that they had anything to do with me. I thought that they had mistaken the door. I looked at Marie questioningly. There was something peculiar about her face.
The four plain-clothes men stood awkwardly about the door, which they had closed softly behind them. The two men with white cord loops across the breast of their uniforms went over to the table on the right and put down their black leather portfolios. They seemed to make themselves at home, and it angered me.
'What are these people doing here?' I asked Marie sharply.
my body motionless, and said to myself, 'There is nothing surprising in this. There is nothing surprising in this.'
Everything had gone dark before my eyes. My heart seemed to have stopped beating.
Marie laughed and the sound of her cracking, high-pitched laugh came to me from far off.
The officer said something to her, and she stopped abruptly as if some one had clapped a hand over her mouth.
'What did he say?' I managed to articulate. My own language seemed to have deserted me.
'He says it is a matter for tears, not laughter.'
Her voice was sharp and anxious. I was relieved at the spite and vanity in his words. They made the situation more normal. I felt myself breathing again, and my stomach began to tremble uncontrollably.
Janchu began to cry from the bedroom, and Marie got up to go to him. Quickly a plain-clothes man with hornrimmed spectacles slipped in between her and the door. The officer who had now seated himself behind the table, raised his hand.
'Let no one leave the room,' he said in German.
'But my baby is crying,' Marie began.
'Let him cry!' And he busied himself pulling papers out of his portfolio.
An army officer entered and spoke to the head of the secret service. He wore a dazzling, gold-braided uniform. and preened himself before us, looking at us curiously over his shoulder. When he had gone, the head told us that we were to have a personal exam
She addressed the officer in Polish, ination in the salon of the pension.
and he answered curtly.
'It's a revision,' she replied.
'A revision,' she repeated.
A secret-service man escorted each of us, and we walked down the corridor, past the squad of soldiers with their bayonets, and so into the salon,
I remember that I consciously kept where we were delivered into the hands
our trunks and bags were emptied, one end of the carpet rolled back, the mattresses torn from the beds. The secretservice men were down on their knees before piles of clothes, going over the seams, emptying the pockets, unfolding handkerchiefs, tapping the heels of shoes; every scrap of paper was passed over to the chief, who tucked it into his portfolio. I watched him, hating his square, stolid body which filled out his uniform so smoothly. His eyes were long and watchful like a cat's, and his fair moustache was turned up at the ends, German-fashion; in fact, there was something very German about his thick thighs and shaved head and official importance. As I have learned since, he is a German and the most bitterly hated man in Kieff for his pitiless persecution of all political offenders. They say that he has sent more people to Siberia than any six of his predecessors. They also say that every hand is against him, even to the spies in his own force.
I trembled to spring at him and claw him and ruffle his composure some way. Instead, I sat quietly, my hands folded, and watched the spies ransacking our clothes. Every card and photograph I tried to catch a glimpse of before it went into the black portfolio. And suddenly I saw the letter about the Jewish detention camp, which I had forgotten all about. I saw the close lines of my writing, and it seemed as if the edge of the precipice crumbled and I went shooting down. A cold sweat broke out over me.
He slipped me one hundred roubles on the sly, before turning the rest over to the chief. I held it openly in my hand, too dazed to know what to do with it, till he whispered to me to hide it.
'You may want it, later,' he said. 'Frau Pierce will go with us,' the chief said, closing his portfolio; and I understood by this that the revision was finished. 'Frau G can stay here under room-arrest, with her little boy.'
As a matter of course, I went into the other room and changed into my traveling suit.
'May I take my toilet things?' I asked the chief.
'You'd better make a bundle of bedclothes,' the spy who had given me the money whispered to me.
I rolled up two blankets and a pillow with his help.
'I'm ready,' I said. 'May I send a few telegrams?'
The chief's manner suddenly became extremely courteous.
I wrote one to our Ambassador in Petrograd, one to Mr. Vopeka in Bucharest, one to the State Department in Washington, and one to Peter. I wrote Peter that I was delayed a few days. I was afraid that he might come on and be arrested, too. My hand did not
'But why are we arrested?' I heard tremble, although it struck me as being Marie ask in German. very queer to see the words traced out
on the paper-almost magical. My imagination was racing, and I could see myself already being driven into one of those baggage-cars bound for Tomsk.
'Keep your mind away from what is going to happen,' I said to myself. 'You'll have time enough to think in prison. Things are as they are. You are going to walk out of this room, just the way you've done a hundred times. Are you different now from what you have always been? Keep your mind on things you know are real.'
I tried to move accurately, as if a false move would disturb the balance of things so that I should walk out of the room on my hands like an acrobat.
Suddenly, the chief, who had been talking in a corner with the other man in uniform, wheeled about.
'I forget. But everything I saw or heard, I think.'
We began to laugh again.
'Will they send our telegrams?' 'Will Peter come on?'-'What shall we do for money?'
The room was pitch-dark except for the electric light from the street. We heard the creak and rattle of the empty commissariat wagons which were returning from the barracks. We all fell silent, feeling suddenly very tired and lethargic.
'Where is Janchu? It's time for his supper,' Marie said, without moving.
I started out of the room to call him, and fell across a dark figure sitting in front of the door. He grunted and pushed me back into the room.
'I want Janchu,' I said in perfectly good English, while he closed the door
'Frau Pierce may stay here under in my face. room-arrest. Good-day.'
He clicked his heels together and bowed slightly. His spies clustered about him, and they left the room.
All at once my bones seemed to crumble and my flesh to dissolve. I fell into a chair. Marie and I looked at each other. We began to laugh. 'We must n't get hysterical,' we said, and kept on laughing.
The room was so dark that we looked like two shadows. Panna Lolla had come after Janchu and taken him into Count S's room. We imagined the excited curiosity of the rest of the pension.
'I'll wager that that woman was a spy, after all.'
'But why-why should we have a revision?'
"There's a spy outside our door,' I whispered to Marie.
Panna Lolla came in with Janchu and turned on the light.
"There's a man outside our door, and two secret service men at the pension door, and two soldiers downstairs,' she whispered excitedly in one breath. 'No one can leave the pension, and they take the name and address of every one who comes here. And that woman was a spy. Antosha saw the chief go into her room and heard them talking together. And she left when they did.'
I lay all night, half-asleep, halfawake, hearing the street noises clearly through the open windows. I cried a little from exhaustion and nerves, and then controlled myself, for my head began to ache, and who knew what would happen the next day. I had to keep strength to meet some
'Anyway, they could n't have found much. We'll be set free in a few days,' Marie said. "They found my letter about the thing that was coming. I had no idea Jews,' I replied.
what it was, but the uncertainty of the
'What letter? Oh, my dear, what future only made it more ominous and did you say?' threatening. That letter- In the