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Countless small and large hairpins held together real and false switches and curls. Then the enormous hat was set in place and hatpins were stuck in. Frequently the hat was trimmed with birds and flowers only on one side, so that all the weight pulled at one spot. So, heroically smiling, women went out to promenade holding up their skirts with hands that were soon weary from the weight.

The clothes had a slit in back, a dangerous thing because it came open so easily. If one wanted to reach into the pocket, one had first to open the slit and then begin to feel around for the pocket. I cannot explain how the pocket managed never to be where one expected to find it — but it did. One constantly saw women on the streets with anxious expressions, searching behind, frantic, deseperate. Once the purse was found, they would forget to close the slit, or would be unable to locate the hooks and eyes.

A man at that time had to precede a woman when going upstairs so as not to fall under suspicion of wanting to see her legs. From the moment a young girl put on her first long dress — and how proud we were of them, and how often we tripped over them — no one was even to suspect that she was supported on anything more than ankles and even ankles were not supposed to be seen. On the street one wore laced boots; for some reason open shoes were not respectable outside the house. The boots had a long row of buttons, and if one was in a hurry, a button would inevitably come off.

The same thing happened with the gloves worn at balls; they came almost all the way up to the shoulder, were always too tight, pinched, and stretched, and were very expensive. But they were. Yes, they even managed to be graceful and to move elegantly. To be sure, one was in training for it from childhood. I still remember with horror the board with two diverging rods, which, held in place under the armpits and stretched across the back, was intended to develop an erect carriage. One also learned how to sit down, how to rise, and how to enter a room. Young girls were never supposed to sit in easy chairs.

What kind of a position is that? And how many angry glances were directed at my feet, because the forbidden ankles were showing. I loved our spacious garden with the old chestnut trees. In the spring we had breakfast under their white candles, and the hum of the bees mingled with that of the old silver teapot that had been handed down from my beautiful English great-grandmother.

Flecks of light played on the blue Wedgwood china; in the tall pines which shaded the gentle slope, squirrels hopped from branch to branch, and blackbirds sang. In autumn the old chestnut trees glowed yellow and filled the dining-room with a warm gold colour. The big green tile stove roared happily, and I ate as slowly as possible, because after breakfast I had to go to my lessons. On fine summer evenings the whole mass of stone turned pink, like the finest marble, and then, when it was already dusk all around, the Traunstein as our mountain was called shone forth out of the shadows like an undying flame.

Gradually, however, it paled and turned cold and dead, and everything lost life and became suddenly old and joyless. At that moment, without knowing why, I felt a deep sadness. A day was dead, a day of childhood was irrevocably gone. Jerome, Swift, Tennyson. The little snow-covered town looked like a picture on the Christmas cards we received from English cousins and friends. I especially liked the little church that stood on an island in the lake and was linked to the mainland by a long bridge. Entirely surrounded by white, it seemed to be floating in the clouds. I gladly sacrificed the pleasure of sleeping late on a Sunday in order to attend early mass in the island church.

One stepped from the soft white dawn into the dark building. On the pews, spiral-shaped, faintly-smelling yellow wax lights burned with slender flickering flames, the reddish vestments of the ministrants glowed dully, the figure of the priest moved indistinctly in the chancel, and the little asthmatic organ gave forth its best. It was Advent, the moment of expectancy; the Messiah will soon be born. We all know this, and we cry to heaven that it might open up and send down the savior of the world: rorate coeli.

And afterwards, when we walked back across the bridge, the heavens had truly opened, the sun streamed down, the blue sky made the snow seem even whiter, the air was cold, and we were filled with good resolutions — and terribly hungry. If I was alone with grandmother it was marvellous. I was allowed to prepare a Christmas tree for the poor children, buy things for them, and order vast quantities of chocolate and cakes from the cook.

They sat anxious and unsure of themselves on the edge of their seats, continually making little bows, would neither eat nor drink chocolate, and kept saying thank you over and over again, which annoyed and embarrassed me. Another point of the social code required that if a person has once been a guest in a house, the mistress of that house should remember for all time thereafter whether or not the person takes milk in his tea as well as how many lumps of sugar he takes. Never take up more than half a page at most to tell about your own affairs; more than that would almost certainly be of no interest.

It was only much later that I discovered the profound significance of this precept and found out how easy it is to give the impression that one is extremely intelligent. All the women whom history and literature present as uncommonly gifted were, above all else, good listeners, which, when you think of it, requires no special art, since in the end every human being is interesting when speaking of what is closest to his or her heart, whether that be politics, literature or something absolutely inconsequential.

When a gardener speaks of flowers or a tailor of clothes, his whole person is transformed; everything good and beautiful about roses or clothing is transferred, as it were, to him, while he in turn invests material things with the interest that inheres in any living human being. As I have said, however, I did not discover this truth until much later; in youth one feels so rich that one thinks only of giving out, not of taking in.

First, there was the traditional three-week stop in Vienna to visit the dentist and various relatives. Going to the dentist was not entirely awful; for one thing it provided an opportunity for heroic behavior, something I always enjoyed very much; in addition, that heroic behavior was always rewarded in one way or another. The relatives were a more difficult matter; here one demonstrated heroism by enduring boredom, and that was a good deal harder. She wore a faded yellow wig, and I think that, except for her chambermaid, no one ever saw her hands.

Her rooms were dark and smelled strangely of a mixture of rose-leaves and medicines. Aunt Maria had only one lung though for all that she lived to be seventy ; as a result, she kept out of the fresh air and almost never allowed her windows to be opened. She talked a great deal about music and inquired regularly about my progress with the piano — a painful topic.

Aunt Maria would talk with grandmother while I ate bonbons. Once old Johann brought in two little plates from which I ate alternately — with none too happy results, for on one of the plates had been placed not bonbons but sugarcoated laxative pills. I was delighted with the pearls although I was not yet allowed to wear them.

But this was in no way the fault of my piano teacher. Still, I did learn something else, when still quite young, from my music teacher: the tragedy of the unsuccessful artist. Herr Habert was an extremely gifted man; he had composed oratorios and masses, but he had never managed to establish himself as a composer. Finally — he must have been about fifty-seven at the time, which of course seemed utterly ancient to me — one of his oratorios was accepted for performance. Herr Habert was so happy that the piano lessons even became a pleasure.

Bloc-notes : la classe politique, liée à son mauvais rôle

He played phrases and motifs from the oratorio for me, explained them, and no longer noticed when my timing was off. Herr Habert came a few more times to give me lessons, then excused himself saying he was very tired, and never came back. When I went to see him, he was lying in bed in his — to me — miserable three-room dwelling, his face completely grey, and his body small and shrunken.

He did not complain; he only said that he was tired, very tired. A fat ugly wife and three homely grown-up daughters said he had to pull himself together. But he was too weary, and shortly after that he went to sleep forever. She would look at you with a frozen face, as though it had been carved out of wood, in which only her little dark eyes seemed to be alive, and would bend down toward you with her huge ear-trumpet in her ear.

Walking into her old-fashioned drawing-room with its stiff black ebony furniture was not without its perils. As soon as the door opened four yellow pugs would spring at you, yapping wildly and snapping at your legs. The pugs were old and peevish. Once the servant had quieted them they would crouch down sullenly on their cushions and glower at everything around them. The chairs were unwelcoming, even the flowers on the tables were dead.

I was always happy when grandmother indicated that it was time for us to go. She was big and strong and, though no longer young, full of life. At her house one did not have to sit still on a stool; one could wander through the rooms and examine the curious things she had brought back from her distant travels. Aunt Steffi was what in those days was called an emancipated woman; she travelled alone all over the world; and would set off for Japan or China as fearlessly as others would go from Vienna to Salzburg.

Thus Vienna to me was the city of pink tissue paper, for the washerwomen there placed sheets of pink tissue paper between individual garments when they returned them — which looked very pretty and dainty. Whenever I heard the name Vienna soft pink sheets of tissue paper immediately appeared before my eyes. Germany, on the other hand, was closely linked to fine railway stations and thick slices of bread and butter.

The fine station was the one at Frankfurt-am-Main. We passed through it once and, while the train was stopped, went for a walk on the platform. Grandmother explained to me that this was the finest railway station in Europe. It made a great impression on me, far greater than Cologne Cathedral, which we saw on the same trip. There it was only the mosaic on the floor that pleased me. We were travelling from Lindau to Rorschach and on the steamer ordered bread and butter. It came and so completely astonished me — accustomed as I was to paper-thin English sandwiches — that I was almost angry, for I thought, for some unfathomable reason, that thick slices of bread, especially when thickly spread with butter, were vulgar.

Grandmother explained to me that in Germany one always gets thick sandwiches. My view of the German Empire was formed immediately: it was a vulgar country with beautiful railway stations. It is not a beautiful memory. I was at that time separated from grandmother and was travelling with my parents.

It was winter. The lagoons were grey and gloomy and foul-smelling. On top of it all, in an effort to educate me — I was then seven years old — I was dragged through all the galleries. I saw picture after picture and found them all deadly boring. Even at a time when I had begun to take genuine delight in works by Perugino and Luini, I refused — out of spite — to say so and it was not until I was quite grown up and was spending two years in Florence with my parents that I admitted to getting pleasure from painting.

Of the trip I remember only that I was horribly seasick in the Bay of Biscay. When the ship cast anchor in Lisbon harbour I had a terrible fright. Out of little bobbing boats dark, bearded creatures emerged and clambered up to our ship. I thought they were monkeys. Later I realized that they were men. In Lisbon I saw for the first time the reverse side of having colonies.

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They were received with great ceremony; the court and the entire diplomatic corps showed up. Well-dressed, well-nourished, healthy people, gathered respectfully around the beautiful queen and the fat king, stood about the dock, but from the ship came yellow shadows, emaciated, desiccated from the deadly climate.

Many staggered as they disembarked, others had to be carried. There were also simple women there, weeping bitterly because their son was not among those who had been shipped back. The ship put out to sea in the late afternoon. When we reached the dreaded bar where the Tagus empties into the ocean, the sun went down.

The great waves boiled blood-red about the ship like liquid flames, and in the distance lay the ocean, dark and infinite. On this trip I came into contact with a person whom I have never been able to forget in the many years that have passed since that time, and of whom I shall always think with gratitude. The weather was bad, the trip took five days instead of the usual three, and I was seasick the whole time. My mother stayed up on deck: children do not know how to be seasick gracefully and are not a particularly pleasant sight in this condition.

To the misery of seasickness would have been added the misery of loneliness had it not been for a big English sailor with red hair and many freckles. Perhaps he had children at home, perhaps he was simply a good man; at any rate he took care of me, as the saying goes, as a father takes care of his child. In the morning he came into my cabin and dressed me.

To this day I remember how gentle and careful his big hands were. Then he carried me out on deck and helped me to combat seasickness. To accomplish this he employed the strangest means. I had to eat sour things, drink salt water and when none of this did any good, he resorted to the remedy he no doubt considered a universal cure and forced me to down a large glass of pure whisky. He was bitterly disappointed when that too failed to help.

But throughout the entire day, he found time to come to me every little while, tuck me into my blanket, cheer me up, and promise me good weather and a smooth sea on the following day. In the evening he carried me back to the cabin and undressed me. I have forgotten his name, but not the man himself, with his big, strong, soft hands and the kindly smile on his freckled face.

We climbed into the funny little sledge-like oxcart, and I was very anxious to sit on the rear seat. For some reason or other my memories of Madeira have faded. I see now only the great camelia bushes, the thickly wooded village of Monte from which you slid down the polished cobblestone path to Funchal in a sort of bob-sled, as though it were a toboggan-run.

I also remember a dreadful, seemingly endless dinner which the Austrian consul gave in honour of my mother, and at which twenty-five different vintages of Madeira wine were brought out. Here it was very beautiful; the hotel lay right by the sea, and the mighty Pic rose up snow-covered into the blue sky. There were weird cacti that produced yellow, edible pears and eucalyptus trees with their wonderfully strong smell.

One of the residents of the hotel was a beautiful Englishwoman who played the guitar and showed the most friendly interest in me. My mother forbade me to speak to her. I racked my brains for a reason for this prohibition. What could such a lovely, charming woman have done? And how did my mother — who was not even acquainted with her — know that she had committed a crime? I worried a great deal about the beautiful woman and often, while I was playing alone on the beach, I would think how I might help her get away in case the police came after her. There were lights on all the hills surrounding the city, fireworks crackled all around, and against the night sky you could see the saint preaching his famous sermon to the fishes.

At the hotel grandmother made the acquaintance of an English family consisting of two tall, suntanned men, their wives, and the daughters of the elder of the two men — one grown-up and two still quite small. They were passionate mountain climbers and seemed to have no interest in literature. Only eleven-year old Olive composed stories, which she wrote into a copybook. But when we compared our stories at one point, I had to note, in all modesty, that mine were not a whit worse than hers. We went into the woods with her big sister Enid to pick bilberries.

All along the way we had fun imagining that we would get lost and never be able to find our way back. We thought up all sorts of frightening situations: endlessly wandering around and searching vainly for the way back, having to go without food or water after all the bilberries had been eaten, and finally when winter came on, with lots of snow and ice, freezing to death.

On the way back we two young ones ran on ahead. Whether by pure chance or because we were unconsciously led on by the thought of losing our way, we took the wrong path. We called her name — no answer. But the path became narrower, the bushes became more dense, the trees seemed to get taller. We continued to call vainly for Enid, and kept running on in the hope that her form would suddenly appear at some turn in the way; but we only got ourselves deeper and deeper into the wood. Anxiety had us so tightly by the throat that our shouts sounded muffled, strange, and frightening in themselves.

All at once the wood had turned into something evil and menacing. The bushes made fiendish grimaces, and the tall pines had become dark as night and hostile. Weird noises filled the air, sounds of scraping and crackling. I turned away, not daring to look Olive in the face, for I had done so once and seen something horrible in her expression — stark fear. All the visions we had conjured up in fun now became grim reality: we would never, never get out of the forest — we were going to perish here, miserably.

How good it was to hear the sound of a human voice, even though it was scolding us roundly, how calming and comforting was the slap in the face that Olive got from her sister. The forest was immediately beautiful and friendly again, for there was a human being there, someone we belonged to, someone who spoke with a human voice and who was not alien and impenetrable like nature.

We were crossing the Mediterranean. The weather was bad, waves crashed on to the deck; with every breaker the ship seemed to be pitched up to meet the lowhanging, dark, stormy sky only to sink down again, after shuddering violently for a second, into bottomless depths. The few first-class passengers had gathered in the saloon after dinner.

A pretty young American sat in a corner speaking. She talked incessantly as though to deafen herself, flirted with the men, laughed shrilly. But there was fear in her dilated eyes, and her hands were clenched together so tightly that the knuckles shone white. Her face was deathly pale, and her smile a frozen grimace. She talked about her husband and little son in America, and behind each word lurked the fear: I shall never see them again.

Tell me there is no danger, that a ship has never yet gone down. It grew late; the young woman continued to talk, convulsively, feverishly — only, for the love of heaven, let me keep one other human being here so that I am not left alone. She seemed very fond of her husband — yet on that night she would undoubtedly have betrayed him with any man there, passenger, officer or sailor, anything so as not to have to remain alone with her fear.

I was with my mother visiting an English aunt and was to pay a call on my Uncle Anton who was then at the embassy there. My mother put me in a hansome cab and gave the driver the address. Apparently the man misunderstood it, for when I got out and the carriage had driven off I found myself in front of a strange house in an unfamiliar street amid the tumult of the huge city. Strangely enough, I — who even today, I am ashamed to confess, am fearful when crossing the street — was not in the least afraid.

There were people everywhere, so what could happen to me? I walked happily along several streets, enjoying the adventure and paying no attention to the fact that I was getting further and further from my destination. When at last I became tired, I went up to a policeman who put me in a hansome cab again and this time gave the driver the right address. This veneration of beauty was in my blood, perhaps because her beauty was the most important thing in the world to my beautiful mother. Grandmother and Aunt Agnes once arranged to meet in Milan. Aunt Agnes had brought a travelling companion with her.

I was absolutely determined to be there when inspiration came to her and to experience the moment with her. I never experienced it.

Full text of "My memoirs"

She was a dried-up old spinster who wrote sentimental, extremely moral love stories. Still, I thought she was wonderful and almost expired from adoration of her. Once when we set out on an excursion to Monza, I was horrified when May Cromelin was seated beside me on the rear seat. A writer, a genius by the grace of God, had by rights to be given the place of honour! She called my adored Jerome K. At that time I had no idea that half of England felt the same way about Jerome K.

When I turned in consternation to grandmother for an explanation, she smiled and said that literary people were often jealous of each other. It was as though I had received a blow to the head, for I had always believed that these people were especially devoted to each other and eager to lend each other mutual support whenever that was possible. Let it be recalled, by way of excuse, that I was then about ten years old. The whole family, father, mother, grandmother had all been endowed by nature with beautiful noses, but I had been cursed with a Bohemian nose, a heritage from my other grandmother, my Czech grandmother.

Father used to tease me about it and said that it would rain into my nose, it turned so steeply up to the heavens. But Uncle Anton looked at me searchingly one day and said:. Whenever he came to visit grandmother, lunch was a torment for me, because he used that time to investigate the state of my knowledge. Unfortunately for me, he had the idea that a child should know everything he knew, and he was — not just for an Austrian aristocrat, but by any standard — an exceptionally well-educated man. To this day I detest Charles XII of Sweden, because I got my ears boxed when I was not yet eight years old for not being able to give an accurate account of his military campaigns.

Every time we passed a tree I had to say what it was called in German, French, English, and later also in Italian. It was especially terrible if we spotted cranberries; I could never remember that they are called airelles in French. He had run away to America when he was quite a young man, and there, without a kreuzer in his pocket, had earned his own living — first as a waiter, which did not last long because he was so near-sighted, then as a salesman in a dry-goods store.

He had made an excellent salesman, he claimed, and I think he was telling the truth, for no one was a greater charmer than my father, when he wanted to be. It is not difficult to believe that he could talk up the worst fabrics until he persuaded the American women that they were the best. He was discharged simply because he could never manage to roll up the bolts of cloth correctly. I inherited that too from him; to this day I am incapable of making a decent package.

One story that he used to tell, about a poker game in Texas, was especially fine and exciting. A man was caught cheating and by a very simple method was rendered immediately incapable of doing further damage. When speaking of this period of his life he made remarks to me that at the time were vague and quite incomprehensible concerning the early maturity and forwardness of American girls. He was very proud of the fact that he, the spoiled child of an aristocrat, had made his way so well over there, and many years later when he was at the embassy in Washington, he was much amused when at grand embassy receptions he got to lead in to dinner the very ladies to whom he had once sold dry-goods.

We sat in the little salon before an open fire, and he told us about Japan. He had brought back with him many beautiful things, lacquer, porcelain, and for me his big red Japanese visiting card. When a new ambassador had his first audience with the Mikado, a servant went before him bearing the big red visiting card. One ambassador had a great misfortune befall him on such an occasion. He had not taken the necessary precaution of having someone who knew Japanese review the card beforehand.

Bloc-notes : la classe politique, liée à son mauvais rôle

On the great sheet of paper, fluttering in the wind as it was borne before him were inscribed the words:. Many years before the Russo-Japanese War he spoke of the inevitable conflict between the two empires, and he was convinced that Japan would emerge victorious from the conflict. Before then, it had been simply an infinitely vast land, with cities and rivers and lakes whose names one could never remember. Now it had become something dark and bad, ruled by an evil power that tortured men, banished them, and exiled them to wildernesses of ice. Alexander III was a blood-thirsty monster surrounded by criminals and scoundrels, and somewhere in the dim and distant depths a martyred people groaned beneath the scourge.

He had never been comfortable with the Austrians and their carefree way of living in the moment, and now he felt doubly estranged from them. He already had at that time the tendency toward solitude and the horror of people that finally drove him to withdraw to an old castle in the country, where, after years of living all alone, he died. Thus it came about that we did not go to Italy or the Riviera that winter, but visited my parents in Algeria.

It really began in Marseilles. We stayed there in an enormous hotel, which grandmother dubbed a caravansary. What a magnificent word that was! It made me think of long caravans winding across the golden desert, of endless lines of camels trudging heavily along, and of a tiny donkey going ahead as their leader. Here one already gets that unique odour of the Orient — a mixture of attar of roses, morocco leather, camel dung and sun-baked filth.

An exciting smell that sets the nerves a-tingle and presages all kinds of strange adventures. In my head too everything was as on the pictures. For the first time I was unable to absorb the many new impressions crowding in on me; they took me by storm, pulled me hither and thither, so that pleasure was mixed with dizziness and exhaustion.

I was enraptured. The overpowering spell of the Orient had seized hold of me. It has never let me go. The North, for me, remains to this day an ersatz of life, sad and colourless, with its ersatz sky, its ersatz sun, and its ersatz flowers. I had secretly been hoping for a holiday. However, father softened the blow for me by presenting me with a little donkey, Bichette, on which I made the daily trip to the convent.

Ali, the Arab groom, trotted alongside me on foot. The cool austerity of the convent filled the high-ceilinged rooms, and even on the hottest days, the nuns in their heavy black garments and veils never seemed to be warm. I loved the evenings most of all. My parents were of the opinion that parents should see as little of their children as possible; besides, they had a very active social life and had no time for me.

Here, however, there were quantities of books, and I plunged in and indiscriminately read everything that fell into my hands. She was fifteen, a year older than myself, and it was she who introduced me to the sentimental side of life, of which, until then, I knew absolutely nothing. When I had come to know her better, she suddenly said, out of the blue:. It begins with L.

Socialism bored her to tears. Finally we compromised. I was ready to pay court to her if I could be a socialist agitator, trying to convert a wealthy maiden to socialism. Perhaps that journey home after all the travelling was the most beautiful part of it all. As the train passed between two steep banks on which anemones peeked out like white stars through the dead leaves of autumn and liverwort gleamed blue, my heart began to thump with joy and impatience.

Then followed the ride from the station past the odd, green-covered hillocks, shrouded in mystery because, it was said, they were mass graves from the Peasant War, over the well-known streets of the little town, past familiar faces, the bath-house, and the riding school, up the steep hill, and through the big garden gate. And there stood the beloved house; the garden was smiling in the spring; and I was once more alone with grandmother. Life was beautiful. The first months were unbearable; I suffered one humiliation after another. Here, however, people of my own age would say the same thing to me, even if the words were different.

One was composed of typical well brought up middle-class girls. It sickened and bored me. Naturally I wanted to belong to this clique. She was about two years older than me, and most strangely formed, with a short fat body, on which was placed a beautiful head with wonderful eyes and a high intelligent forehead.

She is the only person who ever succeeded in awakening a certain counteractive patriotism in me. She reproached me bitterly for sleeping late on a Sunday morning, instead of going to mass. There stood Dutzi stark naked and beautiful as God had created her. I never could understand why from that time on Dutzi was angry with me. As a matter of fact, as far as I personally am concerned, everything is her fault. I read Fathers and Sons and fell in love with Bazarov and Russia.

Subsequently I discovered that Turgeniev was at bottom a counter-revolutionary; but in those days he excited all my rebellious feelings, and I had but one wish: to go to Russia and join these heroic beings in bringing about the revolution. With one of them — entitled Nora in German — I was already familiar. When I was with my parents in Lisbon there was a little cupboard next to the toilet where father stored away books he had already read. Even at that time I seem to have been true to my principle: never waste a moment.

It was a bitter disappointment, because I did not understand a word of it. It seemed to me that I could never be clean again. I washed myself at every opportunity and my body filled me with disgust. I could do something none of them was able to bring off: I could write. She proclaimed to all that there was only one poet in the world, Hofmannsthal, and gave us his works to read. I found them boring, but held my tongue, because Mimi was such a nice girl. There were violent literary debates, but Mimi would not let herself be beaten down — until one day there was a sudden change in her.

She received a letter from home, and ran around the whole day with tear-filled eyes. My youth, and everything that stood for security and freedom from care, was gone. A hostile world lay before me, a world of ill-intentioned strangers. I had no home any more. At sixteen, I had to cope alone with myself and with the world. He would have done so gladly, except that the conventions of the time formed an insurmountable obstacle. I was a grown girl, and he was not yet an old man. The tongues would have wagged furiously. In this way, I could at least remain in the place where grandmother and I had lived together, and I would be able to spend summer afternoons in the villa and the garden.

With her I could talk about grandmother and reminisce about the wonderful time when the house, now so sad and desolate, had been filled with her love and kindness. We all wore the same hideous dark blue, beige-braided uniform, shared the same bad food, and had to clean our own rooms. The person I loved most was dead, and I needed a heaven that held out the promise of our meeting again in the future.

I got to know the seductive attraction of the mystical: strange nocturnal hours in the dim chapel, lit only by the pale red glow of the altar lamps. Easter-tide came, after the forty days of fasting, during which, with the penchant I then had for doing everything in excess, I almost starved. On an empty stomach and with a giddy head it is not difficult to see visions and feel the overpowering presence of a God. Thousands upon thousands moved by the same world-embracing, barrier-breaking struggle, by the same hope, the same present, and the same future. And one is oneself part of that, no longer something separate, no longer an individual, but only a tiny, evanescent part of a great cause.

I got entangled in traps in math and geometry but I had mastered the other subjects pretty well, and so I managed to slip through. Whenever I went out laden with books in search of an isolated spot, I invariably met a quiet man with glasses, going the same way. Although we knew each other we never exchanged a word; but the professor always bowed to me in the most friendly manner, and I was happy that he shared my solitude in a way.

With his big nose, the future Swastika-supporter looked quite Jewish. He whistled tunes from operettas, and impressed one as loud and common. Here she lived with her three children in rather modest surroundings. In contrast, her oldest son, who was then attending the Naval Academy, was passionately Italian. He seems to have the same convictions — in Italian translation — as his step-uncle. Mother stayed behind in Europe. The little ship with its two funnels — a real one and a wooden one for show only — rolled helplessly from side to side. His effort was in vain. The ship rolled and tossed, and the little yellow downy creature turned and turned until I was quite dizzy.

A figure out of the Thousand and One Nights , but clad in European style, came to meet us: Abensur, the Austrian vice-consul, a Moorish Jew and one of the handsomest men I have ever seen. Also waiting for us on the wharf were the Moroccan soldiers who accompany all the foreign representatives. During the dry season one sank into the sand, and in the wet season the mud came up over the ankles.

Here large dromedaries stood as motionless as if they had been carved out of wood; little grey donkeys raised their shaggy heads and brayed; and snake-charmers crouched on the ground, surrounded by gaping throngs. As they played monotonous melodies on primitive flutes, an enormous snake would uncoil and wave its body in rhythm. In other parts of the Suk , people were gathered around a story-teller, who, half-singing, half-speaking, told of wonderful things. After the market place came an empty stretch with nothing but sand. Father spurred Moghreb into a gallop, and Ali began to gallop also.

As I was sitting on a horse for the first time, I became extremely uncomfortable and clung without shame to the mane of the beautiful animal. So we rode up to the front of the Villa Valentina, the hotel at Tangiers, where we were welcomed by the proprietress in the most beautiful Austrian dialect.

The legation itself was just across the way, a one-story house in the midst of a tangled garden. But then my social duties made their demands. We were invited to dinner by the French minister. He may even try to pump you. Until dinner all went well, and then, sitting between the French and English ministers I discovered to my horror that I had to blow my nose — and I had no handkerchief.

This was a fine way for me to make my debut. I sniffled violently and lost the thread of the conversation. Father was not within reach. My nose began to run; I looked around at my neighbours: which of them would be the first to understand my need? The Frenchman was grave and solemn, like a priest celebrating mass. I had been warned against the Englishman, but his blue eyes had a smile in them. Then he laughed, father cast me an approving glance, because I was evidently not boring my dinner partner, and Sir Arthur Nicholson passed the handkerchief to me under the table.

He knew this and always went around with a troubled, anxious look on his kindly face. All his other colleagues liked him. He was a good man, always ready to help, but he was no diplomat. He was happiest when he could be left to himself at home with his beautiful wife and many children, or when he invited the German colony to some celebration. Representing the entirely disinterested Austrian state, father watched with great interest the skirmishings and intrigues and told me about them, so that I was continually au courant. There was to be a wild boar hunt at the time, in which the boars are speared from horses with long lances, and I did not yet ride well enough to go on such a hunt.

We had to go on horseback even to the balls. The chair-bearers were Jews: they did not work on Saturdays and holidays, so that on those days elderly ladies were obliged to ride on donkeys to dinners and receptions. We young girls mounted our horses in our evening dresses, pulled the skirts up high and wrapped our legs in plaids. If it rained we held our umbrella in one hand and the bridle in the other.

Soldiers walked in front of the horses carrying lanterns with two candles, which only the baschador , the ambassador, was permitted to have. Ordinary mortals had to be content with one candle. We would halt at the closed gate. One of the soldiers would knock three times, the signal that a baschador wished to enter, then the gate would open with a grating sound and we would pass through.

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  4. It was all a strange mixture of Orient and Occident. The members of the diplomatic corps were the same people one might meet in the capital of any country, and their dinners and balls could have been given in Vienna, Berlin or any other European city. Then, out of the blue, something happened that revealed the Orient and its barbaric cruelty in a glaring light. Suddenly we heard a wild cry. An Arab dashed by us on horseback with a young girl stretched across the saddle.

    She was trying to get free and screaming desperately. She worked at the house of some Jews and got involved with one of the sons. Now her brothers have come after her. Monsieur St. He could do nothing, he said, the affair was no concern of the Europeans; if they got mixed up in it there might be complications, and above all: no complications!

    I stormed in helpless rage; it was as though they were all standing calmly by while a murder took place. In those days I still believed that the purpose of diplomacy was to prevent people from being murdered. It was a large building, low to the ground; the barred side was fully visible, and behind the bars you could see the prisoners crammed together, standing or crouching.

    They were not fed by the state but were dependent upon what friends and relatives brought them. Those who came from the interior were often on the verge of starvation. They pressed against the bars like wild animals, stretching out shrivelled hands to beg a piece of bread, scuffling and beating each other bloody over a bit of bread — and this within five hours of Gibraltar.

    The End and the Beginning

    About two hours from Tangiers there was a thick grove which was inhabited, according to the natives, by djinns, evil spirits. Once, while taking a ride, we came to the grove, and Sliman urged me to ride quickly by. I jumped off my horse and headed straight for the wood.

    Aïe Aïe Aïe !

    I laughed at him and went into the grove. When I came back, there was Sliman, who was afraid of nothing in the whole world, pale as death and trembling, scarcely able to believe his eyes when he saw me appear alive and unscathed. I had taken the precaution of not saying anything to father about my plan; the environs of the town were not supposed to be safe, and women ought not to venture too far into the countryside. I later learned that the occupant of the hut had died a short time before. Sliman advised me strongly not to venture out of the hut.

    Here he was the master; I felt this and, somewhat intimidated, I obeyed. The village had finally seen enough of me, and Sliman had disappeared with his family. I was in a way a prisoner. Then there was another big scene with father. You go out riding all alone with Sliman to his village! You know very well how unsafe the country is. It also seemed to me that father was exaggerating. Not a soul had come near me, and except for the fleas nothing unpleasant had happened to me. From that time on, however, I always had to inform father of my destination when I went out riding.

    In the marketplace there was an old Negro who played the banjo and sang in a cracked voice. He had been in America, spoke English and drawled a sort of song composed of the names of various cities in which he had lived: New York, San Francisco, Chica-go-o-o! Beside him, squatting on the ground, was his little grandchild Maimuna, four years old, coal-black and round as a button, with gleaming teeth and shining bright eyes. I could never pass the two without stopping and playing with the child.

    The soldier shook his head disapprovingly. He was used to seeing me pick up all the stray dogs I came across and bring them back to the legation garden, but a Negro child — that was too much! At home I undressed her and put her in the bathtub. That pleased her less and she began to bawl with all her might. Now you go out and buy a Negro child so that people will say the Austrian legation is involved in the slave trade.

    You take that child right back to the old scoundrel! I had to dress her and take her back to her grandfather. The old fellow was not at all angry; he had earned an easy sovereign. First my cigars and now this brat! Not far from the hotel there lived a poor Jewish family with countless children. The oldest son, Abrahamito, a little fellow of about ten, was my special friend. If I was alone in the house — Abrahamito always seemed to know when that was — he would come to the window and beg for cigars. Today he sold me ten more. Abrahamito got no more cigars from me.

    She was sixteen and extremely pretty. Old Ali seemed very much in love with his young wife. Every time he started to accompany me on my walks the same thing would happen without fail: he would begin to make the most terrible faces, press his hand to his middle and moan that he had a stomach ache. He had to go home and drink tea, he claimed. He was too old to run around with me, I could go on alone, he would meet me at the Suk — but the Baschador must never know. The manager of the German postal service was marrying the daughter of the German engineer, R.

    The entire European colony had gathered in the tiny Protestant church. The soldiers from the legations waited in front of the door. A young girl with more good will and expenditure of voice than musical talent sang some wedding song or other. It must have sounded less than happy for when we came out of the church Mohammed asked father in astonishment:. Another Mohammed, the head-waiter in the hotel, had a story to tell about that. Mohammed was a hadji , a holy man, who had made the pilgrimage to Mecca — twice in fact.

    He had been forced by Christians to make the second pilgrimage. Mohammed had a young wife, a beautiful, marvellously developed Negress, Fatma. Old Mr. Perdicaris was later a victim of Raisuli; he was the first to be kidnapped by the bandit and was only released after payment of a very large ransom. With true European-American thoughtlessness the Perdicarises insisted that on this one occasion Fatma should go unveiled. Fatma wept, refused, pleaded to be spared this dishonour. In vain. The economically weaker party had to yield. On the evening of the ball Fatma stood in the hall with an expression of shame and despair on her face, not daring to raise her eyes from the floor.

    From time to time tears ran down her beautiful dark face. No decent Muslim woman spoke to her any more, friends and relatives disowned her. Had the wife of Mohammed, the hadji , become a woman of the streets the shame could not have been greater. Yet Mohammed, who had been wounded in the depths of his honour, still stood by his wife; he was wise enough to know where the blame lay.

    And finally his love and wisdom found a means of salvation for Fatma. When it was time for the pilgrimage to Mecca, Mohammed and his wife made the journey to the holy city. Fatma came back purified, cleansed of her sin, and even more — sanctified. Now she no longer had to look away in the presence of others; she was a hadja , a holy woman; her sins were all forgiven and wiped away. But Mohammed never forgave the Christians for what they had done to Fatma and to him. Now there were two seas, one with blue waves lapping against the beach, and a second one inland — whole fields of blue irises, gleaming and perfuming the air, rippling like little waves in the wind.

    Everything was blue as far as the eye could see. He actually did look a great deal like the Van Dyck portrait of Charles I. He spoke of Bernard Shaw and the Fabians, and I became angry when father called him an unbearable poseur. Harris owned a beautiful Arab house on the beach, which the Sultan had given him. It was said that he had become rich by making the Sultan the most impossible gifts of articles imported from Europe: cuckoo clocks, wax flowers, music boxes. For these worthless European trinkets Harris received in return horses, jewelled daggers, morocco leather, and many other such gifts.

    I still recall a scene at a daytime reception one day at the Russian legation. The B. The whole diplomatic corps was there when Harris in riding breeches, hot and dusty, strode into the salon, self-important as always. Why did you not stay with him? He let his anger get the better of him and did not consider the consequences of such incidents.

    At bottom he was cynical and believed in nothing. Disloyalty, I think, was the only thing he did not dismiss with mocking laughter. Such nonsense. A real anarchist, a man who — if it was necessary — threw bombs. I had to meet him!

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    Invite him to dinner! The police warn us officially about the fellow and I, the minister, am to invite him to dinner! You look like a Czech. Will he even touch the food or will he reproach us for our frivolous life, for feasting while the poor go hungry? Perhaps his sense of justice will be affronted by the beautiful roses which I fetched from the Russian legation and with which I covered the whole table. And really I ought not have put on my low-cut white silk dress; a high-necked black one would be more fitting. Can one take a girl seriously if she wears a white silk dress and a string of pearls around her neck?

    How do you address him? How can that show the respect due to him? Herr N.

    He wore a dinner jacket and was a rather small, still young Austrian Jew with a high forehead and bushy black hair. He ate the food he was served without batting an eyelid, and called us not profiteers and blood-suckers, but most politely Count Cr. The two men conversed chiefly with one another. They talked about — literature.

    In vain I tried to turn the conversation toward the topic: anarchism. When he had gone my father said:. I am glad I invited him. An intelligent, likeable, interesting chap. He arrived on a Sunday. Herr von M. As I got up to leave after the service, a man was standing near the holy water font, who very gravely offered me some holy water.

    I looked at him with astonishment and at first did not recognize him. It was Herr von M. Such was the power of the baschador! It was considered impolite to decline the cup of tea offered one, and I did much in those days for the sake of the good name of Austria, for I could be offered as many as twenty cups of tea to drink— and I drank them. The music was enough to put you to sleep, always the same five notes.

    The room was full of heavy oriental perfumes, and it was difficult for the older ladies to keep their eyes open. The wedding procession passed through the city, first the bridegroom and the male relatives on horseback and then the bride, likewise on a horse, but enclosed in a sort of cabinet hung with rugs and open only at the top. She was carried around for hours on end in this manner. If the lamb was still alive when they reached the mosque, the faithful would have a good year. If it were dead, that was a sign of coming misfortune. Naturally it always lived until the mosque was reached. Everything was still, as though paralysed.

    He would recall this every time he reported for duty. He had always been a vain fellow, and now he spent all his money on clothes in order to please the European women. He began to drink, too. His greatest pride was the calling cards which he had had made for himself and which read:. Father was at that time paying court to a pretty woman and sent Raschid with a large bouquet of roses for her.

    The next time he and Countess S. In the course of the conversation he unraveled the solution of the mystery. Imagine, he brought me the most wonderful bouquet of roses not long ago. Tell me, was the man really an admiral? We never learned what became of our admiral.