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  • 12/1899
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Henry’s Log, June 5. Dreadful forebodings. God spare us from all such horrors! Some of the men getting to talk a good deal. Nothing to write down. Heart very sad.

Henry’s Log, June 6. Passed some sea-weed and something that looked like the trunk of an old tree, but no birds; beginning to be afraid islands not there. To-day it was said to the captain, in the hearing of all, that some of the men would not shrink, when a man was dead, from using the flesh, though they would not kill. Horrible! God give us all full use of our reason, and spare us from such things! ‘From plague, pestilence, and famine; from battle and murder, and from sudden death, good Lord, deliver us!’

[Diary entry] June 6. Latitude 16 degrees 30 minutes, longitude (chron.) 134 degrees. Dry night and wind steady enough to require no change in sail; but this A.M. an attempt to lower it proved abortive. First the third mate tried and got up to the block, and fastened a temporary arrangement to reeve the halyards through, but had to come down, weak and almost fainting, before finishing; then Joe tried, and after twice ascending, fixed it and brought down the block; but it was very exhausting work, and afterward he was good for nothing all day. The clue-iron which we are trying to make serve for the broken block works, however, very indifferently, and will, I am afraid, soon cut the rope. It is very necessary to get everything connected with the sail in good easy running order before we get too weak to do anything with it.

Only three meals left.–Captain’s Log.

[Diary entry] June 7. Latitude 16 degrees 35 minutes N., longitude 136 degrees 30 minutes W. Night wet and uncomfortable. To-day shows us pretty conclusively that the American Isles are not there, though we have had some signs that looked like them. At noon we decided to abandon looking any farther for them, and to-night haul a little more northerly, so as to get in the way of Sandwich Island vessels, which fortunately come down pretty well this way–say to latitude 19 degrees to 20 degrees to get the benefit of the trade- winds. Of course all the westing we have made is gain, and I hope the chronometer is wrong in our favour, for I do not see how any such delicate instrument can keep good time with the constant jarring and thumping we get from the sea. With the strong trade we have, I hope that a week from Sunday will put us in sight of the Sandwich Islands, if we are not safe by that time by being picked up.

It is twelve hundred miles to the Sandwich Islands; the provisions are virtually exhausted, but not the perishing diarist’s pluck.

[Diary entry] My cough troubled me a good deal last night, and therefore I got hardly any sleep at all. Still, I make out pretty well, and should not complain. Yesterday the third mate mended the block, and this P.M. the sail, after some difficulty, was got down, and Harry got to the top of the mast and rove the halyards through after some hardship, so that it now works easy and well. This getting up the mast is no easy matter at any time with the sea we have, and is very exhausting in our present state. We could only reward Harry by an extra ration of water. We have made good time and course to-day. Heading her up, however, makes the boat ship seas and keeps us all wet; however, it cannot be helped. Writing is a rather precarious thing these times. Our meal to-day for the fifteen consists of half a can of ‘soup and boullie’; the other half is reserved for to-morrow. Henry still keeps up grandly, and is a great favourite. God grant he may be spared.

A better feeling prevails among the men.–Captain’s Log.

[Diary entry] June 9. Latitude 17 degrees 53 minutes. Finished to- day, I may say, our whole stack of provisions.[2] We have only left a lower end of a ham-bone, with some of the outer rind and skin on. In regard to the water, however, I think we have got ten days’ supply at our present rate of allowance. This, with what nourishment we can get from boot-legs and such chewable matter, we hope will enable us to weather it out till we get to the Sandwich Islands, or, sailing in the meantime in the track of vessels thither bound, be picked up. My hope is in the latter, for in all human probability I cannot stand the other. Still, we have been marvellously protected, and God, I hope, will preserve us all in His own good time and way. The men are getting weaker, but are still quiet and orderly.

[Diary entry] Sunday, June 10. Latitude 18 degrees 40 minutes, longitude 142 degrees 34 minutes. A pretty good night last night, with some wettings, and again another beautiful Sunday. I cannot but think how we should all enjoy it at home, and what a contrast is here! How terrible their suspense must begin to be! God grant that it may be relieved before very long, and He certainly seems to be with us in everything we do, and has preserved this boat miraculously; for since we left the ship we have sailed considerably over three thousand miles, which, taking into consideration our meagre stock of provisions, is almost unprecedented. As yet I do not feel the stint of food so much as I do that of water. Even Henry, who is naturally a good water-drinker, can save half of his allowance from time to time, when I cannot. My diseased throat may have something to do with that, however.

Nothing is now left which by any flattery can be called food. But they must manage somehow for five days more, for at noon they have still eight hundred miles to go. It is a race for life now.

This is no time for comments or other interruptions from me–every moment is valuable. I will take up the boy brother’s diary at this point, and clear the seas before it and let it fly.


Sunday, June 10. Our ham-bone has given us a taste of food to-day, and we have got left a little meat and the remainder of the bone for tomorrow. Certainly, never was there such a sweet knuckle-one, or one that was so thoroughly appreciated…. I do not know that I feel any worse than I did last Sunday, notwithstanding the reduction of diet; and I trust that we may all have strength given us to sustain the sufferings and hardships of the coming week. We estimate that we are within seven hundred miles of the Sandwich Islands, and that our average, daily, is somewhat over a hundred miles, so that our hopes have some foundation in reason. Heaven send we may all live to see land!

June 11. Ate the meat and rind of our ham-bone, and have the bone and the greasy cloth from around the ham left to eat to-morrow. God send us birds or fish, and let us not perish of hunger, or be brought to the dreadful alternative of feeding on human flesh! As I feel now, I do not think anything could persuade me; but you cannot tell what you will do when you are reduced by hunger and your mind wandering. I hope and pray we can make out to reach the islands before we get to this strait; but we have one or two desperate men aboard, though they are quiet enough now. IT IS MY FIRM TRUST AND BELIEF THAT WE ARE GOING TO BE SAVED.

All food gone.–Captain’s Log.[3]

[Ferguson’s log continues]

June 12. Stiff breeze, and we are fairly flying–dead ahead of it– and toward the islands. Good hope, but the prospects of hunger are awful. Ate ham-bone to-day. It is the captain’s birthday; he is fifty-four years old.

June 13. The ham-rags are not quite all gone yet, and the boot- legs, we find, are very palatable after we get the salt out of them. A little smoke, I think, does some little good; but I don’t know.

June 14. Hunger does not pain us much, but we are dreadfully weak. Our water is getting frightfully low. God grant we may see land soon! NOTHING TO EAT, but feel better than I did yesterday. Toward evening saw a magnificent rainbow–THE FIRST WE HAD SEEN. Captain said, ‘Cheer up, boys; it’s a prophecy–IT’S THE BOW OF PROMISE!’

June 15. God be for ever praised for His infinite mercy! LAND IN SIGHT! rapidly neared it and soon were SURE of it… Two noble Kanakas swam out and took the boat ashore. We were joyfully received by two white men–Mr. Jones and his steward Charley–and a crowd of native men, women, and children. They treated us splendidly–aided us, and carried us up the bank, and brought us water, poi, bananas, and green coconuts; but the white men took care of us and prevented those who would have eaten too much from doing so. Everybody overjoyed to see us, and all sympathy expressed in faces, deeds, and words. We were then helped up to the house; and help we needed. Mr. Jones and Charley are the only white men here. Treated us splendidly. Gave us first about a teaspoonful of spirits in water, and then to each a cup of warm tea, with a little bread. Takes EVERY care of us. Gave us later another cup of tea, and bread the same, and then let us go to rest. IT IS THE HAPPIEST DAY OF MY LIFE… God in His mercy has heard our prayer…. Everybody is so kind. Words cannot tell.

June 16. Mr. Jones gave us a delightful bed, and we surely had a good night’s rest; but not sleep–we were too happy to sleep; would keep the reality and not let it turn to a delusion–dreaded that we might wake up and find ourselves in the boat again.

It is an amazing adventure. There is nothing of its sort in history that surpasses it in impossibilities made possible. In one extraordinary detail–the survival of every person in the boat–it probably stands alone in the history of adventures of its kinds. Usually merely a part of a boat’s company survive–officers, mainly, and other educated and tenderly-reared men, unused to hardship and heavy labour; the untrained, roughly-reared hard workers succumb. But in this case even the rudest and roughest stood the privations and miseries of the voyage almost as well as did the college-bred young brothers and the captain. I mean, physically. The minds of most of the sailors broke down in the fourth week and went to temporary ruin, but physically the endurance exhibited was astonishing. Those men did not survive by any merit of their own, of course, but by merit of the character and intelligence of the captain; they lived by the mastery of his spirit. Without him they would have been children without a nurse; they would have exhausted their provisions in a week, and their pluck would not have lasted even as long as the provisions.

The boat came near to being wrecked at the last. As it approached the shore the sail was let go, and came down with a run; then the captain saw that he was drifting swiftly toward an ugly reef, and an effort was made to hoist the sail again; but it could not be done; the men’s strength was wholly exhausted; they could not even pull an oar. They were helpless, and death imminent. It was then that they were discovered by the two Kanakas who achieved the rescue. They swam out and manned the boat, and piloted her through a narrow and hardly noticeable break in the reef–the only break in it in a stretch of thirty-five miles! The spot where the landing was made was the only one in that stretch where footing could have been found on the shore; everywhere else precipices came sheer down into forty fathoms of water. Also, in all that stretch this was the only spot where anybody lived.

Within ten days after the landing all the men but one were up and creeping about. Properly, they ought to have killed themselves with the ‘food’ of the last few days–some of them, at any rate–men who had freighted their stomachs with strips of leather from old boots and with chips from the butter cask; a freightage which they did not get rid of by digestion, but by other means. The captain and the two passengers did not eat strips and chips, as the sailors did, but scraped the boot- leather and the wood, and made a pulp of the scrapings by moistening them with water. The third mate told me that the boots were old and full of holes; then added thoughtfully, ‘but the holes digested the best.’ Speaking of digestion, here is a remarkable thing, and worth nothing: during this strange voyage, and for a while afterward on shore, the bowels of some of the men virtually ceased from their functions; in some cases there was no action for twenty and thirty days, and in one case for forty-four! Sleeping also came to be rare. Yet the men did very well without it. During many days the captain did not sleep at all–twenty- one, I think, on one stretch.

When the landing was made, all the men were successfully protected from over-eating except the ‘Portyghee;’ he escaped the watch and ate an incredible number of bananas: a hundred and fifty-two, the third mate said, but this was undoubtedly an exaggeration; I think it was a hundred and fifty-one. He was already nearly half full of leather; it was hanging out of his ears. (I do not state this on the third mate’s authority, for we have seen what sort of a person he was; I state it on my own.) The ‘Portyghee’ ought to have died, of course, and even now it seems a pity that he didn’t; but he got well, and as early as any of them; and all full of leather, too, the way he was, and butter-timber and handkerchiefs and bananas. Some of the men did eat handkerchiefs in those last days, also socks; and he was one of them.

It is to the credit of the men that they did not kill the rooster that crowed so gallantly mornings. He lived eighteen days, and then stood up and stretched his neck and made a brave, weak effort to do his duty once more, and died in the act. It is a picturesque detail; and so is that rainbow, too–the only one seen in the forty-three days,–raising its triumphal arch in the skies for the sturdy fighters to sail under to victory and rescue.

With ten days’ provisions Captain Josiah Mitchell performed this memorable voyage of forty-three days and eight hours in an open boat, sailing four thousand miles in reality and thirty-three hundred and sixty by direct courses, and brought every man safe to land. A bright, simple- hearted, unassuming, plucky, and most companionable man. I walked the deck with him twenty-eight days–when I was not copying diaries,–and I remember him with reverent honour. If he is alive he is eighty-six years old now.

If I remember rightly, Samuel Ferguson died soon after we reached San Francisco. I do not think he lived to see his home again; his disease had been seriously aggravated by his hardships.

For a time it was hoped that the two quarter-boats would presently be heard of, but this hope suffered disappointment. They went down with all on board, no doubt, not even sparing that knightly chief mate.

The authors of the diaries allowed me to copy them exactly as they were written, and the extracts that I have given are without any smoothing over or revision. These diaries are finely modest and unaffected, and with unconscious and unintentional art they rise toward the climax with graduated and gathering force and swing and dramatic intensity; they sweep you along with a cumulative rush, and when the cry rings out at last, ‘Land in sight!’ your heart is in your mouth, and for a moment you think it is you that have been saved. The last two paragraphs are not improvable by anybody’s art; they are literary gold; and their very pauses and uncompleted sentences have in them an eloquence not reachable by any words.

The interest of this story is unquenchable; it is of the sort that time cannot decay. I have not looked at the diaries for thirty-two years, but I find that they have lost nothing in that time. Lost? They have gained; for by some subtle law all tragic human experiences gain in pathos by the perspective of time. We realize this when in Naples we stand musing over the poor Pompeian mother, lost in the historic storm of volcanic ashes eighteen centuries ago, who lies with her child gripped close to her breast, trying to save it, and whose despair and grief have been preserved for us by the fiery envelope which took her life but eternalized her form and features. She moves us, she haunts us, she stays in our thoughts for many days, we do not know why, for she is nothing to us, she has been nothing to anyone for eighteen centuries; whereas of the like case to-day we should say, ‘Poor thing! it is pitiful,’ and forget it in an hour.

[1] There are nineteen days of voyaging ahead yet.–M.T.

[2] Six days to sail yet, nevertheless.–M.T.

[3] It was at this time discovered that the crazed sailors had gotten the delusion that the captain had a million dollars in gold concealed aft, and they were conspiring to kill him and the two passengers and seize it. –M.T.


This establishment’s name is Hochberghaus. It is in Bohemia, a short day’s journey from Vienna, and being in the Austrian Empire is of course a health resort. The empire is made up of health resorts; it distributes health to the whole world. Its waters are all medicinal. They are bottled and sent throughout the earth; the natives themselves drink beer. This is self-sacrifice apparently–but outlanders who have drunk Vienna beer have another idea about it. Particularly the Pilsner which one gets in a small cellar up an obscure back lane in the First Bezirk–the name has escaped me, but the place is easily found: You inquire for the Greek church; and when you get to it, go right along by–the next house is that little beer-mill. It is remote from all traffic and all noise; it is always Sunday there. There are two small rooms, with low ceilings supported by massive arches; the arches and ceilings are whitewashed, otherwise the rooms would pass for cells in the dungeons of a bastile. The furniture is plain and cheap, there is no ornamentation anywhere; yet it is a heaven for the self-sacrificers, for the beer there is incomparable; there is nothing like it elsewhere in the world. In the first room you will find twelve or fifteen ladies and gentlemen of civilian quality; in the other one a dozen generals and ambassadors. One may live in Vienna many months and not hear of this place; but having once heard of it and sampled it, the sampler will afterward infest it.

However, this is all incidental–a mere passing note of gratitude for blessings received–it has nothing to do with my subject. My subject is health resorts. All unhealthy people ought to domicile themselves in Vienna, and use that as a base, making flights from time to time to the outlying resorts, according to need. A flight to Marienbad to get rid of fat; a flight to Carlsbad to get rid of rheumatism; a flight to Kalteneutgeben to take the water cure and get rid of the rest of the diseases. It is all so handy. You can stand in Vienna and toss a biscuit into Kaltenleutgeben, with a twelve-inch gun. You can run out thither at any time of the day; you go by phenomenally slow trains, and yet inside of an hour you have exchanged the glare and swelter of the city for wooded hills, and shady forest paths, and soft cool airs, and the music of birds, and the repose and the peace of paradise.

And there are plenty of other health resorts at your service and convenient to get at from Vienna; charming places, all of them; Vienna sits in the centre of a beautiful world of mountains with now and then a lake and forests; in fact, no other city is so fortunately situated.

There is an abundance of health resorts, as I have said. Among them this place–Hochberghaus. It stands solitary on the top of a densely wooded mountain, and is a building of great size. It is called the Appetite Anstallt, and people who have lost their appetites come here to get them restored. When I arrived I was taken by Professor Haimberger to his consulting-room and questioned:

‘It is six o’clock. When did you eat last?’

‘At noon.’

‘What did you eat?’

‘Next to nothing.’

‘What was on the table?’

‘The usual things.’

‘Chops, chickens, vegetables, and so on?’

‘Yes; but don’t mention them–I can’t bear it.’

‘Are you tired of them?’

‘Oh, utterly. I wish I might never hear of them again.’

‘The mere sight of food offends you, does it?’

‘More, it revolts me.’

The doctor considered awhile, then got out a long menu and ran his eye slowly down it.

‘I think,’ said he, ‘that what you need to eat is–but here, choose for yourself.’

I glanced at the list, and my stomach threw a hand-spring. Of all the barbarous lay-outs that were ever contrived, this was the most atrocious. At the top stood ‘tough, underdone, overdue tripe, garnished with garlic;’ half-way down the bill stood ‘young cat; old cat; scrambled cat;’ at the bottom stood ‘sailor-boots, softened with tallow–served raw.’ The wide intervals of the bill were packed with dishes calculated to gag a cannibal. I said:

‘Doctor, it is not fair to joke over so serious a case as mine. I came here to get an appetite, not to throw away the remnant that’s left.’

He said gravely: ‘I am not joking; why should I joke?’

‘But I can’t eat these horrors.’

‘Why not?’

He said it with a naivete that was admirable, whether it was real or assumed.

‘Why not? Because–why, doctor, for months I have seldom been able to endure anything more substantial than omelettes and custards. These unspeakable dishes of yours–‘

‘Oh, you will come to like them. They are very good. And you must eat them. It is a rule of the place, and is strict. I cannot permit any departure from it.’

I said smiling: ‘Well, then, doctor, you will have to permit the departure of the patient. I am going.’

He looked hurt, and said in a way which changed the aspect of things:

‘I am sure you would not do me that injustice. I accepted you in good faith–you will not shame that confidence. This appetite-cure is my whole living. If you should go forth from it with the sort of appetite which you now have, it could become known, and you can see, yourself, that people would say my cure failed in your case and hence can fail in other cases. You will not go; you will not do me this hurt.’

I apologised and said I would stay.

‘That is right. I was sure you would not go; it would take the food from my family’s mouths.’

‘Would they mind that? Do they eat these fiendish things?’

‘They? My family?’ His eyes were full of gentle wonder. ‘Of course not.’

‘Oh, they don’t! Do you?’

‘Certainly not.’

‘I see. It’s another case of a physician who doesn’t take his own medicine.’

‘I don’t need it. It is six hours since you lunched. Will you have supper now–or later?’

‘I am not hungry, but now is as good a time as any, and I would like to be done with it and have it off my mind. It is about my usual time, and regularity is commanded by all the authorities. Yes, I will try to nibble a little now–I wish a light horsewhipping would answer instead.’

The professor handed me that odious menu.

‘Choose–or will you have it later?’

‘Oh, dear me, show me to my room; I forgot your hard rule.’

‘Wait just a moment before you finally decide. There is another rule. If you choose now, the order will be filled at once; but if you wait, you will have to await my pleasure. You cannot get a dish from that entire bill until I consent.’

‘All right. Show me to my room, and send the cook to bed; there is not going to be any hurry.’

The professor took me up one flight of stairs and showed me into a most inviting and comfortable apartment consisting of parlour, bedchamber, and bathroom.

The front windows looked out over a far-reaching spread of green glades and valleys, and tumbled hills clothed with forests–a noble solitude unvexed by the fussy world. In the parlour were many shelves filled with books. The professor said he would now leave me to myself; and added:

‘Smoke and read as much as you please, drink all the water you like. When you get hungry, ring and give your order, and I will decide whether it shall be filled or not. Yours is a stubborn, bad case, and I think the first fourteen dishes in the bill are each and all too delicate for its needs. I ask you as a favour to restrain yourself and not call for them.’

‘Restrain myself, is it? Give yourself no uneasiness. You are going to save money by me. The idea of coaxing a sick man’s appetite back with this buzzard-fare is clear insanity.’

I said it with bitterness, for I felt outraged by this calm, cold talk over these heartless new engines of assassination. The doctor looked grieved, but not offended. He laid the bill of fare of the commode at my bed’s head, ‘so that it would be handy,’ and said:

‘Yours is not the worst case I have encountered, by any means; still it is a bad one and requires robust treatment; therefore I shall be gratified if you will restrain yourself and skip down to No. 15 and begin with that.’

Then he left me and I began to undress, for I was dog-tired and very sleepy. I slept fifteen hours and woke up finely refreshed at ten the next morning. Vienna coffee! It was the first thing I thought of–that unapproachable luxury–that sumptuous coffee-house coffee, compared with which all other European coffee and all American hotel coffee is mere fluid poverty. I rang, and ordered it; also Vienna bread, that delicious invention. The servant spoke through the wicket in the door and said– but you know what he said. He referred me to the bill of fare. I allowed him to go–I had no further use for him.

After the bath I dressed and started for a walk, and got as far as the door. It was locked on the outside. I rang, and the servant came and explained that it was another rule. The seclusion of the patient was required until after the first meal. I had not been particularly anxious to get out before; but it was different now. Being locked in makes a person wishful to get out. I soon began to find it difficult to put in the time. At two o’clock I had been twenty-six hours without food. I had been growing hungry for some time; I recognised that I was not only hungry now, but hungry with a strong adjective in front of it. Yet I was not hungry enough to face the bill of fare.

I must put in the time somehow. I would read and smoke. I did it; hour by hour. The books were all of one breed–shipwrecks; people lost in deserts; people shut up in caved-in mines; people starving in besieged cities. I read about all the revolting dishes that ever famishing men had stayed their hunger with. During the first hours these things nauseated me: hours followed in which they did not so affect me; still other hours followed in which I found myself smacking my lips over some tolerably infernal messes. When I had been without food forty-five hours I ran eagerly to the bell and ordered the second dish in the bill, which was a sort of dumplings containing a compost made of caviar and tar.

It was refused me. During the next fifteen hours I visited the bell every now and then and ordered a dish that was further down the list. Always a refusal. But I was conquering prejudice after prejudice, right along; I was making sure progress; I was creeping up on No. 15 with deadly certainty, and my heart beat faster and faster, my hopes rose higher and higher.

At last when food had not passed my lips for sixty hours, victory was mine, and I ordered No. 15:

‘Soft-boiled spring chicken–in the egg; six dozen, hot and fragrant!’

In fifteen minutes it was there; and the doctor along with it, rubbing his hands with joy. He said with great excitement:

‘It’s a cure, it’s a cure! I knew I could do it. Dear sir, my grand system never failed–never. You’ve got your appetite back–you know you have; say it and make me happy.’

‘Bring on your carrion–I can eat anything in the bill!’

‘Oh, this is noble, this is splendid–but I knew I could do it, the system never fails. How are the birds?’

‘Never was anything so delicious in the world; and yet as a rule I don’t care for game. But don’t interrupt me, don’t–I can’t spare my mouth, I really can’t.’

Then the doctor said:

‘The cure is perfect. There is no more doubt nor danger. Let the poultry alone; I can trust you with a beefsteak, now.’

The beefsteak came–as much as a basketful of it–with potatoes, and Vienna bread and coffee; and I ate a meal then that was worth all the costly preparation I had made for it. And dripped tears of gratitude into the gravy all the time–gratitude to the doctor for putting a little plain common-sense into me when I had been empty of it so many, many years.


Thirty years ago Haimberger went off on a long voyage in a sailing-ship. There were fifteen passengers on board. The table-fare was of the regulation pattern of the day: At 7 in the morning, a cup of bad coffee in bed; at 9, breakfast: bad coffee, with condensed milk; soggy rolls, crackers, salt fish; at 1 P.M., luncheon: cold tongue, cold ham, cold corned beef, soggy cold rolls, crackers; 5 P.M., dinner: thick pea soup, salt fish, hot corned beef and sour kraut, boiled pork and beans, pudding; 9 till 11 P.M., supper: tea, with condensed milk, cold tongue, cold ham, pickles, sea-biscuit, pickled oysters, pickled pigs’ feet, grilled bones, golden buck.

At the end of the first week eating had ceased, nibbling had taken its place. The passengers came to the table, but it was partly to put in the time, and partly because the wisdom of the ages commanded them to be regular in their meals. They were tired of the coarse and monotonous fare, and took no interest in it, had no appetite for it. All day and every day they roamed the ship half hungry, plagued by their gnawing stomachs, moody, untalkative, miserable. Among them were three confirmed dyspeptics. These became shadows in the course of three weeks. There was also a bed-ridden invalid; he lived on boiled rice; he could not look at the regular dishes.

Now came shipwrecks and life in open boats, with the usual paucity of food. Provisions ran lower and lower. The appetites improved, then. When nothing was left but raw ham and the ration of that was down to two ounces a day per person, the appetites were perfect. At the end of fifteen days the dyspeptics, the invalid, and the most delicate ladies in the party were chewing sailor-boots in ecstasy, and only complaining because the supply of them was limited. Yet these were the same people who couldn’t endure the ship’s tedious corned beef and sour kraut and other crudities. They were rescued by an English vessel. Within ten days the whole fifteen were in as good condition as they had been when the shipwreck occurred.

‘They had suffered no damage by their adventure,’ said the professor.

‘Do you note that?’


‘Do you note it well?’

‘Yes–I think I do.’

‘But you don’t. You hesitate. You don’t rise to the importance of it. I will say it again–with emphasis–not one of them suffered any damage.’

‘Now I begin to see. Yes, it was indeed remarkable.’

‘Nothing of the kind. It was perfectly natural. There was no reason why they should suffer damage. They were undergoing Nature’s Appetite-Cure, the best and wisest in the world.’

‘Is that where you got your idea?’

‘That is where I got it.’

‘It taught those people a valuable lesson.’

‘What makes you think that?’

‘Why shouldn’t I? You seem to think it taught you one.’

‘That is nothing to the point. I am not a fool.’

‘I see. Were they fools?’

‘They were human beings.’

‘Is it the same thing?’

‘Why do you ask? You know it yourself. As regards his health–and the rest of the things–the average man is what his environment and his superstitions have made him; and their function is to make him an ass. He can’t add up three or four new circumstances together and perceive what they mean; it is beyond him. He is not capable of observing for himself; he has to get everything at second-hand. If what are miscalled the lower animals were as silly as man is, they would all perish from the earth in a year.’

‘Those passengers learned no lesson, then?’

‘Not a sign of it. They went to their regular meals in the English ship, and pretty soon they were nibbling again–nibbling, appetiteless, disgusted with the food, moody, miserable, half hungry, their outraged stomachs cursing and swearing and whining and supplicating all day long. And in vain, for they were the stomachs of fools.’

‘Then, as I understand it, your scheme is–‘

‘Quite simple. Don’t eat until you are hungry. If the food fails to taste good, fails to satisfy you, rejoice you, comfort you, don’t eat again until you are very hungry. Then it will rejoice you–and do you good, too.’

‘And I am to observe no regularity, as to hours?’

‘When you are conquering a bad appetite–no. After it is conquered, regularity is no harm, so long as the appetite remains good. As soon as the appetite wavers, apply the corrective again–which is starvation, long or short according to the needs of the case.’

‘The best diet, I suppose–I mean the wholesomest–‘

‘All diets are wholesome. Some are wholesomer than others, but all the ordinary diets are wholesome enough for the people who use them. Whether the food be fine or coarse it will taste good and it will nourish if a watch be kept upon the appetite and a little starvation introduced every time it weakens. Nansen was used to fine fare, but when his meals were restricted to bear-meat months at a time he suffered no damage and no discomfort, because his appetite was kept at par through the difficulty of getting his bear-meat regularly.’

‘But doctors arrange carefully considered and delicate diets for invalids.’

‘They can’t help it. The invalid is full of inherited superstitions and won’t starve himself. He believes it would certainly kill him.’

‘It would weaken him, wouldn’t it?’

‘Nothing to hurt. Look at the invalids in our shipwreck. They lived fifteen days on pinches of raw ham, a suck at sailor-boots, and general starvation. It weakened them, but it didn’t hurt them. It put them in fine shape to eat heartily of hearty food and build themselves up to a condition of robust health. But they did not know enough to profit by that; they lost their opportunity; they remained invalids; it served them right. Do you know the trick that the health-resort doctors play?’

‘What is it?’

‘My system disguised–covert starvation. Grape-cure, bath-cure, mud- cure–it is all the same. The grape and the bath and the mud make a show and do a trifle of the work–the real work is done by the surreptitious starvation. The patient accustomed to four meals and late hours–at both ends of the day–now consider what he has to do at a health resort. He gets up at 6 in the morning. Eats one egg. Tramps up and down a promenade two hours with the other fools. Eats a butterfly. Slowly drinks a glass of filtered sewage that smells like a buzzard’s breath. Promenades another two hours, but alone; if you speak to him he says anxiously, “My water!–I am walking off my water!–please don’t interrupt,” and goes stumping along again. Eats a candied roseleaf. Lies at rest in the silence and solitude of his room for hours; mustn’t read, mustn’t smoke. The doctor comes and feels of his heart, now, and his pulse, and thumps his breast and his back and his stomach, and listens for results through a penny flageolet; then orders the man’s bath–half a degree, Reaumur, cooler than yesterday. After the bath another egg. A glass of sewage at three or four in the afternoon, and promenade solemnly with the other freaks. Dinner at 6–half a doughnut and a cup of tea. Walk again. Half-past 8, supper–more butterfly; at 9, to bed. Six weeks of this regime–think of it. It starves a man out and puts him in splendid condition. It would have the same effect in London, New York, Jericho–anywhere.’

‘How long does it take to put a person in condition here?’

‘It ought to take but a day or two; but in fact it takes from one to six weeks, according to the character and mentality of the patient.’

‘How is that?’

‘Do you see that crowd of women playing football, and boxing, and jumping fences yonder? They have been here six or seven weeks. They were spectral poor weaklings when they came. They were accustomed to nibbling at dainties and delicacies at set hours four times a day, and they had no appetite for anything. I questioned them, and then locked them into their rooms–the frailest ones to starve nine or ten hours, the others twelve or fifteen. Before long they began to beg; and indeed they suffered a good deal. They complained of nausea, headache, and so on. It was good to see them eat when the time was up. They could not remember when the devouring of a meal had afforded them such rapture– that was their word. Now, then, that ought to have ended their cure, but it didn’t. They were free to go to any meals in the house, and they chose their accustomed four. Within a day or two I had to interfere. Their appetites were weakening. I made them knock out a meal. That set them up again. Then they resumed the four. I begged them to learn to knock out a meal themselves, without waiting for me. Up to a fortnight ago they couldn’t; they really hadn’t manhood enough; but they were gaining it, and now I think they are safe. They drop out a meal every now and then of their own accord. They are in fine condition now, and they might safely go home, I think, but their confidence is not quite perfect yet, so they are waiting awhile.’

‘Other cases are different?’

‘Oh yes. Sometimes a man learns the whole trick in a week. Learns to regulate his appetite and keep it in perfect order. Learns to drop out a meal with frequency and not mind it.’

‘But why drop the entire meal out? Why not a part of it?’

‘It’s a poor device, and inadequate. If the stomach doesn’t call vigorously–with a shout, as you may say–it is better not to pester it but just give it a real rest. Some people can eat more meals than others, and still thrive. There are all sorts of people, and all sorts of appetites. I will show you a man presently who was accustomed to nibble at eight meals a day. It was beyond the proper gait of his appetite by two. I have got him down to six a day, now, and he is all right, and enjoys life. How many meals to you affect per day?’

‘Formerly–for twenty-two years–a meal and a half; during the past two years, two and a half: coffee and a roll at 9, luncheon at 1, dinner at 7.30 or 8.’

‘Formerly a meal and a half–that is, coffee and a roll at 9, dinner in the evening, nothing between–is that it?


‘Why did you add a meal?’

‘It was the family’s idea. They were uneasy. They thought I was killing myself.’

‘You found a meal and a half per day enough, all through the twenty-two years?’


‘Your present poor condition is due to the extra meal. Drop it out. You are trying to eat oftener than your stomach demands. You don’t gain, you lose. You eat less food now, in a day, on two and a half meals, than you formerly ate on one and a half.’

‘True–a good deal less; for in those olds days my dinner was a very sizeable thing.’

‘Put yourself on a single meal a day, now–dinner–for a few days, till you secure a good, sound, regular, trustworthy appetite, then take to your one and a half permanently, and don’t listen to the family any more. When you have any ordinary ailment, particularly of a feverish sort, eat nothing at all during twenty-four hours. That will cure it. It will cure the stubbornest cold in the head, too. No cold in the head can survive twenty-four hours’ unmodified starvation.’

I know it. I have proved it many a time.


Some months ago I published a magazine article[1] descriptive of a remarkable scene in the Imperial Parliament in Vienna. Since then I have received from Jews in America several letters of inquiry. They were difficult letters to answer, for they were not very definite. But at last I have received a definite one. It is from a lawyer, and he really asks the questions which the other writers probably believed they were asking. By help of this text I will do the best I can to publicly answer this correspondent, and also the others–at the same time apologising for having failed to reply privately. The lawyer’s letter reads as follows:

‘I have read “Stirring Times in Austria.” One point in particular is of vital import to not a few thousand people, including myself, being a point about which I have often wanted to address a question to some disinterested person. The show of military force in the Austrian Parliament, which precipitated the riots, was not introduced by any Jew. No Jew was a member of that body. No Jewish question was involved in the Ausgleich or in the language proposition. No Jew was insulting anybody. In short, no Jew was doing any mischief toward anybody whatsoever. In fact, the Jews were the only ones of the nineteen different races in Austria which did not have a party–they are absolute non-participants. Yet in your article you say that in the rioting which followed, all classes of people were unanimous only on one thing, viz., in being against the Jews. Now, will you kindly tell me why, in your judgment, the Jews have thus ever been, and are even now, in these days of supposed intelligence, the butt of baseless, vicious animosities? I dare say that for centuries there has been no more quiet, undisturbing, and well-behaving citizen, as a class, than that same Jew. It seems to me that ignorance and fanaticism cannot alone account for these horrible and unjust persecutions.

‘Tell me, therefore, from your vantage point of cold view, what in your mind is the cause. Can American Jews do anything to correct it either in America or abroad? Will it ever come to an end? Will a Jew be permitted to live honestly, decently, and peaceably like the rest of mankind? What has become of the Golden Rule?’

I will begin by saying that if I thought myself prejudiced against the Jew, I should hold it fairest to leave this subject to a person not crippled in that way. But I think I have no such prejudice. A few years ago a Jew observed to me that there was no uncourteous reference to his people in my books, and asked how it happened. It happened because the disposition was lacking. I am quite sure that (bar one) I have no race prejudices, and I think I have no colour prejudices nor caste prejudices nor creed prejudices. Indeed, I know it. I can stand any society. All that I care to know is that a man is a human being–that is enough for me; he can’t be any worse. I have no special regard for Satan; but I can at least claim that I have no prejudice against him. It may even be that I lean a little his way, on account of his not having a fair show. All religions issue Bibles against him, and say the most injurious things about him, but we never hear his side. We have none but the evidence for the prosecution, and yet we have rendered the verdict. To my mind, this is irregular. It is un-English; it is un-American; it is French. Without this precedent Dreyfus could not have been condemned. Of course Satan has some kind of a case, it goes without saying. It may be a poor one, but that is nothing; that can be said about any of us. As soon as I can get at the facts I will undertake his rehabilitation myself, if I can find an unpolitic publisher. It is a thing which we ought to be willing to do for any one who is under a cloud. We may not pay Satan reverence, for that would be indiscreet, but we can at least respect his talents. A person who has during all time maintained the imposing position of spiritual head of four-fifths of the human race, and political head of the whole of it, must be granted the possession of executive abilities of the loftiest order. In his large presence the other popes and politicians shrink to midges for the microscope. I would like to see him. I would rather see him and shake him by the tail than any other member of the European Concert. In the present paper I shall allow myself to use the word Jew as if it stood for both religion and race. It is handy; and, besides, that is what the term means to the general world.

In the above letter one notes these points:

1. The Jew is a well-behaved citizen.

2. Can ignorance and fanaticism alone account for his unjust treatment?

3. Can Jews do anything to improve the situation?

4. The Jews have no party; they are non-participants.

5. Will the persecution ever come to an end?

6. What has become of the Golden Rule?

Point No. 1.–We must grant proposition No. 1, for several sufficient reasons. The Jew is not a disturber of the peace of any country. Even his enemies will concede that. He is not a loafer, he is not a sot, he is not noisy, he is not a brawler nor a rioter, he is not quarrelsome. In the statistics of crime his presence is conspicuously rare–in all countries. With murder and other crimes of violence he has but little to do: he is a stranger to the hangman. In the police court’s daily long roll of ‘assaults’ and ‘drunk and disorderlies’ his name seldom appears. That the Jewish home is a home in the truest sense is a fact which no one will dispute. The family is knitted together by the strongest affections; its members show each other every due respect; and reverence for the elders is an inviolate law of the house. The Jew is not a burden on the charities of the state nor of the city; these could cease from their functions without affecting him. When he is well enough, he works; when he is incapacitated, his own people take care of him. And not in a poor and stingy way, but with a fine and large benevolence. His race is entitled to be called the most benevolent of all the races of men. A Jewish beggar is not impossible, perhaps; such a thing may exist, but there are few men that can say they have seen that spectacle. The Jew has been staged in many uncomplimentary forms, but, so far as I know, no dramatist has done him the injustice to stage him as a beggar. Whenever a Jew has real need to beg, his people save him from the necessity of doing it. The charitable institutions of the Jews are supported by Jewish money, and amply. The Jews make no noise about it; it is done quietly; they do not nag and pester and harass us for contributions; they give us peace, and set us an example–an example which he have not found ourselves able to follow; for by nature we are not free givers, and have to be patiently and persistently hunted down in the interest of the unfortunate.

These facts are all on the credit side of the proposition that the Jew is a good and orderly citizen. Summed up, they certify that he is quiet, peaceable, industrious, unaddicted to high crimes and brutal dispositions; that his family life is commendable; that he is not a burden upon public charities; that he is not a beggar; that in benevolence he is above the reach of competition. These are the very quintessentials of good citizenship. If you can add that he is as honest as the average of his neighbours–But I think that question is affirmatively answered by the fact that he is a successful business man. The basis of successful business is honesty; a business cannot thrive where the parties to it cannot trust each other. In the matter of numbers the Jew counts for little in the overwhelming population of New York; but that his honest counts for much is guaranteed by the fact that the immense wholesale business of Broadway, from the Battery to Union Square, is substantially in his hands.

I suppose that the most picturesque example in history of a trader’s trust in his fellow-trader was one where it was not Christian trusting Christian, but Christian trusting Jew. That Hessian Duke who used to sell his subjects to George III. to fight George Washington with got rich at it; and by-and-by, when the wars engendered by the French Revolution made his throne too warm for him, he was obliged to fly the country. He was in a hurry, and had to leave his earnings behind–$9,000,000. He had to risk the money with some one without security. He did not select a Christian, but a Jew–a Jew of only modest means, but of high character; a character so high that it left him lonesome–Rothschild of Frankfort. Thirty years later, when Europe had become quiet and safe again, the Duke came back from overseas, and the Jew returned the loan, with interest added.[2]

The Jew has his other side. He has some discreditable ways, though he has not a monopoly of them, because he cannot get entirely rid of vexatious Christian competition. We have seen that he seldom transgresses the laws against crimes of violence. Indeed, his dealings with courts are almost restricted to matters connected with commerce. He has a reputation for various small forms of cheating, and for practising oppressive usury, and for burning himself out to get the insurance, and for arranging cunning contracts which leave him an exit but lock the other man in, and for smart evasions which find him safe and comfortable just within the strict letter of the law, when court and jury know very well that he has violated the spirit of it. He is a frequent and faithful and capable officer in the civil service, but he is charged with an unpatriotic disinclination to stand by the flag as a soldier–like the Christian Quaker.

Now if you offset these discreditable features by the creditable ones summarised in a preceding paragraph beginning with the words, ‘These facts are all on the credit side,’ and strike a balance, what must the verdict be? This, I think: that, the merits and demerits being fairly weighed and measured on both sides, the Christian can claim no superiority over the Jew in the matter of good citizenship.

Yet in all countries, from the dawn of history, the Jew has been persistently and implacably hated, and with frequency persecuted.

Point No. 2.–‘Can fanaticism alone account for this?’

Years ago I used to think that it was responsible for nearly all of it, but latterly I have come to think that this was an error. Indeed, it is now my conviction that it is responsible for hardly any of it.

In this connection I call to mind Genesis, chapter xlvii.

We have all thoughtfully–or unthoughtfully–read the pathetic story of the years of plenty and the years of famine in Egypt, and how Joseph, with that opportunity, made a corner in broken hearts, and the crusts of the poor, and human liberty–a corner whereby he took a nation’s money all away, to the last penny; took a nation’s live stock all away, to the last hoof; took a nation’s land away, to the last acre; then took the nation itself, buying it for bread, man by man, woman by woman, child by child, till all were slaves; a corner which took everything, left nothing; a corner so stupendous that, by comparison with it, the most gigantic corners in subsequent history are but baby things, for it dealt in hundreds of millions of bushels, and its profits were reckonable by hundreds of millions of dollars, and it was a disaster so crushing that its effects have not wholly disappeared from Egypt to-day, more than three thousand years after the event.

Is it presumably that the eye of Egypt was upon Joseph the foreign Jew all this time? I think it likely. Was it friendly? We must doubt it. Was Joseph establishing a character for his race which would survive long in Egypt? and in time would his name come to be familiarly used to express that character–like Shylock’s? It is hardly to be doubted. Let us remember that this was centuries before the Crucifixion?

I wish to come down eighteen hundred years later and refer to a remark made by one of the Latin historians. I read it in a translation many years ago, and it comes back to me now with force. It was alluding to a time when people were still living who could have seen the Saviour in the flesh. Christianity was so new that the people of Rome had hardly heard of it, and had but confused notions of what it was. The substance of the remark was this: Some Christians were persecuted in Rome through error, they being ‘mistaken for Jews.’

The meaning seems plain. These pagans had nothing against Christians, but they were quite ready to persecute Jews. For some reason or other they hated a Jew before they even knew what a Christian was. May I not assume, then, that the persecution of Jews is a thing which antedates Christianity and was not born of Christianity? I think so. What was the origin of the feeling?

When I was a boy, in the back settlements of the Mississippi Valley, where a gracious and beautiful Sunday school simplicity and practicality prevailed, the ‘Yankee’ (citizen of the New England States) was hated with a splendid energy. But religion had nothing to do with it. In a trade, the Yankee was held to be about five times the match of the Westerner. His shrewdness, his insight, his judgment, his knowledge, his enterprise, and his formidable cleverness in applying these forces were frankly confessed, and most competently cursed.

In the cotton States, after the war, the simple and ignorant Negroes made the crops for the white planter on shares. The Jew came down in force, set up shop on the plantation, supplied all the negro’s wants on credit, and at the end of the season was proprietor of the negro’s share of the present crop and of part of his share of the next one. Before long, the whites detested the Jew, and it is doubtful if the negro loved him.

The Jew is begin legislated out of Russia. The reason is not concealed. The movement was instituted because the Christian peasant and villager stood no chance against his commercial abilities. He was always ready to lend money on a crop, and sell vodka and other necessities of life on credit while the crop was growing. When settlement day came he owned the crop; and next year or year after he owned the farm, like Joseph.

In the dull and ignorant English of John’s time everybody got into debt to the Jew. He gathered all lucrative enterprises into his hands; he was the king of commerce; he was ready to be helpful in all profitable ways; he even financed crusades for the rescue of the Sepulchre. To wipe out his account with the nation and restore business to its natural and incompetent channels he had to be banished the realm.

For the like reasons Spain had to banish him four hundred years ago, and Austria about a couple of centuries later.

In all the ages Christian Europe has been oblige to curtail his activities. If he entered upon a mechanical trade, the Christian had to retire from it. If he set up as a doctor, he was the best one, and he took the business. If he exploited agriculture, the other farmers had to get at something else. Since there was no way to successfully compete with him in any vocation, the law had to step in and save the Christian from the poor-house. Trade after trade was taken away from the Jew by statute till practically none was left. He was forbidden to engage in agriculture; he was forbidden to practise law; he was forbidden to practise medicine, except among Jews; he was forbidden the handicrafts. Even the seats of learning and the schools of science had to be closed against this tremendous antagonist. Still, almost bereft of employments, he found ways to make money, even ways to get rich. Also ways to invest his takings well, for usury was not denied him. In the hard conditions suggested, the Jew without brains could not survive, and the Jew with brains had to keep them in good training and well sharpened up, or starve. Ages of restriction to the one tool which the law was not able to take from him–his brain–have made that tool singularly competent; ages of compulsory disuse of his hands have atrophied them, and he never uses them now. This history has a very, very commercial look, a most sordid and practical commercial look, the business aspect of a Chinese cheap-labour crusade. Religious prejudices may account for one part of it, but not for the other nine.

Protestants have persecuted Catholics, but they did not take their livelihoods away from them. The Catholics have persecuted the Protestants with bloody and awful bitterness, but they never closed agriculture and the handicrafts against them. Why was that? That has the candid look of genuine religious persecution, not a trade-union boycott in a religious dispute.

The Jews are harried and obstructed in Austria and Germany, and lately in France; but England and America give them an open field and yet survive. Scotland offers them an unembarrassed field too, but there are not many takers. There are a few Jews in Glasgow, and one in Aberdeen; but that is because they can’t earn enough to get away. The Scotch pay themselves that compliment, but it is authentic.

I feel convinced that the Crucifixion has not much to do with the world’s attitude toward the Jew; that the reasons for it are older than that event, as suggested by Egypt’s experience and by Rome’s regret for having persecuted an unknown quantity called a Christian, under the mistaken impression that she was merely persecuting a Jew. Merely a Jew–a skinned eel who was used to it, presumably. I am persuaded that in Russia, Austria, and Germany nine-tenths of the hostility to the Jew comes from the average Christian’s inability to compete successfully with the average Jew in business–in either straight business or the questionable sort.

In Berlin, a few years ago, I read a speech which frankly urged the expulsion of the Jews from Germany; and the agitator’s reason was as frank as his proposition. It was this: that eighty-five percent of the successful lawyers of Berlin were Jews, and that about the same percentage of the great and lucrative businesses of all sorts in Germany were in the hands of the Jewish race! Isn’t it an amazing confession? It was but another way of saying that in a population of 48,000,000, of whom only 500,000 were registered as Jews, eighty-five per cent of the brains and honesty of the whole was lodged in the Jews. I must insist upon the honesty–it is an essential of successful business, taken by and large. Of course it does not rule out rascals entirely, even among Christians, but it is a good working rule, nevertheless. The speaker’s figures may have been inexact, but the motive of persecution stands out as clear as day.

The man claimed that in Berlin the banks, the newspapers, the theatres, the great mercantile, shipping, mining, and manufacturing interests, the big army and city contracts, the tramways, and pretty much all other properties of high value, and also the small businesses, were in the hands of the Jews. He said the Jew was pushing the Christian to the wall all along the line; that it was all a Christian could do to scrape together a living; and that the Jew must be banished, and soon–there was no other way of saving the Christian. Here in Vienna, last autumn, an agitator said that all these disastrous details were true of Austria- Hungary also; and in fierce language he demanded the expulsion of the Jews. When politicians come out without a blush and read the baby act in this frank way, unrebuked, it is a very good indication that they have a market back of them, and know where to fish for votes.

You note the crucial point of the mentioned agitation; the argument is that the Christian cannot compete with the Jew, and that hence his very bread is in peril. To human beings this is a much more hate-inspiring thing than is any detail connected with religion. With most people, of a necessity, bread and meat take first rank, religion second. I am convinced that the persecution of the Jew is not due in any large degree to religious prejudice.

No, the Jew is a money-getter; and in getting his money he is a very serious obstruction to less capable neighbours who are on the same quest. I think that that is the trouble. In estimating worldly values the Jew is not shallow, but deep. With precocious wisdom he found out in the morning of time that some men worship rank, some worship heroes, some worship power, some worship God, and that over these ideals they dispute and cannot unite–but that they all worship money; so he made it the end and aim of his life to get it. He was at it in Egypt thirty-six centuries ago; he was at it in Rome when that Christian got persecuted by mistake for him; he has been at it ever since. The cost to him has been heavy; his success has made the whole human race his enemy–but it has paid, for it has brought him envy, and that is the only thing which men will sell both soul and body to get. He long ago observed that a millionaire commands respect, a two-millionaire homage, a multi- millionaire the deepest deeps of adoration. We all know that feeling; we have seen it express itself. We have noticed that when the average man mentions the name of a multi-millionaire he does it with that mixture in his voice of awe and reverence and lust which burns in a Frenchman’s eye when it falls on another man’s centime.

Point No. 4–‘The Jews have no party; they are non-participants.’

Perhaps you have let the secret out and given yourself away. It seems hardly a credit to the race that it is able to say that; or to you, sir, that you can say it without remorse; more, that you should offer it as a plea against maltreatment, injustice, and oppression. Who gives the Jew the right, who gives any race the right, to sit still in a free country, and let somebody else look after its safety? The oppressed Jew was entitled to all pity in the former times under brutal autocracies, for he was weak and friendless, and had no way to help his case. But he has ways now, and he has had them for a century, but I do not see that he has tried to make serious use of then. When the Revolution set him free in France it was an act of grace–the grace of other people; he does not appear in it as a helper. I do not know that he helped when England set him free. Among the Twelve Sane Men of France who have stepped forward with great Zola at their head to fight (and win, I hope and believe[3]) the battle for the most infamously misused Jew of modern times, do you find a great or rich or illustrious Jew helping? In the United States he was created free in the beginning–he did not need to help, of course. In Austria and Germany and France he has a vote, but of what considerable use is it to him? He doesn’t seem to know how to apply it to the best effect. With all his splendid capacities and all his fat wealth he is to-day not politically important in any country. In America, as early as 1854, the ignorant Irish hod-carrier, who had a spirit of his own and a way of exposing it to the weather, made it apparent to all that he must be politically reckoned with; yet fifteen years before that we hardly knew what an Irishman looked like. As an intelligent force and numerically, he has always been away down, but he has governed the country just the same. It was because he was organised. It made his vote valuable–in fact, essential.

You will say the Jew is everywhere numerically feeble. That is nothing to the point–with the Irishman’s history for an object-lesson. But I am coming to your numerical feebleness presently. In all parliamentary countries you could no doubt elect Jews to the legislatures–and even one member in such a body is sometimes a force which counts. How deeply have you concerned yourselves about this in Austria, France, and Germany? Or even in America, for that matter? You remark that the Jews were not to blame for the riots in this Reichsrath here, and you add with satisfaction that there wasn’t one in that body. That is not strictly correct; if it were, would it not be in order for you to explain it and apologise for it, not try to make a merit of it? But I think that the Jew was by no means in as large force there as he ought to have been, with his chances. Austria opens the suffrage to him on fairly liberal terms, and it must surely be his own fault that he is so much in the background politically.

As to your numerical weakness. I mentioned some figures awhile ago– 500,00–as the Jewish population of Germany. I will add some more– 6,000,000 in Russia, 5,000,000 in Austria, 250,000 in the United States. I take them from memory; I read them in the ‘Encyclopaedia Brittannica’ ten or twelve years ago. Still, I am entirely sure of them. If those statistics are correct, my argument is not as strong as it ought to be as concerns America, but it still has strength. It is plenty strong enough as concerns Austria, for ten years ago 5,000,000 was nine per cent of the empire’s population. The Irish would govern the Kingdom of Heaven if they had a strength there like that.

I have some suspicions; I got them at second-hand, but they have remained with me these ten or twelve years. When I read in the ‘E.B.’ that the Jewish population of the United States was 250,000 I wrote the editor, and explained to him that I was personally acquainted with more Jews than that in my country, and that his figures were without a doubt a misprint for 25,000,000. I also added that I was personally acquainted with that many there; but that was only to raise his confidence in me, for it was not true. His answer miscarried, and I never got it; but I went around talking about the matter, and people told me they had reason to suspect that for business reasons many Jews whose dealings were mainly with the Christians did not report themselves as Jews in the census. It looked plausible; it looks plausible yet. Look at the city of New York; and look at Boston, and Philadelphia, and New Orleans, and Chicago, and Cincinnati, and San Francisco–how your race swarms in those places!–and everywhere else in America, down to the least little village. Read the signs on the marts of commerce and on the shops; Goldstein (gold stone), Edelstein (precious stone), Blumenthal (flower-vale), Rosenthal (rose- vale), Veilchenduft (violent odour), Singvogel (song-bird), Rosenzweig (rose branch), and all the amazing list of beautiful and enviable names which Prussia and Austria glorified you with so long ago. It is another instance of Europe’s coarse and cruel persecution of your race; not that it was coarse and cruel to outfit it with pretty and poetical names like those, but it was coarse and cruel to make it pay for them or else take such hideous and often indecent names that to-day their owners never use them; or, if they do, only on official papers. And it was the many, not the few, who got the odious names, they being too poor to bribe the officials to grant them better ones.

Now why was the race renamed? I have been told that in Prussia it was given to using fictitious names, and often changing them, so as to beat the tax-gatherer, escape military service, and so on; and that finally the idea was hit upon of furnishing all the inmates of a house with one and the same surname, and then holding the house responsible right along for those inmates, and accountable for any disappearances that might occur; it made the Jews keep track of each other, for self-interest’s sake, and saved the Government the trouble[4].

If that explanation of how the Jews of Prussia came to be renamed is correct, if it is true that they fictitiously registered themselves to gain certain advantages, it may possible be true that in America they refrain from registered themselves as Jews to fend off the damaging prejudices of the Christian customer. I have no way of knowing whether this notion is well founded or not. There may be other and better ways of explaining why only that poor little 250,000 of our Jews got into the ‘Encyclopaedia’. I may, of course, be mistaken, but I am strongly of the opinion that we have an immense Jewish population in America.

Point No. 3–‘Can Jews do anything to improve the situation?’

I think so. If I may make a suggestion without seeming to be trying to teach my grandmother to suck eggs, I will offer it. In our days we have learned the value of combination. We apply it everywhere–in railway systems, in trusts, in trade unions, in Salvation Armies, in minor politics, in major politics, in European Concerts. Whatever our strength may be, big or little, we organise it. We have found out that that is the only way to get the most out of it that is in it. We know the weakness of individual sticks, and the strength of the concentrated faggot. Suppose you try a scheme like this, for instance. In England and America put every Jew on the census-book as a Jew (in case you have not been doing that). Get up volunteer regiments composed of Jews solely, and when the drum beats, fall in and go to the front, so as to remove the reproach that you have few Massenas among you, and that you feed on a country but don’t like to fight for it. Next, in politics, organise your strength, band together, and deliver the casting-vote where you can, and, where you can’t, compel as good terms as possible. You huddle to yourselves already in all countries, but you huddle to no sufficient purpose, politically speaking. You do not seem to be organised, except for your charities. There you are omnipotent; there you compel your due of recognition–you do not have to beg for it. It shows what you can do when you band together for a definite purpose.

And then from America and England you can encourage your race in Austria, France, and Germany, and materially help it. It was a pathetic tale that was told by a poor Jew a fortnight ago during the riots, after he had been raided by the Christian peasantry and despoiled of everything he had. He said his vote was of no value to him, and he wished he could be excused from casting it, for indeed, casting it was a sure damage to him, since, no matter which party he voted for, the other party would come straight and take its revenge out of him. Nine per cent of the population, these Jews, and apparently they cannot put a plank into any candidate’s platform! If you will send our Irish lads over here I think they will organise your race and change the aspect of the Reichsrath.

You seem to think that the Jews take no hand in politics here, that they are ‘absolutely non-participants.’ I am assured by men competent to speak that this is a very large error, that the Jews are exceedingly active in politics all over the empire, but that they scatter their work and their votes among the numerous parties, and thus lose the advantages to be had by concentration. I think that in America they scatter too, but you know more about that than I do.

Speaking of concentration, Dr. Herzl has a clear insight into the value of that. Have you heard of his plan? He wishes to gather the Jews of the world together in Palestine, with a government of their own–under the suzerainty of the Sultan, I suppose. At the Convention of Berne, last year, there were delegates from everywhere, and the proposal was received with decided favour. I am not the Sultan, and I am not objecting; but if that concentration of the cunningest brains in the world were going to be made in a free country (bar Scotland), I think it would be politic to stop it. It will not be well to let that race find out its strength. If the horses knew theirs, we should not ride any more.

Point No. 5.–‘Will the persecution of the Jews ever come to an end?’

On the score of religion, I think it has already come to an end. On the score of race prejudice and trade, I have the idea that it will continue. That is, here and there in spots about the world, where a barbarous ignorance and a sort of mere animal civilisation prevail; but I do not think that elsewhere the Jew need now stand in any fear of being robbed and raided. Among the high civilisations he seems to be very comfortably situated indeed, and to have more than his proportionate share of the prosperities going. It has that look in Vienna. I suppose the race prejudice cannot be removed; but he can stand that; it is no particular matter. By his make and ways he is substantially a foreigner wherever he may be, and even the angels dislike a foreigner. I am using this world foreigner in the German sense–stranger. Nearly all of us have an antipathy to a stranger, even of our own nationality. We pile grip-sacks in a vacant seat to keep him from getting it; and a dog goes further, and does as a savage would–challenges him on the spot. The German dictionary seems to make no distinction between a stranger and a foreigner; in its view a stranger is a foreigner–a sound position, I think. You will always be by ways and habits and predilections substantially strangers–foreigners–wherever you are, and that will probably keep the race prejudice against you alive.

But you were the favourites of Heaven originally, and your manifold and unfair prosperities convince me that you have crowded back into that snug place again. Here is an incident that is significant. Last week in Vienna a hailstorm struck the prodigious Central Cemetery and made wasteful destruction there. In the Christian part of it, according to the official figures, 621 window-panes were broken; more than 900 singing-birds were killed; five great trees and many small ones were torn to shreds and the shreds scattered far and wide by the wind; the ornamental plants and other decorations of the graces were ruined, and more than a hundred tomb-lanterns shattered; and it took the cemetery’s whole force of 300 labourers more than three days to clear away the storm’s wreckage. In the report occurs this remark–and in its italics you can hear it grit its Christian teeth: ‘…lediglich die israelitische Abtheilung des Friedhofes vom Hagelwetter ganzlich verschont worden war.’ Not a hailstone hit the Jewish reservation! Such nepotism makes me tired.

Point No. 6.–‘What has become of the Golden Rule?’

It exists, it continues to sparkle, and is well taken care of. It is Exhibit A in the Church’s assets, and we pull it out every Sunday and give it an airing. But you are not permitted to try to smuggle it into this discussion, where it is irrelevant and would not feel at home. It is strictly religious furniture, like an acolyte, or a contribution- plate, or any of those things. It has never intruded into business; and Jewish persecution is not a religious passion, it is a business passion.

To conclude.–If the statistics are right, the Jews constitute but one per cent of the human race. It suggests a nebulous dim puff of star-dust lost in the blaze of the Milky Way. Properly the Jew ought hardly to be heard of; but he is heard of, has always been heard of. He is as prominent on the planet as any other people, and his commercial importance is extravagantly out of proportion to the smallness of his bulk. His contributions to the world’s list of great names in literature, science, art, music, finance, medicine, and abstruse learning are also away out of proportion to the weakness of his numbers. He has made a marvellous fight in this world, in all the ages; and has done it with his hands tied behind him. He could be vain of himself, and be excused for it. The Egyptian, the Babylonian, and the Persian rose, filled the planet with sound and splendour, then faded to dream-stuff and passed away; the Greek and the Roman followed, and made a vast noise, and they are gone; other peoples have sprung up and held their torch high for a time, but it burned out, and they sit in twilight now, or have vanished. The Jew saw them all, beat them all, and is now what he always was, exhibiting no decadence, no infirmities of age, no weakening of his parts, no slowing of his energies, no dulling of his alert and aggressive mind. All things are mortal to the Jew; all other forces pass, but he remains. What is the secret of his immortality?


When I published the above article in ‘Harper’s Monthly,’ I was ignorant –like the rest of the Christian world–of the fact that the Jew had a record as a soldier. I have since seen the official statistics, and I find that he furnished soldiers and high officers to the Revolution, the War of 1812, and the Mexican War. In the Civil War he was represented in the armies and navies of both the North and the South by 10 per cent of his numerical strength–the same percentage that was furnished by the Christian populations of the two sections. This large fact means more than it seems to mean; for it means that the Jew’s patriotism was not merely level with the Christian’s, but overpassed it. When the Christian volunteer arrived in camp he got a welcome and applause, but as a rule the Jew got a snub. His company was not desired, and he was made to feel it. That he nevertheless conquered his wounded pride and sacrificed both that and his blood for his flag raises the average and quality of his patriotism above the Christian’s. His record for capacity, for fidelity, and for gallant soldiership in the field is as good as any one’s. This is true of the Jewish private soldiers and of the Jewish generals alike. Major-General O. O. Howard speaks of one of his Jewish staff officers as being ‘of the bravest and best;’ of another–killed at Chancellorsville– as being ‘a true friend and a brave officer;’ he highly praises two of his Jewish brigadier-generals; finally, he uses these strong words: ‘Intrinsically there are no more patriotic men to be found in the country than those who claim to be of Hebrew descent, and who served with me in parallel commands or more directly under my instructions.’

Fourteen Jewish Confederate and Union families contributed, between them, fifty-one soldiers to the war. Among these, a father and three sons; and another, a father and four sons.

In the above article I was neither able to endorse nor repel the common approach that the Jew is willing to feed upon a country but not to fight for it, because I did not know whether it was true or false. I supposed it to be true, but it is not allowable to endorse wandering maxims upon supposition–except when one is trying to make out a case. That slur upon the Jew cannot hold up its head in presence of the figures of the War Department. It has done its work, and done it long and faithfully, and with high approval: it ought to be pensioned off now, and retired from active service.

[1] See ‘Stirring Times in Austria,’ in this volume.

[2] Here is another piece of picturesque history; and it reminds us that shabbiness and dishonesty are not the monopoly of any race or creed, but are merely human:

‘Congress has passed a bill to pay $379.56 to Moses Pendergrass, of Libertyville, Missouri. The story of the reason of this liberality is pathetically interesting, and shows the sort of pickle that an honest man may get into who undertakes to do an honest job of work for Uncle Sam. In 1886 Moses Pendergrass put in a bid for the contract to carry the mail on the route from Knob Lick to Libertyville and Coffman, thirty miles a day, from July 1, 1887, for one years. He got the postmaster at Knob Lick to write the letter for him, and while Moses intended that his bid should be $400, his scribe carelessly made it $4. Moses got the contract, and did not find out about the mistake until the end of the first quarter, when he got his first pay. When he found at what rate he was working he was sorely cast down, and opened communication with the Post Office Department. The department informed his that he must either carry out his contract or throw it up, and that if he threw it up his bondsman would have the pay the Government $1,459.85 damages. So Moses carried out his contract, walked thirty miles every week-day for a year, and carried the mail, and received for his labour $4, or, to be accurate, $6.84; for, the route being extended after his bid was accepted, his pay was proportionately increased. Now, after ten years, a bill was finally passed to pay to Moses the difference between what he earned in that unlucky year and what he received.’

The ‘Sun,’ which tells the above story, says that bills were introduced in three or four Congresses for Moses’ relief, and that committees repeatedly investigated his claim.

It took six Congresses, containing in their persons the compressed virtues of 70,000,000 of people, and cautiously and carefully giving expression to those virtues in the fear of God and the next election, eleven years to find out some way to cheat a fellow Christian out of about $13 on his honestly executed contract, and out of nearly $300 due him on its enlarged terms. And they succeeded. During the same time they paid out $1,000,000,000 in pensions–a third of it unearned and undeserved. This indicates a splendid all-round competency in theft, for it starts with farthings, and works its industries all the way up to ship-loads. It may be possible that the Jews can beat this, but the man that bets on it is taking chances.

[3] The article was written in the summer of 1898.

[4] In Austria the renaming was merely done because the Jews in some newly-acquired regions had no surnames, but were mostly named Abraham and Moses, and therefore the tax-gatherer could tell t’other from which, and was likely to lose his reason over the matter. The renaming was put into the hands of the War Department, and a charming mess the graceless young lieutenants made of it. To them a Jew was of no sort of consequence, and they labelled the race in a way to make the angels weep. As an example, take these two: Abraham Bellyache and Schmul Godbedamned–Culled from ‘Namens Studien,’ by Karl Emil Fransos.


Correspondence of the ‘London Times’
Chicago, April 1, 1904

I resume by cable-telephone where I left off yesterday. For many hours now, this vast city–along with the rest of the globe, of course–has talked of nothing but the extraordinary episode mentioned in my last report. In accordance with your instructions, I will now trace the romance from its beginnings down to the culmination of yesterday–or today; call it which you like. By an odd chance, I was a personal actor in a part of this drama myself. The opening scene plays in Vienna. Date, one o’clock in the morning, March 31, 1898. I had spent the evening at a social entertainment. About midnight I went away, in company with the military attaches of the British, Italian, and American embassies, to finish with a late smoke. This function had been appointed to take place in the house of Lieutenant Hillyer, the third attache mentioned in the above list. When we arrived there we found several visitors in the room; young Szczepanik;[1] Mr. K., his financial backer; Mr. W., the latter’s secretary; and Lieutenant Clayton, of the United States Army. War was at that time threatening between Spain and our country, and Lieutenant Clayton had been sent to Europe on military business. I was well acquainted with young Szczepanik and his two friends, and I knew Mr. Clayton slightly. I had met him at West Point years before, when he was a cadet. It was when General Merritt was superintendent. He had the reputation of being an able officer, and also of being quick-tempered and plain-spoken.

This smoking-party had been gathered together partly for business. This business was to consider the availability of the telelectroscope for military service. It sounds oddly enough now, but it is nevertheless true that at that time the invention was not taken seriously by any one except its inventor. Even his financial support regarded it merely as a curious and interesting toy. Indeed, he was so convinced of this that he had actually postponed its use by the general world to the end of the dying century by granting a two years’ exclusive lease of it to a syndicate, whose intent was to exploit it at the Paris World’s Fair. When we entered the smoking-room we found Lieutenant Clayton and Szczepanik engaged in a warm talk over the telelectroscope in the German tongue. Clayton was saying:

‘Well, you know my opinion of it, anyway!’ and he brought his fist down with emphasis upon the table.

‘And I do not value it,’ retorted the young inventor, with provoking calmness of tone and manner.

Clayton turned to Mr. K., and said:

‘I cannot see why you are wasting money on this toy. In my opinion, the day will never come when it will do a farthing’s worth of real service for any human being.’

‘That may be; yes, that may be; still, I have put the money in it, and am content. I think, myself, that it is only a toy; but Szczepanik claims more for it, and I know him well enough to believe that he can see father than I can–either with his telelectroscope or without it.’

The soft answer did not cool Clayton down; it seemed only to irritate him the more; and he repeated and emphasised his conviction that the invention would never do any man a farthing’s worth of real service. He even made it a ‘brass’ farthing, this time. Then he laid an English farthing on the table, and added:

‘Take that, Mr. K., and put it away; and if ever the telelectroscope does any man an actual service–mind, a real service–please mail it to me as a reminder, and I will take back what I have been saying. Will you?’

‘I will,’ and Mr. K. put the coin in his pocket.

Mr. Clayton now turned toward Szczepanik, and began with a taunt–a taunt which did not reach a finish; Szczepanik interrupted it with a hardy retort, and followed this with a blow. There was a brisk fight for a moment or two; then the attaches separated the men.

The scene now changes to Chicago. Time, the autumn of 1901. As soon as the Paris contract released the telelectroscope, it was delivered to public use, and was soon connected with the telephonic systems of the whole world. The improved ‘limitless-distance’ telephone was presently introduced, and the daily doings of the globe made visible to everybody, and audibly discussible, too, by witnesses separated by any number of leagues.

By-and-by Szczepanik arrived in Chicago. Clayton (now captain) was serving in that military department at the time. The two men resumed the Viennese quarrel of 1898. On three different occasions they quarrelled, and were separated by witnesses. Then came an interval of two months, during which time Szczepanik was not seen by any of his friends, and it was at first supposed that he had gone off on a sight seeing tour and would soon be heard from. But no; no word came from him. Then it was supposed that he had returned to Europe. Still, time drifted on, and he was not heard from. Nobody was troubled, for he was like most inventors and other kinds of poets, and went and came in a capricious way, and often without notice.

Now comes the tragedy. On December 29, in a dark and unused compartment of the cellar under Captain Clayton’s house, a corpse was discovered by one of Clayton’s maid-servants. Friends of deceased identified it as Szczepanik’s. The man had died by violence. Clayton was arrested, indicted, and brought to trial, charged with this murder. The evidence against him was perfect in every detail, and absolutely unassailable. Clayton admitted this himself. He said that a reasonable man could not examine this testimony with a dispassionate mind and not be convinced by it; yet the man would be in error, nevertheless. Clayton swore that he did not commit the murder, and that he had had nothing to do with it.

As your readers will remember, he was condemned to death. He had numerous and powerful friends, and they worked hard to save him, for none of them doubted the truth of his assertion. I did what little I could to help, for I had long since become a close friend of his, and thought I knew that it was not in his character to inveigle an enemy into a corner and assassinate him. During 1902 and 1903 he was several times reprieved by the governor; he was reprieved once more in the beginning of the present year, and the execution day postponed to March 31.

The governor’s situation has been embarrassing, from the day of the condemnation, because of the fact that Clayton’s wife is the governor’s niece. The marriage took place in 1899, when Clayton was thirty-four and the girl twenty-three, and has been a happy one. There is one child, a little girl three years old. Pity for the poor mother and child kept the mouths of grumblers closed at first; but this could not last for ever– for in America politics has a hand in everything–and by-and-by the governor’s political opponents began to call attention to his delay in allowing the law to take its course. These hints have grown more and more frequent of late, and more and more pronounced. As a natural result, his own part grew nervous. Its leaders began to visit Springfield and hold long private conferences with him. He was now between two fires. On the one hand, his niece was imploring him to pardon her husband; on the other were the leaders, insisting that he stand to his plain duty as chief magistrate of the State, and place no further bar to Clayton’s execution. Duty won in the struggle, and the Governor gave his word that he would not again respite the condemned man. This was two weeks ago. Mrs. Clayton now said:

‘Now that you have given your word, my last hope is gone, for I know you will never go back from it. But you have done the best you could for John, and I have no reproaches for you. You love him, and you love me, and we know that if you could honourable save him, you would do it. I will go to him now, and be what help I can to him, and get what comfort I may out of the few days that are left to us before the night comes which will have no end for me in life. You will be with me that day? You will not let me bear it alone?’

‘I will take you to him myself, poor child, and I will be near you to the last.’

By the governor’s command, Clayton was now allowed every indulgence he might ask for which could interest his mind and soften the hardships of his imprisonment. His wife and child spent the days with him; I was his companion by night. He was removed from the narrow cell which he had occupied during such a dreary stretch of time, and given the chief warden’s roomy and comfortable quarters. His mind was always busy with the catastrophe of his life, and with the slaughtered inventor, and he now took the fancy that he would like to have the telelectroscope and divert his mind with it. He had his wish. The connection was made with the international telephone-station, and day by day, and night by night, he called up one corner of the globe after another, and looked upon its life, and studied its strange sights, and spoke with its people, and realised that by grace of this marvellous instrument he was almost as free as the birds of the air, although a prisoner under locks and bars. He seldom spoke, and I never interrupted him when he was absorbed in this amusement. I sat in his parlour and read, and smoked, and the nights were very quiet and reposefully sociable, and I found them pleasant. Now and then I would her him say ‘Give me Yedo;’ next, ‘Give me Hong-Kong;’ next, ‘Give me Melbourne.’ And I smoked on, and read in comfort, while he wandered about the remote underworld, where the sun was shining in the sky, and the people were at their daily work. Sometimes the talk that came from those far regions through the microphone attachment interested me, and I listened.

Yesterday–I keep calling it yesterday, which is quite natural, for certain reasons–the instrument remained unused, and that also was natural, for it was the eve of the execution day. It was spent in tears and lamentations and farewells. The governor and the wife and child remained until a quarter-past eleven at night, and the scenes I witnessed were pitiful to see. The execution was to take place at four in the morning. A little after eleven a sound of hammering broke out upon the still night, and there was a glare of light, and the child cried out, ‘What is that, papa?’ and ran to the window before she could be stopped and clapped her small hands and said, ‘Oh, come and see, mamma–such a pretty thing they are making!’ The mother knew–and fainted. It was the gallows!

She was carried away to her lodging, poor woman, and Clayton and I were alone–alone, and thinking, brooding, dreaming. We might have been statues, we sat so motionless and still. It was a wild night, for winter was come again for a moment, after the habit of this region in the early spring. The sky was starless and black, and a strong wind was blowing from the lake. The silence in the room was so deep that all outside sounds seemed exaggerated by contrast with it. These sounds were fitting ones: they harmonised with the situation and the conditions: the boom and thunder of sudden storm-gusts among the roofs and chimneys, then the dying down into moanings and wailings about the eaves and angles; now and then a gnashing and lashing rush of sleet along the window-panes; and always the muffled and uncanny hammering of the gallows-builders in the court-yard. After an age of this, another sound–far off, and coming smothered and faint through the riot of the tempest–a bell tolling twelve! Another age, and it was tolled again. By-and-by, again. A dreary long interval after this, then the spectral sound floated to us once more–one, two three; and this time we caught our breath; sixty minutes of life left!

Clayton rose, and stood by the window, and looked up into the black sky, and listened to the thrashing sleet and the piping wind; then he said: ‘That a dying man’s last of earth should be–this!’ After a little he said: ‘I must see the sun again–the sun!’ and the next moment he was feverishly calling: ‘China! Give me China–Peking!’

I was strangely stirred, and said to myself: ‘To think that it is a mere human being who does this unimaginable miracle–turns winter into summer, night into day, storm into calm, gives the freedom of the great globe to a prisoner in his cell, and the sun in his naked splendour to a man dying in Egyptian darkness.’

I was listening.

‘What light! what brilliancy! what radiance!…. This is Peking?’


‘The time?’


‘What is the great crowd for, and in such gorgeous costumes? What masses and masses of rich colour and barbaric magnificence! And how they flash and glow and burn in the flooding sunlight! What is the occasion of it all?’

‘The coronation of our new emperor–the Czar.’

‘But I thought that that was to take place yesterday.’

‘This is yesterday–to you.’

‘Certainly it is. But my mind is confused, these days: there are reasons for it…. Is this the beginning of the procession?’

‘Oh, no; it began to move an hour ago.’

‘Is there much more of it still to come?’

‘Two hours of it. Why do you sigh?’

‘Because I should like to see it all.’

‘And why can’t you?’

‘I have to go–presently.’

‘You have an engagement?’

After a pause, softly: ‘Yes.’ After another pause: ‘Who are these in the splendid pavilion?’

‘The imperial family, and visiting royalties from here and there and yonder in the earth.’

‘And who are those in the adjoining pavilions to the right and left?’

‘Ambassadors and their families and suites to the right; unofficial foreigners to the left.’

‘If you will be so good, I–‘

Boom! That distant bell again, tolling the half-hour faintly through the tempest of wind and sleet. The door opened, and the governor and the mother and child entered–the woman in widow’s weeds! She fell upon her husband’s breast in a passion of sobs, and I–I could not stay; I could not bear it. I went into the bedchamber, and closed the door. I sat there waiting–waiting–waiting, and listening to the rattling sashes and the blustering of the storm. After what seemed a long, long time, I heard a rustle and movement in the parlour, and knew that the clergyman and the sheriff and the guard were come. There was some low-voiced talking; then a hush; then a prayer, with a sound of sobbing; presently, footfalls–the departure for the gallows; then the child’s happy voice: ‘Don’t cry now, mamma, when we’ve got papa again, and taking him home.’

The door closed; they were gone. I was ashamed: I was the only friend of the dying man that had no spirit, no courage. I stepped into the room, and said I would be a man and would follow. But we are made as we are made, and we cannot help it. I did not go.

I fidgeted about the room nervously, and presently went to the window and softly raised it–drawn by that dread fascination which the terrible and the awful exert–and looked down upon the court-yard. By the garish light of the electric lamps I saw the little group of privileged witnesses, the wife crying on her uncle’s breast, the condemned man standing on the scaffold with the halter around his neck, his arms strapped to his body, the black cap on his head, the sheriff at his side with his hand on the drop, the clergyman in front of him with bare head and his book in his hand.

‘I am the resurrection and the life–‘

I turned away. I could not listen; I could not look. I did not know whither to go or what to do. Mechanically and without knowing it, I put my eye to that strange instrument, and there was Peking and the Czar’s procession! The next moment I was leaning out of the window, gasping, suffocating, trying to speak, but dumb from the very imminence of the necessity of speaking. The preacher could speak, but I, who had such need of words–‘And may God have mercy upon your soul. Amen.’

The sheriff drew down the black cap, and laid his hand upon the lever. I got my voice.

‘Stop, for God’s sake! The man is innocent. Come here and see Szczepanik face to face!’

Hardly three minutes later the governor had my place at the window, and was saying:

‘Strike off his bonds and set him free!’

Three minutes later all were in the parlour again. The reader will imagine the scene; I have no need to describe it. It was a sort of mad orgy of joy.

A messenger carried word to Szczepanik in the pavilion, and one could see the distressed amazement in his face as he listened to the tale. Then he came to his end of the line, and talked with Clayton and the governor and the others; and the wife poured out her gratitude upon him for saving her husband’s life, and in her deep thankfulness she kissed him at twelve thousand miles’ range.

The telelectroscopes of the world were put to service now, and for many hours the kinds and queens of many realms (with here and there a reporter) talked with Szczepanik, and praised him; and the few scientific societies which had not already made him an honorary member conferred that grace upon him.

How had he come to disappear from among us? It was easily explained. HE had not grown used to being a world-famous person, and had been forced to break away from the lionising that was robbing him of all privacy and repose. So he grew a beard, put on coloured glasses, disguised himself a little in other ways, then took a fictitious name, and went off to wander about the earth in peace.

Such is the tale of the drama which began with an inconsequential quarrel in Vienna in the spring of 1898, and came near ending as a tragedy in the spring of 1904.


Correspondence of the ‘London Times’
Chicago, April 5, 1904

To-day, by a clipper of the Electric Line, and the latter’s Electric Railway connections, arrived an envelope from Vienna, for Captain Clayton, containing an English farthing. The receiver of it was a good deal moved. He called up Vienna, and stood face to face with Mr. K., and said:

‘I do not need to say anything: you can see it all in my face. My wife has the farthing. Do not be afraid–she will not throw it away.’


Correspondence of the ‘London Times’
Chicago, April 23, 1904

Now that the after developments of the Clayton case have run their course and reached a finish, I will sum them up. Clayton’s romantic escape from a shameful death stepped all this region in an enchantment of wonder and joy–during the proverbial nine days. Then the sobering process followed, and men began to take thought, and to say: ‘But a man was killed, and Clayton killed him.’ Others replied: ‘That is true: we have been overlooking that important detail; we have been led away by excitement.’

The telling soon became general that Clayton ought to be tried again. Measures were taken accordingly, and the proper representations conveyed to Washington; for in America under the new paragraph added to the Constitution in 1889, second trials are not State affairs, but national, and must be tried by the most august body in the land–the Supreme Court of the United States. The justices were therefore summoned to sit in Chicago. The session was held day before yesterday, and was opened with the usual impressive formalities, the nine judges appearing in their black robes, and the new chief justice (Lemaitre) presiding. In opening the case the chief justice said:

‘It is my opinion that this matter is quite simple. The prisoner at the bar was charged with murdering the man Szczepanik; he was tried for murdering the man Szczepanik; he was fairly tried and justly condemned and sentenced to death for murdering the man Szczepanik. It turns out that the man Szczepanik was not murdered at all. By the decision of the French courts in the Dreyfus matter, it is established beyond cavil or question that the decisions of courts and permanent and cannot be revised. We are obliged to respect and adopt this precedent. It is upon precedents that the enduring edifice of jurisprudence is reared. The prisoner at the bar has been fairly and righteously condemned to death for the murder of the man Szczepanik, and, in my opinion, there is but one course to pursue in the matter: he must be hanged.’

Mr. Justice Crawford said:

‘But, your Excellency, he was pardoned on the scaffold for that.’

‘The pardon is not valid, and cannot stand, because he was pardoned for killing Szczepanik, a man whom he had not killed. A man cannot be pardoned for a crime which he has not committed; it would be an absurdity.’

‘But, your Excellency, he did kill a man.’

‘That is an extraneous detail; we have nothing to do with it. The court cannot take up this crime until the prisoner has expiated the other one.’

Mr. Justice Halleck said:

‘If we order his execution, your Excellency, we shall bring about a miscarriage of justice, for the governor will pardon him again.’

‘He will not have the power. He cannot pardon a man for a crime which he has not committed. As I observed before, it would be an absurdity.’

After a consultation, Mr. Justice Wadsworth said:

‘Several of us have arrived at the conclusion, your Excellency, that it would be an error to hang the prisoner for killing Szczepanik, instead of for killing the other man, since it is proven that he did not kill Szczepanik.’

‘On the contrary, it is proven that he did kill Szczepanik. By the French precedent, it is plain that we must abide by the finding of the court.’

‘But Szczepanik is still alive.’

‘So is Dreyfus.’

In the end it was found impossible to ignore or get around the French precedent. There could be but one result: Clayton was delivered over for the execution. It made an immense excitement; the State rose as one man and clamored for Clayton’s pardon and retrial. The governor issued the pardon, but the Supreme Court was in duty bound to annul it, and did so, and poor Clayton was hanged yesterday. The city is draped in black, and, indeed, the like may be said of the State. All America is vocal with scorn of ‘French justice,’ and of the malignant little soldiers who invented it and inflicted it upon the other Christian lands.

[1] Pronounced (approximately) Shepannik.



I have a project to suggest. But first I will write a chapter of introduction.

I have just been witnessing a remarkable play, here at the Burg Theatre in Vienna. I do not know of any play that much resembles it. In fact, it is such a departure from the common laws of the drama that the name ‘play’ doesn’t seem to fit it quite snugly. However, whatever else it may be, it is in any case a great and stately metaphysical poem, and deeply fascinating. ‘Deeply fascinating’ is the right term: for the audience sat four hours and five minutes without thrice breaking into applause, except at the close of each act; sat rapt and silent– fascinated. This piece is ‘The Master of Palmyra.’ It is twenty years old; yet I doubt if you have ever heard of it. It is by Wilbrandt, and is his masterpiece and the work which is to make his name permanent in German literature. It has never been played anywhere except in Berlin and in the great Burg Theatre in Vienna. Yet whenever it is put on the stage it packs the house, and the free list is suspended. I know people who have seem it ten times; they know the most of it by heart; they do not tire of it; and they say they shall still be quite willing to go and sit under its spell whenever they get the opportunity.

There is a dash of metempsychosis in it–and it is the strength of the piece. The play gave me the sense of the passage of a dimly connected procession of dream-pictures. The scene of it is Palmyra in Roman times. It covers a wide stretch of time–I don’t know how many years–and in the course of it the chief actress is reincarnated several times: four times she is a more or less young woman, and once she is a lad. In the first act she is Zoe–a Christian girl who has wandered across the desert from Damascus to try to Christianise the Zeus-worshipping pagans of Palmyra. In this character she is wholly spiritual, a religious enthusiast, a devotee who covets martyrdom–and gets it.

After many years she appears in the second act as Phoebe, a graceful and beautiful young light-o’-love from Rome, whose soul is all for the shows and luxuries and delights of this life–a dainty and capricious feather- head, a creature of shower and sunshine, a spoiled child, but a charming one. In the third act, after an interval of many years, she reappears as Persida, mother of a daughter who is in the fresh bloom of youth. She is