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Title: Bulgaria
Author: Fox, Frank, Sir, 1874-1960
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Bulgaria" ***

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BULGARIA



    _Uniform with this Volume_

    AUSTRIA-HUNGARY
    ENGLAND
    FRANCE
    ITALY
    SWITZERLAND


    A. AND C. BLACK, LTD.,
    4 SOHO SQUARE, LONDON, W.



[Illustration: A YOUNG SHÔP MAN OF THE DISTRICT OF SOFIA
_Frontispiece_]



    BULGARIA

    BY

    FRANK FOX
    AUTHOR OF "ENGLAND," "ITALY," AND "SWITZERLAND"


    WITH 32 FULL-PAGE ILLUSTRATIONS IN COLOUR


    LONDON
    A. AND C. BLACK, LIMITED
    1915



    CONTENTS


    CHAPTER I
                                                            Page

    BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION                                     1

    CHAPTER II
    BULGARIA AND THE DEATH OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE                15

    CHAPTER III
    THE SCRAP-HEAP OF RACES                                   36

    CHAPTER IV
    BULGARIA--A POWER AND A TURKISH PROVINCE                  52

    CHAPTER V
    THE LIBERATION OF BULGARIA                                65

    CHAPTER VI
    THE WAR OF 1912-1913                                      77

    CHAPTER VII
    A WAR CORRESPONDENT'S TRIALS IN BULGARIA                  99

    CHAPTER VIII
    INCIDENTS OF BULGARIAN CHARACTER                         120

    CHAPTER IX
    THE TRAGEDY OF 1914                                      134

    CHAPTER X
    SOME FACTS FOR THE TOURIST AND THE ECONOMIST             150

    CHAPTER XI
    HOW BULGARIA IS GOVERNED                                 167

    CHAPTER XII
    THE FUTURE OF BULGARIA                                   174

    CHAPTER XIII
    THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EUROPE                             187

    INDEX                                                    207



    LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

    By JAN V. MRKVITCHKA and NOEL POCOCK*


     1.  A Young Shôp Man of the District of Sofia        _Frontispiece_

                                                            FACING PAGE

     2. A Contented Turk                                             8

     3. A Peasant at Work--District of Tsaribrod                    17

     4. Women of Pordim, in the Plevna District                     19

     5. In the Harvest Fields near Sofia                            22

     6. A Shôp Woman of the District of Sofia                       24

     7. A Woman of Thrace, of the Shôp Tribe, and of Macedonia      33

     8. *Sistov, on the Danube                                      40

     9. Ancient Costume of Balkan Peasant Women near Gabrovo        49

    10. A Wedding in the Rhodopes                                   56

    11. *Roustchouk, on the Danube                                  65

    12. "Mystery"--a Study in the Roustchouk District               67

    13. A Blind Beggar Woman                                        70

    14. A Young Married Shôp Woman                                  72

    15. *A Bulgarian Market Town                                    75

    16. Blessing the Lamb on St. George's Day                       78

    17. *The Cathedral, Sofia                                       81

    18. *An Adrianople Street                                       88

    19. *The Shipka Pass                                            97

    20. A Young Widow at her Husband's Grave                       104

    21. Gipsies                                                    113

    22. A Peasant of the Tsaribrod District                        120

    23. The Ratchenitza, the National Dance of Bulgaria            129

    24. A Bagpiper                                                 136

    25. A Young Girl of Irn                                        145

    26. Guarding the Flocks and Herds                              152

    27. An Old Street in Philippopolis                             161

    28. A Grave Question                                           168

    29. A Young Man of the Choumla District                        177

    30. *A Bulgarian Farm                                          184

    31. A Young Woman of the Roustchouk District                   193

    32. At the Well                                                200

        _Sketch Map at end of Volume._



BULGARIA



CHAPTER I

BY WAY OF INTRODUCTION


Instructed in the autumn of 1912 to join the Bulgarian army, then
mobilising for war against Turkey, as war correspondent for the _London
Morning Post_, I made my preparations with the thought uppermost that I
was going to a cut-throat country where massacre was the national sport
and human life was regarded with no sentimental degree of respect. The
Bulgarians, a generation ago, had been paraded before the eyes of the
British people by the fiery eloquence of Mr. Gladstone as a deeply
suffering people, wretched victims of Turkish atrocities. After the wide
sympathy that followed his Bulgarian Atrocities campaign there came a
strong reaction. It was maintained that the Bulgarians were by no means
the blameless victims of the Turks; and could themselves initiate
massacres as well as suffer from them. Some even charged that there was
a good deal of party spirit to account for the heat of Mr. Gladstone's
championship. I think that the average British opinion in 1912 was that,
regarding the quarrels between Bulgar and Turk, there was a great deal
to be said against both sides; and that no Balkan people was worth a
moment's sentimental worry. "Let dogs delight to bark and bite, for 'tis
their nature to," expressed the common view when one heard that there
had been murders and village-burnings again in the Balkans.

Certainly there were enthusiasts who held to the old Gladstonian faith
that there was some peculiar merit in the Bulgarian people which
justified all that they did, and which would justify Great Britain
in going into the most dangerous of wars on their behalf. These
enthusiasts, as if to make more startlingly clear their love for
Bulgaria, commonly took a profoundly pacific view of all other questions
of international politics, and would become passionately indignant at
the suggestion that the British Power should ever move navy or army in
defence of any selfish British interest. They were--they still are, it
may be said--the leading lights of what is called the Peace-at-any-price
party, detesting war and "jingoism," and viewing patriotism, when found
growing on British soil, with dry suspicion. Patriotism in Bulgaria is,
however, to their view a growth of a different order, worthy to be
encouraged and sheltered at any cost.

As a counter-weight to these enthusiasts, Great Britain sheltered a
little band, usually known as pro-Turks, who believed, with almost as
passionate a sincerity as that of the pro-Bulgarians, that the Turk
was the only gentleman in Europe, and that his mild and blameless
aspirations towards setting up the perfect State were being cruelly
thwarted by the abominable Bulgars and other Balkan riff-raff. Good
government in the Balkans would come, they held, if the tide of Turkish
rule flowed forward and the restless, semi-savage, murderous Balkan
Christian states went back to peace and philosophic calm under the
wise rule of Cadi administering the will of the Khalifate.

But pro-Bulgarian and pro-Turk made comparatively few converts in Great
Britain. They formed influential little groups and inspired debates in
the House of Lords and the House of Commons, and published literature,
and went out as missions to their beloved nationalities, and had all
their affection confirmed again by the fine appreciation showered upon
them. The great mass of British public opinion, however, they did not
touch. There was never a second flaming campaign because of Turkish
atrocities towards Bulgaria, and the pro-Turks never had a sufficient
sense of humour to suggest a counter-campaign when Bulgarians made
reprisals. In official circles the general attitude towards Balkan
affairs was one of vexation alternating with indifference.

"Those detestable Balkans!" quoth one diplomat in an undiplomatic
moment: and expressed well the official mind. "They are six of one and
half a dozen of the other," said the man in the street when he heard of
massacres, village-burnings, and tortures in the Balkans; and he turned
to the football news with undisturbed mind, seeking something on which a
fair opinion could be formed without too much worry.

The view of the man in the street was my view in 1912. I can recall
being contented in my mind to know that at any rate one's work as a war
correspondent would not be disturbed by any sympathy for the one side
or the other. Whichever side lost it would deserve to have lost, and
whatever reduction in the population of the Balkan Peninsula was caused
by the war would be ultimately a benefit to Europe. In parts of America
where the race feeling is strongest, they say that the only good nigger
is a dead nigger. So I felt about the Balkan populations. The feelings
of a man with some interest in flocks of sheep on hearing that war had
broken out between the wolves and the jackals would represent fairly
well the attitude of mind in which I packed my kit for the Balkans.

It is well to put on record that mental foundation on which I built up
my impressions of the Balkans generally, and of the Bulgarian people
particularly, for at the present time (1914) I think it may safely be
said that the Bulgarian people are somewhat under a cloud, and are not
standing too high in the opinion of the civilised world. Yet, to give
an honest record of my observations of them, I shall have to praise
them very highly in some respects. Whilst it would be going too far to
say that the praise is reluctant, it is true that it has been in a
way forced from me, for I went to Bulgaria with the prejudice against
the Bulgarians that I have indicated. And--to make this explanation
complete--I may add that I came back from the Balkans not a
pro-Bulgarian in the sense that I was anti-Greek or anti-Servian or
even anti-Turk; but with a feeling of general liking for all the
peasant peoples whom a cruel fate has cast into the Balkans to fight
out there national and racial issues, some of which are older than the
Christian era.

Yes, even the Turk, the much-maligned Turk, proved to have decent
possibilities if given a decent chance. Certainly he is no longer
the Terrible Turk of tradition. Most of the Turks I encountered in
Bulgaria were prisoners of war, evidently rather pleased to be in the
hands of the Bulgarians who fed them decently, a task which their own
commissariat had failed in: or were contented followers of menial
occupations in Bulgarian towns. I can recall Turkish boot-blacks and
Turkish porters, but no Turks who looked like warriors, and if they
are cut-throats by choice (I do not believe they are) they are very
mild-mannered cut-throats indeed.

Coming back from the lines of Chatalja towards the end of 1912, I had,
for one stage of five days, between Kirk Kilisse and Mustapha Pasha, a
Turkish driver. He had been a Bulgarian subject (I gathered) before the
war, and with his cart and two horses had been impressed into the
transport service. At first with some aid from an interpreter,
afterwards mostly by signs and broken fragments of language, I got to be
able to converse with this Turk. (In the Balkans the various shreds of
races have quaint crazy-quilt patchworks of conversational language.
Somehow or other even a British citizen with more than the usual
stupidity of our race as to foreign languages can make himself
understood in the Balkan Peninsula, which is so polyglottic that its
inhabitants understand signs very well.) My Turk friend, from the very
first, filled my heart with sympathy because of his love for his horses.
Since he had come under the war-rule of the Bulgarians, he complained to
me, he had not been allowed to feed his horses properly. They were
fading away. He wept over them. Actual tears irrigated the furrows of
his weather-beaten and unwashed cheeks.

As a matter of fact the horses were in very good condition indeed,
considering all the circumstances; as good, certainly, as any horses I
had seen since I left Buda-Pesth. But my heart warmed to this Turcoman
and his love for his horses. I had been seeking in vain up to this point
for the appearance of the Terrible Turk of tradition; the Turk, with his
well-beloved Arabian steed, his quite-secondary-in-consideration
Circassian harem; the fierce, unconquerable, disdainful, cruel Turk,
manly in his vices as well as in his virtues. My Turk had at least one
recognisable characteristic in his love for his horses. As he sorrowed
over them I comforted him with a flagon--it was of brandy and water: and
the Prophet, when he forbade wine, was ignorant of brandy, so Islam
these days has its alcoholic consolation--and I stayed him with
cigarettes. He had not had a smoke for a month and, put in possession of
tobacco, he plunged into a mood of rapt exultation, rolling cigarette
after cigarette, chuckling softly as he inhaled the smoke, turning
towards me now and again with a gesture of thanks and of respect. I had
taken over the reins and the little horses were doing very well.

[Illustration: A CONTENTED TURK]

That day, though we had started late, the horses carried us thirty-five
miles, and I camped at the site of a burned-out village. The Turk
made no objection to this. Previously coming over the same route with an
ox-cart, my Macedonian driver had objected to camping except in occupied
villages where there were garrisons. He feared Bashi-Bazouks (the
Turkish irregular bands which occasionally showed themselves in the rear
of the Bulgarian army) and wolves. Probably, too, he feared ghosts, or
was uneasy and lonely when out of range of the village smells. Now I
preferred a burned village site, because the only clean villages were
the burned ones; and for the reason of water it was necessary to camp at
some village or village site. Mr. Turk went up hugely in my estimation
when I found that he had no objections to the site of a burned village
as a camping-place.

But the first night in camp shattered all my illusions. The Turk
unharnessed and lit the camp fire. I cooked my supper and gave him a
share. Then he squatted by the fire and resumed smoking. The horses over
which he had shed tears waited. After the Turk's third cigarette I
suggested that the horses should be watered and fed. The village well
was about 300 yards away, and the Turk evidently did not like the idea
of moving from the fire. He did not move, but argued in Turkish of which
I understood nothing. Finally I elicited the fact that the horses were
too tired to drink and too tired to eat the barley I had brought for
them. As a remedy for tiredness they were to be left without water and
food all night.

As plainly as was possible I insisted to the Turk that the horses must
be watered at once, and afterwards given a good ration of barley. I
dragged him from the fire to the horses and made my meaning clear
enough. The Turk was stubborn. Clearly either I was to water the horses
myself or they were to be left without water, and my old traditions of
horse-mastery would not allow me to have them fed without being watered.
So this was the extent of the Turk's devotion to his horses!

It was necessary to be firm, and I took up the cart whip to the Turk and
convinced him almost at once that the horses were not "too tired" to
drink.

Mr. Turk did not resent the blows in the least. He refrained from
cutting my throat as I slept that evening. Afterwards a mere wave of the
hand towards the whip made him move with alacrity. At the end of the
journey, when I gave him a good "tip," he knelt down gallantly in the
mud of Mustapha Pasha and kissed my hand and carried it to his forehead.

So faded away my last hope of meeting the Terrible Turk of tradition in
the Balkans. Perhaps he exists still in Asia Minor. As I saw the Turk in
Bulgaria and in European Turkey, he was a dull monogamic person with no
fiery pride, no picturesque devilry, but a great passion for
sweetmeats--not merely his own "Turkish Delight," but all kinds of
lollipops: his shops were full of Scotch and English confectionery.

But the Bulgarian, not the Turk, is our theme. This introduction,
however, will make it plain that, as the result of a direct knowledge of
the Balkans, during some months in which I had the opportunity of
sharing in Bulgarian peasant life, I came to the admiration I have now
for the Bulgarian people in spite of a preliminary prejudice. And this
conversion of view was not the result of becoming involved in some
passionate political attitude regarding Balkan affairs. I am not now
prepared to take up the view of the fanatic Bulgar-worshippers who must
not only exalt the Bulgarian nation as a modern Chosen People, but must
represent Servian, Greek, and Turk as malignant and devilish in order to
throw up in the highest light their ideas of Bulgarian saintliness.

The Balkans are apt to have strange effects on the traveller. Perhaps it
is the blood-mist that hangs always over the Balkan plains and glens
which gets into the head and intoxicates one: perhaps it is the call to
the wild in us from the primitive human nature of the Balkan peoples.
Whatever the reason, it is a common thing for the unemotional English
traveller to go to the Balkans as a tourist and return as a passionate
enthusiast for some Balkan Peninsula nationality. He becomes, perhaps, a
pro-Turk, and thereafter will argue with fierceness that the Turk is the
only man who leads an idyllic life in Europe to-day, and that the way
to human regeneration is through a conversion to Turkishness. He fills
his house with Turkish visitors and writes letters to the papers
pointing out the savagery we show in the "Turk's Head" competition for
our cavalry-men at military tournaments. Or he may become a pro-Bulgar
with a taste for the company of highly flavoured Macedonian
revolutionary priests and a grisly habit of turning the conversation to
the subject of outrage and massacre. To become a pro-Servian is not a
common fashion, but pro-Albanians and pro-Montenegrins and
Philhellenists are common enough.

The word "crank," if it can be read in a kindly sense and stripped of
malice, covers all these folk. Exactly why the Balkans have such an
effect in making "cranks" I have already confessed an inability to
explain. The fact must stand as one of those things which we must
believe--if we read Parliamentary debates and newspaper
correspondence--but cannot comprehend.

But any "crank" view I disavow. Whether from a natural lack of a
generous sense of partisanship, or a journalistic training (which crabs
emotionalism: that acute observer of men, the late "General" Booth, said
once of his Salvation Army work, "You can never 'save' a journalist"), I
came back from the Balkans without a desire to join a society to exalt
any one of the little nationalities struggling for national expression
in its rowdy life. But I did get to a strong admiration of the Bulgarian
people as soldiers, farmers, road-makers, and as friends. The evidence
on which that admiration is based will be stated in these pages, and it
is my hope that it will do a little to set the Bulgarian--who is
sometimes much overpraised and often much over-abused--in a right light
before my readers.

But before dealing with the Bulgarian of to-day we must look into his
antecedents.



CHAPTER II

BULGARIA AND THE DEATH OF THE ROMAN EMPIRE


Probably not the least part of the interest which the traveller or the
student will take in Bulgaria is the fact that it was the arena in
which were fought the great battles of races declaring the doom of the
Roman Empire. Fortunately, from old Gothic chronicles it is possible
to get pictures--valuable for vivid colouring rather than strict
accuracy--which bring very close to us that curious tragedy of
civilisation, the destruction of the power of Rome and the overrunning
of Europe by successive waves of barbarians.

In the fifth century before Christ, what is now Bulgaria was practically
a Greek colony, and its trading relations with the North gave possibly
the first hint to the Goths of the easiest path by which to invade the
Roman Empire. The present Bulgarian towns of Varna (on the Black Sea)
and Kustendji (which has a literary history in that it was later a place
of banishment for Ovid the poet) can be traced back as Greek trading
towns through which passed traffic from the Mediterranean to the
"Scythians," _i.e._ the Goths of the North. Amber and furs came from the
north of the river valleys, and caravans from the south brought in
return silver and gold and bronze.

Towards the dawn of the Christian era there began a swelling-over of the
Goths from the Baltic shores, sending one wave of invasion down towards
Italy, another towards the Black Sea and the Aegean. Jordanes, the
earliest Gothic historian, writing in the sixth century gives this
account--derived from Gothic folk-songs--of the movement of the invasion
towards the Balkan Peninsula (probably about A.D. 170):

    In the reign of the fifth King after Berig, Filimer, son of
    Gadariges, the people had so greatly increased in numbers that
    they all agreed in the conclusion that the army of the Goths
    should move forward with their families in quest of more fitting
    abodes. Thus they came to those regions of Scythia which in
    their tongue are called Oium, whose great fertility pleased them
    much. But there was a bridge there by which the army essayed
    to cross a river, and when half of the army had passed, that
    bridge fell down in irreparable ruin, nor could any one either
    go forward or return. For that place is said to be girt round
    with a whirlpool, shut in with quivering morasses, and thus by
    her confusion of the two elements, land and water, Nature has
    rendered it inaccessible. But in truth, even to this day, if you
    may trust the evidence of passers-by, though they go not nigh
    the place, the far-off voices of cattle may be heard and traces
    of men may be discerned.

    That part of the Goths therefore which under the leadership of
    Filimer crossed the river and reached the lands of Oium,
    obtained the longed-for soil. Then without delay they came to
    the nation of the Spali, with whom they engaged in battle and
    therein gained the victory. Thence they came forth as
    conquerors, and hastened to the farthest part of Scythia which
    borders on the Black Sea.

[Illustration: A PEASANT AT WORK, DISTRICT OF TSARIBROD]

The people whom these Teutonic Goths displaced were Slavs. The Goths
settled down first on the Black Sea between the mouths of the Danube and
of the Dniester and beyond that river almost to the Don, becoming thus
neighbours of the Huns on the east, of the Roman Empire's Balkan
colonies on the west, and of the Slavs on the north. It is reasonable to
suppose that to some extent they mingled their blood somewhat with the
Slavs whom they dispossessed, and that they came into some contact with
the Huns also. It was in the third century of the Christian era that
these Goths, who had been for some time subsidised by the Roman emperors
on the condition that they kept the peace, crossed the Danube and
devastated Moesia and Thrace. An incident of this invasion was the
successful resistance of the garrison of Marcianople--now Schumla--to
the invaders. In a following campaign the Goths crossed the Danube at
Novae (now Novo-grad) and besieged Philippopolis, a city which still
keeps its name and now, as then, is an important strategical point
commanding the Thracian Plain. (It was Philippopolis which would have
been the objective of the Turkish attack upon Bulgaria in 1912-1913 if
Turkey had been given a chance in that war to develop a forward
movement.) This city was taken by the Goths, and the first notable
Balkan massacre is recorded, over 100,000 people being put to the sword
within its walls. Later in the campaign the Emperor Decius was defeated
and killed by the Goths in a battle waged on marshy ground near the
mouth of the Danube. This was the second of the three great disasters
which marked the doom of the Roman Empire: the first was the defeat of
Varus in Germany; the third was to be the defeat and death of the
Emperor Valens before Adrianople. Bulgaria, the scene of the second and
third disasters, can accurately be described as having provided the
death-arena for Rome.

[Illustration: WOMEN OF PORDIM, IN THE PLEVNA DISTRICT]

From the defeat of Decius (A.D. 251) may be said to date the Gothic
colonisation of the Balkan Peninsula. True, after that event the Goths
often retired behind the Danube for a time, but, as a rule, thereafter
they were steadily encroaching on the Roman territory, carrying on a
maritime war in the Black Sea as well as land forays across the Danube.
It was because of the successes of the Goths in the Balkans that the
decision was ultimately arrived at to move the capital of the Roman
Empire from Rome to Constantinople. During the first Gothic attack,
after the death of Decius, Byzantium itself was threatened, and the
cities around the Sea of Marmora sacked. An incident of this invasion
which has been chronicled is that the Goths enjoyed hugely the warm
baths they found at Anchialus--"there were certain warm springs renowned
above all others in the world for their healing virtues, and greatly did
the Goths delight to wash therein. And having tarried there many days
they thence returned home." Now Anchialus is clearly identifiable as
the present Bulgarian town of Bourgas, a flourishing seaport connected
by rail with Jambouli and still noted for its baths.

In a later Gothic campaign (A.D. 262), based on a naval expedition from
the Black Sea, Byzantium was taken, the Temple of Diana at Ephesus
destroyed, and Athens sacked. A German historian pictures this last
incident:

    The streets and squares which at other times were enlivened only
    by the noisy crowds of the ever-restless citizens, and of the
    students who flocked thither from all parts of the Graeco-Roman
    world, now resounded with the dull roar of the German bull-horns
    and the war-cry of the Goths. Instead of the red cloak of the
    Sophists, and the dark hoods of the Philosophers, the skin-coats
    of the barbarians fluttered in the breeze. Wodan and Donar had
    gotten the victory over Zeus and Athene.

It was in regard to this capture of Athens that the story was first
told--it has been told of half a dozen different sackings since--that a
band of Goths came upon a library and were making a bonfire of its
contents when one of their leaders interposed:

    "Not so, my sons; leave these scrolls untouched, that the Greeks
    may in time to come, as they have in time past, waste their
    manhood in poring over their wearisome contents. So will they
    ever fall, as now, an easy prey to the strong unlearned sons of
    the North."

In the ultimate result the Goths were driven out of Athens by a small
force led by Dexippus, a soldier and a scholar whose exploit revived
memory of the deeds of Greece in her greatness. The capture of Athens
deeply stirred the civilised world of the day, and "Goth" still survives
as a term of destructive barbarism.

A few years later (A.D. 269) the Goths began a systematic invasion of
the Balkan provinces of the Roman Empire, attacking the Roman territory
both by sea and by land. The tide of victory sometimes turned for a
while, and at Naissus (now Nish in Servia, near the border of Bulgaria)
the Goths were defeated by the Emperor Claudius. Their defeated army was
then shut up in the Balkan Mountains for a winter, and the Gothic power
in the Balkans temporarily crushed. The Emperor Claudius, who took the
surname Gothicus in celebration of his victory, announced it
grandiloquently to the governor of Illyricum:

    _Claudius to Brocchus._

    We have destroyed 320,000 of the Goths; we have sunk 2000 of
    their ships. The rivers are bridged over with shields; with
    swords and lances all the shores are covered. The fields are
    hidden from sight under the superincumbent bones; no road is
    free from them; an immense encampment of waggons is deserted. We
    have taken such a number of women that each soldier can have two
    or three concubines allotted to him.

[Illustration: IN THE HARVEST FIELDS NEAR SOFIA]

But the succeeding Emperor, Aurelian, gave up all Dacia to the Goths and
withdrew the Romanised Dacians into the province of Moesia--made up of
what is now Eastern Servia and Western Bulgaria. This province was
divided into two and renamed Dacia. One part, Dacia Mediterranea, had
for its capital Sardica, now Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Then
followed a period of comparative peace. The Roman emperors saw that on
the Balkan frontier their Empire had to be won or lost, and strengthened
the defences there. Thus Diocletian made his headquarters at Nicomedia.
Finally, Constantine moved the capital altogether to Constantinople.
Goth and Roman at this time showed a disposition to a peaceful
amalgamation, and the Bulgarian population was rapidly becoming a
Romano-Gothic one. Christianity had been introduced, and the Gothic
historian Jordanes tells of a Gothic people living upon the northern
side of the Balkan Mountains:

    There were also certain other Goths, who are called Minores, an
    immense people, with their bishop and primate Vulfila, who is
    said, moreover, to have taught them letters; and they are at
    this day dwelling in Moesia, in the district called
    Nicopolitana[1] at the foot of Mount Haemus, a numerous race,
    but poor and unwarlike, abounding only in cattle of divers
    kinds, and rich in pastures and forest timber, having little
    wheat, though the earth is fertile in producing other crops.
    They do not appear to have any vineyards: those who want wine
    buy it of their neighbours; but most of them drink only milk.

    [1] Around the modern town of Tirnova.

A contemporary of the saintly Ulfilas (who surely should be accepted as
the first national hero of the Bulgarians) states that Ulfilas had
originally lived on the other side of the Danube and had been driven by
persecution to settle in Bulgaria. This contemporary, Auxentius,
records:

    And when, through the envy and mighty working of the enemy,
    there was kindled a persecution of the Christians by an
    irreligious and sacrilegious Judge of the Goths, who spread
    tyrannous affright through the barbarian land, it came to pass
    that Satan, who desired to do evil, unwillingly did good; that
    those whom he sought to make deserters became confessors of the
    faith; that the persecutor was conquered, and his victims wore
    the wreath of victory. Then, after the glorious martyrdom of
    many servants and handmaids of Christ, as the persecution still
    raged vehemently, after seven years of his episcopate were
    expired, the blessed Ulfilas being driven from "Varbaricum" with
    a great multitude of confessors, was honourably received on the
    soil of Roumania by the Emperor Constantius of blessed memory.
    Thus as God by the hand of Moses delivered His people from the
    violence of Pharaoh and the Egyptians, and made them pass
    through the Red Sea, and ordained that they should serve Him [on
    Mount Sinai], even so by means of Ulfilas did God deliver the
    confessors of His only-begotten Son from the "Varbarian" land,
    and cause them to cross over the Danube, and serve Him upon the
    mountains [of Haemus] like his saints of old.

Ulfilas civilised as well as Christianised the Goths of Bulgaria, and
was responsible for the earliest Gothic alphabet--the Moeso-Gothic. He
translated most of the Scriptures into Gothic, leaving out of his
translation only such war stories as "the Book of Kings," judging that
these would be too exciting for his Gothic flock and would incite them
to war.

[Illustration: A SHÔP WOMAN OF THE DISTRICT OF SOFIA]

After a century of peace war broke out again between the Goths and the
Roman Empire--which may now be called rather the Greek Empire--in A.D.
369. The course of the war was at first favourable to the Emperor
Valens. All the independent Goths were driven back behind the Danube
boundary, but were allowed to live there in peace. The Roman orator
Themistius, in congratulating the Emperor Valens, put on record the
extent of his achievement and of his magnanimity:

    But now, along almost all the frontiers of the Empire, peace
    reigns, and all the preparation for war is perfect; for the
    Emperor knows that they most truly work for peace who thoroughly
    prepare for war. The Danube-shore teems with fortresses, the
    fortresses with soldiers, the soldiers with arms, the arms both
    beautiful and terrible. Luxury is banished from the legions, but
    there is an abundance of all necessary stores, so that there is
    now no need for the soldier to eke out his deficient rations by
    raids on the peaceful villagers. There was a time when the
    legions were terrible to the provincials, and afraid of the
    barbarians. Now all that is changed: they despise the barbarians
    and fear the complaint of one plundered husbandman more than an
    innumerable multitude of Goths.

    To conclude, then, as I began. We celebrate this victory by
    numbering not our slaughtered foes but our living and tamed
    antagonists. If we regret to hear of the entire destruction even
    of any kind of animal, if we mourn that elephants should be
    disappearing from the province of Africa, lions from Thessaly,
    and hippopotami from the marshes of the Nile, how much rather,
    when a whole nation of men, barbarians it is true, but still
    men, lies prostrate at our feet, confessing that it is entirely
    at our mercy, ought we not instead of extirpating, to preserve
    it, and make it our own by showing it compassion?

Valens restored Bulgaria to the position of a wholly Roman province,
even the Gothic Minores being driven across the Danube. But there was
now to come another racial element into the making of Bulgaria--the
Huns.

I can still recall the resentment and indignation of the Bulgarian
officers in 1913 because a French war correspondent had, in a despatch
which had escaped the Censor, likened the crossing of the Thracian Plain
by the great convoys of Bulgarian ox-wagons to the passage of the Danube
by the Huns in the fourth century. The Bulgarians, always inclined to be
sensitive, thought that the allusion made them out to be barbarians. But
it was intended rather, I think, to show the writer's knowledge of the
early history of the Balkan Peninsula and of the close racial ties
between the Bulgarians of to-day and the original Huns. We have seen how
the Gothic invasion, coming from the Baltic to the Black Sea, pushed on
to the borders of the Hun people living east of the Volga. These Huns
now prepared an answering wave of invasion.

To the Goths the Huns--the first of the Tartar hordes to invade
Europe--were a source of superstitious terror. The Gothic historian
Jordanes writes with frank horror of them:

    We have ascertained that the nation of the Huns, who surpassed
    all others in atrocity, came thus into being. When Filimer,
    fifth king of the Goths, after their departure from Sweden, was
    entering Scythia, with his people, as we have before described,
    he found among them certain sorcerer-women, whom they call in
    their native tongue Haliorunnas, whom he suspected and drove
    forth from his army into the wilderness. The unclean spirits
    that wander up and down in desert places, seeing these women,
    made concubines of them; and from this union sprang that most
    fierce people, the Huns, who were at first little, foul,
    emaciated creatures, dwelling among the swamps and possessing
    only the shadow of human speech by way of language.

    According to Priscus they settled first on the eastern shore of
    the Sea of Azof, lived by hunting, and increased their substance
    by no kind of labour, but only by defrauding and plundering
    their neighbours.

    Once upon a time when they were out hunting beside the Sea of
    Azof, a hind suddenly appeared before them, and having entered
    the water of that shallow sea, now stopping, now dashing
    forward, seemed to invite the hunters to follow on foot. They
    did so, through what they had before supposed to be trackless
    sea with no land beyond it, till at length the shore of Scythia
    lay before them. As soon as they set foot upon it, the stag that
    had guided them thus far mysteriously disappeared. This, I trow,
    was done by those evil spirits that begat them, for the injury
    of the Goths. But the hunters who had lived in complete
    ignorance of any other land beyond the Sea of Azof were struck
    with admiration of the Scythian land and deemed that a path
    known to no previous age had been divinely revealed to them.
    They returned to their comrades to tell them what had happened,
    and the whole nation resolved to follow the track thus opened
    out before them. They crossed that vast pool, they fell like a
    human whirlwind on the nations inhabiting that part of Scythia,
    and offering up the first tribes whom they overcame, as a
    sacrifice to victory, suffered the others to remain alive, but
    in servitude.

    With the Alani especially, who were as good warriors as
    themselves, but somewhat less brutal in appearance and manner of
    life, they had many a struggle, but at length they wearied out
    and subdued them. For, in truth, they derived an unfair
    advantage from the intense hideousness of their countenances.
    Nations whom they would never have vanquished in fair fight fled
    horrified from those frightful--faces I can hardly call them,
    but rather--shapeless black collops of flesh, with little points
    instead of eyes. No hair on their cheeks or chins gives grace to
    adolescence or dignity to age, but deep furrowed scars instead,
    down the sides of their faces, show the impress of the iron
    which with characteristic ferocity they apply to every male
    child that is born among them, drawing blood from its cheeks
    before it is allowed its first taste of milk. They are little in
    stature, but lithe and active in their motions, and especially
    skilful in riding, broad-shouldered, good at the use of the bow
    and arrows, with sinewy necks, and always holding their heads
    high in their pride. To sum up, these beings under the form of
    man hide the fierce nature of the beast.

That was a view very much coloured by race prejudice and the
superstitious fears of the time. It suggests that at a very early period
of Balkan history the different races there had learned how to abuse one
another. English readers might contrast it with Matthew Arnold's picture
of a Tartar camp in _Sohrab and Rustum_:

      The sun by this had risen, and clear'd the fog
    From the broad Oxus and the glittering sands.
    And from their tents the Tartar horsemen filed
    Into the open plain; so Haman bade--
    Haman, who next to Peran-Wisa ruled
    The host, and still was in his lusty prime.
    From their black tents, long files of horse, they stream'd;
    As when some grey November morn the files,
    In marching order spread, of long-neck'd cranes
    Stream over Casbin and the southern slopes
    Of Elburz, from the Aralian estuaries,
    Or some frore Caspian reed-bed, southward bound
    For the warm Persian sea-board--so they stream'd.
    The Tartars of the Oxus, the King's guard,
    First, with black sheep-skin caps and with long spears;
    Large men, large steeds; who from Bokhara come
    And Khiva, and ferment the milk of mares.
    Next, the more temperate Toorkmuns of the south,
    The Tukas, and the lances of Salore,
    And those from Attruck and the Caspian sands;
    Light men and on light steeds, who only drink
    The acrid milk of camels, and their wells.
    And then a swarm of wandering horse, who came
    From far, and a more doubtful service own'd;
    The Tartars of Ferghana, from the banks
    Of the Jaxartes, men with scanty beards
    And close-set skull-caps; and those wilder hordes
    Who roam o'er Kipchak and the northern waste,
    Kalmucks and unkempt Kuzzaks, tribes who stray
    Nearest the Pole, and wandering Kirghizzes,
    Who come on shaggy ponies from Pamere;
    These all filed out from camp into the plain.

Matthew Arnold gives to the Tartar camp tents of lattice-work,
thick-piled carpets; to the Tartar leaders woollen coats, sandals,
and the sheep-skin cap which is still the national head-dress of the
Bulgarians. More important, in proof of his idea of their civilisation,
he credits them with a high sense of chivalry and a faithful regard for
facts. _Sohrab and Rustum_ is, of course, a flight of poetic fancy; but
its "local colour" is founded on good evidence. Probably the Huns,
despite the terrors of their name, the echoes of which still come down
the corridors of time; despite the awful titles which their leaders won
(such as Attila, "the Scourge of God"), were not on a very much lower
plane of civilisation than the Goths with whom they fought, or with the
other barbarians who tore at the prostrate body of the Roman Empire. One
may see people of very much the same type to-day on the outer edges of
Islam in some desert quarters; one may see and, if one has such taste
for the wild and the free in life as has Cunninghame Graham, one may
admire:

    There in the Sahara the wild old life, the life in which man and
    the animals seem to be nearer to each other than in the
    countries where we have changed beasts into meat-producing
    engines deprived of individuality, still takes its course, as it
    has done from immemorial time. Children respect their parents,
    wives look at their husbands almost as gods, and at the tent
    door elders administer what they imagine justice, stroking their
    long white beards, and as impressed with their judicial
    functions as if their dirty turbans or ropes of camels' hair
    bound round their heads, were horse-hair wigs, and the torn mat
    on which they sit a woolsack or a judge's bench, with a carved
    wooden canopy above it, decked with the royal arms.

    Thus, when the blue baft-clad, thin, wiry desert-dweller on his
    lean horse or mangy camel comes into a town, the townsmen look
    on him as we should look on one of Cromwell's Ironsides, or on a
    Highlander, of those who marched to Derby and set King George's
    teeth, in pudding time, on edge.

The Huns' movement from the north-east was the first Asiatic invasion of
Europe since the fall of the Persian Empire. Almost simultaneously with
it the Saracen first entered from the south, as the ally of the
Christian Emperor against the Goths; and another Gothic chronicler,
Ammianus, tells how the Saracen warriors inspired also a lively horror
in the Gothic mind. They came into battle almost naked, and having
sprung upon a foe "with a hoarse and melancholy howl, sucked his
life-blood from his throat." The Saracen of Ammianus was the forerunner
of the Turk, the Hun of Jordanes, the forerunner of the Bulgarian. In
neither case, of course, can the Gothic chronicler be accepted as an
unprejudiced witness. But it is interesting to note how the first
warriors from the Asiatic steppes impressed their contemporaries!

The first effect of the invasion of the country of the Goths by the Huns
was to force the Goths to recross the Danube and trespass again on Roman
territory. They sought leave from the Emperor Valens to do this. A
contemporary historian records:

    The multitude of the Scythians escaping from the murderous
    savagery of the Huns, who spared not the life of woman or of
    child, amounted to not less than 200,000 men of fighting age
    [besides old men, women, and children]. These, standing upon the
    river-bank in a state of great excitement, stretched out their
    hands from afar with loud lamentations, and earnestly
    supplicated that they might be allowed to cross over the river,
    bewailing the calamity that had befallen them, and promising
    that they would faithfully adhere to the Imperial alliance if
    this boon were granted them.

[Illustration: A WOMAN OF THRACE, OF THE SHÔP TRIBE, AND OF MACEDONIA
The Shôps inhabit the Mountain District of Sofia]

The Emperor Valens allowed the Gothic host to cross the Danube into
Bulgaria and Thrace, and having given them shelter, starved them and
treated them so harshly and cruelly that they were close to rebellion
when another great Gothic host, under King Fritigern, crossed the Danube
without leave and came down as far as Marcianople (now Schumla). Here he
was entertained at a "friendly" banquet by the Roman general Lupicinus.
But whilst the banquet was in progress disorder arose among the Goths
and the Romans outside the hall. The Gothic historians tell:

    News of this disturbance was brought to Lupicinus as he was
    sitting at his gorgeous banquet, watching the comic performers
    and heavy with wine and sleep. He at once ordered that all the
    Gothic soldiers, who, partly to do honour to their rank, and
    partly as a guard to their persons, had accompanied the generals
    into the palace, should be put to death. Thus, while Fritigern
    was at the banquet, he heard the cry of men in mortal agony, and
    soon ascertained that it proceeded from his own followers shut
    up in another part of the palace, whom the Roman soldiers at the
    command of their general were attempting to butcher. He drew his
    sword in the midst of the banqueters, exclaimed that he alone
    could pacify the tumult which had been raised among his
    followers, and rushed out of the dining-hall with his
    companions. They were received with shouts of joy by their
    countrymen outside; they mounted their horses and rode away,
    determined to revenge their slaughtered comrades.

    Delighted to march once more under the generalship of one of the
    bravest of men, and to exchange the prospect of death by hunger
    for death on the battlefield, the Goths at once rose in arms.
    Lupicinus, with no proper preparation, joined battle with them
    at the ninth milestone from Marcianople, was defeated, and only
    saved himself by a shameful flight. The barbarians equipped
    themselves with the arms of the slain legionaries, and in truth
    that day ended in one blow the hunger of the Goths and the
    security of the Romans; for the Goths began thenceforward to
    comport themselves no longer as strangers but as inhabitants,
    and as lords to lay their commands upon the tillers of the soil
    throughout all the Northern provinces.

That began a war which inflicted the third great blow on the Roman
Empire--the defeat and death of the Emperor Valens before Adrianople.
The Goths in this campaign seem to have brought in some of their old
enemies, the Huns, as allies--pretty clear proof of the contention I
have set up that the Huns were not such desperate savages; but these
Asiatics made the war rather more brutal than was usual for those days,
without a doubt. Theodosius, the younger (son of that brave general who
had just won back Britain for the Roman Empire), restored somewhat the
Roman power in the provinces south of the Balkans for a time. But in
the year 380 the Romans made peace again with the Goths, allowing them
to settle in Bulgaria as well as north of the Danube as allies of the
Roman Power.

In the latter part of the fourth century and the first half of the fifth
century the Huns fill the pages of Bulgarian history. Then came the
Slavs; and then, in the seventh century, the Bulgars, almost certainly a
Hun tribe, but Huns modified by two centuries of time. But the death of
Valens may be said to have ended the Roman Empire as a World Power. Let
us retrace our steps a little and give the chief facts as to how a
Bulgarian Empire for a time--a very short time--replaced the Roman
Empire over a great area of the Balkan Peninsula.



CHAPTER III

THE SCRAP-HEAP OF RACES


The historian, rightly, must always march under a banner inscribed
"Why?" The facts of history bring no real informing to the human mind
unless they can be traced to their causes, and thus a chain of events
followed link by link to see why some happening was so fruitful in
results, and to search for the relation of apparently isolated and
accidental incidents.

The Balkan Peninsula has to-day just emerged from a most bloody war. It
prepares for another to break out as soon as the exhaustion of the
moment has passed. Since ever the pages of history were inscribed it has
been vexed by savage wars. Why?

There is an explanation near at hand and clear. In the Balkans there is
a geographical area, which could house one nation comfortably, and is
occupied by the scraps of half a dozen nations.

(1) There are the remnants of the Turks who at one time threatened the
conquest of all Europe. Back from the walls of Vienna they have been
driven little by little until now they occupy the toe only of the Balkan
Peninsula. But the days have not far departed when they held almost all
the Peninsula, and the present smallness of their portion dates back
only from 1913.

(2) There are the Greeks, heirs of the traditions of Philip and
Alexander, and of the old Roman Empire. For centuries their national but
not their racial existence was dormant under the heel of the Turk. Greek
independence was restored recently, and since the war of 1912-1913 has
established itself vigorously.

(3) There are the Roumanians, descendants of the old Roman colony of
Trajan in Dacia.

(4) There are the Bulgars, originally a Tartar people coming from the
banks of the Volga, who entered Bulgaria in the seventh century as the
Normans entered England at a later date, and who mingled with a Slav
race they found there--at first as conquerors, afterwards becoming the
absorbed race.

(5) There are the Serbs, somewhat akin to the Bulgars, whose original
home seems to have been that of the Don Cossacks, who also came into the
Peninsula in the seventh century. They are of purer Slav blood than the
Bulgars.

(6) There are the Montenegrins, an off-shoot of the Serbs, who in the
fourteenth century, when the Servian Empire fell, took to the hills and
maintained their independence.

Those are the six main racial elements. But there are other scraps of
peoples--the Albanians, for example, and the Macedonians, and tribes of
Moslem Bulgars, and some Asiatic elements brought in by the Turks.

So far, then, the answer to the question, "Why are the Balkans so often
at war?" is easy of answer. Given the existence on one peninsula of six
different races, four of which have past great traditions of Empire, and
there is certain to be uneasy house-keeping. But the inquiry has to be
pushed further. Why is it that this unhappy Peninsula should have been
made thus a scrap-heap for bits of nations, a refuge for sore-headed
remnants of Imperial peoples? The answer to that is chiefly
geographical.

A study of the map will show that when there was a great movement from
the north of Europe to the south, its easiest line of march was down the
valley of the Danube along the Balkan Peninsula. In prehistoric times
the peoples around the European shores of the Mediterranean brought to
accomplishment a very advanced type of civilisation. It owed its
foundations to Egypt or to the Semitic peoples, such as the Phoenicians,
the Tyrians, and the Carthaginians, whose race-home was Asia Minor.
Whilst this Mediterranean civilisation was being shaped in the south--in
the north, in the forests or plains along the shores of the Baltic and
of the North Sea, the fecund Teutonic people were swelling to a mighty
host and overflowing their boundaries. A flood of these people in time
came surging south searching for new lands. The natural course of that
flood was by the valley of the Danube to the Balkan Peninsula. Down that
peninsula they cut their path--not without bloodshed one may guess--and
founded the Grecian civilisation. Of this prehistoric movement there is
no written evidence; but it is accepted by anthropologists as certain.
Thus Sir Harry Johnston records, not as a surmise but as a fact:


    The Nordic races, armed with iron or steel swords, spears and
    arrow-heads, descended on the Alpine, Iberian, Lydian, and
    Aegean peoples of Southern Europe with irresistible strength. It
    was iron against bronze, copper, and stone; and iron won the
    day.

    Prehistoric invasions of the Balkan Peninsula brought in the
    fair-haired, blue-eyed Greeks, the semi-barbarian conquerors of
    the Mukenaian and Minôan kingdoms. Tribes nearly allied to the
    Ancient Greeks diverged from them in Illyria, invaded the
    Italian Peninsula, and became the ancestors of the Sabines,
    Oscans, Latins, etc.

    The parent ancestral speech of the German tribes about four to
    five thousand years ago was probably closely approximated in
    syntax, and in the form and pronunciation of words, to the other
    progenitors of European Aryan languages, especially the
    Lithuanian, Slav, Greek, and Italic dialects. Keltic speech was
    perhaps a little more different owing to its absorption of
    non-Aryan elements; but if we can judge of prehistoric German
    from what its eastern sister, the Gothic language, was like as
    late as the fifth century B.C., we can, without too much
    straining of facts, say that the prehistoric Greeks, when they
    passed across Hungary into the mountainous regions of the
    Balkans, and equally the early Italic invaders of Italy, were
    simply another branch of the Teutonic peoples later in
    separation than the Kelts, with whom, however, both the Italic
    and the Hellenic tribes were much interwoven.... Very English or
    German in physiognomy were most of the notabilities in the palmy
    days of Greece, to judge by their portrait-busts and the types
    of male and female beauty most in favour--as far south as
    Cyprus--in the periods when Greek art had become realistic and
    was released from the influence of an Aegean standard of beauty.

[Illustration: SISTOV, ON THE DANUBE]

The invasion from the North of people flowing south by way of the
Balkan Peninsula began that unhappy area's record of race-struggles and
constant warfare. The Greek civilisation had scarcely established itself
before it was attacked by an Asiatic Power--Persia. Again the Balkan
Peninsula was inevitably the scene of the conflict, and such battles as
Thermopylae and Marathon made names to resound for ever in the mouths of
men. The peril from Persia over, the Balkan Peninsula, after seeing the
struggles between the different Greek states for supremacy, was given
another great ordeal of blood by Philip of Macedonia and Alexander the
Great. Alexander carried a great invasion from Greece into the very
heart of Asia, but founded no permanent empire.

The next phase of Balkan history was under the Roman Power. When the
Roman strength had reached its zenith and entered upon the curve of
decay, it was on the Balkan boundaries of the Empire that the main
attack came. Finally, the rulers of the Roman Empire found it necessary
to concentrate their strength close to the point of attack, and the
capital was moved from Rome to Constantinople: the Roman Empire became
the Greek Empire. Thus, as we have seen in the previous chapter, the
Balkan Peninsula was chosen as the arena in which an Empire founded in
the Italian Peninsula was to die its long, uneasy death. The fate of
this Greek Empire had been hardly decided when a new racial element came
on the scene, and over the tottering Empire, already fighting fiercely
with Bulgar and Serb for its small surviving patch of territory, strode
the Turk in the full flush of his youthful strength, giving the last
blow to the rule of the Caesars, and threatening all Christian Europe
with conquest.

Made thus by the Fates the cockpit of the great struggles for
World-Empire, the Balkan Peninsula was doomed to a bloody history: and
the doom has not yet passed away. Perhaps it is some unconscious effect
on the mind of the pity of this that makes the traveller to the Balkans
feel so often a sympathy, almost unreasonable in intensity, for the
Balkan peoples. The Balkan acres which they till are home to them. To
civilisation those acres are the tournament field for the battles of
races and nations.

What is now Bulgaria was in the days of Herodotus inhabited by Thracian
and Illyrian tribes. They were united under the strong hand of Philip
of Macedonia, and Bulgaria counts him the first great figure in her
confused national history, and makes a claim to be the heir of his
Macedonian Empire. The Romans appeared in Bulgaria during the period of
the second war against Carthage. The Roman conquest of the Balkan
country was slow, but shortly before the Christian era the Roman
provinces of Moesia and Thracia comprised most of what is now Bulgaria.

In the days of Constantine, who removed the capital of his Empire to the
Balkan Peninsula, Roman civilisation in what is now Bulgaria was already
being swamped by barbarian invasions. The Goths and the Huns ravaged the
land fiercely without attempting to colonise it. The Slavs were invaders
of another type. They came to stay. It was at the beginning of the third
century that the Slavs made their first appearance, and, crossing the
Danube, began to settle in the great plains between the river and the
Balkan Mountains. Later, they went south-wards and formed colonies among
the Thraco-Illyrians, the Roumanians, and the Greeks. This Slav
occupation went on for several centuries. In the seventh century of the
Christian era a Hunnish tribe reached the banks of the Danube. It is
known that this tribe came from the Volga and, crossing Russia,
proceeded towards ancient Moesia, where it took possession of the whole
north-east territory of the Balkans between the Danube and the Black
Sea. These were the Bulgars, or Bolgars. The Slavs had already imposed
on the races they had found in the Peninsula their language and customs.
The Bulgars, too, assumed the language of the Slavs, and some of their
customs. The Bulgars, however, gave their name to the mixed race, and
assumed the political supremacy.

The analogy I have before suggested of the Norman invasion of England
and the Bulgar invasion of Bulgaria generally holds good. The Slavs were
a people who tilled the soil, cherished free institutions, fought on
foot, were gentle in character. The Bulgars were nomads and
pastoralists, obeying despotic chiefs, fighting as cavalry. They came as
conquerors, but in time were absorbed in the more stable Slavonic type.

Without a doubt the Bulgars were racially nearly akin to the
Turks--first cousins at least. Mingling with the Slavs they adopted
their language and many of their customs. But something of the Turk
survives to this day in the character of the Bulgarian people. It shows
particularly in their treatment of their women. Though the Bulgarian is
monogamic he submits his wife to an almost _harem_ discipline. Once
married she lives for the family alone. Though she does not wear a veil
in the streets it is not customary for her to go out from her home
except with her husband, nor to receive company except in his presence,
nor to frequent theatres, restaurants, or other places of public
amusement. There is thus no social life in Bulgaria in the European
sense of the term, and there is great scope there for a campaign for
"women's rights."

The Bulgars taking command over the Slav population in Bulgaria began a
warfare against the enfeebled Greek Empire. That Empire gave up Moesia
to the Bulgarian King, Isperich, and agreed to pay him a tribute, it
being the custom of the degenerate descendants of the Roman Empire of
the period thus to attempt to buy safety with bribes. The Emperor
Justinian II. stopped this tribute, and a war followed, in which the
Bulgarians were successful, and Justinian lost his throne and was driven
to exile. Later, Justinian made another treaty with the Bulgarians and
offered his daughter in marriage to the new Bulgarian King, Tervel, and
with Bulgarian help he was restored to his throne. But war between the
Bulgars and the Empire was chronic. To quote a Bulgarian chronicler:

    The chief characteristics of the Bulgars were warlike virtues,
    discipline, patriotism, and enthusiasm. The Bulgarian kings
    brought their victorious armies to the gates of Constantinople,
    whose very existence they threatened. The Greek Emperor sought
    their friendship, and even consented to pay them tribute.

Bulgaria attained her greatest empire in the reign of King Kroum.
Between King Isperich and King Kroum, however, Bulgaria had many ups and
downs. The Bulgarian King, Kormisos, once almost reached the walls of
Constantinople. But trouble among his own people prevented his victories
being pushed home. Then a series of civil wars in Bulgaria weakened the
nation, and a great section of it migrated to Asia Minor. The Roman
Emperor, Constantine V., took this occasion to exact a full revenge for
previous Bulgar attacks on Constantinople. The Bulgar army was routed,
and an invading force carried the torch into every Bulgarian town. A new
Bulgar King, Cerig, restored his country's position somewhat by a
secretly plotted massacre of all its enemies within its boundaries. The
Empress Irene then ascended the Imperial throne at Constantinople and
found herself unable to withstand the Bulgar power, and went back to the
system of paying tribute to the Bulgarians as the price of safety.

King Kroum next ascended the throne of Bulgaria and, capable and savage
warrior as he was, raised its power vastly. He defeated and slew the
Greek Emperor, Nicephorus, in battle, and captured Sofia (809), the
present capital of Bulgaria. Warfare was savage in those days, and
between the Bulgars and the Greek emperors particularly savage. The
defeated Imperial army was massacred to a man, from the Emperor down to
the foot-soldier. King Kroum afterwards used the skull of the descendant
of the Caesars as a drinking-cup.

A siege of Constantinople followed the defeat and death of the Emperor
Nicephorus. The Bulgars affrighted the defenders of the city by their
fierce orgies before the walls, by the human sacrifices they offered up
in their sight, and by the resolute refusal of all quarter in the field.
The Empire tried to buy off the Bulgars with the promise of an annual
tribute of gold, of cloth, and of young girls. The invaders finally
retired with a great booty, and the death of King Kroum soon after
relieved the anxiety of Constantinople.

Bulgaria seems now (the ninth century) to have suffered again from
internal dissensions. These arose mostly out of religious issues. Many
of the Slavs had become Christians, and some of the Bulgars also adopted
the new faith. For a time the kings tried to crush out Christianity by
persecutions, but in 864 the Bulgarian King, Boris, adopted
Christianity--some say converted by his sister, who had been a prisoner
of the Greeks and was baptized by them. His adherence to Christianity
was announced in a treaty with the Greek Emperor, Michael III. Some of
King Boris's subjects kept their affection for paganism and objected to
the conversion of their king. Following the customs of the time they
were all massacred, and Bulgaria became thus a wholly Christian kingdom.

King Boris, whom the Bulgarians look up to as the actual founder of the
Bulgarian nation of to-day, hesitated long as to whether he should
attach himself and his nation to the Roman or to the Greek branch of
the Christian Church. He made the issue a matter of close bargaining.
The Church was sought which was willing to allow to Bulgaria the highest
degree of ecclesiastical independence, and which seemed to offer as the
price of adhesion the greatest degree of political advantage.

[Illustration: ANCIENT COSTUME OF BALKAN PEASANT WOMEN NEAR GABROVO]

At first the Greek Church would not allow Bulgaria to have a Patriarch
of her own. King Boris sent, then, a deputation to Pope Nicholas at
Rome, seeking if a better national bargain could be made there. Two
bishops came over from Rome to negotiate. But in time King Boris veered
back to a policy of attaching himself to the Greek Church, which now
offered Bulgaria an Archbishop with a rank in the Church second only to
that of the Greek Patriarch. In 869 Bulgaria definitely threw in her lot
with the Greek Church.

Curiously those old religious controversies of the ninth century were
revived in the nineteenth. Bulgaria has a persistent sense of
nationalism, and looks upon religion largely in a national sense. In the
ninth century her first care in changing her religion was to safeguard
national interests. In the nineteenth century the first great
concession she wrung from her Turkish masters was the setting up (1870)
of a Bulgarian Exarch to be the official head of the Bulgarian Orthodox
Church independent of the Greek Patriarch. A little later in the days of
her freedom, when to her Roman Catholic ruler, King Ferdinand, was born
a son (named Boris after the first Christian king of Bulgaria), the
Bulgarians had him transferred in 1896 from the Roman to the Greek
Church as a matter of national policy.

The controversy to-day between "Patriarchate" adherents of the Orthodox
Church--_i.e._ Greeks, and the Exarchate adherents--_i.e._ Bulgarians,
is perhaps the most bitter of all Balkan controversies. I have found it
in places transcending far the religious gap between Turk and Christian,
and in that particularly stormy North Macedonian corner of the Balkans a
Patriarchate man gives first place in his hatred to an Exarchate man and
second place to a Turk; and the Exarchate man reciprocates in like
manner. Yet, as the Bulgarians insist, "the autonomous orthodox
Bulgarian Church forms an inseparable part of the Holy Orthodox Church."

The Bulgarian Exarchate used to comprise all the Bulgarian dioceses in
the provinces of the Turkish Empire, as they were enumerated explicitly
or in general terms by the Firman of 1870 as well as the dioceses of the
Bulgarian Principality. Most of the orthodox Bulgarian population in
Turkey recognise the authority of the Exarchate, but some still owe
allegiance to the Greek Patriarchate. What the religious position will
be now that the wars of 1912-1913 have changed boundaries so considerably
it is hard to say. The Exarchate dioceses which used to be in Turkish
territory but are now in Bulgarian territory, will, of course, pass into
the main current of Bulgarian church life. But those Exarchate dioceses
which have passed to Servia and to Greece will probably not find
toleration.

King Boris of Bulgaria having raised his country to a great fame, and
having endowed it with a national church, retired to a monastery in 888
to make his peace with the next world. His son Vladimir succeeded to the
throne, but ruled so unwisely that King Boris came back from the
cloister to depose Vladimir and to set in his stead upon the throne
Simeon, who created the first Bulgarian Empire.



CHAPTER IV

BULGARIA--A POWER AND A TURKISH PROVINCE


King Simeon reigned in Bulgaria thirty-four years, and raised his
country during that time to the highest point of power it ever reached.
Simeon had been educated at Constantinople and had learned all that the
civilisation of the Grecian Empire could teach except a love and respect
for the Grecian rule. He designed the overthrow of the tottering Grecian
Empire, and dreamed of Bulgaria as the heir to the power of the Caesars.

When Simeon came to the throne, for many years the Grecian Empire and
Bulgaria had been at peace. But a trade grievance soon enabled Simeon to
enter upon a war against the feeble Greek Emperor then on the throne in
Constantinople--Leo, known as the Philosopher. The Grecian forces were
defeated and, following the ferocious Balkan custom of the times, the
Grecian prisoners were all mutilated by having their noses cut off, and
thus returned to their city. Constantinople in desperation appealed for
help to the Magyars, who had recently burst into Europe from the steppes
of Russia and occupied the land north of the Danube. The Magyars
responded to the appeal, and at first were successful against the
Bulgars, but King Simeon's strategy overcame them in the final stages of
the campaign. He took advantage then of the temporary absence of their
army in the west, and descended upon their homes in the region now known
as Bessarabia and massacred all their wives and children. This act of
savage cruelty drove the Magyars away finally from the Danube, and they
migrated north and west to found the present kingdom of Hungary.

Relieved of the fear of the Magyars, King Simeon now attacked the
Grecian Empire again, captured Adrianople, and laid siege to
Constantinople. There were two emperors in the city then, in succession
to Leo the Philosopher--Romanus Lecapenus and Constantine
Porphyrogenitus. For all the grandeur of their names they rivalled one
another in incompetency and timidity. Simeon was able to force upon the
Grecian Empire a humiliating peace, which made Bulgaria now the
paramount Power in the Balkans, since Servia had been already subdued by
her arms. From the Roman Pope, Simeon received authority to be called
"Czar of the Bulgarians and Autocrat of the Greeks." His capital at
Preslav--now in ruins--was in his time one of the great cities of
Europe, and a contemporary description of his palace says:

    If a stranger coming from afar enters the outer court of the
    princely dwelling, he will be amazed, and ask many a question as
    he walks up to the gates. And if he goes within, he will see on
    either side buildings decorated with stone and wainscoted with
    wood of various colours. And if he goes yet farther into the
    courtyard he will behold lofty palaces and churches, bedecked
    with countless stones and wood and frescoes without, and with
    marble and copper and silver and gold within. Such grandeur he
    has never seen before, for in his own land there are only
    miserable huts of straw. Beside himself with astonishment, he
    will scarce believe his eyes. But if he perchance espy the
    prince sitting in his robe covered with pearls, with a chain of
    coins round his neck and bracelets on his wrists, girt about
    with a purple girdle and a sword of gold at his side, while on
    either hand his nobles are seated with golden chains, girdles,
    and bracelets upon them; then will he answer when one asks him
    on his return home what he has seen: "I know not how to
    describe it; only thine own eyes could comprehend such
    splendour."

Under Simeon, art and literature flourished (in a Middle Ages sense) in
Bulgaria; the Cyrillic alphabet--still used in Russia, Bulgaria, and
Servia--had supplanted the Greek alphabet and had added to the growing
sense of national consciousness. Simeon encouraged the production of
books, and tradition credits him with having himself translated into the
Slav language some of the writings of St. Chrysostom.

[Illustration: A WEDDING IN THE RHODOPES]

But all this Bulgarian prosperity had a serious check when Simeon died
in 927 and the Czar Peter ascended the throne. Scarcely was Simeon cold
in his grave before internal struggles had begun, owing to the
jealousies of some of the nobles and their spirit of adventure. The
boyars (knights) of Bulgaria had always had great authority. Now they
took advantage of a monarch who was more suited for the cloister than
the Court to revive old pretensions to independent power. Czar Peter
turned to the Greek Empire for help, and sought to strengthen his
position at home by a marriage with the grand-daughter of the Emperor
Romanus Lecapenus. That policy served until a vigorous Greek Emperor
came to the throne at Constantinople and set himself to avenge the
victories of Simeon. The Greek Emperor called in the aid of the northern
Russians against their kinsfolk the Bulgarian Slavs. There followed a
typical Balkan year of war. The Russians succeeded only too well against
the Bulgarians, and then the Greeks, in fear, joined with the Bulgarians
to resist their further progress. Then the Servians took advantage of
the war to shake off the Bulgarian suzerainty and regain their
independence. An opposition party in Bulgaria, disgusted with the
misfortunes which had befallen their country under Peter, added to these
misfortunes by a revolt, and seceded to found the kingdom of Western
Bulgaria under the boyar Shishman Mokar (963). To add to the troubles of
the Balkans, the Bogomil heresy appeared, dividing further the strength
of the Bulgarian nation. The Bogomils were the first of a long series of
Slavonic fanatics, ancestors in spirit of the Doukhobors, the Stundists,
and the Tolstoyans of our days, preaching the hermit life as the only
truly holy one, forbidding marriage as well as war and the eating of
meat. It was with such dissensions among the Christian states of the
Balkans that the way was prepared for the coming of the Turk to the
Peninsula.

In 969 Boris II. followed Peter on the Bulgarian throne. He was faced by
a new Russian invasion and by an attack from Czar David of Western
Bulgaria. This latter attack he beat off, but was overwhelmed before the
tide of Russian invasion and himself captured in battle. The Russians
passed over Bulgaria to attack Constantinople, and that brought the
Greeks into line with the Bulgarians to resist the invader. The Emperor
John Zemissius made bold war upon the Russians, and captured from them
their Bulgarian prisoner, the Czar Boris II. The Greek Emperor made no
magnanimous use of his victory. He deposed the Bulgarian Czar and the
Bulgarian Patriarch, emasculated the Czar's brother, and turned Bulgaria
into a Greek province. Only in the rebel province of West Bulgaria did
Bulgarian independence at this time survive, and from that province
there arose in time a deliverer, the Czar Samuel, who was the fourth son
of that boyar Shishman who founded the Western Bulgarian kingdom. At the
beginning of his reign, in 976, Samuel had control only over the
territory which is now known as Macedonia, but soon he united to it all
the old Empire of Bulgaria, and stretched the sway of his race over much
of the land which is now comprised in Albania, Greece, and Servia. He
began, then, a stern war with the Greek Emperor, Basil II., known to
history as "the Bulgar-slayer," against whom is alleged a cruelty
horrible even for the Balkans.

Capturing a Bulgarian army of over 10,000 men, Basil II. had all the
soldiers blinded, leaving to each of their centurions, however, one eye,
so that the mutilated men might be led back to their own country. A
realistically horrible picture in the Sofia National Gallery
commemorates this classic horror.

The war between the Czar Samuel and the Emperor Basil II. was marked by
fluctuating fortunes. At first the Bulgarians were altogether
successful, and in 981 Basil was so completely defeated that for fifteen
years he was obliged to leave Samuel as the real master of the Balkan
Peninsula. Then the tide turned. Near Thermopylae, Samuel was decisively
defeated by the Greeks, and soon after found his Empire reduced to the
dimensions of Albania and West Macedonia. War troubles that the Greeks
had with Asia brought to the Czar Samuel a brief respite, but a
campaign in 1014--this was the one marked by the blinding of the captive
Bulgarian army--shattered finally his power. He died that year
heart-broken, it is said, at the sight of the return of his blinded
army.

Thus, to quote a Bulgarian chronicle:

    In 1015 Bulgaria was brought to subjection. A new state of
    things began for the Bulgarians, who till then had never felt
    the control of an enemy. The people longed for liberty, and
    there were many attempts at revolt. Towards 1186, two brothers,
    John and Peter Assen, raised a revolt and succeeded in
    re-establishing the ancient kingdom, choosing as capital
    Tirnova, their native town. It was then that Tirnova became what
    it still remains, the historic town of Bulgaria. The reign of
    John and Peter Assen was a brilliant time for Bulgaria. Art and
    literature flourished as never before, and commerce developed to
    a considerable extent. Once more the Bulgarian Empire was
    respected and feared abroad.

But this Bulgarian Empire was doomed to as short a life as its
predecessor, though for a brief while it held out the illusionary hope
of permanency. Bulgaria, from the Danube to the Rhodope Mountains, was
won from the Greeks, and John Assen was powerful enough to dream of
entering into alliance with the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. An
assassin's sword, however, ended John Assen's life prematurely. He was
followed on the throne by his brother Peter. He, too, was assassinated,
and was succeeded by his brother Kalojan, who had all the warlike
virtues of John Assen, and re-established the Bulgarian Empire with
territories which embraced more than half the whole Balkan Peninsula.
Seeking to add to the reality of power some validity of title, Kalojan
entered into negotiations with the Pope of Rome, made his submission to
the Roman Church, and was crowned by a Papal nuncio as king.

It was about this time that Constantinople was captured by the
Crusaders, and Count Baldwin of Flanders ascended the throne of the
Caesars. The Greeks, driven from their capital but still holding some
territory, made an alliance with Kalojan, and once again Greek and
Bulgar fought side by side, defeating the Franks and taking the Emperor
Baldwin prisoner. Then the alliance ended--never, it seems, can Bulgar
and Greek be long at peace--and a war raged between the Greek Empire and
Bulgaria, until in 1207 Kalojan was assassinated.

A brief period of prosperity continued for Bulgaria while John Assen
II. was on the throne. He was the most civilised and humane of all the
rulers of ancient Bulgaria, and there is no stain of a massacre or a
murder remembered against his name. He made wars reluctantly, but always
successfully. An inscription in a church at Tirnova records his prowess:

    In the year 1230, I, John Assen, Czar and Autocrat of the
    Bulgarians, obedient to God in Christ, son of the old Assen,
    have built this most worthy church from its foundations, and
    completely decked it with paintings in honour of the Forty holy
    Martyrs, by whose help, in the 12th year of my reign, when the
    church had just been painted, I set out to Roumania to the war
    and smote the Greek army and took captive the Czar Theodore
    Komnenus with all his nobles. And all lands have I conquered
    from Adrianople to Durazzo, the Greek, the Albanian, and the
    Servian land. Only the towns round Constantinople and that city
    itself did the Franks hold; but these too bowed themselves
    beneath the hand of my sovereignty, for they had no other Czar
    but me, and prolonged their days according to my will, as God
    had so ordained. For without Him no word or work is
    accomplished. To Him be honour for ever. Amen.

John Assen II. was a great administrator as well as a great soldier.
Whilst he declared the Church of Bulgaria independent, repudiating alike
the Churches of Rome and of Constantinople, he tolerated all religions
and gave sound encouragement to education. With his death passed away
the last of the glory of ancient Bulgaria. Her story now was to be of
almost unrelieved misfortune until the culminating misery of the Turkish
conquest.

Internal dissensions, wars with the Venetians, the Hungarians, the
Serbs, the Greeks, the Tartars,--all these vexed Bulgaria. The country
became subject for a time to the Tartars, then recovered its
independence, then came under the dominion of Servia after the battle of
Kostendil (1330). The Servians, closely akin by blood, proved kind
conquerors, and for some years the two Slav peoples of the Balkans kept
peace by a common policy in which Bulgaria, if dependent, was not
enslaved. But the Turk was rapidly pouring into Europe. In 1366 the
Bulgarian Czar, Sisman III., agreed to become the vassal of the Turkish
Sultan Murad, and the centuries of subjection to the Turk began. After
the battle of Kossovo the grip of the Turk on Bulgaria was tightened.
Tirnova was captured, the nobles of the nation massacred, the national
freedom obliterated. The desire for independence barely survived. But
there was one happy circumstance:

    "It is a noteworthy fact," writes a Bulgarian authority, "that
    the Osmanlis, being themselves but little civilised, did not
    attempt to assimilate the Bulgarians in the sense in which
    civilised nations try to effect the intellectual and ethnic
    assimilation of a subject race. Except in isolated cases, where
    Bulgarian girls or young men were carried off and forced to
    adopt Mohammedanism, the Government never took any general
    measures to impose Mohammedanism or assimilate the Bulgarians to
    the Moslems. The Turks prided themselves on keeping apart from
    the Bulgarians, and this was fortunate for our nationality.
    Contented with their political supremacy and pleased to feel
    themselves masters, the Turks did not trouble about the
    spiritual life of the _rayas_, except to try to trample out all
    desires for independence. All these circumstances contributed to
    allow the Bulgarian people, crushed and ground down by the
    Turkish yoke, to concentrate and preserve their own inner
    spiritual life. They formed religious communities attached to
    the churches. These had a certain amount of autonomy, and,
    beside seeing after the churches, could keep schools. The
    national literature, full of the most poetic melancholy, handed
    down from generation to generation and developed by tradition,
    still tells us of the life of the Bulgarians under the Ottoman
    yoke. In these popular songs, the memory of the ancient
    Bulgarian kingdom is mingled with the sufferings of the present
    hour. The songs of this period are remarkable for the Oriental
    character of their tunes, and this is almost the sole trace of
    Moslem influence.

    "In spite of the vigilance of the Turks, the religious
    associations served as centres to keep alive the national
    feeling. At the beginning of the nineteenth century, when
    Russia declared war against Turkey (1827), Bulgaria awoke."

From 1366 to 1827 Bulgaria had been enslaved by the Turk. Now within the
space of a few days and with hardly an effort on her own behalf, she was
suddenly to be restored to independence.

[Illustration: ROUSTCHOUK, ON THE DANUBE]



CHAPTER V

THE LIBERATION OF BULGARIA


Significantly enough, the first sign of a renaissance of Bulgarian
national feeling was an agitation not against the Turks but the Greeks.
Patriotic Bulgarians, under the Sublime Porte, sought to re-establish
their old National Church and shake it free from its subjection to the
Greek Patriarch at Constantinople. The Sublime Porte was induced to look
upon this demand with favour. A step which promised to emphasise the
divisions between the Christians evidently should be of advantage to the
Turks. The Greek Patriarch was urged to consent to the appointment of a
Bulgarian bishop. He refused. In the face of that refusal Turkey acted
as the creator of a new Christian Church, and in 1870 a firman of the
Sultan created the Bulgarian Exarchate, and Bulgaria had again a
national ecclesiastical organisation. Two years later the first Exarch
was elected by the Bulgarian clergy. But gratitude for this religious
concession did not extinguish the longings for political independence of
the Bulgarian people. When a Christian insurrection broke out in
Herzegovina against Turkey in 1875, the Bulgarian patriots rose in arms
in different parts of their country. The massacres of Batak were the
Turkish response, those "Bulgarian atrocities" which sent a shudder
through all Europe and set a term to Turkish rule over the Christian
populations in her European provinces.

I have been recently in the Balkans with the veteran war artist, Mr.
Frederick Villiers, who has personal recollections of those times of
massacre and atrocity. Speaking with him, an eye-witness of the
devastation then wrought, it was possible to understand the fierce
indignation with which the English-speaking world was stirred as the
details of the horrors in the Balkans were unveiled. In all about 12,000
Bulgarian people perished, mostly butchered in cold blood. Turkish
anger, it seems, was inflamed against the Bulgarians, because, in spite
of the recent church concession, some of them had dared to strike for
freedom; and this display of Turkish anger made the full freedom of
Bulgaria certain.

[Illustration: "MYSTERY"--A STUDY IN THE ROUSTCHOUK DISTRICT]

At first an attempt had been made by the Powers to exert peaceful
pressure upon Turkey, so that her Christian provinces should be granted
local autonomy. The project of the Powers for Bulgaria proposed that the
districts inhabited by Bulgarians should be divided into two provinces;
the Eastern Province, with Tirnovo as capital, was to include the
Sandjaks of Roustchouk, Tirnovo, Toultcha, Varna, Sliven, Philippopolis
(not including Sultan-Eri and Ahi-Tchélebi), the kazas of Kirk Kilisse,
Mustapha Pasha and Kasilagatch; and the Western Province, with Sofia as
capital, the Sandjaks of Sofia, Vidin, Nisch, Uskub, Monastir, the three
kazas of the north of Sérès, and the kazas of Stroumitza, Tikvesch,
Velès, and Kastoria. Districts of from five to ten thousand inhabitants
were to stand as the administrative unit. Christian and Mohammedans were
to be settled homogeneously in these districts. Each district was to
have at its head a mayor and a district council, elected by universal
suffrage, and was to enjoy entire autonomy as regards local affairs.
Several districts would form a Sandjak with a prefect at its head who
was to be Christian or Mohammedan, according to the majority of the
population of the Sandjak. He would be proposed by the Governor-General,
and nominated by the Porte for four years.

Finally, every two Sandjaks were to be administered by a Christian
Governor-General nominated by the Porte for five years, with consent of
the Powers. He would govern the province with the help of a provincial
assembly, composed of representatives chosen by the district councils
for a term of four years, at the rate of one deputy to thirty or forty
thousand inhabitants. This assembly would nominate an administrative
council of ten members. The provincial assembly would be summoned every
year to decide the budget and the taxes. The armed force was to be
concentrated in the towns and there would be local militia beside. The
language of the predominant nationality was to be employed, as well as
Turkish. Finally, a Commission of International Control was to supervise
the working of these proposals.

The Porte promised reforms on these lines, but did not go beyond
promising. The task of forcing her to end a cruel tyranny was one for
the battlefield.

The Russo-Turkish War broke out on April 12, 1877, and what Turkey had
refused to yield of her own accord was wrested from her by force of
arms, in the preliminary treaty of San Stefano. By this treaty, Bulgaria
was made an autonomous principality subject to Turkey, with a Christian
government and national militia. The Prince of Bulgaria was to be freely
chosen by the Bulgarian people and accepted by the Sublime Porte, with
the consent of the Powers. It was agreed that an assembly of notables,
presided over by a Russian Commissioner and attended by a Turkish
Commissioner, should meet at Philippopolis or Tirnovo before the
election of the Prince to draw up a constitutional statute similar to
those of the other Danubian principalities agreed to after the Treaty of
Adrianople in 1830.

The Treaty of San Stefano brought into being on paper a Bulgaria greater
in area than the Bulgaria of 1912, and greater even than the Bulgaria of
1914. But the Treaty was not ratified. Other European Powers, alarmed at
the prospect of Russia becoming supreme in the Balkans through the aid
of a Bulgarian vassal state, interfered, and the Congress of Berlin
substituted for the Treaty of San Stefano the Treaty of Berlin.

The Treaty of Berlin provided:

    Bulgaria is to be an independent Principality, subject to the
    Sultan, with a Christian government and a national militia; the
    Prince of Bulgaria will be freely chosen by the Bulgarian nation
    and accepted by the Sublime Porte, with the approval of the
    Great Powers; no member of a reigning European family can be
    elected Prince of Bulgaria; in case of a vacancy of the throne
    the election will be repeated under the same conditions and with
    the same forms; before the election of the Prince, an assembly
    of notables will decide on the constitutional statute of the
    Principality at Tirnovo. The laws will be based on principles of
    civil and religious liberty.

By the Treaty of Berlin the boundaries of Bulgaria were very greatly
curtailed as compared with those of the Treaty of San Stefano, shrinking
from an area as great almost as the Bulgarian Empire of Simeon down to a
broad band of territory running between Eastern Roumelia and Roumania.

[Illustration: A BLIND BEGGAR WOMAN]

But the Bulgars kept the Treaty of San Stefano rather than the Treaty of
Berlin before their eyes as their national charter. Almost from the
first there were encroachments upon the provisions of the Treaty of
Berlin. Its limitations of Bulgarian sovereignty were ignored little by
little. Eastern Roumelia was united to Bulgaria proper by a bold and
well-timed stroke. Another occasion was sought to get rid of the tribute
to Turkey, and from a Prince, subject to a suzerain, the ruler of
Bulgaria became a Czar, responsible to none but his subjects. Finally,
when the war of 1912 against Turkey was entered upon to liberate further
Christian provinces from the rule of the Turk, the Bulgarian people, if
not the Bulgarian rulers, had clearly before their eyes the vision of
the Bulgaria of the San Stefano Treaty. At one time it seemed as if that
fond hope would be realised. But misfortunes and mistakes intervened,
and as a final result of that and succeeding wars Bulgaria has been left
with a comparatively small accession of territory, and is not much
better off than she was in 1912.

It is not my purpose to attempt any detailed history of Bulgaria. I have
designed, rather, an indication in broad outline of her national growth
as a basis for, and an introduction to, an intimate picture of the
country as it is to-day. All that is needed, then, to add to this
chapter regarding the Liberation of Bulgaria, is that after the Treaty
of Berlin had been ratified, the first task that faced the principality
of Bulgaria was to make it clear to Russia that, whilst she was grateful
for the aid which had enabled her to become independent, she aspired to
a real independence, and did not wish to exchange one master for
another. The task was difficult, and caused some early trouble for the
revived nation.

[Illustration: A YOUNG MARRIED SHÔP WOMAN]

The first Prince chosen to be monarch of Bulgaria was Prince Alexander
of Battenberg, a brave soldier but an indifferent statesman. He offended
in turn both the Bulgarian patriots who wished him to lead their country
to a complete freedom, and the Russians who would have her kept under a
kind of tutelage to the "Little Father." Still Bulgaria, in his reign,
made notable advances towards her national ideals. In 1885, obedient to
the earnest wish of its inhabitants, Eastern Roumelia was incorporated
with Bulgaria as a united principality, and that much of the Treaty of
Berlin torn up. Turkey, whose rights were chiefly affected, decided not
to make war upon this issue. The Great Powers, other than Russia, which
had insisted, in the first instance, on the separation of Bulgaria into
Bulgaria Proper and Eastern Roumelia because they feared that
Bulgaria would be a mere appanage of Russia and would in actual effect
bring the Russian frontier so much nearer to Constantinople, were now
fairly reassured on that point. They not only made no protest, but they
prevented Greece from doing so. There remained to be reckoned with only
Russia and Servia. Russia showed her displeasure by recalling every
Russian officer then serving with the Bulgarian army; but she did not
make war. Servia, fearful that this Bulgarian aggrandisement jeopardised
her own future in the Balkans, made war. Prince Alexander took the field
with his troops--made up of Bulgarians, Macedonians, and Turks living in
Bulgaria--and in the battle of Slivnitza Bulgaria won a decisive
victory. She was not allowed to reap any direct fruits from it, as
Austria interfered on behalf of Servia. The Treaty of Bucharest made
peace without penalty to Servia, and Bulgaria was left with a greatly
enhanced prestige as her sole reward.

It was a sad sequel to Prince Alexander's courage and address in this
campaign that the next year he was deposed by a conspiracy in which the
moving figures were the chiefs of the pro-Russian party in Bulgaria. The
majority of the Bulgarians were not friendly to this revolution, and
after the kidnapping of the Prince by the rebels a counter-revolution
under Stambuloff would have restored him to the throne had it not been
for the fact that he was irresolute in council though brave in the
field. He could have won back his Crown, but chose rather to surrender
it to Russia.

For some time after it was difficult to find a Prince for Bulgaria. The
Crown was offered in turn to Prince Waldemar of Denmark and King Carol
of Roumania. Finally, Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha consented to
embark on the great adventure of ruling Bulgaria. Wealthy, descended
from the old French royal house on his mother's side, and connected with
the Austrian and German royal houses on his father's, handsome and
youthful, Prince Ferdinand had splendid qualifications for his new
responsibility. He showed, too, from the outset, a fine diplomatic skill
and successfully steered his country through the perilous days which
followed his accession. Russia at first refused to sanction the choice
of him as Prince, and that involved the other Powers in a policy of
refusing him "recognition." He was thus, in a sense, a boycotted
monarch.

With steady and patient skill Prince Ferdinand worked to overcome the
obstacles which stood in the way of Bulgarian national aspirations,
aided much by the masterful statesmanship of Stambuloff. A good
understanding was come to with Turkey, still Bulgaria's suzerain power,
and in 1890 Turkey made the important concession to Bulgaria of
appointing Bulgarian bishops in Macedonia. In 1893 Prince Ferdinand
married Princess Marie Louise of Parma, and the next year an heir was
born to them, Prince Boris. A reconciliation with Russia followed.

[Illustration: A BULGARIAN MARKET TOWN]

Bulgaria now made steady and peaceful progress, the only cloud on her
sky the sorrows of her co-religionists in Macedonia. In 1908 advantage
was taken of the "Young Turk" revolution in Turkey for the Bulgarian
Prince to denounce all allegiance to Turkey, and Bulgaria was declared
fully independent and Ferdinand was crowned at Tirnovo as Czar of the
Bulgarians. Turkey was not able to protest, and her confessed weakness
nourished to powerful strength the general desire of the Christian
peoples in the Balkans to free their co-religionists in Thrace and
Macedonia from the rule of the Moslem. "The Balkan League" was formed,
and Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, and Servia prepared to force from
Turkey by war what the Great Powers had so far failed to secure by
diplomacy--the relief of Macedonia from oppression and misrule. It was
during the war of 1912-1913 that I had an opportunity of studying the
Bulgarian people at close hand, as I accompanied the Bulgarian forces as
war correspondent.



CHAPTER VI

THE WAR OF 1912-1913


I can still recollect the glad surprise which a first sight of Sofia
gave to me. With the then conventional view of the Balkan states, I had
expected, on leaving Buda-Pesth, to cut away altogether from
civilisation. Paved streets; solid and good, if not exactly handsome,
buildings; first-class hotels and cafés; electric trams and comfortable,
cheap cabs; luxurious public baths; well-stocked stores; a telephone
system, water-supply, drainage--each one of these was a surprise. I had
expected a semi-barbaric Eastern town. I found a modern capital, small
but orderly, clean, and well managed.

That enthusiastic friend of the Balkan nationalities, Mr. Noel Buxton,
M.P., writing of Sofia and other Balkan capitals, becomes quite lyrical
in his praise:

    "Their capitals," he writes, "have at all times an aspect of
    reality, industry, and simplicity. There is little needless
    wealth to show, and nothing which, in the West, would be called
    luxury. Every one is a worker, and every one a serious
    politician. There are no drones, and none who spend their lives
    in the pleasures, refinements, luxuries, vices, the idle
    amusements of the great cities of Europe. The buildings
    represent utility, means fairly adapted to ends, but with no
    cumbrous decoration or ponderous display. These capitals are
    bureaucratic settlements, devoted to the deliberate ends of
    national government with a minimum of waste, strictly
    appropriated to use alone, rendering their service to the nation
    as a counting-house renders its service to a great factory.
    Peasants walk their streets in brilliant village dresses. No one
    thinks a rational country costume inappropriate to the pavement
    of the capital. This is an index to the idea of purpose which
    pervades the town; there is none of the sense that a different
    costume is needed for urban life, an idea which arises from the
    association of towns with pleasure and display.

[Illustration: BLESSING THE LAMB ON ST. GEORGE'S DAY]

    "Few sights can be more inspiring to the lover of liberty and
    national progress than a view of Sofia from the hill where the
    great seminary of the national church overlooks the plain. There
    at your feet is spread out the unpretentious seat of a
    government which stands for the advance of European order in
    lands long blighted with barbarism. Here resides, and is
    centred, the virile force of a people which has advanced the
    bounds of liberty. From here, symbolised by the rivers and roads
    running down on each side, has extended, and will further
    extend, the power of modern education, of unhampered ideas, of
    science and of humanity. From this magnificent view-point Sofia
    stretches along the low hill with the dark background of the
    Balkan beyond. Against that background now stands out the new
    embodiment of Bulgarian and Slavonic energy, genius, and freedom
    of mind, the great cathedral, with its vast golden domes
    brilliantly standing out from the shade behind them. In no other
    capital is a great church shown to such effect, viewed from one
    range of hills against the mountainous slopes of another. It is
    a building which, with its marvellous mural paintings, would in
    any capital form an object of world interest, but which, in the
    capital of a tiny peasant State, supremely embodies that breadth
    of mind which

             "... rejects the lore
    Of nicely calculated less or more."

I confess humbly that I could not see all that in Sofia. But the city
was a welcome surprise, recalling Turin in its situation beneath a great
range of mountains, in its size and its general disposition. With closer
acquaintance, which came to me during the armistice that followed the
first phase of the war, Sofia showed as still clean, well managed,
admirable, but, oh, so deadly dull. The system of partial seclusion of
the women-folk kills all social life, and the absence of a feminine
element in the restaurants and other places of social resort deprives
them of all convivial charm. One could eat, drink, work in Sofia, and
that was all.

Coming first to Sofia just as war had been declared, I was struck by
the evidence of the exceedingly careful preparation that the Bulgarians
had made for the struggle. This was no unexpected or sudden war; they
had known for some time that war was inevitable; for they had made up
their minds for quite a considerable time that the wrongs of their
fellow-nationals in Macedonia and Thrace would have to be righted by
force of arms. Attempts on the part of the Powers to enforce reforms in
the Christian provinces of Turkey had, in the opinion of the Bulgars,
been absolute failures. In their opinion there was nothing to hope for
except armed intervention on their part against Turkey. And, believing
that, they had made most careful preparation, extending over several
years, for this struggle.

That preparation was in every sense admirable. For instance, it had
extended, I gathered from informants in Bulgaria, to this degree, that
they formed military camps in winter for the training of their troops.
Thus they did not train solely in the most favourable time of the year
for manoeuvres, but in the unfavourable weather too, in case that time
should prove favourable for their war. I think the standard of their
artillery arm, and the evidence of the scientific training of their
officers, prove to what extent their training beforehand had gone. Most
of the officers in high command I met at the front had been trained at
the Military College at St. Petrograd, some of them at the Military
College at Turin, and others again at a Military College which had been
established at Sofia. Of this last-named the head was Colonel Jostoff,
who was Chief-of-Staff to General Demetrieff (the great conquering
general of this war), and a singularly able soldier. He was the chief
Professor of the Military College at Sofia, and judging by the standard
he set, the Military College must have reached a high degree of
efficiency.

[Illustration: THE CATHEDRAL, SOFIA]

The Balkan League having been formed, and the time being ripe for the
war, Bulgaria was quite determined that war should be. The Turks at that
time were inclined to make reforms and concessions; they had an
inclination to ease the pressure on their Christian subjects in the
Christian provinces. Perhaps knowing--perhaps not knowing--that they
were unready for war themselves, but feeling that the Balkan States were
preparing for war, the Turks were undoubtedly willing to make great
concessions. But whatever concessions the Turks might have offered, war
would still have taken place.

I do not think one need offer any harsh criticism about a nation coming
to such a decision as that. If you have made your preparation for
war--perhaps a very expensive preparation, perhaps a preparation which
has involved very great commitments apart from expense--it is not
reasonable to suppose that at the last moment you will consent to stop
that war.

I was much struck with the wonderful value to the Bulgarian generals of
the fact that the whole Bulgarian nation was filled with the martial
spirit--was, in a sense, wrapped up in the colours. Every male Bulgarian
citizen was trained to the use of arms. Every Bulgarian citizen of
fighting age was engaged either at the front or on the lines of
communication. Before the war, every Bulgarian man, being a soldier, was
under a soldier's honour; and the preliminaries of the war, the
preparations for mobilisation in particular, were carried out with a
degree of secrecy that, I think, astonished every Court and every
Military Department in Europe. The secret was so well kept that one of
the diplomatists in Roumania left for a holiday three days before the
declaration of war, feeling certain that there was to be no war.

Bulgaria has a newspaper Press that, on ordinary matters, for delightful
irresponsibility, might be matched in London. Yet not a single whisper
of what the nation was designing and planning leaked abroad. Because the
whole nation was a soldier, and the whole nation was under a soldier's
honour, absolute secrecy could be kept. No one abroad knew anything,
either from the babbling of "Pro-Turks," or from the newspapers, that
this great campaign was being designed by Bulgaria.

The Secret Service of Bulgaria before the war had evidently been
excellent. They seemed to know all that was necessary to know about the
country in which they were going to fight; and I think this very
complete knowledge of theirs was in part responsible for the
arrangements which were made between the Balkan Allies for carrying on
the war. The Bulgarian people had made up their minds to do the lion's
share of the work and to have the lion's share of the spoils, for the
Bulgarian people knew the state of corruption and rottenness to which
the Turkish nation had come. When I reached Sofia, the Bulgarians told
me they were going to be in Constantinople three weeks after the
declaration of war. That was the view that they took of the
possibilities of the campaign. And they kept their programme as far as
Chatalja fairly closely.

Having declared war, the Bulgarians invaded Turkey along two main lines,
by the railway which passed through Adrianople to Constantinople and by
the wild mountain passes of the north between Yamboli and Kirk Kilisse.
There was great enterprise shown in this second line of advance and it
was responsible for all the great victories won. Taking Kirk Kilisse by
surprise the Bulgarian forces kept the Turkish vanguard on the run until
Lule Burgas, where the Turkish main army made a stand and the decisive
battle of the campaign was fought. The Turks were utterly routed and
fled in confusion towards Constantinople by Tchorlu. Had an enterprising
pursuit on the part of the Bulgarians been possible, the Bulgarian army
undoubtedly would have then entered Constantinople and the Christmas
Mass would have been said at St. Sophia. But the strength of the
Bulgarian attack was exhausted by the tremendous exertions of marching
and fighting which they had already made and a long pause to recuperate
was necessary. That pause enabled the Turks to re-marshal their forces
and to make a stand at the fortified lines of Chatalja some twenty miles
as the crow flies from Constantinople. Against those lines a Bulgarian
attack was finally launched, but too late. The entrenched Turks were
strong enough to withstand the attack of the Bulgarian forces. My diary
of these three critical days of the campaign reads:

    ERMENIKIOI

    (Headquarters of the Third Bulgarian Army),

    _November 17 (Sunday)._

    The battle of Chatalja has been opened. To-day, General
    Demetrieff rode out with his staff to the battlefield whilst the
    bells of a Christian church in this little village rang. The day
    was spent in artillery reconnaissance, the Bulgarian guns
    searching the Turkish entrenchments to discover their real
    strength. Only once during the day was the infantry employed;
    and then it was rather to take the place of artillery than to
    complete the work begun by artillery. It seems to me that the
    Bulgarian forces have not enough big gun ammunition at the
    front. They are ten days from their base and shells must come up
    by ox-waggon the greater part of the way.

    ERMENIKIOI, _November 18._

    This was a wild day on the Chatalja hills. Driving rain and mist
    swept over from the Black Sea, and at times obscured all the
    valley across which the battle raged. With but slight support
    from the artillery the Bulgarian infantry was sent again and
    again up to the Turkish entrenchments. Once a fort was taken but
    had to be abandoned again. The result of the day's fighting is
    indecisive. The Bulgarian forces have driven in the Turkish
    right flank a little, but have effected nothing against the
    central positions which bar the road to Constantinople. It is
    clear that the artillery is not well enough supplied with
    ammunition. There is a sprinkle of shells when there should be a
    flood. Gallant as is the infantry it cannot win much ground
    faced by conditions such as the Light Brigade met at Balaclava.

    ERMENIKIOI, _November 19._

    Operations have been suspended. Yesterday's cold and bitter
    weather has fanned to an epidemic the choleraic dysentery which
    had been creeping through the trenches. The casualties in the
    fighting had been heavy. "But for every wounded man who comes to
    the Hospitals," Colonel Jostoff, the chief of the staff, tells
    me, "there are ten who say 'I am ill.'" The Bulgarians recognise
    bitterly that in their otherwise fine organisation there has
    been one flaw, the medical service. Among this nation of peasant
    proprietors--sturdy, abstemious, moral, living in the main on
    whole-meal bread and water--illness was so rare that the medical
    service was but little regarded. Up to Chatalja confidence in
    the rude health of the peasants was justified. They passed
    through cold, hunger, fatigue and kept healthy. But ignorant of
    sanitary discipline, camped among the filthy Turkish villages,
    the choleraic dysentery passed from the Turkish trenches to
    theirs. There are 30,000 cases of illness and the healthy for
    the first time feel fear as they see the torments of the sick.
    The Bulgarians recognise that there must be a pause in the
    fighting whilst the hospital and sanitary service is
    reorganised.

There was this check, mainly because, in an otherwise perfect system of
training, sanitation had been overlooked. From a military point of view,
of course, it was almost impossible in any case that the Bulgarian army
should have forced the Chatalja lines without a railway line to bring up
ammunition from their base. It was, however, an army which had been
accustomed to do the impossible. But for the cholera I believe it might
have got through to the walls of Constantinople.

During the latter part of 1913 there was a chorus of unstinted praise in
Europe of Bulgarian strategy. Candidly I cannot agree entirely with some
of the views then expressed, which, to me, seem to have been inspired
not so much by a study of the Bulgarian strategy, as by admiration of
the wonderful heroism and courage of the soldiers. At the outset
Bulgarian generalship was exceedingly good; the reconnaissance phase of
the campaign was carried through perfectly. In that the soldier was
assisted by the perfect discipline of the nation, which allowed a
cheerful obedience to the most exacting demands and absolute secrecy.
But it seemed to me that at the stage when the battle of Lule Burgas had
been fought and won, there was a very serious mistake. (I am not writing
now in the light of the ultimate result, for I expressed this view to
Mr. Prior, of the London _Times_, in voyaging with him from Mustapha
Pasha to Stara Zagora in November 1913.) There was a very serious
mistake in the policy of "masking" Adrianople. I have reasons for
thinking that that was not the original plan of the soldiers. Their
strategy was, in the first instance, to deceive the Turks as to where
the blow was to come from. And in that they succeeded admirably. No one
knew where the main attack on the frontier would be made. It was made
unexpectedly at Kirk Kilisse, when all expectation was that it would be
made through Mustapha Pasha and towards Adrianople. But after that
period of secrecy, when the main attack developed, and the Turks knew
where the Bulgarian forces were, it seemed to me it was a great mistake
for the Bulgarian army to push on as they did, leaving Adrianople in
their rear.

[Illustration: AN ADRIANOPLE STREET
Over the roofs, the spiral minaret of Bourmali Jami, white marble
and red granite]

It was not merely that Adrianople was a fortress, but it was a fortress
which straddled their one line of communication. The railway from
Sofia to Constantinople passed through Adrianople. Except for that
railway there was no other railroad, and there was no other carriage
road, one might say, for the Turk did not build roads. Once you were
across the Turkish frontier you met with tracks, not roads.

The effect of leaving Adrianople in the hands of the enemy was that
supplies for the army in the field coming from Bulgaria could travel by
one of two routes. They could come through Yamboli to Kirk Kilisse, or
they could come through Novi Zagora to Mustapha Pasha by railway, and
then to Kirk Kilisse around Adrianople. From Kirk Kilisse to the
rail-head at Seleniki, close to Chatalja, they could come not by railway
but by a tramway, a very limited railway. If Adrianople had fallen, the
railway would have been open. The Bulgarian railway service had, I
think, something over one hundred powerful locomotives at the outset of
the war, and whilst it was a single line in places, it was an effective
line right down to as near Constantinople as they could get. But,
Adrianople being in the hands of the enemy, supplies coming from Yamboli
had to travel to Kirk Kilisse by track, mostly by bullock wagon, and
that journey took five, six, or seven days. The British Army Medical
Detachment travelling over that road took six days.

If one took the other road one got to Mustapha Pasha comfortably by
railway. And then it was necessary to use bullock or horse transport
from Mustapha Pasha to Kirk Kilisse. That journey I took twice; once
with an ox-wagon, and afterwards with a set of fast horses, and the
least period for the journey was five days. From Kirk Kilisse there was
a line of light railway joining the main line. But on that line the
Bulgarians had only six engines, and, I think, thirty-two carriages; so
that, for practical purposes, the railway was of very little use indeed
past Mustapha Pasha. Whilst Adrianople was in the hands of the enemy,
the Bulgarians had practically no line of communication.

My reason for believing that it was not the original plan of the
generals to leave Adrianople "masked" is, that in the first instance I
have a fairly high opinion of the generals, and I do not think they
could have designed that; but I think rather it was forced upon them by
the politicians saying, "We must hurry through, we must attempt
something, no matter how desperate it is, something decisive." But,
apart from the high opinion I have of the Bulgarian generals, the fact
remains that after Adrianople had been attacked in a very half-hearted
way, and after the main Bulgarian army had pushed on to the lines of
Chatalja, the Bulgarians called in the aid of a Servian division to help
them against Adrianople. I am sure they would not have done that if it
had not been their wish to subdue Adrianople.

The position of the Bulgarian army on the lines of Chatalja with
Adrianople in the hands of the enemy was this, that it took practically
their whole transport facilities to keep the army supplied with food,
and there was no possibility of keeping the army properly supplied with
ammunition. So if the Bulgarian generals had really designed to carry
the lines of Chatalja without first attacking Adrianople, they
miscalculated seriously. But I do not think they did. It was probably a
plan forced upon them by political authority, feeling that the war must
be pushed to a conclusion somehow. Why the Bulgarians did not take
Adrianople quickly in the first place is, I think, to be explained
simply by the fact that they could not. But if their train of sappers
had been of the same kind of stuff as their field artillery, they could
have taken Adrianople in the first week of the war.

The Bulgarians had no effective siege-train. A press photographer at
Mustapha Pasha was very much annoyed because photographs he had taken of
guns passing through the towns were not allowed to be sent through to
his paper. He sent a humorous message to his editor, that he could not
send photographs of guns, "it being a military secret that the
Bulgarians had any guns." But the reason the Bulgarians did not want
photographs taken was that these guns were practically useless for the
purpose for which they were intended.

The main excellence of the Bulgarian army was its infantry, which was
very steady under punishment, admirably disciplined, perfect in courage,
and which had, I think, that supreme merit in infantry, that it always
wanted to get to work with the bayonet. The Bulgarian soldiers had a
joke among themselves. The order for "Bayonets forward!" was, as near as
I could get it, "_Nepret nanochi_." Arguing by similarity of sound, the
Bulgarian soldier affected to believe it meant "Spit five men on your
bayonet." It was the common camp saying that it was the duty of the
infantryman to impale five Turks on his bayonet, to show that he had
conducted himself well. The Bulgarian infantrymen had devised a little
"jim" in regard to bayonet work, which I had not heard of being used in
war before. When they were in the trenches, and the order was expected
to fix bayonets, they had a habit of fixing them, or rather pretending
to, with a tremendous rattle, on which signal the Turks would often
leave their trenches and run, expecting the bayonet charge; but the
Bulgarians still stuck to their trenches, and got in another volley.

The artillery work of the Bulgarians was very good indeed; they had an
excellent field-piece, practically the same field-piece as the French
army. Their work was very fine with regard to aim and to the bursting of
shrapnel, and their firing from concealed positions was also good. But I
never saw enterprising work on their part; I never saw them go into the
open, except during a brief time at Chatalja. They seemed to dig
themselves in behind the crest of a hill, where they could fire,
unobserved by the enemy.

Now, with regard to the conduct of the troops. Much has been said about
outrages in this war. I believe that in Macedonia, where irregular
troops were at work, outrages were frequent on both sides; but in my
observation of the main army there was a singular lack of any excess.
The war, as I saw it, was carried out by the Bulgarians under the most
humane possible conditions. At Chundra Bridge I was walking across
country, and I had separated myself from my cart. I arrived at the
bridge at eight o'clock at night, and found a vedette on guard. They
took me for a Turk. I had on English civilian green puttees, and green
was the colour of the Turks. It was a cold night, and I wished to take
refuge at the camp fire, waiting for my cart to come. Though they
thought I was a Turk, they allowed me to stay at their camp fire for two
hours. Then an officer who could speak French appeared, and I was safe;
the men attempted in no way to molest me during those two hours. They
made signs as of cutting throats, and so on, but they were doing it
humorously, and they showed no intention to cut mine. Yet I was there
irregularly, and I could not explain to them how I came to be there.

The extraordinary simplicity of the commissariat helped the Bulgarian
generals a great deal. The men had bread and cheese, sometimes even
bread alone; and that was accounted a satisfactory ration. When meat and
other things could be obtained, they were obtained; but there were long
periods when the Bulgarian soldier had nothing but bread and water. (The
water, unfortunately, he took wherever he could get it, by the side of
his route at any stream he could find. There was no attempt to ensure a
pure water supply for the army.) I do not think that without the
simplicity of commissariat it would have been possible for the Bulgarian
forces to have got as far as they did. There was an entire absence of
tinned foods. If you travelled in the trail of the Bulgarian army, you
found it impossible to imagine that an army had passed that way; because
there was none of the litter which is usually left by an army. It was
not that they cleared away their rubbish with them; it simply did not
exist. Their bread and cheese seemed to be a good fighting diet.

The transport was, naturally, the great problem which faced the
generals. I have already said something about the extreme difficulty of
that transport. I have seen at Seleniki, which is the point at which the
rail-head was, within thirty miles of Constantinople as the crow flies,
ox-wagons, which had come from the Shipka Pass, in the north of
Bulgaria. I asked one driver how long he had been on the road; he told
me three weeks. He was carrying food down to the front.

The way the ox-wagons were used for transport was a marvel of
organisation to me. The transport officer at Mustapha Pasha, with whom I
became very friendly, was lyrical in his praise of the ox-wagon. It was,
he said, the only thing that stuck to him during the war. The railway
got choked, and even the horse failed, but the ox never failed. There
were thousands of ox-wagons crawling across the country. These oxen do
not walk, they crawl, like an insect, with an irresistible crawl. It
reminded me of those armies of soldier ants which move across Africa,
eating everything which they come across, and stopping at nothing. I had
an ox-wagon coming from Mustapha Pasha to Kirk Kilisse, and we went over
the hills and down through the valleys, and stopped for nothing--we
never had to unload once.

And one can sleep in those ox-wagons. There is no jumping and pulling at
the traces, such as you get with a harnessed horse. The ox-wagon moved
slowly; but it always moved. If the ox-transport had not been so
perfectly organised, and if the oxen had not been so patiently
enduring as they proved to be, the Bulgarian army must have perished by
starvation.

[Illustration: THE SHIPKA PASS]

And yet at Mustapha Pasha a Censor would not allow us to send anything
about the ox-wagons. That officer thought the ox-cart was derogatory to
the dignity of the army. If we had been able to say that they had such
things as motor transport, or steam wagons, he would have cheerfully
allowed us to send it.

After Lule Burgas the ox-transport had to do the impossible. It was
impossible for it to maintain the food and the ammunition supply of the
army at the front, which I suppose must have numbered 250,000 to 300,000
men. That army had got right away from its base, with the one line of
railway straddled by the enemy, and with the ox as practically the only
means of transport.

The position of the Bulgarian nation towards its Government on the
outbreak of the war is, I think, extremely interesting as a lesson in
patriotism. Every man fought who could fight. But further, every family
put its surplus of goods into the war-chest. The men marched away to the
front; and the women of the house loaded up the surplus goods which they
had in the house, and brought them for the use of the military
authorities on the ox-wagons, which also went to the military
authorities to be used on requisition.

A Bulgarian law, not one which was passed on the outbreak of the
war--they were far too clever for that--but an Act which was part of the
organic law of the country, allowed the military authorities to
requisition all surplus food and all surplus goods which could be of
value to the army on the outbreak of hostilities. The whole machinery
for that had been provided beforehand. But so great was the voluntary
patriotism of the people that this machinery practically had not to be
used in any compulsory form. Goods were brought in voluntarily, wagons,
cart-horses, and oxen, and all the surplus flour and wheat, and--I have
the official figures from the Bulgarian Treasurer--the goods which were
obtained in this way totalled in value some six million pounds. The
Bulgarian people represent half the population of London. The population
is poor. Their national existence dates back only half a century. But
they are very frugal and saving; that six millions which the Government
signed for represented practically all the savings which the Bulgarian
people had at the outbreak of the war.



CHAPTER VII

A WAR CORRESPONDENT'S TRIALS IN BULGARIA


A sense of grievance was the first fruits of my experience as a war
correspondent in Bulgaria. It was the general policy of the Bulgarian
army and the Bulgarian military authorities to prevent war
correspondents seeing anything of their operations. They wished nothing
to interfere with the secrecy of their plans. There were only three
British journalists who succeeded, in the ultimate result, in getting to
the front and seeing the final battle of the first phase of the war, at
Chatalja. There were over a hundred correspondents who attempted to go.
Perhaps as I was one of three who succeeded, I do not think I,
personally, have any reason to complain. But I found a good deal of
vexation in the Bulgarian policy, which was to prevent any knowledge of
their plans, their dispositions, their strategy, and their tactics,
from getting beyond the small circle of their own General Staff. Even
some of their generals in the field were kept in partial ignorance.
Officers of high standing, unless they were on the General Staff, knew
little of the general plan; they were informed only about the particular
operations in which they were engaged.

This policy of secrecy was, however, a good thing from the point of view
of getting to know the Bulgarian people. If the military authorities had
given me facilities to go with the army and see its operations I should
have become familiar with the Headquarters Staff, perhaps with a few
regimental officers, but not with the great mass of the army nor with
the Bulgarian people generally. But the refusal of facilities to
accompany the army cast upon me the responsibility of trying to get
through somehow to the front, and in the process of getting through I
won to knowledge of the peasant soldiers and their home life.

Ultimately the residuum of my grievance was not with the secretive
methods of the Bulgarians--they were wise and necessary--but with the
wild fictions which some correspondents thought to be the proper
response to that policy of secretiveness.

Returned to Kirk Kilisse from the Bulgarian lines at Chatalja, I amused
myself in an odd hour with burrowing among a great pile of newspapers in
the Censor's office, and reading here and there the war news from
English, French, and Belgian papers.

Dazed, amazed, I recognised that I had seemingly mistaken the duties of
a war correspondent. For some six weeks I had been following an army in
breathless, anxious chase of facts; wheedling Censors to get some few of
those facts into a telegraph office; learning then, perhaps, that the
custom at that particular telegraph office was to forward telegrams to
Sofia, a ten days' journey, by bullock-wagon and railway, to give them
time to mature. Now here, piping hot, were the stories of the war.

There was the vivid story of the battle of Chatalja. This story was
started seven days too soon; had the positions and the armies all wrong;
the result all wrong; and the picturesque details were in harmony. But
for the purposes of the public it was a very good story of a battle.
Those men who, after great hardships, were enabled to see the actual
battle found that the poor messages which the Censor permitted them to
send took ten days or more in transmission to London. Why have taken all
the trouble and expense of going to the front? Buda-Pesth, on the way
there, is a lovely city; Bucharest also; and charming Vienna was not at
all too far away if you had a good staff-map and a lively military
imagination.

In yet another paper there was a vivid picture--scenery, date, Greenwich
time, and all to give an air of artistic verisimilitude--of the signing
of the Peace armistice. The armistice had not been signed at the time,
was not signed for some days after. But it would have been absurd to
have waited, since "our special correspondent" had seen it all in
advance, right down to the embrace of the Turkish delegate and the
Bulgarian delegate, and knew that some of the conditions were that the
Turkish commissariat was to feed the Bulgarian troops at Chatalja and
the Bulgarian commissariat the Turkish troops in Adrianople. If his
paper had waited for the truth that most charming story would never have
seen the light.

So, in a little book I shall one day bring out in the "Attractive
Occupations" series on "How to be a War Correspondent," I shall give
this general advice:

1. Before operations begin, visit the army to which you are accredited,
and take notes of the general appearance of officers and men. Also learn
a few military phrases of their language. Ascertain all possible
particulars of a personal character concerning the generals and chief
officers.

2. Return then to a base outside the country. It must have good
telegraph communication with your newspaper. For the rest you may decide
its locality by the quality of the wine, or the beer, or the cooking.

3. Secure a set of good maps of the scene of operations. It will be
handy also to have any books which have been published describing
campaigns over the same _terrain_.

4. Keep in touch with the official bulletins issued by the military
authorities from the scene of operations. But be on guard not to become
enslaved by them. If, for instance, you wait for official notices of
battles, you will be much hampered in your picturesque work. Fight
battles when they ought to be fought and how they ought to be fought.
The story's the thing.

5. A little sprinkling of personal experience is wise; for example, a
bivouac on the battlefield, toasting your bacon at a fire made of a
broken-down gun-carriage with a bayonet taken from a dead soldier.
Mention the nationality of the bacon. You cannot be too precise in
details.

[Illustration: A YOUNG WIDOW AT HER HUSBAND'S GRAVE]

Ko-Ko's account of the execution of Nankipoo is, in short, the model for
the future war correspondent. The other sort of war correspondent, who
patiently studied and recorded operations, seems to be doomed. In the
nature of things it must be so. The more competent and the more accurate
he is, the greater the danger he is to the army which he accompanies.
His despatches, published in his newspaper and telegraphed promptly to
the other side, give to them at a cheap cost that information of what is
going on _behind_ their enemy's screen of scouts which is so vital to
tactical, and sometimes to strategical, dispositions. To try to obtain
that information an army pours out much blood and treasure; to guard
that information an army will consume a full third of its energies in an
elaborate system of mystification. A modern army must either banish
the war correspondent altogether or subject him to such restrictions of
Censorship as to veto honest, accurate, and prompt criticism or record
of operations.

The Bulgarian army had not the courage to refuse authorisation to the
swarm of journalists which descended upon its headquarters. Editors had
argued it out that the small Balkan States, anxious to have a "good
press" in Europe, would give correspondents a good show. But the
Bulgarian authorities, anxious as they were to conciliate foreign public
opinion, dared not allow a free run to the newspaper representatives.
Apart from the considerations I have mentioned, which must govern any
modern war, there were special reasons why the Bulgarians should be
nervous of observation. They were waging war on "forlorn hope" lines
with the slenderest resources, with the knowledge that officers and
men--especially transport officers--had to do almost the impossible to
win through. Further, they had the knowledge that in some cases the
correspondents were representing the newspapers (and the Governments,
for newspapers and cabinets often work hand in hand on the Continent) of
nations which were at the very moment threatening mobilisation against
the Balkan States. To have specially excepted Roumanian, Austrian, and
German press representatives from permission to see operations would
have been impossible. The method was adopted of authorising as many
press correspondents as cared to apply, then carefully pocketing them
where they could see nothing, and instituting such a rigorous Censorship
as to guard effectively against any important facts, gleaned indirectly,
leaking out. A few managed to earn enough of the Bulgarian confidence to
be allowed to go through to the front and see things. But, even then,
the Censorship and the monopoly of the telegraph line for military
messages prevented them from despatching anything.

Some of the correspondents--one in particular--overcame a secretive
military system and a harsh Censorship by the use of a skilled
imagination and of a friendly telegraph line outside the area of
Censorship. At the staff headquarters at Stara Zagora during the early
days of the campaign, when we were all straining at the leash to get to
the front, waiting and fussing, he was working, reconstructing the
operations with maps and a fine imagination, and never allowing his
paper to want for news. I think that he was quite prepared to have
taken pupils for his new school of war correspondents. Often he would
come to me for a yarn--in halting French on both sides--and would
explain the campaign as it was being carried on. One eloquent gesture he
habitually had--a sweeping motion which brought his arms together as
though they were gathering up a bundle of spears, then the hands would
meet in an expressive squeeze. "It is that," he said, "it is
Napoleonic."

Probably the Censor at this stage did not interfere much with his
activities, content enough to allow fanciful descriptions of Napoleonic
strategy to go to the outer world. But, in my experience, facts, if one
ascertained something independently, were not treated kindly.

"Why not?" I asked the Censor vexedly about one message he had stopped.
"It is true."

"Yes, that is the trouble," he said--the nearest approach to a joke I
ever got out of a Bulgarian, for they are a sober, God-fearing, and
humour-fearing race.

The idea of the Bulgarian Censorship in regard to the privileges and
duties of the war correspondent was further illustrated to me on another
occasion, when a harmless map of a past phase of the campaign was
stopped.

"Then what am I to send?" I asked.

"There are the bulletins," he said.

"Yes, the bulletins which are just your bald official account of
week-old happenings which are sent to every news-agency in Europe before
we see them!"

"But you are a war correspondent. You can add to them in your own
language."

Remembering that conversation, I suspect that at first the Bulgarian
Censorship did not object to fairy tales passing over the wires, though
the way was blocked for exact observation. An enterprising story-maker
had not very serious difficulties at the outset. Afterwards there was a
change, and even the writer of fairy stories had to work outside the
range of the Censor.

We were all allowed down to Mustapha Pasha, and considered that that was
a big step to the front. "For two days or so," we were told, it would be
our duty to wait patiently within the town (the battle-ground around
Adrianople was about twelve miles distant). Some waited there two months
and saw no real operations. The Censorship at Mustapha Pasha was so
strict that all private letters had to be submitted, and if they were
in English the English Censor insisted that they should be read to him
aloud; and he re-read them, again aloud, to see if he had fully grasped
their significance. Then they could go if they contained no military
information and did not mention guns, oxen, soldiers, roads, mud, dirt,
or other tabooed subjects. An amusing "rag" was tried on the Censor
there. A sorely tried correspondent wrote a letter of extreme warmth to
an imaginary sweetheart. This began "Ducksie Darling," and continued in
the same strain for two pages. He waited until there was a full
house--the Censors had no private office, but did their censoring in a
large room which was open to all the correspondents--and then submitted
his ardent outburst. Other press-men did not see the joke at first, and
began to sidle out of the room as, like a stream of warm treacle, the
love-letter flowed on. But they came back.

"'Ducksie Darling,'" began the writer, "that, you know, is not a
military term. It is a phrase of endearment used in England.--'A
thousand, thousand kisses'--that has nothing to do with the disposition
of troops." So he went through to the honeyed end, the Censor blushing
and furious, the audience hilarious.

The Mustapha Pasha Censorship would not allow ox-wagons or reservists to
be mentioned, nor officers' names. The Censorship objected, too, for a
long time to any mention of the all-pervading mud which was the chief
item of interest in the town's life. Yet you might have lost an army
division in some of the puddles. (But stop, I am lapsing into the
picturesque ways of the new school of correspondents. Actually you could
not have lost more than a regiment in the largest mud-puddle.)

Let the position be frankly faced, that if one is with an army in modern
warfare, common sense prohibits the authorities from allowing you to see
anything, and suggests the further precautions of a strict Censorship
and a general hold-up of wires until their military value (and therefore
their "news" value) has passed. If your paper wants picturesque stories
hot off the grill it is much better not to be with the army (which
means, in effect, in the rear of the army), but to write about its deeds
from outside the radius of the Censorship.

Perhaps, though, your paper has old-fashioned prejudices in favour of
veracity and will be annoyed if your imagination leads you too palpably
astray? In that case do not venture to be a war correspondent at all. If
you do not invent you will send nothing of value. If you invent you will
be reprimanded.

Let me give my personal record of "getting to the front" and the net
result of the trouble and the expense. I went down to Mustapha Pasha
with the great body of war correspondents, and soon recognised that
there was no hope of useful work there. The attacking army was at a
standstill and a long, wearisome siege--its operations strictly guarded
from inspection--was in prospect. I decided to get back to staff
headquarters (then at Stara Zagora), and just managed to catch the staff
before it moved on to Kirk Kilisse. By threatening to return to London
at once I got a promise of leave to join the Third Army and to "see some
fighting."

The promise anticipated the actual granting of leave by two days. It
would be tedious to record all the little and big difficulties that were
then encountered through the reluctance of the military authorities to
allow one to get transport or help of any kind. But four days later I
was marching out of Mustapha Pasha on the way to Kirk Kilisse by way of
Adrianople, a bullock-wagon carrying my baggage, an interpreter
trundling my bicycle, I riding a small pony. The interpreter was gloomy
and disinclined to face the hardships and dangers (mostly fancied) of
the journey. Beside the driver (a Macedonian) marched a soldier with
fixed bayonet. Persuasion was necessary to force the driver to undertake
the journey, and a friendly transport officer had, with more or less
legality, put at my command this means of argument. A mile outside
Mustapha Pasha the soldier turned back, and I was left to coax my
unwilling helpers on a four days' journey across a war-stricken
countryside, swept of all supplies, infested with savage dogs
(fortunately well fed by the harvest of the battlefields), liable to
ravage by roving bands.

That night I gave the Macedonian driver some jam and some meat to eke
out his bread and cheese.

"That is better than having a bayonet poked into your inside," I said,
by pantomime. He understood, grinned, and gave no great trouble
thereafter, though he was always in a state of pitiable funk when I
left the wagon to take a trip within the lines of the besieging forces.

[Illustration: GIPSIES]

So to Kirk Kilisse. There I got to General Savoff himself and won not
only leave, but a letter of aid to go down to the Third Army at the
lines of Chatalja. But by then what must be the final battle of the war
was imminent. Every hour of delay was dangerous. To go by cart meant a
journey of several days. A military train was available part of the way
if I were content to drop interpreter, horse, and baggage and travel
with a soldier's load.

That decision was easy enough at the moment--though I sometimes
regretted it afterwards when the only pair of riding-breeches I had with
me gave out at the knees, and I had to walk the earth ragged--and by
train I got to Tchorlu. There a friendly artillery officer helped me to
get a cart (springless) and two fast horses. He insisted also on giving
me as a patrol, a single Bulgarian soldier, with 200 rounds of
ammunition, as Bashi-Bazouks were ranging the country. I objected that I
had a revolver, and there was the driver, a Greek. "He would run away,"
said the officer pleasantly, and the patrol was taken.

It was an unnecessary precaution, though the presence of the soldier
was comforting as we entered Silivri at night, the outskirts of the town
deserted, the chattering of the driver's teeth audible over the clamour
of the cart, the gutted houses ideal refuges for prowling bands. From
Silivri to Chatalja there was again no appearance of Bashi-Bazouks. But
thought of another danger obtruded as we came near the lines and
encountered men from the Bulgarian army suffering from the choleraic
dysentery which had then begun its ravages. To one dying soldier by the
roadside I gave brandy; and then had to leave him with his mates, who
were trying to get him to a hospital. They were sorely puzzled by his
cries, his pitiful grimaces. Wounds they knew, and the pain of them they
despised. They could not comprehend this disease which took away all the
manhood of a stoic peasant, and made him weak in spirit as an ailing
child.

From Chatalja, the right flank of the Bulgarian position, I passed along
the front to Ermenikioi ("the village of Armenians"), passing the night
at Arjenli, near the centre and the headquarters of the ammunition park.
That night at Arjenli seemed to make a rough and sometimes perilous
journey, which had extended over seven days, worth while.

Arjenli is perched on a high hill, to the west of Ermenikioi. It gave a
view of all the Chatalja position--the range of hills stretching from
the Black Sea to the Sea of Marmora, along which the Bulgarians were
entrenched, and, beyond the invisible valley, the second range which
held the Turkish defence. Over the Turkish lines, like a standard, shone
in the clear sky a crescent moon, within its tip a bright star. It
seemed an omen, an omen of good to the Turks. My Australian eye
instinctively sought for the Southern Cross ranged against it in the sky
in sign that the Christian standard held the Heavens too. I sought in
vain in those northern latitudes, shivered a little and, as though
arguing against a superstitious thought, said to myself: "But there is
the Great Bear."

For by this time I had come to sympathise thoroughly with the Bulgarian
army and its cause. The soldiers were such good fellows: their
steadiness, their sense of justice, their kindness were so remarkable.
Just an incident of the camp at Arjenli to illustrate this. It was on
the Friday night of November 15, and on the morrow we expected the
decisive battle of the war. At Arjenli (which was a little to the rear
of the Bulgarian lines) was the ammunition park of the artillery,
guarded by a small body of troops under Lieutenant-Colonel Tchobanoff.
Coming towards the front from Tchorlu, the fall of night and the
weariness of my horses had compelled me to halt at the village, and this
officer and Dr. Neytchef gave me a warm welcome to their little Mess.

There are six members, and for all, to sleep and to eat, one room. Three
are officers, three have no commissions. With this nation in arms that
is not an objection to a common table. Discipline is strict, but
officers and soldiers are men and brothers when out of the ranks. Social
position does not govern military position. I found sometimes the
University professor and the bank manager without commissions, the
peasant proprietor an officer. The whole nation had poured out its
manhood for the war, from farm, field, factory, shop, bank, university,
and consulting-room.

Here at Arjenli on the eve of the decisive battle, I think over early
incidents of the campaign. It is a curious fact that in all Bulgaria I
have met but one man who was young enough and well enough to fight and
who had not enlisted. He had become an American subject, I believe, and
so could not be compelled to serve. In America he had learned to be an
"International Socialist," and so he did not volunteer. I believe he was
unique. With half the population of London, Bulgaria had put 350,000
trained men under arms.

We eat our simple meal of goat's flesh stewed with rice. Then, smoking
cigarettes made of the tobacco of the district, Colonel Tchobanoff and I
talk over the position as well as my bad French will allow. He is serene
and cheerful. His chief care is to impress upon me the fact that in
making war the Bulgarians had not been influenced by dynastic
considerations nor by military ambition. It was a war dictated not by a
Court circle or a military clique, but by the irresistible wish of the
people.

Whilst we were talking the sound of a rifle shot came up from the
village. A junior officer was sent out to make inquiries. Soon he
returned with two soldiers leading between them a Turkish prisoner.

I learn the facts. The Turk had tried to rush past a sentry standing
guard over the ammunition park. The sentry had fired, had not hit the
man, but had grappled with him afterwards and taken him prisoner.

I nerved myself to see the Turk shot out of hand. The rules of war
warranted it. He had tried to rush a sentry on guard over an important
military station. But the Bulgarian officers decided to hear his story,
and a kind of informal court-martial was constituted. The proceedings,
which were in Turkish, were translated to me, as I was acting in a way
as friend of the accused to "see fair play."

The Turk's story was clear enough. He had lived in Arjenli all his life
and was not a soldier. When the Turkish army had evacuated the district
he had not left with them, but had stayed in his old village. That night
he had gone out of his hut to the village well. Returning, a sentry had
challenged him, and he had become frightened and tried to run away.

It was clear that the man was telling the truth. The Bulgarians believed
him, and let him go with a warning. This showed justice and courage, and
a good "nerve" too. In some armies, I suspect, the Turk would have been
shot, or hanged first and left to explain afterwards, if he could. And
this was among the Bulgarians, who some insist are a bloodthirsty,
cut-throat race, with no sense of justice or of mercy!



CHAPTER VIII

INCIDENTS OF BULGARIAN CHARACTER


Some further incidents of Bulgarian life gleaned during war-time will
illustrate the national characteristics of the people.

Peter was a secretary-servant whom I engaged at Sofia to accompany me to
the front because he could speak English, a language he had learned at
the Robert (American) College in Constantinople, where he was educated.
Peter was to be partly a secretary, partly a servant. He was to
interpret for me, translate Bulgarian papers and documents, also to cook
and to carry if need be. He was destined to be a lawyer, and was the son
of a small trader.

[Illustration: A PEASANT OF THE TSARIBROD DISTRICT]

Peter was interesting as illustrating the transition stage between the
Bulgarian peasant (for whom I have the heartiest admiration) and the
Bulgarian statesman, diplomat, "personage" (for whom I have
not--generally speaking and with particular exceptions--nearly so much
admiration). He had not lost the peasant virtues. He was loyal, plucky,
patriotic. But he had lost the good health and the practical knowledge
of life of the peasant stock from which he sprang.

The Bulgarian on the land lives a laborious life, bread and cheese his
usual sole food, with a little meat as a rare treat, and a glass of
vodka as his indulgence for Sundays and feast days only. Marrying early
he is astonishingly fecund. Transfer him to town life and he soon shows
a weakening in physical fibre. The streets sap away his field-bred
health. A more elaborate diet attacks the soundness of his almost bovine
digestion. There is no greater contrast between the Bulgarian peasant on
the land, physically the healthiest type one could imagine, and the
Bulgarian town resident, who has not yet learned to adapt himself to the
conditions of closely hived life and shows a marked susceptibility to
dyspepsia, phthisis, and neurasthenia. The Bulgarian peasant has the
nerves, the digestion of an ox. The Bulgarian town-dweller, the son or
grandson of that peasant, might pass often for the tired-out progeny of
many generations of city workers.

Peter could not serve in the army because his lungs were affected. That
was why he was available as my secretary-servant. Peter was, as regards
any practical knowledge of life, the most pathetically useless young man
one could imagine. He could make coffee, after the Turkish fashion, and
had equipped himself for a long campaign with a most elaborate coffee
machine, all glass and gimcrackery, which of course did not survive one
day's travel. But he had not brought food nor cooking pots nor knife nor
fork nor spoon: no blankets had he, and no change of clothing--just the
coffee-pot, a picture of a saint, and an out-of-date book of Bulgarian
statistics, which he solemnly presented to me, with his name
affectionately inscribed on the fly-leaf. I dared not throw it away, and
so had to carry its useless bulk about with me until Peter and I parted.
In addition to his lack of equipment, Peter could not roll a rug, make a
bed, or fend for himself in any way.

The Bulgarian peasant in his life on the land is on the whole a very
clever chap as regards the practical things of existence. During the
campaign I noticed how he made himself very comfortable. Whenever he was
stationed as a guard for a railway bridge or in any other
semi-permanent post, he half-dug, half-thatched himself an excellent
shelter. He made use for food supplies of every scrap of eatable stuff
that came his way, and could do wonders in the manipulation and repair
of an ox-cart. But clearly these simple skills do not survive town life.
Peter was only one example of many that I encountered. The problem that
troubles Bulgaria to-day and will trouble her for some time to come is
that of finding from her almost exclusively peasant population enough
statesmen, lawyers, priests, teachers, leaders generally who will have
substituted for peasant virtues and peasant abilities the _savoir faire_
of the cultivated European. They show a tendency to lose the one before
they gain the other.

My life with Peter was brief. He was such a good fellow that I was quite
willing to retain him, even though I had to be the servant really, and
his services were only useful as interpreter. But his health improved.
Possibly the better food and the open-air regime that I insisted upon
were responsible. Peter became healthy enough to do something for the
army and, of course, he went away to do that something. Though he had
become a good deal devoted to me his chief devotion was to his country.
I honoured him for deserting me.

Incidents of the mobilisation of the troops showed this strong and
general patriotic ardour. At the call this trained nation was in arms in
a day. The citizen soldiers hurried to the depôts for their arms and
uniforms. In one district the rumour that mobilisation had been
authorised was bruited abroad a day before the actual issue of the
orders, and the depôt was besieged by the peasants who had rushed in
from their farms. The officer in charge could not give out the rifles,
so the men lit fires, got food from the neighbours, and camped around
the depôt until they were armed. Some navvies received their
mobilisation orders on returning to their camp after ten hours' work at
railway-building. They had supper and marched through the night to their
respective headquarters. For one soldier, the march was twenty-four
miles. The railway carriages were not adequate to bring all the men to
their assigned centres. Some rode on the steps, on the roofs of
carriages, on the buffers even.

At Stara Zagora I noted a mother of the people who had come to see some
Turkish prisoners just brought in from Mustapha Pasha. To one she gave
a cake. "They are hungry," she said. This woman had five men at the war,
her four sons in the fighting-line, her husband under arms guarding a
line of communication. She had sent them proudly. It was the boast of
the Bulgarian women that not a tear was shed at the going away of the
soldiers.

At a little village outside Kirk Kilisse a young civil servant, an
official of the Foreign Office, spoke of the war whilst we ate a dish of
cheese and eggs. "It is a war," he said, "of the peasants and the
intellectuals. It is not a war made by the politicians or the soldiers
of the staff. That would be impossible. In our nation every soldier is a
citizen and every citizen a soldier. There could not be a war, unless it
were a war desired by the people. In my office it was with rage that
some of the clerks heard that they must stay at Sofia, and not go to the
front. We were all eager to take arms."

At Nova Zagora, travelling by a troop train carrying reserves to the
front, I crossed a train bringing wounded from the battlefields. For
some hours both trains were delayed. The men going to the front were
decorated with flowers as though going to a feast. They filled the
waiting time by dancing to the music of the national bagpipes, and
there joined in the dance such of the wounded as could stand on their
feet.

At Mustapha Pasha I arrived one night from Stara Zagora with a great
body of correspondents. With me I had brought about a week's supply of
food, leaving other supplies with my heavy baggage. But on the train
journey, taking up a full day, this supply disappeared. No one else
seemed to have food supplies handy, and I fed all I could, including a
Bulgarian bishop (who showed his gratitude afterwards by "cutting me
dead" when it was in his power to do me a slight favour). When we
reached Mustapha Pasha it was to find no hotels, lodging-houses, cafés,
or stores. All the food supplies had been requisitioned by the Bulgarian
military authorities. There was plenty of food in the town but none
could be bought. I tried to get a loaf of bread from a military bakery,
offering to the soldier in charge up to five francs for a loaf. He was
sturdily proof against bribes. But subsequently I was given a loaf for
nothing on the ground that I was "in distress"; as indeed I was, though
with £100 in my pocket.

Between Silivri and Ermenikioi, travelling with a fine equipment for
the time being--a cart and two good horses and a full supply of food,
purchased at Tchorlu and Silivri--I was eating lunch by the roadside
when four Bulgarian soldiers came up and with signs told me that they
were starving, and asked for food. They had become separated from their
regiment and, I gathered, had had no food for two days. They were armed
with rifles and bayonets and could have taken from me all they needed if
they had wished. But that thought did not seem to have entered their
heads. I gave them a meal and a little bread and cheese to see them on
their way. One of these poor peasant soldiers fumbled in his purse and
brought out some coppers, wishing to pay for what he had had.

Repeatedly in my travels I would come at nightfall to some little
vedette outpost and be made welcome of the officers' Mess. That meant
sharing their meal, whatever it was,--a very poor one sometimes. After
the main dish I would bring out dates and biscuits, of which I had a
small store, to find usually that the Bulgarian officers would refuse to
trench upon my supplies, as I was going forward "to the front" and
would need them. That was not the attitude of savages but of gentlemen.

These and a score of similar incidents showed me the Bulgarian national
character as kind, honest, patient, courageous. They made it impossible
for me to believe that by nature these people are invariably cruel,
rapacious, murderous. That in cases of Balkan massacres and outrages the
Bulgarian people have not been always the victims, and have not been
always blameless, I know. It is impossible to shut one's eyes to the
fact that something survives of the traditions of cruelty and reprisal
existing in the Balkans of the Middle Ages. In this Balkan peninsula
there is always a smell of blood in the nostrils, a mist of blood in the
eyes. The Bulgarians have taken their part in many incidents which seem
to deny the existence of Christian civilisation.

[Illustration: THE RATCHENITZA, THE NATIONAL DANCE OF BULGARIA]

But I speak of the people as I found them, and I came away from the
Balkans confident that my life and property would always be safe with
Bulgarian peasants, provided that I made no movement to begin trouble. I
came away, too, with a high idea of their essential soundness as a
nation and their certainty of a great future. Allowances have to be made
for the hostility of circumstances. As is insisted by the Bulgarians,
when the little nation started to restore its old home life, everything
had to be replaced. "It was not only the political conditions which had
altered, but social life itself. At a moment's notice, and practically
out of nothing, a new administration had to be organised and the diverse
organs of the national life to be improvised. Hardly anything valuable
of the preceding regime could be utilised. In this connection, it is
interesting to observe the different fortunes of a conquered province.
When a province which had formed part of a civilised country passes to a
nation equally civilised, one may say that in many respects the change
is an unimportant one, because in such a case the conqueror retains
almost all the institutions, the only difference being that in the
future they work in the name of the new sovereign authority. The
political condition of such a province is the only thing which is
affected, the administrative and judicial system and the wealth
continuing as before. On the other hand, if one attempted to form a
modern state out of a country which has been devastated for centuries,
or if one tried to transform a Turkish province into a country after the
pattern of the European States, every step would be strewn with
obstacles, and there would be nothing of the former state of things that
could be utilised. In such a case, the only thing to be done would be to
borrow from other nations the experience which they have accumulated
during their long efforts, and to transplant it into the desolated land.
This is practically what happened in Bulgaria, and it is only by taking
into account the exceptionally difficult conditions in which the
Principality found itself on the morrow of its liberation that one will
be able to appreciate the efforts displayed and the result obtained."

In one particular there is to a British observer a marked failing in the
Bulgarian character: the Bulgars are very nervous to "keep up
appearances" and that makes them appear snobbish and deceitful at times.
They are ashamed of poverty, a little ashamed, too, of their natural
manners. Always they wish to put the best face on things before the
world. If a Bulgarian understood that you recognised any crudeness
anywhere he liked to pretend that it was not a usual thing but a
temporary circumstance due to the war. I got quite tired of hearing "_La
guerre comme la guerre_" murmured to me by apologetic Bulgarians
wanting to pretend that under normal circumstances his countrymen always
had the best of table silver and napery.

One incident (which left nothing but amiable memories) of a day's march
north of Adrianople I can recall illustrating this desire to keep up
appearances. After an anxious day I had got to a Bulgarian camp, was
welcomed by an officer and brought around to a little hut where the mess
was established. My new-made friend knocked at the door and explained
things in Bulgarian. I heard a scuffle and could not help seeing through
the window two young officers who were comfortably enjoying supper with
their coats off rushing to get into full uniform. Until they were
dressed properly there was no admittance to the stranger. That showed on
the whole a good feeling of pride: but sometimes Bulgarian sensitiveness
to criticism and desire to appear grand was a little trying. I suppose,
however, it is natural in a "new" people.

In most things, however, the Bulgarian is intensely practical. That
sturdy panegyrist of the Bulgars, Mr. Noel Buxton, M.P., insists upon
this practicality even when its effects were notably absent:

    "The Bulgarian mind," he writes, "is practical. It is no doubt
    still debated, among European military experts, whether the army
    succeeded through a well-organised transport or in spite of the
    want of it. The foreign Red Cross contingents at the front were
    inclined to the latter view. Judged by English or by German
    standards, the system, or want of system, employed led them to
    suppose that success came from 'muddling through.' They found
    that nothing was prepared for their arrival, and no
    classification of the wounded carried out. But it may be doubted
    whether the Bulgarian mind does not include some elements of a
    quality which is really higher than statistical efficiency."

It calls for a more affectionate eye towards the Bulgar people than I
possess to be blind to the fact that in their medical and sanitary
arrangements for the campaign against the Turks they were woefully
deficient. The excuse of ignorance is the only one that will serve. The
only alternative to that would be a complete recklessness for life. In
the Bulgarian camps sanitary precautions were absolutely lacking, and on
the battlefields the provision for dealing with the wounded was
shockingly inadequate. When I came back from Chatalja to Kirk Kilisse,
King Ferdinand sent his private secretary for me as an independent
witness of the state of things at the front. I took the occasion to
acquaint His Majesty frankly with the ghastly consequences that had
followed from the absence of all precautions to ensure a wholesome water
supply, from the neglect of latrine regulations in the camps and other
failures in the medical and sanitary service. I had no reason to feel
that my frankness was resented, and I believe that (too late in the day)
an effort at reform was made. Certainly since then there has been
reform, and if Bulgaria should unhappily have to enter upon another
campaign probably the medical and sanitary services will be brought to a
high pitch of organisation.

Yes, the Bulgarian is very practical in mind but he has suffered, and
has yet to suffer again perhaps, from lack of experience to instruct his
practical mind. If the national pride would allow of it, an excellent
thing for Bulgaria would be to import half a dozen skilled officials
from, say, England and France to nurse her departments through the stage
of infancy. The nation has plenty of natural genius but makes mistakes
through inexperience.



CHAPTER IX

THE TRAGEDY OF 1914


When the war between the Balkan States and the Turkish Empire was
brought to a close for the time being by an armistice signed on the
battlefield of Chatalja, to which Bulgaria, Servia, and Turkey were
parties, and by the summoning of the Conference of London, to which
Greece also was a party, the prospects for Bulgaria's future were
singularly bright. As a power in the Balkans Turkey had ceased to exist.
She had been driven out of all Albania, Macedonia, Epirus, and Thrace,
except that beleaguered garrisons held the fortresses of Scutari,
Janina, and Adrianople and the Dardanelles forts, whilst behind the
lines of Chatalja a small area of Turkish territory remained under the
Crescent. The area held by the Bulgarian armies was greater at this time
than the territory assigned to her by the Treaty of San Stefano, and
promised to be extended as the result of the peace negotiations. In the
war which had just been waged the exploits of Bulgarian arms had
attracted the widest attention in Europe. Public opinion in most of the
capitals of the world assigned the future hegemony of the Balkan
Peninsula to the Bulgarian nation. But all this fair-seeming prospect
was the prelude to one of the greatest national tragedies in history.

I cannot better preface a relation of the facts of that tragedy than by
giving a summary of the position early in 1914, as it was given
anonymously by a noted Bulgarian diplomat to the _National Review_. He
wrote:

    It is too late for pretending that all is well with the Balkan
    League. Even in official quarters, where pessimism is generally
    discouraged, it is no longer denied that relations between the
    Allies have reached a critical stage.... It would form a sad
    epilogue to a noble story if what began as a crusade of
    liberation were to end in fratricidal strife.... Nominally, the
    quarrel turns on the interpretation of treaties and their
    bearing on the situation created by the war. But underneath all
    these arguments there lurk preoccupations far transcending the
    scope of written or oral agreements. The question at stake is
    nothing less than the future balance of power in the Balkans.
    The map of the Balkans has been transformed beyond recognition,
    and Turkey has practically ceased to exist as a European power;
    but those who expected it to inaugurate an era of tranquillity
    have been disappointed. The failure of the war as an instrument
    of pacification is largely due to the very magnitude of its
    military success. Had the victories of the Allies been less
    decisive, conditions might have arisen more favourable to the
    cause of Balkan union. The sudden collapse of Turkey left a void
    which has upset the entire scheme of things existing....

[Illustration: A BAGPIPER]

    The passions which the war has engendered are only partly due to
    lust for territorial aggrandisement. Mere thirst after conquest
    would have never produced such perversions of moral sense had it
    not been backed by the sentiment of fear and jealousy. This is
    clearly proved by the fact that feelings have reached their
    highest point of intensity where this latter element loomed
    largest. The Bulgarians have exhibited a degree of self-control
    which is in marked contrast with the conduct of other Allies.
    This equanimity is the more surprising in view of the fact that
    the position of Bulgaria is well-nigh desperate. For months
    past, the brunt of the war has fallen almost entirely on her. On
    every side she is surrounded by an atmosphere of open hostility.
    By threats of invasion, Roumania has wrung from her a ransom for
    the Balkan victories, while in Macedonia her allies are
    preparing to dispute her lawful share and have massed against
    her their whole armies. So long as peace with Turkey is not
    signed she must remain immobilised in front of Chatalja and
    Bulair. For a parallel case one must go back to the dark hours
    of Prussia during the Seven Years' War. But in the midst of all
    these difficulties Bulgaria has kept a cool head, whereas public
    opinion in Servia and Greece has parted company with all
    reason. It is not indifference to the issues at stake which
    explains this placid demeanour. When the proper time arrives,
    the Bulgarians will be found tough bargainers and determined to
    claim their full due. They know, however, that the position of
    their country as prime factor in the Balkans cannot be seriously
    affected by the results of the allotment. Even before the war,
    the supremacy of Bulgaria was hardly questioned, and the
    formation of the Balkan League would have been impossible but
    for this acquiescence in her right to leadership. With the
    disappearance of Turkey, this predominance is bound to be
    further accentuated and henceforth will have to be reckoned with
    as a political axiom.

    The reasons which have enabled Bulgaria to envisage the future
    with tranquillity are for her allies a source of uneasiness.
    Servia and Greece have long watched the rapid and uninterrupted
    progress of their pushful neighbour with mixed feelings of fear
    and envy. Her seniors in point of time, they have been
    outdistanced in the race for Balkan hegemony. In 1885 Servia
    made a desperate attempt at grappling with the problem, but had
    no reason to be satisfied with the results. The doctrine of
    Balkan equilibrium was buried at Slivnitza, and since then
    Servia has had to rest contented with a secondary place. But the
    galling memory of defeat had never died out and probably plays
    in the present anti-Bulgarian agitation a larger part than most
    Servians realise or would care to admit.

    Antagonism between Greeks and Bulgarians is a legacy of the
    past. Their history is a long record of ceaseless struggle. When
    they could no longer war as freemen, the feud was transferred to
    ecclesiastical ground and there continued under the mocking eye
    of their new masters. Since their restoration to independent
    life, they have not been able to revert to the old tradition
    owing to Turkey's presence as buffer state. This involuntary
    truce, however, has not turned hatred into love. They are once
    more to have a common frontier and will thus be brought in
    direct contact.

    ... The war has widened the gulf between these races by adding
    to the old stock of animosities a fresh supply of military
    jealousies. It has let loose over the entire Peninsula a flood
    of vanity which has upset the balance of a good many heads. A
    year ago, no sane Servian would have dreamed of pitting his
    country against Bulgaria, and this recognition of inferiority
    stood for peace. Now, every Servian officer is convinced that
    the result of such a trial of forces would be favourable to
    Servia, just as he is persuaded that the issues of the war with
    Turkey have been decided mainly by Servian valour....

    If this is the way in which Servians are wearing their laurels,
    it can be imagined what the effect of recent events has been on
    impressionable Greece. To the trepidation with which the war was
    entered has succeeded the feeling of boundless self-reliance.
    All sense of reality and proportion has been banished, and there
    is no exploit which seems beyond the reach of Greek effort.

    The outbreak of a fresh Balkan war would, in the present
    circumstances, prove little short of a world-wide calamity.
    Should, however, Europe succeed in localising such a conflict,
    its miseries will, to a certain extent, be compensated by one
    very important advantage. A trial of forces between the various
    Balkan competitors will clear the atmosphere and settle in the
    only efficacious way the sore problem of Balkan hegemony, which
    is at the bottom of Balkan unrest. It will fix for a long term
    of years the respective positions of the parties. Just as the
    Servo-Bulgarian War in 1885 proved a blessing in disguise, so
    this time also the arbitrament of the sword might create
    conditions more favourable to the political stability of the
    Peninsula. And this will be a gain not only to the Balkan
    nations, but to the whole of Europe.

The last thing of which that Bulgarian writer dreamt was the actual
result of the fresh Balkan war, which did break out and which ended in
the humiliation of Bulgaria. He contemplated the necessity of palliating
to European minds the enormity of a fratricidal war between allies who
had sanctioned their war against Turkey as a struggle of the Cross
against the Crescent; but he had no idea that there was the barest
possibility that Bulgaria would have to suffer complete defeat instead
of explaining victory.

The Conference of London which endeavoured to arrange a peace after the
first phase of the Balkan war met first in December 1913. I watched
closely its deliberations, had several friends among the delegates, and
was in a position to see at close hand the play of jealousies and
ambitions which made its work futile. From the first the very
desperation of Turkey raised a difficulty to quick peace negotiations.
She had lost so much as to be practically bankrupt, and was in the
position of a reckless man with no more possible losses to suffer,
anxious by any expedient to postpone the day of payment in the hope that
something would turn up in his favour. That anything should turn up
seemed in reason impossible, but Oriental fatalism despises reason; and
in this case Oriental fatalism was right judged by the final event.

The sessions of the London Conference found a vividly contrasting
setting in London. (In Constantinople the meetings would have had an
appropriate stage.) It was a contest of Oriental against semi-Oriental
diplomacy; and staid British officials, who had duties in connection
with the Conference, lived for weeks in an atmosphere of bewilderment,
wondering if they were still in the twentieth century or had wandered
back to the Bagdad of the Middle Ages.

The first effort of the Turkish delegates was to gain time. On any point
that arose they wanted instructions from their government and pressed
for an adjournment. When, after a few days, the Conference assembled
again, the instructions had not arrived, and there was need for another
adjournment. At the next meeting the instructions had arrived; but they
were written so illegibly that they could not be deciphered, and so
there was another adjournment. (This illegible despatches excuse had not
even the merit of being novel--it was used many years before in an
Egyptian negotiation.) To the desperate attempts of the Turks to waste
time the diplomats of the Balkan States replied with but little patience
or suavity. They did not recognise fully that they were present at a
death-bed, and that the patient had some excuse for taking an
unconscionable time in dying. Their patience was not increased by the
knowledge of the fact that the time secured by these evasive excuses was
being used in desperate attempts to sow dissensions among the allies and
to beat up support in some European capital for the forlorn Turkish
Empire.

It was over the question of the cession of Adrianople to Bulgaria that
the chief trouble arose, and the Turkish delegates made a great point of
the fact that at Adrianople was the parent mosque of Islam in Europe and
the burial-place of the first Sultans. This plea for their holy places
aroused some sympathy in Europe. I suggested to Dr. Daneff, the chief
Bulgarian delegate to the Conference, that he should allow me to
publish that Bulgaria would allow the Turks to retain the holy places in
Adrianople as an extra-territorial area under the control of the Moslem
Caliph. Dr. Daneff liked the proposal, but at first would only allow it
to go out as an unofficial hint that probably Bulgaria would consent to
such an arrangement. Then, finding that the concession was popular, he
fathered it directly, and it was made one of the terms of peace which
the Powers tried to force upon Turkey.

Peace seemed assured when finally the Turkish Porte agreed, under
pressure from the Powers, to a Treaty of Peace, which left to Turkey on
the European mainland only the territory lying south and east from a
line drawn between Media, on the Black Sea, to Rodosto on the Sea of
Marmora. But a revolution in Turkey upset this arrangement, and the
Peace Conference was broken up and the war resumed.

In this second phase of the Balkan war against Turkey (1914), the
efforts of the Balkan League were practically confined to attacks upon
the fortresses still held by the Turks in the conquered territories.
Scutari, Janina, Adrianople fell after fierce battles. The revolution
clearly had done nothing to restore the military strength of the Turks.
Now another effort was made to end the war, and the Peace Conference
resumed its sessions in London.

Whilst during the 1913 session all the delay had been caused by Turkey,
now Turkey shared the willingness of Bulgaria to sign a peace on terms
dictated by the Powers, which left to Turkey the territory behind the
Midia-Rodosto line, and reserved for a European decision the fate of the
Aegean Islands and the boundaries of an independent state of Albania
which was to be set up. But both Servia and Greece were reluctant now to
assent to such peace conditions. Both felt a grievance about the
creation of an independent Albania which deprived them of a great
stretch of territory on the Adriatic which they had hoped to share. Both
felt that yet another war was necessary to settle issues as to the
division of the spoil with Bulgaria.

To the delays for which Servia and Greece were responsible there was an
added complication arising from the attitude of Roumania. That
kingdom--which had taken no active part in the late war, but which had
secretly nursed a boundary grievance against Bulgaria dating back from
the War of Liberation, when Russia robbed Roumania of Bessarabia and
proposed to pay her with Bulgarian territory without actually doing
so--now announced that she must be a party to any new Balkan settlement,
and mobilised her forces to give accent to the demand she had been
making for some time for a territorial concession from Bulgaria.

The diplomacy of Bulgaria under these difficult circumstances was
deplorable. Her statesmen seemed bemused with the intoxication of
Bulgarian military victories, and unable to forget the glowing
calculations of the future Bulgarian Empire which they had made during
the course of the war. Those calculations I gathered from gossip with
all classes in Bulgaria at different times, speaking not only with
politicians but with bankers, trading people, and others. They concluded
that the Turk was going to be driven out of Europe, at any rate, as far
as Constantinople. They considered that Constantinople was too great a
prize for the Bulgarian nation or for the Balkan States, and that
Constantinople would be left as an international city to be governed by
a commission of the Great Powers. Bulgaria was, then, to have of what
had been Turkey-in-Europe, the province of Thrace, and a large part of
Macedonia as far as the city of Salonica.

[Illustration: A YOUNG GIRL OF IRN]

Salonica was desired very much by the Bulgarians, and also very much by
the Greeks; and the decision in regard to Salonica before the war was
that it would be best to make it a free Balkan city, governed by all the
Balkan States in common, as a free port for all the Balkan States. The
frontier of Greece was to extend to the north, and Greece was to be
allowed all the Aegean Islands. The Servian frontier was to extend to
the eastward and the southward, and what is now the autonomous province
of Albania (the creation of which was insisted on by the Powers) was to
be divided between Montenegro and Servia.

That division would have left the Bulgarians with the greatest spoil of
the war. They would have had entry on to the Sea of Marmora; they would
have controlled, perhaps, one side of the Dardanelles (but I believe
they thought that the Dardanelles might also be left to a commission of
the Powers). Now, with the clash of diplomacy, it was sternly necessary
to curtail that ambition considerably, and to decide to seek a friend
among the different rivals. Bulgarian diplomats could not be made to
see that. They were firm with Turkey: wisely enough, for Turkey had no
power left to wound or to help. But at the same time they refused to
make any concessions either to Servia, to Greece, or to Roumania, all of
whom were determined to have a share of the plunder which Bulgaria had
assigned for herself. "A leonine partnership" as the lawyers call it,
that is to say, a partnership in which one party takes the lion's share
of the spoil, is a very satisfactory arrangement for the lion. But one
wants to be sure before attempting to enforce leonine arrangements that
one is the lion. Bulgaria blundered on into a position which left her
exhausted army to face at once Greece, Servia, Montenegro, and Roumania.

That it was not necessary for her to get into that position I can say
with some confidence. A more judicious handling of her relations with
Servia would have kept the friendship of that kindred nation, and
Montenegro would have followed Servia. The united Slav peoples of the
Balkans would then have been strong enough to withstand any attempt to
enforce unfair conditions by Roumania or Greece. But Bulgaria made no
attempt to conciliate Servia. Between the two peoples there had existed
before the war a very close treaty of alliance. This treaty had arranged
for the division of the spoil of the war on a basis which had not
foreseen that the European Powers would create an independent Albania;
and Servia had not imagined that Turkey would be so weak, and that the
booty in Thrace would have been so considerable. Bulgaria thus had more
than was expected in one quarter, whilst Servia was bitterly
disappointed in another direction. Friends, under the circumstances,
would have struck another bargain. Bulgaria insisted upon the strict
letter of the old bargain.

Servia was thus forced into the arms of Greece; reluctantly, I think. If
she could have made a fair arrangement with Bulgaria she would have
preferred that. But it seemed to be destined that Bulgaria should add
another to the long list of her frustrated hopes.

The early part of 1914 saw the Balkans in the throes of a war which
eclipsed in bitterness and bloodshed the campaign of 1913. Greece and
Servia fought against Bulgaria, and Roumania marched down from the north
towards the Bulgarian capital, her army unopposed because there was no
means of opposing it. Stopping short of entering Sofia, Roumania took
up the position of the chief Power in the Balkans and insisted upon
dictating terms of peace. Those terms Bulgaria, perforce, accepted after
her army had been defeated with terrible slaughter by the Servian and
Grecian forces. She was forced to give up territory in all directions:
to Roumania on the north; to Servia on the west; to Greece on the south.
To crown her misfortunes, the Turks moved up against the prostrate
country, recaptured, without an effort, Adrianople, which had been won
with such terrible cost of Bulgarian blood, and also Kirk Kilisse. In
the final result Bulgaria was left with but little net gain as the price
of her enormous sacrifices of blood and of treasure. To the north she
actually lost some of her old territory. From the Turk she secured a
fragment of Thrace, and a part of Macedonia which gave her access to the
Aegean Sea, but no decent port there, and no possibility of carrying out
her grandiose scheme of canalising the River Maritza and making a
Bulgarian Adrianople a port for trade. Further, she had the
mortification of seeing all three of her rivals in the Balkans
aggrandised, and Roumania left with the hegemony of the Peninsula.

Only a few months before, Mr. Noel Buxton had written the "Io triumphe"
of the Bulgarian cause:

    The blight that had lain on the Balkan lands was healed, the fog
    dispelled. Even the prestige of military despotism was gone like
    a pricked bubble. The tyranny that rested on delusion and not on
    power was vanished like an empty nightmare that fades when the
    sleeper wakes. The establishment of Europe's freedom was
    fulfilled; the final step taken. A great and notable nation had
    obtained recognition through the war. Its persistence, its
    purpose, its deep reserve, now stood revealed, added to the
    world's stores of national character.

    For centuries the Bulgarian refused to compromise with the Turk.
    Other nations sought to lighten the weight of the yoke by taking
    service with the tyrant or bowing the head. The maxim, "The
    sword never strikes when the head is bowed," undermined the soul
    of other nations, never of this. Influence and wealth went to
    others; all seemed lost by the policy of defiance. Bulgarians
    would not balance advantages. A kind of faith made them ready to
    pay even death for ultimate gain. The spirit wins at last: and
    the indomitable spirit of the Bulgars has come by its just
    reward.

Three months after that the Turk was back in Thrace, and the national
life of Bulgaria had touched its lowest point since the war of
Liberation, with only her justified hope in the future as a consolation.



CHAPTER X

SOME FACTS FOR THE TOURIST AND THE ECONOMIST


Bulgaria is in the main tableau or plain land sheltered by lofty
mountains. On the north it is bounded by the Danube until the town of
Silistra is reached, when an artificial frontier cuts down from the
river to the Black Sea coast. By the cession of territory to Roumania in
1914 this artificial frontier took a more southerly course, and reaches
now to a point just north of Varna. The coast of the Black Sea bounds
Bulgaria on the east, and she has there two ports, Varna and Burgas. On
the south the frontier is now European Turkey as far west almost as the
24th parallel of latitude, and then the bordering territory is Greece.
On the west the boundary is Servia. The Balkan Mountains and the Rhodope
Mountains run roughly east and west: the former almost in the centre of
Bulgaria; the latter near to the Turkish border.

The valleys and plains of Bulgaria are watered by tributaries of the
Danube, by tributaries of the Maritza and the Struma flowing into the
Aegean Sea, and by some small streams flowing directly into the Black
Sea. The soil of the plains and the tableland is generally good, and 70
per cent of it is suitable for cultivation. In the mountains there are a
few small lakes and many deep gorges and noble peaks, offering to the
traveller the attraction of scenery wilder than that of the Alps.

For the tourist with an autumn or a spring month to spare, I could
imagine no more interesting journey than to cross on horseback or with
an ox-wagon the Rhodopes or the Balkans. (In the summer such a tour
would be less pleasant because of the heat of the plains and the
prevalence of flies.) But in the autumn, of all seasons, the Balkan
Peninsula has supreme charms. The climate then is perfect, usually fine,
with warm clear days and cold nights. The atmosphere is full of light
and colour. Sunset as seen from the lower foothills of the Balkans is a
rare pageant of glowing colour. These foothills are covered with oak
scrub, which with the first frosts of autumn puts on burning robes of
red and gold. As the sun goes down to rest in the western sky, hung with
banners of the same red and gold, the twilight steals up first as a pink
radiance then as a deep purple glow. Light melts into light--softly,
insensibly--the display in the sky and on the hill-sides gradually
passing from one colour to another, until at last night and darkness
come to end the long-drawn-out procession of colour.

These wild mountains abound in game which has been driven from the tamer
parts of Europe. There are bears, wolves, jackals, wild boars, deer,
chamois; and all kinds of birds, such as eagles, falcons, bustards, wild
geese, pheasants, partridges, woodcock, snipe, and moorhen. For the
sportsman the Balkan Peninsula is almost the only tract left in Europe
offering really wild game. King Ferdinand, who recognises the tourist
possibilities of his country, has lately encouraged the stocking of the
Rhodope streams with trout, to offer another attraction to the visitor.

[Illustration: GUARDING THE FLOCKS AND HERDS]

To King Ferdinand's initiative also is due in a great measure the
movement to develop the spas of Bulgaria. The mountains abound in
medicinal springs of various kinds. Some of the most important have been
used in a primitive fashion since the Roman times, and under the Turkish
rule. Recently, the mining section of the Ministry of Commerce and
Agriculture has succeeded in developing the mineral springs at Sliven,
Banki, Varshetz, and Meritchléri. Modern health-resorts have been built
at Banki, Varshetz, Hissar, and Meritchléri. There are, all in all, more
than 200 hot and mineral springs in Bulgaria in some eighty different
places. In the department of Sofia there are twenty-three, the hottest
of which is Dolnia Bania. The town of Sofia itself possesses very good
hot springs. The municipality has almost completed the building of
public baths which will cost £60,000.

Though it is far from the mind of the Bulgarian people to aim at making
their country another playground for the west of Europe, there is no
doubt at all but that in the future Bulgaria will attract, yearly,
thousands of tourists--in the winter for snow-sports; in the spring and
autumn for the scenery, the sport, the medicinal baths. At the present
time there is practically no tourist traffic. Travellers wishing to
explore early a new country may be confident of getting in the capital,
Sofia, excellent hotel accommodation, and in the chief towns, such as
Stara Zagora and Philippopolis, decent and clean accommodation. But to
see Bulgaria properly it is necessary to take to horseback or wagon. At
the capital it is possible to engage guides who speak English, and to
hire horses or oxen for transport at an astonishingly cheap rate. The
horse-carts of the country are springless and not too comfortable. The
ox-wagons, also springless, are quite comfortable, as the oxen move
along smoothly and without jerking. I have slept quite soundly in a
Bulgarian ox-wagon as it crawled over roadless country at night.

Mainly an agricultural country, Bulgaria grows wheat, maize, barley,
rye, oats, millet, spelt, rice (around Philippopolis), potatoes, grapes,
tobacco, mulberries (there is a silk industry), and roses. This
cultivation of roses for the production of attar of roses is an almost
exclusively Bulgarian industry. Most of the genuine attar of roses
produced in the world comes from Bulgaria. The production is a
Government monopoly, and I believe that if care is taken to secure
flasks of attar with the Government seal the purchaser may be sure of
getting the genuine article. Otherwise, as likely as not, oil of
geraniums is substituted for the attar of roses, or is used as an
adulterant. The rose valleys are grouped around Stara Zagora, and a
visit to the farms in the flowering season--late spring--should be an
incident of a Balkan tour.

The exports of Bulgaria are chiefly cereals, and the imports
manufactured goods of all kinds. But by a system of high Protection and
bonuses efforts are being made to establish manufacturing industries in
the country. The oldest Bulgarian industry is weaving, which has existed
from ancient times as a home industry. The wool of the country was
worked up into cloths, carpets, braids, serges, etc., which were in
request throughout the Ottoman Empire. The most important weaving
centres are Pirdop, Panaguiourichté, Karlovo, Sopot, Koprivchtitza,
Klissoura, Kalofer, Gabrovo, Trevna, Sliven, Kotel, and Samokov. Under
Turkish rule, these towns supplied cloth to the Imperial army. Bulgarian
cloths were then held in esteem, and there was a demand for them in
Greece and in Asia Minor. In 1880 some capitalists decided to start
modern workshops. The example was given by the towns of Gabrovo and
Sliven, where there are now large factories, organised on modern
principles. There are as many as twenty-six factories in other towns,
among others, at Samokov and Kazanlik. Bulgaria holds the first place
for weaving in the Balkan Peninsula. Lately, in addition to the making
of woollens, cotton-spinning has been introduced, and there are several
mills now working.

So pronounced has been the growth of industrialism in Bulgaria that
labour legislation has been already found necessary. There are laws
making regulations for the employment of apprentices, for the maximum
number of hours in the working day, and the age of apprentices. The law
of 1905 regulating the work of women and children lays down conditions
for the employment of children under fifteen, and for women of all ages,
occupied in factories, mines, quarries, workshops, and other industrial
undertakings. Children of either sex who have not attained the age of
twelve years must not be employed in factories, workshops, at
pit-mouths, in quarries, or sewers. However, children under twelve, but
in no case under ten, may be employed in certain undertakings. Children
under fifteen and women under twenty-one cannot be employed in the
subterranean parts of mines or quarries. The working day for children is
limited to eight hours; night-work is forbidden to women, and to
children under fifteen. On Sundays all industrial establishments must
close.

In addition to these laws protecting workers there are laws protecting
employers against foreign competition and granting them various bonuses.
The general privileges, allowed to all industrial enterprises, are:

The use of water-power, without payment, where this is not on a private
property;

Exemption from customs duties for such machines and parts of machines,
tools, and accessories, needful for the installation of enterprise, as
are not made in the Principality;

Exemption from customs duties for such building materials as are not
found or made in the country;

Exemption from customs duties for raw material, when it is imported in
order to be exported again, after having been worked up or finished off;

A free grant of land belonging to the State, the province, or parish,
for the installation of the factory;

Machinery, tools, coal, benzine, etc., for the factories are carried by
the State railways at a rate 35 per cent below the lowest usual charge
for those commodities. The law compels all public institutions to buy
from native sources, even if native commodities should be as much as 15
per cent dearer than similar articles manufactured abroad.

Some industries have in addition special privileges allowed to them,
such as exemptions from land taxation, monopoly privileges in certain
districts, cheap coal from the State mines, etc. The Bulgarian national
system aims at supplementing the agricultural resources of the country
with industrial enterprises in every possible way. But agriculture is
not neglected by the Government, and a special department exists to
encourage improvement in cultivation and cattle-raising. This department
has set up departmental councils, which distribute seeds every year.
They make considerable grants to improve the breed of cattle. They also
encourage progress in the farmers by organising competitions for
poultry-rearing, fruit-growing, etc. Scholarships have been granted to
a number of young men who wish to take up farming, so as to allow them
to study methods in foreign agricultural schools.

Further, there is an agricultural bank which, curiously enough, dates
back from the Turkish days. In 1863, Midhat Pasha, Governor of the
Danubian Vilayet (_i.e._ Bulgaria), prepared a scheme for the creation
of "urban" banks, which were intended to assist the rural population.
The scheme having been approved by the Turkish Government, several of
these banks were established. The peasants were allowed to repay in kind
the loans which were advanced to them, the banks themselves selling the
agricultural products. With the object of increasing the capital of the
banks, a special tax was introduced obliging the farmers to hand every
year to these institutions part of their produce in kind. These banks
advanced money at 12 per cent interest--instead of up to 100 per cent,
as the usurers generally did. The Turkish Government afterwards extended
the reform to the whole Empire, and obliged the peasants to create
similar banks in all the district centres. During the Russo-Turkish War
several of these banks lost their funds, the functionaries of the
Turkish Government having carried them away, as well as the securities
and other property belonging to the banks' clients. After the war, the
debtors refused to pay, and only part of the property of the banks was
restored by means of the issue of new bonds. In 1894 the Bulgarian
Government passed a law setting on a firm foundation these agricultural
banks, and they have continued since to do good work for the peasant
proprietors.

The Bulgarian is a great road-maker. He is always at work on new
rail-roads and carriage roads. I travelled twice in 1913 between
Mustapha Pasha and Kirk Kilisse (the country was then in Bulgarian
occupation) with an interval of about a month between the journeys.
During that month the Bulgarians had made a wonderful improvement in the
road. Before, it had stopped short about a mile out of Mustapha Pasha
and dwindled into a mere cart-track. After a month of Bulgarian work it
had been so much improved as to make twenty-four hours' difference in
the time of the journey. This improvement was carried through in time of
war when there was much occupation for the national energy in more
important directions. In other places I noted the Bulgarian's passion
for a good road; and the roads in his own country were excellent. The
road-making instinct is a great proof of a stable sense of civilisation.

[Illustration: AN OLD STREET IN PHILIPPOPOLIS]

The Bulgarian railways are, with the quays at the ports, the property of
the State, and are managed by a General Board of State Railways and
Ports. There are over 3000 railway servants fourteen lines traversing
the country east to west and north to south, and some seventy-two
railway stations. Both Varna and Bourgas are connected by railway with
the main lines. The lines have been constructed very cheaply (about
£7500 a mile) considering the nature of the country which they traverse.
They may be said to be profitable to the State since they return about
2-1/2 per cent interest on their cost of construction, despite the fact
that they give many concessions to encourage local industries.

The postal, telegraphic, and telephonic facilities in Bulgaria are quite
equal to the average of Europe. There are about 200 post offices, about
7000 miles of telegraph wires, and 600 miles of long-distance telephone.
The postal and telegraph administration yields a small surplus to the
treasury.

As to the trade of Bulgaria the present is a difficult time to
calculate its value, but before the war the imports were of an annual
value of about £4,000,000, and the exports of an annual value of about
£4,500,000. The chief import trade is from Austria. England, Turkey, and
Germany then follow in that order. The chief markets for Bulgarian
exports are Turkey, England, Germany, and Austria. The chief financial
institution of the country is the Bulgarian National Bank, which is a
State institution, 87 per cent of its profits going to the Bulgarian
Government. There are also State savings banks which are much favoured
by the thrifty peasantry, there being about 30,000 depositors.

The monetary units which have been adopted by Bulgaria are the _lev_
(having the value of one franc) and the _stotinka_ (centime), being the
hundredth part of a _lev_. For some years after the creation of the
Principality, the Government found it impossible to introduce any
national coins. It had to permit the circulation of all kinds of foreign
money--Servian, Roumanian, Russian, etc. In 1881 the Government put into
circulation two million francs of Bulgarian copper money, but these, as
well as the twelve millions of silver money which were issued in
1883-1884, proved quite insufficient to drive away the foreign money, so
that the latter continued to be used in all commercial transactions. It
was not until 1887 that the Government prohibited the circulation of
Servian and Roumanian coins. Later Russian money was also prohibited,
and there is now a purely national currency. On the outbreak of the war
in 1913 a _moratorium_ was declared, and the internal finance of the
country was managed on a paper currency. The confidence of the people
kept this paper money at its full value. I was never able to get any
concession in exchanging English gold for paper.

Bulgaria, notwithstanding all the preoccupations of a young nation,
finds time to encourage the arts. As the illustrations to this volume
will show, there is a flourishing school of native art in Bulgaria. To
Nicolas Pavlovitch (born 1835, died 1889) belongs the honour of having
been the father of modern Bulgarian art. He graduated at the academies
in Vienna and Munich, and, after visiting the various museums in Dresden
and Prague, exhibited during 1860 in Belgrade two pictures whose
subjects had been suggested by ancient Bulgarian history. He then went
to Petrograd and Moscow. In 1861 he returned to his native country,
where he endeavoured, by means of his lithographs and pictures of
subjects both ancient and modern, to stimulate his compatriots to
political and intellectual life. He also tried to reform and modernise
church painting in accordance with the requirements of modern artistic
technique, and made two unsuccessful attempts at opening a school of
painting. He painted portraits, and, in the palace of the Pasha of
Roustchouk, he illustrated a Turkish history of the Janissaries.

In 1896 a State school of painting was founded at Sofia, and there is
now a fine art gallery in the capital. But most of the artistic impulse
has come from abroad, and the most notable names in Bulgarian art after
that of Pavlovitch are Piotrovsky (Polish), Boloungaro (Italian), de
Fourçade (French), Sliapin (Russian). The first art exhibition was
organised in 1887 by Ivan Angeloff, teacher in the Gymnasium of Sofia
and a graduate of the Munich Academy of Fine Arts. This exhibition,
which contained three pictures painted in Bulgaria and a number of
sketches and studies dating from the artist's student days in Munich, as
well as drawings by students of the Gymnasium, was held in one of the
drawing-rooms of the Gymnasium in honour of the Prince, who had
recently been elected to the Bulgarian throne. Some five years later, on
the occasion of the first Bulgarian Industrial and Agricultural
Exhibition, held at Plovdiv in 1892, the first collective art exhibition
was organised, the productions of the various Bulgarian artists being
exhibited. King Ferdinand is a consistent patron of Bulgarian art, and
has the richest collection of pictures in Bulgaria, distributed among
his palaces at Sofia, Plovdiv, and Varna.

M. Audrey Protitch, in a recent monograph on Bulgarian art (to which I
am indebted for most of the facts above) gives this critical summary of
Bulgarian achievement:

    If we exclude historical painting, which, since the early and
    specialised attempts of Nicolas Pavlovitch, has been almost
    entirely neglected in Bulgaria, Bulgarian artists have tried
    their hand at almost every form of art. Ethnographical pictures,
    national scenes, pictures of military subjects, landscapes,
    interiors, flower pieces, animals, portraits, icons, allegories,
    mythical subjects, ruins, architecture--all these are fully
    represented in the art gallery of the National Museum, and have
    figured in nearly all the art exhibitions. The first place among
    these varieties is held by landscapes, _genre_, and portraits,
    whether in oil, water-colour, or pastel. The weak point of
    Bulgarian artists is undoubtedly undraped figures, especially
    undraped feminine figures, the only exception being Stephan
    Ivanoff, who however abandoned this class of work to become the
    best icon-painter in Bulgaria.

    Bulgarian art may be called national only as regards its
    contents, but neither in form nor technique. As we have already
    said, the subjects are taken from Bulgarian scenery or from
    peasant and town life. The sense of human form is gradually
    developing, with the exception of the feminine body, which
    remains proscribed by public taste. This last circumstance
    accounts, to a great extent, for the low level of sculpture in
    Bulgaria. Decorative art is making rapid strides, owing to the
    great amount of building going on during recent years. Artistic
    form and technique are in a transitional phase, all the younger
    artists waging war against the traditional and conventional
    styles and the foreign influences that have hitherto hindered
    the free development of art in Bulgaria, and striving to evolve
    forms more in conformity with the contents of Bulgarian art.

About Bulgarian literature I can say nothing--lacking a guidance of a
competent critic or a knowledge of the language--except that it is
ambitious and aspiring. But it can hardly be expected that a language
which is, after all, but a dialect of Russian should ever produce a
great literature. The Bulgarian national pride is so strong that
probably there will never be a movement to make Russian the literary
language of the people; but in that would seem to be the best hope of a
Bulgarian literature.



CHAPTER XI

HOW BULGARIA IS GOVERNED


To attempt to describe how Bulgaria is governed is to enter inevitably
into the realms of controversy. In theory the system of government is
purely democratic: and many Bulgarians are confident that the practice
follows the theory closely. Personally I have my doubts. The working of
a fully democratic constitution seems to be tempered a great deal by the
aristocratic powers reserved to the King in Council at times of crisis:
and this tempering is probably necessary.

The ancient Bulgarian system of government was without a doubt the
despotic tribal system of nomads. Under Turkish rule, the territory of
Bulgaria was administered as the Vilayet of the Danube under a Turkish
Pasha; and not always badly administered as is proved by the fact that
Bulgarian industry and thrift was allowed to raise the province into
the most flourishing one of Turkey-in-Europe. But until the Treaty of
Paris in 1856, Turkey had no real political organisation. Being a
theocratic state, all her public institutions emanated from the
Kaliph, as the representative of Mohammed. The Koran took the place of
civil and criminal law, and the duty of its ministers was to punish
all those who broke its commandments. Every parish had a "cadi," who
was appointed by the spiritual chief. The cadi concentrated in his
hands all jurisdictions, judging without appeal cases, civil and
criminal, and observing no fixed rules of procedure in the application
of the few principles which the Koran contained on the subject of
civil relations. In certain special cases, the Sheik-ul-Islam of
Constantinople, the highest religious tribunal in Turkey, had the
right to revise the decisions of the cadis. At the Congress of Paris,
Turkey, as one of the participating parties, was admitted into the
concert of European Powers. Then civil tribunals were for the first
time created in Turkey. In 1867 they were introduced in the Vilayet
of the Danube by the then Governor-General, Midhat Pasha. In 1877
the Russians liberated Bulgaria from the Turks. After the Treaty of
Berlin Prince Dondoukoff-Korsakoff framed a provisional system of
government for Bulgaria. Then a Russian law professor, Gradovsky, with
the help of General Domontovity, framed a constitution for Bulgaria.
This was based upon the commune being, as in Russia, the organic unit
of administrative control, and was aristocratic rather than democratic
in its general character, though it provided for a far more liberal
system of government than that existing in Russia herself.

[Illustration: A GRAVE QUESTION]

The draft Constitution was submitted to a Constituent Assembly elected
by the Bulgarian people at Tirnova in February 1879. The Assembly
elected a Committee of fifteen members to consider the draft. This
Committee revised the draft, making it less democratic than before. The
Assembly rejected their revision and set to work to recast the
Constitution, making it far more liberal, and including a provision for
universal suffrage. The Constitution thus revised was affirmed and has
been in force since, with occasional suspensions when the Prince for a
time took autocratic power. Since 1883 the Constitution has not been
suspended.

The main principles of the Bulgarian Constitution are:

(1) Separation of public authorities into legislative, executive and
judiciary.

(2) Equality of citizens, as regards civil and political rights.

(3) Inviolability of the person, residence, property, and
correspondence.

(4) Liberty of conscience, liberty of the press, liberty of public
meetings, and liberty to form associations.

(5) Direct and secret universal suffrage for the election of members of
the National Assembly, and departmental and municipal councils.

(6) Local self-government.

The authorities under the constitution are:

1. The king, who is head of the army and navy, has the supreme executive
power and can appoint and dismiss ministers, can prorogue Parliament but
not for longer than two months, and can dissolve Parliament. The King
may issue regulations and order measures, having the obligatory force of
laws, whenever the State is threatened with immediate internal or
external danger. All such measures, however, must be adopted by the
Cabinet Council, and entail the collective responsibility of all the
ministers. They must be submitted to the approval of the National
Assembly in the course of its earliest session. A special section of the
Constitution expressly forbids the levying, by means of such
extraordinary regulations, of new taxes or duties, the National Assembly
having alone the right to impose them.

2. The National Assembly, elected by manhood suffrage through a secret
ballot. Every deputy has the right to make propositions and to introduce
bills, if he is supported by one-fourth of the members present. The
National Assembly may amend the bills and propositions introduced by the
Government. The deputies have the right to make interpellations. By
means of this, the deputies can force individual ministers or the entire
Government to explain their line of conduct and to state their
intentions on some special matter, or as regards their general policy.
The National Assembly may appoint commissions of inquiry or institute
inquiries as regards the conduct of the Government. It may submit to the
Crown special addresses.

There is no Upper House, but for special occasions a "Grand National
Assembly" is convoked. This has the same composition as the ordinary
National Assembly, and its members are elected in the same way. The
only difference between the two is that the number of members of a Grand
National Assembly is twice that of the ordinary National Assembly, every
electoral unit of 20,000 inhabitants sending two deputies instead of
one. The Grand National Assembly may decide only those matters which
have necessitated its convocation. A Grand National Assembly is called
in the following cases:

1. To decide questions of exchanging or ceding a portion of the
territory of Bulgaria.

2. To revise the Constitution.

3. To elect a new Prince when the reigning family becomes extinct, owing
to absence of descendants who can occupy the throne.

4. To appoint regents during the minority of the heir to the throne.

5. To authorise the Prince to accept the government of another State.

Every Order must bear, in addition to the signature of the Prince, that
of one minister or of all the ministers, these latter being the
responsible representatives of the executive authority. The ministers
are held responsible to the Prince and to the National Assembly for all
their acts. This responsibility is collective for all the ministers in
the case of measures which have been decided by the Council of
Ministers, and individual with respect to the acts of the ministers as
heads of the various State Departments.

What I have described represents in effect a complete system of
representative and responsible government. But observation of Bulgarian
politics during and since the war has suggested to me that the King and
his ministers really can exercise a practical oligarchy: and it is
probably necessary that they should.

In the Bulgarian National Assembly there is a very strong Socialist
party, and the Parliamentary life of the Kingdom is stormy.



CHAPTER XII

THE FUTURE OF BULGARIA


It is impossible, in my opinion, to doubt the future of Bulgaria. The
disasters of 1914 would seem to suggest that the Bulgarian nation was
without the moral balance to withstand the intoxication of victory. But
whilst the events of that unhappy year showed the lack of that balance,
the fault was with the leaders of the people rather than with the people
themselves.

The misfortune of Bulgaria in this generation of the nation's life--a
misfortune which is being rapidly repaired--is that she has no middle
class: and no class with any "tradition" of leadership behind it. There
are the peasants--admirable material for nation-making--heroic, thrifty,
moral, industrious, practical. Above the peasants there is no class from
which to draw a good supply of competent administrators, law-makers,
officers, professional men. The peasant has his own limited capacities
for leadership; but they are limited. I have encountered him frequently
as Mayor of some little commune, as captain of an infantry regiment, and
admired his administrative abilities, within a narrow and familiar
scope, exceedingly. But the peasant does not go higher than that. It is
the son of the peasant with some extra gift of cleverness who is "given
an education," who becomes legislator, official, cleric, diplomat. In
many cases he does not take his polish well. Advanced education for the
ambitious Balkan lad has in the past generally meant education abroad;
and in Paris or Vienna or Petrograd the young Bulgarian, plunged into an
altogether new life of luxury and of frivolity, often suffered a loss of
natural strength of fibre for which no book-learning could compensate.

That evil will pass away. It is now possible to get a fairly advanced
liberal education without going beyond Bulgaria. Also the people are
becoming more immune to the effects of Western civilisation. Measles is
a dangerous, indeed generally fatal, disease in countries to which it is
first introduced. But in time immunity comes to make it almost
harmless. Bulgaria's material for a modern national organisation is
being quickly improved by the upgrowth of a middle class whose sons will
be able to keep their Bulgarian qualities even under the circumstances
of life in Paris or other great modern city. In future, then, the
courage of the people is likely to have a wiser, more reasonable
leadership, and, with that, it will do wonders.

But I do not wish to be misunderstood as representing that to-day the
official classes and the leaders of the Bulgarian nation are generally
unworthy or incompetent. That would be very far from the truth. But it
is the truth that as yet Bulgaria has not a class sufficient in numbers
and strong enough in tradition to supply her needs in leadership. How
could it be otherwise, seeing that the nation is not much more than a
generation old, and has had to begin working up its organisation from
bed-rock?

The events of 1913-1914 have left Bulgaria weak in her greatest element of
national strength--in the numbers of her citizens. The wars with the
Turks and the subsequent war with the other Balkan states, the ravages
of cholera and, one may unhappily conclude too, the ravages of hunger
after the dreadful ordeals of the successive campaigns, have taken heavy
toll of Bulgarian manhood. But the country will "stock up" quickly. Its
birth-rate is the highest in the world; and its "effective" birth-rate,
_i.e._ the proportion of survivals of those born, is also the highest.
If only a period of peace can be secured, all will be well in time.

[Illustration: A YOUNG MAN OF THE CHOUMLA DISTRICT]

Poor as were her acquisitions of territory compared with her hopes from
the war, Bulgaria at least won a free outlet to the open sea. Her ports
on the Black Sea were always felt to be of limited use, because traffic
to and from them had to pass through the Dardanelles and was therefore
at the mercy of Turkey in case of war. But now Bulgaria has free access
to the Aegean Sea, and though without a good port has a possible port
there.

Considerations of strategic position and of territorial acquisition are,
however, of minor importance in considering Bulgaria's future. It is in
the character of the Bulgarian race and the conditions of life
encouraging the growth of that sturdy character in which the hopes of
that future are bound up. The young Bulgarian is born usually in the
country, and usually also as one of a large family. Here is an
interesting table--compiled before the war--showing at once the
proportion of urban and rural population and the prevalence of large
families in Bulgaria:

  ------------------------------------------------------------------
  |          |   Number of such   ||          |   Number of such   |
  | Number of|      Families.     || Number of|      Families.     |
  |Members of|--------------------||Members of|--------------------|
  | Families.|          |  In the || Families.|          |  In the |
  |          | In Towns.| Country.||          | In Towns.| Country.|
  |----------------------------------------------------------------|
  |     1    |  19,299  |  11,807 ||    11    |    737   | 11,506  |
  |     2    |  22,311  |  25,035 ||    12    |    340   |  7,570  |
  |     3    |  28,182  |  45,747 ||    13    |    180   |  4,853  |
  |     4    |  29,732  |  66,554 ||    14    |     79   |  3,446  |
  |     5    |  27,884  |  82,771 ||    15    |     44   |  2,187  |
  |     6    |  21,746  |  83,635 ||    16    |     39   |  1,499  |
  |     7    |  13,636  |  69,216 ||    17    |     16   |  1,069  |
  |     8    |   7,619  |  48,218 ||    18    |     14   |    786  |
  |     9    |   3,646  |  30,756 ||    19    |      8   |    528  |
  |    10    |   1,757  |  19,005 ||    20    |      1   |    368  |
  ------------------------------------------------------------------

The Bulgarian infant in the beginning of life will have no handicap of
artificial feeding. The "feeding bottle" is practically unknown in his
country. From the very early age of three this Bulgarian infant may
begin to go to school. Primary education is obligatory. The infant
schools are for the preparation of the children for the primary schools.
Infants between the ages of three and five years are admitted in the
lower divisions, and those between five and six in the higher division.
They are taught games, songs, drawing, manual work, and simple
arithmetic. The teaching in these schools is entrusted exclusively to
school mistresses.

The proclaimed object of the primary school is "to give the future
citizen a moral education, to develop him physically, and to give him
the most indispensable knowledge." The studies last four years. The
school year begins on September 1 and lasts, in the towns, until June
25, and in the villages until the beginning of May. Thus the whole
summer and part of the autumn is exempt from school duties--a wise
exemption in an agricultural community where the children, and perhaps
some of the teachers, have to work in the fields. The subjects taught
include morals, catechism, Bulgarian and ancient Bulgarian history,
civic instruction, geography, arithmetic, natural history, drawing,
singing, gymnastics, manual work (for boys), and embroidery (for girls).
Every parish or village of more than fifty houses must have at least one
primary school. The hamlets and villages of less than fifty houses are
considered, for educational purposes, as parishes.

The enactment rendering public instruction obligatory extends to all
children between the ages of six and twelve. The only temporary or
permanent exception allowed by the law is in favour of children
physically or intellectually unfit. Disobedience to the law is punished
by fines.

Ordinary education ceases with the primary schools or with the private
schools for Mohammedans and Jews which the Bulgarian law allows to be
maintained. The cost to the State of the education of each child at
these schools is less than £1 a year, of which the State provides rather
more than half, the communes the other half.

Thus the young Bulgarian gets a fairly sound start in life, so far as
schooling is concerned, if he intends to go on the land or to follow an
industrial occupation. If he, or she, has greater ambitions, there are
gymnasia for boys and high schools for girls. At these gymnasia the
subjects of instruction are religious knowledge, Bulgarian, French,
German, Russian, Latin and Greek languages, history, geography and civic
instruction, arithmetic, geometry and geometrical drawing, algebra,
descriptive geometry, physics, chemistry, natural science, psychology,
logic and ethics, and gymnastics. The subjects of instruction at the
girls' high schools include most of those mentioned above and also
hygiene and the rearing of children, domestic economy, embroidery, music
and singing. There are further special pedagogical schools for the
training of teachers, and there is a University at Sofia having chairs
for Historico-Philological, Physico-Mathematical, and legal courses.
This University is beginning to take the place of foreign universities
for the training of young Bulgaria for public life. The training is
narrower but, on the whole, probably better from a national point of
view. Only the more seasoned minds of a young nation should be submitted
to the test of foreign study.

But let us get back to the young Bulgarian who is going on the land. At
the age of twelve he leaves school and henceforth devotes himself
wholly, instead of partly, to work on his father's farm. He begins, too,
to be introduced to the work of the village commune, though he may not
take any part in its control for some time yet. With great care the
makers of the Bulgarian Constitution have tried to guarantee the
independence of the communes. The central government must take no part
in the administration of the communes, nor maintain any agents of its
own to interfere with their affairs. The commune, which forms the basis
of the State fabric, enjoys thus a complete autonomy. It is the smallest
unit in the administrative organisation of the country. Every district
is subdivided into communes, which are either urban or rural. Every
Bulgarian subject must belong to a commune and figure in its registers,
or else he is a vagrant and punishable as such. The commune is governed
by a Mayor and Council, and at the age of twenty-five the Bulgarian is
eligible to become a councillor. Not only is the commune the organ of
local government, but it has much to do with the control of the land
affairs of this nation of peasant proprietors.

At nineteen the Bulgarian youth, at seventeen the Bulgarian girl are
marriageable, and their parents set about the work of mating them as
quickly as possible. Marriages are almost always arranged by the
parents, and it is not usual for husband and wife to come from different
communes. After marriage the Bulgarian wife is supposed to devote
herself exclusively to family life and not to wish for any social life.
There is an almost _harem_ system of seclusion, but--except that the
Bulgarian is monogamous in theory and generally in practice, whilst the
Turk is polygamous in theory and usually monogamous by force of
circumstances, since he cannot afford more than one wife--the Bulgarian
idea of home life shows evidence of Turkish influences.

The Bulgarian civil law gives to the Church complete control of the
matters of marriage and divorce. Divorce is allowed on various grounds,
but is not common. Adultery does not of itself entail the dissolution of
marriage. The party which has been found guilty of adultery is not
allowed to marry the partner in guilt. The custody of the children, in
case of divorce, is given to the innocent party, except when the
children are below the age of five years, in which case they are left
with the mother. Mutual consent of the married is not a ground for
divorce. All marriages contracted in opposition to the canon laws are
considered null. The Diocesan Council is the sole competent authority to
judge affairs of divorce, its decisions being submitted to the approval
of a metropolitan bishop.

I think Gibbon was responsible in the first instance for ascribing to
the Bulgarians a low moral character. But all the evidence that came
under my notice suggested that the Bulgarians were exceptionally
virtuous.

In their hospitals I found no cases of disease arising from vice. In
their camps they had no women followers. I passed through many villages
which their troops had traversed, and never observed any evidence of
women having been interfered with.

[Illustration: A BULGARIAN FARM]

The young Bulgarian, married--without much romance in the wooing, but
perhaps none the less happily married for that according to his
ideas--tilling his little farm, joins now in the main current of the
national life. He is exceedingly industrious, rising early and working
late. His food is frugal--whole-meal bread, hard cheese, soft cheese
(which is like rank butter), vegetables, very occasionally meat and
eggs. From his Turk cousins he has acquired a love of sweetmeats, and so
for his treats lollies and cakes are essential. But also he is a Slav
and likes a glass of _vodka_ on Sundays and feast days. He is very
sober, however, and drunkenness is rare. His chief drink is water, with
now and again tea made in the Russian fashion, or coffee made in the
Turkish fashion. At the village _cafés_ these are the chief
refreshments--_vodka_, tea and coffee. But a light beer is also brewed
in Bulgaria, and drunk by the inhabitants.

Both as regards food and drink, however, the Bulgarians' habits are
usually governed by an intense frugality. The country gives no very rich
return to the peasant. He almost invariably marries young and has a
large family. The household budget thus leaves very little margin over
from the strictly necessary food-expenses. That margin the Bulgarian
prefers in the main to save rather than to dissipate. The Bulgarian is
economical, not to say grasping. He dreams always of getting a little
richer. In his combination of the instincts of a cultivator and of a
trader he resembles a great deal the French Norman peasantry.

The duties of national defence make heavy demands on the national
industry in Bulgaria. Training for military service is universal and
compulsory. There is no hope at all that there will be any lightening of
military burdens for some time to come, since the 1914 wars have left
Bulgaria in a position which the national pride refuses to accept as
final. The burdens are borne cheerfully. The patience of the Bulgarian
peasant soldiery during the awful campaigns of 1913 and 1914 was heroic,
and their steadiness in the field showed how well they had profited by
their training.

For this Bulgarian nation, so frugal, industrious, persevering and
courageous there must be a splendid future. It has all the essential
elements of greatness and must overcome in time the misfortunes of the
past. If but the Fates will shield Bulgaria for a time from the
desperate policy of attempting any new war of revenge or of enterprise,
her growing economic strength, her superiority in industry and in
application to other peoples of the Peninsula will in time assert
themselves, and give her a strong position in the Balkans.



CHAPTER XIII

THE RESPONSIBILITY OF EUROPE


As this book goes to the press there is again war in the Balkans. It is
only a little war certainly, as yet confined within the limits of the
"autonomous State" of Albania, that quaint creation of the ambitions of
Austria and Italy, which in its foundation suggested the custom of one
of the old Fiji cannibal tribes--that of keeping alive and fattening a
victim whom it was intended to eat. Austria desires the Adriatic shore
of the Balkan Peninsula: so does Italy. They cannot agree either to
fight out the issue now or to abandon their conflicting ambitions; and
they have been responsible for creating "independent Albania," which one
of them hopes to devour up in the near future when the other one is in
difficulties. This war, small as it now is, threatens, however, to
spread to a great one; and though the danger may pass away now for the
moment, it is certain that one near day Albania will be the cause of
another Balkan war: for it is to kindle that war that she has been
brought into existence. Even to-day the position is immediately
threatening. The creation of Albania gave to Montenegro, to Servia, and
to Greece a serious disappointment. In particular was it a blow to
Montenegro, whose heroic little people had through centuries borne the
chief brunt of the fighting against the Turk:

    They rose to where their sovran eagle sails,
    They kept their faith, their freedom, on the height,
    Chaste, frugal, savage, arm'd by day and night
    Against the Turk; whose inroad nowhere scales
    Their headlong passes, but his footstep fails,
    And red with blood the Crescent reels from fight
    Before their dauntless hundreds, in prone flight
    By thousands down the crags and thro' the vales.
    O smallest among peoples! rough rock-throne
    Of Freedom! warriors beating back the swarm
    Of Turkish Islam for five hundred years,
    Great Tsernogora! never since thine own
    Black ridges drew the cloud and brake the storm
    Has breathed a race of mightier mountaineers.[2]

    [2] Tennyson's well-known sonnet.

By the creation of Albania Montenegro was debarred from any great
territorial gain out of the partition of the Turks' old estate in the
Balkans, and was shut back on her mountains, as it seemed irrevocably.
Servia and Greece were left with almost as serious grievances. Albania
therefore is a constant source of temptation to a war of enterprise on
the part of three of the Balkan nations, and the war only awaits a
favourable opportunity to break out: a pretext for it can always be
supplied at a day's notice by some border collision with the wild and
lawless Albanian clans. Should the war in Albania spread to her
neighbours, Bulgaria, outraged and mortified by the Treaty of Bucharest
and again robbed and humiliated by Turkish encroachments on her
powerlessness after that Treaty, in all probability will seize the
opportunity to make a war of requital on some one of her neighbours, and
the Balkan Peninsula will then be again drenched in blood. There will be
again a cry of shocked horror from Western Europe as to these
"quarrelsome and bloodthirsty" Balkan peoples. But in fair play and
justice there is more reason for the little Balkan peoples to be shocked
and horrified at the cold-blooded policy of the Great Powers who, for
their own ends, create conditions which make peace in the Balkans
impossible.

The truth is that these little shreds of peoples, in the blood-soaked
Peninsula which destiny marked out to be the great battle-ground of
races, have been used as pawns in the great game of European diplomacy
ever since the fall of Napoleon. It will be recalled that one of the
earlier dreams of that ambitious genius was to enter the service of the
Sublime Porte and reorganise the power of Turkey. The crumbling away of
the power of the Turkish Empire, which had given centuries of anxiety to
Christian Europe, was at that time apparent. A great genius might then
have restored the fighting power and the prestige of Islam. But Napoleon
turned to other work and Turkey went on decaying. There soon arose a
question as to who should be the legatee of the "Sick Man of Europe,"
and legacy hunters, some fawning, some clamorous, gathered at his
bedside. To some of these it soon occurred that there would be wisdom in
hastening the process of division, and that a means to do this was to
question the moral right of the Turk to the Christian provinces over
which he ruled. In the state of public feeling in Europe at the time it
was most convenient to question this right on the ground of the
religious intolerance of the Turk.

Without joining the party of the "pro-Turks" it is clear that that
ground was more of a pretext than a reality. The Turk is not a religious
persecutor to anything like the extent to which the Christian has been a
religious persecutor. On coming into Europe he never sought, for
example, to destroy the Greek Church, and I do not think that there is
any clear evidence that Turkish misrule was founded at any period on
intolerance carried to the degree of murder for faith's sake. The fault
rather of the Porte's rule was the dreadful corruption and incompetence
of the Turk as an administrator and the Turkish ideas of the status of
women-folk--ideas which gave to Moslem women rights derived from their
Moslem men-relatives, but regarded Christian women as if they were
cattle without owners. I think that it was the adoption by European
Powers of religion as a pretext for interfering in the Balkans which has
been largely responsible for the religious bitterness there. It would
make the situation more clear and give a better hope for the future if
Western Europe would frankly recognise that the fervid interest taken
in the Balkan Peninsula for about a century has had no other reason
generally than territory-hunger.

When Turkey began showing signs of falling to pieces, Russia made an
early claim to the succession of "the Sick Man's" estate. Russia wanted
a warm water-port; and her territories would have been nicely rounded
off by the acquisition of Turkey in Europe. These were the real reasons,
not publicly expressed, for her Balkan policy. Less real reasons, kept
in the foreground, were that the head of the Russian Orthodox Church was
at Constantinople, that Russia was the kinsman of the Slav populations
in the Balkans, and that her duty and right was to liberate
co-religionists who were suffering from religious persecution.

Great Britain was the great obstacle to the desire of Russia to march
down upon Constantinople. Her real objection was that with Russia on the
Bosphorus the control of the Mediterranean might pass into the hands of
the rival who seemed to wish to dispute with her for the mastery of
India. Her expressed reasons had some vague declarations about the
"chivalry of the Turk." Austria developed her ambition to suzerainty
over the Balkan Peninsula mainly on the strength of a claim to be the
heir of the old Holy Roman Empire, and as such possessing an hereditary
right to rule over the old seat of that Empire in the East. Italy was
forced into a Balkan policy by the impossibility of allowing a rival
Power to settle on the other side of the Adriatic, threatening her whole
east coast. Germany and France came into Balkan politics chiefly as
allies of Powers with more direct interests, although both have now
fears and hopes regarding the Asiatic dominions of the Sublime Porte and
shape their Balkan policy accordingly.

[Illustration: A YOUNG WOMAN OF THE ROUSTCHOUK DISTRICT]

The way in which, by the Congress of Berlin, the Treaty of San Stefano
was changed illustrated well the fact that, as regards the Balkan
Peninsula, Europe was far more concerned to advance the ambitions of the
Western Powers than to ameliorate the condition of the Near Eastern
peoples under Turkish government. The other Powers' jealousy of Russia
vetoed the creation of the big Bulgaria suggested then, because it was
feared that Bulgarian gratitude to the Power which had been responsible
for her liberation would make the new kingdom a mere appanage of
Russia. When it was manifest afterwards that Bulgarian gratitude was not
of that high and disinterested quality, and that the young Bulgarian
nation was, though semi-Eastern in origin, sufficiently European to play
for her own hand, and her own hand only, in national affairs, Europe had
a spasm of remorse and approved when Bulgaria took advantage of a
Turkish misfortune to gather to herself Eastern Roumelia. The only Power
that objected to that acquisition was Russia. Her eagerness for a big
Bulgaria had faded away with the knowledge that Bulgaria, big or little,
was not inclined to submit to dictation in national affairs from Russia.

The position after the Treaty of Berlin in the Balkans was this: four
virtually independent small nations held old Turkish provinces, and each
desired eagerly, and claimed on historical grounds, extensions of their
territory at the expense of the Turk or at the expense of one another.
Each was tempted to try the means to its end of intrigue with one of the
great Powers. These Powers, still keeping in view their own ambitions,
looked upon and treated the Balkan States as instruments to be used or
to be discarded without reference to the happiness of the Balkans and
with sole reference to the "European situation." Put a group of hungry
and badly trained boys in a cake-shop; set over them as a Board of
Appeal unjust, selfish, and intriguing masters; and you may not expect
peace. That has been for nearly a century the position in the Balkans.

The Balkan League between Bulgaria, Servia, Greece, and Montenegro,
formed about 1912, offered the first steady hope of a peaceful
settlement in the peninsula. There was the beginning there of a movement
which might have developed on the lines of the Swiss Federation and
grown to a Balkan Power in which the Slav element and the Graeco-Roman
element could have combined, in spite of differences of language and of
religion. The fact that Roumania stood out of the League was the first
unfavourable circumstance. True, Roumania is not a Balkan State in the
strict sense of the word, but her national destiny is clearly to be
either a partner with the Balkan States or the humble friend of one of
the great Powers on her borders. This fact is recognised now, and for
the time being Roumania is actually the head of a loose Balkan
combination formed in 1913.

More dangerous to the future of the Balkan League than the abstention
of Roumania was the fact that it had to face the strong hostility of
Austria, and therefore of the Triple Alliance; and it had hardly the
warm sympathy of Russia and was not therefore strongly favoured by the
Triple Entente. Great Britain, whose interests were all to be served and
not hindered by the growth of a Balkan Power, was the only strong friend
the Balkan League had; and her friendship was not strong enough to make
her support a matter of definite national policy.

If Europe had had an unselfish interest in the Balkans it would have
welcomed the Balkan League and made every effort to consolidate its
unity. True, the Balkan League had as its first task the robbing of
Turkey of her European provinces. But Turkey was herself in the position
of a robber; and it had come to be a matter of practical agreement among
the European Powers that the Christian provinces of Turkey would soon
have to pass from under the rule of the Sublime Porte. The only question
left was "how?" The Balkan League offered to answer that question in a
way satisfactory to all unselfish interests. But the selfish interests
of Europe were not served by the League. Austria, dreaming of one day
marching down to the Aegean, saw that that hope would be shattered if a
strong Balkan Federation held the Balkan Peninsula. Italy was afraid of
another Power on the Adriatic--an unwise fear, because her true national
policy should have welcomed a new check to Austria. Russia was not eager
to welcome a Balkan Federation, in which possibly the Slav element would
not predominate and which, in any case, would get to Constantinople
inevitably in the course of events. A bevy of eager jealousies set to
work to put obstacles in the path of the Balkan League. Those Powers
which were friendly to it were mildly friendly; those which were hostile
were relentlessly hostile.

It would be perhaps too much to say that if the European Powers had been
benevolently neutral to the Balkan League it would have survived and set
firm the foundations of a Balkan Federation. But it is reasonable to
believe that an actively benevolent Europe, acting with firmness and
impartiality and without seeking to serve any selfish aims, would have
succeeded in keeping the League together and saving the series of
fratricidal wars which began in 1913 and will be continued as soon as
the present exhaustion has been relieved. Instead of an actively
benevolent there was an actively malevolent Europe.

The plans of the Balkan League contemplated a division of the territory
which is now Albania between Greece, Servia, and Montenegro. The decree
of the Powers, issued because Austria made a "bluffing threat" of war if
Servia were allowed territory on the Adriatic, was that Albania should
be an independent kingdom. It had at the time no cities, no railways, no
roads worthy of the name, no civilised organisation, no basis at all of
national life. Several different racial types and religions found a
shelter within its area. The only useful purpose that could be served by
creating Albania as an independent State was to give the Balkan League a
cause of disunion, and to provide a _pied-à-terre_ for Austria for
future operations in the Balkans. If the "Holy Roman Empire" had
abandoned all thought of getting to the Aegean there would have been no
Albania.

The Balkan League was already very shaky when this bone of contention
was thrown among its members. Servia, Montenegro, and Greece, now
deprived of a share of their spoil, sought to obtain from Bulgaria, who
was in the position, as it were, of residuary legatee, some concessions
out of her share. Bulgaria, embittered at the time by the fact that
Roumania had taken advantage of the situation to demand a territorial
grant south of the Danube, was unwisely obstinate and would make no
concession to any of her partners. The issue had to be fought out
through a disastrous war in which Bulgaria, Servia, and Greece were bled
further of their manhood, already sadly thinned in the war with Turkey.

The Albania which was the chief of the causes of that fratricidal war
was duly constituted, and Prince William of Wied appointed Mpret or
King. At once there was trouble on all the Albanian boundaries, but
chiefly in the south, where the province of Epirus wished to be Greek
and rose in revolt against the new Albanian Government. The effect of
that revolt, which was generally successful, was that the Epirus
district seems likely to win a measure of local government or Home Rule
founded on the following chief conditions:

    The country is divided into two administrative districts known
    as Koritza and Argyrocastro. These will be governed by two
    Prefects nominated by the Albanian Government. In all local
    councils the number of elected members is to be three in excess
    of the _ex officio_ members.

    All existing Greek religious institutions and privileges are to
    remain unaltered.

    The Greek language is to be taught in the three first classes of
    the popular schools, together with the Albanian language. In the
    schools of purely Greek communities only the Greek language will
    be taught.

    The Greek language is to be recognised in matters of local
    administration and the Law Courts in the two districts.

    The native Epirotes are to remain armed, and are to be
    incorporated in the _gendarmerie_ commanded by Dutch officers.
    All other volunteers are to leave the country.

    Albania is to grant a full amnesty.

    The new regime is to be organised and its execution controlled
    by the International Commission, and the Commissioners are to
    visit the country to see that its provisions are being given
    effect to.

Thus already it is recognised that within the small territory of Albania
there has been included one district which is so Greek in sympathy that
it cannot be administered under Albanian law.

[Illustration: AT THE WELL]

The next development in Albania was that Essad Pasha, the Albanian chief
who had, more than any other, assisted to form an independent Albania,
fell out with Prince William and was arrested. A state of tension
between him and Prince William had increased as evidence of Essad
Pasha's complicity in a revolutionary movement became known. A letter
written by Essad Pasha fell into Prince William's hands, in which Essad
Pasha ordered his agents to persuade people to obey only his commands
and not those of the Prince. The Prince thereupon summoned him to the
Palace, and after a stormy scene Essad Pasha tendered his resignation
and returned home. The Prince then held a Council with his Dutch
officers, and decided to compel the disbandment of Essad Pasha's
bodyguard. A Dutch officer conveyed the Prince's command to Essad Pasha.
He at first appeared to consent, and then told his men to resist. They
began to fire upon the Prince's armed adherents in the street. Austrian
and Italian detachments landed, and a party under the command of an
Italian officer arrested Essad Pasha.

That arrest created fresh trouble, and a few days later Prince William
abandoned his kingdom and took refuge on a foreign warship. Repenting of
that precipitate step, he returned to his capital again, and at the time
of writing (June 1914) he is still there under the protection of his
foreign soldiers; but an insurgent force holds the field, demanding
"restoration of Moslem rule." It is not too much to say that independent
Albania has been still-born. Probably neither Austria nor Italy expected
such a quick collapse of their artificial creation. But that it would
collapse one day must have been within their knowledge and their desire,
which was to put a sick infant in the place of a sick man. As it
happens, the collapse has come when neither of them is in a position to
benefit immediately by it. Neither is prepared for an expedition to the
Balkans. But whilst not serving the interests of the Powers who created
Albania, this new development has set the Balkan pot seething again. A
smell of blood taints the air and general fighting may follow. Albania
has provided the latest example of how the selfish ambition of Western
European Powers can inflict woe upon the Near East.

Agreed that these peoples of the Near East are very cantankerous and
very prone by nature to fly at one another's throats, still I maintain
that if Western Europe ceased from interference there would be a better
chance of peace in the Balkans, and if she interfered benevolently and
unselfishly she could make the certainty of peace.

If one could imagine the Powers of Europe reformed as regards their
foreign policy, and genuinely anxious to smooth away the troubles of
these sorely vexed Balkan peoples, the chief danger left to tranquillity
would be the religious intolerance which grows so rankly in the
Peninsula--between Christian and Christian more than between Moslem and
Christian. There needs to be put up in church or mosque of every Balkan
village the inscription of Abul Fazl:

    O God, in every temple I see people that see Thee, and in every
    language I hear spoken, people praise Thee.

    Polytheism and Islàm feel after Thee.

    Each religion says, "Thou art one, without equal."

    If it be a mosque, people murmur the holy prayer, and if it be a
    Christian church, people ring the bell from love to Thee.

    Sometimes I frequent the Christian cloister, and sometimes the
    mosque.

    But it is Thee whom I search from temple to temple.

    Thy elect have no dealings with either heresy or orthodoxy; for
    neither of them stands behind the screen of Thy truth.

    Heresy to the heretic, and religion to the orthodox.

    But the dust of the rose-petal belongs to the heart of the
    perfume-seller.

Or the English poet's rendering of it:

                                 Shall the rose
    Cry to the lotus "No flower thou"? the palm
    Call to the cypress "I alone am fair"?
    The mango spurn the melon at his foot?
    "Mine is the one fruit Alla made for man."

      Look how the living pulse of Alla beats
    Thro' all His world. If every single star
    Should shriek its claim "I only am in heaven,"
    Why that were such sphere-music as the Greek
    Had hardly dream'd of. There is light in all,
    And light, with more or less of shade, in all
    Man-modes of worship....

      I hate the rancour of their castes and creeds,
    I let men worship as they will, I reap
    No revenue from the field of unbelief.
    I cull from every faith and race the best
    And bravest soul for counsellor and friend.
    I loathe the very name of infidel.
    I stagger at the Korân and the sword.
    I shudder at the Christian and the stake.

In regard also to this tendency to religious strife the older
civilisations of Europe could give help if they would, rather than
hindrance as they do now, encouraging and stimulating creed jealousies.
Even well-meaning and unselfish friends of the Balkans contribute often
to spread evil tendencies because they take up the attitude of blind
partisanship for one particular Balkan people, and refuse either to give
charity to the others or chiding to their pet people.

It would be neither truthful nor good policy to attempt to maintain that
the great Powers of Europe are altogether responsible for the blood
torrents which are always flowing in the Balkans. But they have had a
great share of the responsibility in the past; are very guilty in the
present. Since gaining some knowledge of the Balkan peoples I have
always nursed a hope, a very desperate hope, that the powers of Western
Europe would repent of selfish ambitions at the eleventh hour, and would
adopt a policy of real help to the struggling nationalities of the Near
East. They are kept so miserable and yet naturally are really so
amiable, those little peoples. The Bulgarians in particular I learned to
regard with something of affection. Their good temper and their industry
and their patience recalled Tolstoy's pen-pictures of the Russian
peasants:

    All of these peasants, even those who had quarrelled with him
    about the hay, or those whom he had injured if their intention
    was not to cheat him, saluted him gaily as they passed, and
    showed no anger for what he had done, or any remorse or even
    remembrance that they had tried to defraud him. All was
    swallowed up and forgotten in this sea of joyous, universal
    labour. God gave the day, God gave the strength; and the day and
    the strength consecrated the labour and yielded their own
    reward. No one dreamed of asking, Why this work, and who enjoyed
    the fruits of it? These questions were secondary and of no
    account....

    Levin had often looked with interest at this life, had often
    been tempted to become one with the people, living their lives;
    but to-day the impression of what he had seen in the bearing of
    Vanka Parmenof towards his young wife gave him for the first
    time a clear and definite desire to exchange the burdensome,
    idle, artificial, selfish existence which he led, for the
    laborious, simple, pure, and delightful life of the peasantry.

    The elder, who had been sitting with him, had already gone home;
    the neighbouring villagers were wending their way indoors; while
    those who lived at a distance were preparing to spend the night
    in the meadow, and getting ready for supper.

    Levin, without being seen, still lay on the hay, looking,
    listening, and thinking. The peasantry, gathered on the prairie,
    scarcely slept throughout the short summer night. At first there
    were gay gossip and laughter while everybody was eating; then
    followed songs and jests.

    All the long, laborious day had left no trace upon them, except
    of its happiness....

The Bulgarian peasants are indeed very close to the Russians of the
south, where there has been a mixture of Tartar blood. Simple,
laborious, religious, frugal, they deserve better than to be food for
powder.



    INDEX


    Adrianople, 88
    Aegean Sea, 16, 151
    Albania, 134
    Arjenli, 114

    Balkan Mountains, 150
    Baltic shores, the, 16
    Banki, 153
    Black Sea, 16, 150
    Bourgas, 20, 161
    Bulair, 136
    Burgas, 150

    Chatalja, 114

    Danube, 39
    Dardanelles, 145

    Epirus, 134
    Ermenikioi, 114

    Gabrovo, 155

    Hissar, 153

    Jambouli, 20
    Janina, 134

    Kalofer, 155
    Karlovo, 155
    Kasilagatch, 67
    Kastoria, 67
    Kirk Kilisse, 67, 111
    Klissoura, 155
    Koprivchtitza, 155
    Kotel, 155
    Kustendji, 16

    Macedonia, 134, 145
    Maritza River, 148
    Marmora, Sea of, 19, 145
    Meritchléri, 153
    Monastir, 67
    Mustapha Pasha, 67, 108

    Nisch, 67
    Nish in Servia, near the border of Bulgaria, 21
    Novo-grad, 18

    Panaguiourichté, 155
    Philippopolis, 18, 67, 154
    Pirdop, 155
    Preslav--now in ruins, 54

    Rhodope Mountains, 59, 150
    Roumania, 150
    Roustchouk, 67

    Salonica, 145
    Samokov, 155
    Sandjaks, 67
    Schumla, 18, 33
    Scutari, 134
    Servia, 150
    Shipka Pass, 96
    Silistra, 150
    Silivri, 114
    Sliven, 67, 153, 155
    Sofia, 22, 67, 77, 153
    Sopot, 155
    Stara Zagora, 106, 154
    Stroumitza, 67
    Struma River, 151

    Tchorlu, 113
    Thrace, 88, 134, 145
    Tikvesch, 67
    Tirnova, 67, 169
    Toultcha, 67
    Trevna, 155

    Uskub, 67

    Varna, 16, 67, 150, 161
    Varshetz, 153
    Velès, 67
    Vidin, 67


THE END

_Printed by_ R. & R. Clark, Limited, _Edinburgh_.

[Illustration: Sketch Map accompanying "Bulgaria." By Frank Fox.
Published by A. & C. Black Ltd., London.]





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we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



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