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Title: Caught by the Turks
Author: Yeats-Brown, Francis
Language: English
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  CAUGHT BY THE TURKS

  BY
  FRANCIS YEATS-BROWN


  WITH PORTRAITS AND PLANS


  LONDON
  EDWARD ARNOLD
  1919
  [_All rights reserved_]



  To
  LADY PAUL



  CONTENTS

  CHAPTER                                        PAGE
     I. CAPTURE                                     1
    II. A SHADOWLAND OF ARABESQUES                 25
   III. THE TERRIBLE TURK                          42
    IV. "OUT OF GREAT TRIBULATION"                 56
     V. THE LONG DESCENT OF WASTED DAYS            75
    VI. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PRISON                   95
   VII. THE COMIC HOSPITAL IN CONSTANTINOPLE      102
  VIII. OUR FIRST ESCAPE                          122
    IX. A CITY OF DISGUISES                       140
     X. RECAPTURED                                159
    XI. THE BLACK HOLE OF CONSTANTINOPLE          172
   XII. OUR SECOND ESCAPE                         198



  LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

                                                             PAGE

  THE ARMENIAN PATRIARCHATE AT PSAMATTIA, CONSTANTINOPLE      137

  THE AUTHOR AS A GERMAN GOVERNESS               _facing p._  154

  THE AUTHOR AS A HUNGARIAN MECHANIC             _facing p._  170

  THE SQUARE OF THE SERASKERAT, CONSTANTINOPLE                213



  CAUGHT BY THE TURKS


  CHAPTER I

  CAPTURE


Half an hour before dawn on November the thirteenth, 1915. . . .

We were on an aerodrome by the River Tigris, below Baghdad, about to
start out to cut the telegraph lines behind the Turkish position.

My pilot ran his engine to free the cylinders from the cold of night,
while I stowed away in the body of the machine some necklaces of
gun-cotton, some wire cutters, a rifle, Verey lights, provisions, and
the specially prepared map--prepared for the eventuality of its falling
into the hands of the Turks--on which nothing was traced except our
intended route to the telegraph lines west and north of Baghdad. Some
primers, which are the explosive charges designed to detonate the
gun-cotton, I carefully stowed away in another part of the machine, and
with even more care--trepidation, indeed--I put into my pockets the
highly explosive pencils of fulminate of mercury, which detonate the
primers which detonate the gun-cotton.

Then I climbed gingerly aboard, feeling rather highly charged with
explosives and excitement.

For some time the pilot continued to run his engine and watch the
revolution meter. The warmer the engine became, the colder I got, for
the prelude to adventure is always a chilly business. Unlike the engine,
I did not warm to my work during those waiting moments. At last,
however, the pilot waved his hand to give the signal to stand clear, and
we slid away on the flight that was to be our last for many a day. The
exhaust gases of our engine lit the darkness behind me with a ring of
fire. I looked back as we taxied down the aerodrome, and saw the
mechanics melting away to their morning tea. Only one figure remained, a
young pilot in a black and yellow fur coat, who had left his warm bed to
wish us luck. For a moment I saw him standing there, framed in flame,
looking after us regretfully. Then I saw him no more, and later they
told me (but it was not true) that he had died at Ctesiphon.

We rose over the tents of our camp at Aziziah, all silver and still in
the half-light, and headed for the Turkish outposts at El Kutunieh.
Their bivouac fires mounted straight to heaven. It was a calm and
cloudless dawn, ideal weather for the business we had been sent out to
do.

At all costs, we had been told, the telegraphic communications west and
north of Baghdad must be cut that day. Von der Goltz and a German
battery of quick-firing guns were hasting down from Mosul to help their
stricken ally, and reinforcements of the best Anatolian troops,
magnificently equipped and organised by the Germans, were on their way
from Gallipoli, whence they came flushed with the confidence of success.

Our attack on Ctesiphon was imminent. It was a matter of moments whether
the Turkish reinforcements would arrive in time. Delay and confusion in
the Turkish rear would have helped us greatly, and the moral and
material advantage of cutting communications between Nur-ed-Din, the
vacillating Commander-in-Chief defending Baghdad, and Von der Goltz, the
veteran of victories, was obvious and unquestionable. But could we do it
in an old Maurice Farman biplane?

Desperate needs need desperate measures. The attempt to take Baghdad was
desperate--futile perhaps--and contrary to the advice of the great
soldier who led the attack in the glorious but unsuccessful action of
Ctesiphon. And so also, in a small way, ours was a desperate mission.
Our machine could carry neither oil nor petrol enough for the journey,
and special arrangements had to be made for carrying spare tins of
lubricant and fuel. With these we were to refill at our first halt.
While I was destroying the telegraph line, my pilot was to replenish the
tanks of his machine. According to the map this should have been
feasible, for the telegraph lines at the place we had selected for our
demolition ran through a blank desert, two miles from the nearest track.
That the map was wrong we did not know.

All seemed quite hopeful therefore. We had got off "according to plan,"
and the engine was running beautifully.

It was stimulating to see the stir of El Kutunieh as we sailed over the
Turks at a thousand feet. They ran to take cover from the bombs which
had so often greeted them at sunrise; but for once we sailed placidly
on, having other fish to fry, and left them to the pleasures of
anticipation. Far behind us a few puffs from their ridiculous apology
for an anti-aircraft gun blossomed like sudden flowers and then melted
in the sunlight above the world. Below, in the desert, it was still
dark. Men were rubbing their eyes in El Kutunieh and cursing us.

But for us day had dawned. As we rose, there rose behind us a round
cheerful sun, whose rays caught our trail and spangled it with light,
and danced in my eyes as I looked back through the propeller, and lit up
the celluloid floor of the nacelle as if to help me see my implements.
That dawn was jubilant with hope--I felt inclined to dance. And I sang
from sheer exhilaration--a sort of swan song (as I see it now) before
captivity. The desert seemed barren no longer. Transmuted by the sunrise
those "miles and miles of nothing at all" became a limitless expanse
where all the kingdoms of the world were spread out before our eyes.
Away to the east the Tigris wound like a snake among the sands; to
westward, a huddle of houses and date-palms with an occasional gleam
from the gold domes of Kazimain, lay the city of the Arabian Nights,
where Haroun al Raschid once reigned, and where now there is hope his
spirit may reign again. Baghdad nestled among its date-palms, with
little wisps of cloud still shrouding its sleep, all unconscious of the
great demonstration it was to give before noon to two forlorn and
captive airmen. To the north lay the Great Desert with a hint of violet
hills on the far horizon. To the south also lay the Great Desert, with
no feature on its yellow face save the scar of some irrigation cut made
in the twilight time of history.

But the beauties of Nature were not for us: we were intent on the works
of man. There was unwonted traffic across the bridge over the great Arch
of Ctesiphon. The enemy river craft were early astir, and so were their
antediluvian Archies. These latter troubled us no more than was their
wont, but the activity at Qusaibah and Sulman Pak was disquieting.
Trains of carts were moving across the river from the right to the left
bank. Tugs, gravid with troops, were on their way from Baghdad. In
trenches and gun emplacements feverish work was in progress. Like ants
at a burrow, men were dragging overhead cover into place. Lines of
fatigue parties were marching hither and thither. New support trenches
were being dug.

As always, when one saw these things, one longed for more eyes, better
eyes, an abler pencil, to record them for our staff. An observer has
great responsibilities at times: one cannot help remembering that a
missed obstruction, a forgotten emplacement may mean a terrible toll of
suffering. Our men would soon attack these trenches, relying largely on
our photographs and information. . . . When, a week later, there rose
above the battle the souls of all the brave men dead at Ctesiphon,
seeing then with clearer eyes than mine, I pray they forgave our
shortcomings and remembered we did our best.

We could not circle over Ctesiphon, in spite of the interest we saw
there, until our duty was performed, and had to fly on, leaving it to
eastward.

On the return journey, however, we promised ourselves as full an
investigation as our petrol supply allowed, and had we returned with our
report on what we had seen and done that day, things might have been
very different. But what's the use of might-have-beens?

After an hour's flying we sighted the telegraph line that was our
objective, but when we approached it more closely a sad surprise awaited
us, for instead of the blank surface which the map portrayed, we found
that the line ran along a busy thoroughfare leading to Baghdad. Some ten
thousand camels, it seemed to my disappointed eyes, were swaying and
slouching towards the markets of the capital. We came low to observe the
traffic better, and the camels craned their long necks upwards, burbling
with surprise at this great new bird they had never seen. The ships of
the desert, it seemed to me, disliked the ship of the air as much as we
disapproved of them.

Besides the camels, there were ammunition carts and armed soldiers along
the road, making a landing impossible. Our demolition would only take
three minutes under favourable conditions, but in three minutes even an
Arab soldier can be trusted to hit an aeroplane and two airmen at
point-blank range.

So we flew westward down the road, looking for a landing ground. Baghdad
was behind us now. On our right lay a great lake, and ahead we got an
occasional glimpse of the Euphrates in the morning sun. At last--near a
mound, which we afterwards heard was Nimrod's tomb--we saw that the
telegraph line took a turn to northward, leaving the road by a mile or
more. Here we decided to land. Nimrod's tomb was to be the tomb of our
activities.

While we were circling down I felt exactly as one feels at the start of
a race, watching for the starting gate to rise. It was a tense but
delightful moment.

We made a perfect landing, and ran straight and evenly towards the
telegraph posts. I had already stripped myself of my coat and all
unnecessary gear, and wore sandshoes in case I had to climb a post to
get at the insulators. The detonators were in my pocket, the wire
clippers hung at my belt. I stooped down to take a necklace of
gun-cotton from the floor of the 'bus, and as I did so, I felt a slight
bump and a slight splintering of wood.

We had stopped.

I jumped out of the machine, still sure that all was well. And then----

Then I saw that our left wing tip had crashed into a telegraph post.
Even so the full extent of our disaster dawned slowly on me. I could not
believe that we had broken something vital. Yet the pilot was quite
sure.

The leading edge of the plane was broken. Our flying days were finished.
It had been my pilot's misfortune, far more than his fault, that we had
crashed. The unexpected smoothness of the landing ground, and a rear
wind that no one could have foreseen, had brought about disaster.
Nothing could be done. I stood silent--while hope sank from its zenith,
to the nadir of disappointment. Nothing remained--except to do our job.

With light feet but heart of lead, I ran across to another telegraph
post, leaving the pilot to ascertain whether by some miracle we might
not be able to get our machine to safety. But even as I left him I knew
that there was no hope; the only thing that remained was to destroy the
line and then take our chance with the Arabs.

By the time I had fixed the explosive necklace round the post, a few
stray Arabs, who had been watching our descent, fired at us from
horseback. I set the fuse and lit it, then strolled back to the machine,
where the pilot confirmed my worst fears. The machine was unflyable.

Presently there was a loud bang. The charge had done its work and the
post was neatly cut in two.

Horsemen were now appearing from the four quarters of the desert. On
hearing the explosion the mounted men instantly wheeled about and
galloped off in the opposite direction, while those on foot took cover,
lying flat on their faces. To encourage the belief in our aggressive
force, the pilot stood on the seat of the 'bus and treated them to
several bursts of rapid fire.

Meanwhile, I took another necklace of gun-cotton and returned to my
demolition. This second charge I affixed to the wires and insulators of
the fallen post, so as to render repair more difficult. While I was thus
engaged, I noticed that spurts of sand were kicking up all about me. The
fire had increased in accuracy and intensity. So accurate indeed had it
become that I guessed that the Arabs (who cannot hit a haystack) had
been reinforced by regulars. I lit the fuse and covered the hundred
yards back to the machine in my very best time (which is about fifteen
seconds) to get cover and companionship. A hot fire was being directed
on to the machine now, at ranges varying from fifty to five hundred
yards. It was not a pleasant situation, and I experienced a curious
mixed feeling of regret and relief: regret that there was nothing more
to do, relief that something at least had been accomplished to earn the
long repose before us. On the nature of this repose I had never
speculated, and even now the fate that awaited us seemed immaterial so
long as something happened quickly. One wanted to get it over. I was
very frightened, I suppose.

Bang!

The second charge had exploded, and the telegraph wires whipped back and
festooned themselves round our machine. The insulators were dust, no
doubt, and the damage would probably take some days to repair. So far so
good. Our job was done in so far as it lay in our power to do it.

"Do you see that fellow in blue?" said the pilot to me, pointing to a
ferocious individual about a hundred yards away who was brandishing a
curved cutlass. "I think it must be an officer. We had better give
ourselves up to him when the time comes."

I cordially agreed, but rather doubted that the time would ever come. It
speaks volumes for Arab marksmanship that they missed our machine about
as often as they hit it.

I destroyed a few private papers, and then, as it was obviously useless
to return the fire of two hundred men with a single rifle, we started up
the engine again, more with the idea of doing something than with any
hope of getting away.

The machine, it may be mentioned, was not to be destroyed in the event
of a breakdown such as this, because our army hoped to be in Baghdad
within a week, and it would have been impossible for the Turks to carry
it with them in the case of a retreat.

The Arabs hesitated to advance, and still continued to pour in a hot
fire. Feeling the situation was becoming ridiculous, I got into the
aeroplane and determined to attempt flying it. Now I am not a pilot, and
know little of machines. The pilot had pronounced the aeroplane to be
unflyable, and very rightly did not accompany me.

But I was pigheaded and determined "to have one more flip in the old
'bus." After disentangling the wires that had whipped round the king
posts, I got into the pilot's seat and taxied away down wind. Then I
turned, managing the operation with fair success, and skimmed back
towards the pilot with greatly increasing speed. But all my efforts did
not succeed in making the machine lift clear of the ground. Some Arabs
were now rushing towards the pilot, and a troop of mounted gendarmes
were galloping in my direction. I tried to swerve to avoid these men,
but could not make the machine answer to her controls. Then I pulled the
stick back frantically in a last effort to rise above them. She gave a
little hop, then floundered down in the middle of the cavalry.

Somehow or other the 'bus was standing still, and I was on the ground
beside it.

Mounted gendarmes surrounded me with rifles levelled, not at me, but at
the machine. I cocked my revolver and put it behind my back, hesitating.
Then an old gendarme spurred his horse up to me and held out his right
hand in the friendliest possible fashion. I grasped it in surprise, for
the grip he gave me was a grip I knew, proving that even here in the
desert men are sometimes brothers. Then, emptying out the cartridges
from my revolver in case of accidents, I handed it to him. Not very
heroic certainly--but then surrendering is a sorry business: the best
that can be said for it is that it is sometimes common sense.

At that moment the gentleman in blue, whose appearance we had previously
discussed, suddenly appeared behind me and swinging up his scimitar with
both hands, struck me a violent blow where neck joins shoulder. This
blow deprived me of all feeling for a moment. On coming-to I discovered
that my aggressor was not dressed in blue at all; he wore no stitch of
raiment of any description, but whether he was painted with woad or only
tanned by the sun I had no opportunity of enquiring. Whether, again, the
kindly gendarme had turned the blow or whether the _ghazi_ had purposely
hit me with the flat of his weapon, I never discovered; but of this much
I am certain, that except for that kindly gendarme--to whom may Allah
bring blessings--this story would not have been written.

I made my way to the pilot as soon as I was able to do so, and found him
bleeding profusely from a wound in the head, surrounded by a hundred
tearing, screaming Arabs. Every minute, the number of the Arabs was
increasing, and the gendarmes had the greatest difficulty in protecting
us. All round us excited horsemen circled, firing _feux de joie_ and
uttering hoarse cries of exultation. We were making slow progress
towards the police post about a mile distant, but at times, so fiercely
did the throng press round us, I doubted if we should ever come through.

Once, yielding to popular clamour, the police stopped and parleyed with
some Arab chiefs who had arrived upon the scene. After a heated colloquy
of which we did not understand one word, in spite of our not unnatural
interest, the Turkish gendarmes shrugged their shoulders and appeared to
accede to the Arabs' demands. Several of the more ruffianly among them
seized the pilot and pulled his flying coat over his head. The memory of
that moment is the most unpleasant in my life, and I cannot, try as I
will, entirely dissociate myself from the horror of what I thought would
happen. Even now it often holds sleep at arm's length. Not the fact of
death, but the imagined manner of it, dismayed me. I bitterly regretted
having surrendered my revolver only to be thus tamely murdered.

Meanwhile I had been also seized and borne down under a crowd of Arabs.
We fought for some time, and I had a glimpse of the pilot, who is a very
clever boxer, upholding British traditions with his fists. . . .

Suddenly the scene changed from tragedy to farce. We were not going to
be murdered at all, but only robbed. And the pilot had given our _ghazi_
friend a black eye--blacker than his skin.

At length I got free, minus all my possessions except my wrist watch,
which they did not see, and saw that the pilot also had his head above
the scrimmage, still "bloody but unbowed." The worst was over. That had
been the climax of my capture.

All that happened thereafter, until chances of escape occurred, was in a
_diminuendo_ of emotion.

All I really longed for now was for something to smoke. My cigarette
case had gone.

The gendarmes, who had stood aside through these proceedings, now
returned and hurried us towards the police post, while most of the
captors remained behind disputing about our loot. All this time the
machine had been absolutely neglected, but now I saw some Arabs stalking
cautiously up to it and discharging their firearms. Feeling the machine
would be damaged beyond repair if they continued firing at it, and so
rendered useless to us after our imminent capture of Baghdad, I tried to
explain to the gendarmes that it was quite unnecessary to waste good
lead on it, its potentiality for evil having vanished with our
surrender. The impression I conveyed, however, was that there was a
third officer in the machine, and a large party adjourned to
investigate. During this diversion I tried to jump on to a white mare,
whose owner had left her to go towards the machine, but received a
second nasty blow on the spine for my pains. Again the kindly gendarme
came to my rescue, seeing, I suppose, that I was looking pretty blue. He
addressed me as "Baba," and--may Allah give him increase!--gave me a
cigarette.

At last we got to the police post, and, as we entered and passed through
a dark stable passage, the gendarme on my left side, noticing my wrist
watch, slyly detached it and pocketed it with a meaning smile. As the
price of police protection I did not grudge it.

Big doors clanged behind us and our captivity proper had begun: what had
gone before had been more like a scrum at Rugger, with ourselves as the
ball.

We examined our injuries and bruises, and I tried to dress the wounds on
the pilot's head, with little success, however, for our guardians could
provide nothing but the most brackish water, and disinfectants were
undreamed of. We discussed our future at some length, and agreed that
our best plan was to be recaptured in Baghdad on the taking of that
city. To this end we decided that it would be advisable to make the most
of our injuries, so that when the Turkish retreat took place we would
not be in a fit condition to accompany it. To feign sickness would not,
indeed, be difficult. I felt that every bone in my body was broken, and
my pilot was in an even worse condition.

Meanwhile there was a great clamour and "confused noises without," which
seemed to refer insistently and unpleasantly to us. On asking what the
people were saying, we were informed that the Arabs wanted to take our
heads to the Turkish Commander-in-Chief at Suleiman Pak, whereas the
gendarmes pointed out that there would be far greater profit and
pleasure in taking us there alive. We cordially agreed, and did not join
the discussion, feeling it to be more academic than practical, as we
were quite safe in the police post.

We had neither hats nor overcoats, but we each still retained our
jackets and breeches, though in a very torn condition. I was still in
possession of my sandshoes, probably because the Arabs did not think
them worth the taking.

Considering things calmly, we felt that we were lucky. This bondage
would not last. We would surely fly again, perhaps soon. But for a week
or so we must accustom ourselves to new conditions. Everything was
strange about us, and it struck me at once how close a parallel there is
between the drama of Captivity and the drama of Life. In each case there
is a "curtain," and in each case a man enters into a new world whose
language and customs he does not know. Almost naked we came to our
bondage, dumb, bloody, disconcerted by the whole business. So, perhaps,
do infants feel at the world awaiting their ken: it is taken for
granted that they enjoy life, and so also our captors were convinced
that we should feel delighted at our situation.

"We saved you from the Arabs," we understood them to say, "and now you
are safe until the war is over. You need do no more work."

Such at any rate was my estimate of what they said, but being in an
unknown tongue, it was only necessary to nod in answer.

Tea was brought to us, sweet, weak tea in little glasses, and we made
appreciative noises. Then the kindly gendarme--may he be rewarded in
both worlds--brought each of us some cigarettes, in return for which we
gave him our brightest smiles, having nothing else to give.

But one could not smile for long in that little room, thinking of the
sun and air outside and the old 'bus lying wrecked in the desert. We
would have been flying back now; we would have reconnoitred the Turkish
lines; we would have been back by nine o'clock to breakfast, bath, and
glory. . . .

"It's the thirteenth of the month," groaned the pilot, whose thoughts
were similar to mine.

For a long time I sulked in silence, while the pilot, with better
manners or more vitality than I, engaged the gendarmes in light
conversation, conducted chiefly by gesture. About an hour later (a "day"
of the Creation, it seemed to me--and it was indeed a formative time,
when the mind, so long accustomed to range free, seeks to adjust its
processes to captivity and adapt itself to new conditions of time and
space) there occurred at last a diversion to interrupt my gloom.

The Turkish District Governor arrived with two carriages to take us to
Baghdad. He spoke English and was agreeable in a mild sort of way,
except for his unfortunate habit of asking questions which we could not
answer. He told us that news of our descent and capture had been sent to
Baghdad by gallopers (not by telegram, I noted parenthetically) and that
the population was awaiting our arrival. I said that I hoped the
population would not be disappointed, and he assured us with a
significant smile that they certainly would not.

"Whatever happens," he was kind enough to add, "I will be responsible
for your lives myself."

His meaning became apparent a little later, when we approached the
suburbs of Baghdad and found an ugly crowd awaiting our arrival, armed
with sticks and stones. When we reached the city itself the streets were
lined as if for a royal procession. Shops had put up their shutters, the
markets were closed, the streets were thronged, and every window held
its quota of heads. The word had gone out that there was to be a
demonstration, and the hysteria which lurks in every city in a time of
crisis found its fullest scope. Our downfall was taken as an omen of
British defeat, and the inhabitants of Baghdad held high holiday at the
sight of captive British airmen.

Elderly merchants wagged their white beards and cursed us as we passed;
children danced with rage, and threw mud; lines of Turkish women pulled
back their veils in scorn, and putting out their tongues at us cried
"La, la, la," in a curious note of derision; boys brandished knives;
babies shook their little fists. No hated Tarquins could have had a more
hostile demonstration. We were both spat upon. A man with a heavy cudgel
aimed a blow at my pilot which narrowly missed him, another with a long
dagger stabbed through the back of the carriage and was dragged away
with difficulty: I can still see his snarling face and _hashish_-haunted
eyes. Our escort could hardly force a way for our carriage through the
narrow streets. All this time we sat trying to look dignified and
smoking constant cigarettes. . . . State arrival of British prisoners in
Baghdad--what a scene it would have been for the cinematograph!

Arrived at the river, a space was cleared round us, and we were embarked
with a great deal of fuss in a boat to take us across to the Governor's
palace. Before leaving, I said goodbye to the kindly gendarme who had
helped a brother in distress, and once more now, across the wasted years
of captivity and the turmoil of my life to-day, I grasp his hand in
gratitude.

Our first interview in Baghdad was with a journalist. He was very polite
and anxious for our impressions, but I told him that the Arabs had given
us quite enough impressions for the day, and that words could not
adequately express what we felt at our arrival in Baghdad. We chiefly
wanted a wash.

That afternoon we were taken to hospital, and to our surprise (for,
being new to the conditions of captivity, we were still susceptible to
surprise) we found that we were very well treated there. Two sentries,
however, stood at our open door day and night to watch our every
movement. When the Governor of Baghdad came to see us that evening
(thoughtfully bringing with him a bottle of whisky) I politely told him
(in French, a language he spoke fluently) that so much consideration had
been shown to us that I hoped he would not mind my asking whether we
could not have a little more privacy. The continual presence of the
sentries was a little irksome. He understood my point perfectly--much
too perfectly. Taking me to the window, he spoke smoothly, as follows:

"I am so sorry the sentries disturb you, but I feel responsible for your
safety, and should you by any chance fall out of that window--it is not
so very far from the ground, you see--you might get into bad hands. I
assure you that Baghdad is full of wicked men."

The Governor was too clever. There was no chance with him of securing
more favourable conditions for escape, so we turned to the discussion of
the whisky bottle. As in all else he did, he had an object, I soon
discovered, in bringing this forbidden fluid. His purpose, of course,
was to make us talk, and talk we did, under its generous and
unaccustomed influence, for it had been some time since we had seen
spirits in our own mess at Azizieh. I would much like to see the report
that the Turkish Intelligence Staff made of that wonderful conversation.
Several officers had dropped in--casually--to join in the talk, and we
told them we had lost our way; then our engine had stopped, and we
landed as near to some village as we could. We knew nothing of an attack
on Baghdad, we did not know General Townshend, but had certainly heard
of him. We had heard a rumour that he had defeated the Turks at Es-sinn
a month previously, and would like to know the truth of the matter.
Eventually the bottle was exhausted, and so were our imaginations. We
parted with the utmost cordiality and a firm intention of seeing as
little of each other as possible in the future.

In the street below our window were some large earthenware jars, like
those in which the Forty Thieves had hidden aforetime in this very city,
and for about a day we considered the story of Aladdin, in regard to the
possibility of escape by getting into these jars; but just as we had
made our plans the jars were removed, being taken no doubt to the
support trenches, which were found by our troops excellently provided
with water.

As the day grew near for our attack, we saw many thousand Arabs being
marched down to Ctesiphon. It was no conquering army this, no freemen
going to defend their native land, but miserable bands of slaves being
sent into subjection. Down to the river bank, where they were embarked
on lighters, they were followed by their weeping relatives. There was no
pretence at heroism. They would have escaped if they could, but the
Turks had taken care of that. They were tied together by fours, their
right hand being lashed to a wooden yoke, while their left was employed
in carrying a rifle. These unfortunate creatures were taken to a spot
near the trenches and were then transferred, still securely tied
together, to the worst dug and most-exposed part of the line. Machine
guns were then posted behind them to block all possible lines of
retreat. In addition to minor discomforts such as bearing the brunt of
our attack, the Arabs, so I was told, were frequently unprovided with
provisions and water, so it is small wonder that their demeanour did not
show the fire of battle. But _Kannonen-futter_ was required for
Ctesiphon, and down the river this pageant of dejected pacifists had to
go.

After the attack had begun, shiploads of these same men returned
wounded, and arrived in our hospital in an indescribably pitiable
condition. There were no stretchers, and the wounded were left to shift
for themselves, relying on charity and the providence of Allah. The
blind led the blind, the halt helped the lame.

Later, wounded Anatolian soldiers began also to arrive, and their plight
was no less wretched than that of the Arabs, though their behaviour was
incomparably better. One could not help admiring their stoicism in the
face of terrible and often unnecessary suffering. The utter lack of
system in dealing with casualties was hardly more remarkable than the
fortitude of the casualties themselves. When a proclamation was read to
the sufferers in our hospital, announcing the success of the Turkish
arms at Ctesiphon, the wounded seemed to forget their pain and the dying
acquired a new lease of life. I actually saw a man with a mortal wound
in the head, who a few minutes previously had been choking and literally
at his last gasp, rally all his forces to utter thanks to God, and then
die.

Never for a moment had we thought that the attack on Ctesiphon could
fail. The odds, we knew, were heavily against us, but we firmly believed
that General Townshend would achieve the impossible. That he did not do
so was not his fault nor the fault of the gallant men he led. But this
is a record of my personal experiences only, and I will spare the reader
all the long reflections and alternations of anxiety and hope which held
our thoughts while the guns boomed down the Tigris and the fate of
Baghdad--and our fate--was poised in the balance.

At six o'clock one morning we were suddenly awakened and told that we
must leave for Mosul immediately. By every possible means in our power
we delayed the start, thinking our troops might come at any moment. But
the Turkish sergeant who commanded our escort had definite orders that
we were to be out of the city by nine o'clock. We drove in a carriage
through mean streets, attracting no attention, for now the Baghdadis
realised their danger. Before leaving, our sergeant paid a visit to his
house, in order to collect his kit, leaving us at the door, guarded by
four soldiers. His sisters came down to see him off and (being of
progressive tendencies, I suppose) they were not veiled. It were crime
indeed to have hidden such lustrous eyes and skin so fair.



  CHAPTER II

  A SHADOWLAND OF ARABESQUES


Some breath of reality, some call from the outer world of freedom came
to us from the presence of these girls. They seemed the first real
people I had seen in my captivity, femininity incarnate, human beings in
a shadow-land of arabesques. They were happy and healthy and somehow
outside the insanities of our world. For a moment they gazed at us in
awe, and for another moment in complete sympathy: then they retired with
little squeaks of laughter and busied themselves with their brother's
baggage.

When our preparations were complete and we set off on our long journey,
they stood for a space at the casement window and waved us goodbye,
looking quite charming. I vowed that if Fate by a happy chance were to
lead us back to Baghdad with rôles reversed, so that they, not we, were
captives in the midst of foes, my first care would be to repay their
kindly, though unspoken, sympathy. They were too human for the
futilities of war, too amiable to have a hand in Armageddon.

Only prisoners, I think, see the full absurdity of war. Only prisoners,
to begin with, fully realise the gift of life. And only prisoners see
war without its glamour, and realise completely the suffering behind
the lines: the maimed, the blind, the women who weep. Only by a few of
us in happy England has the full tragedy of war been realised. Mere
words will never record it, but prisoners know "the heartbreak in the
heart of things." To us who have been behind the scenes, far from the
shouting and the tumult and the captains and the kings, the wretchedness
of it all remains indelible. Nothing can make us forget the broken men
and women, whose woes will haunt our times.

But I was on the threshold of my experiences then, and the maidens of
Baghdad soon passed from memory, I fear--vanishing like the mists of
morning that hung over the river-bank at the outset of our journey.

We travelled in that marvellous conveyance, the _araba_. To generalise
from types is dangerous, but the _araba_ is certainly typical of Turkey.
Its discomfort is as amazing as its endurance. It is a rickety cart with
a mattress to sit on. A pole (frequently held together by string) to
which two ponies are harnessed (frequently again with string) supplies
the motive power, which is restrained by reins mended with string, or
encouraged by a whip made of string. The contrivance is surmounted by a
patchwork hood tied down with string. A few buckets and hay nets are
strung between its crazy wheels. Such is the _araba_. How it holds
together is a mystery as inscrutable as the East itself. If all the
vitality expended in Turkey on starting upon a journey and continuing
upon it were turned to other purposes, the land might flourish. But the
philosophy which makes the _araba_ possible makes other activities
impossible.

A full two hours before the start, when the world is still blue with
cold, travellers are summoned to leave their rest. Then the drivers
begin to feed their ponies. When this is done they feed themselves.
Then, leisurely, they load the baggage. Finally, when all seems ready,
it occurs to somebody that it is impossible to leave before the cavalry
escort is in saddle. "Ahmed Effendi" is called for. Everyone shouts for
"Ahmed Effendi," who is sleeping soundly, like a sensible man. He wakes,
and, to create a diversion perhaps, accuses a driver of stealing his
chicken. The driver replies in suitable language. Meanwhile time passes.
The disc of the sun cuts the horizon line of the desert, disclosing us
all standing chill and cramped and bored and still unready. A pony has
lain down in his harness, in an access of boredom, no doubt. A goat has
stolen part of my scanty bread ration and is now browsing peacefully in
the middle distance. Far away a cur is barking at the jackals. Some of
our escort have retired to pray, others are still wrangling. Two or
three are engaged in kicking the bored pony.

After recovering from the goat my half-loaf, which is so much better
than no bread in the desert, I watch with amazement the Turkish
treatment of the pony. A skewer is produced and rammed into the
unfortunate animal's left nostril. So barbarous does this seem that I am
on the point of protesting, when suddenly the animal struggles to its
feet, and stands shivering and wide-eyed and apparently well again.
After the wound has been sponged and the pony given a few dates, it
seems equal to fresh endeavour. The blood-letting has cleared its
brain--and no wonder, poor beast.

At length all seems ready. We climb into the _araba_. But we are not off
yet. We sit for another hour while the drivers refresh themselves with a
second breakfast. A rhyme keeps running through my frozen brain:

  "Slow pass the hours--ah, passing slow--
   My doom is worse than anything
   Conceived by Edgar Allan Poe."

But I did not realise then how lucky we were to be travelling by
carriages at all. Nor did I realise what an honour it was to be
presented to the local governors through whose districts we passed. It
was only late in captivity, when merged in an undistinguished band of
prisoners, that I understood the pomp and circumstance of our early
days. Late in 1915 a prisoner was still a new sort of animal to the
Turks. They were curious about us, and to some extent the curiosity was
mutual. One kept comparing them with the descriptions in "Eöthen."

Proceedings generally opened in a long low room. The local magnate sat
at a desk, on which were set a saucer containing an inky sponge, a dish
of sand, and some reed-pens. A scribe stood beside the _kaimakam_ and
handed him documents, which he scrutinised as if they were works of art,
holding them delicately in his left hand as a connoisseur might consider
his porcelain. Then with a reed-pen he would scratch the document, still
holding it in the palm of his hand, and after sprinkling it carefully
with sand would return it to the scribe. All this was incidental to his
conversation with us or with other members of the audience. There were
never less than ten people in any of the rooms in which we were
interviewed, and as they all made fragmentary remarks, one quoting a
text from the Koran, another a French _bon mot_, and a third introducing
some question of local politics, and as the governor asked us questions
and signed papers and kept up a running commentary with his friends, one
felt exactly like Alice at the Hatter's tea party.

"A Turk does not listen to what you are saying," I have since been told,
"he merely watches your expression." That this is true of the uneducated
I have no doubt, and if correct about the educated Turk I daresay it is
not to his discredit. Demeanour in Oriental countries counts for much.

But at Samarra our demeanour was sorely tried. We had been travelling
about three days in the desert, when we arrived at this desolate and
dishevelled spot. I longed to lie down and shut my eyes, and forget
about captivity for a bit, but no!--there came a summons to attend the
ghastly social function I had already learned to loathe.

The Governor of that place was a _tout à fait civilisé_ Young Turk,
sedentary, Semitic, and very disagreeable.

"Is it true that you dropped bombs on the Mosque at Baghdad?" he asked.

And--

"Do you know that the population of Baghdad nearly killed you?"

And--

"Do you know that in another month the English will be driven into the
Persian Gulf?" . . . and so on.

We denied these soft impeachments, and then his method became more
direct.

"Some of your friends have been killed and captured," he said--"the
commandant of your flying corps, for instance."

Seeing us incredulous, he accurately described the Major's appearance.

"And there is someone else," the _kaimakam_ continued in slow tones that
iced my blood. "Someone who may be a friend of yours. A young pilot in a
fur coat."

My heart stood still.

"He was killed by an Arab," the _kaimakam_ added. . . .

Here I will skip a page or two of mental history. The defeat of my
country, the death of my friend, the crumbling of my hopes: little
indeed was left. . . . . .

Let five dots supply the ugly blank. There is sorrow and failure enough
in the world without speculating on tragedies that never happened.
Baghdad was taken later, my friend proved to be captured, not killed,
and I write this by Thames-side, not the Tigris.

The inhabitants of Samarra are, I believe, the most ill-balanced people
in the world. This trait is well known to travellers, and we found it no
traveller's tale. On first arriving at Samarra, we halted in the
rest-house on the right bank of the river, and were enjoying our frugal
meal of bread and dates when a sergeant came to us from the Governor
with orders that we were to be instantly conveyed to his residence,
which is situated in the town across the river. We demurred, and our own
sergeant protested, but the Governor's emissary had definite orders, and
we were hurried down in the twilight. Here we found that there was no
boat to take us across. The Samarra sergeant shouted to a boatful of
Arabs, floating down the river, but they would not stop. Louder and
louder he shouted, till his voice cracked in a scream. Growing frantic
with rage, he fired his revolver at the Arabs. Of course he missed them,
but the bullets, ricochetting in the water, probably found a billet in
the town beyond. The Arab occupants merely laughed in their beards. We
also laughed. Then the sergeant declared that we would have to swim, and
we urged him in pantomime to show the way.

Eventually he spied a horse-barge down river, with a naked boy playing
beside it. Reloading his revolver, a few shots in his direction
attracted the lad's attention. Then an old man came out of a hut by some
melon beds, to see who was firing at his son.

Another shot or two and the old man and the boy were prevailed upon to
take us across. We had secured our transport at last, and the whole
transaction seemed (in Samarra) as simple as hailing a taxi.

I bought a melon from the boy, and he snatched my money contemptuously.
To take things without violence is a sign of weakness in Samarra. I
noticed afterwards that all the boys and girls in this happy spot were
fighting each other or engaged in killing something. And their elders
keep something of the feckless violence of youth. I do not think that
there are any good Samarratans.

After the interview with the Governor already mentioned, which ended by
a refusal on our part to speak with him further, we were sent to pass
the night in a filthy hovel, whose only furniture consisted of a bench
and a chair. Our sergeant was sitting on this chair when an officer
rushed in and jerked it from under him, leaving him on the floor. As a
conjuring trick it was neat, but as manners, deplorable. We were glad to
get away from the place.

Very few incidents came to diversify the monotony of our desert travel.
One day, however, we met some Turkish cavalry going down to the siege of
Kut. They were a fine body of troops, a little under-mounted perhaps,
but thoroughly business-like. Their officers were most chivalrous
cavaliers. Here in the desert, where luxuries were not to be had for
money or for murder, they frequently gave us a handful of cigarettes, or
a parcel of raisins, or else halted their squadron and asked us to share
their meal. With these men one felt at ease. They were soldiers like
ourselves. They did not ask awkward questions, and were told no lies. I
remember especially one afternoon in the Marble Hills when we sat in a
ring drinking tea and smoking cigarettes, with the panorama of the
desert spread out before us, from the southward plains of Arabia to the
hills of the devil-worshippers, misty and mysterious, in the north. We
talked about horses all the time. A modern Isaiah delivered himself of
the following sentiment, in which I heartily concur:

"Where there is no racing the people perish."

The first-line Turk has many fine qualities, of which generosity and
gallantry are not the least. Something in Anglo-Saxon blood is in
sympathy with the adventure-loving, flower-loving Turk. But, alas! there
is another type of Ottoman, with the taint of Tamerlane. "When he is
good he is very very good, but when he is bad he is horrid."

In the latter category I must regretfully place the sergeant who
commanded our escort. He came of decent stock (to judge by his charming
sisters, and his own appearance indeed) but his mind was all mud and
blood. He had been Hunified. Turkey would always be fighting, he said.
The English were almost defeated. The Armenians were almost
exterminated. But the Greeks remained to be dealt with, and the cursed
Arabs. Finally the Germans themselves. In an apotheosis of Prussianism
Turkey was to turn on her Allies and drive them out. Such was his creed.
But a glow of courage lit the dark places of his mind. He loved fighting
for the sheer fun of the thing. A few days beyond Samarra we were
attacked by some wandering Arabs, who swept down on us in a crescent.
Our guards panicked, but he stood his ground, and, seizing a rifle,
dispersed the enemy by some well-directed shots. Whether we were near
deliverance or death on that occasion I do not know, but that the panic
amongst our escort was not wholly unreasonable was evinced by the fact
that only a few hours earlier we had passed the headless trunk of a
gendarme, strapped upon a donkey. He had been decapitated as a warning
to the Samarratans that two can play at the game of savagery.

The sight of the corpse had unnerved our guard, and as for myself, I did
not know whether to be glad or sorry when the Arabs attacked us. To be
taken by them meant either going back to the English or to the dust from
which we came. The alternative was too heroic to be agreeable.
Contrariwise, I was much disappointed when our sergeant finally drove
them off. That evening, as if to point the moral, we found the body of
another gendarme, also murdered, lying on a dung-heap outside the
rest-house. This was at Shergat, the former capital of the Assyrians,
and now a squalid village, where, however, the widows of Ashur were
still "loud in their wail."

Here we dined with the fattest man I have ever seen. He was really a pig
personified, but as we both gobbled out of the same dish and ate the
same salt, I will not further enlarge on his appearance.

In the upper reaches of the Tigris there are wild geese so tame that
they come waddling up to inspect the rare travellers through their land.
I thought it might be possible to catch one of these animals on foot.
Coquettishly enough they kept a certain distance. "We don't mind your
looking at us," they seemed to say, "but we _do_ object to being pawed
about." With the coming of the railway I am afraid a gun will destroy
their belief in human kind.

The geese appeared to enjoy the smell of sulphuretted hydrogen, which
prevails in these regions. The whole country is rich in natural oils and
bitumen. One day it will make somebody's fortune, no doubt, and then the
geese will waddle away from perspiring prospectors. . . .

Before we arrived at Mosul we stopped for a bath at the hot springs of
Hammam-Ali, where we met (in the water) a patriarch with a white beard,
who confidently assured us that he was a hundred years old and would
continue to live for another hundred, such were the beneficent
properties of the water. Before his days are numbered he may live to see
a Hydro at Hammam-Ali--poor old patriarch. He told us a lot about Jonah
(whose tomb is at Nineveh, just opposite Mosul, on the other side of the
river), and I am not sure that he did not claim acquaintance with that
patriarch. He was quite one of the family.

Mosul, he told us, was a heaven on earth, a land flowing with milk and
honey, where we should ride all day on the best horses of Arabia, and
feast all night in gardens such as the blessed _houris_ might adorn.

It was with a certain elation, therefore, that I saw the distant
prospect of Mosul next morning, set in its surrounding hills. A fair
city it seemed, white and cool, with orange groves down to the river and
many date-trees. But a closer acquaintance brought cruel disappointment,
as generally happens in the East. The blight of the Ottoman was
everywhere; there was dirt, decrepitude, and decay in every corner.
Children with eye-disease, and adults with leprosies more terrible than
Naaman's jostled each other in the mean streets. Whole quarters of the
city had given up the ghost, and become refuse heaps, where curs grouted
amongst offal. Mosul, like our escort-sergeant's mind, seemed a muddle
of mud and blood.

With sinking hearts we drove to the barracks, and were shown into a
dark, gloomy office, where our names were taken. Thence we were led to a
still murkier and more mouldering room, inhabited--nay, infested--by
some ten Arabs. Through this we passed into a cell with windows boarded
up, which was, if possible even damper, darker, and more dismal than
anything we had yet seen. After the sunlight and great winds of the
desert we stood bewildered. Death seemed in the air.

Then out of the gloom there rose two figures. They were British
officers, who had been captured about a month previously. So changed and
wasted were they that even after we had removed the boards from the
little window we could hardly recognise them. One of these officers was
so ill with dysentery that he could hardly move, the other had high
fever.

Our arrival, with news from the outer world, bad though it was,
naturally cheered them considerably, for nothing could be worse than
their present plight.

The ensuing days called for a great moral effort on our part. It was
absolutely imperative to laugh, otherwise our surroundings would have
closed in on us. . . . We cut up lids of cigarette boxes for playing
cards. We inked out a chessboard on a plank. We held a spiritualistic
séance with a soup-bowl, there being no table available to turn. We told
interminable stories. We composed monstrous limericks; and we sang in
rivalry with the Arab guard outside, who made day hideous with their
melody and murdered sleep by snoring.

But when there is little to eat and nothing to do, time drags heavily.
Two cells with low ceilings that leaked were allotted to the four of us.
In these we lived and ate and slept, except for fortnightly excursions
to the baths. We were allowed no communication with the men, who lived
in a dungeon below. Their fate was a sealed book to us. We had nothing
to read. Under these conditions one begins to fear one's brain,
especially at night. It was then that it began to run like a mechanical
toy. Like a clockwork mouse, it scampered aimlessly amongst the dust of
memory, then suddenly became inert, with the works run down. I grew
terrified of thinking, especially of thinking about my friend in the fur
coat.

The night hours are the worst in captivity. One lies on the floor,
waiting for sleep to come, but instead of blessed sleep, "beloved from
pole to pole," thoughts come crowding thick and fast on consciousness,
thoughts like clouds that lower over the quiescent body. Each second
then seems of inconceivable duration. But there is no escape from Time.

During the day, however, things were more bearable, and occasional
gleams of humour enlivened the laggard moments.

Among our guard there were several sentries who (I thought) might
conceivably help us to escape. One dark night, one of these men
whispered the one word "Jesus," and made the sign of the Cross, as I
passed him. After this introduction I naturally hoped that he might be
of use. He was a fine figure of a man, with a proud poise of head, and
aquiline nose, as if some Assyrian god had been his ancestor. I was
gazing at him in admiration the next day, and gauging his possibilities
through my single eye-glass, when a curious thing happened.

Our eyes met. He seemed mesmerised by my monocle. For a long time we
stared at each other in silence, then, thinking the sergeant of the
guard would notice our behaviour, I discreetly dropped my eye-glass and
looked the other way. The sentry's mouth quivered as if I had made a
joke, but instead of smiling, he burst suddenly into a storm of tears.
The sergeant of the guard (a swart, sturdy little Turk) rushed out to
see what had happened. There was the big sentry, wailing, and actually
gnashing his white teeth. I stood awkwardly, looking as innocent as I
felt. The sergeant bristled like a terrier, pulled the sentry's poor
nose, and boxed his beautiful ears, while the victim continued to
blubber and look piteously in my direction.

But I could not help him at all. I had not the slightest idea what was
the matter, nor do I know now. Hysteria, I suppose.

Eventually that great solvent of perplexity, nicotine, came to relieve
the awkward situation. First the sergeant accepted a cigarette, then,
more diffidently, the sentry. Later I put in my eye-glass again, and
convinced them, I think, that its use did not involve the weaving of any
unholy spell.

This eye-glass, by the way, survived all the fortunes of captivity.
Through it I surveyed the moon-lit plains beyond the Tigris when I
planned escape in Mosul, as shall be told in the next chapter. Later it
scanned the desert's dusty face for any hope of release. At
Afion-kara-hissar it helped me search for a pathway through our guards.
At Constantinople it was still my friend. Through it, a month before
escape, I looked at the slip of new moon that swung over San Sophia on
the last day of Ramazan, wondering where the next moon would find me.
And when the next moon came, I watched the sentries by its aid, on the
night of our first escape. And it was in my eye when I slipped down the
rope to freedom.

But this chapter is getting "gaga." It has a happy ending, however.

One evening when the

  ". . . little patch of blue,
   That prisoners call the sky"

had turned to sulky mauve, and the air was heavy with storm, and our
fellow-prisoners were depressed, and the Arab guard was bellowing songs
outside, and we were peeling potatoes for our dinner by the flicker of
lamp-light, and life seemed drab beyond description, there came great
news to us. Two other officers had arrived.

Next moment they peered into our den, even as we had done. And they were
angry, amazed, unshaven, bronzed by the desert air, even as we had been.
There in the doorway, ruddy and fair and truculent like some Viking out
of time and place, stood the young pilot I had last seen at Aziziah. He
was alive, my friend in the fur coat.

The desert had delivered up its dead!



  CHAPTER III

  THE TERRIBLE TURK


One draws a long breath thinking of those days of Mosul. But bad as our
case was, it was as nothing compared with that of the men.

Some two hundred of them lived in a cellar below our quarters, through
scenes of misery, and in an atmosphere of death which no one can
conceive who does not know the methods of the Turk. Even to me, as I
write in England, that Mosul prison begins to seem inconceivable.
Huddled together on the damp flag-stones of the cellar, our men died at
the rate of four or five a week. Although the majority were suffering
from dysentery they not only could not secure medical attention, but
were not even allowed out of their cells for any purpose whatever. Their
pitiable state can be better imagined than described. Many went mad
under our eyes. Deprived of food, light, exercise, and sometimes even
drinking water, the condition of our sick and starving men was literally
too terrible for words.

It is useless, however, to pile horror on horror. Sixty per cent. of
these men are dead, and this fact speaks for itself. No re-statement
can strengthen, and no excuse can palliate, the case against the Turks.
Our men in this particular instance were killed by the cynical brutality
of Abdul Ghani Bey, the commandant of Mosul, and his acquiescent staff.

There is an idea that "the Turks treated their own soldiers no better
than our prisoners"; but this is a fallacy--at any rate with regard to
hell-hounds such as Abdul Ghani Bey. He took an especial pleasure in
inflicting the torments of thirst, hunger, and dirt upon the miserable
beings under his care. Animals, in another country, would have been kept
cleaner and better fed.

Never shall I forget the arrival in January 1915 of a party of English
prisoners from Baghdad. About two hundred and fifty men, who had been
captured on barges just before the siege of Kut, had been taken first to
Baghdad and thence by forced marches to Kirkuk, a mountain town on the
borders of the Turko-Persian frontier. Why they were ever sent to Kirkuk
I do not know, unless indeed it was thought that the sight of prisoners
suitably starved would re-assure the population regarding the qualities
of the redoubtable English soldier. After being exhibited to the
population of Kirkuk our men continued their journey, through the bitter
cold of the mountains, barefoot and in rags, arriving at last at Mosul
shortly after the New Year. Only eighty men then remained out of the
original two hundred and fifty, but although their numbers had dwindled
their courage had not diminished.

First there marched into our barrack square some sixty of our soldiers
in column of route. They were erect and correct as if they were marching
to a king's parade. Surely so strange a column will never be seen again.
All were sick, and the most were sick to death. Some were barefoot, some
had marched two hundred miles in carpet slippers, some were in
shirt-sleeves, and all were in rags; one man only wore a great-coat, and
he possessed no stitch of clothing beneath it. But through all adversity
they held their heads high among the heathen, and carried themselves
with the courage of a day "that knows not death." Silently they filed
into the already crowded cellar, out of our sight, and many never issued
again into the light of the sun.

After these sixty men had disappeared the stragglers began to stagger
in. One man, delirious, led a donkey on which the dead body of his
friend was tied face downwards. After unstrapping the corpse he fell in
a heap beside it. Dysentery cases wandered in and collapsed in groups on
the parade ground. An Indian soldier, who had contracted lockjaw, kept
making piteous signs to his mouth, and looking up to the verandah, where
we stood surrounded by guards. But no one came to relieve those
sufferers, dying by inches under our eyes.

That night we managed, by bribing the guards, to have smuggled upstairs
to us at tea-time two non-commissioned officers from among the new
arrivals. Needless to say, we spent all our money (which was little
enough in all conscience) in providing as good a fare as possible, and
our famished guests devoured the honey and clotted cream we had to
offer. Then one of them suddenly fainted. When he had somewhat recovered
he had to be secretly conveyed below, and that was the end of the
party--the saddest at which I have ever assisted. The officer who
carried the sick man down spent several hours afterwards in removing
vermin from his own clothes, for lice leave the moribund, and this poor
boy died within a few days.

Sometimes, when our pay was given us, or there occurred an opportunity
to bribe our guard, it was our heart-breaking duty to decide which of
the men we should attempt to save, by smuggling money to them out of the
slender funds at our disposal, and which of their number, from cruel
necessity, were too near their end to warrant an attempt to save.

Something of the iron of Cromwell enters one's mind as one writes of
these things. If we forget our dead, the East will not forget our shame.
Sentiment must not interfere with justice. Abdul Ghani Bey, who shed our
prisoners' blood, must pay the penalty. He is the embodiment of a
certain type--perhaps not a very common type--of Turk, but common or
not, he is one of the men responsible for the terrible death-rate among
our soldiers. A short description of him, therefore, will not be out of
place.

He was a small man, this tiny Tamerlane, with a limp, and a scowl, and
bandy legs. His sombre, wizened face seemed to light with pleasure at
scenes of cruelty and despair. He insulted the old, and struck the weak,
and delighted in the tears of women and the cries of children. This is
not hyperbole. I have seen him stump through a crowd of Armenian widows
and their offspring, and after striking some with his whip, he pushed
down a woman into the gutter who held a baby at her breast. I have seen
him pass down the ranks of Arab deserters, lashing one in the face,
kicking another, and knocking down a third. I have seen him wipe his
boots on the beard of an old Arab he had felled, and spur him in the
face. I hope he has already been hanged, because only the hangman's cord
could remove his atavistic cruelty.

His subordinates went in deadly fear of him, and while it was extremely
difficult to help our men, it was practically impossible to help
ourselves at all in the matter of escape. Yet escape was doubly urgent
now, to bring news of our condition to the outer world.

After much thought I decided that a certain wall-eyed interpreter who
came occasionally to buy us food was the most promising person to
approach. My friend and I laid our plans carefully. After a judicious
tip, and some hints as to our great importance in our own country, we
evinced a desire to have private lessons with him in Arabic, enlarging
at the same time upon the great career that a person like himself might
have had, had he been serving the English and not the Turks. Gradually
we led round to the subject of escape. At first we talked generalities
in whispers, and he was distinctly shy of doing anything of which the
dear commandant would not approve; but eventually, softly and
distinctly, and with a confidence that I did not feel, I made a
momentous proposal to him, nothing less than that he could help us to
escape. He winced as if my remark was hardly proper, and fixed me with a
single, thunder-struck eye. Then he quavered:

"This is very sudden!"

We could not help laughing.

"This is no jesting matter," he said. "I will be killed if I am caught."

"But you won't get caught. With the best horses in Arabia and a guide
like you. . . ."

"Hush, hush! I must think it over."

For several days he preserved a tantalising silence, alternately raising
our hopes by a wink from his wonderful eye, and then dashing them to the
ground by a blank stare.

We lived in a torment of hope deferred.

But time passed more easily now. The nights took on a new complexion,
flushed by the hope of freedom. From our little window I could see
across a courtyard to a patch of river. Beyond it, immense and magical
under the starlight, were the ruins of former civilisation--the mounds
of Nineveh, the tomb of Jonah, and the rolling downs that lead to the
mountains of Kurdistan. To those mountains my fancy went. If sleep did
not come, then there were enthralling adventures to be lived in those
mountains, adventures of the texture of dreams, yet tinged with a
certain prospective of reality. . . . We had bought revolvers, our
horses were ready, we had bribed our guard. We rode far and fast, with
our wall-eyed friend as guide. By evening we were in a great
forest. . . .

But reality proved a poor attendant on romance. A sordid question of
money was our stumbling-block, and a high enterprise was crippled--not
for the first or last time--by want of cash. We had already given the
interpreter five pounds (which represented so much bread taken out of
our mouths), but now he stated that further funds were indispensable to
arrange preliminaries. This seemed reasonable, for arms and horses could
not be secured on credit in Mosul. Unfortunately, however, funds were
not available. We could not, in decency, borrow from other prisoners to
help us in our escape. At this juncture our guide, philosopher, and
friend lost--or embezzled--a five-pound note that had been entrusted to
him by another prisoner to buy us food. Whether he lost it carelessly or
criminally I am not prepared to state, but the fact remains he lost it.
Our fellow-prisoner very naturally complained to the Turks, as the
absence of this five pounds meant we could buy no food for a week.

The Turks arrested the interpreter. He grew frightened, invented a story
about the complainant having asked him to help in an escape, then
recanted, vacillated, contradicted himself, and got himself bastinadoed
for his pains.

The bastinado, I may as well here explain, is administered as follows:
the feet of the victim are bared, and his ankles are strapped to a pole.
The pole is now raised by two men to the height of their shoulders. A
third man takes a thick stick about the diameter of a man's wrist, and
strikes him on the soles of the feet. Between twenty and a hundred
strokes are administered, while the victim writhes until he faints. No
undue exertion is necessary on the part of the executioner, for even
after a gentle bastinado a man is not expected to be able to walk for
several days.

The wall-eyed interpreter was brought limping to our cell about three
days after his punishment. He was brought by Turkish officers, who
wished to hear from our own lips a denial of his story that we had been
plotting an escape.

It was a dramatic, and for me rather dreadful, moment. Indignantly and
vehemently we denied ever having asked his help. Only myself and
another, besides the interpreter, knew the truth. To the other officers
at Mosul (there were nine of us then, sharing two little cells) this
black business is only now for the first time made known. Their
indignation, therefore, was by no means counterfeit.

"The man must be mad. No one ever dreamed of escaping," I stated,
looking fixedly into the interpreter's one eye, which, while it implored
me to tell the truth, seemed to hold a certain awe for a liar greater
than himself.

"But----" he stammered, cowed by the circumstance that for once in his
life he was telling the truth.

"But what?" we demanded angrily. "Let the villain speak out. His story
is monstrous."

"Besides, we are so comfortable here," I added parenthetically.

Eventually the wretched man was led gibbering to an underground dungeon.
What happened to him afterwards I do not know. I publish this story
after careful thought, because, if he was "playing the game" by us, why
did he talk to the Turks about escape? If, on the other hand, he was a
prison spy, then his punishment is not my affair.

The treachery of the interpreter was an ill wind for everyone, for our
guards were sent away to the front (which is tantamount to a sentence of
death) and the vigilance of our new guards was greater than that of the
old. Intrigue was dead and our isolation complete.

In these circumstances it may be imagined with what excitement I
received the news that the German Consul wanted to see me in the
commandant's office. It was the first time for a fortnight that I had
left my cell.

I entered slowly, and after saluting the company present, first
generally, and then individually, I took a dignified seat after the
manner of the country. Ranged round the room were various notables of
Mosul--doctors, apothecaries, priests, and lawyers. On a dais slightly
above us sat the Consul and the commandant. For some time we kept
silence, as if to mark the importance of the occasion. Then a cigarette
was offered me by the commandant. I refused this offering, rising in my
chair and saluting him again.

At last the German Consul spoke.

He had been instructed by telegraph, he told me, to pay me the sum of
five hundred marks in gold. The money came from a friend of my father's.
I begged him to thank the generous donor, and a whole vista of
possibilities immediately rose to my mind.

The money would be given me next day, the Consul continued, and a
_kavass_ of the Imperial Government would go with me into the _bazaar_
to make any purchases I required.

This conversation took place in French, a language of which the
commandant was quite ignorant, and I saw that here was an ideal
opportunity for bringing the plight of our prisoners to light. But the
Consul, I gathered, wanted to keep on friendly terms with the Turks.
Some of the things I told him, however, made him open his eyes, and may
have made his kultured flesh creep.

"I will come again to-morrow," he said hurriedly--"you can tell me more
then."

After this he spoke in Turkish at some length to the commandant, while
the latter interjected that wonderful word _yok_ at intervals.

_Yok_, I must explain, signifies "No" in its every variation, and is
probably the most popular word in Turkish. It is crystallised
inhibition, the negation of all energy and enthusiasm, the motto of the
Ottoman Dilly and Dallys. Its only rival in the vocabulary is _yarin_,
which means "to-morrow."

"Yok, yok, yok," said the commandant, and I gathered that he was
displeased.

That night I made my plans, and when summoned to the office next day I
was armed with three documents. The first was a private letter of thanks
to Baron Mumm for his generous and kindly loan. The second was a
suggestion that the International Red Cross should immediately send out
a commission to look after our prisoners at Mosul. And the third was a
detailed list of articles required by our men, with appropriate
comments. Items such as this figured on the list:

Soap, for two hundred men, as they had been unable to wash for months.

Kerosene tins, to hold drinking-water, which was denied to our
prisoners.

Blankets, as over 50 per cent. had no covering at all.

These screeds startled the company greatly. The Consul stared and the
commandant glared, for the one hated fuss and the other hated me. I was
delightfully unpopular, but when an Ambassador telegraphs in Turkey, the
provinces lend a respectful ear. My voice, crying in the wilderness,
must needs be heard.

Summoning an interpreter, the commandant demanded whether I had any
cause for complaint; whereupon the following curious three-cornered
conversation took place--so far as I could understand the Turkish part:

"The men must be moved to better quarters," said I. "Until this is
arranged nothing can be done."

"He says nothing can be done," echoed the interpreter.

"Then of what does he complain?" asked the commandant.

"The very beasts in my country are better cared for," I said. "Our men
are dying of hunger and cold."

"He says the men are dying of cold," said the interpreter, shivering at
his temerity in mentioning the matter.

"The weather is not my fault," grumbled the commandant, "perhaps it will
be better to-morrow. Yes, _yarin_."

And so on. Talk was hopeless, but before leaving I gave the German
Consul to understand that he now shared with Abdul Ghani Bey the
responsibility for our treatment. To his credit, be it said, the
commandant was removed shortly after our departure.

Two days after this interview we were moved from Mosul, where our
presence was becoming irksome no doubt. Before leaving I left all my
fortunate money, except five pounds, with the Consul, asking him to form
a fund (which I hoped would be supplemented later by the Red Cross) for
sick prisoners. Twelve months later this money was returned to me in
full, but I fancy that it had done its work in the meanwhile.

On the day before our journey I went shopping with the Imperial _kavass_
aforesaid, and it was a most pompous and pleasant excursion. Although I
wore sandshoes and tattered garments, what with my eyeglass, and the
gorgeous German individual, dressed like a Bond Street _commissionaire_,
who carried my parcels and did my bargaining, I think we made a great
impression upon the good burgesses of Mosul.

We threaded our way among Kurds with seven pistols at their belts, and
Arabs hung with bandoliers, and astonishing Circassians with whiskers
and swords. Almost every male swaggered about heavily armed, but a blow
on their bristling midriff would have staggered any one of them. Their
bark, I should think, is worse than their bite.

After a Turkish bath, where I graciously entertained the company with
coffee, we strolled round the transport square, where we chaffered
hotly for carriages to take us to Aleppo.

The material results of the morning were:

Some food and tobacco for the men staying behind.

Rations for ourselves, consisting of an amorphous mass of dates,
cigarettes, conical loaves of sugar, candles, and a heap of unleavened
bread.

Carriages for our conveyance to Aleppo.

But the moral effect of our excursion was greater far. I sowed broadcast
the seeds of disaffection to Abdul Ghani Bey. To the tobacconist I said
that the English, Germans, Turks, and all the nations of the earth,
while differing in other matters, had agreed he was a worm to be crushed
under the heel of civilisation. To the grocer I repeated the story. To
the fruiterer I said his doom was nigh, and to the baker and candlestick
maker that his hour had come.

Everyone agreed. _Conspuez le commandant_ was the general opinion.

"In good old Abdul Hamid's days," they said, "such devil's spawn would
not have been allowed to live."

It was a matter of minutes before rumours of his downfall were rife
throughout the city.

Next day he came to see us off, bow-legs, whip, and scowl and all. He
stood stockily, watching us drive away, and then turned and spat. But
the taste of us was not to be thus easily dispelled. He will remember
us, I hope, to his dying day. May that day be soon!



  CHAPTER IV

  "OUT OF GREAT TRIBULATION. . . ."


We had left a sad party of prisoners behind us, alas! but we had done
what little we could for them. Confined as we had been, their sufferings
had only added to our own. The best hope for them lay in the German
Consul. He could do more, if he wished, than we could have achieved for
all our wishes. Nothing could have been more hopeless than our position
at Mosul. But now at least there was the open road before us, and hope,
and health.

The desert air is magnificent. The untamed winds seemed to blow through
every fibre of one's being, and clear away the cobwebs of captivity. The
swinging sun, the great spaces of sand, the continuous exercise, and the
lean diet of dates and bread, produce a feeling of perfect health.
Indeed, after a day or two I began to feel much too well to be a
prisoner. Under the desert stars one thought of the lights of London.
Perversely, instead of being grateful for the unfettered grandeur of
one's surroundings, one thought regretfully of the crowded hours one
spends among civilised peoples. And, oh, how tired I was of seeing
nothing but men! One of the worst features of captivity is that it is
generally a story without a heroine.

After the second day of travel I was really seriously in need of a
heroine, for my friend had developed high fever. If only there had been
a ministering angel among our party! I did my best, but am not a nurse
by nature. My friend grew so weak that he could not stand; and I began
to doubt whether he would get to our journey's end.

But although no heroine came to our help, a hero did. As he happens to
be a Turk, I will describe him shortly. Let us call him the Boy Scout,
for he did (not one, but many) good actions every day. Out of his valise
he produced a phial of brandy, tea, sugar, raisins, and some invaluable
medicines. All these he pressed us to accept. He even tried to make me
believe that he could spare a box of Bir-inji (first-class) cigarettes,
until I discovered he had no more for himself. At every halting place he
went to search for milk for my friend. Until we had been provided for,
he never attended to his own comforts. After eighty miles of travelling
everyone is tired, but although the Boy Scout must have been as tired as
any of us, for he rode instead of driving, and although he had no
official position with regard to us, no brother officer could have been
more helpful or more truly kind. From the moment of our meeting we had
been attracted by each other. At times, a look or an inflection of voice
will proclaim a kindred spirit in a perfect stranger. Something happens
above our consciousness; soul speaks to soul perhaps. So it was with the
Boy Scout. He was unknown to me when I first saw him, dark-eyed and
graceful, riding a white horse like a prince in a fairy book, and we
spoke no common language, but somehow we understood each other.

He was a high official, I afterwards heard, travelling incognito, and
had been engaged on Intelligence work for his country in Afghanistan.
But, although an enemy in theory, he was a friend in fact. The war was
far. Here in the desert we met as brothers. A finer figure of a man I
have rarely seen, nor a truer gentleman. He was an ardent Young Turk,
and if other Young Turks were cast in such a mould, there would be a
place in the world for the race of Othman. But I have never seen another
like him.

His manners were perfect, and although we discussed every subject under
the sun in snatches of French and broken bits of Persian, we always
managed to avoid awkward topics such as atrocities, reprisals, and the
like. He guessed, I think, that I often thought of escape, and said one
day:

"I shall fully understand if you try to get away, but you will forgive
me, won't you, if I use my revolver?"

I assured him I would.

"Good!" he laughed, "because I am a dead shot!"

One day we must meet again, and pick up the threads of talk.

At Ress-el-Ain we separated for a time, and my friend was carried into
the train, where he lay down and took no further interest in the
proceedings. I also lay down, exhausted by anxiety. I was glad to be
quit of the desert. Under other conditions it might have been charming,
but its glamour is invisible to a captive's eyes.

The train journey was not very interesting, except for the fact that our
guard commander (excited perhaps by the approach to civilisation, or
else because he was free from the restraining influence of our teetotal
Boy Scout) purchased a bottle of _'araq_ and imbibed it steadily on the
journey between Ress-el-Ain and Djerablisse.

_'Araq_, the reader must know, is otherwise known as _mastic_ or
_douzico_, and is a colourless alcohol distilled from raisins and
flavoured with aniseed, which clouds on admixture with water, and tastes
like cough-mixture. It is an intoxicant without the saving grace of more
generous vintages. It inebriates but does not cheer.

At Djerablisse, on the Euphrates, our guard commander supplemented the
fiery _'araq_ with some equally potent German ration rum. By the time we
got to Aleppo next day, he was reeking of this blend of alcohols. Not
all the perfumes of Arabia could have stifled its fumes, nor all the
waters of Damascus have quenched his thirst. He was besotted.

Escape would have been possible then. We had become separated from the
rest of our party and were in charge of one old, sleepy, and rather
friendly soldier. There seemed to be some doubt in his mind as to where
we should pass the night, but we eventually arrived at a small and clean
Turkish hotel, where we were told, rather mysteriously, that we should
be among friends.

I looked for friends, but as everyone was asleep, it being then two
o'clock in the morning, I decided to have a good night's rest before
making any plans. Our dainty bedroom was too tempting to be ignored. The
curtains were of Aleppo-work, in broad stripes of black and gold. The
rafters were striped in black and white. The walls were dead white, the
furniture dead black. Three pillows adorned our beds, of black, and of
crimson, and of brilliant blue, each with a white slip covering half
their length. The bed-covers were black, worked with gold dragons. It
was like a room one imagines in dreams, or sees at the Russian Ballet.

After a blissful night, between sheets, and on a spring mattress, tea
was brought to us in bed, and immediately afterwards, as no guards
seemed to be about, I rose, greatly refreshed, and dressed in haste. My
idea was to order a carriage to drive us to the sea-coast at Mersina,
from which place I felt sure it would be possible to charter a boat to
Cyprus.

But these hasty plans were dispelled by finding the Boy Scout waiting
for me in the passage.

"Your guard commander was ill," he explained, "so I arranged that you
should be brought to this hotel, where you are my guests. And I want you
to lunch with me at one o'clock."

My face fell, but of course there was no help for it. And the Boy
Scout's hospitality was princely indeed.

After delicious hors-d'oeuvres (the _mézé_--as it is called in
Turkey--is a national dish) and soup, and savoury meats, we refreshed
our palates with bowls of curds and rice. Then we attacked the sweets,
which were melting morsels of honey and the lightest pastry. After
drinking the health of the invalid (who could not join us of course) in
Cyprian wine, we adjourned to the Boy Scout's room for coffee and
cigarettes. Here I found all his belongings spread out, including
several tins of English bully-beef and slabs of chocolate, which he said
was his share of the loot taken after our retirement at the Dardanelles.
He begged us to help ourselves to everything we wanted in the way of
food or clothing; and he was ready, literally, to give us his last
shirt. After having fitted us out, he telephoned to the hospital about
the patient, and made arrangements that he should be received that
afternoon.

Some hours later, accordingly, I drove to the hospital with my friend,
accompanied by two policemen who had arrived from district headquarters,
no doubt at the Boy Scout's request.

We were met at the entrance of the hospital by two odd little doctors.

"What is the matter with him?" squeaked Humpty in French.

"Fever," said I.

"Fever, indeed!" answered Dumpty, "let's look at his chest."

"And at his back," added Humpty suspiciously.

My friend disrobed, shivering in the sharp air, and these two strange
physicians glared at him, standing two yards away, while the Turkish
soldier and I supported the patient.

"He hasn't got it," they said suddenly in chorus.

"Hasn't what?"

"Typhus, of course. Carry him in. He will be well in a week."

I doubted it, but the situation did not admit of argument. We carried
him in, through a crowd of miserable men in every stage of disease, all
clamouring for admittance. No one, I gathered, was allowed into that
hospital merely for the dull business of dying. They could do that as
well outside. Thankful for small mercies, therefore, I left my friend in
the clutches of Humpty and Dumpty, and even as they had predicted, he
was well within a week.

There is something rather marvellous about a Turkish doctor's diagnosis.
Such trifles as the state of your temperature or tongue are not
considered. They trust in the Lord and give you an emetic. Although
unpleasant, their methods are often efficacious.

It was now my turn to fall ill, and I did it with startling suddenness
and completeness. I was sitting at the window of the house in which we
were confined in Aleppo, feeling perfectly well, when I began to shiver
violently. In half an hour I was in a high fever. That night I was taken
to Humpty and Dumpty. Next morning I was unconscious.

I will draw a veil over the next month of my life. Only two little
incidents are worth recording.

The first occurred about a week after my admittance to hospital, when my
disease, whatever it was, had reached its crisis. A diet of emetics is
tedious, so also is the companionship of people suffering from _delirium
tremens_ when one wants to be quiet. An end, I felt, must be made of the
present situation. Creeping painfully out of my bed, I went down the
passage, holding against the wall for support. It was a dark, uneven
passage, with two patches of moonlight from two windows at the far end.
Near one of these pools of light I caught my foot in a stone, and
slipped and fell. I was too weak to get up again. I cooled my head on
the stones and wondered what would happen next. Then I began to think of
seas and rivers. All the delightful things I had ever done in water kept
flitting through my mind. I remembered crouching in the bow of my
father's cat-boat as we beat up a reach to Salem (Massachusetts) with
the spray in our faces. And I thought of the sparkling sapphire of the
Mediterranean and the cool translucencies of Cuckoo-weir. . . . No one
came to disturb my meditations. The moonlight shifted right across my
body, and slowly, slowly, I felt the wells of consciousness were filling
up again. I was, quite definitely, coming back to life. It was as if I
had really been once more in America and Italy and by the Thames, living
again in all memories connected with open waters, and as if their solace
had somehow touched me. Their coolness had cured me, and I was now
flying back through imperceptible ether to Aleppo. I was coming back to
that passage in a Turkish hospital. . . .

Did I draw, I wonder, upon some banked reserve of vitality, or were my
impressions a common phase of illness? Anyway, when I came to, I was a
different man. The waters of the world had cured me.

Later, during the journey to Afion-kara-hissar, I had a relapse. This
second incident of my illness was a spiritual experience. Having been
carried by my friend to the railway station, I collapsed on the
platform, while he was momentarily called away. So dazed and helpless
was I that I lay inconspicuously on some sacks, a bundle of skin and
bone that might not have been human at all. Some porters threw more
sacks on the pile and I was soon almost covered. But I lay quite still:
I was too tired to move or to cry out. As bodily weakness increased, so
there came to me a sense of mental power, over and beyond my own poor
endowments. I thrilled to this strange strength, which seemed to mount
to the very throne of Time, where past and future are one. Call it a
whimsy of delirium if you will, nevertheless, one of the scenes I saw in
the cinema of clairvoyance was a scene that actually happened some three
months later, at that same station where I lay. . . . I saw some hundred
men, prisoners from Kut and mostly Indians, gathered on the platform.
One of these men was sitting on this very heap of sacks; he was sitting
there rocking himself to and fro in great agony, for one of the guards
had struck him with a thick stick and broken his arm. But not only was
his arm broken, the spirit within him (which I also saw) was shattered
beyond repair. No hope in life remained: he had done that which is most
terrible to a Hindu, for he had eaten the flesh of cows and broken the
ordinances of caste. His companions had died in the desert without the
lustral sacrifice of water or of fire, and he would soon die also, a
body defiled, to be cast into outer darkness. For a time the terror and
the tragedy of that alien brain was mine; I shared its doom and lived
its death. Later I learnt that a party of men, coming out of the great
tribulation of the desert, had halted at this station, and a Hindu
soldier with a broken arm had died on those sacks. I record the incident
for what it is worth.

Without my friend I should never have achieved this journey. My
gratitude is a private matter, though I state it here, with some mention
of my own dull illness, in order to picture in a small way the
sufferings of our men from Kut. When some were sick and others hale, the
death-rate was not so high, but with many parties, such as those whose
ghosts I believe I saw, there was no possibility of helping each other.
So starved and so utterly weary were they, that they had no energy
beyond their own existence. Many men must have died with no faith left
in man or God.

    *    *    *    *    *

On arrival at Afion-kara-hissar, we were shown into a bare house. For a
day I rested blissfully on the floor, asking for nothing better than to
be allowed to lie still for ever and ever. But this was not to be. On
the second day of our stay we noticed signs of great excitement among
our guards. They nailed barbed wire round our windows, and they watched
us anxiously through skylights, and counted us continually, as if
uncertain whether two and two made four.

Presently the meaning of their precautions was divulged. Some English
prisoners had escaped, and our captors were engaged in locking the
stable door after the steeds had gone. All the prisoners in
Afion-kara-hissar were marshalled in the street, and marched off to the
Armenian church, situated at the base of the big rock that dominates the
town. Hither we also marched, with our new companions, singing the
prisoners' anthem:

  "We _won't_ be bothered about
   Wherever we go, we always shout
   We won't be bothered about. . . .
   We're bothered if we'll be bothered about!"

greatly to the astonishment of the townsfolk, who connected the Armenian
church with massacres rather than melody. The leader of our band was a
wounded officer, in pyjamas and a bowler hat (this being the sum of his
possessions) who waved his crutch as a conductor's baton. (Alas! his
cheery voice is stilled, for he died in hospital a year later. R.I.P.) I
can still see him hobbling along--a tall figure in pink pyjamas, with
one leg swinging (bandaged to the size of a bolster) and his hat askew,
and his long chin stuck out defiantly--hymn-writer and hero
_manqué_--fit leader of lost causes and of our fantastic pageant to that
church.

It was a gay and motley crew of prisoners of all nationalities and
conditions of life who entered its solemn and rather stuffy precincts.
We were all delighted to be "str[-a]fed" in a worthy cause. Three good men
had escaped, and more might follow later.

To anyone in decent health the month we spent in the Armenian church
must have been an interesting experience. Even to me, it was not without
amusement. Imagine a plain, rather gloomy, church, built of oak and
sandstone, with a marble chancel in the east. Two rooms opened out on
either side of the altar, and there was a high gallery in the west. In
the body of the building the English camped. One of the small rooms was
taken by the French, the other we reserved for a chapel. The Russians
chiefly inhabited the space between the chancel and the altar, but the
overflow of nationalities mingled. Our soldier servants were put in the
gallery. When everyone was fitted in, there was no space to move, except
in the centre aisle. There was no place for exercise nor any
arrangements for washing or cooking. During our stay in the church two
men died of typhus, and it is extraordinary that the infection did not
spread, considering the lack of sanitation. During the first night of
the strafe, the Russians, accustomed to pogroms in their own country,
thought there was a likelihood of being massacred, and kept watch
through the small hours of the morning by clumping up and down the aisle
in their heavy boots. All night long--for I was sleepless too--I watched
these grave, bearded pessimists waiting for a death which did not come,
while the French and English slept the sleep of optimists. At last dawn
arrived, and lit the windows over the altar, and a few moments later the
sunlight crept into the northern transept. Then the Russians gave up
their vigil, dropped in their tracks, and at once began snoring in the
aisle, like great watch-dogs.

The noise the two hundred of us made in sleeping was remarkable.
Probably our nerves were rather queer. The church was never silent
through the night. Some cried out continually in their slumbers, others
went through a pantomime of eating. Some moaned, others chuckled. One
sleeper gave a hideous laugh at intervals. One could hear it deep down
in his throat, and mark it gradually bubbling to his lips until he grew
vocal like some horrible hyena. But it is small wonder that the
prisoners in the church were restless. The marvel is that they slept at
all. Nearly all of us had lived through trying moments, and had felt the
hand of Providence, whose power makes one tremble. We knew the shivers
of retrospection. One officer, for instance, wounded in an attack on
Gallipoli, had been dragged as a supposed corpse to the Turkish trenches
and there built into the parapet. But he was none the worse now for his
amazing experiences, except that he suffered slightly from deafness, as
his neck had formed the base of a loophole. Then there was a man, left
as dead after an attack, who recovered consciousness but not the use of
his limbs, and lay helpless in the path of the Turkish retreat. For an
hour the passers-by prodded him with bayonets, so that he now has
twenty-seven wounds and a large gap in his body where there should be
solid flesh. From the very brink of the valley of the shadow this boy of
nineteen had returned to life. Again, there was a young Frenchman, who
lay four days and nights between the lines, dying of the twin tortures
of thirst and a stomach wound; but by a miracle he survived, and now at
night, sometimes, when will lost its grip on consciousness, he would
live those ninety-six hours again. Then there were the submarine crews,
out of the jaws of the worst death conceivable. One crew had lived for a
whole day struggling in a net at the bottom of the Dardanelles while the
air became foul and hope waned, and the submarine "sweated," and depth
charges exploded so close to them that on one occasion the shock knocked
a teapot off a table! Hemmed in and helpless, the clammy agony of that
suspense might well haunt their sleeping hours.

But on the whole our psychology was normal. Only, at nights, if one lay
awake, did one realise the stress and stark horror through which the
sleepers had lived. Out of four hundred officers "missing" at the
Dardanelles, only some forty were surviving at Afion-kara-hissar. This
fact speaks for itself.

By day we wandered about, so far as the congestion permitted, making
friends and exchanging experiences. To us, lately from Mesopotamia, the
then unknown story of Gallipoli stirred our blood as it will stir the
blood of later men.

I ate and drank the anecdotes of Gallipoli as they were told me. I loved
the hearing of them, in the various dialects of the protagonists, from a
lordly lisp to a backwood burr. The brogue, the northern drawl, the
London twang, the elided g's or the uncertain h's, had each their
several and distinct fascination. There is joy in hearing one's own
tongue again after a time of strange speech and foreign faces.

  "Beyond our reason's sway,
   Clay of the pit whence we were wrought
   Yearns to its fellow-clay."

The many voices of the many British were better than sweet music.

But we had plenty of sweet music as well. The sailors amongst us were
the cheeriest crew imaginable.

A résumé of our life at that time would be that we sang often about
nothing in particular, swore continually at life in general, smoked
heavily, gambled mildly, and drank _'araq_ when we could get it, and tea
when we couldn't. Not everyone, I hasten to add, did all these things.
As in everyday life, there were some who said that the constant
cigarette was evil, and that cards were a curse, and drink the devil.
But, again, as in everyday life, their example had no effect on cheerful
sinners.

  "Here's to the bold and gallant three
   Who broke their bonds and sought the sea"

sang one of the poets of our captivity, and all of us French, Russians,
and English, took up the chorus with a roar. The Turkish sentries
protested vainly, and some, ostentatiously loading their rifles, went up
to the Western gallery which overlooked the body of the church. As we
were being treated like Armenians, they could not understand why we did
not behave like Armenians and herd silently together, as sheep before a
storm. Instead, two hundred lusty voices proclaimed to anyone who cared
to listen that we were not downhearted.

See us then at midnight, seated at a table under the high altar. About
fifty of us are celebrating somebody's birthday, and a demi-john of
_'araq_ graces the festive board. We have sung every song we know, and
many we don't.

  "Jolly good song and jolly well sung,
   Jolly good fellows every one. . . .
                    Wow! Wow!"

The chorus dies down, and the Master of the Ceremonies, still in pyjamas
and bowler hat, rises on his sound leg and standing (swaying slightly)
at the head of the table, raps on it with his crutch for silence.

One officer wears a soup-bowl for a Hun helmet. Others are dressed as
parodies of Turks, and have been acting in a farce entitled "The
Escape." Two Irish friends of mine are singing "The Wearing of the
Green," while others are patriotically drowning their voices. A
submarine skipper, with a mane of yellow hair over his face, like a lion
in a picture-book, watches a diplomat dancing a horn-pipe. A little bald
flying man of gigantic strength and brain, is wrestling with a bearded
Hercules. Some sailors are singing an old sea-chanty.

The rough deal table, littered with pipes and glasses, the tallow-dips
lighting the vaulted gloom, the bearded roysterers singing songs older
than Elizabeth's time, the simple fare of bread and meat, the simpler
jokes and horseplay, took one back through centuries to other men who
made the best of war. In Falstaff's time such scenes as these must have
passed in the taverns of Merrie England. Only here, there were no
wenches to serve us with sack. We had to mix our own _'araq_.

"Silence, if you please," says he of the long jowl, using his crutch as
a chairman's hammer. "Silence for the prisoners' band."

The band begins. It consists of penny whistles, banjos, castanets,
soup-bowls, knives and forks, and anything else within reach. The
_motif_ of the piece is our release. _Andante con coraggio_ we pass the
weary months ahead. Then the dawn of our liberation breaks. We smash
everything we possess, while the train to take us away steams into the
station.

Sh! Shh! Shhh! Chk! Chk! Chk! Bang! Swish!! We take our seats amid a
perfect pandemonium. Then the train whistles--louder and louder--and we
move off--faster and faster and faster and _faster_, until no one can
make any more noise, and the dust of our stamping has risen like incense
to the roof, in a grand finale of freedom.

Strange doings in a church, you say? But what would you? We had nowhere
else to go. There is a time for everything after all, and it is a poor
heart that never rejoices. I feel sure Solomon himself would have sung
with us, and proved most excellent company.

On Sunday mornings Divine Service was always well attended. Perhaps by
contrast with my usual methods of passing the time, those Sabbath hours
are set as so many jewels in the tarnished shield of idleness. The
fadeless beauty of our Common Prayer brought hope and consolation to all
of us who were gathered together. We repeated the grand old words; we
sang "Fight the Good Fight" and "Onward, Christian Soldiers." We shared
then, however humbly, in the tears and triumph of our cause. We were not
of that white company that was to die for England, but we could share
the sorrow of the women who mourned, and of the old who stood so sadly
outside the fray.

And as through a magic door, I passed from that barren room to a country
church where the litany for all prisoners and captives went up to
Heaven, mingled with the fragrance of English roses.



  CHAPTER V

  THE LONG DESCENT OF WASTED DAYS


Afion-kara-hissar means "Black Opium Rock" in Turkish, but it is not as
interesting a place as it sounds. The only romantic visitors are the
storks, who use it as an aerodrome on their bi-annual migrations. They
blacken the sky when they come, in flights a thousand strong, swooping
and circling over the plain and alighting finally near the black rocks
that give the town its name. With one leg tucked up, and pensive beak
back-turned, they form arresting silhouettes against the sunset. And
curiously enough, the Turkish children know that they bring babies to
the home.

We lived in four cottages, connected by a common garden. They were quite
new--so new that they had no windows or conveniences. We fitted frames
and panes, we erected bathrooms, installed kitchen ranges, made beds out
of planks and string, and tables out of packing-cases. We made
everything, in fact, except the actual houses.

I daresay that at this time we were better treated than the officer
prisoners in Germany. Not so the men. We officers had plenty to eat,
though it cost a great deal, but the men were always half starved when
for any reason they could not supplement their ration from Ambassador's
money, or private remittances from home. Every month the American (and
later the Dutch) Embassy used to send a sum of money to our prisoners to
help them buy something more nourishing than the black bread and soup
provided by the Turks. When this relief did not arrive in time, or the
Turks delayed in distributing it, our men suffered the greatest
hardship. Treatment in Turkey was all a question of money. The officers
could, and did, cash cheques while in captivity, and were able to pay
for the necessities (and sometimes also the minor luxuries) of
existence, but the men were entirely dependent on what was given them.
Although some had bank balances, no one except an officer was allowed to
write a cheque.

Here it is fitting to say a word in praise of those organisations who
sent out parcels to our prisoners. No words can express our gratitude to
them. To us officers, parcels were sometimes in the nature of a luxury,
though none the less welcome. But to the men, who starved in dungeons of
the interior, they came as a very present help in time of need. The
prisoners' parcels saved many lives, and I hope the kind people who
worked so hard at home against all sorts of difficulties and
disappointments realise how grateful we are, and what a great work they
did. Besides the material relief of provisions, the moral effect of a
parcel from home on the mind of a sick prisoner cannot be over
estimated. To open something packed by English hands was like a breath
of home to him.

We were allowed no communication with the men, so it was very difficult
to help them. Whether the worst done to our prisoners in Germany equals
the worst in Turkey I do not know. To compare two horrors is profitless.
But I do know something of the sufferings of our men, and when I write
of my own petty amusements and comedies of captivity I do not for a
moment forget the tragedy of their lives.

Light and shade, however, there must be in every picture, else it is not
a picture at all. And there must be colour in the canvas, however grim
the subject.

The poppy fields, which give the town the first part of its name,[1] lay
right underneath our windows, across the station road. In June, when
they were white with blossom, and the farmers' wives came out to drain
the precious fluid from the buds, I used to gaze and gaze at the beauty
of the world, and long for freedom. To be cooped up in a little room
when the world was green and white, and the sky a flawless blue, and
summer rode across the open lands, was miserable. It was unbearable to
be growing old and immobile, like the hills on the horizon, when one
might be out among the poppy blossoms. Of what use to be alive, if one
did not share in the youth of the world?

But we were closely guarded in our cottages and rarely allowed out,
except into the back garden--a bare space some hundred yards by thirty,
which was the scene of most of our small activities, from early morning
skipping to the mid-day display of our washing, and from the occasional
amateur theatricals of an evening to the rare but tense moments of an
attempted escape.

A diary of my days might run as follows:

_Monday._ Up at 6 a.m. Skipped 200 times. Two eggs for breakfast, tried
my new _pekmes_.[2] Read _Hilal_.[3] Looked out places on my hidden map.
Long argument about the use of cavalry in modern war. Walk in garden.
Mutton cutlets for lunch. Completed my new hammock. Argued about Free
Trade. Played badminton in garden. Read philosophy with ---- and ----.
_Sakuska_[4] party with ---- and ---- at 7.30. Watched Polly picking
opium. Dinner at 8. Soup, eggs, suet; very satisfactory. Bridge and bed.

_Tuesday._ Up at 6.15. Skipped 250 times, and had a boxing lesson.
Painful. Two eggs for breakfast, but one bad. _Hilal_ did not arrive.
Argued about yesterday's cavalry news. Walk in garden. No meat for
lunch. Bitten by mosquitoes in my hammock. Argued about Protection. Ran
round the garden ten times. My wind is getting worse. _Sakuska_ party
at sevenish with ---- and ---- in my room. Polly was seen out walking
with a _posta_.[5] Dinner at 8. Mutton cutlets. Chess and bed.

And so on, _ad infinitum_.

I had at that time come to the conclusion that I could not reach the
coast from Afion-kara-hissar, so for some time I sought a mental rather
than a physical escape from my surroundings. Philosophy seemed an ideal
subject under the circumstances, and in the company of two friends of
like mind, I made some study of "Creative Evolution." Every afternoon we
used to forgather for tea, in a little room I had built, where our joint
contributions provided a well-selected pabulum of cakes and jam and
Bergson, so that the inner and the outer man were Platonically at one.
But to plunge from _le tremplin de la vie_ is not easy in captivity.
Lack of employment cripples imagination. The average mind works best
when it has practical things to do, and mine, such as it is, boggles at
abstractions more quickly than it tires of talk.

When this occurred the best thing to do was to laugh. A friend and I
used to laugh for hours sometimes over weak and washy stories that would
hardly pass muster, even in the small hours of the morning. But they did
us good. Generally, however, the time between tea and dinner was spent
in learned and weighty discussions on appearance, reality, and the
problems of Being and Not-being.

With my two friends

  ". . . the seed of Wisdom did I sow
   And with my own Hand arboured it to grow,
   But this was all the Harvest that I reaped--
   I came like Water and like Wind I go."

Only unfortunately I did not go. I remained firmly at Afion-kara-hissar.
When philosophy failed me, the hours spent in planning escapes and
concocting cyphers were those which passed most easily. But the craft of
cyphers, interesting though it be, cannot be discussed in print. Like
the preparation of poisons, it must remain part of the unpublished
knowledge of the world, until the millennium. As regards escapes, some
of us thought a great deal, and did very little. There were, however,
some ingenious attempts made to get to Constantinople. One officer
conceived the idea of going there to be treated for hydrophobia, and,
after inflicting suitable wounds in the calf of his leg with a pair of
nail scissors, he asserted that a certain dog, well known in the camp,
had exhibited strange symptoms of insanity, amongst others, that of
suddenly biting him in the leg. This ruse would have succeeded but for
the fact that the Turks did not treat hydrophobia with any seriousness.
Kismet takes no account of the Pasteur system. Short of actually
snapping at someone, the officer could not have established a belief in
his infection. He found it simpler to feign another ailment. Two other
officers, however, of a still more picturesque turn of mind, declared
that they themselves were mad, and actually hung themselves as a proof
of insanity. They were found one morning by their astonished sentries
suspended from a rafter, and apparently in the last stages of
strangulation. Convinced that they were "afflicted of God," the Turks
sent them to hospital, and carefully watched for any symptoms of
suicidal mania. After various astonishing experiences, in their rôle of
madmen, amongst real madmen in a Turkish lunatic ward, they were
eventually exchanged.

In sheer manual dexterity, our prisoners also showed great resource. The
soldiers who were employed on making a tunnel through the Taurus, to
take one example, succeeded in purloining various odds and ends from the
workshops where they laboured under German supervision, until they
eventually were able to build for themselves a complete collapsible
boat. This boat they actually tested at dead of night on a river near
their camp, before setting out to reach the coast. That success did not
crown their efforts was sheer bad luck. Luck, also, was against most of
the forty officers who concerted a simultaneous escape from Yuzgad, and
prepared for it in absolute secrecy, down to the smallest detail, for
months beforehand. Some of them even made their own boots. Only eight
out of the original party actually got out of the country, however.
Their story, surely one of the most remarkable ever written, has
recently been published.

The two great difficulties in any attempt to escape were: firstly, that
the Turks, by spies or otherwise, studied the psychology of every
individual prisoner, setting special guards on the more enterprising
among them, and, secondly, that the distance of the camp from the coast,
and the number of brigands infesting every mile of that distance, was
such that it was extremely difficult to gain the sea, let alone embark
upon it.

The spies made some very bad guesses about the intentions of the
prisoners. One harmless and elderly officer was seen greasing a pair of
marching boots, and this gave rise to the most sinister suspicions.
Where could the officer want to march to, except the coast? He was
immediately asked for his parole, and gave it.

Exercise in any form was a sign of incipient madness in the eyes of the
Turks. Why, they argued, should anyone in his right mind skip five
hundred times, and then splash himself with ice-cold water? If he did
such things, he ought certainly to be placed under restraint. Boxing,
again, was a suspect symptom. A man who bled at the nose for pleasure
might commit any enormity. In order to circumvent suspicion it was
necessary to adopt the utmost caution. The method I myself employed is
described in a later chapter. One friend of mine, while training for a
trip to Blighty, habitually carried heavy lead plates hung round his
waist, to accustom himself to the weight of his pack. Such were the
internal difficulties. But outside the camp the problems were even more
puzzling. How to avoid the brigands--how to carry food enough for the
journey--how to elude our guards and get a few hours' start--what
clothes to wear and what pack to carry--how to find one's way--how to
get a boat once the coast was reached--here were well-nigh insoluble
questions, which provided, however, excellent topics for talk.

I talked about these things for eighteen months. But I will ask the
reader to skip that dismal procession of moons, and come directly to the
day when I was asked by the Commandant to sign a paper stating that I
would not attempt to escape. I naturally refused, as also did another
officer to whom the same request was made.

Our negotiations in this matter, while interesting to us at the time,
and involving the composition of several noble documents in French, led
to the sad result that we were both transferred, at an hour's notice, to
a little box of a house in the Armenian quarter. Once inside the house,
with the various belongings we had collected during a twelve-month of
captivity in Afion-kara-hissar, we two completely filled the only
habitable room. And although habitable in a sense, this room was already
occupied by undesirable tenants.

I must here, rather diffidently, introduce the subject of vermin. But,
saving the public's presence, bugs are the very devil. Other insects are
nothing to them. Lice the gallant reader may have met at the front.
Fleas are a common experience. Centipedes and scorpions are well known
in India. But bugs are Beelzebub's especial pets, and Beelzebub is a
ruler in Turkey. It is quite impossible to write of my captivity there
without mentioning these small, flat creatures who live in beds. I
cannot disregard them: they have bitten into my very being.

Imagine lying down, after a sordid day of dust and disagreeableness. One
thinks of home, or the sea. One tries to slide out to the gulfs of
sleep, where healing is. But rest does not come: there is a sense of
malaise. One's skin feels irritable and unclean. Presently there is an
itching at one's wrists, and at the back of one's neck. One squashes
something, and there is a smear of blood (one's own good blood) and one
realises that one's skin (one's own good skin) is being punctured by
these evil beasts. Almost instantly one squashes another. A horrible
odour arises. One lights the candle, and there, scuttling under the
pillow, are five or six more of these loathsome vermin. They not only
suck one's blood. They sap one's faith in life.

  "If one could dream that such a world began
   In some slow devil's heart that hated man,"

indeed one would not be mistaken. In them the powers of Satan seem
incarnate.

Having killed every bug in sight, one lies back and gasps. And then, out
of the corner of one's eye, creeping up the pillow, and hugely magnified
by proximity, another monstrous brute appears. It runs forward,
horribly avid, and eager, and brisk. All the cruelty of nature is in its
hideous head, all the activity of evil in its darting body. Presently
another and another appear. There is no end to them. You kill them on
the bed, and they appear on the walls. You search out and slaughter
every form of life within reach, but the bugs still drop on you from the
ceiling. No killing can assuage their appetite for a healthy body.
Reckless of danger, they batten on the young. Regardless of death, they
swarm to silky skin. Of two victims, they will always choose the one in
best condition.

After being eaten by bugs for some time, one feels infected with their
contamination. It is almost impossible to rise superior to them. In one
night a man can live through the miseries of Job.

It may be imagined therefore that our confinement in that little house
was not amusing. My companion in misfortune and myself lived in that box
for a week with the bugs, without once going out of the door. Now, to
stay in a room for a week may not seem a very trying punishment (I was
later to spend a month in solitary confinement); but when the punishment
is wholly undeserved, and when, moreover, one is wrongly suspected of
something one would like to do but has not done, and when one is bitten
all night, and when from confinement one sees other officers walking
about in comparative freedom, one naturally begins to fret.

There were compensations, however. Firstly, a friendship grew between
my companion and myself which I hope will endure through life. Secondly,
as a prisoner, any sort of change is welcome. And, thirdly, we felt we
were doing something useful. The Commandant did not dare to force us to
sign parole. Neither could he keep us permanently in special restraint.
It is rarely that one gets the chance, as a prisoner, of putting the
enemy on the horns of such a dilemma.

This Commandant, an ugly, drunken beast, who is now, I hope, expiating
the innumerable crimes he committed against our men, caused a search to
be made one day amongst the effects of all the prisoners at
Afion-kara-hissar. One of the most interesting things he found was a
diary kept by a senior British officer, with the following entry:

"New Commandant arrived. His face looks as if it was meant to strike
matches on."

No better description could possibly have been written. He was a vain
man, and it must have cut him to the quick to see himself as others saw
him.

After a month of "special treatment" the Commandant learnt that Turkish
Army Headquarters, fearing reprisals, no doubt, would not support his
bluff in punishing us if we did not give parole. He had to climb down
completely.

We were transferred to another house, in the Armenian quarter, already
occupied by some R.N.A.S. officers, who were all determined to escape
if opportunity arose. A very cheery house-party we made.

The time was now the year of grace 1917, and our life was organised to
some extent. Once or twice a week we were allowed to play football, or
go for a walk. On Thursdays we used to troop down in a body to visit the
officers in the other houses, and on Monday mornings we were sometimes
able, with special permission, to attend the weekly fair of coke and
firewood held in the market-place. All this gave an interest to our
lives, and money, so long as one was prepared to write cheques, was not
a source of difficulty. The Turks, in fact, encouraged us to write
cheques, exchanging them for Turkish notes at nearly double their face
value (190 piastres for a pound was the best I myself received), because
they rightly thought that our signature was worth more than the
guarantees of the Turkish Government. I heard afterwards that our
cheques had a brisk circulation on the Constantinople Bourse. But one
was loth to write many. Five pounds is five pounds--and in Turkey it
represented only a packet of tea or a kilogram of sugar. . . . I saved
as much as I could for bribes when escaping.

A microscopic, but not unamusing, social life was in full swing. There
were parties and politics, clubs and cliques. Each prisoner, according
to his temperament, took his choice between grave pursuits and gay.

There were lecturers (really good ones) who discoursed on a wide range
of topics, from Mendelism to Mesopotamia. There were professors of
French, Italian, Greek, Russian, Turkish, Arabic, Hindustani, and I
daresay all the languages of Babel, ready to teach in return for
reciprocal instruction in English. Our library contained many luminous
volumes, kindly sent out by the Board of Trade. Law and Seamanship,
Semaphoring and Theology, Carpentry and the Integral Calculus, Gardening
and Genetics--such is a random selection of the subjects on which there
were experts available and eager to impart information.

But, personally, my mind resisted the seductions of learning. I learned
only how to waste time. And sometimes, perhaps, I touched the hem of
Philosophy's garment, and stammered a few words to her. Otherwise I did
nothing except try to forget things . . . things seen.

Yet one enjoyed oneself, occasionally. The football was great fun. So
also were some of the lighter sides of our indoor life. Poker used to
pass the time. So also, though more rarely, did reading. The plays which
a dramatist--soon to be eminent, I expect--presented to enthusiastic
audiences are delightful memories. His revues and topical verses were
worthy of a wider audience, and I am sure his work--unlike the most of
our labours--will not be wasted.

But best of all, I think, was to sit in a circle on the floor round a
brazier on a winter's evening, and sip hot lemon _'araq_, and listen to
songs and stories. It was a relief to laugh, and forget the fate of
those we could not help.

  "Sweet life, if love were stronger,
   Earth clear of years that wrong her . . ."

sang a soft Irish voice, whose melody seemed to melt into the cold of
one's captivity. . . . Then there were the fancy dress balls held on New
Year's Eve in 1917 and 1918. So good were they that for the night one
completely forgot one's surroundings. A very attractive barmaid
dispensed refreshments behind a table. There were several debutantes,
and at least one chaperone. Pierrot was there, and Pierrette, and
Mephistopheles, and Bacchus, and a very realistic Pirate. If some
reveller in London had looked in on us at midnight he might easily have
fancied himself at an Albert Hall dance. He would certainly not have
guessed that all the clothes and furniture and food were home-made, and
that everyone in the room was a British officer. The self-confident
flapper, for instance, who could only have given him "the next missing
three" was a Major in the Flying Corps. And the girl at the bar, with
big brown eyes, who would have offered him _'araq_ so charmingly was
really a submarine officer of the Navy, and a well-known figure at "The
Goat."

After functions such as these, the morning after the night before found
me wondering where it would all end. If the war lasted another ten
years, would I ever be fit to take a place in normal life? How long
could I keep sane in this topsy-turvy world? . . .

    *    *    *    *    *

The weather in the winter of 1918 was absolutely arctic. For a month
there was a very hard frost, and during all this time, had it not been
for festivities such as the foregoing I should have stayed stupidly in
bed and hibernated until the spring. Intenser cold I have never felt. In
the room in which we dined the water froze in our glasses on several
occasions while we were eating our evening meal. Icy winds howled
through the house, and the paper windows we had improvised (to replace
unobtainable glass) had burst, through weight of snow. Also, the plaster
of the outer walls of our mansion had peeled off, so that cold blasts
penetrated through the walls. With few clothes and only one pair of
leaky boots it was impossible to keep warm and dry-shod. Fuel, of
course, was very scarce. In my bedroom some precious quarts of beer,
which I was preserving for Christmas, froze and cracked their bottles. I
invited a party to taste my blocks of amber ice, but they were better to
look at than to swallow.

Under these climatic conditions washing was a labour that took one the
best part of the morning, and until I caught a chill I used to economize
time and fuel by rolling in the snow on the flat roof of my house. This
amused me, and surprised the neighbourhood, but it was a poor substitute
for a bath. That winter was a black, bleak time.

During the hard frost it was impossible to escape, but we used
occasionally to reconnoitre the sentries outside our house after
lock-up. I have spent some amusing moments in this way, especially in
watching one sentry (generally on duty at midnight) who used to warm
himself by playing with a cat. With pussy on one arm and his rifle on
the other, he formed a delightfully casual figure. It would have been
quite easy to pass him, but the difficulties lay beyond. . . .

I then thought, wrongly I dare say, that the only reasonable hope of
success lay in starting from Constantinople, and it was to this end that
my real schemes were shaping. But I thought it well to have two strings
to my bow, and besides, I considered no day well spent which did not
include some practical effort towards escape.

A complex of causes contributed to this idea, which became almost an
obsession. First, I dare say, was boredom. Second, the feeling that one
was not earning one's pay or doing one's duty by remaining idly a
prisoner. And thirdly--or was it firstly?--the condition under which our
men were living and the crimes which had been committed against them
made it imperative that someone should get to England with our news. It
was high time, and past high time, that the civilised world should know
how our prisoners fared.

I have already written the savage story of our life at Mosul, where the
men died from calculated cruelty. The history of the Kut prisoners is
even worse, for the crime was on a greater scale.

That garrison, debilitated from the long siege and the climatic
conditions of Mesopotamia, were marched right across Asia Minor with
hardly any clothes, no money, and insufficient food. Their nameless
sufferings will never be known in full, for many died in the desert,
clubbed to death by their guards, stripped naked, and left by the
roadside. Others were abandoned in Arab villages, when in the last
stages of fever or dysentery. Others, more fortunate, were found dead by
their companions after the night's halt, when the huddled sleepers
turned out to face another day of misery. Hopeless indeed the outlook
must have seemed to some lad fresh from the fields of home. The brutal
sentries, the arid desert, the daily deaths, the daily quarrels, the
bitterness of the future, as bleak as the acres of sand that stretched
to their unknown destination, the dwindling company of friends, the grip
of thirst, the pangs of hunger, and the pains of death--such was the
outlook for many a lad who died between Baghdad and Aleppo. Ghosts of
such memories must not be lightly evoked amongst those alive to-day,
friends of the fallen, but always they will haunt the trails of the
northern Arabian desert.

Through it all our men were heroes. To the last they showed their
captors of what stuff the Anglo-Saxon is made. The cowardly Kurds, who
were the worst of the various escorts provided between Baghdad and
Aleppo, never dared to insult our men unless they outnumbered them four
to one. Even then they generally waited until some sick man fell down
from exhaustion before clubbing him to death with their rifle-butts.

In the middle of the desert, between Mosul and Aleppo, a friend of mine
found six half-demented British soldiers who had been propped up against
the wall of a mud hut and left there to die. There was no transport, no
medicines. Nothing could be done for them. They died long before the
relief parties organised at Aleppo could come to their rescue.

At Aleppo the hospital treatment was extremely bad.

All men who were fit to move (and many who were not) were sent on in
cattle trucks to various camps in the centre of Anatolia, and when at
length they reached these camps after vicissitudes which were only a
dreary repetition of earlier experiences, they came upon the plague of
typhus at its height, and naturally, in this weakened state, succumbed
by scores and hundreds.

To see a body of our soldiers arriving at Afion-kara-hissar, pushed and
kicked and beaten by their escort, was terrible.

Our men were literally skeletons alive, skeletons with skin stretched
across their bones, and a few rags on their backs. This is an exact
statement of things seen. They struggled up the road, hardly able to
carry the pitiful little bundles containing scraps of bread, a bit of
soap, a mug, all, in short, that they had been able to save from
systematic looting on the way.

In silence, and unswerving, they passed up that road to the hospital,
and all who saw those companies of Englishmen so grim and gallant in
adversity must have felt proud their veins carried the same blood.

Once in hospital our prisoners fared no better. There were no beds for
them, and hardly any blankets or medicines. They died in groups, lying
outside the hospital.

It was a common sight to see sad parties of our men passing down this
same road, away from the hospital this time, and towards the cemetery.
Those weary processions, consisting of four or five emaciated men, with
a stretcher and a couple of shovels, used to pass underneath our windows
going to bury their comrade. They were a party of skeletons alive,
carrying a skeleton dead.

[Footnote 1: Afion = opium.]

[Footnote 2: _Pekmes_: a substitute for jam and sugar, made from
raisins.]

[Footnote 3: The _Hilal_: a Moslem morning paper, published in French.]

[Footnote 4: _Sakuska_: Russian for hors d'oeuvres--such as sardines,
frogs' legs, onions, bits of cheese, or indeed anything edible.]

[Footnote 5: _Posta_: a Turkish sentry.]



  CHAPTER VI

  THE PSYCHOLOGY OF PRISON


The contrast of tragedy and farce and the incidents, and the lack of
incident, which I have attempted to sketch in the foregoing chapter, had
a marked mental effect on all of us. But each felt the effects of
confinement differently. With me, I came to look on my life in Turkey as
something outside the actuality of existence. I did not feel "myself" at
all. I was disembodied, left with no link with the outer world, except
memory and anticipation. I was in a dark forest far from all avenues of
activity such as the sanity of society and the companionship of women.
My world seemed make-believe, and my interests counterfeit.

I worked at a novel with a friend of mine, and for a time that seemed
something practical to do. But there was always the fear that it would
be taken from us by the Turks, and the possibility that we would never
publish it.

Doubt and indecision lay heavy on me. I did not know how long captivity
would last. A criminal's sentence is fixed: not so a prisoner of war's.
He is dependent on matters beyond his control, and a will beyond his
narrow ambit. To reach that outside will, and to form a part of it
again, was my dominating wish. Through the glasses of captivity the
world was colourless and distorted. Only freedom could make me see it
again aright. And when freedom seemed remote, the world was very
colourless.

The novel amused me by snatches. Learning languages amused me at times.
But these things were really the diversions of a child, who dreams
through all its lesson-time of another and a fairer world.

But, unlike a child, I became absorbed in self. I analysed my moods, and
thought gloomily about my health. I mourned my youth, as my hair turned
grey. The sorrows of the spinster were mine and the griefs of the
middle-aged. The value of material things was magnified. The pleasures
of the palate, I confess, assumed an exaggerated importance. I found a
new joy in food, and sometimes I dreamed that I was eating. Also I
contracted the habit of smoking cigarettes in the middle of the night.
And I learnt that the effect of alcohol, when one is very depressed, is
like putting in the top clutch of the car of consciousness, so that one
runs forward smoothly on the road of life. In short, I enjoyed eating
and drinking and smoking in a way that I had never done before, and
never will again, I hope. But I know now why public-houses flourish.
After my own experience of deathly dullness, I heartily sympathise with
those who seek relief in alcohol and nicotine. They may be poison, but
in this imperfect world the deadliest poison of all is boredom.
Prohibition, as I saw it in Turkey, when tobacco was short, or food was
scarce, or alcohol was forbidden, did not impress me as being
beneficial. The fact is, we all need stimulant of one sort or another.
Normally our work, our home, or our hopes supply this need. Almost
everyone in the world is struggling (however carefully they may disguise
the fact) to be other than they are, and better (or worse) than they
are. We strive after superlatives and are rarely satisfied by them. But
in captivity, as in other circumstances of distress, this stay in life,
this hope of something different and wish for something _more_, is
suddenly removed. We are left without _stimuli_. Nothing seems to
matter. One's mental and material habits inevitably relax. A muddy idea
seems as good as a clear one--a sloppy suit of clothes serves as well as
a tidy one. Energy wanes.

But why? The reason is that the average mind cannot live on
abstractions. It must grapple with something practical. One must sharpen
one's wits on the world, and it is just this that as a prisoner one
cannot do. One cannot "lay hold on life," because there is no life to
lay hold of, except an unnatural and artificial existence, where the
sympathy of women and the dignity of work are absent. That was the crux
of the matter. Sympathy and dignity were lacking in our life. We heard
of advances and retreats as from another sphere. We read of great
heroisms and great sorrows without being close to them. We had no part
in the quarrel. We were in a squalid by-way, living out a mean tragedy,
while the fate of all we loved was in the balance. Never again would we
go fighting.

From the moment of our capture we had passed into a strange narrow life,
where the spirit of man, while retaining all its old memories and hopes,
could not express them in action.

Captivity is a minor form of death, and I was dead, to all intents and
purposes.

Often, lying a-bed in the early morning, I used to feel that my body was
completely gone, and that only a fanciful and feverish intelligence
remained. I remember especially one dawn in the spring of 1917, when I
watched two figures passing down the station road. Slouching towards the
station, and all unconscious of the beauty of the waking world, came a
soldier with his pack and rifle. He wore the grey Turkish uniform, his
beard was grey, his cheeks were also grey and sunken. Slowly, slowly he
dragged his heavy feet towards the train that would take him away to the
war. The train had been already signalled, I knew (for I kept notes of
the traffic in those days), and I found myself hoping anxiously that he
would not be late. The sooner he was killed the better. He was old and
ugly and ill. If only such as he could perish. . . . Then my thought
took wings of the morning. From the soldier, plodding onwards devotedly,
as so many men have gone to their deaths, my eye ranged across the
plains, lying dim and dark to eastward, to the horizon mountains of the
Suleiman Dagh, whose snow had already seen the messengers of morning
hasting from the lands below our world. And man seemed mean and minute
in the purposes of Nature. So ugly was he, such a blot on the landscape
with his trains and soldiers, that I wondered he continued to exist.
There was a life above our life in the dawn. The powers of the world
knew nothing of this soldier's hopes and fears. To them his endeavours
were a comedy. A huge mountain-back, with the gesture of some giant in
the playtime of long ago, seemed shrugging its shoulders at this
ridiculous straying atom of a moment's space. The train came in, and I
saw its smoke above the tree-tops of the station. It whistled shrilly,
and the soldier quickened his pace. No doubt he was late. Perhaps he
still survives, and is toiling even now towards some trench. Anyway he
passed from my ken, but I still stood at the window, looking towards the
mountains and the sky.

Then there passed an archaic ox-cart, creaking down the road slowly, as
it has creaked down the ages, from the night of Time. It was drawn by a
white heifer, whose shoulders strained against the yoke, for it was a
heavy cart. But she went forward willingly, resignedly. Work was her
portion. She would live and die under the yoke. She licked her cool
muzzle, dusted flies with her neat tail, and looked forward with
wistful eyes that seemed to see beyond her working world, to some
ultimate haven for the quiet workers. Somewhere she would find rest at
last. To my feverish imagination that white heifer symbolised the pathos
of all the driven souls who go forward unquestioning to destiny.

And the soldier with his pack was a type also of voiceless millions who
carry the burden of our civilisation.

We stagger on, under the bludgeonings of chance, and but rarely lift our
eyes to the dawn, although a daily miracle is there. Someone conducts
the orient-rite, regardless of the lives of men, which come sweeping on,
on the tide of war, to end in foam and froth. Yet from this stir of hate
and heroism some purpose must surely rise. From the travail of the
trenches some meaning will be born.

I saw things thus, through images and symbols. Across the vast inanity
of that waiting time, streaks of vision used to flash, like distant
summer lightning. Impermanent, but beautiful to me, they lit a fair
horizon. Else, all was dark.

To call this time a death in life seems an overstatement, but if my
experiences in Turkey had any mental value at all, it was just this: to
teach me how to die. A curtain had come down on consciousness when I was
captured. Since then I only lived in the Before and After of captivity.
My old self was finished. I saw it in clear but disjunct pictures of
recollection: pig-sticking, sailing, dining, dancing, or on the road to
Messines one hard November night when feet froze in stirrups and horses
slipped and struck blue lights from the cobbles. And my new self awaited
the moment of freedom. It still stirred in the womb of war.

Even so, in my belief, do the souls of our comrades lost consider their
lives on earth and look back on their time of trial with interest and
regret. Discarnate, they cannot achieve their desires, yet they long to
manifest again in the world of men. With level and unclouded eyes they
consider the incidents of mortality, and find in them a Purpose to
continue. There is work for them in the world through many lives, and
love, which will meet and re-meet its love. And so at last, drawn by
duty and affection, those who have woven their lives in the tapestry of
our time will one day take up the threads again.



  CHAPTER VII

  THE COMIC HOSPITAL IN CONSTANTINOPLE


The one bulwark against morbidity was hope of an escape. Only by getting
away, or at any rate making an attempt, could I justify my continued
existence, when so many good men were dying in the world outside--and at
our own doors.

Now certain spies, as I have told, were constantly on the look-out for
officers likely to give trouble to our custodians. The Commandant, I
knew, suspected me of wanting to escape, owing to my general eagerness
for exercise. I thought, therefore, that if I could induce him to
believe that I was ready to dream away my days at Afion-kara-hissar, I
should have established that confidence in my character which is the
basis of all success. I consequently purchased some two pounds of a
certain dark and viscous drug, wrapped in a cabbage leaf. With a sort of
theatrical secrecy (for even in Turkey Mrs. Grundy has her say), I
proceeded to prepare the stuff by boiling it for two hours in a copper
saucepan. I did this on a day when one of the Turkish staff came to the
house to distribute letters. Naturally the smell attracted notice. I
made flimsy excuses to account for it.

After distilling the decoction, filtering, and then boiling it down to
the consistency of treacle, the first phase of my little plan was
ended. One of the Turkish staff, a certain Cypriote youth, had become
thoroughly interested in my proceedings.

I showed him, under vows of secrecy which I knew he would not keep, the
stage property I had bought, consisting of two bamboo pipes, a lamp, a
terra-cotta bowl, some darning needles, and the "treacle" in a jampot.
Fortunately the most of these implements I had obtained second-hand from
a real opium-smoker, so that they did not look too new. Also I had read
de Quincey and Claude Farrère. After discussing the subject at length,
the Cypriote suggested that we might smoke together one evening. I
agreed with alacrity.

One night after lock-up, therefore, I slipped out of my house, with my
paraphernalia hidden under my overcoat. A specially bribed Turkish
sentry brought me to a silent, shuttered house in a side street. Here
the door was opened by an evil-looking harridan, who showed me upstairs
to a thickly carpeted room, strewn with cushions, on which my host was
lying. The blinds were drawn and only the glimmer of a little green lamp
lit the wreaths of whitish smoke which curled down from the low ceiling.
The fumes stang my palate and thrilled me with expectancy. I could
taste, rather than smell, that strange savour of opium which fascinates
its devotees.

I lay down, in the semi-darkness, on a sofa beside my host. After some
general conversation, I showed him my pipes and needles, but he said
that for that evening I should only smoke the opium of his brewing.

"It is a joy to have found a fellow-spirit," I sighed. "When one has
opium one wants nothing more."

"How many pipes do you smoke a day?" he asked.

"Fifty," I said boldly, adding, "when I am in practice."

"That is nothing," said the Cypriote. "I smoke a hundred. Come, let us
begin. Time is empty, except for opium."

"But who will prepare our pipes?" I asked.

"We will do that ourselves," he answered.

"I can't," I had to admit. "I--I am used to an attendant, who hands me
my pipes already cooked."

"There is no one here," he said, "except an ugly old woman. But I will
show you myself. Half the pleasure is lost if another hand prepares the
precious fluid. See, you take a drop of opium--so--on the point of the
needle, and holding it over the flame of the lamp, you turn and turn it
gently until it swells and expands and glows with its hidden life. From
a black drop it changes to a glowing bubble of crimson. Then you cool it
again, moulding and pressing it back to a little pellet upon the glass
of the lampshade. Then again you cook it, and again you cool it. Only
experience can tell when it is ready to smoke. It is an art, like other
arts. I would rather cook opium than write a poem. It is even better
than money. Now you take your pipe and, heating the little hole through
which the opium is smoked, so that it will stick, you thrust your
needle--so--into the hole, and then withdraw it again, leaving the
pellet of perfect peace behind. And now, lying on your left side, with
your head well back amongst the cushions, you hold your pipe over the
flame and draw in a long and grateful breath. In and in you
breathe. . . ."

I watched him take a deep draught of the drug, and then lie back among
the cushions with heavy-lidded eyes. For a full half-minute he remained
silent and dreaming, then expelled the thick white smoke with a sigh of
bliss.

It was my turn now, and not without some dismay (although curiosity was
probably a stronger emotion) I accepted a pipe of his preparing. I
inhaled in and in--I choked a little--and then lay back with a
dreaminess that was not simulated, for it had made me feel giddy.

"You prepare a most perfect pipe," I coughed through the acrid fumes.

But I had realised immediately that I had not an opium temperament. In
all I smoked ten small pipes that first evening, without feeling any ill
effects beyond a heavy lassitude, which lasted all through the following
day. I was disappointed and disgusted by the experience. The beautiful
dreams are a myth. So also is the deadly fascination of the drug. I
loathed it more each time I tasted it.

Yet those nights I lay on a sofa, _couché à gauche_ as opium-smokers
say, weaving a tissue of deceit into the grey-white clouds encircling
us, will always remain one of the most curious memories of my life. The
couches, the needles and the pipes, the pin-point pupils and wicked
profile of my host, as he leaned over the green glimmer of the lamp
which burnt to the god to whom his heart was given, and the growth of
that god in him, as pipe followed pipe to stir his consciousness, and
the beatitude that lit his features, as he looked up from amidst the
cushions to that dream-world of subtle smoke, to be seen only with
narrowed eyes, where princes of the poppies reign: this had a glamour
against the drab setting of captivity which I will neither deny nor
excuse. I was doing something practical once more. Instead of reading
philosophy or playing chess, I was engaged in a human game, whose stake
was freedom.

A measure of success attended my efforts, for I learnt from the
Cypriote, in the course of subsequent visits to his house, that if I
wished for a holiday to Constantinople it would not be difficult to
arrange.

I think we were both playing a double game.

We both tried to make the other talk, he with the idea of getting
information about the camp and I in the hope of picking up some hint as
to where to hide in Constantinople. But card-sharpers might as well have
tried to fleece each other by the three card trick. His knowledge of
Constantinople seemed to be _nil_, while the information he got out of
me would not have filled his opium pipe. After these excursions I used
sometimes to wonder whether I was not wasting my time and health. But
time is cheap in captivity, and as to health, I used to counteract the
opium by counter-orgies of exercises. In the early mornings I skipped
and bathed in secret, but in the daytime I tottered wanly about the
streets, and whenever I saw the Cypriote I told him that I craved for
_confiture_: this being our name for opium.

In my condition it was an easy matter to be sent to the doctor. I told
him various astonishing stories about my health, chiefly culled from a
French medical work which I found in the waiting-room of his house.
Within a month I was transferred to Haidar Pasha Hospital, near
Constantinople. Had I been in brutal health, the operation to my nose
which was the ostensible reason of my departure would not have been
considered necessary. But I had been removed from the category of
suspects, and was now considered an amiable invalid.

    *    *    *    *    *

The guard on my northward journey was more like a sick attendant than a
sentry. I showed him some opium pills, which I declared were delicious
to take. He evinced the greatest interest, and I was able to prevail on
him to swallow two or three as an experiment. Unfortunately, after he
had taken them, I discovered they contained nothing more exciting than
cascara. They did not send him to sleep at all.

We arrived at Haidar Pasha without incident. Before being admitted, my
effects were searched, and stored away, but being by that time
accustomed to searches, I was able to hide, upon my person, a variety
of things that would be useful in an escape, notably a compass, and a
complete set of maps of Constantinople and its surroundings.

Captain Sir Robert Paul, with whom I had discussed plans at
Afion-kara-hissar, was already installed in hospital, where he was being
treated for an aural complaint. His friendship was an inestimable
stand-by through the months that followed. Through scenes of farce and
tragedy he was always the same feckless and fearless spirit. In success,
as in adversity, he kept an equal mien. Without him, the most amusing
chapters in my life would not have happened, and if I write "_I_" in the
pages which follow, it is only because Robin, as I shall hereafter call
him, has not been consulted about this record of our days together.
Owing to circumstances beyond our control, the full responsibility for
this story must be mine. The seas divide us. I cannot ask his help, or
solicit his approval.

The hospital at Haidar Pasha was the most delightfully casual place
imaginable. One wandered into one's ward in a Turkish nightshirt, and
wandered out again at will, the only limits to peregrination being the
boundaries of the hospital and one's own rather fantastic dress. Unless
one asked loudly and insistently for medicines or attendance, no one
dreamed of doing anything at all in the way of treatment. The only
attention the patients received was to be turned out of the hospital
when they were either dead or restored to health. Under the latter
category a crowd of invalids came every day, who were generally ejected
just before noon, clamouring loudly for their mid-day meal, and the
unexpended portion of their day's ration. Of deaths in hospital I
witnessed only one, although scores occurred during my stay. One evening
an Armenian officer was brought into my ward with severe wounds in the
head, due to a prematurely exploded bomb. He was laid flat on a bed, and
instantly proceeded to choke. No one came near him. It seemed obvious to
me that if he was propped up by pillows he would be able to breathe. But
no one propped him up. I suggested to the hospital orderly that this
should be done, and he said, "Yarin." And "yarin" the poor officer died
of lack of breath. How sick men survived is a mystery to me, because
they were never attended to, unless strong enough to scream. Screaming,
however, is a habit to which the Turkish patient is not averse. He does
not believe in the stoical repression of feeling. Strong and brave men
will bellow like bulls while their wounds are being dressed. Unless,
indeed, one makes a fuss, no one will believe one is being hurt. I have
seen mutton-fisted dressers tearing off bandages by main force, while
some unfortunate patient with a stoical tradition sweats with agony and
bites his lips in silence.

But although the Turk cries out, he is by no means a coward under the
knife. His stern and simple faith seems to help him here. There is
something very fine about a good Moslem's readiness for death. No man
who knows the religion, or has lived intimately among its adherents, can
fail to give it reverence. Before God all men are equal, and when one
walks about in a nightshirt, one begins to realise this fundamental
truth. There was a great friendliness in that hospital, and a cordiality
that coloured the otherwise sordid surroundings. Poor jettison of the
war, broken with fighting, or rotten with disease, or shamming sick, we
forgathered in the corridors, or in the garden, with no thought for the
external advantages of rank and fortune.

Matches at that time had practically disappeared from Turkey, and
whenever one issued from the ward with a cigarette between one's lips,
one was beset by invalids in search of a light. Who lit the original
vestal fire I do not know, but I am sure it was never extinguished in
that hospital. Patients smoked and talked all night.

We took our part with pleasure in this picnic life. Robin, with
remarkable skill, had contrived to smuggle in various forbidden bottles,
which contributed greatly to our popularity. One drink especially, from
its innocuous appearance and stimulating properties, found great favour
amongst the patients. It was known as "Iran," and consisted of equal
parts of sour milk and brandy. A teetotaller might safely be seen with a
long glass of creamy-looking fluid, yet Omar Khayyám himself would not
have despised a jug of it. Imbibing this, we used to hold polyglot
pow-wows with the patients, in French, German, Arabic, Italian, and
Turkish. Sugar and tea from our parcels also did much to promote
cordiality.

The recent explosion in Haidar Pasha station, which blew out all the
windows of our (adjacent) hospital, and the first British air raid of
1918 were frequent topics of discussion. With regard to these events we
invented a beautiful lie, namely, that the station explosions were the
result of bombardment by a new type of submarine we possessed, but that,
_per contra_, the first air raid, which did no damage, was not carried
out by British aircraft at all. We proved by assorted arguments in
various languages that the bombs on Constantinople had come from German
aeroplanes, the raid being a display of Hun frightfulness, to show what
would happen if Turkish allegiance wavered over the thorny question of
the disposal of the Black Sea fleet. Nothing was too improbable to be
true in Constantinople, and nothing indeed was too absurd to be
possible. Enver Pasha had made a monopoly in milk, and a corner in
velvet. The new Sultan was intriguing for the downfall of the Young
Turks. The funds of the Committee of Union and Progress had been sent to
Switzerland, where a Turkish pound purchased thirteen francs of Swiss
security, or half its face value. Fortunes were won and lost on the
meteoric fluctuations of paper money. A lunatic inmate of the hospital
(formerly a Smyrniote financier, driven to despair by the press gang)
told me that he could make a million on the bourse if they only set him
free for a few hours, and I daresay he was right. Anything might have
happened during those summer days. Secret presses were engaged in
printing broadsheets of revolution. The nearer the Germans got to Paris,
the more persistent were the stories of their defeat. The air was
electric with rumours. The story about German aeroplanes bombing
Constantinople, which we had started in jest, was retailed to us later,
in all earnestness, and with every detail to give it probability.
Anything to the discredit of their ally found currency in the Turkish
capital.

An Ottoman cadet in my ward, for instance, used to impersonate a German
officer ordering his dinner in a Turkish restaurant. He managed somehow
to convey the swagger, and the stays, and the stiff neck. Clattering his
sword behind him, he used to seat himself stiffly at a table and call
haughtily for a waiter. Then, after glaring at the menu, he used to
order--a dish of haricot beans. "Des haricots," he used to snap, with
hand on sword-hilt in the exact and invariable Prussian manner.

But to the last, the Germans were all-unconscious of what went on behind
their corseted backs. Only at the time of the armistice, when they were
pelted with rotten vegetables, did they realise that something was
amiss.

To return to our hospital. Our day began with rice and broth at six in
the morning. At nine the visiting doctor made his rounds and the
patients who needed medicines clamoured for them. Unless one made a
fuss, however, one was left in perfect peace. At midday there was more
rice and broth, with occasional lumps of meat. The afternoon was devoted
to sleep, and the evenings to exercise in the garden, or intrigue. Rice
and broth concluded the day. This sounds dull, but after two years of
prison life, the hours seemed as crowded as a London season's. To begin
with, we did not attempt to subsist on hospital fare, but commissioned
various orderlies and friends to buy us food outside. Then there was the
never-failing interest of making plans. A certain person raised our
hopes to the zenith by telling us of the possibility of a boat calling
for us at night, at a landing place just below the British cemetery. The
idea was to embark in this boat, row across to a steamer, and there
enter large sealed boxes in which we would pass the Customs up the
Bosphorus, and then make Odessa. The plan was almost complete. The
shipping people had been "squared." It only remained for us to select
the spot from which to embark. With this object in view, we reconnoitred
the British cemetery which abutted on the hospital grounds. It was then
being used as an anti-aircraft station, and when, a few days later, the
first air raid came, we saw the exact positions of the Turkish machine
guns, spitting lead at our aircraft from among the Crimean graves. This
air raid, and the atmosphere of "frightfulness" caused thereby, rather
interfered with our escape plans. First of all we were forbidden to go
near the British cemetery, and later other small privileges were
curtailed which greatly "cramped our style." For some time we could not
get in touch with the person already alluded to.

Meanwhile the arrival of our aeroplanes was a very stimulating sight.
Everyone in hospital turned out to see the show.

Crump! crump! Woof!--said the bombs.

Woo-woo-woom!--answered the Archies.

Kk-kk-kk-kk! chattered the machine guns.

"God is great," muttered the hospital staff.

"Give me a gun!" cried one of the two British officers posing as
lunatics (I have already related how they had pretended to hang
themselves). "Give me a gun," he reiterated loudly--"this is all a plot
to kill me, and I must defend myself!"

Calmly and confidently our machines sailed through the barrage, dropped
their bombs, turned to have a look at Constantinople, and then sailed
away.

The British lunatic shook his fist at them, as he was led back gibbering
to his ward. The head doctor was much concerned as to his condition.

"Every day," he told me--"some new madness takes that poor deluded
creature. Eighteen pounds were paid to him recently and he promptly tore
the notes in half and scattered them about the room. When he was asked
if he wanted anything from the Embassy he wrote for a ton of carbolic
soap, and half a ton of chocolate. On another occasion he jumped into
the hospital pond with his pipe in his mouth, declaring he was on fire.
I dare not send him to England without an escort, for he would do
himself some injury. As to the other British lunatic, he has not spoken
for five weeks. I do not know what is to be done."

Neither did I, for I was not then aware of the patient's true condition,
and had no desire to "butt in." They had lived for several months among
the other madmen in hospital, and I thought it probable that they had
really lost their reason.

The lunatics' ward was a terrifying place. My experience of it, although
limited to a few hours, was enough to last a lifetime. In order to
secure drugs for "doping" sentries I complained of severe insomnia one
day, and was sent to the mental specialist. While waiting for him, I
noticed that one of the British lunatics was regarding me with
unblinking furious eyes, while the other was praying--apparently for the
souls of the damned. The Greek financier was singing softly to himself,
and applauding himself. There is something very alarming about madness.
One feels suddenly and closely what a narrow margin divides us from a
world of terror. Their souls stand forlornly by their bodies, knocking
at the door of intelligence.

When the mental specialist arrived, I was seized by grave alarm. What if
he should find me insane? . . .

He held up a finger, tracing patterns in the air, and told me to watch
it closely. While I watched him, he watched me.

"The moving finger writes," I thought, "and having writ . . ."

"I can see your finger perfectly," I protested nervously.

"Far from it," said the enthusiastic specialist. "You are not following
it with your eyes."

"I am--indeed I am," said I, squinting at his fat forefinger.

"I am told you cannot sleep," continued my interlocutor. "You seem to me
to be suffering from nervous exhaustion."

"A little sleeping draught . . ." I suggested.

"I ought to observe you for a few days," he answered.

"Not here?" I quavered.

"Yes, here."

"But I do not like the--other lunatics," said I, in a small voice.

Eventually, to my great delight, I was allowed to remain where I was,
and was given (as reward for the danger I had endured) several cachets
of bromide and a few tablets of trional.

I returned in triumph to my ward, and Robin and I laid our heads
together. With the drugs we now possessed it would be possible to send
our sentries to sleep when we were moved from hospital, if the person
who was making plans for us to be taken on board a Black Sea steamer
failed to communicate in time. But the question now arose as to how much
of these drugs was suitable for the Turkish constitution. The object was
to administer a sleeping draught, not a fatal dose. If we were
transferred from Haidar Pasha we knew we should be sent for a time to
the garrison camp of Psamattia (a suburb of Constantinople on the
European side) and our intention was to inveigle our attendants into
having lunch during our journey there, and ply them with Pilsener beer,
suitably prepared, until they were somnolent and unsuspicious enough to
make it feasible to bolt.

Neither the bromide nor the trional could be tasted in cocoa or coffee,
we discovered, so one evening, I regret to say, I carried out an
experiment on a wounded patient, who was otherwise quite fit, although
rather sleepless, by giving him a cachet of bromide and a tablet of
trional in a cup of cocoa. In about half an hour his eyelids began to
flicker, and he was soon sleeping like a lamb. Next morning he
complained of a slight headache. Should he chance to read these lines I
hope he will accept my apologies. _À la guerre comme à la guerre._

So now we had the beginning of a second plan, in case the box business
_via_ the Black Sea failed. But, in the event of escaping during our
journey to Psamattia, we had no very clear idea of where to hide. That
there were Greek and Jewish quarters in Galata and in Pera we knew, and
also in the northern part of Stamboul, but the chances of detection in
any of these localities were great, especially as we had no disguises at
the time. There remained a possibility of hiding in the ruins of recent
fires, but it was difficult to see how we were to live there. On the
whole the Black Sea trip seemed to offer the most favourable
opportunities of success. But to carry it out, we had to wait, and wait,
and still to wait, until we heard from our agent again. And eventually
the time came when we could wait no longer. . . .

A week or two is nothing in Turkey, but unfortunately we had attracted a
certain amount of undesirable attention in hospital by our popular
supper-parties and reputed wealth. There was also a Bulgarian nurse who
had an uncanny intuition about our intentions. She told the visiting
doctor that two other nurses were in the habit of bringing us brandy.
She also said we were both quite well and had never in fact been ill at
all. The latter statement was true, but the former I can only attribute
to pique, the brandy having come from other sources. However, this did
not affect the fact that we were politely but firmly told that we had
greatly benefited by our stay in hospital. This was equivalent to a
notice of dismissal. We would have to go. Thereupon we both instantly
pulled very long faces, and went to see the ear and nose specialist. He
was our one hope of being allowed to stay on.

While waiting for an interview, I had an opportunity of seeing an
eminent army surgeon at work on the Turkish soldiers. Let me preface
this description by emphasising the fact that he _was_ eminent. He was
no rough bungler, but a clever practitioner, well known for his
professional and human sympathy. This is the scene I saw.

The doctor sat on a high stool, by the window, with a round reflector
over his right eye. A glass table beside him was strewn with
instruments. A lower stool seated his victims. In his hand he held a
thing like a small glove-stretcher. Behind him two young assistants
stood, looking like choir boys who had been fighting, in their robes of
blood-stained white. The room was full of miserable shivering soldiers.

A deaf old man takes the vacant seat in front of the doctor. The
glove-stretcher darts into his ear. A question is asked. The old man
gibbers in reply. Glove-stretcher darts into the other ear. Another
question. More gibbering. Both his ears are soundly boxed, and he is
sent away. The next is a goitre case, too unpleasant for description.
Suddenly the attendants come forward, and pull off all his clothes. The
doctor removes the reflector from his right eye, and stares for a moment
at the ghastly skinny shape with a sack hanging from its throat. Then he
dictates a prescription to one of the attendants, and seizes the next
soldier. Prescription and clothes are thrown at the naked man, who walks
out shivering, holding his apparel in his arms. Meanwhile another victim
is already trembling on the stool. This man trembles so violently that
he falls down in a faint. The attendants cuff him back to consciousness.
Painfully he gets up and tries to face the instrument again. But as the
glove-stretcher is being inserted into his nostril, he turns the colour
of weak tea and again silently collapses. The doctor does not give him a
second look. One of the attendants drags his limp body to a corner,
while another patient takes the seat in front of the doctor. After a few
more cases have been examined, the two attendants return to the
unconscious man in the corner, drag him back to the doctor and hold his
lolling head to the light, while the glove-stretcher does its work. Then
he is pulled away, like a dummy from an arena, to the door of the
consulting room, where (and here I confess I expected a scene) a woman
awaited him. But she seemed to consider it all in the day's work.
Perhaps poor Willie was subject to fainting fits. . . .

I knew I would not faint, but I cannot say I took my turn on that seat
with a light heart. The surgeon was alarmingly sudden, and already the
room looked like a shambles.

    *    *    *    *    *

To my relief, he used a new glove-stretcher.

"Slightly deflected septum," he pronounced, and his diagnosis was later
confirmed in London.

"I hurt my nose boxing," I explained conversationally, "and cannot now
breathe through it. I would like to stay----"

"Can't stay here." he said instantly and incisively; "no time to deal
with your case."

"But I can't breathe through my nose."

"Breathe through your mouth," he suggested kindly, but a little coldly.

Now, it is impossible to "wangle" a man who sits over you with a
reflecting mirror screwed into his right eye. I vanished with suitable
thanks.

Robin had better luck with his ear. He could have stayed on in hospital
and would very likely have been invalided back to England eventually.
But he absolutely refused to exchange the comfortable security of a
bodily affliction for the vivider joys of escape. In spite of my advice
to stay in hospital, he decided, to my great delight, that we would try
our luck together.

All hope of remaining in hospital was now at an end.

That evening at sunset we were in the garden, looking across the blue
waters of the Marmora to the mosques and minarets of old Stamboul,
flushed with the loveliest tints of pink.

It was the last evening but one of Ramazan. To-morrow the crescent of
the new moon would appear over the dome of San Sofia, as a sign to all
that the fast had ended, and the time of rejoicing come. Between that
moon and the next moon an unknown future lay before us. And whatever our
fate, it was sure to be something exciting.



  CHAPTER VIII

  OUR FIRST ESCAPE


Our crossing from Haidar Pasha to the garrison camp at Psamattia was a
tame affair. Early in the day we had made up our minds that it would be
unwise to escape, as well as unkind to our indulgent sentries: unwise,
because we realised that if we bolted blindly from a restaurant, we
would probably be caught at the first lodging-house at which we tried to
gain admission; and unkind because, in common chivalry, we decided that
our sentries were too trustful to be drugged.

Our day, therefore, was spent in seeing the sights of Pera, gossiping
over a cocktail bar, purchasing some illicit maps under cover of a large
quantity of German publications, and generally learning the lie of the
land. But it might be indiscreet even at this distance of time to
describe in too great detail the sources from which we obtained our
information. One name, however--like King Charles' head with Mr.
Dick--will keep coming into this book. I cannot keep it out, because it
is impossible to think of my escape and escapades without thinking of
the gallant lady who made them possible.

Miss Whitaker, as she then was (she is now Lady Paul), knew something
about all the escapes which took place in Turkey, and a great deal about
a great many of them. Against every kind of difficulty from foes, and
constant discouragement from friends[6] she boldly championed the cause
of our prisoners through the dark days of 1916 and 1917. She visited the
sick in hospital, she carried plum puddings to our men working at San
Stefano, she was a never-failing source of sympathy and encouragement.
She sent messages for us, and wrote letters, and lent us money and
clothes. She was the good angel of the English at Constantinople, a
second--and more fortunate--Miss Cavell.

And she was the _Deus ex machina_ of my escapes. Having said this, I
will say one thing more. I cannot here put down one-tenth of the daring
work that Lady Paul did for me and others. The reason may be obvious to
the reader; at any rate it is binding on me to say far less than I would
wish.

On reaching the prisoners' camp at Psamattia, our first object was to
get in touch with her whom we had already heard of as the guardian
spirit of prisoners. With this object in view, we asked to be allowed to
attend Sunday service at the English church. Religious worship, we
pointed out, should not be interfered with, further than the necessities
of war demanded. After some demur the Commandant agreed, and accordingly
we went to church. Here it was[7] that we met our guardian angel for the
first time. She trembled visibly when we mentioned our plans for escape,
and I thought (little knowing her) that we had been rash to speak so
frankly.

"I strongly advise delay," she whispered--"but I will meet you again at
the gardens in Stamboul in two days' time--four o'clock. I'll be reading
a----"

"_Haidé, effendim, haidé, haidé_," said our sentry, and her last words
were lost.

Further conversation was impossible, but the forty-eight hours which
followed were vivid with anticipation.

How were we to manage to get to the gardens of the Seraglio? Would we
meet her? Could we talk to her? Would she have a plan? . . .

On the day appointed, Robin and I complained of toothache, and asked to
be allowed to go into the city to see the dentist. We were at once
granted permission.

From the dentist's to the Seraglio garden was only a step, but we were
four hours too early as yet to keep the rendezvous. However, a large
lunch, in which our sentries shared, smoothed the way for a little
shopping excursion into Pera. Here, amongst other things, we bought some
black hair dye, which completed our arrangements for escape. Other
paraphernalia, such as jack-knives, twenty fathoms of rope, maps,
compasses, sand-shoes, chocolate and "dope," we had already acquired.
Nothing now remained but to find a hiding place, when once we had
escaped.

At about three o'clock we were sitting in a café, eating ices, with our
complacent sentries, who had every reason to be complacent for they had
been sumptuously fed, as well as liberally tipped. They were quite
willing to do anything in reason, and nothing could have been more
natural than a stroll in the Seraglio gardens.

But just then Robin began to get "Spanish 'flu," which was raging in the
city. The symptoms were as sudden as they were unmistakable. Violent
shivering, giddiness, weakness--all the ills that flesh is heir to,
waylaid him at this vital juncture. He was completely incapable of
action.

There was no help for it. I left him shaking and shivering in the café,
in charge of one of our two sentries, and, after a little persuasion
and some palaver (during the course of which another bank-note changed
hands) I induced the other sentry to accompany me for a stroll. Unless
we walked in the gardens, I assured him, we should both fall ill with
the deadly contagion of my friend. Nothing but fresh air and iced beer
could avert that fever. On the way, therefore, we stopped for a glass
and I managed to drop a small dose of potassium bromide into the
sentry's mug before it was given to him.

A little before four the sentry and I were smoking cigarettes on a seat
in the Seraglio gardens quite close to the Stamboul entrance gate.

It was a hot day, with thunder-clouds hanging low. Toilers of the city
passed us fanning themselves. Turkish officers had pushed back their
heavy fur fezzes, and civilians wore handkerchiefs behind theirs. German
ladies panted loudly, and even the _hanoums_ appeared to be a little
jaded: their small feet and great eyes, that so often twinkle in the
streets, had grown dull with the oppression of the day. Small wonder my
sentry nodded.

Presently, with a walk that no one could mistake, a tall and slim figure
entered, dressed in white serge coat and skirt. I watched her, on the
opposite footpath, strolling down the shady avenue with an insouciant
grace. She held a novel and a little tasselled bag in her right hand.
She sat down some two hundred yards away, and began reading calmly and
coolly, apparently quite unconscious of the feverish world about her.

With a hasty glance at my sentry, I rose and walked very slowly away. He
woke at once, and followed. I stopped to look at some flowers, yawned,
lit another cigarette and said to the sentry that it was too hot to
walk. I intended to sit for a little in the shade on the opposite side
of the road, and then we would go back to join our friend at the café.

We meandered across the road, and I sank into a seat beside the guardian
angel. There was no room for the sentry, so he obligingly retired into
the shrubbery behind.

Without taking her eyes from her novel, she began by saying I was not to
look at her, and that I was to speak very low, looking in the opposite
direction.

She then asked where my companion was, and on hearing he had the 'flu,
she told me that she also had been attacked by it at the very moment
that we had spoken to her at church, and that it was only with
difficulty she had been able to keep the rendezvous to-day. I tried to
thank her for coming, but she kept strictly to business, and
concentrated our conversation to bare facts. Her news ranged from the
world at war, to plans for Robin and me, in vivid glimpses of
possibility. She covered continents in a phrase, and dealt with the
plans of two captives in terse but sympathetic comment. When she had
told me what she wanted to say, she opened her small bag and took out a
piece of paper, rolled up tight, which she flicked across to me without
a moment's hesitation.

"You had better go now," she said.

But my heart was brimming over with things unsaid.

"I simply cannot thank----" I began to stammer.

"Don't!" said she, to the novel on her knees.

And so, with no salute to mark the great occasion, I left her. Neither
of us had seen the other's face.

Here I must apologise for purposely clouding the narrative. The plans I
made are only public so far as they concern myself.

On rejoining Robin, I found him palpitant and perturbed. The fever was
at its height and he ought to have been in bed. Yet it was urgently
necessary that evening, before returning, to make certain investigations
in the native quarter of the city. How to do this without attracting the
notice of the two sentries, perspiring but still perceptive, was a
matter of great concern to me. I thought of saying that I was going to
buy medicine for Robin, but in that case one of the sentries (probably
Robin's, for my own had grown very somnolent with beer and bromide)
would certainly accompany me. Then I bethought me of going to wash my
hands in a place behind the café and slipping out of a back door. But
there was no back door, and Robin's sentry had followed me to the
wash-place, and stood stolidly by the door until I came out.

I sat down again, thinking and perspiring furiously,[8] and ordered
more beer. But this time I failed to manipulate the bromide. Robin's
sentry saw me with the packet in my hand and asked me what it was.

"It is a medicine for reducing fat," said I, and of course after this I
had to keep the drugged beer for myself. But the sedative did no harm.
After sipping for some minutes I had a happy thought.

There was a particular brand of cigarettes which were only obtainable at
a few shops in Constantinople. I asked the waiter if he had them. He had
not.

"I must have a packet," I said, standing up--"there is a shop just down
the street where I can get them."

And without taking my hat or stick (as a proof of the innocence of my
intentions) I strolled out of the café.

The sentries did not follow. It was too hot.

I rushed down the crowded thoroughfare as if all the hounds of heaven
were on my trail. I fled past policemen, dodged a tram, bolted up a
side-street, and arrived gasping at the doorway I sought. After a hasty
survey of the locality, so as to identify it again at need, I rushed
back to the restaurant, buying a box of Bafra-Madène cigarettes on the
way. Robin was still shivering; the sentries were mopping their large
faces. All was well. Our work was done.

Trying not to look triumphant, I got Robin into a cab, and we drove back
to Psamattia camp.

During the next few days I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Not so Robin, who
was grappling with his fever. Later, however, when he was convalescent,
we used to go down to the seashore together to bathe. In the evening, we
used to sup off lobsters at a restaurant on the beach. In the water one
felt almost free once more, and in the restaurant, when one was not
gambling "double or quits" with the lobster-merchant as to whether we
should pay him two pounds for his lobster or nothing at all, we were
talking politics with other diners. Those days of Robin's convalescence
were delightful. The moon was near its full, which is the season when
lobsters ought to be eaten, and the climate was perfect, and our hopes
were high.

    *    *    *    *    *

Psamattia is one of the most westerly suburbs of Stamboul. From it, a
maze of tortuous streets lead to the railway terminus of Sirkedji, and
the Galata bridge over the Golden Horn. On the eastern side of the
Golden Horn lie the European quarters of Galata and Pera. From our camp
at Psamattia to the house where we intended to hide was a distance of
five miles, and there were at least two police posts on the way. But
with our hair dyed black (we had already effected this transformation,
and it is astonishing how it changes one's appearance) and fezzes on our
heads, we trusted to pass unnoticed as Greeks.

Our plan had a definite and limited objective. We wanted to escape by
night from Psamattia and hide in Constantinople. Once in hiding, we
trusted to going by boat to Russia, or else going with brigands to the
Mediterranean coast, where our patrols might pick us up. But the first
object was to get away from the camp. Until this was achieved it was
almost impossible to make definite arrangements. At first we had thought
that it would be an easy matter to give our sentries the slip when we
were out shopping. But when it came to the point, we felt scruples about
bolting from men we had bribed and wheedled so often. All's fair in love
and war, but yet if it could be avoided we did not want to abuse their
trust in us.

There remained the alternative of escaping by night from the house where
we were interned. But when Robin had become fit enough to try (and of
course he was all agog to be off at the first possible moment) we found
the guards were more alert than we thought.

Our situation was roughly this: We were housed in the Armenian
Patriarchate, next to the Psamattia Fire Brigade, and there were
sentries in every street to which access was possible, by craft or by
climbing. The window of our room, which was directly over the doorway
where the main guard lived, looked out on to a narrow street, across
which there was another house, inhabitated by Russian prisoners of war.
At first we thought it might be possible to pretend to go to the Russian
house, and, while casually crossing the street, to mingle with the
passers-by, and melt away unnoticed in the crowd. We tried this plan,
but it was no good. The guards on our doorway were alert, and followed
our every movement. . . . To slip out with the Armenian funerals which
used to go through our gateway was another project doomed to
failure. . . . To get into the Armenian church, on the night before a
burial, remove the occupant of a coffin and so pass out next morning in
the centre of the funeral procession, was an idea which excited us for a
time. But the melodrama we had planned could not be executed, because
the church was locked and guarded at night. . . . To climb out of the
back window of the Russian house also proved impossible, because a
sentry stood outside it always. . . . Every point was watched. Two
sentries armed with old Martini rifles (of archaic pattern but
unpleasantly big bore) were posted directly below our window. Two more
similarly equipped were opposite, at the door of the Russian house. One
man with a new rifle was behind the Russian house. Two more were behind
ours, and one was in a side street. There were also men on duty at the
entrance to the Fire Brigade.

After considering all sorts of methods we decided on a plan whose chief
merit was its seeming impossibility. No one would have expected us to
try it.

Our idea was to climb out of our window at night, and by crossing some
ten foot of wall-face, to gain the shelter of the roof of the next door
house. This roof was railed by a parapet, behind which we could crouch.
Along it we would creep, until we reached a cross-road down the street.
Here we would slip down a rope to the pavement, and although we would be
visible to at least five sentries during our descent, it seemed probable
that no particular sentry would consider himself responsible for the
cross-roads, which was beyond their beat.

To climb out of a window set in a blank wall, about thirty feet above a
busy street where four sentries stood, did not seem a reasonable thing
to do. But the wall was not as impassable as it seemed. Two little
ledges of moulding ran along it, under our window-sill, so that we had a
narrow yet sufficient foothold and handhold until we reached the roof of
the adjoining house. And although we would be visible during our
precarious transit of the wall-face, we knew that people rarely look up
above their own height, and rarely look for things they don't expect.

It was the night of the twenty-seventh of July, when a bright full moon
rode over the sea behind our house, that we decided to make the attempt.

The first point was to get out of the window without being seen. . . . A
Colonel of the Russian Guards, a little man with a great heart,
volunteered to help us. Directly we extinguished the lights in our room,
he was to engage the sentries at the door of the opposite house, where
he lived, in an animated conversation, keeping them interested, even by
desperate measures if need be, until our first ten yards of climbing was
successfully accomplished.

After a cordial good-bye, he left us. We took off our boots and slung
them round our necks, drank a stirrup cup to our success, roped
ourselves together, coiled the remainder of the rope round our waists,
stuffed our pockets and knapsacks with our escaping gear, and then blew
out our lamp, as if we were going to bed. Crouched under the window-sill
we waited. . . . The sentries below us were sitting on stools in the
street. The two men opposite were lolling against the doorpost, and the
moon, rising behind our house, while still leaving the street in shadow,
had just caught their faces, so that their every eyelash was visible. To
them came the little Colonel, and only the top of his cap reached the
moonlight. We heard his cheery voice. We saw both sentries looking down,
presumably helping themselves to his cigarettes.

That waiting moment was very tense. An initial failure would have been
deplorable, yet many things made failure likely. At such times as these,
the confidence of one's companion counts for much, and I shall never
forget Robin's bearing. Anyone who has been in similar circumstances
will know what I mean. He went first out of the window. I followed an
instant later. . . . And once the first step was taken, once my feet
were on that two-inch ledge and my hands clung to the upper strip, the
complexion of things altered completely. Anxiety vanished, leaving
nothing but a thrill of pleasure. One was master of one's fate.

At one moment we were in view of four sentries (two at our door and two
opposite), a Turkish officer who had come to take the air at our
doorway, and several passers-by in the street. But no one looked up. No
one saw the two men, only five yards away, who clambered slowly along
the string-course, like flies on a wall.

After gaining the roof of the next house, we lay flat and breathless
behind the parapet, and thanked God we had succeeded in--not making
fools of ourselves, anyway.

The parapet was lower than we thought, and in order to get the advantage
of its cover it was necessary to remain absolutely prone in the gutter
of the roof. In this position, from ten o'clock till half past eleven,
we wriggled and wriggled along the house-tops, past a dead cat and other
offensive objects, until at last we had covered the distance. Once,
during this stalk, my rope got hitched up on a nail, and I had to
wriggle back to free it. And once, having raised myself to take a look
round, one of the sentries on the Russian house ran out into the street
and started making a tremendous noise. I don't know what it was about,
but it alarmed me very much, and condemned us to marble immobility for a
time.

At last, however, we reached the end of our wriggle. But here a new
difficulty confronted us. Directly overlooking the part of the roof from
which we contemplated our descent, and less than ten yards away, an
officer of the Psamattia Fire Brigade sat at an open window, looking
anxiously up and down the street, as if expecting someone to keep an
appointment. His window was on a level with us. So intently did he stare
that I thought he had seen us. But we lay dead-still behind the parapet,
and it became apparent, as time passed and he still stood disconsolate
by the window, that we were not the objects of his languishing
regard. . . . And meanwhile the moon--the kindly old moon that sees so
much--was creeping up the sky. Soon she would flood us with her
radiance. Even a love-sick officer of the Fire Brigade could not fail to
notice us across the narrow street, lit by the limelight of all the
universe. For an hour this annoying Romeo kept watch, while we discussed
the situation in tiny whispers, and cursed feminine unpunctuality. But
at last, just as we had determined to "let go the painter" and take our
chance, he began to yawn and stretch and look towards his bed, which we
could see at the further end of his room. "You are tired of waiting: she
isn't worth it!" I sent in thought-wave across the street. He seemed to
hesitate, then he yawned again, and just as our protecting belt of
shadow had narrowed to a yard, he gave up his hopes of Juliet, and
retired.

That was our moment.

[Illustration: THE ARMENIAN PATRIARCHATE AT PSAMATTIA, CONSTANTINOPLE.]

We stood up, and made the rope fast to a convenient ring in the parapet.
Traffic in the street had ceased. The sentries were huddled in their
coats, for it was a chilly summer night. Up street, a dog was yapping,
and its voice seemed to stab the silence. Before stepping over the
parapet I took a last look at the world I left and thanked God.

The waiting was over. In two seconds' time we should have gained
freedom, or a slug from some sentry's rifle.

It took two seconds to slip down thirty feet of rope, and two seconds is
a long time when your liberty, if not your life, is at stake. I half
kicked down the sign-board of a shop in my descent, and Robin, who
followed, completed the disaster. In our haste, we had cut our hands
almost to the bone, and had made noise enough to wake the dead.

Yet no one stirred. We were both in the street, and no one had moved.

After two and a half years of captivity we were free men once more. The
slothful years had vanished in the twinkling of an eye. Can you realise
the miracle, liberty-loving reader, that passes in the mind of a man who
thus suddenly realises his freedom? . . .

I don't know what Robin thought, for we said nothing. We lit cigarettes
and strolled away. But inside of me, the motors of the nervous system
raced.

The only other danger, in our hour and a half's walk to our destination,
was being asked for passports by some policeman. In our character as
polyglot mechanics, whenever we passed anyone, I found it a great
relief to make some such remark as:

  Lieb Vaterland, magst ruhig sein,
  Fest steht and treu die Wacht am Rhein.

But Robin, who could not understand my German, paid little heed.

Only once we did think we were likely to be recaught. At about one in
the morning, as we were passing the Fatih mosque, we heard a rattle on
the cobbles behind us. A carriage was being galloped in our direction.
It might well contain some of the Psamattia garrison. We doubled into
some ruins, and lay there, while the clatter grew louder and louder.

A few wisps of cloud crossed the moon, that had reached her zenith.
Their silent shadows moved like ghosts across the desolation of the
city. A cat was abroad. She saw us, and halted, with paw uplifted and
blazing eyes.

Then the carriage passed, empty, with a drunken driver. It rattled away
into the night, and we emerged, and took our way through the streets of
old Stamboul, under the chequered shade of vines.

[Footnote 6: This applies in no way to the Americans, who did everything
possible for our men before they left Constantinople. Their assistance
was always of the most prompt and practical nature. It may be invidious
to mention names in this light account of adventure, but I cannot
refrain from giving myself the pleasure of saying how grateful I am to
Mr. Hoffman Phillips, of the American Embassy. His name, as also the
name of his chief, Mr. Morgenthau, is indissolubly connected with our
early prisoners. I wish to thank him from the bottom of my heart, and I
know many of all ranks who will join with me in this--far too
meagre--tribute to his activities and ability.]

[Footnote 7: Let no one think the clergyman in charge aided or abetted
our secular efforts to escape. On the contrary, on a later occasion,
when Robin, as a poor and distressed prisoner hiding from the Turks,
endeavoured to find sanctuary for a few hours in the church, he was
expelled therefrom, so that our enemies should not complain that the
House of God was used for anything but worship.]

[Footnote 8: During the afternoon I lost over seven pounds in weight.]



  CHAPTER IX

  A CITY OF DISGUISES


We knocked softly at the door of the house that was to be our home, and
then waited, flattened in the shadow below it, quite prepared for the
worst. It was then four o'clock in the morning. It seemed too much to
hope that we would be welcome.

But we were. The door opened cautiously about one inch, and two little
faces were seen, low down the crack. Behind them, someone held a light.

Then the door was flung wide, and we saw on the stairs a whole family of
friendly people, male and female, old and young, all in night dress, and
all with arms outstretched in rapturous greeting. We might have been
Prodigal Sons returning, instead of two strangers whose presence would
be a source of continual danger.

Hyppolité and Athéné, the twins, aged eight, who had first peeped at us,
now took us each by the hand, and led us upstairs.

"The last escaped prisoner we had here was a forger," said Hyppolité to
us.

"He was a friend of father's," added Athéné over her shoulder, "and he
escaped from prison about six weeks ago. He was afraid that the police
would find his tools, so he threw them all into our cistern. They are
there now."

We reached the top floor, and were shown by the twins into an apartment
containing a double bed with a stuffy canopy of damask.

"This is the family bedroom," they said.

"And where are we to sleep?" I asked.

"Here," said Thémistoclé, the proud owner of the house. "My sister and I
and the twins were using the bed until your arrival, but now we will
sleep in the passage."

"The passage?" I echoed. "Haven't you any other beds, and were you all
four using this one?"

"Yes, yes. The other rooms are full of lodgers. There are three officers
of the Turkish army here at present. But they won't disturb you, because
they are hiding too."

"Mon Dieu!" said I, sitting on the bed--"but your sister can't sleep in
the passage, can she?"

"Certainly, she's quite used to that sort of thing. It's safer also, in
case the police come."

"I know all the police," said Athéné, "even when they are not in
uniform; I can recognise them by their boots."

"And we are always on the look-out for them," added Hyppolité. "If the
police come to search the house you will have to get into the cistern."

"Where the forger threw his tools," explained Athéné.

Coffee and cigarettes were produced, and ointment for our lacerated
hands. We were made to feel quite at home. . . . The family stayed and
talked to us until dawn broke. They thoroughly appreciated the story of
the escape, and clapped their hands with glee at the idea of the Turks'
amazement when they discovered that we had vanished, leaving no trace
behind us.

"They will never find the rope," said Thémistoclé, "because the
shopkeeper over whose shop it is will certainly cut it down and hide it,
for fear of being asked questions."

"And now we must thank the Blessed Saints for your escape," said an old
lady who had not previously spoken.

She went to a glass cupboard, opened it, and lit two candles. A scent of
rose-leaves and incense came from the shrine, which contained oranges
and ikons and Easter eggs and a large family Bible.

For a moment or two we all stood silent.

Then----

Just when I was expecting a prayer, the old lady blew out the candles
and shut up the cupboard and crossed herself. The thanksgiving was over,
and we dispersed with very cordial good-nights. I think Thémistoclé
wanted to kiss us, but we felt we had been through trials enough for the
time and refused to offer even one cheek.

The family retired to the passage and settled down to rest with squeaks
and giggles, while Robin and I, after thanking God for all His mercies,
with very humble and grateful hearts, threw ourselves down on the bed,
too exhausted to undress, and slept the sleep of free men.

Next instant, it seemed to me, although in reality two hours had
elapsed, we were awakened by the twins, who looked on us as their
especial charges, and thought us tremendous fun.

"Time to get up," they said excitedly. "The house might be searched at
any minute."

Instantly we were afoot.

"Where are the police?" I asked.

"There is a detective standing at the corner of our street," said
Hyppolité.

"And they often come to see if all our lodgers are registered!" added
his sister.

We bundled our maps, compasses, and other belongings into a towel, and
staggered downstairs, with fear and sleep battling for mastery in our
minds.

But in the pantry, we found the seniors of the household quite
unconcerned. There was no imminent danger of a search. . . . On the
other hand, there was the immediate prospect of breakfast.

A saucepan was actually being buttered (and butter was worth its weight
in gold) to make us an omelette. By now we had been thoroughly stirred
from sleep, and realised how hungry we were. I forget how many omelettes
we ate, or how much butter we used, but I think that that charming
breakfast cost a five-pound note, or thereabouts.

When it was over, an engaging sense of drowsiness began to creep over me
again, but the twins were adamant.

"You must practise getting into the cistern," said Hyppolité.

"Like the forger did," chimed in Athéné--"and then you must arrange a
hiding-place for your things."

The worst of it was, that their suggestions were so practical. Obviously
it was our duty to at once take all precautions.

I consequently took off my clothes, and removing the lid of the cistern,
I was let down through a hole in the floor into the waters below. In my
descent I re-opened the wounds in my hands, and it was in no very
cheerful mood that I found myself in darkness, with water up to my
shoulders. I moved cautiously about, trying to imagine our feelings if
fate drove us to this chilly and conventional hiding-place while
detectives were conducting a search for us above. Then I barked my foot
on something hard, and stooping down through the water I picked up a
large block of pumicestone, which was doubtless the forger's engraving
die. Something scurried on an unseen ledge; a rat no doubt. I felt I had
seen enough of the cistern. Groping my way back to the lid, my fingers
touched a little thing that cracked under them, and instantly I felt a
stinging pain. Whether it was a beetle or a sleepy wasp I did not stop
to inquire.

"Lemme get out," I bleated through the hole in the floor. . . . "Robin,"
I said, when I was safe once more, "if ever we are driven down there, we
must take something to counteract the evil spirits."

    *    *    *    *    *

All that morning we passed in the pantry, eating and dozing by snatches.

Morning merged into afternoon, the afternoon lengthened into evening,
and no policeman came. We were safe.

At nightfall, after sending Hyppolité as a scout up the stairs to see
that the other lodgers were not about, we ascended to our room again,
and settled down definitely.

Our stay, we then thought, might last several weeks, so as to give us
leisure to weigh the reliability of the various routes and guides that
offered. There was no particular hurry. The longer we stayed, the more
likely the Turks would be to relax such measures as they had taken for
our recapture.

But we had reckoned without our host: the host of vermin. They were
worse in this room than in any other place I have seen in Turkey, not
excepting the lowest dungeons of the military prison, where they breed
by the billion. Their voracity and vehemence made a prolonged stay
impossible. Except for the first sleep of two hours, when exhaustion had
made us insensible, we never thereafter had more than a single hour of
uninterrupted rest.

Throughout the long and stifling nights of our stay, Robin and I lay in
the stately double bed, wondering wearily how any man or woman alive
could tolerate the creatures that crawled over its mahogany-posts and
swarmed over its flowered damask. Every three-quarters of an hour, one
or other of us used to light a candle, and add to the holocaust of
creatures we had already slain.

"What hunting?" I used to ask sleepily.

"A couple of brace this time, and a cub I chopped in covert," Robin
would say.

"That makes twenty-two couple up to date--and the time is 12.35 a.m."

Then at one o'clock it was Robin's turn to ask what sport I had had.

"A sounder broke away under your pillow," I reported. "Six rideable boar
and six squeakers."

Ugh!

Those first days of our liberty were a trying time. To the external
irritation of insects were added the mental anxieties of our situation.
What, for instance, would happen to the twins if we were caught in that
house? And, again, was Thémistoclé faithful? Would he be tempted by the
reward offered for our recapture? At times we were not quite certain. He
used to talk very gloomily about the risks and the cost of life.

"Everyone is starving," he used to say thoughtfully--"even the
policemen go hungry for bribes. A friend of mine, a policeman, said to
me the other day: 'For the love of Allah find somebody for me to arrest.
Among all the guilty and the innocent in this town, surely you can find
somebody that we could threaten to arrest? Then we would share the
proceeds.'"

"What did you say to that?" I asked.

"I said," he answered thoughtfully, "that I would do my best."

"But what sort of man would you arrest?" I asked.

"Any sort of man. A drunkard perhaps, if I saw one, or a rich man, if I
dared."

"Rich men are apt to be dangerous," said I meaningly.

"I know. But what can one do?" he asked, spreading out his hands. "One
must live!"

"And let live," said I, thinking suddenly of the bugs, and wondering
what Thémistoclé thought of them.

It was then that I noticed his method of combating the household pets.

Previously I had observed that the ends of his pyjamas (we always talked
at night) were provided with strong tapes, which were tied close to his
ankles; but the object of this fastening only became apparent when I
noticed the excited throngs of insects on his elastic-sided boots. They
could not get higher. They were balked of their blood. If he ever felt
any discomfort, he merely tightened the tapes.

After a careful study of Thémistoclé's psychology (which was so full of
outlooks new to me that I never achieved more than a glimpse into the
pages of his past) I came to the conclusion that he was implicitly to be
trusted. In his frail frame there burned a spirit of adventure and a
courage that might "step from star to star." His soul had been born to
live in a great man, only somehow it had made a mistake and taken a
tenement instead of a manor-house to live in. . . .

I think sunset and sunrise were the pleasantest hours in our new abode.
It was possible then to draw back the blinds without any danger of being
seen, and enjoy the cool of the evening and the magnificent view which
our situation afforded. Our house, although it stood in a side street,
commanded a prospect of the upper end of the Golden Horn, as well as a
view of one of the most populous thoroughfares of the town.

We used to sit and gaze at the twilit city, until the creeping darkness
overtook us.

If circulation be a test of a city's vitality, then Constantinople was
certainly at a low ebb. The pedestrians seemed to get nowhere. They were
hanging about, waiting for something to happen. The whole town was
dead-tired, unspeakably bored of life as it had to be lived under the
Young Turks. Constantinople was getting cross. . . . Cross, like someone
who was tired of adulation from the wrong person. Some trick of sea and
sun give her this human quality of sex. Anyone who has lived for long
in her houses must feel her personality. She is the courtesan of
conquerors, but inherent in her is some witchcraft, by which she weakens
those who hold her, so that they die and are utterly exterminated, while
she remains with her fadeless and fatal beauty, an Eastern Lorelei
beside the Bosphorus. . . . She sapped the strength of the Roman Empire,
she overthrew the dominion of the Greeks, and now, after a period of
fretful wedlock, she was shaking herself free from the Turk.

Something was going to happen soon. One felt it in the air.

What happened to us, was that it became necessary to draw the blinds and
light our candle, and search for the pestilence that crept by night.
Presently our meal arrived, which was always a cheerful interlude, but
it was as short as it was sweet, for courses were few, with famine
prices prevailing. Afterwards we continued our hunting till dawn.

At dawn, when the chill of morning had sent our sated enemies to sleep,
there was another truce from trouble. We used to draw back the blinds
again and sit at the window.

I used to watch the pale sun on the horizon, fighting the mist-forms
that clung heavily to earth and sea, and I felt that in the
world-consciousness a similar contest swayed. The old ideas of
government were being caught by a light that was pale now, but soon to
grow luminous--a radiance that would dispel the night of war, and show
us a new world, intangible yet, but dimly sensed.

In the dim alleys and side streets below, where balconies overhung,
shutting out the dawn, what a weight of woe there was! Famine and fire,
twin angels of destruction that lurked in every by-way of the city, were
waiting to take their toll. And the war went on for caged and free,
while some starved and others made fortunes, and some became generals
and others corpses. And the end of these things was vanity. _Vanitas
vanitatum._

The minaret of a mosque was directly opposite to me. Under sway of the
sanctuary and the hour, the voice of the _muezzin_ spoke to me in all
its sincerity and unity of purpose. God was everywhere, all-pervasive,
all-unseen, invisible only because He was so manifest. Evil of the night
and glory of the dawn made His picture, the world. With new eyes I saw
now this city grey with sin, and fresh with the promise of another day.

From the house of that stern and simple faith that is the creed of
one-fifth of the world, there came a sense of kinship with all the
suffering under the sky. Reverence came to me also, and that brotherhood
which is the message of the Great Teachers since time began. These
thoughts were round me, a silent company, as I looked Mecca-wards, to
the place of prayer. Then the heralds of the dawn alighted on the
minaret, and their wings were amethyst and saffron. The night was over,
and the _muezzin's_ long, exultant call to worship died down with the
increasing light.

Another day had begun.

    *    *    *    *    *

Not many days and nights did we tarry in Thémistoclé's house. Robin
decided to try his luck by land. After various inquiries, he made
arrangements with a Greek boy to board a melon-boat bound for Rodosto.
His idea was to make that port, and thence work his way to Enos, where
he hoped to be picked up by our patrol-boats. After many adventures and
perils by land and sea, and a great deal of bad luck, he was caught at
the town of Malgara. So ended a very gallant attempt, which ought to be
set down in detail by him.

I can only describe his appearance when he left. His disguise was a
matter of great difficulty, for he is so tall and so Saxon that he
always attracted notice in an Eastern crowd. An Arab ragamuffin seemed
the rôle best suited to him, and he accordingly exchanged his
comparatively respectable clothes for a greasy old coat and a pair of
repellent trousers. With a tattered fez well back on his head, and all
his visible skin blackened with burnt cork, he looked an unspeakable
scoundrel. But he was too villainous. He would have been immediately
arrested for his appearance alone. A touch of genius, however, completed
his make-up. . . . In his hands he carried a poor little bowl of curds
and half a cucumber, which completely altered his ferocious air by
adding the requisite touch of pathos. The edible emblems of innocence he
carried transformed him completely into a sort of male Miss Muffet.

No detective could have found heart to inquire where he was going. He
was enough to make anyone cry.

He left in a frightful hurry, for his boat was due to catch a certain
tide, but we drank a stirrup cup to his success, and parted with much
sadness on my side, not until the old lady before mentioned had lit a
candle before the ikon of Saint Nicholas. . . .

I was very sorry to see him go, but I was quite convinced (wrongly, as
events proved) that the best chance of success lay in going to Russia.

The little Colonel of the Russian Guards had told us before we escaped
that he was likely to be soon repatriated (for he was a person of
influence in the Caucasus), and I felt sure that I could arrange to go
as his servant, if no better scheme presented itself in the meanwhile.
But there were many possibilities in the "city of disguises."

During my stay with Thémistoclé I had been learning history, as it is
never written, but as it is most strangely lived by a people on the
brink of dissolution and disaster. As an escaped prisoner I thought that
delay in Constantinople--somewhere clean, however--would not be time
wasted if one was in touch with the politics of the time. If the
Russian scheme failed, there were other openings, by earth and air and
water.

But the first thing to do was to find a place where I could lay my head
without getting it bitten.

    *    *    *    *    *

The good angel of prisoners came to my assistance at this critical
juncture in my affairs.

"You must be disguised as a girl," said she--"I will buy you a wig at
once."

"But what about my figure?" I asked, "and my feet . . .?"

"Some clothes were left with me at the beginning of the war," she
answered, "which will fit you with the help of a tailor. And as to your
shoes, your own will pass muster, with new bows. No one has had any
proper shoes for ages here. But you will want--well, lots of other
things."

And I certainly _did_ want a lot, before I looked at all presentable.
After very careful shaving, I began to splash about confidently at my
toilet table. There was Vesuvian black for the eyebrows, _bistre_ for
the eyelashes, _poudre violette_, rouge, carmine--more powder--more
rouge--at last I showed my satisfied face to Miss Whitaker, who gave a
cry of horror, and flatly refused to be seen in my company.

There was nothing for it but to wash my face and start again.

This time I succeeded in making myself presentable, although a blue
streak of whisker seemed always slightly visible through the powder. The
wig, however, helped matters greatly, and I arranged some ringlets on my
shaven cheeks.

The dressing-up was quite exciting. Silk and lace and whalebone,
especially a lot of lace in front, was the basis on which I built. The
foundations took some time in laying, but when finished I found to my
delight that the coat and skirt belonging to Miss Whitaker's friend
fitted my figure perfectly.

A few details, invisible to my eyes, were quickly corrected, and I think
that when I finally emerged, with large hat at a becoming angle, I did
credit to my instructress.

Gloves I had always to wear, of course, and a veil was advisable,
chiefly to tone down my blinding beauty to the eyes of passers-by. Do
what I would, however, I could not hide a certain artificiality in my
appearance, which was most unfair to Miss Whitaker, considering that I
was her companion. But I behaved as well as I possibly could.

[Illustration: The Author as a German Governess]

I learned how to walk in a ladylike fashion, and how to powder my nose
in an engaging manner. My arms and legs had to be kept under various
restraints. A mincing gait was soon acquired, but I found sitting still
more awkward. My knees evinced an almost ineradicable tendency to cross
themselves or sprawl, while my gloved forearms, to the last, felt as
unwieldy as a baboon's. But everything I could I learned assiduously
and in dead earnest, down to managing my veil, and patting my curls
nicely in front of a looking-glass. It was so frightfully important not
to make a false step.

My only excuse for going about with Miss Whitaker at all was the
complete success of the rôle for which she had so skilfully prepared me.
Never for a moment was there any suspicion of my identity.

On one occasion, in the early days of my disguise, when we were
sight-seeing at Eyoub, some Turkish ladies stopped to talk to us. I
remained silent, of course, but I watched them narrowly and came to the
conclusion that they saw nothing amiss. My eyes, incidentally, were as
well painted as theirs. Now, if two charming and worldly-wise _hanoums_
cannot detect a flaw in one's form or features, it is unlikely that any
mere male could be cleverer than they.

The mere males, alas! were enthralled by my appearance. Once or twice an
embarrassing situation was narrowly averted. The road behind the Pera
Palace Hotel is dark, and we used to ascend it in fear and trembling.
But although we were followed sometimes, no one ever presumed to speak
to us.

Miss Whitaker had found me by now a delightful roof, near the house in
which I took my meals, and this place was free from all life smaller
than a rat. Here I was able to make my plans in peace, with no fear of
treachery, for, so cleverly had Miss Whitaker arranged matters, no one
knew I was not a woman.

As Mademoiselle Josephine, an eccentric German governess, who suffered
from consumption (and therefore spoke very low and huskily) I used to
pass my nights _à belle étoile_, after well-spent days in the docks or
cafés, where my plans were maturing. The stars in their courses seemed
to be on my side. No longer, as when a fretful prisoner, did I think
their quiet shining was a reminder of man's minuteness in the schemes of
God. I felt now that man could make his destiny. And when that destiny
was shaped by hands such as those that helped me, the world was a
beautiful place. Good angels were here on earth, at "our own
clay-shuttered doors." . . .

Two little girls, to whom I used to bring chocolates, used to come up in
the evening and kiss my hand, wishing me good-night. They thought I was
the most amusing governess they had ever met. Their mother, a kind old
lady who offered me cough mixtures, must have thought me rather odd, but
then she was prepared to make allowances for foreigners, especially in
war-time. To have a reason for wishing to be inconspicuous was nothing
unusual in those days, whether one was German, Jew, or Greek, or male or
female.

Of various opportunities that came my way, the most practical and
attractive was that suggested by the Russian Colonel. His repatriation
to the Caucasus was now only a matter of days. He had not only got his
own passport, but also a passport for a servant. That servant was to be
myself. In order to discuss plans, we found the safest rendezvous was
the open-air café of the Petits Champs. This place was crowded with
"fashionable" people, and although both he and Miss Whitaker were
constantly shadowed by detectives there was nothing at all suspicious in
their being seen at tea-time in the company of an elegantly dressed
German lady.

The German lady was obviously not as young as she tried to appear, but
then there was nothing unusual about that. She was also rather _gauche_
in her movements, but this again was not out of keeping with the part.

"In a fortnight's time we will be having tea at Tiflis," the Russian
Colonel used to say. "I will raise two regiments of cavalry and take
them to kill the Bolsheviks. You shall be my adjutant."

"With the greatest pleasure in the world, _mon Colonel_. But please do
not speak so loud."

"Ah, that _sacré_ detective. I had forgotten him. Soon we will not have
to think of such things."

"Yes, but at the present moment your own particular shadow is trying to
listen to what you are saying," I remarked in low tones.

At once the Colonel's voice assumed a softer note, and his green eyes
began to melt with tenderness.

"_Mais Josephine, ma petite, écoutes donc, je t'adore. . . ._ There,
he's passed. Everything is ready. I have got you a Russian soldier's
uniform. You have only to put this on, and follow me on board when I
go."

"And if someone asks me who I am?"

"You are my Georgian servant. And you can only speak Georgian. Just say
this----"

There followed a tongue-twisting sentence, which I tried to memorise.

Meanwhile the band played, and people passed, and inquisitive eyes were
turned in our direction.

"That's a spy who knows me," Miss Whitaker would say. "_Encore une
tasse, mademoiselle? Non?_ I think we ought to be going."

"We'll settle the final details to-morrow," I whispered.

"Right! Remember to let your beard grow. I couldn't have a smooth-faced
orderly."

"_Eh bien, mille mercis, Colonel_," said I, giving him my hand.

He held it a moment, bowing, and looking inexpressible things.

"_Ah, Josephine. . . ._"

"_A demain, alors!_"

And with a simper I left my gallant and dapper cavalier to pay the
bill.



  CHAPTER X

  RECAPTURED


At five o'clock one morning Mlle. Josephine received a staggering note
from the Russian Colonel to say that he had had to leave at a moment's
notice for the Caucasus, under a Turkish guard, and that there was no
prospect at all of his taking his dear Josephine with him.

Thus my plan had failed. It was not the Colonel's fault, but it was
annoying all the same. I had wasted both time and money, provisions and
opportunities, and now I had to begin all over again.

I decided that I would not continue in my disguise as a girl. It was too
nerve-racking to begin with; and also, as a girl, I could not go down
myself to the docks and arrange matters at first hand. I felt I must do
something for myself. During the month that had elapsed Robin had been
recaptured, other officers had escaped, the whole course of the war was
changing, and here was I still _embusqué_ in Constantinople.

Something must be done, and, as usual, my good angel did it for
me. . . . She bought me a small upturned moustache, spectacles,
hair-dye, a second-hand suit, a stained white waistcoat which I
ornamented with a large nickel gilt watch chain, a pair of old
elastic-sided boots (price £7), an ebony cane with a silver top, and a
bowler hat which I perched rakishly askew. I was a Hungarian mechanic,
out of a job. I had lost my place at the munition factory near San
Stefano. But I was not down-hearted. My nails were oily and my
antecedents doubtful, but I drank my beer and smoked my cigars and
looked on life brightly through my spectacles.

I did not avoid the Boche--in fact, I frequently drank beer with him.
The non-Latin races are not inquisitive as a rule. They cared little
whether I was Swiss or Dutch or Hungarian, and I frequently claimed all
three nationalities. They did not even think it odd when, on one
occasion, I said that I had been born in Scandinavia and later that I
was a naturalised Hungarian, and later again (when a Jewish gentleman
with military boots joined us, whom I recognised to be a Government
informer, paid to pick up information) that I was really of Russian
parentage and that I had a passport to this effect (which I showed to
the company present) signed by Djevad Bey, the military commandant of
Constantinople, permitting me to proceed to Russia and ordering that
every facility should be given to me at the custom-house.

This forged passport was a source of perplexity to me at the time, and
later it was to be the cause of great discomfort. I had bought it for
ten pounds from the gentleman whose pumicestone engraving die reposed
at the bottom of the cistern. It was an ornate affair, duly stamped, and
sealed, and signed with a Turkish flourish. But I could not bring myself
to believe that it would get me through the passport office, the
_douane_, and the medical station at the entrance to the Bosphorus. Some
hitch would certainly have occurred.

However, it impressed the company in the café. People generally take one
at one's own valuation, and the few secret agents to whom I spoke
obviously considered that I was not a likely person to be blackmailed.
With the Greeks I was certainly popular. The seedy-smart polyglot youth
who was so liberal with his cigars (which were rather a rarity then) and
so fond of talking politics and drinking beer was a _persona grata_ in
the circles he frequented. We talked much of revolution.

"We will crucify the Young Turks," said a Greek to me one day, "and then
eat them in little bits. We will----" His expressive hands suddenly
paused in mid-gesture, and his mouth dropped open, but only for an
instant. He had seen a detective enter. "We will continue to preserve
our dignity and remain calm whatever happens," he concluded neatly.

But calm the Greeks certainly were not.

In the cellar of a German hotel in Pera the Greek proprietor displayed
one night a collection of rusty swords and old revolvers which were the
nucleus of the New Age of brotherly love, when the streets were to run
with Turkish blood, and the Cross replace the Crescent in San Sophia. I
was privileged to be present at this conclave of desperadoes. After
swearing each other to eternal secrecy we sampled some of the contents
of our host's cellar, and talked very big about what we were going to
do. But our host, beyond dancing a hornpipe and declaring that he was
going to murder everybody in the hotel (after they had paid their
bills), propounded no very definite scheme.

Out of this atmosphere of melodrama one emerged into the sombre, silent
streets and went rather furtively home, feeling that there was something
to be said for the Turks after all. But I need hardly say that no
influential Greeks had a share in these proceedings: they were always on
the side of moderation. One had been a fool to consort with fools.

Behind the lattices of the harems it was said that Enver Pasha's day was
done. The new Sultan had thrown him out of the palace, neck and crop.
There was to be an inquiry into the means by which he had acquired huge
farms round Constantinople--farms which were supposed to be purchased
from the proceeds of a corner in milk that had killed many children. The
Custodians of the Harem (and in Turkey these tall flat-chested
individuals have positions of great power; the Chief of the White
Custodians, for instance, is one of the high dignitaries of the Empire,
and ranks with a Lord Chamberlain) had long been intriguing against the
Committee and especially against the German element with Enver at its
head. . . . The Sultan was high in popular favour, and a dramatic
suicide in the main street of Pera, which lifted a corner of the curtain
hiding the unrest behind the scenes at the Imperial Palace, became a
nine days' wonder, and gave rise to extraordinary rumours. A Turkish
officer in full uniform had been seen running for dear life down the
Grand Rue de Pera, pursued by policemen. The officer took refuge in the
Turkish club, but he was refused asylum there. The policemen crowded
into the entrance hall to arrest him, while the fugitive dashed upstairs
to the card-room. Finding, however, that he could not avoid arrest, he
threw himself out of the window, and was instantly killed on the
pavement below. For some time, the corpse, dressed in the uniform of the
Yildiz Guards, blocked the traffic of the city.

A few days later a British air-raid gave the Constantinopolitans
something new to think about. It was a stifling night, and I was dozing
and listening to the mosquitoes that buzzed round me, when their drone
seemed to grow louder and louder. I lay quite still, thinking that
another raid would be too good to be true. But presently there was no
doubt about it. Invisible, but very audible, the British squadron was
sailing overhead. I jumped up and at that moment the Turks put up their
barrage. Bang! Boom! Whizz! Kk--kk--kk! All the little voices of
civilisation were speaking.

Greeks crowded into the streets, and clapped their hands when the crash
and rumble of a bomb was heard in the Turkish quarter of Stamboul.

"The Sultan is going to make peace," they told me. "He has refused to
gird on the Sword of Othman until the Committee of Union and Progress
give an account of their funds."

"Hurrah for the English!" shouted others, quite undismayed by the
shrapnel and falling pieces of shell.

Here are some chance remarks, actually heard during air raids.

"Ah! Here is the revolution at last!" said a Turkish officer in a
chemist's shop in the Grand Rue de Pera, thinking the firing meant the
downfall of Enver Pasha and his gang.

"Bread costs four shillings a two-pound loaf," said an Armenian in the
suburb of Chichli--"and as often as not there is a stone or half a mouse
thrown into the four shillings' worth, for luck. May this gang of
swindlers perish!"

"Allah! send the English soon," wailed a Turkish widow in a hovel in
Stamboul, where she was living with her five starving children. "We are
being killed by inches now; it would be better to be killed quickly by
bombs. The English cannot be worse than Enver."

This, indeed, was the general opinion in Constantinople. Few of the
population, outside the high officials, bore us any grudge. The thieving
of the Young Turks was on as vast a scale as their ambition. From needy
adventurers they had become the prosperous potentates of an Empire. No
country, surely, has ever been the prey of such desperate and determined
men.

The air raids were one of the first causes of their weakening hold on
the people. The moral effect of these demonstrations was incalculable,
coming as it did at a time when the Sultan was supposed to be in favour
of peace.

Peace, indeed, was the only faint hope of salvation that remained to the
very poor. Milk had almost disappeared from the open market, and for
some time past children had been exposed in the street, their mothers
being unable to support them any longer.

Each night, when I passed the Petits Champs, I saw a row of starving
children, poor little living protests of humanity against the barbarisms
of war and the cruelty of profiteers, huddled on the pavement, mute,
uncomplaining, too weak to even ask for alms.

And Bedri Bey, sometime Prefect of Police at Constantinople, when
appealed to, said: "_Bah! Les pauvres, qu'ils crèvent._"

    *    *    *    *    *

Although politics were interesting enough, escape was my first
preoccupation. It was necessary to approach the harbour officials with
caution, and they, on their side, although ready enough to help with
suggestions, seemed inclined to shelve all the actual work on to a
person or persons unknown, who remained in the background. It was very
difficult to get at the principals.

One of the chief agents of escape, however, I met one day in the Grand
Rue de Pera. He was a most remarkable man. Intrigue was the breath of
his nostrils, and although he had made thousands of pounds by helping
rich refugees out of the country, he was really more interested in
politics than pelf. He laid the groundwork of such knowledge as I
acquired of Constantinople.

Incidentally, in the course of our conversation, a squad of Russian
officer prisoners passed, accompanied by two sentries whom I knew quite
well. So confident did I feel of not being recognised that I said a few
words to one of the Russians, while their escort glanced at me with
faces perfectly blank. They had not the vaguest idea who I was.

To get away from Constantinople, the escape merchant told me, was a
matter of passing the custom house. Formerly this had been easy, but now
every ship was searched from stem to stern and from deck to keelson.
Also every skipper was a Mohammedan. All Christians had been recently
deprived of their positions.

Still, Mohammedans are not an unbribable people, and something might
possibly be done for me. In fact, that very day he had learnt of a
certain Lazz shipmaster, who was going over to the Caucasus in his own
boat, and who would be prepared to take a few passengers for a
consideration.

Later in the same day I heard that two other officers, who had escaped
about a week before (by bolting under a train in Haidar Pasha railway
station), were already in touch with this Lazz. I went to see them early
the following morning and we agreed to charter the boat between us, so
as to reduce expenses.

My two friends were living in the house of one Theodore, a Greek waiter
at a restaurant in Sirkedji, who believed that they, as well as myself,
were Germans.

The Lazz, who came to visit us, was absolutely astounded when we
proclaimed ourselves as British officers: he had been under the
impression that we were some sort of Turkish subject. However, all
passengers were grist to his mill, and British officers who talked
glibly of gold payments were not people to be neglected. After haggling
about terms, we made an appointment for the next day, and parted with
some cordiality.

On the morrow, punctual to our appointments, the Lazz and I again
arrived at Theodore's house to confer further with my two friends.

As it was a very hot afternoon, I took off my coat and my false
moustache, before plunging into the details of our departure. It was
evident that the Lazz was in a hurry to be off. His cargo was complete,
he said. He had only to take in petrol for his motor before leaving on
the following day. There remained the question of money, and after much
argument we settled to pay him five hundred pounds on arrival at the
port of Poti in the Caucasus, and one hundred pounds advance for fuel
immediately. He was to provide the disguises necessary for us to pass
the customs at the Bosphorus. We were each of us to don a black dress
and a black veil and to sit in a row in his cabin, refusing to move or
speak if interrogated. Muslim ladies, he assured us, had frequently
refused to undergo any scrutiny whatever at the customs, and provided
they were vouched for by some responsible person on board, the gallant
excisemen were ready to let them pass. As his very own wives, said the
Lazz, no harm could possibly come to us, provided of course we remained
sitting, and silent, throughout the inspection.

This seemed a very satisfactory scheme, for obviously whatever risks we
ran, our friend the Lazz would run them too.

By evening our pact was complete. We handed over a hundred pounds, and
the Lazz promised faithfully that he would have the boat ready and our
disguises prepared by nightfall on the following day, when we would sail
for Russia.

Hardly had the money changed hands before I noticed a suspicious-looking
individual in the street below. Presently he was joined by another
detective, whom I recognised.

Things looked ugly.

We took the Lazz cautiously to the window.

"Do you know anything about those men?" we asked.

He turned deathly pale, but swore he had never seen them before. I do
not think he had. His fear was genuine.

"Let me get out! Let me get out!" he said, making a bolt for the door.

And he went. There was no use in trying to stop him.

One of my friends and I now went downstairs, while the third member of
our party stayed behind to hide a few odds and ends of gear, in case the
house was searched.

We waited downstairs, making light of our fears, and fighting a
premonition of disaster.

Presently there was a loud tapping on the door. Even if it were the
police, I thought, our disguises would carry us through. Then I noticed
that my friend was in shirt-sleeves. I put on my spectacles and tried to
stick on my moustache again, but the gum from it had gone.

The rapping at the door became louder and louder, and presently it was
opened by a flustered female.

In trooped six detectives, including the man I had recognised, who was
apparently their leader.

"There are some British officers hiding here," he said fiercely to the
woman; "show me where they are."

While this scene was passing in the entrance-hall, we were behind the
door of the pantry.

A detective came in and caught my friend. Meanwhile two others were
pommelling the unfortunate woman to make her say where we were. She kept
pleading that she knew nothing about any British officers.

Another instant, and I should have been found. So I came out from behind
the pantry door, and crossed the entrance hall.

In the doorway stood a burly policeman, who said "_Yok, yok_," when I
attempted to pass him.

Had I had the requisite nerve I believe I could have bluffed this man.
Some phrase with _schweinhund_ in it would probably have got me past.
But I hesitated, and was lost.

My hand flew to my breast pocket, where the forged passport lay, and my
false moustache.

"Seize that man and search him," said the head detective, looking over
the banisters. Then he went upstairs, dragging the woman with him.

My arms were instantly caught from behind, while a seedy-looking youth,
who was probably a pick-pocket in his spare time, ran his fingers over
my clothes. My wad of money, watch, compass, passport, moustache,
everything was put into a small canvas bag, and I was then taken to the
opposite corner of the room to that in which my friend sat, and told
not to move under pain of death. A levelled revolver emphasised the
injunction.

[Illustration: The Author as a Hungarian Mechanic]

Presently there were cries of women heard from the attic, then there was
a loud crash, and I knew that the third member of our party had fallen
through the trapdoor leading to the roof.

That was the last of my freedom for the time. Thus suddenly my five
weeks' scheming was ended.

Each of us was taken charge of by two policemen, who linked their arms
in ours. Presently the order to march was given, and a dismal
procession, consisting of two weeping women, a seedy-smart individual in
a bowler hat, two youths in slippers and shirt-sleeves, and a Greek
waiter, could be seen wending their way to the Central Gaol of
Stamboul.



  CHAPTER XI

  THE BLACK HOLE OF CONSTANTINOPLE


Before leaving, we had protested strongly against the treatment of the
women in the house.

"But they are Turkish subjects," said the detectives.

"Anyway, they are women," we protested.

But this had little effect. Theodore and his unfortunate family were
marched off behind us to the Central Gaol. I think, however, that our
protest was not quite in vain, for it gave the women courage. When I
last saw them, before being taken to the Chief of Police, they had dried
their tears. Eventually they were released, but not, alas! until they
had endured much suffering.

The Chief of Police congratulated us on being safe once more in Turkish
hands.

"Yes, we are comfortably back in prison," I said with a faint smile,
"and therefore there is surely no harm in giving us back the personal
trifles that the detectives took from us."

"I cannot give you your papers," he said. "There is a forged passport
here, amongst other things."

"Very well, do as you like about that," I said, shrugging my shoulders,
"but surely my empty pocket-book and my watch might be returned."

To this he agreed, whereupon he handed me--

(_a_) My pocket-book, containing five pounds hidden in the lining.

(_b_) My watch, and a compass, which he mistook for another timepiece.

(_c_) My false moustache, which had been captured on my person.

I was in an agony of anxiety about this moustache. Had the police
inquired at the only two hairdressers' where such things were made, they
would have found that Miss Whitaker had ordered it for me only ten days
before. But now it was safely in my possession again. I had the only
connecting link of evidence that might incriminate Miss Whitaker in my
trouser pocket, and was tearing it to shreds as I talked to the Chief of
Police.

The interview passed on a note of felicitation, until the very end.
After praising the smart way his men had surrounded the house, and
receiving his congratulations on our escapes, just as if the whole thing
was a game, we said that there was one criticism we had to make on
police methods, and that was their treatment of women.

"They are Turkish subjects," snapped the Chief of Police, suddenly
showing his teeth.

"They are women," we retorted, "and they are innocent. If they are
maltreated----"

"I know how to manage my affairs," he said with a gasp of annoyance.

"Certainly. But if they are maltreated you will be responsible after the
war."

To this he made no reply.

We were removed without further ado, and after being photographed and
measured in the most approved fashion for criminals, we were taken up
long flights of stairs, and across a roof, to the quarters for prisoners
awaiting trial. Here we were allotted separate cells, where we were to
pass the next few days in strict isolation.

To my amazement (for I knew something of Turkish prisons from a previous
experience, not here recorded) these cells were scrupulously clean. A
bed, a table, and a chair were in each apartment, all very firm and
foursquare, as if designed to withstand any access of fury or despair on
the prisoner's part. There was electric light in the ceiling, covered
with wire netting. Walls and woodwork were of a neutral colour. The
windows, which were barred, had a convenient arrangement for regulating
the ventilation. The heavy door, which admitted no sound, was provided
with a sliding hatch, which could be opened by the warders at will for
purposes of investigation. Everything was hideously efficient.

Turkey is a country of surprises, but I was not prepared for this. I
would have preferred something more picturesque. One's mind, after the
testing climax of recapture, craves for new doses of excitement.

The brain of a criminal, after he has been apprehended, must be a
turmoil of thought. He curses his stupidity, or his luck, or his
associates. He longs to explain and defend himself. Instead of this, he
is left in silence in a drab room, with no company but his thoughts.

My own thoughts were most unpleasant. I had failed miserably and
innocent people were suffering as the result.

After five weeks of effort I was farther than ever from escape. Worse
than all, Miss Whitaker was in danger. Never again shall I pass such
dismal hours. I see myself now, seated on that solid chair with head on
arms, bent over that efficient table. A prisoner's heart must soon turn
to stone.

But although our surroundings were inhuman, one of our gaolers had a
generous heart. He opened the slot in my door merely to say he was sorry
about it all, and that the women were all right. It is little actions
such as these that so often light the darkest hours of life. The man was
a European Turk.

It was urgently necessary to communicate with my fellow-prisoners, in
order to arrange to tell the same story. My friend next door solved the
problem by bawling up through his barred window at the top of his voice
that he would leave a note for me in the wash-place.

"Right you are!" I howled in answer, and instantly the slot of my door
opened, and I had to explain that I was singing.

Already, interest was beginning to creep back into one's life. I found
the note in the wash-place, read it secretly, thought over my answer,
and transcribed the message on to a cigarette paper. Having no writing
material, I used the end of a match dipped into an ink prepared from
tobacco juice and ash. By these simple means we established a regular
means of communication and before forty-eight hours of our strict
seclusion had elapsed we were all three in possession of a complete,
circumstantial, and fictitious account of our adventures prior to
capture.

When not engaged on reminiscences, I was generally pacing my cell, or
trying to invent some new form of exercise to keep myself fit. But at
times energy failed and one felt inclined to gnash one's teeth at the
futility of it all.

One day, when I was feeling inclined to gnash my teeth, the slot in my
door was furtively withdrawn, and, instead of a gaoler, a very comely
vision appeared at the observation hatch. A pair of laughing black eyes
were looking in on me. She wrinkled her nose, and laughed. I jumped up,
thinking I was dreaming, and hoping that the dream would continue. At
the same moment something dropped on to my floor. Then the trap door was
softly shut to.

I found a tiny stump of lead pencil. That was proof of the reality of my
vision.

Countless excuses to leave my cell, and voluminous correspondence with
the pencil's aid eventually enabled me to find out that she was an
Armenian girl, awaiting trial, who took a deep interest in us. At great
risk to herself, she had provided the three of us with writing
instruments. Except for a brief glimpse, and a mumbled word, I was never
able to thank her, however, owing to circumstances beyond our control.

On the fourth day we were transferred to the Military Prison in the
Square of the Seraskerat.

As usual in Turkey, our move was sudden and unexpected. That morning, on
complaining at mid-day that I had as yet received no food, I was told
that _inshallah_--if God pleased--it would arrive in due course.

Instead of a belated breakfast, however, a _posse_ of policemen arrived,
and we started on our journeys again: my friends still in their
shirt-sleeves and slippers, and myself still in my bowler hat, although
I did not now wear it so rakishly.

But we were fairly cheery. We had learnt (no matter how) that the
females of Theodore's family would soon be released, and that Theodore
himself, although still in duress, would not suffer any extreme fate.
Also, it was by now fairly obvious that Miss Whitaker would not be
apprehended, as sufficient evidence was not obtainable against her. She
had covered her tracks too well. All things considered, there was no
cause for depression.

But waiting is hungry work. That afternoon still saw us, fretful and
unfed, waiting outside the office of Djevad Bey, the Military
Commandant of Constantinople.

At last I was taken into an ornate room, where I had my first talk with
this redoubtable individual, who was popularly supposed to be the
hangman of the Young Turks. Anyone less like an executioner I have never
seen. He was plump, well-dressed, with humorous grey eyes. He wore long,
rather well-fitting boots, and smoked his cigarettes from a long amber
holder. He also had a long amber moustache, which was being trained
Kaiser-wise.

I stood before him at attention.

"About this forged passport," he began--"do gentlemen in your country
forge each other's signatures?"

"It is not usual," I admitted.

"Then you, as an English gentleman, surely did not counterfeit my
writing?"

"Oh no! I wouldn't dream of doing such a thing."

"Then how do you account for this passport being in your possession?"

I remained silent.

"Who forged it?" he insisted.

"May I look?" said I. "Is that really your signature?"

"It is indeed. With it you could easily have got out of the country."

"What an idiot I was not to use it!" I said with quite unfeigned
annoyance.

"You were!" he laughed--"they would have passed you straight through the
Customs on seeing this."

I felt very faint at this moment, and staggered against the table. But I
recovered after an instant. I quite forget his next few remarks, but I
know that I committed myself to a story that I had bought the passport
from a man in a restaurant whom I could not now recognise.

"But where have you been living all these weeks?" he asked.

"I was living in the ruins near the Fatih mosque," I said glibly--"and I
used to lunch and dine at various cafés in the city, a different one
every day. It was in one of these places that I bought the passport."

Djevad Bey considered this statement for a moment. There was a nasty
look in his eye when he spoke again.

"I shall never rest until I know who it is who can forge my signature so
well," he said--"and until I know, I am afraid you will be very
uncomfortable, for by law you are in the position of a common
malefactor."

"By law I am in the position of a prisoner of war," I answered--"and as
such, I am liable to a fortnight's simple imprisonment, for attempting
to escape. The Turkish Government signed this agreement only a few
months ago with the British representatives at Berne."

"A man who forges another's name is not an officer, but a forger," he
said meaningly.

"Say what you like, and do what you like," I answered--"I am in your
power. But one thing I ask, and that is, that if you punish me, you
should liberate the innocent Theodore and his family. True, we were
found in their house, but----"

"I cannot believe what you say," said Djevad Bey thoughtfully.

There was a pause. Then:

"Come, as man to man, won't you tell me who forged that passport?"

"You have just called me a liar," said I. "That ends the matter."

And with an all-is-over-between-us air I left the room, feeling dizzy
and uncomfortable.

It was then four o'clock in the afternoon, and I had not yet eaten. I
did not feel at all amused at the prospect of the Military Prison.

I was taken downstairs into the darkness, on entering this inferno of
the damned of Enver Pasha. There were cries and shouts down there, and
men scrambling for food, and other men who looked like wild animals,
behind bars. A swarthy custodian took my name, and I then proceeded,
down a long corridor, until my escort reached an iron portal such as
Dante imagined long ago.

_Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch'entrate. . . ._ The gates had clanged
behind me, and I was in a long, low room below ground level, airless,
ill-lit, filthy with tomato skins and bits of bread. Well-fed rats were
scurrying amongst the garbage, and badly-fed prisoners were pacing the
room forlornly, or twiddling their thumbs, or scratching themselves, or
gnawing crusts of bread.

They gathered round me, clamouring for news and cigarettes. In less than
no time they had picked my pockets. They had no more morals than
monkeys. Poor devils! who could blame them, living as they did down
there, where no rumours are heard of the outside world, except the cries
of beaten men and the dull sound of wood on flesh?

"What are you in for?" they asked me.

"Forgery," said I, not to be outdone by any desperado present.

One man, however, confessed to murder, having cut a small boy's throat a
few months before. With him I could not compete. But the most of us were
fraudulent contractors, spies, petty swindlers and the like. Our morals,
as I have said, were practically _nil_. Yet I noticed that a Jew lived
quite apart, and was shunned by everybody. By trade he was a brigand,
but this was no slur on his character as a criminal: the failing that
had led to ostracism was that he pilfered the other prisoners' tomatoes.
That was really beyond a joke. . . .

    *    *    *    *    *

One of my newly found friends took me to a bed, consisting of two planks
on an iron frame, which he said I could have for my very, very own. He
also gave me a piece of bread and some water. On beginning to eat I at
once realised how hungry I was, and inquired how I should obtain further
nourishment.

"Luxuries are very difficult to obtain," he said; "how much money have
you got?"

"Twenty-five piastres,[9]" I answered.

He pulled a long face.

"That won't go far. But every evening at eight a boy comes round with
the scraps left over from the Officers' Restaurant. Otherwise you will
live on bread and tomatoes."

"What about bedding?" I asked, to change the subject.

"Bedding!" he said, looking at me as if I was a perfect idiot. "Do you
mean to say you have come here without any bedding?"

I admitted I had, but felt too exhausted to explain.

    *    *    *    *    *

One was utterly lost in that dungeon. Even when the war ended, would one
be found? I doubted it. Yet as I would naturally never reveal the
forger's name, it seemed unlikely that I would get out. . . . Then I
thought of my companions. I imagined them happily together, in some
place where one could see the sky. . . . As for me, I might languish
down here for ever. Obviously something should be done.

But what? I rose (rather hastily, for on looking between the planks of
my bed, I noticed that the crack was entirely filled with battalions of
board beasts in line, waiting for a night attack), and began to pace
our narrow and nasty apartment. A group of prisoners were cooking some
pitiful mess by the window. Four others played poker with a very greasy
pack. One was twiddling his thumbs very fast, and I suddenly recollected
that he had been twiddling his thumbs very fast half an hour ago, when I
had first seen him. The lonely Jew was removing lice from the seams of
his coat, and throwing his quarry airily about the room.

Then I noticed that besides ourselves, there were other prisoners even
more unfortunate. There had been so much to see in my new surroundings
that I had not noticed the people in chains. . . . One side of our room
opened out on to some half-dozen cubicles, each of which contained a
prisoner in chains. These cells had no light or ventilation. They
measured six feet in length by four in breadth. In solitude and
obscurity, fettered by wrist and ankle to shackles that weighed a
hundredweight, human beings lived there--and are still living for aught
I know--for months and even years, until death released them. These men
were ravenous and verminous, but they had by no means lost their hope
and faith. I shall never hear the hymn--

  "Thy rule, O Christ, begin,
   Break with Thine iron rod
   The tyrannies of sin . . ."

without remembering that an Armenian lad said those words to me, lying
in chains in one of these cells. With another prisoner, a Greek, who
had endured eleven months of this torture, I also had some speech.

"Yes, the war will be over soon," he said. "My God, how good this
cigarette of yours tastes! I haven't touched tobacco for a month. But be
careful. The sentries must not see you speaking to me."

"Yes, the chains were bad at first," he continued when the sentry's back
was turned, "but one gets used to anything in time. And I have had time
enough. It takes a lot to kill a healthy man. Before I came in here I
used to be strong and well. I used to ride two hours every day, on my
own horses. Now my horses have gone to feed the Turkish Army and I can
hardly drag my chains as far as the water-tap. But God is great. . . ."

God is great! _Allahu akbar!_

I determined to get away from that dungeon at all costs, if for no other
reason than because I had to survive to write about it.

I went to the big gate, and tried to bluff the sentry to let me go to
see the Commandant. But a clean face and a full stomach are practically
necessary to a _débonnaire_ appearance. When one is scrubby and starved
it is almost impossible to succeed in "wangling." I stared at the sentry
through my eyeglass, and I offered him my twenty-five piastres as if I
had plenty more _baksheesh_ to give to a good boy, but I utterly and
dismally failed to impress him.

"_Yok, yok, yok_," he said, looking at me as one might look at an
orang-outang that has

  +-------------------------------+
  |  DO NOT IRRITATE THIS ANIMAL  |
  +-------------------------------+

written over its cage.

I gibbered in impotent rage, and then went and put my head under a tap.

A little later, while I was drying my head with my handkerchief, I saw
some barbers come to the big gate. They stood there, clapping and
clacking their strops. Instantly, my fellow-prisoners rushed to the gate
as if they had heard the beating of the wings of some angel of
deliverance. This was apparently the occasion of their weekly shave,
when egress to the corridor was permitted, the barbers naturally not
wishing to go inside our loathsome room.

Taking this tide in the affairs of men at the flood, I found it led on
to fortune. I was in the corridor with six other prisoners, and a barber
confronted me with a razor in his hand. He whetted his steel
expectantly, but I would have none of him, and seized a passing official
by the arm.

He was a dog-collar gentleman.

A dog-collar gentleman, I must explain, is Authority Incarnate. On his
swelling chest he wears a crescent tablet of brass, with the one word
_Quanun_ inscribed thereon. _Quanun_ means "law," and the wearer of this
badge is responsible for public decorum of every kind. If a Turkish
officer be seen drinking alcohol in uniform, or playing cards, or
flirting, or talking disrespectfully of the Germans, or indulging in any
other prohibited amusement, he is instantly arrested by the dog-collar
gentleman, and brought to prison. In his official capacity, the
dog-collar gentleman is one of the most important personages in Turkey:
policeman, pussfoot and prude in one.

"There is some mistake," I said excitedly. "I am a British officer, and
have been put in a room with criminals."

"You a British officer?" said the dog-collar man incredulously.

"A captain of cavalry," said I, slipping him the twenty-five piastre
note.

"_Pekke, Effendim_," he answered. "Very good, sir, I will see what can
be done."

I had burnt my boats now.

About ten minutes later, just as I was flatly refusing to either be
shaved or to return through the gate, a sergeant-major and a squad of
soldiers arrived and bore me off to the Prison Commandant.

Here I caught sight of my two companions, and was able to fling them a
few words through the "Yok, yok" of the sentries. They also had been
separated, and put amongst criminals. Their lot had been no different to
mine.

"A slight mistake has occurred," said the Prison Commandant to me, "but
now you shall have one of the best rooms in the prison. Only I am
afraid you will be alone there, until after your trial."

Of course I did not believe him, but I was glad that I was to be alone.

I was taken to a room on the upper floor, furnished with a bed and
blanket, and with a window opening on to a corridor, where people were
always passing. The Commandant had spoken the truth. It was quite a good
room, as prison apartments go, and the traffic of the corridor amused
me.

At nine o'clock that night I was able to get a dish of haricot beans, my
first meal of the day.

Then I settled down to a month of solitary confinement.

I think I may claim to write of this torture, which exists not only in
Turkey but through the prisons of the civilised world, with some expert
knowledge. I use the word "torture" because it is nothing less. Solitary
confinement is a punishment as barbarous and as senseless as the
thumbscrew or the rack: more so indeed, for it is better to kill the
body than to maim the mind. The spirit of man is more than his poor
flesh; the war has reminded us of that. And if it has also reminded us
that our prison systems are archaic, so much the better for the world.

At times, in gaol, a tide of pity rose in me for all life created that
is caged by man.

Take a felon at one end of the scale, and a canary at the other. The
felon is imprisoned for twenty years. For twenty years, less some small
remission for good conduct, an abnormal brain lives in abnormal
surroundings, where hope dies, and ideals fail. He has sinned against
society, and therefore society murders his mind. Corporal and capital
punishment, I have come to believe, are saner than the cruelties,
immeasurable by "the world's coarse thumb and finger," suffered by the
mind of man in solitary confinement or the common gaol. The
sentimentalist who shudders at the cat and gallows forgets the worse,
slow, hidden horrors that pass unseen in the felon's brain. Perhaps the
sentimentalist does not realise them. Perhaps also the old lady who
keeps a canary does not realise the feelings of her pet. She may think
she is protecting it from the birds and beasts outside. But I feel now
that I know what the canary feels. . . . However, it is difficult to
argue about questions involving imagination.

I lived on hope, chiefly, during the days that followed. With nothing to
read, no cutting instrument of any sort, no washing arrangements, and no
one to speak to, the time passed hideously. I used to gaze at my watch
sometimes, appalled at the slow passage of time. The second-hand had a
horrible fascination for me. It simply crawled round its dial and each
instant, between the jerks of the little hand, the precious moments of
my youth were passing, beyond recall. Madness lay that way. If I had
been a real criminal, I wondered, would I have repented? Unquestionably
the answer was, "No!" Solitary confinement would have made me a
permanent enemy of society.

There were no smiles and soap in that Military Prison, no scissors, no
sanitation. There was nothing human or clean about it. Nothing but
destruction will rid it of its vermin, or scour it of its taint of
disease and death.

Perhaps the lack of scissors was the amenity of life whose absence I
most deplored. Try to do without a cutting instrument for a month, and
you will realise why it was that some sort of cutting edge was the first
need of primitive man and remains a prime necessity to-day.

However, as a matter of fact, I did not remain a whole month without a
cutting edge. Before a fortnight had elapsed I had bettered my position
in many ways. I had secured a knife (which I stole from the restaurant),
a wash-basin (sent from the Embassy), and pencil and paper from a
friendly clerk. With these writing instruments I used to correspond
voluminously with the other British prisoners, by various privy methods.

I had a regular routine for my days now. Early mornings were devoted to
walking briskly up and down my room in various gaits--the sailor's roll,
for instance, and the Napoleonic stride, and the deportment of various
of my acquaintances. During this time I avoided thinking, but generally
imagined some incident in which I took a distinguished part. In the
forenoon I played games, such as throwing my soap to the ceiling and
catching it again, or juggling with cigarettes, both lighted and
unlighted. The afternoon generally passed in sleep, but the evening and
nights were bad. It was then that the second hand of my watch began to
exert its fascination. The electric light bulb, however, could
occasionally be tampered with, and on these occasions there was always
the hope that the sentries would get a shock in putting it right. Also I
found amusement in my watch chain, which I made into an absorbing
puzzle.

But, curiously enough, I found it impossible to write anything, except
lengthy letters.

A real prisoner in a well-constituted prison does not enjoy his days any
more than I did. On the other hand, he knows how long his sentence is
going to last, whereas in my case I was confined during Djevad Bey's
pleasure, or the duration of the war, and each day brought me nearer
nothing--except insanity.

One evening, however, an Imperial Son-in-law entered my room, and lit my
life with a certain interest. His father, who was a Court official, had
betrothed him to a princess, and he had consequently assumed the title
of Damad, or Son-in-law. This youth had had a remarkable career. While
still a guileless lad, scarcely broke from the harem, he had used his
revolver so injudiciously that he had seriously damaged one of the
Imperial apartments, besides killing the elderly Colonel at whom he was
aiming. Enver Pasha had of course himself a weakness for this sort of
thing, but still, to save appearances, the Damad had to be punished. He
was therefore condemned to three months' confinement in the Military
Prison. Although nominally in residence there, he used, however, to
leave prison every Friday to attend the Sultan's Selamlik, and only
return on Monday night. Moreover, he not only thoroughly amused himself
during his protracted week-ends, he also squeezed every bit of pleasure
possible out of his prison days. Life was a lemon, which he sucked with
grace. He was free to wander where he wished in the prison, and to eat
and drink what he liked. The best of everything was good enough for the
Damad. Grapes came for him from the Sultan's garden, and a faithful
negro slave was always at his heels.

The Damad had rather charming manners. He knocked politely before
entering my cell.

"Excuse my interrupting," he said, "but----"

"You are not interrupting me at all," I answered, getting up from my
bed. "I do wish you would stop and talk. Have a cigarette? I haven't
talked to anyone for a fortnight."

"I am so sorry, but I daren't talk to you. That is a pleasure to come. I
wanted to borrow something, that's all. And, I say, will you allow me to
offer you one of my cigarettes--they're the Sultan's brand, you know.
Better take the box. Well, I saw you with an eyeglass through the window
in the passage. Will you lend it me to appear at the next Selamlik?"

I was delighted, and said so. To my sorrow, the Damad instantly took his
departure.

"Smuggle me in something to read," I said, as he left with profuse
apologies for his hurry.

He nodded, and his long left eyelash flickered.

Next day his little nigger boy, when the sentry's back was turned,
popped about twenty leaflets into my window. I seized them avidly, and
found that they were the astounding adventures of Nat Pinkerton in
French. Never have my eyes rested so gleefully on a printed page. I
consumed them cautiously, else I should have gorged myself with
excitement at a single sitting. Like an epicure, I made them last, by
always breaking off at the critical juncture of the great detective's
affairs. From that moment my life flowed in more agreeable channels.

"Devouring time, blunt though the lion's paws." . . . I suddenly
understood Shakespeare's meaning afresh. Time had dulled the clawing of
regret.

I had failed to escape, it is true, but there was always hope. Things
were getting better. The women had been released. Thémistoclé only
awaited a formal trial. My own condition had improved. I had been moved
from my solitary confinement, just when I had secured a Bible, and a
large tin of Keating's, wherewith to combat the devils of captivity. But
any change is better than none at all, I thought. The mortal hunger for
companionship is strong, and my new room, besides containing an officer,
also enjoyed an excellent and varied view.

After a few days' experience of my new room-mate, however, who was a
Bulgarian Bolshevik, I began to pine for solitude again. A more
unmitigated Tishbite I have never seen, but fortunately he was smaller
than I. When I found him washing his feet in my basin one night, I smote
him, hip and thigh.

That Bulgarian has coloured my whole view of the Balkans. The less said
about him, the better.

    *    *    *    *    *

One day about thirty British officers arrived from the camp at Yuzgad,
whence they had escaped and been recaptured on the occasion when
Commander Cochrane and his gallant band of seven marched four hundred
and fifty miles to freedom. All the party who arrived in the Military
Prison were in uniform, and in excellent spirits. They were like a
breath of fresh air in that sordid place. On being put into three rooms,
these thirty brave men and true at once demanded beds to sleep on. In
due time the beds arrived, in the usual condition of beds in that place.
They might have been so many Stilton cheeses. Our thirty prisoners,
despite the protest of the guards, carried out their couches into the
passage, and lit two Primus stoves. Over these stoves they proceeded to
pass the component parts of each bed, so that its occupants were utterly
exterminated.

Imagine the scene. A dismal corridor, a flaming stove, Turkish sentries
protesting with Hercules in khaki, cleansing the Augean stable. . . .
But protests were useless. The smell of burnt bugs mingled with the
other contaminations of the prison. Our officers had done in little what
civilisation will one day do at large throughout that land.

    *    *    *    *    *

A British officer, going to the feeding place, looked into a window
which gave on to my room. But I was kept strictly apart from my fellows,
and the sentry consequently tried to drag the officer away.

"Leave me alone, you son of Belial!" said he. "Isn't a window meant to
look through?"

Windows in that prison were certainly not meant to look through.

From my new eyrie I had a composite view of startling contrasts. Down
below, some soldiers were living in a verandah, behind wooden bars.
Anything more animal than their life it would be impossible to conceive.
Every afternoon at three o'clock a parade of handcuffed men were
marshalled two by two, and then pushed into these dens. Beyond them lay
the city of Stamboul with its clustered cupolas and nine-trellised
alley-ways. And beyond the city were the blue waters of the Marmora.

Then there was the window in the passage through which the British
officer had observed me. This gave me a view of the rank and fashion of
the prison, so that I knew who was being tried, who received visitors,
and so on.

And directly opposite me, in another face of the building, was yet
another window, with curtains drawn. That was the window of the Hall of
Justice. Directly under my perch, but rather too far to jump, were some
telegraph lines which might possibly have provided a means of escape.
Sentries used to watch me carefully, whenever I looked at these
telegraph lines. I was considered a dangerous, indeed a desperate
character, and my every movement was regarded with apprehension. Not
only was no one (except now the Bulgarian) allowed to speak to me, but I
was not even permitted to look at anything, or anyone, for long, without
being bidden to desist. Whatever I did, in fact, I was told not to do.

Eventually I made a scene.

The immediate cause of the row was that I had a glimpse of a sitting in
the Hall of Justice. I had often wondered what passed there, for at
times faint screams used to hint of the infamies that passed behind
those curtains.

One day I saw.

The Hall of Justice is a fine room, with a lordly sweep of view over the
city and the sea. Why anyone chose such a situation as a torture chamber
I do not know. But there it was. There was something dramatic about the
beautiful prospect and the bestial people who sat with their backs
turned to it, interrogating the Armenians.

  "Every prospect pleases and only man is vile."

Very vile were the two Turkish officers, judges I suppose, who sat
smoking cigarettes, while an old Armenian woman and her son stood before
them to be tried. What passed I could not hear, but evidently her
answers were not satisfactory, for presently the policeman who stood
behind her kicked her violently, so that her head jerked back and her
arms flung forward, and she was sent tottering towards the judges'
table. Then the policeman took a stick as thick as a man's wrist, and
began to beat her over the head and shoulders. Her son meanwhile had
fallen on his knees and was crawling about the room, dragging his
chains, and supplicating first the judges and then the policeman. He was
imploring them, no doubt, to have pity on his mother's age and weakness.

She fell down in a faint. The policeman kicked her in the face, and then
prodded her with a stick until she rose.

I wish the people who are ready to "let the Turk manage his own country"
could have seen that savage pantomime.

I tried to get out to stop it, but was driven back with bayonets.

    *    *    *    *    *

Djevad Bey, the Military Commandant of Constantinople, with a
resplendent retinue, arrived one day to inspect us. With his long
cigarette-holder, and long shiny boots, he swaggered round, followed by
_ormulu_ staff officers and diligent clerks and pompous gentlemen in
dog-collars. Everywhere around him was dirt, disease, destitution, and
despair. But Djevad Bey in his shiny boots "cared for none of these
things." He was himself, with his medals and moustaches, and that was
enough.

"What more do you want, _effendi_?" he asked me after I had made a few
casual complaints (for it was useless to take him seriously). "You have
one of the most beautiful views in Europe from the garden."

"But I am not allowed into the garden."

"Have a little patience, _mon cher_," said he. "It is rather crowded
with older prisoners now. But in a little time perhaps, when I have
discovered the name of that forger . . ."

And with a condescending smile he passed on between ranks of sentries
standing stiffly at attention, to inspect another portion of his
miserable menagerie.

    *    *    *    *    *

Ah, Djevad, _mon cher_, those days seem distant now! You and your
popinjays have passed. . . .

[Footnote 9: Five shillings.]



  CHAPTER XII

  OUR SECOND ESCAPE


The ghosts of the prisoners of the Tower, or of the Bastille, could they
revisit earth, would undoubtedly have found themselves more at home in
the Military Prison, Constantinople, than anywhere else in the world.
The dark ages were still a matter of actuality in the dark dungeons of
Constantinople in 1918. To be tried, for instance, was there considered
something very up-to-date. Most prisoners were not tried, until their
sentence was nearly over, when they were formally liberated.

After a month of solitary confinement, and a week of confinement with
the Bulgarian, which was an even worse travail of the spirit, I received
the joyful news that the preliminaries for my court-martial were almost
complete.

I attended this first sitting with the thrill of a debutante going to a
ball. I determined to make up arrears of talk. And I did. I began at the
beginning of my life, sketched my education, and came by easy stages to
my career as an officer in the Indian Cavalry. The clerk who recorded my
evidence wrote for two hours without pause or intermission, but it is
worthy of record that at the end of that time we had only reached the
point where an officer of the Psamattia fire brigade, hearing, as I
thought, a suspicious movement on the roof of the house across the
street, kept a stern and steadfast gaze in our direction, while we
crouched trembling under cover of the parapet. At this point the
proceedings were adjourned.

But the Court had let fall a useful piece of information. Robin was back
in prison, but was being kept even more secret and secluded than I.

However, love laughs at locksmiths, and it takes more than a Turkish
sentry to defeat a persevering prisoner. We sighted each other in
passages, we met in wash-places, we flipped notes to each other in bits
of bread, or sent them by a third party concealed in cigarettes. By such
means, I learnt Robin's remarkable story. . . . After being caught at
Malgara, ten days after his first escape, he was taken back to the
Central Gaol, where he was treated as a Turkish deserter and given
nothing but black bread to eat. He thereupon went on hunger strike for
three days, and alarmed the Turks by nearly dying in their hands. Later
he was allowed to purchase a liberal diet, including even wine and
cigars, which he declared were necessary to his health, but his
constitution being enfeebled by privation, he developed alarming
swellings over his face and scalp, which were probably due to some
noxious ingredient of the hair-dye he had used. In this condition he
was sent to hospital, and from hospital he escaped again. A Greek
patient was his accomplice.

Giving this man ten pounds to buy a disguise with, he made an
appointment with him for nine o'clock outside the German Embassy (!) and
then set out on his adventures dressed in a white night-shirt. How he
eluded the sentries is a mystery to me, although I inspected the place
after the armistice. Patients were then saying (Turks, who are sometimes
sportsmen, among them): "Here is where a British officer escaped. Thus
and thus did he climb--past the sentries--along that buttress--down into
the street hard by the guard-house!". . . . He arrived punctually at
nine o'clock at the German Embassy, in his night-shirt. But the Greek
accomplice was not there. He was at that moment drinking and dicing with
Robin's money. For half an hour Robin waited for him by a tree in the
shadows of a side street leading to the sea. The few people who passed
him stared hard, and then moved nervously across to the other pavement.
They thought he was a madman.

Robin, I think, felt he was a madman too. In his present situation and
dress, detection was only a matter of time. However, chance might be
kind and send him a disguise. Cold and disconsolate, he ascended the
main road that led to the top of the Grand Rue de Pera, and taking his
way through the traffic, dipped down into the ruins beyond. The saint
who protects prisoners must have guided that tall white figure, that
paddled across the busy town. . . . And more, once he was hiding in the
ruins, the saint must have sent along the small boy who passed close to
him in that lonely spot of cypresses and desolation. All-unknowing of
the fate that awaited him behind the angle of the wall, the small boy
strode sturdily along, thinking perhaps of the nice bran-bread and
synthetic coffee that awaited him for supper. Robin pounced out of the
shadow, and seized him by the scruff of the neck. . . . The victim
instantly began to blubber.

"Give me all your clothes," said Robin.

"Who are you?" sobbed the little boy.

"Brigand," said Robin shortly.

This answer had the desired effect. The youth dried his tears, and
divested himself of his apparel, which Robin immediately put on. The
boots were much too small to wear and were returned. Still, the brigand
was so satisfied with his clothes that he gave the small boy four pounds
with a magnanimous gesture. Then he set out to seek his fortune, wearing
a tiny fezz, and a coat whose sleeves reached half-way down his forearm.
For four days he dodged about the city, never more than a few hours at
one place, until, just when his strength and his funds were exhausted,
he found a house to give him shelter. From here he made a plan to
escape, but was recaught through treachery at the docks, and taken back
to the Military Prison. Only an Ali Baba could do justice to these
experiences. Alas! the best books of adventure are just those which are
never written.

Anyway we were together again, two desperadoes in dungeon, "apart but
not afar."

The Damad's little nigger boy often contributed to our schemes for
communication. This lad, who was in training for the position of keeper
of the harem, and consequently belonged to the species that rises to
eminence in Turkey, was a remarkable child. He did exactly what he liked
and no one dared interfere with the little Lord Chamberlain _in posse_.
He had an uncanny brain and uncanny strength, and I can quite understand
the reliance which Turkish Pashas are wont to repose in these servants.
I relied on him myself at times, and was never disappointed.

The arrival of a neutral Red Cross delegate, at about this time, did
much to secure us better treatment. For over five weeks now I had not
breathed fresh air, but directly the Red Cross delegate arrived I was
allowed to go to the bath, escorted by two dog-collar gentlemen with
revolvers and two sentries with side arms. While glad to feel I was
employing so many of the Turkish Army while at my ablutions, I could not
but deplore their anxiety on my behalf.

"No officer has ever succeeded in escaping from this wonderful gaol of
yours," I said to the Prison Commandant, who (in contrast to Djevad) was
quite a good fellow in his way "and I don't suppose anyone ever will.
Why therefore go to the trouble of guarding us so closely? It would be
a very graceful act on your part if you allowed us to go occasionally
into the garden."

"Yarin, inshallah," murmured the Commandant, meaning, "To-morrow, please
God."

And to-morrow, strange to say, actually arrived in about a week's time.

Perhaps a bomb raid hastened matters, by stimulating the Commandant's
desire to do graceful acts before the war was over.

One of the bombs of this raid dropped in the school playground just
outside the Seraskerat Square, and shattered all the windows in my
passage. Fortunately all the children were away, it being Friday. No one
was killed by that bomb, but a large handsome Turkish officer prisoner
standing beside me in the passage, when some panes of glass beside us
burst, threw himself on the floor and refused to rise again, declaring
he was killed. A full ten minutes he lay, with his moustaches in the
dust, surrounded by sentries. In the confusion that ensued Robin
cleverly slipped over to me and we had a very useful chat.

The first and most vital thing to do, we decided, was to get into
Constantinople, in order to learn how the situation really stood, and
make our plans for escaping, so that in the event of our success we
should be in possession of knowledge useful to the Allies.

Having settled this, we returned to our respective cells, where I
witnessed a scene that, by contrast with the behaviour of the nervous
Turkish officer, reminded me of the "patient deep disdain" that the
East will always feel for the marvels of our age of steel. Our machines
are things of a day, but the ancient needs remain. The bomb that had
dropped in the playground had wrecked a large tree that stood in its
centre, and hardly had its smoke cleared away before an elderly peasant
appeared with a donkey and started collecting twigs and splinters for
firewood. Slowly and stolidly, under that barrage-riven sky, the old man
continued gathering the aftermath of the raid, before the raid was
finished. Empires might crumble to the dust: he would cook his dinner
with the pieces.

This bombing business "cleared the air" for us greatly, and another
little incident clinched matters.

An officious sentry, who had received the usual orders about treating
Robin with especial severity, so far exceeded his instructions as to
slap Robin in the face when he was merely standing at the door of his
room. Robin instantly knocked him down with a hook on the point of the
jaw that would have sent a prizefighter to sleep, let alone a _posta_.
There was a click of rifles and a glitter of bayonets. Sergeants were
whistled for. Swords and spurs rang down the corridor. The Commandant
arrived.

What seemed an awkward situation for Robin at first now turned greatly
to his advantage. He demanded an apology from the Minister of War, and
although he did not receive this, our treatment immediately improved.
The Turkish sentry was so clearly in the wrong that the Commandant felt
he should do something to placate us.

One day, Robin and I were told that we would be allowed into
Constantinople to shop, provided we gave our parole not to escape while
in the town.

This we immediately decided to do, and wrote a promise stating that
while we could give no permanent engagement about our behaviour while
guarded in prison, if we were allowed out into the town we bound
ourselves to return faithfully to our quarters at a fixed time. Next
day, accordingly, we dressed in the quaint apologies for clothes in our
possession, and sallied out, blinking in the sunlight of the square.

Imagine our surprise when we found an escort of ten armed men, who were
to accompany us to see that we kept our word. Highly incensed, we
returned directly to the Commandant's office, followed by our retinue.
At first the Commandant did not understand the nature of the insult he
had offered to us, but eventually he agreed that a squad of soldiers was
unnecessary to enforce an Englishman's promise, and he promised to send
us out again on the following day, more suitably attended.

This time there were only two dog-collar gentlemen to accompany us, and
although we were later joined by a third, who, I think, smelt beer and
beef in the offing, we considered that this number of attendants was not
unsuitable to our importance. (For a long time after escape, indeed, I
was always expecting to find a sentry at my elbow. They were very
convenient for carrying parcels, and during this excursion the minions
of the law actually carried back to prison our escaping gear, wrapped in
harmless-looking packages.) Rope, fezzes, and maps were the articles
chiefly required, and these we purchased without much difficulty in
restaurants where we were known. Robin and I were adepts at this sort of
thing by now. One of us had only to go over to our escort's table, and
standing over them, inquire whether they preferred black beer or yellow:
meanwhile the other would be "wangling" the waiter. Besides material
accessories we also required certain moral support. Was it worth while
to escape? Would the Bulgarians attack Constantinople? What was the
_morale_ of the Tchatchaldja garrison? . . . . All this and much more we
learnt from Miss Whitaker, whom we met (just by chance, do you think?)
at tea at the Petits Champs.

We returned from our excursion highly satisfied with our prospects. That
evening we thanked the Commandant warmly for our delightful day, and
asked one favour more, namely that we should be allowed out regularly
into the garden, in order to get the exercise necessary to our health.
An hour's walk every day would greatly relieve the tension of captivity.
Surely, we said, the Commandant did not intend to keep us caged like
wild beasts, with a minimum of air and exercise?

Permission was granted, with the proviso that we should not talk to
other prisoners. Of all black sheep we were the blackest ones.

So we walked in the garden, and discussed plans of escape. We now had
fezzes, rope, and plenty of money. On the other hand, there were so many
sentries everywhere, and so many doors and barriers to get through, that
the thing seemed impossible at first.

Bribery was not to be thought of. Any attempt in this direction would
have sent us through the portals of the damned again, to await the end
of the war in chains.

Only in the garden was there the slightest chance of success. Our
chance, however, lay, as before, in the element of the unexpected.

On the far side of the garden from the prison were some iron railings,
which overlooked a drop of from one hundred to two hundred feet, to a
street below. These railings were spaced at just about the width of a
man's head. We tested them at various points while apparently engaged in
looking at the view, and made a note of the gaps most suitable to
squeeze through. No one appeared to think it likely we would try to
escape over a precipice. The six sentries in the garden therefore, whose
sole duty it was to watch us, generally devoted their attention to
seeing we did not talk to the Greek clerks who came into the restaurant
to get their dinner of an evening. Beyond occasionally saying the magic
word "_Yok_," they allowed us to do much what we liked at the other side
of the garden, where our interests, they thought, could only be of an
innocent nature.

At first our idea was to get through the railings and slide down a rope
into the street, but there were practical difficulties about this.
Thirty fathoms of rope are impossible to conceal on one's person.
Besides, we thought of a better plan.

Having got through the railings, we would climb along outside them, past
the garden, and along the wall of a printing-house, where their support
still continued, until we reached the main square of the Seraskerat.
Here we would squeeze back through the railings (for the drop was still
too difficult to negotiate) and proceed as follows: We would stroll to
the centre of the square, light cigars, and then suddenly altering our
demeanour, hurry back to the staff garage where the military motor-cars
were kept. The sentry on guard would certainly think we were chauffeurs.

With a guttural curse or two, we would start up a car, and drive
directly to the Bulgarian frontier, or Dedeagatch, as the situation
dictated. If anyone attempted to stop us on the way, we had only to say,
"_Kreuzhimmel donnerwetter_," and open out the throttle. The plan was
charming in its simplicity and _kolossal_ in conception. We already
imagined ourselves arriving with full details of the Constantinople
defences, in a big Mercédès car. The plan was complete. We had only to
do it!

Opportunity came one twilight evening, when we two were alone in the
garden, with the six sentries, all rather sleepy, and the Damad, who had
just returned from a hectic week-end up the Bosphorus. He was full of
stories and news which we did not want to hear. For a time he bored us
to tears talking of the war, but at last conversation flagged, and we
bade him a cordial good-night, making an appointment to see him again
next day, which we trusted we would not be in a position to keep.

Then we edged to the far side of the garden, where the railings were.
The six sleepy sentries were watching the stream of people going into
the restaurant near the entrance gate. They paid no attention to us, and
looked--rather sadly, I thought--at the Greeks who were coming in to
have a square meal, a thing that they themselves could only dream of.

Feeling that the moment was too good to be lost, and yet somehow too
good to be true, we stood by the railings, with our heads half through.

"Come on," said Robin cheerily.

I put my head through, and my flinching flesh followed a moment later. I
hung over the drop and looked and listened tensely for any stir in the
garden, expecting every moment to hear the clamour of sentries and the
drone of bullets. But all was quiet. One sentry lit another's cigarette.
A third was playing with a kitten. The others had their backs turned.

We clambered along, and reached the printing-house. We were out of
sight of the sentries now, and the way seemed clear, across a patch of
ivy, to a gap which would give us entrance to the main square. Once we
had gained its comparative freedom, success, I felt, was certain.

But my hope was short-lived. The railings on the wall of the
printing-house led past an open window, which we had not been able to
see from the garden. At this window three Turks were sitting. They were
officials of the printing-house no doubt, and were now engaged in
discussing short drinks and the prospect of the Bosphorus. Had we
interposed our bodies between them and the view, we would have been in a
very unpleasant position. With one finger they could have pushed us down
to the street a hundred feet below, or else detained us where we were,
to wait like wingless flies until soldiers came to drag us back.

It was a horrid anti-climax, but we decided to go back. There was no
alternative.

That return journey was quite hideous, for at any moment before we
reached our gap a sentry might have seen us. And even if they had missed
us at fifty yards (and we were a sitting shot against the sunset) we
would have looked absolutely foolish and been abjectly helpless.

All went well, however. We squeezed back through the railings, and found
ourselves in the prison garden again. Our attempt had failed. I felt as
if someone had suddenly flattened me out with a rolling pin. But Robin
was quite undismayed.

"Our luck is in," he said--"else we would have been spotted against
those railings just now. Look, it is a full moon, like the last time we
escaped. I bet we succeed to-night."

"I won't take your money," I said, hugely heartened, however.

Four of our sentries were smoking sadly, and looking into the
restaurant, as boys look into a cake-shop. The fifth was standing by the
gold-fish pond. The sixth leaned against the railings, about eighty
yards away from us, looking out towards Galata Bridge.

After hurriedly dusting ourselves, we walked straight past him. He
turned and glanced at his watch, and then at us.

"Just five minutes more," we urged--"we haven't had nearly enough
exercise yet."

And we continued walking round the garden, breathlessly discussing
plans.

The sentry nodded and sighed, then turned again to contemplate the
Golden Horn.

Our one remaining chance was to walk straight out of the gate near the
restaurant, into the main square. In moments of intense stress one can
sometimes grasp the psychology of a situation in a flash. We saw into
the minds of the sentries, I believe. They were bored and unsuspecting.
A sort of prevision came to us that we would be mistaken for Greek
employees of the Ministry, and could stroll unquestioned through the
gate, if we acted instantly.

It was getting dark now. We slipped into a patch of shadow, threw away
our hats, and taking out the fezzes which we always carried concealed
under our waistcoats, we put them on our heads. Then we strolled on.

To understand our feelings, it must be remembered that no officer has
ever before succeeded in escaping from this ancient prison. The Turks
prided themselves on the fact. Recently, a political suspect had made a
desperate dash for liberty by the same entrance as we now approached,
but he had been caught before he reached the outer square. Good men had
tried--but fools rush in where angels fear to tread. And we _knew_, by
sheer faith, that we would not be stopped.

We walked very slowly now, stopping sometimes to gesticulate, after the
manner of the Mediterranean peoples. What we said I have no idea, but I
think I spoke _staccato_ Italian, while Robin answered in Arabic
imprecations. Near the gate I remember saying to him passionately in
English: "For God's sake turn your trousers down," for to one's
sensitive mind such an oddity of dress was certain to spell detection.
This was idiotic, but my nerves were on edge.

Mingling with the Greeks who were coming out of the restaurant, we came
at a very, very leisurely pace to the sentry-guarded gate. Everyone has
a pass of course, both to enter and to leave this gate, but season
ticket holders, so to speak, are rarely asked to produce their
credentials.

[Illustration: THE SQUARE OF THE SERASKERAT, CONSTANTINOPLE]

We came level with the sentries at the gate. One of them took a step
forward, as if to ask Robin a question. Then he looked at us again, and
changed his mind. I have a sort of idea that my white waistcoat and
ornamental watch chain saved the situation. No one with such belongings
could fail to be a personage of clerkly habit.

In that instant, however, faith had almost faltered, and the temptation
to quicken one's pace had been almost irresistible. To bolt into the
comparative freedom of the main square was now quite feasible, but we
had to remember that once there, our difficulties were only half over.
Every gate was guarded: the same high railings as we had already
negotiated formed its perimeter, and there was a battalion of soldiers
in the square itself. Therefore until we were out of the Seraskerat, we
had to proceed with caution.

Lethargically and nonchalantly we drew away from the restaurant.
Although time was now a factor of importance (for at any moment the
sentries in the garden might miss us), we dared not hurry our steps.

"There are no cars about. Are we going into the garage?" I murmured
doubtfully to Robin.

At that moment an individual came up behind us, who settled the question
out of hand. He was a Turkish officer. After passing us, he turned round
to stare. We returned his scrutiny with careful composure, but it was
quite obvious that he did not like the look of us. Yet our appearance
was none of his business: he hesitated a moment and then decided to do
exactly what one might do oneself if one saw a suspicious-looking
individual in a public place: he went and told a policeman. We saw him
hurrying to the main gate, where he called out the sergeant of the
guard. We, meanwhile, were slinking diagonally across the square, as if
bound for the side gate. To go to the garage now, as if approaching it
from the Ministry of War, was impossible, as we were being watched. We
whispered together, making new plans.

It was almost past twilight, but the electric light over the main gate
showed us the Turkish officer in confabulation with the sergeant of the
guard. No doubt he was saying that our passports should be scrutinised
before we were allowed to pass. The sergeant saluted as the officer
left, and then stood in the circle of light, a burly and menacing
figure, peering into the gathering darkness.

We had now reached the middle of the Seraskerat and saw that the side
gate was shut, and sentry-guarded. There was also a sentry in the
adjacent shed. The main gate was impossible of access. So also was the
garage. Our only chance lay in going forward.

We went on, past the shed, until we reached some small trees by the side
of the outer railings. We tried to put our heads through, but owing to a
slight difference of spacing, we found this could not be done. We would
have to climb over them.

A couple of people were crossing the square. The sergeant stood blinking
at the entrance. Else all was quiet.

The railings were only some twelve foot high, so they did not form a
serious obstacle, but on their other side there was a drop of ten feet,
into a crowded street. That someone would raise an alarm seemed very
probable.

From the top of the railings I looked back to the prison where I had
passed the last two months, and then forward to the street.

Two little girls stood hand in hand, gaping up at me. A street hawker
glanced in my direction. Except for these, no passer-by appeared to
notice us.

I dropped in a heap on the pavement. Next moment Robin landed beside me.

We were free once more, this time not to be recaught.

    *    *    *    *    *

The two little girls clapped their hands with glee when they saw us
drop. As to the street hawker, I daresay he thought we were robbers, and
as such, people not to be interfered with. The other passers-by merely
edged away from us. No one, in Constantinople, will involve himself in
any civil commotion if he can avoid it. Whether the disturbance be a
fire or theft, the procedure is the same. If your neighbour is being
robbed, you look the other way. If your house is being burnt, you bribe
the fire brigade not to come near it, for it they do, they will
assuredly loot everything that the flames do not consume. Hence the
sight of two wild men dropping into a crowded street stirred no civic
conscience. No one asked who we were.

We crossed the tramway lines unmolested, and dived into a narrow street
leading down the hill. Then we ran and ran and ran.

That our escape would be instantly reported we did not doubt. That
Galata Bridge would be watched and all our old haunts also seemed
certain. The care with which we had been guarded showed that the Turks
set a value on keeping us out of harm's way. At large in the city we
would be factors of unrest.

Avoiding main streets, we toiled on and on, through dark by-ways where
the moonlight did not come, until we reached the old bridge across the
Golden Horn. Here we decided to separate for the time, so that if one of
us was caught by the toll-keepers, the other could still make good his
escape.

But the toll-keepers took their tribute of a stamp without demur. They
knew nothing of British prisoners.

Crossing, we turned right-handed, passing behind the American
Ambassador's yacht _Scorpion_, at her berth near the Turkish Admiralty,
and then went up into the European quarter. In Pera we knew a score of
houses, between us, that would be glad to give us lodging, and it only
remained to choose the most convenient.

    *    *    *    *    *

It is late at night, some days before the Armistice. I am in the gardens
of the British Embassy, with a certain Colonel, an escaped prisoner of
war like myself, who is in close touch with the political situation. We
had come here, in disguise, to be out of the turmoil of the town.

Outside, in the unquiet streets, men talk of revolution. Gangs of
soldiers are under arms for twenty-four hours at a stretch. Machine guns
are posted everywhere. The docks are an armed camp. Detectives and
informers, the prison and the press-gang are at their old work. All is
still dark in Constantinople; but we, fugitives at present, and meeting
by stealth, speak of the day so soon to come when the barren flagstaff
on the roof of the Embassy will carry the Union Jack.

Below us, as we walk on the terrace, lies the Golden Horn, silver in the
starlight, and across its waters the city of Stamboul stands dim,
forlorn, and lovely. The slip of moon that rides over San Sofia seems
symbol of the waning of misery and intolerance. Soon that sickle will
disappear, and when the moon of the Moslems rises again and looks
through the garden where we talk, she will see all round it a happier
city. . . . Let us hope so, anyway.

    *    *    *    *    *

Of the maze of plot and counterplot in the city, of the death-throes of
the old régime, and of our own small part in the history of that time,
this record of moods and misadventures is not the place to write. My
life as a prisoner was finished: my brief career as a minor diplomat,
keeping his finger on the feverish pulse of Turkish politics, had only
just begun, and the story of those crowded weeks would fill a volume.

Up to the last moment, the Government, in the person of Taalat Pasha,
hoped to hold the real, if not the ostensible, reins of power. Until the
flight of the Union and Progress triumvirate, the average Turk affected
a certain lightheartedness about his country's losses. True, huge
territories were lost to the Ottoman revenue, but on the other hand they
had gained the Caucasus. So long as there was taxable territory, what
did it matter whence the tribute came?

One night, when my newspaper work permitted, I visited a friend of
Taalat Pasha, without disclosing my identity.

"Nobody but Taalat can possibly manage Turkey," he told me--"and the
English, if they come, will be well advised to deal with him."

"It is not the English only," I suggested modestly, "but the whole
world-set-free, that is coming to Constantinople."

"Then the world must deal with Taalat. His party has all the money, and
all the brains and energy as well."

"Everything except imagination," I replied.

But I did not myself imagine that only thirty-six hours later Taalat,
the fat telegraphist whom Fate caught in her toils, and Enver, with his
peacock-grace and peacock-wits, and Djemal, with cruelty stamped on him
like the brand of Cain, would pass disguised, and in darkness, and in
fear of death, through the city they had ruled as kings.

Neither did I imagine that in another fortnight the streets of Pera
would be decked with banners, and the capital of the Turks a playground
for the peoples against whom they had lately been at war. Nor did I know
that I should soon be listening to the strains of "Rule Britannia," at
the Pera Palace Hotel, while an enthusiastic crowd showered confetti on
the bald head of the Colonel who had just arrived as the first British
representative. Nor did I know that I should telephone to the papers to
stop their press, while I motored down with the first interview from our
delegate. Nor, again, could I realise that the pomp of the Prussians
would be so suddenly replaced by pipes and walking-sticks and dogs. Nor
did I even dream that the fifty-sixty horse-power Mercédès car in which
General Liman von Sanders was still racing through the streets would
soon be my property, bought and paid for in gold, complete with all
accessories, including even the chauffeur's diary, and that I should
garage it in a garden where a performing bear stood guard against any
attempt at theft by the disorderly and demoralised Germans. These things
are another story.


  BILLING AND SONS, LTD., PRINTERS, GUILDFORD, ENGLAND



  Telegrams: "Scholarly, London."      41 and 43 Maddox Street,
  Telephone: 1883 Mayfair.             Bond Street, London, W. 1.
                                      _October, 1919._

  Mr. Edward Arnold's
  AUTUMN ANNOUNCEMENTS, 1919.

  JOHN REDMOND'S LAST YEARS.
  By STEPHEN GWYNN.

  _With Portrait.  1 vol.  Demy 8vo._  =16s. net.=

The "History of John Redmond's Last Years," by Stephen Gwynn, is in the
first place an historical document of unusual importance. It is an
account of Irish political events at their most exciting period, written
by an active member of Mr. Redmond's party who was in the confidence of
his chief. The preliminary story of the struggle with the House of Lords
and the prolonged fight over Home Rule is described by a keen student of
parliamentary action. For the period which began with the war Mr. Gwynn
has had access to all Redmond's papers. He writes of Redmond's effort to
lead Ireland into the war from the standpoint of a soldier as well as a
member of parliament. The last chapter gives to the world, for the first
time, a full account of the Irish Convention which sat for eight months
behind closed doors, and in which Redmond's career reached its dramatic
catastrophe.

The interlocking of varying chains of circumstance, the parliamentary
struggle, the rise of the rival volunteer forces, the raising of Irish
divisions, the rebellion and its sequel, and, finally, the effect of
bringing Irishmen together into conference--all this is vividly
pictured, with increasing detail as the book proceeds. In the opening,
two short chapters recall the earlier history of the Irish party and
Redmond's part in it.

But the main interest centres in the character of Redmond himself. Mr.
Gwynn does not work to display his leader as a hero without faults and
incapable of mistakes. He shows the man as he knew him and worked under
him, traces his career through its triumphs to reverses, and through
gallant recovery to final defeat. A great man is made familiar to the
reader, in his wisdom, his magnanimity, and his love of country. The
tragic waste of great opportunities is portrayed in a story which has
the quality of drama in it. Beside the picture of John Redmond himself
there is sketched the gallant and sympathetic figure of his brother,
who, after thirty-five years of parliamentary service, died with the
foremost wave of his battalion at the battle of Messines.


  A MEDLEY OF MEMORIES.
  By the Rt. Rev. Sir DAVID HUNTER BLAIR, Bart.

  _With Illustrations.  1 vol.  Demy 8vo._  =16s. net.=

Sir David Hunter Blair, late Abbot of Fort Augustus, in the first part
of these fifty years' recollections, deals with his childhood and youth
in Scotland, and gives a picture full of varied interest of Scottish
country house life a generation or more ago. Very vivid, too, is the
account of early days at what was then the most famous private school in
England; and the chapter on Eton under Balston and Hornby gives
thumbnail sketches of a great many Etonians, school-contemporaries of
the writer's, and bearing names afterwards very well known for one
reason or another. Eton was followed by Magdalen; and undergraduate life
in the Oxford of 1872 is depicted with a light hand and many amusing
touches. There was foreign travel after the Oxford days; and two of the
most pleasantly descriptive chapters of the book deal with Rome in the
reign of Pius IX. and Leo XIII., both of which Pontiffs the author
served as Private Chamberlain. There is much also that is fresh and
interesting in the section treating of the lives and personalities of
some of the great English Catholic families of by-gone days.

Sir David entered the Benedictine Order at the age of twenty-five; and
the latter half of the book is concerned with his life as co-founder,
and member of the community of, the great Highland Abbey of Fort
Augustus, of which he rose later to be the second abbot. The intimate
account given in these pages of the life of a modern monk will be new to
most readers, who will find it very interesting reading. The writer's
monastic experiences embrace not only his own beautiful home in the
Central Highlands, but Benedictine life and work in England, in Belgium,
Germany and Portugal, and in South America. One of the most novel and
attractive chapters in the book is that dealing with the work of the
Order in the vast territory of Brazil.

The volume is illustrated with an excellent portrait, and with some
clever black-and-white drawings, the work of Mr. Richard Anson, one of
the author's religious brethren, and a member of the Benedictine
community at Caldey Abbey, in South Wales.


  WITH THE PERSIAN EXPEDITION.
  By Major M. H. DONOHOE,
  Army Intelligence Corps.
  Special Correspondent of the "Daily Chronicle."

  _With numerous Illustrations and Map.  Demy 8vo._  =16s. net.=

Among the many "side-shows" of the Great War, few are so difficult for
the average reader to understand as the operations in Northern Persia,
an offshoot of the Bagdhad venture, which had for their object the
policing of the warlike tribes in an area almost unknown to Europeans,
and included the various attempts to reach and hold Baku, and so get
command of the Caspian and Caucasia.

The story of these operations--carried out by little, half-forgotten
bodies of troops, mainly local levies who broke at the critical moment
and left their British officers and N.C.O.'s to carry on alone--is one
of the most amazing of the whole War, and comprises many episodes that
recall the most stirring events of the Empire's pioneering days.

By happy chance, Major M. H. Donohoe, the famous War Correspondent,
whose work for the _Daily Chronicle_ in all the wars of the past twenty
years is well known, was in this part of the world as a Major on the
Intelligence Staff, work for which his knowledge of men and languages
off the beaten tract peculiarly fitted him. He has written the story of
these operations as he saw them, chiefly as a member of the Staff of the
Military Mission under General Byron, known officially as the "Baghdad
Party," and unofficially as the "Hush-Hush Brigade," which set forth
early in 1918 to join the Column under General Dunsterville. Though
there is little of fighting in the story, the book gives an admirable
picture of the Empire's work done faithfully under difficulties, and
glimpses of places and peoples that are almost unknown even to the most
venturesome traveller. Indeed, it is largely as a book about an unknown
land that this volume will attract, together with its little
pen-portraits of men and little pen-pictures of adventures, that Kipling
would love.


  A PHYSICIAN IN FRANCE.
  By Major-General Sir WILMOT HERRINGHAM, K.C.M.G., C.B.,
  Physician to St. Bartholomew's Hospital; Consulting Physician to the
  Forces Overseas.

  _1 vol.  Demy 8vo._  =15s. net.=

How the war, as seen at close quarters, struck a man eminent in another
profession than that of arms is the distinguishing feature of this
volume of personal impressions. It is not, however, merely the outcome
of a few weeks' sojourn or "trip to the trenches," with one eye on an
expectant public, for the author has four times seen autumn fade into
winter on the flat countryside of Flanders, and, when the war ended, was
still at his post rendering invaluable services amidst unforgettable
scenes. The author's comments on the day-to-day happenings are
distinguished by a tone that is at once manly, reflective, and
good-humoured. Medical questions are naturally prominent, but are dealt
with largely in a manner that should interest the layman at the present
time. Sir Wilmot was with Lord Roberts when he died. A very pleasing
feature of the book is the constant revelation of the author's love of
nature and sport, and his happy way of introducing such topics, together
with descriptions of the country around him, makes a welcome contrast to
the stern events which form the staple material of the book. There are
some very amusing stories.


  LONDON MEN IN PALESTINE.
  By ROWLANDS COLDICOTT.

  _With maps.  1 vol.  Demy 8vo._  =12s. 6d. net.=

This book embraces so much more than the ordinary war story that we have
a peculiar difficulty in describing it in a few chosen words.

The curtain lifts the day after the battle of Sheria, one of the minor
fights in General Allenby's first campaign--those movements of troops
which came only to a pause with the capture of Jerusalem. Gaza has just
been taken. You are introduced to one of the companies of a London
battalion serving in the East, of which company the author is commander.
The reading of a few lines, the passing of a few moments, causes you
(such is the power of right words) to be _attached_ to that company and
to move in imagination with it across the dazzling plain. When you have
tramped a few miles you begin to realise, perhaps for the first time,
the heat and torment of a day's march in Philistia. It is not long
before you feel that you, too, are adventuring with the toiling
soldiers; with them you wonder where the halting place will be, what
sort of bivouac you are likely to hit upon. By this time you will have
met the officers--Temple, Trobus, Jackson--and are coming to have a
nodding acquaintance with the men. Desire to compass the unknown, and
sympathetic interest in the experiences of a company of your own
country-men, Londoners footing it in a foreign land, now takes you
irresistibly into the very heart of the tale, and you become one with
the narrator. With him you wander among the ruins of Gaza, pass into
southern Palestine, and come to the foot-hills of Judea. With him you
slowly become conscious that the long series of marches is planned to
culminate in an assault upon Jerusalem. Now you are part of a dusty
column winding up into Judea by the Jerusalem road, looking hour by hour
upon those natural phenomena that suggested the parables. "London Men in
Palestine" brings all this home to you as if you were a passer-by. Next,
the massing of troops about the Holy City is described, and you are
given a distant view of the city itself. A chapter follows that
describes the coming of the rains. Then you spend a night in an old
rock-engendered fortress-village while troops pass through to the
attack, the storm still at its height. A chapter follows that tells of a
crowded day--too complex and full of incident here to be described. The
book closes with an exciting description of a fight on the Mount of
Olives.


  MONS, ANZAC, AND KUT.
  By an M.P.

  _1 vol.  Demy 8vo._  =14s. net.=

The writer of these remarkable memoirs, whose anonymity will not veil
his identity from his friends, is a man well known, not only in England,
but also abroad, and the pages are full of the writer's charm, and
gaiety of spirit, and "courage of a day that knows not death." Day by
day, in the thick of the most stirring events in history, he jotted down
his impressions at first hand, and although parts of the diary cannot
yet be published, enough is given to the world to form a graphic and
very human history.

Our author was present at the most critical part of the Retreat from
Mons. He took part in the dramatic defence of Landrecies, and the stand
at Compiegne. Wounded, and a prisoner, he describes his experiences in a
German hospital and his subsequent recapture by the British during the
Marne advance.

The scene then shifts to Gallipoli, where he was present at the immortal
first landing, surely one of the noblest pages of our history. He took
part in the fierce fighting at Suvla Bay, and, owing to his knowledge of
Turkish, he had amazing experiences during the Armistice arranged for
the burial of the dead.

Later, the author was in Mesopotamia, where he accompanied the relieving
force in their heroic attempt to save Kut. On several occasions he was
sent out between the lines to conduct negociations between the Turks and
ourselves.

"Mons, Anzac, and Kut" . . . A day and a day will pass, before the man
and the moment meet to give us another book like this. We congratulate
ourselves that the author survived to write it.


  THE STRUGGLE IN THE AIR.
  1914-1918.
  By Major CHARLES C. TURNER (late R.A.F.).
Assoc. Fellow R. Aer. Soc., Cantor Lectures on Aeronautics, 1909. Author
of "Aircraft of To-day," "The Romance of Aeronautics," and (with Gustav
Hamel) of "Flying: Some Practical Experiences," Editor of "Aeronautics,"
etc., etc., etc.

  _With Illustrations.  1 vol.  Demy 8vo._  =15s. net.=

Major Turner served in the flying arm throughout the great conflict,
chiefly as an instructor of officers of the Royal Naval Air Service, and
then of the Royal Air Force in the principles of flight, aerial
navigation, and other subjects. He did much experimental work, made one
visit to the Front, and was mentioned in dispatches. The Armistice found
him in the position of Chief Instructor at No. 2 School of Aeronautics,
Oxford.

The classification of this book explains its scope and arrangement. The
chapters are as follows:

Capabilities of Aircraft; Theory in 1914; The flight to France and
Baptism of Fire; Early Surprises; Fighting in the Air, 1914-1915; 1916;
1917; 1918; Zeppelins and the Defence; Night Flying; The Zeppelin
Beaten; Aeroplane Raids on England; Bombing the Germans; Artillery
Observation; Reconnaissance and Photography; Observation Balloons;
Aircraft and Infantry; Sea Aircraft; Heroic Experimenters; Casualties in
the Third Arm; The Robinson Quality.


  CAUGHT BY THE TURKS.
  By FRANCIS YEATS-BROWN.

  _1 vol.  Demy 8vo._  =10s. 6d. net.=

This book contains a full measure of adventure and excitement. The
author, who is a Captain in the Indian Cavalry, was serving in the Air
Force in Mesopotamia in 1915, and was captured through an accident to
the aeroplane while engaged in a hazardous and successful attempt to cut
the Turkish telegraph lines north and west of Baghdad, just before the
Battle of Ctesiphon. Then came the horrors of the journey to
Constantinople, during which the "terrible Turk" showed himself in his
worst colours; but it was in Constantinople that the most thrilling
episodes of his captivity had their origin. The story of the Author's
first attempt to escape (which did not succeed) and of his subsequent
lucky dash for freedom, is one of intense interest, and is told in a
most vivid and dramatic way.


  JOHN HUGH ALLEN
  OF THE GALLANT COMPANY

  A Memoir by his Sister INA MONTGOMERY.

  _With Portrait.  1 vol.  Demy 8vo._  =10s. 6d. net.=

This book is the life-story of a young New Zealander who was killed in
action at the Dardanelles in June, 1915. It is told mainly in his own
letters and diaries--which have been supplemented, so far as was
needful, with the utmost tact and discretion by his sister--and falls
naturally into three principal stages. Allen spent four very strenuous
years, 1907-1911, at Cambridge, where he occupied a prominent position
among his contemporaries as an active member, and eventually President
of the Union. Though undergraduate politics are not usually taken very
seriously by the outside world, yet this side of Allen's Cambridge
career has an interest far transcending the merely personal one.
Possessed, as he was, of remarkable gifts, which he had cultivated by
assiduous practice as a speaker and writer, and passionately interested
in all that concerns the British Empire, and the present and future
relations between the United Kingdom and the Overseas Dominions, his
record may well stand as representative of the attitude of the _élite_
of the New Zealand youth towards these vital matters in the period just
preceding the war.

After Cambridge, he returned for a time to New Zealand, where he
resolved to make his permanent home, but came back to England in
December, 1913, to complete his legal studies and get called to the bar,
and was still in England when the war broke out. Consequently the second
stage is the story of seven months' experience as a lieutenant in the
13th Battalion of the Worcesters, and his letters of this period give an
attractive, and intensely graphic account of the making of the new army.
Finally, he was despatched, with a few other selected officers, to the
Dardanelles, arrived on May 25th at Cape Helles, and was attached to the
Essex regiment. The last stage, brief, glorious, and terrible, lasted
only twelve days but, brief as it was, he had time to draw an
enthralling picture of the unexampled horrors of this particular phase
of trench-warfare. The book is steeped, from beginning to end, in a
sober but fervent enthusiasm; and the cult of the Empire, in its noblest
form, has seldom been as finely exemplified as by the life and death of
John Allen.


  NOËL ROSS AND HIS WORK.
  Edited by HIS PARENTS.

  _1 vol.  Demy 8vo._  =10s. 6d. net.=

A series of charming sketches by a young New Zealander, who died in
December, 1917, on the threshold of a brilliant literary career. Noël
Ross was one of those daring Anzacs who made the landing on Gallipoli.
Wounded in the early days of the terrible fighting there, he was
discharged from the Army, came to London, rejoined there, and obtained a
commission in the Royal Field Artillery. Afterwards he became a valued
member of the Editorial Staff of _The Times_, on which his genius was at
once recognized and highly appreciated. Much of his work appeared in
_The Times_, and he was also a contributor to _Punch_. In collaboration
with his father, Captain Malcolm Ross, the New Zealand War
Correspondent, he was the author of "Light and Shade in War," of which
the _Daily Mail_ said: "It is full of Anzac virility, full of Anzac
buoyancy, and surcharged with that devil-may-care humour that has so
astounded us jaded peoples of an older world."

His writings attracted the attention of such capable writers as Rudyard
Kipling, and Sir Ian Hamilton, who said he reminded him in many ways of
that gallant and brilliant young Englishman, Rupert Brooke.


  WITH THE BRITISH INTERNED IN SWITZERLAND.
  By Lieut.-Colonel H. P. PICOT, C.B.E.,

Late Military Attaché, 1914-16, and British Officer in Charge of the
Interned, 1916-18.

  _1 vol.  Demy 8vo.  Cloth._  =10s. 6d. net.=

In this volume Colonel Picot tells us, in simple and lucid fashion, how
some thousands of our much tried and suffering countrymen were
transferred--to the eternal credit of Switzerland--from the harsh
conditions of captivity to a neutral soil, there to live in comparative
freedom amid friendly surroundings. He describes in some detail the
initiative taken by the Swiss Government on behalf of the Prisoners of
War in general, and the negociations which preceded the acceptance by
the Belligerent States of the principle of Internment, and then recounts
the measures taken by that Government for the hospitalization of some
30,000 Prisoners of War, and the organization of a Medical Service for
the treatment of the sick and wounded.

Turning, then, more particularly to the group of British prisoners, he
deals with their discipline, their camp life, the steps taken for
spiritual welfare, and the organization of sports and recreations, and
an interesting chapter records the efforts made to afford them technical
training in view of their return to civil life.

The book also comprises a resumé of the formation and development of the
Bread Bureau at Berne, which ultimately, in providing bread for 100,000
British prisoners of war in Germany, doubtless saved countless lives;
and a description of the activities of the British Legation Red Cross
Organization, both of which institutions were founded by Lady Grant
Duff, wife of H.M.'s Minister at Berne.

Colonel Picot throws many interesting sidelights on life in Switzerland
in war-time--diplomatic, social, and artistic--and his modest and
self-effacing narrative dwells generously on the devotion of all those
who, whether by appointment or chance, were associated with him in his
beneficent labours.

It is hoped that this account of a special phase in the history of our
countrymen will prove of interest to that large public who have shown in
countless ways their sympathy with all that concerns the welfare of
Prisoners of War.


  A CHILDHOOD IN BRITTANY EIGHTY YEARS AGO.
  By ANNE DOUGLAS SEDGWICK,
  Author of "Tante," "The Encounter," etc.

  _Demy 8vo.  Cloth._  =10s. 6d. net.=

With exquisite literary art which the reading public has recognised in
"Tante" and others of her novels, the author of this book tells of a
great lady's childhood in picturesque Brittany in the middle of the last
century. It covers that period of life around which the tenderest and
most vivid memories cluster; a childhood set in a district of France
rich in romance, and rich in old loyalties to manners and customs of a
gracious era that is irrevocably in the past.

Charming vignettes of character, marvellous descriptions of houses,
costumes and scenery, short stories in silhouette of pathetic or
humorous characters--these are also in the book.

And through it all the author is seen re-creating a background, which
has profoundly influenced one of the finest literary artists of the last
century.


  GARDENS: THEIR FORM AND DESIGN.
  By the Viscountess WOLSELEY.

  _With numerous Illustrations by_ Miss M. G. CAMPION.

  _1 vol.  Medium 8vo._  =21s. net.=

The present volume, which is beautifully got up and illustrated, deals
with form and line in the garden, a subject comparatively new in
England.

Lady Wolseley's book suggests simple, inexpensive means--the outcome of
practical knowledge and experience--for achieving charming results in
gardens of all sizes. Her College of Gardening at Glynde has shown Lady
Wolseley how best to make clear to those who have never before thought
about garden design, some of the complex subjects embraced by it, such
as Water Gardens, Rock Gardens, Treillage, Paved Gardens, Surprise
Gardens, etc. The book contains many decorative and imaginative drawings
by Miss Mary G. Campion, as well as a large number of practical diagrams
and plans, which further illustrate the author's ideas and add to the
value of the book.


  MEMORIES OF THE MONTHS.
  SIXTH SERIES.
  By the Rt. Hon. Sir HERBERT MAXWELL, Bt.,
  F.R.S., D.C.L., LL.D.

  _With photogravure frontispiece.  Large Crown 8vo._  =10s. 6d. net.=

It is some years since the fifth series of "Memories of the Months" was
issued, but the demand for Sir Herbert Maxwell's charming volumes
continues unabated. Every year rings new changes on the old order of
Nature, and the observant eye can always find fresh features on the face
of the Seasons. Sir Herbert Maxwell goes out to meet Nature on the moor
and loch, in garden and forest, and writes of what he sees and feels. It
is a volume of excellent gossip, the note-book of a well-informed and
high-spirited student of Nature, where the sportsman's ardour is
tempered always with the sympathy of the lover of wild things, and the
naturalist's interest is leavened with the humour of a cultivated man of
the world. This is what gives the work its abiding charm, and makes
these memories fill the place of old friends on the library bookshelf.


  SINGLE-HANDED CRUISING.
  By FRANCIS B. COOKE,
  Author of "The Corinthian Yachtsman's Handbook," "Cruising Hints," Etc.

  _Illustrated._  =10s. 6d. net.=

The contents of this volume being based upon the author's many years'
practical experience of single-handed sailing, are sure to be acceptable
to those who, either from choice or necessity, make a practice of
cruising alone. Of the four thousand or more yachts whose names appear
in Lloyd's Register, quite a considerable proportion are small craft
used for the most part for week-end cruising, and single-handed sailing
is a proposition that the owner of a week-ender cannot afford altogether
to ignore. To be dependent upon the assistance of friends, who may leave
one in the lurch at the eleventh hour, is a miserable business that can
only be avoided by having a yacht which one is capable of handling
alone. The ideal arrangement is to have a vessel of sufficient size to
accommodate one or two guests and yet not too large to be sailed
single-handed at a pinch. In this book Mr. Cooke gives some valuable
hints on the equipment and handling of such a craft, which, it may be
remarked, can, in the absence of paid hands, be maintained at
comparatively small cost.


  MODERN ROADS.
  By H. PERCY BOULNOIS, M. Inst. C.E., F.R. San. Inst., etc.

  _Demy 8vo._  =16s. net.=

The author is well known as one of the leading authorities on
road-making, and he deals at length with Traffic, Water-bound Macadam
Roads, Surface Tarring, Bituminous Roads, Waves and Corrugations,
Slippery Roads, Paved Streets (Stone and Wood, etc.), Concrete Road
Construction, etc.


  A THIN GHOST AND OTHERS.
  By Dr. M. R. JAMES,
  Provost of Eton College.

  _Crown 8vo.  Cloth._  =4s. 6d. net.=

The Provost of Eton needs no introduction as a past master of the art of
making our flesh creep, and those who have enjoyed his earlier books may
rest assured that his hand has lost none of its blood-curdling cunning.
Neither is it necessary to remind them that Dr. James's inexhaustible
stories of archæological erudition furnish him with a unique power of
giving his gruesome tales a picturesque setting, and heightening by
their literary and antiquarian charm the exquisite pleasure derived from
thrills of imaginary terror. This latter quality has never been more
happily displayed than in the stories contained in the present volume,
which we submit with great confidence to the judgment of all who
appreciate--and who does not?--a good old-fashioned hair-raising ghost
story.


  New Editions.

  GHOST STORIES OF AN ANTIQUARY.
  By Dr. M. R. JAMES,
  Provost of Eton College.

  _New Edition.  Crown 8vo._  =5s. net.=


  MORE GHOST STORIES.
  By Dr. M. R. JAMES.
  _New Edition.  Crown 8vo._  =5s. net.=


  THE PERFECT GENTLEMAN.
  By Captain HARRY GRAHAM,
  Author of "Ruthless Rhymes," etc.

  _New Edition.  Crown 8vo.  Cloth._  =3s. 6d. net.=


  THE COMPLETE SPORTSMAN.
  By Captain HARRY GRAHAM.

  _New Edition.  Crown 8vo.  Cloth._  =3s. 6d. net.=


  _The Modern Educator's Library._
  General Editor: Professor A. A. COCK.

The present age is seeing an unprecedented advance in educational theory
and practice; its whole outlook on the ideals and methods of teaching is
being widened. The aim of this new series is to present the considered
views of teachers of wide experience, and eminent ability, upon the
changes in method involved in this development, and upon the problems
which still remain to be solved, in the several branches of teaching
with which they are most intimately connected. It is hoped, therefore,
that these volumes will be instructive not only to teachers, but to all
who are interested in the progress of education.

Each volume contains an index and a comprehensive bibliography of the
subject with which it deals.


  EDUCATION: ITS DATA AND FIRST PRINCIPLES.
  By T. PERCY NUNN, M.A., D.Sc.,

Professor of Education in the University of London; Author of "The Aims
and Achievements of Scientific Method," "The Teaching of Algebra," Etc.

  _Crown 8vo.  Cloth._  =6s. net.=

Dr. Nunn's volume really forms an introduction to the whole series, and
deals with the fundamental questions which lie at the root of
educational inquiry. The first is that of the aims of education. These,
he says, are always correlative to ideals of life, and, as ideals of
life are eternally at variance, their conflict will be reflected in
educational theories. The individualism of post-reformation Europe
gradually gave way to a reaction culminating in Hegel, which pictured
the state as the superentity of which the single life is but a fugitive
element. The logical result of this Hegelian ideal the world has just
seen, and educators of to-day have to decide whether to foster this
sinister tradition or to help humanity to escape from it to something
better. What we need is a doctrine which, while admitting the importance
of the social element in man, reasserts the importance of the
individual.

This notion of individuality as the ideal of life is worked out at
length, and on the results of this investigation are based the
conclusions which are reached upon the practical problem of embodying
this ideal in teaching. Among other subjects, the author deals with
Routine and Ritual, Play, Nature and Nurture, Imitation, Instinct; and
there is a very illuminating last chapter on "The School and the
Individual."


  MORAL AND RELIGIOUS EDUCATION.
  By SOPHIE BRYANT, D.Sc., Litt.D.

Late Head Mistress of the North London Collegiate School for Girls
Author of "Educational Ends," etc.

  _Crown 8vo.  Cloth._  =6s. net.=

In this book, Mrs. Bryant, whose writings on educational subjects are
widely known, takes the view that in order to produce the best result
over the widest area, the teaching of morality through the development
of religious faith, and its teaching by direct appeal to self-respect,
reason, sympathy and common sense, are both necessary. In religion, more
than in anything else, different individuals must follow different paths
to the goal.

Upon this basis the book falls into four parts. The first deals with the
processes of spiritual self-realisation by means of interest in
knowledge and art, and of personal affections and social interest, which
all emerge in the development of conscience. The second part treats of
the moral ideal and how it is set forth by means of heroic romance and
history, and in the teaching of Aristotle, to build up the future
citizen. The third presents the religious ideal, its beginnings and the
background of ideas implied by it, together with suggestions for study
of the Bible and the lives of the Saints. In the fourth part the problem
of the reasoned presentment of religious truths is dealt with in detail.

There is no doubt that this book makes a very considerable addition to
what has already been written on the subject of religious education.


  THE TEACHING OF MODERN FOREIGN LANGUAGES IN SCHOOL AND UNIVERSITY.
  By H. G. ATKINS, M.A.,

Professor of German in King's College, University of London, and
University Reader in German,

  AND

  H. L. HUTTON, M.A.,

Senior Modern Language Master at Merchant Taylors' School.

  _Crown 8vo.  Cloth._  =6s. net.=

The first part of this book deals with the School, the second with the
University. While each part is mainly written by one of the authors,
they have acted in collaboration and have treated the two subjects as
interdependent. They have referred only briefly to the main features of
the past history, and have chiefly tried to give a broad survey of the
present position of modern language teaching, and the desirable policy
for the future.

As regards the School, conclusions are first reached as to the relative
amount of time to be devoted to modern languages in the curriculum, and
the various branches of the subject--its organisation and methods, the
place of grammar and the history of the language--are then discussed. A
chapter is devoted to the questions relating to the second foreign
language, and the study is linked up with the University course.

In the second part Professor Atkins traces the different ends to which
the School course continued at the University may lead, with special
reference to the higher Civil Service Examinations and to the training
of Secondary School Teachers.

The general plan of the book was worked out before the publication of
the report of the Government Committee appointed by the Prime Minister
to enquire into the position of Modern Languages in the educational
system of Great Britain. With the report, however, the authors'
conclusions were in the main found to agree, and the text of the book
has been brought up-to-date by references to the report which have been
made in footnotes as well as in places in the text. No further
modifications were thought to be necessary.

The book will be found to give a comprehensive review of the whole field
of modern language teaching and some valuable help towards the solution
of its problems.


  THE CHILD UNDER EIGHT.
  By E. R. MURRAY,

Vice-Principal of Maria Grey Training College; Author of "Froebel as a
Pioneer in Modern Psychology," etc.,

  AND

  HENRIETTA BROWN SMITH, LL.A.,

Lecturer in Education, Goldsmith's College, University of London; Editor
of "Education by Life."

  _Crown 8vo.  Cloth._  =6s. net.=

The authors of this book deal with the young child at the outset of its
education, a stage the importance of which cannot be exaggerated. The
volume is written in two parts, the first dealing with the child in the
Nursery and Kindergarten, and the second with the child in the State
School. Much that is said is naturally applicable to either form of
School, and, where this is so, repetition has been avoided by means of
cross references.

The authors find that the great weakness of English education in the
past has been want of a definite aim to put before the children, and the
want of a philosophy for the teacher. Without some understanding of the
meaning and purpose of life the teacher is at the mercy of every fad,
and is apt to exalt method above principle. This book is an attempt to
gather together certain recognised principles, and to show in the light
of actual experience how these may be applied to existing circumstances.
They put forward a strong plea for the recognition of the true value of
Play, the "spontaneous activity in all directions," and for courage and
faith on the part of the teacher to put this recognition into practice;
and they look forward to the time when the conditions of public
Elementary Schools, from the Nursery School up, will be such--in point
of numbers, space, situation and beauty of surroundings--that parents of
any class will gladly let their children attend them.

    *    *    *    *    *

_Further volumes in this series are in preparation and will be published
shortly._


  FIRST PRINCIPLES OF MUSIC.
  By F. J. READ, Mus. Doc. (Oxon.)

Formerly Professor at the Royal College of Music.

  _Crown 8vo._  =1s. 6d.=

This book is the result of the author's long experience as Professor of
Theory at the Royal College of Music, and is the clearest and most
concise treatise of the kind that has yet been written.

    "It is a useful little book, covering a wider field than any
    other of the kind that we know."--_The Times._

    "It is calculated to quicken interest in various subjects
    outside the normal scope of an elementary musical grammar. The
    illustrated chapter on orchestral instruments, for instance, is
    a welcome and stimulating innovation."--_Daily Telegraph._


  LONDON: EDWARD ARNOLD, 41 & 43 MADDOX STREET, W. 1.


  =Transcriber's Notes:=
  hyphenation, spelling and grammar have been preserved as in the original
  Page 21, Azizieh possibly should be Aziziah, but left as is
  Page 58, no common languge ==> no common language
  Page 81, smallest detail, for month ==> smallest detail, for months
  Page 85, supected of something ==> suspected of something
  Page 123, Mr. Morgenthan ==> Mr. Morgenthau
  Announcements at end, page 3, Bagdhad venture ==> Baghdad venture





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