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Title: Day by Day With The Russian Army 1914-15
Author: Pares, Bernard
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  DAY BY DAY WITH
  THE RUSSIAN ARMY
  1914-15


  [Illustration: THE AUTHOR.]



  DAY BY DAY WITH
  THE RUSSIAN ARMY

  1914-15

  BY
  BERNARD PARES

  _Official British Observer with the Russian Armies in the Field_

  _WITH MAPS_

  LONDON
  CONSTABLE & COMPANY LTD.
  1915



  TO
  NICHOLAS AND MARY HOMYAKOV



  Tidings from the Tsar of Germans,
    Tidings to the Russian Tsar.

  "I will come and break your Russia,
    And in Russia I will live."

  Moody was the Russian Tsar,
    As he paced the Moscow street.

  "Be not moody, Russian Tsar,
    Russia we will never yield.

  "Gather, gather, Russian hosts;
    William shall our captive be.

  "Cross the far Carpathian mountains;
    March through all the German towns."

          _Marching Song of the Third Army._



PREFACE


For the last ten years or more I have paid long visits to Russia, being
interested in anything that might conduce to closer relations between
the two countries. During this time the whole course of Russia's public
life has brought her far nearer to England--in particular, the creation
of new legislative institutions, the wonderful economic development of
the country, and the first real acquaintance which England has made
with Russian culture. I always travelled to Russia through Germany,
whose people had an inborn unintelligence and contempt for all things
Russian, and whose Government has done what it could to hold England
and Russia at arm's length from each other. I often used to wonder
which of us Germany would fight first.

When Germany declared war on Russia, I volunteered for service, and was
arranging to start for Russia when we, too, were involved in the war. I
arrived there some two weeks afterwards, and after a stay in Petrograd
and Moscow was asked to take up the duty of official correspondent with
the Russian army. It was some time before I was able to go to the army,
and at first only in company of some twelve others with officers of
the General Staff who were not yet permitted to take us to the actual
front. We, however, visited Galicia and Warsaw, and saw a good deal of
the army. After these journeys I was allowed to join the Red Cross
organisation with the Third Army as an attaché of an old friend, Mr.
Michael Stakhovich, who was at the head of this organisation; and there
General Radko Dmitriev, whom I had known earlier, kindly gave me a
written permit to visit any part of the firing line; my Red Cross work
was in transport and the forward hospitals. My instructions did not
include telegraphing, and my diary notes, though dispatched by special
messengers, necessarily took a month or more to reach England; but I
had the great satisfaction of sharing in the life of the army, where
I was entertained with the kindest hospitality and invited to see and
take part in anything that was doing.

The Third Army was at the main curve in the Russian front, the point
where the German and Austrian forces joined hands. It was engaged in
the conquest of Galicia, and on its fortunes, more perhaps than on
those of any other army on either front, might depend the issue of
the whole campaign. We were the advance guard of the liberation of
the Slavs, and to us was falling the rôle of separating Austria from
Germany, or, what is the same thing in more precise terms, separating
Hungary from Prussia. I had the good fortune to have many old friends
in this area. My work in hospitals and the permission to interrogate
prisoners at the front gave me the best view that one could have of
the process of political and military disintegration which was and is
at work in the Austrian empire. I took part in the advanced transport
work of the Red Cross, visited in detail the left and right flanks of
the army, and went to the centre just at the moment when the enemy
fell with overwhelming force of artillery on this part. I retreated
with the army to the San and to the province of Lublin. My visits to
the actual front had in each case a given object--usually to form a
judgment on some question on which depended the immediate course of the
campaign.

I am now authorised to publish my more public communications, including
my diary notes with the Third Army. I am also obliged to the _Liverpool
Daily Post and Mercury_ for leave to reprint my note of September 1914
on Moscow. I think it will be seen that if we lost Galicia we lost it
well, and that the moral superiority remained and remains on our side
throughout. We were driven out by sheer weight of metal, but our troops
turned at every point to show that the old relations of man to man
were unchanged. The diary of an Austrian officer who was several times
opposite to me will, I think, make this clear. When Russia has half
the enemy's material equipment we know, and he does, that we shall be
travelling in the opposite direction.

It was a delight to be with these splendid men. I never saw anything
base all the while that I was with the army. There was no drunkenness;
every one was at his best, and it was the simplest and noblest
atmosphere in which I have ever lived.

                                                        BERNARD PARES.



DAY BY DAY WITH THE RUSSIAN ARMY


_July-August 1914._

While the war cloud was breaking, I was close to my birthplace at
Dorking with my father, whom I was not to see again. Though eighty-one
years old he was in his full vigour of heart, mind and body, and we
were motoring every day among the beautiful Surrey hills. He had had a
great life of work for others, born just after the first Reform Bill
which his own father had helped to carry through the House of Commons,
and stamped with the robust faith and vigour of the great generation
of the Old Liberals. Like every other interest of his children, he had
always followed with the fullest participation my own work in Russia,
and I had everything packed for my yearly visit there. In London I had
had short visits from Mr. Protopopov, a liberal Russian publicist,
and later from the eminent leader of Polish public life, Mr. Dmowski,
than whom I know no better political head in Europe. Both had expected
war for years past, but neither had any idea how close it was. Mr.
Protopopov was absorbed in a study of English town planning and Mr.
Dmowski was correcting the proofs of his last article for my _Russian
Review_, which he ended with the words, "The time is not yet." He
came down and motored with us through what he called "the paradise of
trees"--and Poland itself has some of the finest trees in Europe; and
my father was keenly interested in his hopes for the future of Poland.
He was going to the English seaside when events called him back to an
adventurous journey across Europe, in the course of which he was twice
arrested in Germany, the second time in company of his old political
opponent, the reactionary Russian Minister of Education, the late Mr.
Kasso. To them a German Polish sentry said that as a Pole he wished for
the victory of Russia, for "though the Russian made himself unpleasant,
the _Schwab_ (Swabian or German) was far more dangerous."

When I read Austria's demands on Serbia, I felt that it must mean a
European war, and that we should have to take part in it. I remember
the ordinary traveller in a London hotel explaining to me how
infinitely more important the Ulster question was than the Serbian.
It was clear that the really mischievous factor was the simultaneous
official and public support of Germany, who claimed to draw an
imaginary line around the Austro-Serbian conflict and threatened war to
any one who interfered in the war. I had long realised the humbug of
pretending that Austria was anything distinct from or independent of
Germany; and the claim of the two to settle in their own favour one of
the most thorny questions in Europe could never be tolerated by Russia.
The Bosnian withdrawal of 1909 would, I knew, never be repeated, least
of all by the Russian Emperor. The line had been crossed; it was
"mailed fist" once too often.

Serbia's reply showed the extreme calm and circumspection both of
Serbia and of Russia. Then came in quick succession the great days,
when every one's political horizon was daily forced wider, when
all the home squabbles of the different countries--the Caillaux
case, the Russian labour troubles, and the Irish conflict, on which
Germany had counted so much--were hurrying back as fast as possible
into their proper background. There was a significant catch when
the Austro-Russian conversations were renewed, and Germany, who had
now come out in her true leadership, went forward to the forcing of
war. The absurd inconsequences of German diplomacy reached their
extraordinary culmination in the actual declaration to Russia. To make
sure of war, the German ambassador in St. Petersburg received for
delivery a formal declaration with alternative wordings suitable to any
answer which Russia might give to the German ultimatum; and this genial
diplomatist delivered the draft with _both_ alternative wordings to the
Russian Foreign Minister, Mr. Sazonov. It is the last communication
printed in the Russian Orange Book.

The question was, how soon we should all see it. The news of the
German declaration was in the English Sunday papers. Many English
clergymen see virtue in not reading Sunday papers. I went to church.
The clergyman began his sermon: "They tell me that the Sunday papers
assert that Germany has declared war on Russia." Not a very promising
beginning, but England was there the next minute. "If this is true,"
he went on, "and if we come into it, as we shall have to, we stand at
the end of the long period when we have been spoiling ourselves with
riches and comfort and forgetting what it is to make sacrifices"; and
there followed an impromptu but very clear forecast of what was to be
asked of us.

No one will forget the great days of probation, when each great country
in turn was called on to stand and give whatever it had of the best.
Russia was what one had felt sure that she would be. The Emperor's
pledge not to make peace while a German soldier was in Russia, was an
exact repetition of the words of Alexander I, but given this time at
the very beginning of the war. The wonderful scene before the Winter
Palace showed sovereign and people at one; and the wrecking of the
German Embassy was an answer of the Russian workmen to an active
propaganda of discontent that had issued from its walls. Next came
France's turn, her remarkable coolness and discretion, and the outburst
of patriotic devotion which the President of the Chamber voiced in the
words, "Lift up your hearts" (_Haut les coeurs_). Then the turn of
the Belgians, king and people, and their splendid and simple devotion.
And now it was for us to speak.

I believed that we were sure to come into the war, but it was three
days of waiting and the invasion of Belgium that gave us a united
England. The Germans did our job for us. It was a quick conversion
for those who hesitated; one day, neutrality to be saved; the next,
neutrality past saving; the next, war, and war to the end. When we were
waiting before the post office for Sir Edward Grey's speech, every one
was asking, "Have they done the right thing?" This was the atmosphere
of the London streets on the night that we declared war. We all lived
on a few very simple thoughts. It was clear that there must be endless
losses and many cruel inventions, but just as clear not only that we
had to win but that, if we were not failing to ourselves, we were sure
to.

I was in London before our declaration to ask what I could do, and was
now making my last preparations for starting. The squalor of the great
city had taken the aspect of a dingy ironclad at work. At the Bank of
England, where payment could still be claimed in gold, I was asked the
object of my journey. No one seemed to know about routes except Cook &
Son. In the country the mobilisation passed us silent and unnoticed,
except for the aeroplanes which we saw streaming southwards. I saw my
father in his garden for the last time, went to London, and there, in
a confusion of little things and big, with a taxi piled in haste with
parcels of the most various nature and ownership, hurried to King's
Cross, bundled into a full third-class carriage and started for Russia.


_August 21._

At King's Cross I was already almost in Russia. The sixty or so
Russians who had come to the Dental Congress in London, after one
sitting had been caught by the war. Their English hosts looked after
them splendidly, and they themselves pooled the supplies of money
which they happened to have on them. There were also several members
of the Russian ballet, and other Russians on their way from Italy,
Switzerland and France, going via Norway and Sweden to St. Petersburg.
Our route of itself was a striking illustration of the great military
advantage possessed by Germany and Austria. With its interior lines of
communication, the great German punching machine could measure its
forces to any blow which it wished to deal on either side, while for
any contact with each other the Allies had to crawl right round the
circumference. For this military advantage, however, the aggressors
had sacrificed in the most evident way all political considerations.
In a quarrel which Austria had picked with Serbia, Germany forced war
on Russia for daring to mobilise. Germany made an ultimatum to France
at the same time, so as to make war with both countries simultaneously
and give herself time to crush France before Russia could help her. For
greater speed against France, she invaded neutral Belgium, thus making
England an enemy and Italy a neutral. The absurdity became apparent
when, with all this done, we were still waiting for the completion of
the Russian mobilisation which was the nominal cause of the European
War. Hence the union of so many peoples; but for all that the military
advantage remained. It was as if Europe had the stomach ache, with
shooting pains in all directions.

  [Illustration: Centre versus CIRCUMFERENCE.
  (_to illustrate the journeys of members of our party._)]

I asked a friend in the train what might be the state of mind of the
Emperor William. He replied by quoting the answer of an Irishman: "He's
probably thinking, Is there any one that I've left out?"

At Newcastle, the Norwegian steamer had booked at least forty more
passengers than it could berth. I only got on to the boat by a special
claim and had to sleep in a passage with my things scattered round me.
All the corridors were taken up in this way. The Russians are admirable
fellow-passengers: they had organised themselves informally under a
natural leader into a great family. One corridor was set apart for a
night nursery. The women received special consideration, and any one
who had a berth was ready to give it up to them. One Russian, thinking
I was ill, offered me his. I was ensconced with my back to the wall
at the head of a staircase, and they would stop to chat as they went
up or down. They had been greatly impressed by the spirit in England:
the Englishman they regarded as a civil fellow who had better not be
provoked, for if he was he would get to business at once and not look
back till it was finished. They spoke very simply of themselves and
of their little failings, and said that for this reason it was the
greatest comfort to have England with them. What had impressed them
most was the calm and vigour with which we had faced our financial
crisis. They had seen some of our territorial troops, whom they classed
very high for physique and spirit. They had much to tell one of France
and Italy, and also of insults offered to them or their friends when
leaving Germany. There were outbursts of sheer hooliganism marked with
a sort of brutal contempt for Russians, and one lady, they said, had
the earrings torn out of her ears. Their humanity was shocked by all
this. They had nothing but condemnation for anything of the kind, from
whatever side it came, and they were quite ready to criticise their own
people or ours wherever there was any ground for doing so.

The captain said to me, "We sail under the protection of England." We
were stopped once by an English warship, but only for a few minutes. At
Bergen I found new fellow-passengers, and after an evening which was
a succession of fiords, lakes, rocky heights and white villages, we
passed by a wonderfully engineered railway over the snow level and down
to Kristiania. The Norwegians were friendly and sympathetic, the Swedes
courteous but reserved. There had recently been unveiled a frontier
monument showing two brothers shaking hands; and one felt that the one
country would not move without the other.

Between Kristiania and Stockholm I wrote an article on the Poles, and
directly afterwards, puzzling out a Swedish newspaper, I read the
manifesto of the Grand Duke Nicholas. We had with us Poles who were
travelling right round to Warsaw. From Stockholm the more apprehensive
members of our party went northward for the long land journey by
Torneô. The rest of us risked the voyage across the Gulf of Bothnia.
In the beautiful Skerries, we were at one point sent back by a Swedish
gunboat and piloted past a mine field. I was on a Finnish boat, which
was fair prize; so I had an interest in any ship that showed itself
on this hostile sea. When we reached Raumo, a little improvised port
in Finland, there was an outburst of relief for those who had come so
far and were home again at last. All classes joined and enjoyed the
home-coming together. The train picked up detachments of Russian troops
on their way to the war. I had no seat, and went and slept or drowsed
for an hour or two in a carriage full of soldiers. As I lay on a wooden
bench I listened to a young peasant recruit with a bright clear face
who was talking to his mother. It seemed to be a kind of fairy tale
that he was telling her, and the clearly spoken words mingled with the
movement of the train: "And he went again to the lake, and there he
found the girl, and there was the golden ring, the ring of parting."


_Petrograd._

I shall not dwell on the six weeks or so that I spent in St.
Petersburg. My time was taken up with a number of details and with
arrangements for getting to the front. I had volunteered for the Red
Cross when I was asked to serve as official correspondent.

On my arrival I saw Mr. Sazonov, who spoke very simply about the
overdoing of the mailed fist; he was as quiet and natural as he always
is. He was very pleased with the mobilisation, which he told me had
been so enthusiastic as to gain many hours on the schedule. This was
the account that I heard everywhere. Mr. N. N. Lvov, of Saratov on
the Volga, one of the most respected public men in Russia, was at
his estate at the time. When the news of war came, the peasants, who
were harvesting, went straight off to the recruiting depot and thence
to the church, where all who were starting took the communion; there
was no shouting, no drinking, though the abstinence edict had not
then been issued; and every man who was called up, except one who was
away on a visit, was in his place at the railway station that same
evening. In other parts the peasants went round and collected money
for the soldiers' families, and even in small villages quite large
sums were given. The abstinence edict answered to a desire that had
been expressed very generally among the peasants for some years. It
was thoroughly enforced both in the country and in the towns. In the
country the savings banks at once began steadily to fill, and the
peasants, who would speak very naïvely of their former drunkenness,
hoped that the edict would be permanent. In the towns some few
restaurants were for a time still allowed to supply beer, but this
ceased later. In all this time I only saw one drunken man.

The whole country was at once at its very best. After a mean and
confused period every one saw his road to sacrifice. The difference
between the Russians and us was that while this feeling, often so acute
with us, could often find no road, in Russia, with her conscription and
her huge Red Cross organisation, the path was easy. All the life of the
country streamed straight into the war; age limits did not act as with
us; and the rear, including the capital, was depleted of nearly every
one. This made one feel that no good work could be done here without
access to the army. Nearly all my friends were gone off, and I was
anxious to join them.

The interval was filled with different lesser interests. The question
of communications between the Allies was engaging a great deal of
attention. I was a member of a committee at the Russo-British Chamber
of Commerce, which was working out arrangements for trade routes. My
English friends and I also tried to plan an exchange of articles,
asking leading Russians and Englishmen to write respectively in English
and Russian papers. But, though this was felt to be important, we broke
down on the Russian side, because those who wished to write for us were
swept away to war work at the front. In the rear the most important
work was the relief of the families left behind. This engaged a number
of devoted workers and was soon brought into very good order both at
St. Petersburg and at Moscow, but it was in the main a task for women.

At the outset of the war the aged Premier, Mr. Goremykin, whose
political record was that of a benevolent Conservative, at once
saw the need of engaging the full co-operation of the nation as a
whole. After consultation with public leaders the Duma was summoned.
A few representative speeches were expected, but with a remarkable
spontaneity not only every section of political opinion, but every
race in the vast Russian empire took its part in a striking series
of declarations of loyalty and devotion. Each man spoke plainly the
feelings of himself and those for whom he spoke. Perhaps no speeches
left a greater impression than those of the Lithuanians and of the
Jews; these last found a noble spokesman in Mr. Friedmann. The speeches
in the Duma, which were circulated all over the country, were a
revelation to the public and to the Duma itself; and the war thus had
from the first a national character; it was a great act in the national
life of Russia.

In particular it was found that the Red Cross work could not possibly
be organised on any basis of suspicion of public initiative. In the
Japanese War Zemstva were still suspect to the Government, because
they represented the elective principle. The Zemstva created a large
Red Cross organisation under the admirable Prince George Lvov, but it
worked under great difficulties. Now Mr. Goremykin confided the main
work of the Red Cross to Prince Lvov and the Zemstva; and almost every
one prominent in Zemstvo or Duma life engaged in this work, which
gave splendid results. The later attempt of the reactionary Minister
of the Interior, Mr. Maklakov, to close this organisation ended in his
resignation.

Red Cross Zemstvo work meant the nationalisation of Russian public
life, which had so long been under the strong control of reactionary
German influences. The liberation from these influences was sealed
by the re-naming of the capital. The German name, St. Petersburg,
was exchanged for the Russian Petrograd. This was no fad. It was the
fitting end to a long struggle of the Russian people as a whole, under
a national sovereign, to develop itself independently of any mailed
fist, to manage its own affairs as Russian instincts should direct.

In Moscow in 1812 the Emperor met his people after the beginning of the
war. Gentry offered their lives; merchants, with clenched fists and
streaming eyes, offered one-third of all their substance. In 1914 the
Emperor again went to pray with his people in Moscow, and the growth of
a still greater Russia has only augmented those proportions, deepened
the reach of that historic example of patriotic self-sacrifice.

"Russia," said one of the best Russians to me, Mr. N. N. Lvov, "was
lost in a confusion of petty quarrels and intrigues; and suddenly we
see that the real Russia is there."

The pleasant streets of this great country city, so far more homelike
than those of the capital, we found even more country-like than ever; a
notable absence everywhere of young men; the feeling that all those who
were left were at work somewhere together.

In the town hall, which I have always found so thronged and busy, none
of the chief public men were to be seen; the work of all seemed to have
passed to the new department opened close by for the town organisation
in connection with the Red Cross. There, after a long wait while
numberless applicants for service passed us, we received an admirably
short and clear explanation of the work for the wounded. In the same
building was organised the care for the poor, strongly developed in
recent years at twenty-nine local branches, and now working wholesale
and with splendid effect for the homes of those who have gone to the
war.

At the Zemstvo League there was the atmosphere of all the years of
missionary work for the people that has been carried on in camping
conditions for so many years by the Zemstvo in all sorts of country
corners of Russia. Every one was moving quietly and quickly about
his share of the common business. At the big green baize table every
seat was occupied--here a woman of the poorer class volunteering as a
Red Cross sister, there a medical student asking for service. Small
conferences of fellow-workers going on in all the side rooms; and
in the evening a common discussion of how the Zemstvo work could be
carried further to the economic support of the population; an appeal is
being drawn up to go to every one in Russia. Here I found the excellent
"twin" secretaries of the President of the Duma, Mr. Shchepkin and Mr.
Alexeyev, who have done so much for friendship with England, and the
head of the whole Zemstvo League, Prince Lvov, who in a few simple
words gave all the objects of the work for the wounded, who were
expected to number 750,000.

Next we were taken to the chief depots. Princess Gagarin has given her
beautiful house for one, and now lives in a corner of it, helping at
the work. There are two main departments for paid work and for unpaid.
Patterns of all the clothes, pillows, and hospital linen required for
the wounded are sent here, and the material cut out is given out to
3,200 women, some of whom stand in a long file in the court outside.
Every day the store, which works till midnight, is cleared for a new
supply, and the materials prepared are packed in cases of birch bark
for the army. In the Government horse-breeding department there is
another great depot under the direction of Princess O. Trubetskoy. The
workers, rich and poor, all have their simple meals together in one of
the working rooms. There is a large store of chemicals, and elsewhere
a department for the supply of furniture and implements for the field
hospitals.

It would be hard to make those who cannot see it feel how intimately
the Russian people now feels itself bound up with the English in a
great common effort. The Rector of Moscow University, with whom I was
only able to converse by telephone, said to me: "Tell them in England
that we have one heart and one soul with them."

Every day great numbers of wounded are brought by train to Moscow. By
the admirable arrangements of Countess O. Bobrinsky, a vast number of
students, young women, and helpers of all kinds are waiting for them
at the Alexandrovsky station to assist in moving them and to supply
them with refreshments. An enormous silent crowd surrounds the white
station. The owners of motors are waiting ready with their carriages;
all details are in order. Three trains come in between six and ten
o'clock. The sight is a terrible one; faces bound up, limbs missing;
some few have died on the journey. The wounded are moved quickly and
quietly to the private carriages. As they pass through the crowd all
hats are off, and the soldiers sometimes reply with a salute. It is all
silent; it is the pulse of a great family beating as that of one man.


_October 8._

The Emperor's visit to the Vilna was a great success. He rode through
the town unguarded. The streets were crowded, the reception most
cordial. The upper classes in Vilna are mostly Poles, a kind of Polish
"enclave." There are several splendid Catholic churches. On the road
to the station are gates with some revered Catholic images, before
which all passers by remove their hats. There is a large Jewish trading
population often living in extreme poverty: for instance, sometimes
in three tiers of cellars one below another. The peasants are mostly
Lithuanians. Thus there are not many Russians except officials. At the
beginning of war the nearness of the enemy was felt with much anxiety.
Now there is an atmosphere of work and assurance. The Grand Hotel and
several public buildings are converted into hospitals, where the Polish
language is largely used. The Emperor visited all the chief hospitals,
and spoke with many wounded, distributing medals in such numbers that
the supply ran short. He received a Jewish deputation and spoke with
thanks of the sympathetic attitude of the Jews in this hour so solemn
for Russia. The general feeling may be described as like a new page of
history. Among Poles, educated or uneducated, enthusiasm is general.
This is all the more striking because in no circumstances could Vilna
be considered as politically Polish. Vilna shows all the aspects of war
conditions, but the country around is being actively cultivated.


_October 10._

We reached the Russian headquarters as the bugle sounded for evening
prayer. The atmosphere here is one of complete simplicity and
homeliness. Our small party includes several distinguished journalists
from most of the chief Russian papers, also eminent French, American
and Japanese representatives of the Press. We found the Grand Ducal
train on a side line. It was spacious and comfortable but simply
appointed. We were received by the Chief of the General Staff, one of
the youngest lieutenant-generals in the Russian army. He is a strongly
built man with a powerful head, whose carriage and speech communicate
confidence. He spoke very simply of the military conditions, of the
common task, and of his assurance of the full co-operation of the
public and Press. The Grand Duke then entered, his light step, bright
eye and imposing stature well shown up by his easy cavalry uniform.
Shaking hands with each of us, both before and after his address, he
said: "Gentlemen, I am glad to welcome you to my quarters. I have
always thought, and continue to think, that the Press, in competent
and worthy hands, can do an enormous amount of good. I am sure you
gentlemen are just the men who by your communications through the
papers, telling all that is most keenly interesting, and by your
correct exposition of the facts, can do good both to the public and
to us. I unfortunately and necessarily cannot show you all I should
be perhaps glad to show, as in every war, and particularly in this
stupendous one, the observing of military secrecy relative to the plan
and all that can reveal it is the pledge of success. I have marked
out a road on which you will be able to acquaint yourselves with just
what is of most lively interest to all, and what all are anxious to
know. Allow me to wish you success and to express to you my confidence
that by your work you will do all the good which is expected of you
as representatives of the public, and will calm relations and friends
and all who are suffering and anxious. I welcome you, gentlemen, and
wish you full success." We were invited to join in the lunch and
dinner of the General Staff in their restaurant car. There were no
formalities--it was simply a number of fellow workers having their
meals together, without distinction, just as in the big houses in
Moscow where the making of clothes for the army is proceeding. A notice
forbids handshaking in the restaurant, under fine of threepence for
the wounded. I noticed a street picture of the Cossack Kruchkov in his
single-handed combat with eleven German Dragoons, also a map of the
front of the Allies in the West, but hardly any other decorations.
Among the party there was, in accordance with the temperance edict, no
alcohol.


_October 12._

To-day I visited several wounded from the Austrian front, mostly
serious cases. The first, an Upper Austrian with a broken leg, spoke
cheerily of his wound and his surroundings. He described the Russian
artillery fire as particularly formidable. His own corps had run
short of ammunition, not of food. Another prisoner, a young German
from Bohemia, singularly pleasing and simple, described the fighting
at Krasnik, where he was hit in the leg. The battle, he said, was
terrible. The Austrian artillery here was uncovered and was crushed.
The Russian rifle line took cover so well that he could not descry
them from two hundred yards in front of his own skirmishing line, but
its firing took great effect. I saw also an Austrian doctor taken
prisoner, and now continuing his work salaried by the Russians.
All three prisoners evidently felt nothing antagonistic in their
surroundings. They struck me as men who had fulfilled a civic duty
without either grudge or any distinctive national feeling. I spoke
with several Russians who had been badly hit in their first days of
fighting, especially at Krasnik. Here a young Jew fell in the firing
line on a slope, and saw thence more than half of his company knocked
over as they pressed forward. He was picked up next morning. A Russian
described how his company charged a small body of Austrians, who
retired precipitately to a wood but reappeared supported by three
quickfirers which mowed down most of his company. All accounts agreed
that the Austrians could never put up resistance to Russian bayonet
charges. This was particularly noticeable in the later fighting. As
one sturdy fellow put it, "No, they don't charge us, we charge them,
and they clear out." I was most of all impressed by a frail lad of
twenty who looked a mere boy. He was not wounded, and was sent back
simply because he was worn out by the campaigning. He said, "They are
firing on my brother and not on me. That is not right, I ought to be
where they all are." One feels it is a great wave rolling forward with
one spirit driving it on.

Many of these wounded had only been picked up after lying for some time
on the field. I saw one heroic lady, a sister of mercy, who had herself
carried a wounded officer from the firing line. Both the hospitals
that I visited were strongly staffed. In the second, designed only for
serious cases, and admirably equipped with drugs, Roentgen apparatus
and operating rooms, the sister of the Emperor, the Grand Duchess
Olga Alexandrovna (who went through the full two years' preparation)
is working as a sister of mercy under all the ordinary discipline and
conditions of travel and work. Starting at the outbreak of the war, she
was in time for the tremendous pressure of the great Austrian battles,
when the hospital had to provide for three hundred patients instead
of the expected two hundred. All the arrangements in these hospitals,
based on fifty years' experience of Russian country hospital work, were
carried out under the most difficult conditions and bore the impression
of missionary devotion. Here, for instance, all the medicine chests
were adapted for frequent transport; the table is also the travelling
chest, and so on.

The country aspect was also noticeable in an army bread factory which
I visited. The rye bread is dried to a portable biscuit; the soldier
can carry a large supply of this biscuit and has something to eat in
the firing line when other provisions run short.


_Lvov (Lemberg), October 15._

To-day, on their arrival, the Russian Governor-General of Galicia
received the correspondents, and addressed us as follows--

"I am glad, gentlemen, to meet you; I am well aware of the enormous
advantage that can be derived from the use of the Press, and am only
sorry that you are to be for so short a time in Galicia, for I should
like you to have had the opportunity of studying on the spot the
difficult questions of administration: you might have communicated to
me your impressions and suggestions--for in your capacity of writers
you are trained critics. We have to deal in Galicia with various
nationalities, and very divergent political views.

"I shall be glad if I can be of any assistance in your study of the
country. I have already communicated to various deputations, and to
the public, the principles of my attitude toward the problems of
administration, and have no alterations to make in my declared views.

"Eastern Galicia should become part of Russia. Western Galicia, when
its conquest has been completed, should form part of the kingdom of
Poland, within the empire. My policy as to the religious question is
very definite. I have no desire to compel any one to join the Orthodox
Church. If a two-thirds majority in any given village desires to
conform to the Orthodox Church, then they should be given the parish
church. This does not mean that the remaining third should not be free
to remain in its former communion. I am avoiding even any suggestion of
compulsion. The peasants pass over very easily to Orthodoxy; for them
the question is in no way acute, indeed the so-called Uniats consider
they are Orthodox already. But it is different for the clergy, for whom
the question is a real one. I respect all the priests who have remained
in their parishes, and they have not been disturbed. Those who have
abandoned their benefices I am not restoring: nor shall I permit the
return of any who are associated with any political agitation against
Russia.

"A difficult question has arisen relating to Austrian officials in
the town of Lvov: from persons of means they have now become paupers
requiring assistance. Another question is that of credit: numbers of
banks are without their cash, which has all been taken away to Vienna.
These banks are sending a deputation to Petrograd to solicit the
support of the Bank of Russia.

"There is also the question of the police. I am waiting for trained
policemen to be sent from Russia: it is impossible, of course, to use
untrained men for administrative work, and meanwhile I contrive to
employ the local Austrian police. Some magistrates have fled--we have
to put the affairs of justice in order: I am awaiting a representative
of the Ministry of Justice, who will examine the question.

"In certain regions around Lvov, Nikolayev, Gorodok and other places
where there has been severe fighting, the population has been left
in a state of great distress. In Bukovina, however, there is little
distress, except in the towns; and as the crops there are good, we are
importing food into Galicia from thence. The relief of distress is
being dealt with by committees, including prominent local residents,
under the Directors of Districts, and controlled by a central
committee, whose chairman is Count Vladimir Bobrinsky. In cases of
extreme distress it is being arranged that money may be advanced to the
necessitous.

"I have established in Galicia three provinces: Lvov (Lemberg),
Tarnopol, and Bukovina. Perhaps we may establish another province,
following the line of demarcation of the Russian population, which on
maps of Austrian Poland is admitted to include parts of the region
about Sanok (in central Galicia)."


_October 24._

I have spent some days in the Austrian territory conquered by the
Russians. The Russian broad gauge has been carried some distance into
Galicia, and the further railway communication with the Austrian
gauge and carriages is in working order. The large waiting-rooms were
covered with wounded on stretchers with doctors and sisters of mercy
in constant attendance. They utter no sound, except in very few cases
when under attention. One poor fellow, a bronzed and strapping lad
struck through the lungs, I saw dying; he looked so hale and strong;
his wide eyes kept moving as he gasped and wrestled silently with
death; he seemed so grateful to those who sat with him; he died early
in the morning. I talked with three Hungarian privates, keen-eyed
and vigorous. They said their men were very good with the bayonet
and seldom surrendered, a statement which was confirmed by a Russian
cavalry officer who had just returned from fighting in the passes,
though it seems the Hungarians do not consider the war as national
beyond the Carpathians, and they fight well because they are warlike
and not because they like this war. The prisoners with whom I talked
were very energetic in praising their treatment by the Russians, which
is indeed beyond praise. Everywhere they met people with tea, sugar,
and cigarettes. One said repeatedly, "I can say nothing," and another
said, "I cannot but wish that we may do as well by them in Hungary."
These were the only Austrian prisoners in whom I have seen a trace of
that national enthusiasm for the war which is so evident in all the
Russian soldiers. I talked with two Italians, simple, friendly fellows
who described their treatment as _pulito_, or very decent.

The Slovenes and Bohemians seemed rather in a maze about the whole
thing. A Ruthenian soldier of Galicia was quite frank about it. "Of
course we had to go," he said, but he expressed pleasure at the
Russians winning Galicia, and even regarded it as compensation for his
wound.

I saw off a train of Russian wounded. They were most brotherly and
thoughtful for each other. An Austrian patient told me he was happy
and had made great friends with the Russian next to him. The electric
trams are used for ambulances, and the chief buildings are turned
into hospitals. The biggest is in the Polytechnicum, and is served
practically by Poles. The big Russian hospital of the Dowager Empress
is very well equipped. The Red Cross organisation is in the hands
of eminent public men; such as Homyakov, Stakhovich and Lerche, who
visited England with the party of Russian Legislators in 1909. Count
Vladimir Bobrinsky, another member of that party, is chairman of the
relief committee appointed by his cousin the Russian Governor-General
of Galicia. The town is old and pleasing, set in undulating country.
It is in excellent order. A little sporadic street firing was quickly
suppressed. All inhabitants throughout the conquered territory must
be at home from ten in the evening till four unless they have special
permission. How well this rule is kept one could judge when returning
from the station. No one was out except Russian sentries and Austrian
policemen, who have been continued on their work. Otherwise one sees no
signs of a conquered town.

The day the Russians entered, the Polish paper issued its morning
edition under Austrian control and its evening edition under Russian.
The electric lighting and tramways continued working and the shops
remained open. The fighting, which was most severe, was all outside.
But even on the sites of engagements the amount of damage done by
artillery is limited to few places and few houses, and cultivation is
now going on, without any signs of war, close up to the present front.
A general order forbids the leaving about of any refuse. There is no
friction between the Little Russian peasants and the troops or the new
administrators; but the Jews adopt a waiting attitude. The general
position is a great credit to the Russians, and gives ample proof of
their close kinship with the great majority of the conquered population.


_October 26._

I have visited some of the battlefields of Galicia. It is much too
early to attempt any thorough account of these battles; nor did the
conditions of my visits make any complete examination possible.

The chief harm which Germany and Austria could inflict in a war against
Russia was to conquer Russian Poland, whose frontier made defence
extremely difficult. Regarding this protuberance as a head, Germany and
Austria could make a simultaneous amputating operation at its neck,
attacking the one from East Prussia and the other from Galicia. But the
German policy, which had other and more primary objects, precipitated
war with France and threw the bulk of the German forces westward. Thus
the German army in East Prussia kept the defensive, and Austria was
left to make her advance from Galicia without support.

The Austrian forces on this front were at first more numerous than the
Russians. The Russians had been prepared to defend the line of the Bug,
which would have meant the temporary abandonment of nearly all Poland.
But the alliance with France and England made it both possible and
desirable to advance, and at the battle of Gnila Lipa the army on the
Austrian right was driven back beyond Lvov (Lemberg), the town falling
into Russian hands. The next great fighting was for the possession of
the line of the river San.

  [Illustration: THE SOUTH WEST FRONT
                     (SEPTEMBER)

    a _Main Austrian impact_
    b _Secondary Austrian forces_
    c _Russian centre (retiring)_
    d _Russian right wing (advancing)_
    e _Russian armies in Galicia (advancing)_]

It must be remembered that while the fighting lines ran roughly from
north to south, the frontier line here ran from east to west. Thus
the left of each force occupied the territory of the other. The first
decisive success had been that of the Russian left in Galicia; but
the Austrian left and centre were still allowed to advance further
into Russian Poland. A double movement was then undertaken against
them. While General Brusilov pushed home in southern Galicia the
success already obtained on this side, and thus secured the Russian
left flank from a counter-offensive, General Ruzsky, the conqueror
of Lvov, came in on the Austrian centre at Rava Ruska, while other
Russian armies, detached from the reserves standing between the Russian
northern and southern fronts, and making good use of the advantageous
railway connexion, arrived to the north of the Austrian left. Seldom
has a tactical battle been planned on so large a scale. The Austrians,
threatened at this point with outflanking on both sides, after
several days' hard defensive fighting, withdrew with a haste that
had the character of a rout, and which only saved them from complete
annihilation. Their centre, like their already beaten right, retired
southwards toward Hungary, while their left, just escaping the peril
of being surrounded, fell back rapidly in the direction of Cracow,
where it was strengthened by further support from Germany. Two German
corps had already joined it, but too late to avert the reverse already
described. The success of Brusilov at Gorodok (Grodek) secured to the
Russians the line of the river San as far as Peremyshl (Przemysl).

This series of operations, after the Russian evacuation of East
Prussia necessitated by the strong German movements on the northern
fronts, left Russia with the following line of defence: the Niemen,
the Bobr, the Narev, the middle Vistula, the San (to Peremyshl) and
the Carpathians. This line includes the larger part of Russian Poland,
the city of Warsaw, and western Galicia, with its capital, Lvov.
This line is infinitely more satisfactory than that of the Bug. Its
security on the south depends in part on the action of Rumania, but a
counter-offensive from Hungary has already been repulsed on this side.
On the north, attempts of the Germans on Grodno and on Warsaw have been
triumphantly repulsed; and the Russians have since fought with success
along almost the whole line; a serious German and Austrian effort is to
be anticipated on the middle Vistula and the San.

I have so far visited only Galich (Halicz), the junction of the Stryi
(Stryj) and Dniestr, and the battlefield of Rava Ruska. Galich was
at the south of the first Austrian line of defence. The Dniestr here
presents from the north-eastern side a concave front, defended by
extensive wire entanglements and trenches, and, behind the river, by
low but jutting hills. The town, which lies on a ledge between these
hills and the river, bears the distinctive Russian character and
possesses an ancient Russian church, now Uniat, and a remnant of an
early Russian tower. There is no doubt of the Russian-ness of Galich;
the only inhabitants whom one sees besides the picturesque Little
Russians are the numerous Jews. There was nothing to indicate nearness
of the enemy, and complete order prevailed, the Russian authorities
being evidently chiefly concerned with the newness of their work and
the task of organisation. Friendly relations were maintained between
the troops here and the inhabitants; and the only violences of which
there was local evidence were those committed by Austrian soldiers
before the evacuation of the town. In spite of the strength of the
position, no serious resistance was offered here. The Russians appeared
unexpectedly at a point on the north of the river, taking in reverse
the Austrian field works at this point. They shelled the neighbouring
township with extraordinary accuracy, destroying only the houses in
the middle and leaving standing the two churches and a third spired
building, the town hall. The Austrians then retired rapidly over the
bridge, which they blew up, and evacuated Galich.

At the junction of the Dniestr and Stryi we also found deep trenches,
some six feet deep and three feet wide. The tower at the bridge head,
commanding a wide, flat outlook, had suffered but little. The railway
bridge had been blown up. Here, too, there were no signs of serious
resistance. At a railway junction in the neighbourhood there were again
striking signs of the accuracy of the Russian artillery fire, only
a distant portion of the station building having suffered. Close by
lay a very handsome French chateau belonging to the Austrian General
Desveaux, who was connected with the Polish family of Lubomirski.
The interior of this chateau had been systematically wrecked by the
Little Russian peasants of the locality, the top torn off the piano,
family portraits defaced, sofa and chairs destroyed, and the bare floor
covered with a thick litter of valuable sketches and pictures, among
which I noticed a map of the Austrian army manoeuvres of 1893. I
heard here and in other places of the violences committed against the
peasants by the Austrian troops on their passage, the inhabitants being
often left entirely destitute. The Ruthenian troops in the Austrian
army were in a very difficult position: in several cases they fired
in the air; and the attacking Russians would sometimes do the same,
on which numbers of the Little Russians would come over to them. The
Cossacks who preceded the Russian army offered no violence here, I
was told, except where villagers told them untruly that the Austrian
troops had left the village; with such cases they dealt summarily. They
were also sometimes drastic, though not necessarily violent, with
the local Jews, who in Galicia have held the peasants in the severest
bondage, leaving only starvation wages to the tenants of their farms
and exacting daily humiliations of obeisance.

My examination of these questions could only be very short; but the
general picture obtained was, I think, in the main correct, because
it was confirmed by much that I have heard from the soldiers of both
sides; and it is clear that the Russians considered themselves to be at
home among the Ruthenians of Galicia, whose dialect many of them are
able to talk with ease. One thing was clear: namely, that there was no
friction in the parts which I visited, except with the Jews, and that
life was going on as if the war were a thousand miles away instead of
almost at one's doors.

Our visit to Rava Ruska presented much greater military interest; we
drove round the south, east, and north front of the Russian attack on
this little town, and very valuable explanations were given by an able
officer of the General Staff. On the southern front, near the station
of Kamionka Woloska, where there were lines of trenches, the deep holes
made by bursting Russian shells and sometimes filled with water, lay
thick together.

The eastern front was more interesting. Here there were many lines of
rifle pits, Austrian, Russian, or Austrian converted into Russian. The
Austrian rifle pits were much shallower and less finished than the
Russian, which were generally squarer, deeper and with higher cover.
An officer's rifle pit just behind those of his men showed their care
and work for him, as was also indicated in letters written after
the battle. Casques of cuirassiers, many Hungarian knapsacks, broken
rifles, fragments of shrapnel, potatoes pulled up, and such oddments
as an Austrian picture postcard, were to be found in or near the rifle
pits. These wide plains, practically without cover, were reminiscent of
Wagram. A high landmark was a crucifix on which one of the arms of the
figure was shot away; underneath it was a "brother's grave" containing
the bodies of 120 Austrians and 21 Russians. Another cross of fresh-cut
wood marked the Russian soldiers tribute to an officer: "God's servant,
Gregory." Close to one line of trenches stood a village absolutely
untouched, and in the fields between stood a picturesque group of
villagers at their field work, one in an Austrian uniform and two boys
in Austrian shakos.

The hottest fight had been on the north-eastern front. Here, after a
wood and a fall of the ground, there came a gradual bare slope of a
mile and a half crowned by two Austrian batteries which lay just behind
the crest. This ground had been disputed inch by inch and was seamed
with some five or six lines of rifle pits. At one point three Russian
shells fired from about due east had fallen plump on three neighbouring
rifle pits, and fragments of uniform all round gave evidence of the
wholesale devastation which they had worked. All the ground was cut
up with deep shell pits, and this place, which was a kind of angle of
the defending line, must have become literally untenable. The pits for
the Austrian guns still contained a broken wheel and other relics, and
close by was a cross made of shrapnel.

The impressions which most defined themselves from this battlefield
were the almost entire absence of cover, the exposed position of the
rifle pits, the deadliness of the Russian artillery, the toughness of
the resistance offered, and lastly the thunder of cannon from some
thirty miles away, which was sounding in our ears all the time of our
visit to the field of Rava Ruska.

We did not pursue our journey further along the northern positions. In
the market place we saw an angry scramble of a large number of Jews
over some sacks of flour; and in a wood outside we passed a strong,
masterful old Jew with dignified bearing striding silently with his two
sons over his land, a sight which is hardly to be seen in Russia. The
Jewish land-leasers here sometimes take ten-elevenths of the profits,
as contrasted with the two-thirds which the leaseholder takes in
Russia. Distant hills to the north marked the old frontier of Russia.

From narratives of soldiers a few characteristics of all this fighting
may be added. The attack was throughout delivered by the Russians,
even where their numbers are inferior. The men are full of the finest
spirit, and they have the greatest confidence in their artillery,
though the proportion of field guns to a unit is less numerous on the
Russian side than on the German or Austrian. When given the word to
advance, the Russians feel that they are going to drive the Austrians
from the field and go forward with an invincible rush. They say that
less resort is made to the bayonet by the Austrians and by the Germans.
In the rifle fire of their enemies they find, to use the expression
of one of them, "nothing striking," the one thing that commands their
respect is the heavy artillery, but the Russian field artillery has had
a marked advantage. Small bodies of Austrians have made repeated use
of copses to draw advancing Russian companies on to their quick-firing
guns, which have sometimes done deadly work. Cavalry has played but an
insignificant part in the fighting.

But the most impressive thing of all is the extraordinary endurance of
the men in the trenches. It is a common experience for a man to be five
to eight days in the trenches in pouring rain, almost, or sometimes
altogether without food, then perhaps to rush on the enemy, to fall
and see half his comrades fall, but the rest still going forward,
to lie perhaps through a night, and then to the hospital to lose a
limb: and yet, spite of the reaction, such men are not only patient
and affectionate to all who do anything for them, but really cheerful
and contented, often literally jovial and always in no doubt of the
ultimate issue.

There are no two accounts of the spirit in the Russian army. One feels
it as a regiment goes past on foot or packed into a train, with one
private tuning up an indefinite number of verses and the rest falling
into parts that give all the solemnity of a hymn. It draws everything
to it; so that no one seems to feel he is living unless he is getting
to the front; the talk of all those who are already at work, whether
officers or men, is balanced and confident, and all little comforts
are shared simply as among brothers. I saw a little boy of twelve with
a busby looking as large as himself, an orphan who performed bicycle
tricks in a circus, and had now persuaded a passing regiment to let him
come with them, and seemed to have found his family at last.

All the life of Russia is streaming into the war, and never was the
Russian people more visible than it is now in the Russian army.


_October 30._

I have spent some days in Warsaw and have examined the scenes of the
recent fighting as far out as beyond Skiernewice. The Russian river
line of defence ran along the Niemen, Bobr, Narew, middle Vistula and
San. The Germans had not previously seriously tested the strength of
the centre of this line, and Russian reports issued had so far only
spoken of a northern and a southern front.

Warsaw lay beyond the defensive river line. A rapid seizure of the
city before winter set in would have greatly strengthened the Prussian
northern front and have endangered the Russian occupation of Galicia.
It would also have created a moral effect on the Poles and might have
served as a support to any proposals to negotiate.

The Germans advanced principally from the south-west, a region largely
left in their hands. German army corps reached a line south-east of
Blonie, and at Pruszkow they were little more than six miles from
Warsaw. The cannonade shook the windows in the city. German aeroplanes
dropped bombs near the railway bridge, Etat Major and elsewhere,
killing over a hundred persons but not achieving any military object.
The population were much exasperated, and many went out to the scene
of the fighting. The brunt of the defence fell on two Russian corps,
especially on one containing Siberian troops which had to oppose three
German corps. Splendid work was done at Pruszkow and also by a Siberian
regiment at Rakitna. Here the Germans, covered by woods and gardens,
delayed the Russian advance and placed machine guns on the roof of a
high church. The inhabitants say that the Siberians long refrained
from returning the fire from the church. The regiment lost its colonel
and many officers and 275 men, but held good till reinforced. Several
Russian corps arrived, and the Russians then drove the Germans back
in successive rearguard engagements which lasted for eighteen days.
Another regiment specially distinguished itself at Kazimierz and
received a telegram from the Commander-in-Chief, congratulating it on
a brilliant bayonet attack. Two days ago it drove back the enemy with
the bayonet through a wood, inflicting heavy loss. The Germans retired
rapidly in the night south-westward. The country up to several miles
west and south of Lowicz and Skiernewice has now been recovered.

The Germans in these operations seized provisions and some valuables
and committed some minor indignities, but the country has in no way an
aspect of devastation. The population is strongly for Russia and offers
every service to the Russian soldiers. In Warsaw great enthusiasm
prevails, with a very striking difference from the attitude before the
war and the Grand Duke's appeal. The Germans during their withdrawal
made clean work of bridges, railways, and stores. There was every sign
of a deliberate and well-executed retreat. Fewer prisoners were taken
than in the case of the Austrians, the wounded being mostly carried
away. The Russian artillery worked with great precision and effect, and
the Russian infantry, after artillery preparation, attacked throughout.

There is no sign of any likelihood of a further German aggressive
on this side before winter, but there is always the possibility of
an early conflict southward, where the Russians need to secure and
complete their conquest of Galicia, and the enemy have to guard their
base of joint action between Germany and Austria.


_October 30._

My visits to the scenes of fighting in the Warsaw area have been of
interest. The main scene of the most critical fighting, Pruszkow, we
did not visit. The Germans tried to force their way up here from the
south, close to the Vistula, and got to within some nine miles from
Warsaw. If they had captured the town (about 900,000 inhabitants, of
whom 300,000 are Jews), and occupied the Vistula bridges, they would
have established an enormous political and military advantage, which
could not have been reversed without the greatest difficulty. Though
Warsaw was beyond their line of defence, the Russians made every effort
to hold it.

We visited a point in the centre of the line of defence, where the
Russians held good under heavy losses; their rifle pits were close up
to a copse and gardens, and they had tried to secure a footing even
closer in. From thence their line ran in a convex curve to Rakitna.
Here their artillery had battered in the sides of the lofty and
impressive church, leaving standing the woodwork of the roof and two
irregular pinnacles. The Germans fired from this church; they had
confined several of the inhabitants in the vaults. The buildings near
the church were reduced to ruins. Close up against the village lay
graves of the attacking Siberian regiment, marked by lofty well-cut
orthodox crosses, the men lying together under a vast regular mound
and Colonel Gozhansky and six of his officers under separate crosses
at the base, while at the head stood one great cross for all the dead
of the regiment. The inscriptions were throughout in almost identical
language, ending: "Sleep in peace, hero and sufferer." In a small
garden close by, the Germans had buried their dead so rapidly that some
of them were still uncovered. On two neighbouring crosses they had paid
their tribute to "six brave German warriors" and to "six brave Russian
warriors." Through a great hole in the ruined church one caught sight
of a crucifix, untouched but surrounded with marks of shot in the wall.
In the neighbouring township of Blonie, the town hall had been set on
fire.

Blonie, which was the northern point of the line of battle, lies about
eighteen miles due west of Warsaw; from thence runs an excellent broad
_chaussée_, embanked and lined with poplars, going straight westward
towards the frontier. At Sochaczew the high bridge over the river
was broken off clean at both ends and the central supports entirely
destroyed, but there were few other marks of war. At Lowicz the bridge
had been destroyed and, as at Sochaczew and Skiernewice, had been
very rapidly repaired by the pursuing Russians. Lowicz lies in flat
country, through which the rivers make deep furrows. It is a clean and
picturesque little place, with a symmetrical central square flanked by
large buildings and with the fine parish church at the western end.
The Poles of this part wear very distinctive national costumes; the
women have skirts in broad and narrow vertical stripes, with orange, or
sometimes red, as the foundation of colour, the narrow stripes being
usually black, purple and yellow; round their shoulders they wear what
look like similar skirts, fastened with ribbons at the neck, and they
have variegated aprons, in which the foundation colour of the dress
is absent; the general impression in the fields or on the sky line
is of a mass of orange. The old men wear grizzled grey overcoats and
broad-brimmed hats, and the younger men elaborate and tight-fitting
costumes that suggest a groom of the eighteenth century, or loose
zouave blouses and trousers of blue or other colours. Houses in the
villages are spacious and plastered white, with sometimes a certain
amount of decoration, usually in blue. At Lowicz there were some marks
of war. My host for the night, an old soldier from Orenburg who had
served under Skobelev, spoke with indignation of the recent German
occupation; they had taken all the supplies that they could find.
But there were no signs of any permanent occupation, and the German
requisitions could not have been very thorough, as one saw many geese,
pigs and, above all, very fine horses in this part, and the inhabitants
had quite settled down again to their ordinary occupations. From such
accounts as I have read of the conditions in Germany, I should think
that one would see there fewer young and middle-aged men and less field
work going on than in this no-man's land that has lain between the two
hostile lines of defence and has been traversed by each army in turn.

From Lowicz to Skiernewice there runs south-westward a _chaussée_ and
also a more direct road that passes through an area of sand and mud.
Napoleon used to say that in his campaign of Poland (1807) he had
discovered a fifth element--mud. There is no other obstacle, the broad
undulating plains suggesting parts of the north of France; combining
lights and shades, they offer scope for the artist, and the long lines
of well-to-do villages have a pleasing effect that is enhanced by the
graceful local costumes. The peasants are well built and good featured,
often with a military air and carriage; their manners are excellent,
and their intercourse with the Russian soldiers is both courteous
and cordial. They were at any time ready to come and help in the
frequent breakdowns of our motors, and I noticed, to my surprise, after
experiences of other years in Warsaw, that they felt no difficulty in
understanding Russian and in making themselves intelligible to us. At
some points on our road there were marks of rearguard fighting, and as
we were told, two or three wounded, but we saw hardly any prisoners,
except a body of Landwehr men, and no trophies. At the village of Mokra
(which means "damp") the houses still bore the ordinary German chalk
marks assigning the billets to given numbers of men. At Skiernewice
the coal stores at the station had been fired and were still burning:
but the town was comfortably held by the Russians, and we found no
difficulty in the matter of supplies and quarters. Skiernewice will be
remembered as one of the last stopping places in the Russian empire
on the road from Moscow to Berlin, and also as a former meeting place
of the three emperors. It has great preserves for pheasants, which
are only touched during the visits of the Sovereign. There is the
usual central square of Polish houses, and here, as in Sochaczew,
the Jews were in evidence, though they have been removed from some
military centres where they have given assistance to the enemy. From
Skiernewice we travelled a considerable distance south-westwards,
passing over a fine military position carefully prepared by the
Germans, and commanding a view of some ten miles to the north-east, but
abandoned without any sign of resistance. At every point we met the
picturesque-looking peasants returning to their now recovered homes.

At a low-lying village we saw vedettes riding to and fro, trains of
supplies, vans of the Red Cross being loaded with wounded, and in front
of the poor thatched cottages a line of deeply hollowed trenches, from
which rose a colonel, a simple homely man in workday uniform, to offer
us part of the repast. There was the strong family feeling typical
of any gathering of Russians. We passed along the line chatting with
the men; a young colonel galloped up to invite us to visit his guns;
but we turned to a nearer battery, of which the old commander did us
the honours. These men were from a military province in the heart of
Russia, and their faces passed into a broad friendly grin as they stood
to their guns for us, sat to be photographed at their tea-drinking, and
told the story of their last fighting. They had been firing for all the
last two days. At about half a mile lay a copse on a hill, at first
held by the Germans, and behind it a long wooded ridge near which were
German rifle pits. The German artillery put up a cross fire from both
sides. Their shells had done very little damage. The Russian infantry
charged up the nearer slope and drove the Germans with the bayonet
through the copse. Here there were more than three hundred German dead;
among them boys of thirteen and fourteen, whose soldiers' pay-books
gave their ages. One officer remained standing just as the blow had
caught him. In the night the Germans had rapidly withdrawn and were now
several miles away.

On a bare slope to the right of the battery stood an infantry regiment,
which in eighteen days' fighting had been reduced to about half its
strength. As we approached, we saw it drawn up under arms and in a
hollow square. A priest was preaching. He was arrayed in rich blue
vestments, which showed up in the dull earthen colour of the slope and
of the soldiers. His strong handsome features and long hair recalled
pictures of Christ. His deep voice carried without effort to the
ranks in the rear. As I approached, he was saying, "Never forget that
wherever you are and whatever is happening to you the eye of God is
on you and watching over you." After the sermon followed prayers, a
band of soldiers at his side, led by a tall Red Cross soldier, joining
in the beautiful other-world chants of the Eastern Church; they were
trained singers and sang just as in church, without any accompaniment
and with perfect balance and rhythm, the tall soldier conducting them
very quietly with his hand. At one point, the prayers for the Emperor,
all crossed themselves. All fell on their knees again at the prayers
for the Russian troops, for the armies of the Allies and that God
should give them every success. Once more all knelt at the prayers
for their slain comrades, while the beautiful "Eternal memory" was
chanted by the little choir. The rest of the service was standing;
the men remained firm and motionless, in fixed and silent attention.
There were impressive moments when the priest placed a little Gospel,
bound in blue velvet, on an improvised lectern of six bayonets crossed
in front of him, and when turning to all sides shadowed the men with
a little gold cross which he waved slowly with both hands. After
the service the Colonel stepped forward and with a quick movement
called for the salute to the flag, and every musket was raised with
a dull rattle that sounded out over the vast open space under the
grey sky. Next he read out in a loud clear voice a message from the
Commander-in-Chief congratulating the regiment on the brilliant bayonet
attack at Kazimierz, and called out: "For Tsar and country, Hurrah!"
This cheer rose like low thunder and died away in distant peals. Some
twenty to thirty men had received the cross of St. George for personal
bravery, and these, at a word from the Colonel, stepped out and filed
by with quick springing step, circling round the priest and the piled
bayonets, then stopped in front of him to kiss the Cross which he
pressed in turn to the lips of each. Then the whole regiment fell into
movement and swung round the open square, the cross movements, carried
out slowly and in perfect order, giving the appearance of a labyrinth.
One could not tell which way the men would turn, but they swung round
with precision and came forward with the strength of a great river.
An officer had asked me to carry a postcard message for him, and while
he wrote "I am alive and well" and a short greeting, we were caught
in the current, which parted to each side of us at the words of the
kneeling writer, "Brothers, don't come over me." As each section passed
the saluting point, the officer ordered the salute, the Colonel replied
with a word of congratulation, and the men gave a short sharp cry
expressing their readiness for work. There was a remarkable regularity
and springiness in the march of the men, and their motion was that of
an elemental force moving well within its strength, like the flow of
the Neva. After the march past the Colonel handed to us a whole bundle
of postcards for home.

We passed from the bare grey slope with all this strong life on it
and drove forward to the next village, lately held by the Germans and
now abandoned. Here we saw a very different spectacle, showing the
effectiveness of the Russian artillery. The houses were for the most
part long and spacious, built of huge stones with a superstructure of
wood and roof of thatch. Some of them still remained intact; but most
had only the stone basis standing. Everywhere were groups of the bright
orange-coloured peasants, just returned, and in one house stood an old
woman making her first examination of her devastated home. We stood in
the slush on the dirty lane listening to the last report of a mounted
staff officer, and as the Germans were evidently retreating rapidly we
turned back to Skiernewice. We had followed the Russian advance some
seventy miles from Warsaw.

It is well to recognize the value of these operations. The Germans
would obtain obvious advantages from a rapid seizure of Warsaw. So
far western Poland, lying between the two military lines of defence,
had been a kind of no-man's land, and as the main operations were to
north or to south, the Germans had made here a number of raids and
had secured partial and transitory successes. They now, as at Grodno,
tasted the actual Russian line of defence. The Russian forces in the
centre were much stronger than anticipated, and making a great effort,
not only repulsed the attack but made any real success on the German
side impossible. The political aspect of the attempt and the character
of its failure are illustrated by the following incident. The King of
Saxony, whose ancestors were kings of Poland, had sent a court official
with presents and decorations for those who should take part in the
capture of Warsaw, and this official was himself captured by Cossacks
after the repulse. The Germans, on the failure of their attempt,
withdrew quickly but in good order, leaving few prisoners and spoils of
war. The country was not devastated. There had been, after the repulse,
some disgraceful incidents, _e.g._ they had made a Polish landowner
and his servants stand in the Russian line of fire: and clocks and
ornaments were taken away. But I have no evidence of any atrocities
such as those in Belgium, and these could hardly have escaped
observation. The German troops seem to have been partly reservists,
with whom excesses are less likely. The signs indicate that the retreat
is definitive, and such is the inference from the reported incendiarism
at Lodz, which is full of German factories.


_November 4._

Trustworthy eyewitnesses speak with great enthusiasm of the conduct of
the Russian troops on the Upper Vistula, where more serious fighting is
to be expected. The influence of the Commander-in-Chief has produced
the selection of capable commanders everywhere, and the subordinate
officers are full of spirit and energy. Here again the German heavy
artillery commands respect, but the Russian field guns and howitzers
are served with remarkable precision and alertness and meet with
great success. The complete confidence of the Russian infantry in
the effectiveness of the Russian artillery is a striking and general
feature. The men are always keen for bayonet work, which the enemy
consistently avoids.

The Russian cavalry has, by different accounts, shown great dash and
has been handled with dash and skill. In a raid beyond the river on the
enemy's communications, a Russian cavalry division came on Germans in
the dusk, and the troopers with the baggage column in the centre left
the baggage and, charging, completely routed the enemy. The division
several times got into the German forces, taking many prisoners. Large
numbers of stragglers have been taken by the Russians. A Hungarian
division put up a good resistance for three days and then collapsed.

German officers pay ridiculously small sums for their keep; for
example, two marks for two days' keep of three officers, and they
appropriate valuables and take all stores. The population in southern
Poland is in a state of profound distress, and the Russians are
organising extensive relief work. The Germans compel captured officers
to work with the men, spit at them and drive them about bare to the
waist.

A competent eyewitness in East Prussia says that the German
communications are very good, and that underground telephones are
frequently discovered. Large forces are in close contact here, and
the Russian counter-stroke has much impressed the enemy. Our men bear
fatigue and privations with great endurance.

The Polish population shows the greatest alacrity in assisting the
Russian troops both in the country and in the towns. All Poles
now readily speak Russian. Yesterday the Warsaw Press entertained
the Russian and foreign correspondents. There was a distinguished
gathering, and both Russians and Poles spoke with striking frankness
and feeling. One eminent Polish leader, Mr. Dmowski, said that all
the blood shed between the two nations was drowned in the heavy
sacrifices of the present common struggle. Polish politicians are
keenly enthusiastic for France and Great Britain, and are studying the
development of closer economic and other relations with Great Britain.

The Russian advance is now much more complete in southern Poland and
is better lined up with the forces in Galicia. This advance tends
to secure the Russian position on the northern frontier, where any
German initiative becomes daily more hazardous. The ordinary fresh
yearly Russian contingents mean an increase of half a million men. The
arrangements for the wounded provide, if necessary, for over a million.


_November 8._

I have just made a journey over the country lying between Warsaw and
Cracow, where the Russian advance is now proceeding. My previous
communication spoke of the original line of Russian defence along the
Bug, and the later and more advanced line along the Vistula and the
Narew. Present events are rapidly converting the new advance west of
Warsaw from a counterstroke into a general transference of the sphere
of operations and a most valuable rectification of the whole Russian
line.

In East Prussia the Germans are being slowly driven back by a double
turning movement. Further westward the northern frontier of Poland is
well secured. The Russians have now occupied and hold firmly Plock,
Lodz, Piotrkow, Kielce and Sandomir, as also Jaroslaw and all the other
passages of the river San. A glance at the map will show the importance
of this line, which is only a stage in the general advance.

On the repulse of the German attack on Warsaw, the enemy was pressed
back south-westward in three weeks of continuous fighting. Near
Ivangorod, a famous Caucasian regiment forced the passage of the
Vistula under the fire of German heavy artillery. The advance guard
crossed the broad stream--here unbridged--in skiffs and ferry-boats,
and held good under a devastating cross fire till the construction of
a pontoon bridge allowed the passage of reinforcements. The supports
coming along the river bank from Ivangorod had to advance through
flooded swamps almost breast high. Their footing was made good at
Kosienice, where desperate fighting took place. Later they made a
series of brilliant attacks in forests, after which the Germans were
thrown back on Radom. The general advance drove the enemy back beyond
Radom and Ilza.

At the small town of Szydlowiec the German commandant threatened,
as the Russians approached, to blow up the remarkable town hall,
in Florentine style, conspicuous for thirty miles around, and the
beautiful Gothic church, six hundred years old. The inhabitants
offered to ransom them by a contribution of 5000 crowns. The offer was
accepted; but twenty minutes later the town hall was blown up, and the
church followed at the end of another quarter of an hour. This story
was narrated to me with great indignation by the inhabitants.

Some miles in front of Kielce the Austrians--now abandoned by the
Germans, who had retired--made a stand near Lesczyna on a high sandy
position with a large fir copse in its centre and extending over a wide
front. The attack on it was delivered by a Russian corps including a
division mainly composed of Poles, and fell chiefly on an Austrian
Polish regiment from Cracow. The assailants kept up a fire all day,
and finally rushed the enemy's rifle pits with hurrahs. The Austrians
left Kielce at night and in the early morning--some were captured by
the Russians, who came in close upon their heels. They were pursued for
some miles, and brought to action again later on the same day. Next day
the Russian artillery was also heard to the south-east of Kielce. The
Germans had retreated in the direction of Czenstochowa.

All this three weeks of fighting was in the characteristic Russian
style: bayonet attacks were repeated for two hours; small units eagerly
attacked larger ones of the enemy. In general the Russians outflanked
the enemy, but in one case they broke through his centre. Often the
Russian artillery caused him to decamp in the night.

Officers describe the enthusiasm of the rank and file as growing if
possible greater. It is clearly visible in the rear of the army, and
shown by the energy with which transport is being pushed up. The enemy
has thoroughly destroyed the bridges, but they are quickly repaired,
and meanwhile the ardour of the troops and of the transport trains
minimises all delay.

It may be noted that the German rifle fire is superior to the Austrian.
Some Austrian regiments have been found to be officered by Germans. The
Austrian Slavonic regiments resist well for two or three days, but then
break up and surrender in large bodies--they have sometimes asked for
guides to take them to the Russian lines.

The inhabitants speak well of the Austrians, but with indignation of
the Germans. Prisoners confirm the bad relations between the two allied
armies, and Austrians and Germans when captured have to be kept apart.

I saw at Kielce ample evidence of the enthusiasm of the Poles for the
Russian cause; they show the greatest courtesy and kindness, especially
in the villages. I am told on good evidence that at Kalisz, when a
German soldier defaced a portrait of the Tsar, a Polish official
struck him in the face, and for this was bound to a telegraph post
for two days, and then taken down and shot. All evidence of prisoners
shows that the Russians are treating enemies as well as their own
comrades--often I have seen them giving the captives the best of
everything.

The following interesting proclamation was posted to-day by the
commander of a Russian army corps at Radom, where the Germans had
remained for over a month.

    "Poles! Our wounded officers and soldiers, and also our prisoners
    who have fallen into the hands of the enemy and have passed through
    the town or province of Radom, speak with deep gratitude of your
    cordial treatment of them. You have tended the wounded, fed the
    starving, and clothed and sheltered from the enemy those escaping
    from captivity. You have given them money and guided them to our
    lines. Accept from me and all ranks of the army entrusted to me our
    warm and hearty thanks for all your kindness, for your Slavonic
    sympathy and goodness."

The theatre of the present operations is of crucial importance. Here
Austria and Germany join hands. Serious reverses would compel them
either to retreat on diverging lines, or to expose one or other of
their capitals. Either event would have political consequences of the
highest military significance.


_November 9._

I left Warsaw on November 2 by motor and arrived without incident at
Radom (sixty miles to south-south-west). The town was held by the
Germans for a month and four days. They made themselves objectionable
to the inhabitants, taking all supplies on which they could lay hands;
but I came on no evidence of any particular outrages. The inhabitants
showed the heartiest friendship to the Russians, as is recognised in
the proclamation of the Commanding General which I have already quoted.
Nothing could exceed the care and thoughtfulness of my own Polish
hosts; the Russian soldiers, for instance the one who accompanied our
party, were on friendliest terms of intercourse with the Poles, and
the objection which the Poles previously had to speaking Russian had
vanished as if by magic. It should be noted that the inhabitants of
all this area are particularly strong in Polish patriotism. Beyond
Radom the excellent high road to Cracow, running on an embankment and
lined with poplars, was broken at every bridge and cut up for some
distance by a road plough. Side tracks had been made at every necessary
point. We travelled in the midst of troops all hurrying forward to
participate in the taking of Kielce. They moved slowly along the road
in straggling groups like an enormous family on its way to a huge
picnic, but the unity of each regiment is never lost and the most
remarkable impression which one receives is that of destination--of
movement to "the appointed place." Every artificial barrier was little
more than an occasion for thought and effort: the Russian peasant,
everywhere accustomed to obstacles of this kind, has all sorts of ready
and resourceful ways of surmounting them; and they call forth all his
brotherly instincts of joint work and mutual help. Any number of men
run up from their loose ranks to push a motor or cart or transport
wagon over a marshy stream, and the travellers call back from their
vehicle, "Thank you, brothers." It is like a current that slows up and
takes thought against some barrier, but whose general movement seems
not even to be checked. Some of the side passages looked very bad
indeed, but every one somehow got through, no matter what the size of
their carriage. Often at such points there were companies that rested
along the grassy banks of the road; in other places one saw, to the
side, great parks of small grey wagons. Those carrying straw for the
bivouacs were in front; but sometimes one came upon a resting battery.
The brotherhood between officers and men is another notable feature of
the march of a Russian army.

  [Illustration:

    a.b. _Austro German march on Warsaw_
    c    _Russian resistance_
    d    _Russian offensive on Kosienice_
    e    _Germans driven west_
    f    _Austrians driven south-west_]

At Szydlowiec, seventeen miles south of Radom, I saw the first signs
of devastation, but these were not the work of the advancing Russian
artillery but had been perpetrated deliberately by the retreating
Germans. The tower of the town hall was crumbled to ruins. The church
is not large, but has a high pointed roof, of which the open woodwork
still remains, with the cupola as if caught astride of it in its
fall. Inside, the beautiful painted inner roof is mutilated, but the
monuments of the ancient Szydlowiecki family, and notably the graceful
figure of a sleeping woman, have for the most part escaped. The floor
was covered with rubbish and the damage is estimated at a very high
figure. While I was in the church, the dignified old priest entered
with six young men, who knelt with faces full of reverence before
they set to work to clear the nave of rubbish. The Pole who told me
the story of the ruin of the church told it quietly but with flashing
eyes. He said the inhabitants asked rather that the whole town should
be destroyed and the church be left standing. The only excuse was a
few shots from the advancing Russian infantry and artillery, and there
was no regular fighting there, the Germans making no resistance and
retreating too quickly to blow up the castle.

After Szydlowiec, the Cracow road on its way to Kielce (twenty-seven
miles) passes through country of quite a different character. A long
rise, and we were now close up among the troops. At one point the long
train of wagons branched away to a village on our left, and out of it
by another road there came in another stream of fighting men. We passed
some two hundred Austrian prisoners in their blue shakos and uniforms;
they were all Poles, with hardly any guard but giving no trouble; one
of them courteously stepped out of the ranks to pick up my field glass,
which I had dropped. These men, who talked freely to us, did not look
at all miserable, only confused. The Russians behaved to them as to
their own people.

At last we came to the hills above Kielce. It was now clear what had
happened. Troops of all kinds were streaming into the town and all
resistance was over. On the main street we were stopped for a few
moments by a general and his staff. At the chief hotel large parties
of officers were sitting down to lunch. All the streets were full
of movement, but with no sign of any conflict or friction--horses,
dismounting messengers, soldiers eating, talking or resting, the
townspeople standing watching, satisfying the requirements or questions
of the newcomers or joining in their talk. We had no difficulty in
securing good rooms, and our lunch was as good as it would have been
in Warsaw. Many of the troops had passed or were passing on along
the broad road in the direction of Cracow. Mounting the high hill
south-west of the town we could see the scattered stream of men, horses
and carts going forward past pleasant houses, hills and villages,
and the thunder of artillery came to us from beyond a ridge in the
distance. Our plans, however, prevented us from going further. At the
hotel the regiment which had done most of the fighting was sitting at
dinner and singing the regimental song and the national hymn. The song
began with a Mahometan word, "God has given us victory."

Next day, November 4, with villagers guiding and recounting to us, we
went over the scene of the last Austrian resistance about six miles
east of Kielce. A long curving line of rifle pits ran over a broad high
front; sometimes the line ran along the inside of an extensive copse
of small fir trees; some of the pits contained extemporised pallets
of fir boughs, in others were bullets, weapons or even letters. The
Russian advance was indicated by two hostile lines running almost side
by side, where within a few yards I picked up undischarged bullets of
the two armies. In a little wooded cemetery on the bare ridge lay a
number of bodies, Austrian and Russian, brought in by the villagers
for burial. It was not a sight to dwell on; but one thing that I shall
not forget was the body of a young Austrian of not more than twenty,
full of grace and beauty, the head thrown back, the breast bared, and
the hand lifted as if waving on the attack. Outside, other bodies were
still being brought in, the Russians greatly predominating in numbers.
Some Austrian wounded still walked about the village. One, with whom I
spoke, had the lower part of his jaw bound up and complained that he
could drink nothing. He was greatly depressed but had no rancour and
evidently felt at home with the villagers, who were of the same blood
and behaved to him rather as people would to an interesting traveller
in their midst. He was a Pole from no further off than Cracow, where he
was a master--"professor" as he put it--in a secondary school, a very
intelligent and educated man who seemed quite out of place in a uniform
and on a battlefield. He told me how they replied all day as best they
could to a cross fire, till in the evening the Russians came on them
shouting "Hurrah!" A day earlier, and we should have seen this fight.
The Germans had left them in the lurch--"as they always do," he added.
It was in the main a battle of Poles against Poles. He himself was a
"Pan-Slavist," he told me, but could not say so because of his post. If
the Russians got Cracow and maintained the appointment of Polish civil
officials there, including a Polish Governor, as at present, he felt
certain that all western Galicia would be on their side. I left him a
little tobacco and took the address of one of his colleagues in Cracow.
Heavy firing from the south was all the time audible.

We returned to Kielce, passing regiments of all kinds. On our way
back to Radom my motor broke down, and after sitting for three hours
amidst marshy ground, with wounded; transports and villagers passing
and occasionally hearing stray rifle shots, I had to return again to
Kielce for the night. The discomfort of this _contretemps_ disappeared
before the unconquerable wit and good humour of my French colleague, M.
Naudeau, who improvised little songs on our mishap.

The next day, the 5th, there was nothing left but to return to Radom,
occupying three seats which a Russian general, a man of charming
simplicity, kindly put at our disposal in his motor. The strength of
the Russian advance was everywhere before our eyes. The great stream
was still flowing on. There were troops of all kinds--we inquired the
name of each regiment, which they always gave in a kind of jovial
chorus; there were food transports, field kitchens, pontoons and, not
least important, the post. At one point we saw a large body of Austrian
prisoners sitting by a wood and drinking water with their very small
escort. These men helped some of our motors over difficult places.
Streams, their bridges broken down, were still being crossed by the
great onflowing current of men and wagons, only with more ardour than
before. Teams of white horses, which, because of their conspicuousness,
are only allowed to serve in the transport, were dashing through the
mud and water with a fervour as great as if on the field of battle.
At one place a bread wagon dropped all its cargo and turned over on
its side, but horse and driver, evidently not noticing, carried it on
into the stream with no diminution of pace--one wheel high in the air
and the other broken beneath the wagon. Our General spoke frequently
with the men; and we all helped one another through difficult places,
on each occasion with a hearty "Once more thank you, brothers," from
the General. Nothing will remain with me longer than these endless
irregular lines of big, sleepy, almost stupid-looking faces moving at
a walk which might last for ever, and all in one direction and all
with set eyes, a people that lies down to sleep at the roadside, that
breakfasts off stale biscuit soaked in water, that carries nothing but
what it can put to a hundred uses, that will crouch for days without
food in flooded trenches, that can die like flies for an idea, and is
sure, sooner or later, to attain it, a people that never complain, a
brotherhood of men.

In Radom I found our Russian orderly from Kostroma fraternising with
the Polish servants, joining in their work and singing them songs of
the Volga. I told him he was another Susanin who had led the foreigners
into the marsh. We were soon on our way back to Warsaw.


_November 25._

I have dealt with the Russian advance from Warsaw and Ivangorod, by
which the Russian front was carried forward some one hundred and
seventy miles in all from the original defensive line on the Bug and
the communications of the Austrian and German armies were threatened in
the neighbourhood of Cracow. This movement was necessarily completed by
an advance of the Russian forces on the San.

  [Illustration: THE ADVANCE FROM THE SAN

    Tarnow.

    a   _First advance of the Russians_
    b b _Russian line on the San_
    c c _Russian advance after the German retreat to the North_
    d   _Connection with Russian line to the North_]

After their first successes in Galicia the Russians had advanced as
far as the Wisloka, but the German attempt on Warsaw from the west and
south and a strong Austrian and Hungarian counterstroke on Galicia
made advisable a temporary strategic withdrawal of the Russian line
to the San, while all available forces helped in repulsing Germans
further north. For nearly a month the Russian defensive line held good
against superior Austrian forces on the San and in the south. Report
says that bounteous rewards were offered to the Austrian troops for the
reconquest of Lvov; and the Russian occupation of eastern Galicia was
seriously endangered. The San varies in breadth from fifty to a hundred
and fifty yards and is lined with marshes. Across this narrow obstacle
Russians in trenches maintained an unbreakable resistance, repulsing
all Austrian attempts at crossing.

I have seen many of the wounded of this long defensive struggle. Their
temper is the same conquering spirit that has carried the general
advance. I stayed at their hospital some days. A group of slightly
wounded, mostly young men with bright, radiant faces and strong,
lusty voices, sat up in bed recounting to me, one after the other,
individual feats of daring done by their comrades. Throughout there
was the feeling of individual superiority to the enemy tested by the
heaviest conditions and sometimes by the wiping out of nearly all one's
company or squadron. Most were wounded in the left arm or left leg in
the trenches. Five or ten of the company would fall every day. The most
exposed were the telephonists. Others fell in daring reconnaissances
in boats across the river. All testified to the far heavier losses
inflicted on the enemy. One simple young fellow crippled in a leg
described how one did not in one's first day's fighting like to look
out of the trenches. Then he showed how one began to peer about, and
later one took no notice of bullets whistling round one, because of
the sense that the army would surely go forward. One bright day he
said to me, "It must be fine in the trenches to-day." This is the
spirit of them all.

At last, when the Russians to the north had advanced and Sandomir had
been taken, the word came to go forward. The river was crossed at night
and the enemy driven from the trenches and neighbouring villages and
further back. The advance was triumphant at all points. The Austrians
were driven southward and westward. Some were pressed against the
Carpathians, with two difficult passes which would hardly admit the
passage of artillery and field trains; others were pressed back on
Cracow where the line of the whole Russian advance is now complete.

The Russian impact on Cracow promises, first, a settlement of the
destiny of western Galicia, where the population is Polish and very
ready to respond to the appeal of Grand Duke. Next, a gap is made
between the Austrians and Germans who are already retiring in mutual
dissatisfaction in different directions, and whose political interests
must more and more differentiate. Further advance through this gap will
be on Slavonic territory, as southern Silesia up to the River Neisse
is mainly Polish or Bohemian, and the Czechs in general are largely
Russophil and quite hostile to Germany.

The Germans are doing all that is possible to make diversions on other
sides. Stopped and driven back on the side of Mlawa, they have made a
serious effort on both sides of the Vistula, near Plock, but have been
decisively repulsed, the inhabitants giving effective aid in bridging
the river. They are now attempting to force a strong wedge into the
Russian front between the Vistula and the Wartha; but so far the
Russian line, which is everywhere continuous and is reinforced wherever
necessary with strong reserves, has successfully outflanked every local
German advance.

Meanwhile a double Russian advance on East Prussia from east and
south is overcoming the numerous obstacles and making rapid progress,
avoiding and enveloping the thickset fortified line of the Mazurian
lakes. Here, too, the subject population is chiefly Polish.

Retreating German troops in Poland, previously transferred from the
western front, expressed to the inhabitants great despondency, even
saying, "This is our last judgment" (Das ist unser Weltgericht). Many
prisoners have displayed a similar mood.


_November 28._

A RUSSIAN FIELD HOSPITAL

A large, low, white building with a grassy court and outhouses; four
large tents stand in the court; on the centre of the main building a
white canvas band that bears in rough black letters the inscription:
First Etape Lazaret of the Imperial Duma.

After a wonderful star-lit journey in a _formanka_ or double-horsed
cart with a courteous and humble old grey-haired peasant, I come on
this building about half-past two in the morning. The last part of the
journey was adventurous; the driver at one point wished to strike work,
which resulted in a wait of nearly an hour; the way had to be asked of
a group of soldiers with blackened faces seated round a camp fire,
and of three sentries of the _étape_ marching through the night with
fixed bayonets, who challenged, "Who goes there?" and received with
some hesitation the answer, "Our side" (_svoi_). One of them lowered
his bayonet to be ready for any further emergencies. In the end I was
guided to the lazaret, where I had a cordial welcome from the two
sanitars on duty and was accommodated with a bed in one of the large
tents, which was empty and ready for moving.

The Duma Lazaret was equipped chiefly by the energy and liberality
of Prince Volkonsky, Vice-President of the Duma and one of its most
respected and popular members. All parties are associated in the work;
and Prince Volkonsky, who is a Conservative, has had the valuable
help of the eminent Radical, Dr. Shingarev, who earlier earned a wide
reputation as the organiser of the sanitary system in the province of
Voronezh. Meetings of a committee are held in the Duma, and lately two
other lazarets have been equipped and dispatched, one to the Prussian
front and one to the Caucasian.

The first Duma lazaret was one of the earliest to arrive behind the
front during the tremendous fighting in southern Poland and in Galicia.
At Brody on the road to Lvov it gave preliminary treatment to thousands
of wounded in the course of a few days. Later it was moved to Lvov,
Sokal and Belzec, where I now found it. It had picked up on its road
stray dogs which it had named after their places of adoption--Brodka,
Rava, and Belzec.

The lazaret was equipped for two hundred patients, but at the time of
my visit had only forty, as it was about to be moved further to the
front. Operations were performed daily, to be ready for the move. I saw
one poor fellow, very frail and no longer young, just after his leg was
amputated; he was calling in a piteous way to his mother. In one ward
the patients were in a late stage of convalescence from typhus, and in
another lay one of the sanitars of the lazaret. In a far corner lay a
poor fellow with a wound in the head; his case was hopeless, and he was
communicated by the priest in an interval of consciousness.

The central wards were full of strong, lusty men, most of them young,
some with bad wounds but nearly all getting the better of them. They
were in many ways like dormitories of big schoolboys, all of them good
comrades--during my stay of some days I only heard one altercation and
that was mild and very short. They lived a chance corporate life of
their own; and when I went round with cigarettes, there was always some
one to see that tired or sleeping comrades got their share. There was
very little groaning and no complaint; the men felt their wounds in the
long night time, and sometimes one would mention that his wound was
smarting. One Armenian, a weak-looking lad of the gentlest disposition,
lay striving to bear his pain. "Oh!" he said as he fought it; and then,
with closed teeth, "No matter; it doesn't matter; our Emperor ought to
be rich; it had to be done--to beat the Germans; it doesn't matter."

Usually, however, the wound would only be mentioned in a side sentence
in a narrative--"and then I got this," or it would be the occasion for
a story of strong life and effort and the triumph of "ours." There
was a peculiar delicate courtesy about the halest and strongest, who
would shift their wounded limbs with an inviting gesture of the hand,
making room for me to sit on their beds; and then there would rise a
general stream of narrative where all joined in without ever seeming
to interrupt each other, each telling of some daring feat of a comrade
against all odds. One will not forget the figures leaning up in bed
and the young, radiant faces; many of these men were cripples who will
never fight again, but everything about them was full of health and
fresh air and victory.

A young trooper told me of the actions of his regiment against the
Hungarians. They have, it appears, a particularly mobile horse
artillery, served with great accuracy by horsemen who fire with the
left hand. They enticed the regiment up with displays of white flags
and suddenly rent them with a murderous fire. For all that, as in
practically all these narratives, in the end the Russians triumphed.

Others described the long defensive work on the San, with its narrow
stream and muddy banks, and the final irresistible advance. There were
two young men, one from Chernigov and one from Tauris, who beckoned
to me each day, and with whom I spent several happy hours. When I
asked for their addresses they wrote them down in form, beginning in
the one case with "Wounded in arm" and in the other with "Wounded in
leg." "Wounded in leg" was a sunny youth who, when we were photographed
together, made quite a careful toilette. He was the boy who called
out "What a splendid day! It's fine to-day in the trenches!" These
two discussed with me all sorts of subjects, including the English
sailors and the Grimsby fishermen, who appealed to them as "going for
boldness." Another more elderly pair, one like a jolly farmer and the
other like a brown-bearded stationmaster, worked out with me on the map
the progress of the Russian army. Simplicity was the note of all, and
it would have been hard to convince them that it was they more than any
others who were now under the eyes of Europe.

There was another still more elderly couple that had an out-of-the-way
interest. They were two old men, one of sixty-six and one of
seventy-two, who had been shot by the Hungarians for sheltering Russian
soldiers. One of them, a picturesque-looking person with round head and
furry grey hair, told me of how he was locked up in his attic and then
called down to be shot, while his womanfolk were reviled and struck.
His leg was broken, but was mending. Both these poor old men were full
of plaints and, after the Galician manner, insisted on kissing one's
hand each time that one talked with them.

One of the most sympathetic figures in the lazaret was the priest,
a man of the age and with many of the features of a Russian picture
of the Christ. He was a monk from the famous Pochayev monastery in
Volyn, sent hither by the Archbishop Eulogius. His was an entirely
un-selfconscious nature, gentle, good and whole; and the care that he
gave to the dying was like the best of man and of woman combined. I
had some talk with him of the Uniats, that oppressed people under the
heavy hand of Jewish taskmasters, which had held through centuries to
its roots of parish organisation thrown out by the early Brotherhood of
Lvov. We glanced in at one of their services in the quaintest little
wooden church, where the singing was congregational and like a sad
plaint.

Our priest every day read a short Orthodox service in the central ward,
and on Saturday and Sunday served the full Mass in one of the largest
tents. Some six of the soldiers were trained singers; the priest
himself did not chant, and the words of the service came with all the
more reality, especially the frequent allusions to the "Christ-loving
army." At one point the priest went through the wards to repeat a part
of the service; for, as he said, "our soldiers are deeply religious,
and the patients will feel that they are left out." At the end all in
the tent kissed the cross, and the priest then went to hold it to each
of the patients in turn. He told us that at the mobilisation and before
battle communions were frequent and that fasting was in such cases
excused.

It was while I was here that the order to move forward arrived. The
remaining wounded were arranged for in neighbouring hospitals; warm
blue vests were served out to all for the journey. "We have much
to be thankful for," said one soldierly fellow who looked like a
sergeant and took a lead among the rest. "Our Emperor has indeed fed
and clothed us." Everything was packed, the large farm buildings were
left deserted, and the hospital moved forward in the track of Radko
Dmitriev.


_Kiev, December 15._

THE COUNTRY AND THE WAR

I have just made a journey across Russia. The average opinion seems
to be the same everywhere. The feeling expressed is quiet and sober;
no boasting of any kind is heard anywhere; news of the war is treated
on its merits, and anything that seems unsatisfactory is faced and
is given its reasonable value. As to the ultimate issue, complete
confidence is felt, and, in this feeling, satisfaction with what has
been done and the determination to go through with the matter seem to
have an equal share. Every one is clear that there can be no stopping
half-way with the task unfinished; and the task, as it presents itself
to the average man or woman, is that the crisis thrust upon us must
not occur again. I say "thrust upon us" because, with average people
even perhaps more than in official circles, and with the peasant more
than all, there is the strongest feeling that peace has been wilfully
disturbed by Germany, and that Russia was left no option but to hit
back as hard as she could. A peasant cabman, fraternising with me on
our alliance and promoting me in the course of our conversation to
the second person singular, summed up the common instinct very well
by saying: "How disagreeable He is" ("He" is always the enemy); "he
makes himself nasty to every one," which is surely the chief reason why
"He" is having a bad time of it now. "He might have smashed you or the
French," my cabman goes on; "us he can only hit about a bit (_pobit_),"
and his attitude is that of a big, kindly animal that is provoked
into defending itself and others. "Pobit" is the ordinary expression
of the soldiers for the work they have to do. A peasant servant puts
it stronger and is sorry that I am not going to "spike" (_kolot_) any
Germans, especially as she has made up her mind that they are going
to kill me. "You had better tell me what to do with your things," she
says, "for you're not going on a pleasure trip"; and she reminds me of
this as I start by asking, "But when you're killed, though?" I quote
this because this good woman has a brother in the Siberian rifles,
of whom so many are lying under the great wooden crosses outside the
wrecked village of Rakitna, and no doubt she judges of my chances by
his; but she talks of him with the same equanimity. Beneath all this,
there is the full and silent sense of all the sacrifices that are asked
and a silent pride in making them. I have never heard this take words
with the peasants, though it is behind everything they say; but it
comes out often with those who have any responsibility for others and
most of all with any who are in close touch with the common soldier.
Those speak the strongest and simplest of him, who are only telling
a friend their daily experience of him; and the selflessness of his
courage and endurance keeps coming back on them as something that
astounds and even confounds them.

All the life of the country that lies behind the line is centred in
it. The nearer one comes up to the line, the more does one feel in
the moral atmosphere a sense of satisfaction, of ease of mind. In the
line itself all sense of self disappears, and the big band of brothers
lives for its daily work and divides up everything in common. It is
wonderful how far little resources can go when they are put together;
one produces some chocolate, another a little store of comfits, a third
hands round a flask, another supplies the cigarettes and another the
matches, and a little feast is thus improvised by the half-light of a
candle; all these stores are renewed at chance and are expended without
reserve.

But it is farthest of all from the front that the sense of the war is
most painfully felt, and that because it has to seek ways of finding
its satisfaction. For this it seeks continually. Every now and then,
in the capitals and all the big towns, a week is set aside for some
special object: for the collection of warm underwear for the men in the
trenches, for Christmas presents for the troops, for the families left
behind, for the widows and orphans, for the supply of means for the
crippled. At these times, which are constantly recurring, every tram or
train is boarded and every restaurant is traversed by the collectors,
who for each donation pin on a little special badge to secure the donor
from any further importunity; but the badge is quite disregarded both
by donors and collectors, and one sees many who have paid their due
several times over. Thus the public is taxing itself over and over
again for every need that it can think of.

The posters have a nervous force, such as the Petrograd one that
begins and ends in large letters with the words "It's cold in the
trenches." Several of them bear the signatures of members of the
Imperial Family, one of the most simple and telling coming from a
sister of the Emperor who is engaged in ordinary hospital work among
the wounded. Another striking appeal, for the widows and orphans, is
simply a twofold picture. Along the top in pale blue with a sullen sky
of winter dawn above, a number of scattered soldiers, big and clumsy
and heavily clothed, are running forward over a rough, flat field,
with the lumbering run of a Russian porter at a railway station, their
bayonets lowered and all with set faces; from a copse in the distance
come puffs of smoke; and in front of the men, close behind his chief,
who has already fallen, an officer has his hand thrown up in the air
as a bullet carries him over. Underneath sits a group of dark-haired
figures; a young wife with set and brooding face, and two young boys
at once with fear and spirit in their eyes. I have asked that some of
these posters should be sent to England, in case any could spare from
their nearer needs something for the countless bereaved of Russia.

Every non-military unit of society is looking for a way of its own
of helping. Mary Dolina, who might perhaps be called the Mrs. Kemble
of Russian opera, has, with her many helpers, now given over thirty
concerts of national and patriotic music for widows and orphans. The
artists of Russia, banded together with special imperial approval, are
giving movable representations in restaurants or in public squares,
where, as in all other cases, the full collection goes to the army.
The Press of Moscow is meeting to organise a day on which the Press
will make a united effort for the same object. And then there are
the collections for claims that make a special appeal, such as the
devastated homes of Poland, Belgium and Serbia. The superscriptions
adopted in these various endeavours are quite simple and usually take
the form of offering a present--for instance, Petrograd to Poland,
Moscow to Poland and Belgium, Artists to Soldiers, and so on. All this
wealth of various charity is co-ordinated, and regularity of service
is secured by committees of the most representative kind under the
chairmanship of one or other member of the Imperial Family. The Emperor
himself is constantly paying visits to the army with abundant supplies
of medals for all the heavily wounded.

Among the links between front and rear are the frequent short visits
to the capitals of those chief organisers of the Red Cross who must be
everywhere. Prince George Lvov, one of the most admirable of Russian
public workers, who organised relief during the famines and led the
Civil Red Cross in the Japanese War, passes from Lemberg to East
Prussia, or from Warsaw to the Caucasus, seeing as much as can come
under one pair of eyes, and returning to Petrograd and Moscow to find
ways of meeting each new need. Nicholas Lvov, a former Vice-President
of the Duma, whose brother has fallen and whose eldest boy has been
killed by shrapnel before Cracow, passes constantly between Petrograd
and Galicia. Alexander Guchkov, the organiser of Red Cross work on the
Warsaw front, who is constantly in the front line and was reported
prisoner at Lodz, pays flying visits to Moscow. And all these glimpses
of the realities of the war draw closer the ties between the army of
defenders at the front and the country that is waiting to meet every
sacrifice and to fill every gap. Russia will close the ranks till
the work is done; and she can go on doing this after it has become
impossible for our enemies.


_December 18._

In Kiev, though there is every sign of its being in the minds of all,
materially the war is hardly felt. It is in fact wonderful how little
effect of this kind it seems to have made on the body of Russia. On
the other hand, the atmosphere of nervous tension begins to disappear
the moment one begins to get really near to the front. In the Red
Cross offices at Kiev I found the same straining toward the front as
elsewhere, only much calmer because these were people who had a big war
work to do. Hospitals meet the eye in the streets at every turn.

Once in the train for Galicia it was again the war atmosphere and
simplicity itself. The talk was all of people engaged directly or
indirectly in it. A graceful old lady with a very attentive son was on
her way to get a sight of her husband, one of the generals. A young
officer, whose wound has kept him out of it for three weeks, is on his
way to the front before Cracow. A fresh-looking young man, at first
unrecognisable to his friends with his close-cropped bullet head,
tells how he went on a reconnaissance, how he came on the Austrians,
how their first line held up their muskets and when the Russians had
passed on fired on their rear, how nevertheless practically all came
back safe and sound. It was told with a kind of schoolboy ingenuousness
and without suggestion or comment of any kind on the conduct of those
concerned. Then followed an account of a war marriage, at first put off
and then carried out as quietly as possible. All the friends of every
one seemed to be at the war.

At the old frontier some of the buildings near the station were wrecked
by artillery fire, and the railway was lined with a succession of solid
hospital barracks, with the local commandant's flag flying over one of
them. There was plenty to eat at the station; and though we moved on
very quickly, every one from our crowded train managed to find a place
in the Austrian carriages, chiefly because every one was ready to help
his neighbour. The corridors jammed with passengers and kits, we moved
on through the typical "strips" of Russian peasant culture, a pleasant
wooded country, passing a draft detachment on the halt which waved
greetings to us. My companion, Mr. Stakhovich, a phenomenally strong
man and imbued by a fine spirit, was talking of the indifference of the
Russian peasant to danger; he regarded it as an indifference to all
sensations; anyhow they go forward, whatever the conditions, as a sheer
matter of course. With the ordinary educated man the mind must be kept
occupied with work if unpleasant possibilities of all kinds are to be
kept out of it; but General Radko Dmitriev, to whom we are going, will
jump up from a meal, however hungry, when there is a chance of getting
under fire.

We draw up in the great station at Lvov. To the right of us stretch
endless lines crowded with wagons, especially with sanitary trains. In
the lofty passages and waiting-rooms are sleeping troops with piled
muskets, some wounded on stretchers tended by the sisters of mercy who
are constantly on duty here, and a crowd of men, all soldiers, coming
and going. One passed many Austrian prisoners, of whom another enormous
batch was just announced to arrive; and elsewhere a Russian private
explained to me the excellent quality of the Hungarian knapsack, which
he and his comrades had turned into busbies. One man was asleep inside
the rail opposite the ticket office. He did not seem to mind how often
he was woken up.

In the town everything is quiet, and life goes so naturally that no
one could take it for a conquered city. In the country this might have
been expected because far the greater part of the population is Little
Russian; but in Lvov the Russians are only about 17 per cent. and the
predominant element is the Polish (60 per cent.), the rest being Jews
(20 per cent.) or Germans (3 per cent.). The university, the Press
and the bulk of the professional class are Polish. This result is in
character with the place, which has a peculiarly pleasing atmosphere
of its own. But it is also a great tribute to two quite different
influences: to those Poles who, though in no way tied to Russia, have
preferred to all other considerations the corporate interests of their
fellow-countrymen, and to the wise and sympathetic administration of
the Russian Governor-General, Count George Bobrinsky.


_December 22._

Lvov is taking on more of the character of a Russian town. Many of the
Jews have left. The Russian signs over new restaurants, stores, etc.,
meet the eye everywhere. Of the Little Russian party which supported
the Austrians, many have now returned and are making their peace with
the new authorities. The Russian soldier is quite at home in Lvov, as
one sees when the singing "drafts" swing past the Governor-General's
palace; the Austrian prisoners in uniform, who are allowed liberty on
parole, seem equally at their ease. Numbers of Russian priests are
pouring into Galicia, but not fast enough for the Uniat villages which
have embraced Orthodoxy; as soon as they arrive, peasants come with
their carts and take them off to their parishes, without waiting for
any formal distribution. The Uniat creed and ritual are practically
identical with the Orthodox, so that the difference between the two
was purely political. At the new People's Palace of Nicholas II, I
saw a number of children, principally from families that had suffered
severely at the hands of Austrian troops, receive Christmas presents
on the day of St. Nicholas, who is the Russian Santa Claus. Archbishop
Eulogius, in a very effective little address, told them that the
biggest Christmas present which they were receiving was the liberty to
speak their own language and worship in their own way in union with
their Russian brothers.

Starting for the army, I spent a night of strange happening in the
great railway station, as our train was delayed till the morning. At
one time I went, in the frosty night, to look for it at the goods
station, where there were endless rails and wagons, and found it
after a long search. In the big restaurant four little boys made
great friends with me, one of fourteen in uniform and spurs who had
been serving as mounted scout with a regiment at the front, and one
of thirteen who had attached himself in the same capacity to a
battery. Both were small creatures, and the first was a remarkable
little person, with all the smartness and determination of a soldier,
relieved by an amusing childlike grace and courtesy. He said to me in a
confidential voice, "I see you are very fond of little children," and
he ordered with pride lemonade and chocolates for us both. He said the
men at the front could last a week to ten days, if necessary, without
any food but _sukhari_ (army biscuit), so long as they had cigarettes.
His imagination had been caught by the aeroplanes over Peremyshl,
and also by the Carpathians, which he described with an up and down
movement of the hand. He had a great disgust for anything mean and a
warlike pride in the exploits of the soldiers of his regiment. His
model was a boy, now a young man, who had been through the Japanese
War. "If a general comes past," and he made a salute to show the
extreme respect felt for his hero. Many a time in that long night,
while the weary heads of doctors and sisters of mercy were bent in
sheer tiredness against the tables, he would come and sit by me and
ask me to read the war news to him, or to tell him about the English
submarines. He left me with the smartest of salutes in the early hours
of the morning.

Our train is an enormous one with endless warm carriages (_teplushki_)
for the wounded. The staff of sanitars and sisters, working for the
Zemstvo Red Cross, live in a spotlessly clean carriage, and there are
special carriages for drugs, stores, kitchen, etc. They are simple and
interesting people, and, as I am now in the Red Cross and have many
interests in common with them, they kindly made me up a bed in their
carriage, where we discussed Russia in all its bearings.

We carry a group of passengers who have all made friends after the
Russian way. A colonel and his wife are going to fetch the body of
a fallen comrade. Another colonel, a delightfully simple man with
close-cropped hair, thin brown face and bright, clever eyes seems to
know all the Slavonic languages and has much to say of the Austrians.
He has seen twenty of them surrender to a priest and his clerk who
came on them in a wood, made the sign of the cross and told them to
come with them. In another place twenty-two Austrians were captured by
two Russians. The Austrian officers put quick-firing guns behind their
own rifle pits for the "encouragement" of their men, on whom he has
seen them fire. They make their gunners fire every two hours in the
night as a kind of exercise. He has seen them form their men in close
column under fire and march them about up and down along the line of
the Russian trenches. The Austrian artillery seldom takes cover; the
Russian directs its fire on the enemy rather than on his batteries. In
one place, heavy Russian artillery at a range of seven miles demolished
an Austrian field train and two battalions who were lunching in the
square of a small town. He is full of life and confidence, and all that
he says breathes of fresh air and of work.


_December 24._

Our train made its way through to the furthest point up. We had to stop
several times to let through the ambulance trains already charged with
wounded, which take precedence. We had to go very slowly over several
repaired bridges; and this was no simple matter, as we had twenty-seven
long and heavy coaches. Some of these repairs were complicated pieces
of work, as the bridges were high above the level of the rivers. At
point after point, and especially on the Austrian sides of the rivers,
we passed lines of carefully prepared trenches, and in one place there
was a masterpiece of artillery cover, with every arrangement for a long
stay.

The damage done by the artillery fire was sporadic--here a smashed
station building, there a town where several houses had suffered. But
there was nothing indiscriminate; and the Polish population, which
showed no sign of any hostility to the Russians, seemed to find the war
conditions livable.

As in other parts, I was specially struck by the easy relations
existing between the inhabitants, the Austrian soldiers and their
Russian captors. There were exceptions. I had some talk with a few
Austrian Germans from Vienna. They were simple folk and seemed to
have no grudge against the Russians; and the circumstance in their
position which they felt most--they were only taken the day before
yesterday--was that this was Christmas Eve, the "stille Nacht, heilige
Nacht" of the beautiful German hymn, and that they were far from home
among strange people. They kept apart as far as possible not only from
their captors but from their fellow prisoners from Bohemia and Moravia.
These last seemed at least quite comfortable, smoking their long pipes
and leisurely sweeping the platforms. They were quite a large company.
They understood my Russian better than my German. When I asked them
how they stood with the German troops, instead of the sturdy "Gut" of
their Viennese fellows, they answered with a slang word and a gesture.
When asked about the Russians, they replied in a quite matter-of-course
way: "We are brothers and speak the same tongue; we are one people."
For any difficulties, the Poles often prove good interpreters. It is
very different for the Austrian captive officers, who often cannot
understand their own men.

These Czechs confidently assured me that any Russian troops that
entered Bohemia would be welcomed as friends; and they claimed that
not only the neighbouring Moravians and Slovaks but also the Croats
further south were to be taken as feeling as they did. The Bohemians
and Moravians seem to be surrendering in the largest numbers of all;
and though the Viennese claimed that large numbers of Russians had also
been taken, I cannot regard as anything but exceptional the enormous
batches of blue uniforms that I passed on the road here. I asked these
men about their greatcoats and was not at all surprised when they said
they felt cold in them. It is nothing like such a practical winter
outfit, whether for head, body or legs, as that of the Russian soldier.

We came very well over the last part of our journey. I was sorry to
part with the friendly sanitars, who all seemed old acquaintances
by the end of the journey and invited me to take up my quarters
permanently with them. Theirs was more than ordinary kindness, as they
had shared everything they had with me, including their little sleeping
apartment. The bearer company under their orders is all composed of
Mennonites, a German religious sect from South Russia which objects
to war on principle and, being excused military service even in this
tremendous struggle, seems to be serving wholesale as ambulance
volunteers.

As there were none but soldiers about, these men helped me out with
my luggage; and through the window of the First Aid point in Tarnow
station, I saw another acquaintance waving me a welcome. This is the
last point that the railway can serve; and my friends will go back with
a full burden, which will keep the medical staff busy day and night all
the way. One of my new companions, who has been out to a village to
get milk for the wounded, has seen the shrapnel bursting; and the guns
are sounding loud and clear near the town as I write this. It is here
that the most seriously wounded must be treated at once, as a railway
journey would simply mean death for them. This is brought home to one,
if one only looks at the faces of the workers. Yet with this huge line
of operations, and the assaults which may be made at any point of it,
at any moment the nearest field hospitals may need to send off any
wounded who can be moved without delay. Though the work is being done
with danger all round, less thought is being given to it than anywhere
that I have been yet.

Christmas Eve: peace on earth and good will toward men. And all
through "the still night, the holy night," the sound that means killing
goes on almost continuously. How can any one say prayers for a world
which is at war, or for himself that is a part of it? May God, who
knows everything, help each of us to bear our part and not disgrace
Him, and make us instruments to the end that He wishes.


_December 26._

Christmas day I spent in the hospitals. In one ward, at a local
Austrian hospital, and full of wounded, I found that almost every one
of the line of patients was of a different nationality. Going round
the room, one found first a Pole of western Galicia, then a Russian
from the Urals, next a Ruthenian (Little Russian) from eastern Galicia,
next a Magyar from Hungary, and against the wall a young German from
Westphalia. After him came an Austrian-German from Salzburg, a Serbian
from southern Hungary, another Ruthenian, an Austrian-German from
Moravia, an Austrian-German from Bohemia, and a Moravian from Moravia.

I spent a couple of hours here, talking sometimes with each of the
patients, sometimes with all. The Pole knew only Polish and the bearded
Russian, who had a bad body wound, was too tired to talk much. Of the
Ruthenians one was a frail, white-faced boy from close to the Russian
frontier who seemed, like most of his people, subdued, and confused
with the strangeness of his position in fighting against his own
people; the other was a lumpish boy without much intelligence. The
thin, bearded Hungarian, who knew no German but a little Russian, was
mostly groaning or dozing. The Salzburg Austrian was dazed and drowsy,
but at intervals talked quietly of his pleasant homeland.

The German stood out from the rest. He was a bright, vigorous boy of
twenty, had gone as a volunteer and was tremendously proud of the
spirit of the German army. He had fought against the French during
four days of pouring rain, mostly in standing water. The Bavarians,
who seemed to have quarrelled with the other troops in that part, were
making war atrociously, he said, knifing the inhabitants, insulting the
women and destroying all that came in their way. He was later moved to
the Carpathians, where one German division fought between two Austrian
ones. They advanced in snow without field kitchens, and were not
allowed to touch the pigs and poultry that they passed. However, they
had enough to eat; and they were hoping to surprise their enemy, when
the Russians fell upon them and left only the remnants of a regiment,
many of the officers also falling. He himself was wounded in both legs,
and was brought here in a cart.

Every German soldier has a prayer-book and a song-book. They constantly
sing on the march, and find it a great remedy against fatigue. Songs of
Arndt and Körner are very popular, and there is a new version of an old
song, which is perhaps the greatest favourite; it begins--

  "O Deutschland hoch an Ehren,
      Du heil'ges Land der Treu,"

and it goes on to speak of the new exploits in east and west. There are
any number of volunteers in Germany; the women are all joining the Red
Cross; and the population is busy with every kind of work for the army;
but when I asked whether the people were keen for the war, he answered
with astonishment, "The people? The people thought that the war was
not to be avoided; but that was at the start; now it is different."
He asked if there were many other Englishmen in Russia, and when I
answered that there were some, he said, to my surprise, "The English
are everywhere, they are a fine people--_nobel_." He also asked me on
the quiet whether, when he was well, he would be sent to Siberia. He
had been told that the Russians were terrible, but had written home to
say that he had found them nothing of the sort.

Much of our talk turned on the Austrian army. The German said that it
didn't stand firm "unless it was properly led, by Germans." In Bohemia
and Moravia the regiments were mixed, Slavs and Austrian-Germans, and,
according to the Moravian soldiers, were constantly quarrelling; all
the officers were Austrian-Germans, and even some of the Hungarian
regiments seemed to be commanded by Germans. The young Serbian spoke
of frequent quarrels and even brawls between Serbian and Hungarian
fellow-soldiers. The great wish of all was that the war should end.
When I said that the end was not in sight, the German exclaimed,
"More misery, more misery;" a second said, "Oh, Jammer, Jammer"
(lamentation), and a third had tears in his eyes.

In another ward I heard more of the Bohemians. There Prussia is the
antipathy. There appear to be Czech officers only in the reserve.
After the outbreak of war, the Austrians made wholesale arrests
among the educated Czechs, quite apart from party politics, and
were particularly severe on the gymnastic volunteer organisations
(_sokols_), which are popular among all the Slav nationalities of
Austria. The Bohemians had not had time to find their legs under the
new possibilities created by the Russian successes, but the Russian
troops would be sure of a cordial welcome there. The whole of my
informant's regiment had surrendered _en masse_; and even in the
mobilisation of 1909, a Prague regiment had refused to march against
Russia and several of the men had been shot. I was told that the
Austrian army was much weaker in reserves than the Russian.

I ended the day at the railway station, where the Russian wounded just
brought in were being attended to, while the cannon sounded from time
to time not far off. Several lay on stretchers in the corridors and
others on pallets in the ambulance room, all still in their greatcoats
and with their kits lying beneath them. I had no conversations here;
there was too much pain, one could only sit by the sufferers or perhaps
help them to change their position. First aid had been given elsewhere,
but this was the stage when the wounds seem to be felt most. There was
wonderfully little complaining. Most were silent, except when a helping
hand was needed. One man shot through the chest told me that "By the
grace of God, it was nothing to matter." It was always a satisfaction
to the men that they had been wounded while attacking. A general walked
quickly round, distributing cigarettes, which he put in the men's
mouths and himself lighted.

In the night the cannonade sounded close to the town, but seemed
farther off again next morning.

To-day I also went round a hospital with the dressers. The work was
quickly executed, but much of it was very complicated. One does not
describe such scenes, not so much because of the ugly character of
many of the wounds, nor because of the end impending over many of the
patients. To this last the Russian soldier's attitude is simple--_gilt
es dir, oder gilt es mir_. He will speak of it as "going to America,"
the undiscovered country. But all these things come to be forgotten
in the atmosphere of work. Here all the resources of life are
going forward in their own slow way, for they can have no quicker,
handicapped and outpaced in their struggle to keep up with the work of
death. You work early and late, do what you can, and try to be ready
for the fresh work of to-morrow.


_December 27._

General Radko Dmitriev is a short and sturdily built man with quick
brown eyes and a profile reminiscent of Napoleon. He talks quickly
and shortly, sometimes drums on the table with his fingers, and now
and then makes a rapid dash for the matches. The daily visit of the
Chief of the Staff is short, because, as the General says on his
return, simple business is done quickly. Every piece of his incisive
conversation holds together as part of a single and clear view of the
whole military position, of which the watchword is "Forward."

It is only the heavy rains that have saved the retreating Austrians
from further losses. The roads are so broken up and so deep with mud
that any quick movement is impossible. This gives the occasion for a
useful rest. The cold weather--and it is freezing now--will be welcomed
on this side; and the Russian winter kits, which have already been
served out, are immeasurably better than the thin blue greatcoats of
the draggled and demoralised Austrians.

Numbers of Austrian units are so reduced that they are only shadows
of what they were, and some seem to have disappeared altogether. The
ordinary drafts came in some time ago and are now exhausted--such is
the testimony of Austrian officers. The new Russian recruits, on the
contrary, will join the colours shortly.

From the beginning of the war, Bosnians, who are really Serbians,
surrendered in large numbers. Then the Poles began to come in, and now
the Bohemians. The Hungarians are sure to go on to the end; but the
Roumanian and Italian soldiers of Austria have also come over very
easily. In front of Cracow a Russian officer under fire came on a whole
number of Bohemians, who were singing the "Sokol" songs and shouted a
greeting as they came into the Russian lines.

These wholesale surrenders have, I think, an extremely interesting
political significance. When governments turned the whole people into
an army, it was clear that the army was also being turned into the
people; but it was not clear how the people could express itself when
under army discipline. These surrenders, in their general character
and in their differences of detail, are a picture of the feelings and
aspirations of the various nationalities which are bundled together
under the name of Austria.


_January 1, 1915._

At this Staff, as at the General Staff, life was very simple. We all
met twice a day for a plain meal without any alcohol; there was plenty
of conversation, but it was that of men engaged in responsible work;
any news from outside was welcome, especially from the western allies,
and there was full appreciation and sympathy for their hard task.

There was plenty of news from other quarters of the Russian front,
and one could have a much juster and fuller perspective of how things
were going than anywhere behind the army; the two things which stood
out even more here than elsewhere were, on the one hand, the immensity
of the sacrifices which have been asked and are being cheerfully made
by Russia, and, on the other, the sense of quiet confidence as to the
ultimate result.

These things were of course talked of here with greater detail. There
is a photograph of a battlefield, not with a few straight lines and
some scattered dead, but with zigzag lines all close together and
simply heaps of Austrian dead (the Russian dead had already been
removed). From the attack of one German division on this side, one
thousand corpses were counted. The Germans and also the Austrians
advance in close column, which may give moral support to the men, but
results in terrible losses, as compared with the more individualistic
advance of groups of eight to ten on the Russian side. In bayonet
fights practically no quarter can be given, and sometimes the men can
only use their rifles as clubs. The Austrian army is already no more
than a relic of its former self, though it still makes some vigorous
moves and covers every retreat with a tremendous cannonade, often
resulting in the capture of the guns and men thus left behind. It must
not be forgotten that Russia has had to deal with practically all the
forces of two of the three allies (Austria and Turkey), as well as with
an ever increasing proportion of the forces of the third (Germany). But
she is going steadily through with her work, and already it is possible
to see more clearly both what has been achieved and how the remainder
of the task can be attempted.

After some days in a cottage with some friends, living largely by
candle-light and discussing the great social changes which are to be
expected in Europe after the war, we were joined by V. S., who had
walked in through the thick mud a distance of some twenty miles. V.
S. is a young and clever Conservative, who has sat in several Dumas,
always a strong and witty enemy of revolution, but never content to
sink his conservatism or patriotism in any commonplace formula. He
went to the front at the beginning of the war and was wounded in
the trenches simultaneously by shrapnel and by bullet. He is now
partially recovered and is working energetically for the Red Cross,
superintending the removal of the wounded from the front.

V. S. left the neighbouring town in a motor with some Christmas
presents for the General. He had only come halfway when his benzine
gave out, and, as none was to be got anywhere near, he left the motor
with the chauffeur and made the rest of the journey on foot. He had to
plough his way through rivers of mud, and when the early night fell he
took shelter in a Polish cottage. When he reached us next day he was
dead beat and slept for hours.

As soon as his main business was done, we set out together yesterday
morning in a long boat-like cart with three horses and a soldier
driver; our plan was to find the motor and return to the town, sending
back the General's presents in our cart. For some hours we made a sort
of slow progress, rolling about in a way that exceeded the North Sea
at its nastiest; however, we had time to talk over many subjects that
interested us both. We pulled up at the Polish cottage, where V. S. had
a most affectionate welcome from the children, and we lunched on bread
and milk. We were not out of sight of the cottage when our axle broke;
and after finding that there was no smith, and no other cart to be had,
we loaded our benzine and chattels on the horses and left the cart at
the cottage with a note explaining what was to be done with it.

For several more hours we tramped on in the mud with our pack horses;
it was quite impossible to follow the track of the road closely; it
was thick with mud too deep to walk through and often the fields were
a sort of swamp. At one point we turned in to a Jewish cottage and ate
more bread and milk, while our old host asked ceaselessly when the war
would end.

At last we found the motor and the chauffeur, and, after a cottage
dinner, started on the short remainder of our journey; but we were by
no means at the end of our troubles, and this, I was told, was to be
expected, because a hare had run across our track. We were going along,
dodging the huge and deep ruts in the _chaussée_, when, close up to one
of the hugest and deepest, a cart coming the other way compelled us to
make a sudden turn, and we were landed on a kind of plateau between two
deep holes with our wheels almost off the ground in them.

We had tried almost all the ordinary expedients in vain, when a
long train of soldiers began to pass us with artillery. Appeals of
"Brothers, come and help us," brought about a dozen of them to our
aid, and they performed prodigies of strength, pushing forwards or
backwards, and at one point even raising the whole motor from the
ground. Sometimes they counted "one, two, three," sometimes they
sang a bargee's chanty, and each of them put the best of his wits to
our service; but at last, just after one of them had said "Let's do
something a bit more together," the officer in command felt it his duty
to call them back to their work, and our brown-coated brothers left us
in the semi-darkness while the guns boomed a few versts away.

The chauffeur meanwhile had set himself like a hero to raise the motor
out of the ruts. V. S. and I found a cottage with a pile of bricks
outside, which we took with the explanation "Needed." After several
journeys to and fro we collected a little brickyard; and V. S., though
his back was paining him, came dragging a huge log and a tree stump to
use for leverage. He still found a free hand to shake mine with the
words: "A Happy New Year; it finds us hard at work but full of spirits
in spite of everything." The new year began well: the lever acted, the
chauffeur made a sort of macadam of his own, and we sailed over the
obstacle and on to our destination, which we reached at 1.30 a.m.

These are the conditions of weather and roads under which Russia has to
press back the enemy; but she never lets him alone, for she knows that
on persistent pressure depends the issue on the allied front.


_January 3._

Yesterday I walked out to the lines, which are about four miles out of
Tarnow. The railway runs quite straight to the little river which is
the Russian front at this point; so I followed the railway embankment,
meeting small bodies of troops on the way and a few sentries guarding
the bridge over the Biela. It was a beautiful crisp December day, with
a blue sky, distant views and a good foothold. To the left lay a long
low plateau abutting on the river and crowned with a wooded village
and a little church. In front was flat ground, rather marshy, with
scattered villages close up to the broken railway bridge. The smoke
from burning houses rose at different points to either side of the
foreground, and high rugged hills bounded the view. Making my way to
some rising ground, I for a time sat in an arbour beside a dismantled
and deserted house, with the panorama of plain and villages stretched
in front of me, listening to the swirl of the enemy's shrapnel and to
the booming replies of a Russian battery. I made my way round to this
battery; the men were engaged in improving their underground shelters,
which were lined with straw, well heated, and furnished with shelves
for a few belongings, including even books, and, anyhow, provided a
refuge against frost and bullets. Water was near, and the soldiers'
washing was hanging out to dry outside. We couched in the straw and
talked of the western front till the word was given to fire. The
officer gave the directions and the guns were discharged smartly. A
German shell, which broke near us, was greeted with a cry of "Bravo!";
and when the officer announced that the practice was "excellent" the
men all cheered. I had more talk in the telephone pit and in the
officers' shelter; there was absolute composure, and the men were
anxious to move forward again, having been here for over two weeks; I
was asked to share any little delicacies that these hermits possessed.

  [Illustration: THE FRONT OF THE THIRD ARMY]

Exchanging good wishes "for health and success" I made my way on
through the villages toward the broken bridge. One of a group of
soldiers, when I asked the way to the lines, simply pointed, saying
"Here, close by." A long line of high earthworks ran close to the
stream, on the other side of which were the Germans, their sentry being
about 1000 yards away. I entered a hut and drank tea with the battalion
commander, an old gentleman in a jersey, who, with charming apologetic
gesture, offered me some white bread and chocolate. The telephone gave
word of my coming to the staff of the regiment, to which I was piloted
over the marsh by a soldier. The Germans shoot at almost any mark, or,
even, at hazard, in the darkness; but very few are wounded in this
way--this day none, and the day before only one. Scouts go out from
time to time and sometimes find a searchlight turned on them. It is a
waiting position.

The colonel, a good-looking young man of great simplicity and vigour,
entertained me at supper, and we talked late into the night. Everywhere
one feels the winning spirit. After the last great halt, on the San,
the men went forward with a tremendous rush, and the enemy's rifle pits
were filled with dead. Again the talk turned chiefly on the French
and English front, and on the necessity of carrying the war to a real
settlement. No one can understand why the Germans challenge such
enormous losses by their attacks in close columns. Late at night I
made my way back to the town; every now and then a few isolated shots
rattled in the darkness.


_January 5._

I set out late in the evening for a forward ambulance post attached
to a famous fighting division. Our party consisted of two soldiers,
a niece of Count Bobrinsky, who took such a notable part in the Duma
visit to England, and myself. The young Countess, who was enveloped
in tarpaulins, is one of the hardest workers in the ambulance. Our
cart was stacked with necessaries for the soldiers; on the wall of the
courtyard German soldiers had scribbled in large letters expressions
of their self-satisfaction, such as "Austria and Germany fear God, and
nothing else in the world," and sundry contemptuous allusions to "der
Nikolai, der Georg und der Französe."

From the time when we left the lights of the town we had to go mostly
on foot, negotiating difficult bits of road and ploughing our way
through fluid mud. We passed over high ground and close to the front;
all round us was the glare of camp fires and in the distance the flash
of projectors. In the darkness we were constantly meeting trains of
carts.

At last, on the slope of a hill, we turned into a Polish hut. It had
two fairly large apartments, with a big stove and an earthen floor. In
the inner room lived the six sisters of mercy: in the outer we were
an interesting and strange collection; along one side lay a big bed,
on which, crosswise, sat or slept the Polish peasant, his wife, two
daughters and little son; in a corner, on a heap of boxes which he had
to arrange each night, slept the young priest, the monk, whom I had
met before, and one of the most spiritual men whom I have known; the
two sanitars and myself made our beds each night beneath the windows
(one of which was smashed), removing them each day to make room for
the dinner-table. By the stove, or anywhere else, our soldier servants
slept on straw.

Not two hundred yards off, but only to be reached by crossing two
deep gullies of mud, lay the lazaret of the division, quartered in a
white-walled village school. These quarters, I was told, were luxury
compared to most of the ordinary stopping places; but we were in a very
different atmosphere from the admirably equipped hospitals further
back. The wounded arrive all day in large carts or on foot; they come
straight from the First Aid stations, which are close up to the actual
fighting line; there are no beds, only pallets of straw, on which the
men lie down while waiting their turn. They have not yet lost the
sense of the battlefield or reached the stage where they are fully
conscious of their wounds. They take their places one after another in
the cottage chair--in which one of them died yesterday as soon as he
had sat down--and the young divisional doctor, with the help of the
sisters, removes their first rough-and-ready bandages, and gives them
such quick treatment as may enable them to be sent further. It is, of
course, the seriously wounded of whom one sees most here, for many of
these get no further, dying here, or on the road. From one of them the
doctor removed an enormous splinter of shrapnel completely embedded
in the body; the largest bombs of all, which the soldiers call
"portmanteaux," make terrible wounds.

Here all day and all night the doctors and sisters work at the wounded
as they come in. The senior sister, a lady of the most remarkable
capacity, takes about one night's sleep in five, but is always as fresh
and bright as can be. Her husband, a member of the Duma, travels over
Russia for the better organisation of the Duma field hospitals. The
transport is in charge of one of the sanitars, the son of a Moscow
business man, who has a particularly clear head for work. The whole
party, three of whom talk excellent English, are drawn close together
by their work; and there is the atmosphere of complete unselfishness
which one feels so strongly in anything connected with the Russian
soldier. As to our soldier servants, it is clear that their constant
preoccupation is to make themselves useful to anyone.


_January 6._

We lie at the head of a little valley, some few miles from the
Divisional Staff. As the troops move forward new questions are
constantly arising; and our transport sanitar, Nikolay Nikolayevich,
discusses the possibilities of getting better access for the wounded
to the hospitals. We are pressing back the enemy into the Carpathians,
and there are halts in front of difficult hill positions. The advance
through swamps of mud makes tremendous demands on the men, who have to
lie for days in rifle pits full of water; at times a well-chosen and
well-entrenched position holds the Russians at bay at a distance of a
few hundred yards or less, in one case fifty, and yet they will not go
back. "Und auf den Carpathen sind die wege beschneit," often recur to
me, these lines of one of the laziest of German student songs, which is
a kind of renunciation of all effort.

Nikolay Nikolayevich and I rode over through the snow to the Staff of
the Division. He is a charming and simple man, very like one of our
own best-known Generals both in face and manner. He lives in a small
hut, which is kept very clean. We lunch and discuss transport, and I
am asked to carry certain suggestions to the town. On our way back,
accompanied by two Cossacks, we pass through Tuchow, a little township
half in ruins, and I notice that, as on our way out, some one is still
strumming on a piano in a house of which only the walls are standing.
The cannon has carried away a large tree and left deep pits near the
road.

Driving in the evening to the town, I find groups of wounded, for whom
there is no place on the carts, wandering forward in the darkness. The
men choose among themselves which I shall take with me: "Let him with
the nose go," for one of them has had his face smashed up; the rest
move on contentedly, and my passengers give me a word of thanks, which
would make any one feel ashamed of himself. This is their Christmas Eve.

It is very wonderful, this self-denying patience of the Russian
soldier, and it is too big a thing that one should get tired of
speaking of it. A doctor at work here tells me how constantly it is
impressed upon him. A man whose chin he has had to remove simply says:
"Thank Heaven, now you've tied me up, and I am all right." Another,
after his leg has been taken off, as soon as he is able to speak,
says: "Ah, but it was a fine fight at Krasny; they gave it us, but we
gave it to them too." Another, when he is brought in for operation, is
only taken up with the thought that he meets in the operating room an
Austrian officer to whom he has attached himself as guide and friend.
Anything else that is human comes before any thought of self. I am
quite certain that one of the greatest things that this war is doing is
its revelation to Europe of the simple goodness of the Russian peasant
in the person of the Russian soldier. He is more than the unconscious
hero of the moment. The qualities of the real Russian people are going
to take their proper place among the best factors in the future of
European civilisation.


_January 8._

In our _halupa_ (hut) we had those intimate and speculative
conversations which seem so natural to Christmas Eve. Monk and
Intelligents were on common ground. Only once Father Tikhon put down
his foot when one of the party expressed indifference as to the other
life. "No," he said, "joking apart, that's not good, least of all in
time of war"; and the rebuke was accepted as gently as it was given.

Our Russian Christmas began with the burial of a wounded soldier who
had died in the night. In a little waste patch in the snow, near the
lazaret, the priest stood in his gorgeous vestments and bowed deep over
the new grave, while two soldier choristers sang the beautiful prayers
for the dead.

In the evening there was a Christmas Eve service in a room of the
lazaret, which Father Tikhon and the soldiers had spent no end of
trouble in turning into a chapel. The room was crowded with soldiers,
and there was an improvised choir. The simple directions of the
priest and the strangeness of the surroundings only added to the deep
atmosphere of reverence.

I completed the night service in our hospital in the town. Here the
first-floor landing had been turned into a chapel. A matronly sister
from Moscow, one of the simplest souls in this work-a-day gathering,
served as clerk. The leader of the choir was a young Social Democrat
doctor, who had suffered for his convictions at the time of the second
Duma; and among the choir were all who had had a training in church
singing, which reaches such a high standard in Russia. The singers
included sisters, sanitars, soldiers and several of the convalescent
wounded, who were wrapped in their long grey dressing-gowns; and one
wounded man had been laid on his stretcher among the choir in order
that he might take part in the singing. Afterwards we all had cakes and
tea; and a conversation as to what England could do, and what would
follow in Europe, lasted well into Christmas Day.

We have here with us Bishop Tryphon, of Moscow, who, like the Bishop
of London, asked leave to accompany the army, and is now the Superior,
or Rural Dean, of one of our Divisions. The Russian army has a staff
of army chaplains with an Arch-Presbyter or Chaplain General, as in
England; but many priests have enrolled specially for the war. Some
have been killed, others wounded, others taken prisoner; some have been
specially honoured for serving the Liturgy to regiments under fire. I
am told that Father Tikhon's first sermon under fire was wonderfully
simple and impressive. One regimental priest told me how a shell burst
in his quarters, blowing a medical attendant to bits and leaving
himself with a bad contusion.

Bishop Tryphon took a prominent part in the entertainment of our
Bishops in Moscow, and sends them by me a message of greeting and
good wishes. He arranged a solemn Christmas Day service, with trained
singers who were serving in the army. He later visited the hospitals,
giving short and plain addresses, and his blessing to each branch of
the Red Cross work in turn. There was a great Christmas tree in the
station, where presents were distributed to four hundred wounded.
Gifts were also distributed under fire by the hospital workers to the
soldiers in the trenches some miles from the town.

In the evening I took part in a Christmas gathering in one of the big
hospitals. Everyone's health was drunk in turn by Christian name, the
whole being woven into a long song. Afterwards we sang songs of the
Volga, and some stayed on talking till five in the morning, resuming
their work a few hours later.


_January 10._

Returning to our _halupa_ in the little village, I rode over in the
night to the General to convey the results of my journey. It was almost
pitch dark and the road was in most places a simple swamp of mud,
sometimes with gaping holes in the causeway or with beams or trunks
of trees lying about; and though I had a soldier and a lantern, the
ten miles took over four hours. Next morning we left the _halupa_: the
dismantling process made the hut look more desolate, and while our
things were being packed, the peasant family sat on their bed, looking
on like moony spectators at some rustic entertainment. They showed more
than satisfaction with their payment, which they expressed after the
local fashion by kissing every one's hands; but they had now to expect
the arrival of a fresh batch of strangers.

Our forward move of a few miles was carried out with great expedition;
but our carts made quite a long train, and the movement of even a
small ambulance section is in itself, under such conditions, almost an
exploit. Just in front of me went our Austrian field kitchen with three
separate cauldrons, which is found very useful. In a few hours we were
installed in our new quarters, a great improvement on the _halupa_,
within a stone's throw of the divisional lazaret and the now reopened
railway station. From beyond a near wooded hill came the sound of
almost continuous firing.

We were now close behind the line of the front ambulance points. At
the station, which we put in order for their reception, there was a
constant dribbling stream of soldiers who had come almost straight from
the front. Most of them had walked in with their kits, and many seemed
almost unconscious of their wounds. Their conversation was of comrades
who stood at other points in the line, of the relative distance of the
enemy and of the conditions of work in the rifle pits.

Through the thick mud the Russians are driving the Austrians upward
over the deeply indented country of the Carpathian region. The enemy
entrenches himself strongly, making much use of complicated wire
entanglements which can only be carried with a rush. Thus, the heavily
clad Russians, whose efforts have pushed the enemy all this way, have
sometimes to dig themselves in as best they can at a few paces from the
enemy--1000, 500, 100 or even 50. The rifle pits are full of water,
straw makes hardly any difference, and as soon as a head is shown it is
shot at; many of the wounded have fallen at the moment of rising from
the trenches. The Austrians continue a rumbling fire nearly all night.
On the other hand, some of our men have seen the shells from the heavy
Russian artillery falling plump in the middle of the enemy and have
seen how they scatter under the fire of the Russian machine guns. The
Russians use less ammunition with much more effect. I have met several
Russians who have had at different points fifteen or seventeen days
on end of this soaking trench work. One officer, who had had two long
doses of it, had contracted rheumatism in one place and bronchitis in
another and was resting in a hospital with the hope of getting back
as soon as possible. A wounded soldier asked Father Tikhon to write
a request that he should be sent back to his regiment as soon as
possible. One man at the station, twice wounded in hand and in chest,
asked that this time he should be sent to recover in his native town.

The station was very soon in order. One of the sisters went round
distributing clean underwear. "Change while you can, children," she
said; "we shall give you some tea and soup, and pack you into the
train, and send you straight off to Russia"; and in a few hours the
first train had arrived and the station was cleared for further work.
In the dusk, the military ambulance men set out again to collect more
of the wounded under fire.

What is happening is, shortly, this. The Russians, who had first to
deal mainly with the Austrians, leaving the Germans to us, have now
got within sight of the end of this part of their task. A first-class
military power has been so pounded and smashed and has been repulsed
in so many vigorous counterstrokes that it is coming to have only a
secondary importance. Meanwhile the bulk of the Russian forces is
now devoted to meeting the incessant and desperate initiative of the
Germans. Russia's new defensive front on this side runs in a straight
line to the point where it covers the Russian conquest in Galicia.
It is now being extended further south to the natural barrier of the
Carpathians. The interval made necessary by the operations in the north
is not being wasted by the victorious troops in the south. When we
get to the end of the Austrian efforts and have a mountain barrier to
safeguard us on that side, these forces will be able to act with much
more effect against the Germans. Russia, by accounting for Austria and
concentrating her attack on Germany, will have done more than her full
share of the work in the common cause. "Honour is not to be divided,"
said Ney when he stormed the heights of Elchingen; and it is in this
spirit of generous rivalry that the Allies move forward.


_January 15._

By a little arrangement room was made in our small quarters for a New
Year's feast, to which the divisional doctors were all invited. Father
Tikhon had turned the local hall of the Sokols into a Russian church,
and the evening service was crowded with soldiers. There was great
delight in unpacking the gifts and delicacies received from Petrograd,
and soon the guests began to arrive. It was all the simple talk of men
accustomed to great privations: some of it turned on a comparison of
unpleasant bivouacs; for instance, one told of a night spent in driving
wind and rain on an open slope by the light of a burning village; he
hoped the wind would blow over some of the warmth from the flames, till
at last shelter and sleep were found in a ditch. Another officer was
drowsing in a hovel when the door was opened, there entered a strong
smell of coarse tobacco and a heavy weight fell on him; he woke in
the morning to find a soldier asleep across his knees. An artillery
officer, a fine-looking man, told of the tremendous work of the
mobilisation and of the strain which war life puts upon the hardest
nerves. Regimental doctors have, of course, had to work under fire
for weeks on end. Every one discounts the heavy German mortars which
in the field do very little damage in comparison with their expense.
As to the Austrian bullets, one doctor says that it takes a man's
weight of bullets to wound a man. When the trenches are near they come
pouring in a sort of continuous rain. One man who insisted on standing
up had thirty-six bullets through him directly. When the distance is
a hundred to two hundred yards, especially where there is no natural
cover, continuous sniping goes on. The line not being straight, but
varied by all sorts of indentations, due to the lie of the ground and
to the Russians' desire to get as close as possible to the enemy,
the former at many points crouch in the temporary and flooded holes
which they have scratched out for themselves, perhaps all the while
under a cross fire. Men are killed going out with long scissors to cut
the Austrian wire entanglements. Many a man has fallen in a crawling
excursion to dig up a potato. The sniping becomes a kind of game, and
it was described as such by two Russian soldiers, of whom one had
knocked over nine Austrians and the other sixteen. The Austrians fire a
lot of random shots in the night which are in most cases a sheer waste
of powder; but it was hard on a man who was relieved after a week's
rifle pits to be hit by a bullet in the night on his way back, as far
as a mile from the front.

The last hours of the Russian Old Year I spent in a goods carriage. My
companions kept reckoning whether we should reach the town by midnight.
Twelve o'clock was well past when the train drew up heavily a verst
from the station and we were told that it would go no further. We
scrambled out into the snow, when suddenly from the lighted station
there rose in full orchestra, strong and triumphant, the most beautiful
and the most religious of national anthems. It was played three times,
and the notes may even have been carried to the neighbouring Germans
beyond the river. This was our Russian New Year: and in the station a
colonel was dismissing his men with the words, "For this year I wish
you health and victory."

Next day the stretch of railroad that we had traversed and the carriage
in which we had supped was cannonaded by the biggest German shells. The
bombardment went on all day and night, the huge "portmanteaux" making
tremendous holes and falling for the most part far wide of their only
mark, the railway, and carrying ruin and mutilation to many of the
inhabitants, who are thus encouraged by the beaten enemy to remain
Austrian subjects. There is hardly any object in this bombardment,
which is put down to the Germans and has roused great indignation
among the many wounded Austrian officers and men who are lying here in
hospital. Not a soldier has been touched; but wounded civilians, men,
women and children, have been brought in to the different hospitals.


_January 16._

The bombardment, which was continued yesterday, has created a
certain excitement here, but nothing approaching to panic. The big
"portmanteaux" are very ugly things and make an unpleasant noise, but
only two shots can be said to have produced any results worth mention.
The prevailing mood is one of vigour and interest.

I have had some informing conversations with wounded officers of the
enemy. They indicate a definite mental attitude very different from
ours. I see no trace of religious enthusiasm and little of nationality
in the wider sense. The Germans have the greatest confidence and
pride in their army. They tell me that two million volunteers were
inscribed at the beginning of the war--an enormous fact, if correct.
The attitude of the German women is such that no man who can serve
dares to remain at home. My informants fully realise that for Germany
the war is a matter of life and death. They have served on the
western front and described the French fortresses as extremely strong
("brillant"). The Bavarians are terrible in warfare and spread alarm
among the population. The losses of the first move through Belgium were
enormous. The Belgians are described as excellent soldiers, and large
German losses are put down to them. In the march on Paris the reserves
and the commissariat could not keep up. The retreat is accepted as an
unpleasant necessity. There was a certain pedantry among my informants
in insisting on the need of turning the allied right wing, whatever
should happen at other points. They claimed that the Germans were now
in Calais.

Large losses against the Russians were admitted, but it was claimed,
without any real evidence, that the Russians had lost more. Again,
there was a kind of machine-like insistence on the need of attack in
columns with reserves close up--as this was "our tactics." The Germans
had so far been saved by the default of any real Russian winter, which
would have ruined the German transport and artillery and robbed their
operations of all effect. What struck me most was the absence of any
real intelligence as to the political issues in debate. My informants
were, for reasons of humanity, in favour of a _status quo_ peace.

Some Austrians gave an interesting account of the origin of the war.
The Austro-Serbian quarrel was not political but personal. The Serbian
dynasty, failing to obtain any satisfactory recognition from Austria,
was credited with a personal hostility against the late Archduke, who
was described as in general a friend of the Slavs. Proof in support of
this view of his end had been widely circulated in Austria in December.
The personal quarrel between the reigning houses of Austria and Serbia
had been turned by the insistence of the Emperor William into an
occasion for a European war, specially directed against Russia, into
which Austria had been hurried against her will. Her present position
now was described as very precarious.

To a Hungarian officer I put the question whether the war had produced
any real poetry in Hungary. He answered that there had been some
rough-and-ready effusions among the working classes, whom he described
as militant in their habits in time of peace and always ready for any
war, especially with Russia. But the educated classes were not well
disposed either to war or to this war.

It is rarely that one meets among these wounded of the enemy any other
disposition than a strong desire for peace. I should add that several
of them have asked me to communicate to their relations that they were
being treated with the greatest kindness in Russia; "I am lovingly
tended," wrote one of them. An Austrian colonel, a fine soldier and
gentleman, told me he should never forget the "Anständigkeit" (decency)
of all the Russians with whom he had had to do since his capture. Even
Germans who at first are challenging and hostile, are softened by the
true humanity with which they are surrounded in the Russian hospitals.


_January 22._

The town has been bombarded for several days on end, beginning with
the Russian New Year, January 14. The Germans had given a foretaste on
our own Christmas Eve. They dropped from an aeroplane a paper bearing
the words: "We ask you not to shoot on December 25; we will send you
presents": the text of the telegram I had from the Commandant of the
town, to whom it was taken. For all that, and though the Russian
artillery was instructed only to reply, five heavy bombs were fired
into the town and some of the inhabitants were wounded.

There were other Christmas "presents" which I have seen, sent by the
Austrians with a parleyer and a white flag. With other objects of no
importance were six matchboxes full of matches and containing also
short manifestoes printed in Russian and addressed to the troops.
They were signed "Your unfortunate Tsar, Nicholas"; and they informed
the Russian soldiers that the Emperor knew the war would ruin Russia
and had sought to avoid it, but had been forced into it by the Grand
Duke Nicholas and the "perfidious" Russian generals, against whom the
soldiers were invited to turn their arms. I have not often seen a
document so conspicuously lacking in humour.

Punctually at midnight of January 13, one Russian regiment received two
large shells bearing on their case the words "Congratulations on the
New Year." The next day the town, though it had no troops in it, was
shelled severely, and this bombardment was kept up for several days.
The chief mark, and a very legitimate one, was the railway; here there
fell in all six large bombs, making holes some twenty feet in diameter
and ten in depth. But the great majority of the bombs fell in other
parts of the town; and two of them rattled close over the roof of two
different hospitals while I was in them, and the splinters of a third
flew into the lodging of the workers of another lazaret.

In one of these hospitals, a local one now served by the Russian Red
Cross, a large proportion of the patients are wounded of the enemy,
including officers, most of them too badly hit to be removed without
danger to their lives; and these were greatly agitated by the shells
passing so near to them. Hurried councils were held by the different
Red Cross authorities. One hospital, where the shells continued to
fall quite near, left the town. The most serious cases were moved to
the local hospital, where the Russian Red Cross courageously decided
to remain. Here are also to be found many local inhabitants, wounded
by bullets and shrapnel in the town or in neighbouring villages under
fire; and one room is mostly filled with little Polish boys, all of
them wearing a little silver religious medal round their necks. Here,
too, are the inmates of a Polish hut who were injured by the explosion
of a hand grenade; in a space of about twelve feet square, some sixteen
persons were thus wounded; the father is dead and the mother and one of
the children are out of their minds.

These are all cases that have come under my notice; and of course
there are many others. Yet it is wonderful how the inhabitants remain
in their huts under fire in the hope that the worst is over or in
despair of finding any other shelter. From one such hut, after the last
and finally crushing shot, there issued an old man of nearly seventy
with a pipe in his mouth and entirely unharmed. I remember that on my
first visit to Lvov, I heard a barrel organ repeating about fifty times
the beautiful Polish national hymn: "From the Smoke of Fires"; in the
Lublin province, on a line of some seventy miles, I found almost every
other village half demolished. It is everywhere Poland that suffers;
and it will be hard if some new life for this unhappy people does not
rise out of their present ordeal.

There must be endless espionage in this town. An Austrian was found
by one of our priests at the top of a tower working a telephone, and
to the priest's question he replied that he was "sending word as to
fires," which was no doubt strictly true. If so, it is a pity that the
shots were not better directed. There is no question that the guns at
work were not Austrian but German. General Radko Dmitriev came without
delay to the town, and distributed the George medal for bravery among
the workers of the Red Cross.


_January 23._

I have been visiting some of the Regimental First Aid stations. In
principle each regiment of four battalions should have five doctors
and a captain of bearers. The bearers are selected from each company
and can be supplemented by soldiers who volunteer for this service.
They must be sound and strong; in peace time they march with their
companies, carrying the rifle, and meet for a course of instruction
twice a week. They are expected to gather under their captain before
an action and to go out to the field to pick up the wounded only
at night time, or after the action is over. In the present war it
is seldom possible to maintain the full complement of regimental
doctors. As battles have continued for weeks on end, it has been quite
impossible to limit the bearers' work to less dangerous times; and it
has been found most convenient to send them to the trenches with their
respective companies, as they could then get to work as soon as they
were wanted, and could also know the least dangerous track from their
companies to the first-aid points. Ordinarily four bearers are assigned
to one wounded: but as the track under fire is often long and exposed,
it is sometimes necessary to send out eight men together, to carry by
turns. They are supposed to have a leader, but in practice any one
gives a lead, and if good it will be followed. The mortality in this
service is considerably higher than in the ranks, as this is largely a
war of cover, and these are the men who are most deprived of it.

Every Russian soldier is supplied with a packet containing lint, two
compresses and a fastening pin. The object of the first bandaging is
simply to stop the flow of blood and keep out dirt; and the wounded man
is bandaged on the spot by himself, some comrade, or a _feldsher_ (a
trained medical assistant), one of whom is in the trenches with each
company.

During the seventeen days of fighting on the San, the wounded had to
be carried by relays over a long exposed slope and in many cases over
the river. It was found possible to divide the distance into different
sections; but the workers in each section were under fire, and so was
the regimental point, which might sometimes be in a hut, but was more
often a patch of open ground, with a tent stretched over it, or with no
covering at all. There were instances where wounded and bearers alike
were crushed by a shell on their road; for the Austrians poured endless
artillery volleys on to given points. For all that, when the Russian
trenches were examined after the battle, it was found that the bearers'
work had been carried out completely, and that all the wounded had been
removed.

The tremendous mortality of this war has put a specially hard strain on
this service. Yet it is one of those which it would be most difficult
to supplement with volunteers. Untrained men would be almost certain to
be killed off soon; and indeed the appearance of bearers on the field
is at once an indication to the enemy of the positions of the troops.

It has been found quite impossible, with the present range of
artillery, to keep the regimental points in security. The work has
therefore to be dispatched with the greatest expedition. The regiments,
for mobility, dispense with any superfluous material and appliances
and send their patients as soon as possible to the divisional lazaret,
where the first really serious treatment is received.

Lazarets further back have often, as I have previously mentioned, been
under fire. Austrian prisoners tell me that they have often seen
their artillery fire on field hospitals; and from Russian observation
points it has several times been noticed that the Austrian fire has
been opened on what could only be a hospital field train. One of the
subjects discussed with me by wounded officers of both sides is the
possibility of securing further respect for the Geneva Convention
and even a further definition of its regulations; but at present the
overpowering stress under which we all live seems to be carrying us to
the total disregard of any limitations at all.


_January 27._

After a talk with the Divisional General, I set out for a visit to the
regiments at the front. My orderly told me with pride that this was the
best fighting Division in the army; certainly it has that reputation in
other quarters and has three times in this campaign done decisive work
against superior odds. It has rushed the Austrians from point to point,
and would do so still unless they had taken refuge in the hill country
before the Carpathians, where every hill has to be won in turn. Its
General, an old man full of fire and energy, has received three wounds,
which, as he says, make for him a calendar of the war.

The way lay between pleasant fir-clad hills, and late in the evening
I reached the X regiment, with quite a good-sized house for its
headquarters. The Colonel, who was very simple and businesslike,
lived with his staff in the dining-room by a kind of half-light and
with picnic fare, of which, as always in Russia, much more than his
share was pressed upon the guest. The talk was that of comrades at
serious work. These men will all go to the end, but they don't find it
necessary to say so. When one said something about finishing at Berlin,
a young officer put in with a smile: "Do you know, if we do, I expect
none of us will be alive by then?"

I spent the night in the regimental doctor's hut, and next day went off
to the artillery observation point. It was a clear day and we could
see not only our own lines and the enemies', but also some of the
Austrians walking about near their trenches. A shell from us sent them
scattering back into their burrows, and our guns were then turned on
one point after another, the shells, as we could see, always exploding
on or very close to the object aimed at; this day, there was only a
half-hearted reply. The following day, I saw the guns themselves at
work; the place of the battery was not likely to be located. It is very
seldom during the war that a Russian battery has been silenced by the
enemy. The Austrians, on the other hand, often place their guns on the
crests of hills and have suffered severely from the accuracy of the
Russian artillery, which is one of the striking features of the whole
campaign. There is, further, this difference, that the Russians never
fire without a target, whereas the Austrians in the most systematic
way sweep whole areas in turn, as a rule doing extraordinarily little
damage for the powder expended. One colonel suggested that the Emperor
Francis Joseph must have more money than he knows what to do with.

In the evening I set out with a party of soldiers for the infantry
trenches. With a clear moon lighting the snow-clad slopes we made our
way along the more exposed lines; there was no sign of life, though
the Austrian trenches could be seen quite near. Passing under shelter
we found the Russian mud huts, which take only three or four hours to
make and give good cover from weather, bullets and shrapnel, but not
from bombs. We sat for some time in an angle of the entrenchments; here
several bombs had fallen close to a very exposed hut, in which however,
the inhabitants still remained. We passed the night in another hut,
which we could only enter in the dark for fear of drawing the enemy's
fire. The scouts came in for instructions, headed by a young volunteer
who was doing his first work of this kind. Voices went on long into the
night; reports came in from various points. The scouts returned about 3
a.m. They had come on a body of Austrians double their force in a wood;
they let themselves be nearly surrounded, then threw a hand-grenade
with effect and scrambled back to our lines; as the whole Austrian line
opened fire the reconnaissance had achieved its object, which was to
ascertain whether the enemy had made any changes in his positions. In
the early morning appeared an Austrian officer who had made his way
across to us. He was smiling so broadly that I saw his smile before I
saw the man. He was a Ruthenian and was married to a Serbian, so that
all his sympathies were long since on our side; his wife was already
under Russian rule in conquered Galicia, and his own great wish was to
fight in the Serbian army. The Russian officers made him completely
at home at once, putting their breakfast and their servants at his
disposal; when a few hours later another Ruthenian fugitive arrived,
our last-found ally helped to make him feel comfortable, stroking his
face and relieving his apprehensions, amid the broad smiles of the
Russian soldiers.

The day we spent under the fire of 180 bombs, which fell often along
the line of the entrenchments, but only wounded some five or six men.
It was very unpleasant for the infantry to have to sit under this
alarming noise, and certainly the men would infinitely have preferred
to attack. From the Austrian side no other sign was made, and there was
no such mark as the Russian artillery or infantry think it worth while
to fire at.

In the evening I was coming back on horseback in the twilight when a
shell fell on the road close in front of me. This was the last as far
as I was concerned, and I slept in comfort at the first-aid point of
the regiment.


_January 29._

On my way to the H regiment I had to pass over a commanding plateau,
and from hence, looking backward, I could see endless and intermingling
lines of wooded hills with the main masses of the Carpathians in the
far distance. I commented to my orderly on the beauty of the view, and
as usual when I made any pointless remark, he replied courteously, "I
understand," which meant "I don't."

Shrapnel was falling by a fir-wood on the crest, and we took a lower
road to the regimental staff. The Colonel was a soldier of an English
type, with a grace which I have seldom seen in a man. Altogether, minds
seem more at ease at the front than anywhere else in Russia; there is
the fullest consciousness of heavy losses and of straining conditions,
but all this seems only to make every-day life more simple. There was
a strange incident after lunch: one of the regimental doctors had just
gone out of the door when he was bitten by a mad dog that was running
wild in the woods, and the place had to be burnt out with a hot iron.
One comes on many "extras" of this kind, which have nothing to do with
the war but seem to fit themselves into it.

When twilight was come, I made another of these foot-pace rides over
frozen fields and gullies to the lines of the regiment. Halfway, by
some trees and a stream, we met a very young soldier who reported the
presence of "Free Austrians" in a neighbouring hut. These turned out to
be only the local peasants; and my orderly, who was an old soldier, was
very outspoken with his rebuke. We soon reached a hut, containing two
commanders of battalions, with a young officer who seemed to me a type
of that fearlessness that I have seen everywhere in the Russian army.
They wanted to give away all their chocolates and other luxuries, and
sent guides to take me to the trenches.

We had to climb one of the steepest hills I have ever gone up.
Fortunately it was covered with light scrub: otherwise I should never
have got to the top, for the frozen and clouted soil was so slippery
that one slid back at every step. Yet up this hill the Russian troops
had gone at night under the fire of the defending Austrians not many
days before, and I was told that the ground was then in even worse
condition. The storming of these hills one after the other calls for
the most reckless courage; but this kind of task is the favourite work
of the Russian soldier.

Halfway up, we took an "easy" in the mud hut of a superior officer. We
sat together in the straw with our toes to the stove, and, as is often
the case, the talk was not about the war at all, but about the human
things that most interest the Russian mind: about the characters in
Russian literature and the future of Russia. Naturally there is also a
good deal now to be said about England; and nowhere more than in the
trenches does one notice how every one wishes to give us the best word,
just as the guest receives the best of the fare. England's share in the
war was put to me, with a real thought and kindness, much better than
I could have put it myself. In these rough surroundings where ordinary
comforts must all be dispensed with, there is nothing that makes them
seem so unnecessary or that so stamps the character of officers and men
alike, as a certain delicacy of mind which seems to me the ideal of
good breeding.

Reaching the top we went over some ground which by day was almost
impassable and was covered with huge holes made by shells, and I slept
in an officer's mud hut just behind the trenches, where the five of
us lay literally packed in like sardines. Some shells fell during
the night; but the Austrians did not ordinarily open a regular fire
till ten in the morning. The last few days they had covered the brow
of this hill with shells. A hut standing on the summit and some farm
buildings in a hollow behind had been smashed to bits. To-day there was
a fog, so that even the Austrians did not make their usual aimless
cannonade. But they sent us in the course of the day what might be
called a mixed packet: the mortars, field and mountain artillery
machine guns and rifles all coming into play at one time or other. In
particular there were chance rifle shots on all sides. The Russian
trenches, despite the concentrated fire of the last few days, had
suffered very little; and here as elsewhere it appeared that, though
only explosive shells are effective against entrenchments, even they
are comparatively harmless. This day I was able to pass along the
front of the regiment and even further forward. My general impression
was that the Russian superiority is so great that all neutral ground
may almost be reckoned as Russian. The Russians are always ready to
venture into this unknown land; the Austrians, on the contrary, expect
attacks from all sides, answer every isolated shot with a wild volley,
and are ready to fire at anything, even a fog. Two or three Austrian
soldiers came across; they were loutish youths, not like soldiers, and
had only quite recently joined the colours; there have been instances
of prisoners who did not know to what regiment they belonged and had
not yet received their rifles. I was present while the Colonel examined
some prisoners, and the tale they told of the conditions in the
Austrian trenches was pitiable: water in the trenches, thin coats and
ridiculously ineffective boots, constant diarrhoea from eating fresh
meat; the roughest treatment from the officers (nearly all Germans),
who themselves avoided all danger and privations; a Hungarian battalion
at one time put to discipline them and shots fired at them from behind;
regiments reduced to a quarter of their strength, boy recruits without
any training, discordant elements in a given regiment, a general and
growing resentment against Germany and the German Kaiser, a keen
longing for peace, and an almost epidemic desire to surrender. This is
the consequence of six months' punching, which has, however, cost heavy
losses to the Russians.


_February 4._

Every one here--particularly the young men who are in the Red Cross--is
naturally drawn as by a magnet to work being as near as possible to
the actual front. Different people show this in different ways; some
are restless, some are evidently there in thought, others keep it to
themselves as an intimate purpose which they only mention when their
desire is to be satisfied. Often this satisfaction is long in coming,
even when it has long been worked for and seems quite near. F., a
quiet, self-contained young man, asked leave to go off with the bearers
in the hope of learning how to help later in carrying the wounded, and
I saw him ride off in his grey mantle with set face; but that time
he got no further than the regimental headquarters. K., one quiet
evening, told me how all was arranged for regular volunteer work in the
trenches, but everything is still uncertain and he will anyhow have to
wait for some weeks.

The fact is that this creditable straining after the most dangerous
work of all, for it is more dangerous than that of the soldiers in the
firing line, does not easily fit in with the requirements of the army.
There are certain dangers which it is madness to court, not only in
one's own interest but in that of others, and especially of the troops
themselves. For instance, a body of volunteer helpers would simply by
their appearance indicate the positions of the troops and draw the fire
of the enemy, and would probably have to return without any wounded.
Such experiments have been made with doubtful success. It is only by
following the wishes of the commanders, and learning from them how and
when help can be given, that any good can be done; and this means that
it is necessary to stand near to some given military unit and earn the
confidence of its chief.

A few days ago I had a chance meeting with a few men in rough winter
coats, who came in together and sat down to a hasty meal. They were of
different ages, but all bore the stamp of the simple seriousness of the
front. It was the same with their talk. We discussed the meaning of
this war for the Russian soldier--that is, for the Russian peasant--and
I expressed my conviction that this war is one of the greatest stages
in history, in the manifestation of the true qualities of the Russian
people to Europe. The quietest of the party, a middle-aged doctor,
intervened to say that this idea pleased him; the Russian seemed
uncultured because he took less thought for comforts and contrivances,
but all his care was for the biggest things of all; the scope of his
vision might indeed help to broaden the heart of Europe; and it was
good to feel that all this quiet and selfless heroism would not go for
nothing.

I learned that these men belonged to the most famous and the most
forward of the Red Cross organisations. No. 14 is headed by a military
man; it has three doctors, several students and 130 soldier-bearers.
It was the first to attach itself to a given Division, and, by waiting
for its chances and always keeping close up, it has so far made the
most interesting experiments in volunteer help. I expressed my respect;
but my acquaintances hastened to tell me that the reports of their work
were highly exaggerated, and they gave me a plain prose picture of what
they did and of things that might be done.

Yesterday I paid a visit to No. 14. They were in clean quarters in a
little scattered village in the snow some five miles from the front.
They had good quarters for first aid and some twenty very practical
carriages for the transport of the wounded. The soldier-bearers were
drawn up in line and received a message of thanks for their work from
the General. Six of them, and two of the students, had the George medal
for bravery, bestowed for their work on the San.

Travelling on to the regimental staff, we entered the atmosphere of
which I have written above. The regimental surgeon described with
enthusiasm the work of No. 14, especially when the regiment was in
movement; at such times he could not have possibly coped with his work
alone. He himself was forbidden by the regulations to work further
forwards.

Somewhat farther on stood a village, with a lofty church that had been
struck by several shells. To appear beyond the village was at once to
draw fire, as it lay along the Dunajec, beyond which were the enemy.
There was no natural cover; but our side of the stream, which is not a
broad one, was lined with a kind of embankment. However, we also held
the bridge and a bridge-head on the other side. As this bridge-head
was faced and flanked by the enemy's trenches it was constantly under
the closest fire; and every night, especially when it was dark, the
bridge was under a continuous shower of bullets and shrapnel, while by
day the appearance of a single person at once called forth a volley.
We were not allowed to cross this bridge, nor was any one allowed to
come across to us, for at the time of our visit it was under rifle
fire and shrapnel. But in the earthworks beyond there has been put up
in the trenches a first-aid point with approaches from the sides and
all necessary appliances; here the wounded can be attended to and kept
under some kind of shelter till a slackening of the fire, perhaps once
in twenty-four hours, allows of their transport across the bridge; and
here at this point, prohibited to the regimental surgeon, lives, sleeps
and works Dr. Vladimir Petrovich Roshkov, who spoke to me of the quiet
heroism of the Russian soldier and of his faith in the qualities of the
Russian people.


_February 21._

After my visit to No. 14 I was laid up with a bad chill, but after two
weeks I was able to resume my journeyings.

I arrived at the N regiment in a cab, or rather did not arrive, because
we stuck in a sea of mud. The Polish cabman, plaintive but polite,
described it as an "awful drive," and seemed inclined to stay there all
night, till some soldiers came and dragged us out.

The Colonel and his two adjutants lived in the usual hut. These Polish
cottages are very clean and well furnished, with handsome stoves,
decorated roofs, sometimes a divan, and in all cases rows of religious
pictures encircled with wreaths of artificial flowers.

We had the usual telephone-interrupted night and a long talk about the
Colonel's earlier experiences in Austria. He now had in front of him an
Austrian regiment whose guest he had been when on his travels.

Next day I rode to some of the positions. One could get close up to
them without danger. We walked forward, through brushwood and swamp,
with sentries at various points, up to the rapid Dunajec. To the right
some of our positions were across the stream; to the left it was itself
the dividing line. Here there was a broken bridge, and on either
side of the break were the opposing sentries, who occasionally took
snapshots at each other at short range. The German lines and their wire
entanglements were plainly visible, but at midday the view was as bare
and desolate as the ship of the "Flying Dutchman" before the awakening.
One of the most curious things in war is the tacit convention that
develops itself illogically out of a set of circumstances entirely
novel. In open day to show oneself here is ordinarily to be killed, yet
at certain hours, fixed rather by instinct than by reason, there is an
unspoken truce of which both sides take advantage. Photographs could be
taken, and we returned in peace to the main positions.

In the evening I set out for some more distant trenches where the
enemy was Austrian. I stopped to take tea at a point where some of the
inhabitants were being examined. I have seen a good deal of this, and
have always found that the Russians, if anything, erred on the side
of leniency. There are undoubted communications between the lines,
but, apart from the most obvious espionage, the most that is done is
to remove suspects from the ground nearest to the trenches. We went
forward on foot in the twilight, with a good moon and a clear sky,
and with a full view of the enemy's ground, though we ourselves were
indistinguishable from our surroundings. We soon came on the trenches,
which were elaborate, deep, and for the most part dry. My host here
was one of those ideal persons who seem made for such conditions
of life. I will call him George, because he is one of the most
worthy knights of that Order of bravery. I asked him how he won this
distinction, and after starting the briefest account of a village taken
and communications secured he broke it off saying: "For execution of
orders." He was a big man with kind eyes, a manner prompt and natural,
and the simplest address to his soldiers.

It was now comparatively safe to traverse a bit of more open ground and
visit some other positions. Here again the works were excellent, and
George required some still further improvements. The men were in good
heart and vigour; and across the plain we could hear how the younger
soldiers of a neighbouring regiment were singing in lusty chorus one of
their favourite war-songs.

A voice came across from the Austrian lines which were here only a few
hundred yards off: "The Russians are singing--Peace." Answering shouts
of song came from the Austrian trenches, but they were feeble and soon
ended sharply as if by order. We made our way back in the dark to our
central entrenchments.

After a half-hour's talk on the straw in our earth hut the moon had
waned, though the stars were still shining bright all over the sky.
With a guide I passed through some trees down the slope to the river
and beyond the line of our trenches. It was reported that there were
signals and signs of movement beyond the river, and all the men were
ordered to be clothed and ready.

My guide was one of those native gentlemen who are so common among the
Russian peasants and are to be met everywhere in the army, entirely
selfless, indifferent to all danger except for others, and full of
quiet, childlike intelligence of the great issues engaged. His hand,
a strong and gentle one, was there to help my every movement with
the instinct of the most devoted of family servants. The whispered
talk came with a strange freshness, and the whole atmosphere of our
excursion was that of another world more real than our own. We entered
a dwelling where the watch sat round a smoky camp fire. There was a
brisk salute, and the answer to my greeting from England was "Very
pleasant." What they all liked to hear about was how we were preparing
new armies. "Then we'll take him on both sides," whispered my companion
as we left the watch, "and we'll surround him--the barbarian."

We crept slowly forward till we came up with the second of the two
advanced sentries, a young man crouched on his knee with rifle loaded
and ready. Here we stayed a little time, with now and then the lowest
whisper, and in front of us the rushing river, beyond which were the
sentries of the enemy; sky and air were clear. We crept on to the
forward sentry on the bank, and were crouching beside him when a
rocket went up in front of us beyond the river followed by a blaze
of light and then a second and a third. "Lie down, your nobility,"
whispered my companion, and we lay as still as we could together while
four rifle shots cracked at us. We could hear each other's breathing in
the few seconds while the blaze hung above us. We had all crawled back
to the second sentry when the rocket went up again followed by more
shots, but this time we had some little shelter. We returned and bade
"Good-night" to the Watch and lay for a while in a shelter close by,
with a whispered talk of our joint task. On the way up the hill there
were more rockets and more shots at us, but we were soon back at the
earth hut with its welcome shelter and its friendly host, and the straw
screen that served as a door shut on a good night and a sound sleep.


_February 23._

All day long we sat in our earth hut or passed crouching along
the trenches visiting the different points of observation. What a
difference a few inches make! At each more exposed point no care seemed
enough. The whole day bullets passed above us, sometimes singing--or
as George said "wailing"--about fifteen yards off, but most of them
embedded themselves in our hill, sometimes kicking away with a ricochet
or exploding. Often there were sharp salvos from several rifles at once
aimed mostly at the loopholes where our sharpshooters lay ready; men
were shot through the forehead in this way.

In the afternoon I saw a fire light up in some German trenches by the
river, and it quickly spread along their lines. A figure like an insect
stood out shovelling at the flames and some of our men shot at it; the
German passed down the slope but came again, this time going back at
a run. The flames spread further until they were at last extinguished
from below. We ourselves got nothing except bullets, and none of our
men were wounded. There was no excitement and practically no reply.

It was considered that the enemy was wasting his powder, in a nervous
fear of attack.

But all the day we saw, from our vantage-point, shell after shell
raining on neighbouring positions. At one time attention was given to
the high ground behind us, and a large hut in which I had halted the
night before went up in flames, and in a few minutes seemed to have
disappeared altogether. However, only a cow was killed, and except for
two huts I found the position unchanged when I passed back here in the
evening. No wonder that our own artillery did not deign to reply till
the evening, when it lighted up a big flame in a small town beyond the
river.

Southward across the flat ground which we had traversed in the dark
the cannonade was more furious and had more meaning. Here there was
a projecting bluff where our front came close up to the river before
receding sharply from it and taking an altogether different direction.
This was doubly an angle. It was a salient landmark in the curve of the
whole Russian line from a western front against Germany to a southern
front against Austria, and was therefore one of the points from which
the conquering Russian march through Galicia threatens the junction of
the two allies. The lie of the ground made it still more a challenge to
the enemy, as the advanced trenches on this side were opposed to a fire
from both sides and even partly from the rear. On this devoted hill the
enemy's artillery, strongly reinforced, poured an unending torrent of
shells. We could see them burst almost without interruption--the heavy
explosive shell for driving the men from their shelter followed by the
two shrapnels for catching them in the open. In all some eight hundred
shells must have been lodged on the hill on this day, and in the
evening a large hut on the top lit up like an illuminated fairy castle.

No fewer shots were fired the next day, and when I was later able to
get to this ground, it was all harrowed up with enormous holes even
in the gullies that ran crosswise through the hill itself. The men
crouched in the trenches where death threatened any exposed movement
and the falling shells often carried the works away wholesale, wounding
and killing large numbers.

A wounded officer, much loved by his men, was asked by them what they
could do to pay the enemy back, and he answered, "Sit and Wait."

This time the cannonade was not, as so often with the Austrians,
simply a nerve-stricken discharge of ammunition. When the hill, and
especially the line of our trenches, had been covered with shell, and
the defenders had been long enough reduced to a condition of paralysis
and impotence, a whole division of the gallant Tirolese advanced on the
projecting angle of the line. These are the best troops that Austria
has left, and they were opposed to parts of two Russian regiments. They
ensconced themselves at night in rifle pits on a lower ridge of the
hill, and forcing their way up found lodgment in a small wood and even
occupied some disused trenches only fifty yards from the Russians. They
planted a flag; and the fire of their artillery, which was this day
wonderfully accurate, continued to pound the Russians over the heads of
the Tirolese infantry. An attempt was made to break through the Russian
line at the point of the angle, which was also the junction of the two
defending regiments.

And now came the reply. Standing up under the cannonade the Russian
infantry, with the support of its machine guns, poured in such volleys
that everything in front of it went down. The rush to break through was
beaten out and backward, the trenches occupied by the Tirolese became
a line of corpses; no attempt was made to resist the bayonet; Russian
troops on the flank passed down towards the river and took the enemy
in flank; the whole attack, or what was left of it, rolled down the
hill, leaving 1300 corpses in the wood and in the open; a number of
prisoners, wounded and Red Cross men were left behind; and next day
retreating columns, without even their baggage, were seen marching off
into the hills beyond the river.

Prisoners told me they had not eaten for four days, and that enteric
and typhus were rampant in their trenches, which were often full of
water. They gave no good account of their officers, and they said that
both they and Tirol were sick of the war. I found many dead in the
Russian trenches, all killed by the enemy's artillery. The fire was
then intermittent, and we were still obliged to act on the defensive;
but the men were perfectly unperturbed. As a Russian private put it
when I asked him to compare the Austrian soldier with the Russian: "He
is a man, too, but we have rather more vigour, rather more boldness,
more inclination for it, and we are anyhow winning. It might be added
that we are steadier." A modest and quiet estimate enough at the moment
of a signal victory against odds and natural conditions.


_February 26._

In the bandaging-room every description of suffering is seen, and many
ways of meeting it. What strikes one most is the difference between
the Russians and the rest. In general the Russians have an altogether
stronger physique and therefore a much firmer and sounder morale.
Some of the younger men lie there under treatment as if they were
not ill at all and were simply having football injuries patched up.
Such was Alexey of Yaroslav, who kept a fine ruddy colour and chatted
away jollily about the market gardeners at Lake Nero as he arched his
broad back and had his numerous wounds attended to. He was wounded
in a scouting expedition, but crawled back of himself to the Russian
lines; and when he was carried out of the hospital he behaved like an
ordinary traveller going on a journey. He had no intention of going to
Russia and spoke of his return to the ranks as "a matter of course."
Many of these wounded write begging their officers to keep their places
open for them. Some lie glancing at their serious wounds as they are
treated, with a healthy and indifferent eye. The head wounds are the
most trying to the morale; they always make men look weak and unequal
to things. But even here the Russian temper shows itself. Ivan, a
married peasant, had two nasty holes in his head, but he talked all the
while he was being treated with a loveable simplicity, and even his
exclamations of pain were only little appeals to the sisters, full of
a natural courtesy. Once when the knife was a long time in his head,
he protested mildly, "Enough, gentlemen!" There was great alarm when
he suddenly rolled off the dressing-table on to the stone floor; but
this proved to be the turning-point in his recovery, and he was soon
afterwards joining with the others in his ward singing peasant songs.
The Armenians are sometimes a frailer people; but there was one man
with a great heart, who had both his legs smashed while bringing in an
officer from under fire; one leg had been amputated, and delay in first
aid had induced a mass of gangrene; the man was doomed; but he held
out for day after day, and nothing but a dull, strong groan escaped
him until at last he succumbed under his sufferings; to the end he was
always asking after the officer whom he had saved.

The Germans show a much greater consciousness of their wounds, but take
a quiet pride in conquering them. Will and purpose are triumphant, and
these men return sooner than others to a normal outlook on the little
businesses of life. A Tirolese, badly wounded in the head, at first
took a little too much trouble to keep up his self-respect before
strangers, but later talked away freely, though he was very troubled
that he would go back to his sweetheart with the brand of a prisoner of
war. The Austrian Germans were frailer and more gentle. Two of them in
particular, both officers, won golden opinions from all who met them.
They were men of a happy disposition, of real culture and of great
delicacy of mind. There was not the slightest difficulty in talking
with them about the war, because they bore no grudge against any one,
not even against the Emperor William, whose unwisdom they regarded as
the main cause of their country's misfortunes. These two showed the
greatest patience under treatment, talking meanwhile of their army,
literature and music, and regarding their wounded limbs as children who
were being gradually persuaded to be good.

Much the saddest sight in the bandaging-room were the little Polish
boys who had been wounded in villages during the operations, mostly by
shrapnel. There were eleven of them in the hospital, and they almost
filled one ward. They were all pretty little fellows, remarkably well
made and with something martial in their bearing; all of them wore
round their necks little silver religious medals. It was very painful
to see them minus an arm or a leg, or still worse with some body wound
which could only look natural on a full-grown soldier. Most of these
children were from ten to thirteen years of age. They were bright and
smiling in the bandaging-room, and seemed to have no more regret for
themselves than they would have had for their own broken toys. But
Poland will be covered with such after the war. There may be a renewed,
there may be a united Poland, but anyhow there will be a Poland of
cripples. That is why I continue to hear everywhere, like a burden that
ever repeats itself, the beautiful Polish national air "In the Smoke of
Fires." Its solemn tones meet one everywhere, now hummed by passers-by,
now ground out endlessly by a barrel organ. I came one day on to the
street humming it myself, when an old Pole at once, with the grace of
his nation, took off his hat and solemnly bowed to me. It is the motto
of the Polish population on whichever side of the Russian frontier; and
may the purification of which it speaks lead to happier things: for no
nationality has been tempered in a harder school than that of Poland.

Nothing could exceed the kindness of the Russian staff in dealing with
all these various patients. There is, of course, no distinction of
nationality or condition; the sisters play with the children, find all
sorts of little questions or other interests to distract the attention
of those under treatment, and bring them back to lighter mood, as soon
as the actual pain is passed. A Russian hospital, even with all the
afflictions of war, gives out an atmosphere of home of which there is
frequent mention in the letters which the prisoners send off to their
distant relations.


_March 1._

My friend "Wiggins" is a very remarkable person. Heaven knows what he
doesn't manage, and it would be difficult to say what he doesn't know.
Take England, though Wiggins has many other languages and knowledges.
Wiggins's English, learnt in childhood, is of the most daring and
comprehensive kind and runs to the writing of doggerel verse. The
history of the English Church he knows far better than most English
clergymen, and the development of the English Constitution he both
knows and understands better than some English professors. He will
write, for instance, "Please send me more books on the period of
transition from Constitutionalism to Parliamentarism." Parliamentary
procedure he has studied night after night in the Distinguished
Strangers' Gallery; and his toast when he was dined in the House of
Commons in 1909 was "to the glorious traditions of the Parliament of
Great Britain." He is very well up in all the detail of our Army and
Navy, is thought a good judge of English shorthorns, and hopes to send
his son to Winchester.

Wiggins has done no end of work for the close friendship of his country
with England. His quick resourceful mind and his ties with men in all
departments of Russian politics and public life here have for years
been mobilised to this object, which is the mainspring of all his great
and untiring efforts. He has never lost heart when events went against
him or when some favourite plan was blocked, and was always ready for
another go. He is a good man and a brave man.

War has brought Wiggins and me together in novel surroundings. He has
a liking for all that is venturesome and an innocent predilection for
anything that partakes of conspiracy. Wiggins sits and collects all the
military telegrams from the different fronts, including the western;
Wiggins reads, answers and transmits private telegrams from Russia to
other countries. Wiggins goes through the letters found in the enemy's
trenches, and his staff is competent to deal with all the Babel of
languages of Austria. Wiggins interrogates the prisoners and fixes
the movements of the enemy's troops; there is a delightful caricature
of him, standing like a wild boar at bay, among a crowd of gaping
Austrians. Wiggins looks after the aeroplanes; and sometimes goes
himself on the most perilous of scouting expeditions. On one of these
I found with him a man of the most quaint simplicity, an artist, who
used to sit down between the lines and sketch the enemy's positions.
He described with an impersonal unconcern how the bullets passed him.
"But what do you do when you have finished?" I asked. "Oh, I go on to
another position." "But surely it is very dangerous work?" "Yes, I
suppose there are about ninety-nine chances in a hundred of my getting
killed; but I haven't any children. I should rather like to do my work
from an aeroplane; I think that would be safer."

"Wiggins" asked my help in reading some of the letters from the
trenches. One way or another, I have seen a good many of these. The
great thing that strikes me is that they are so good--that the war
after all brings out the best of every one. The Italian letters (of
soldiers in the Austrian army) are particularly graceful and pretty;
but then most Italians are gentlefolk. One writes: "I hear that T. is
a prisoner and with the Russians and that they are much better off
than in the line of fire." Another, hoping for the end of the war by
Christmas, writes: "For the Babe Jesus we hope for peace." "Angelina"
writing to "Carissimo Gustavo" ends thus: "If we are meant to be
married, few letters are enough; and if we are not, no letters are any
use."

I came out on the muddy little square and to my surprise caught the
notes of a melody that was for many years prohibited in Poland. It was
"Poland is not ruined yet," the battle-song of the Polish legions that
fought under Dombrowski against Russia for Napoleon and for Polish
independence. The words were different but not in spirit; they were
the famous "Slavs come on." I was surprised, because I was in purely
military surroundings at the staff of our army. But the men who were
singing were all Slavs of non-Russian origin, they were a military
unit in Russian uniform and marched round the square in front of Radko
Dmitriev, who, with all others present, stood to the salute. To these
troops he then distributed crosses and medals of the George for signal
bravery, and they sang him another Slavonic air, a Bulgarian hymn
in honour of himself. Behind him stood a number of Czech (Bohemian)
prisoners; and the troops next played the Bohemian salute and the Czech
National Hymn; some of the prisoners were in tears. Turning to them,
the General said that as Slavs they could have no doubt as to the
welcome that awaited them in Russia, where all that was possible would
be done for their comfort, and that when the war was over they would
return home, and he hoped that they would find their country free. The
last words were, at his desire, repeated to them by the interpreter.

No wonder that the Slavs of Austria are coming over in great masses
and begging for employment on the Slavonic side; while the fictitious
unity of Austria, a mechanism for turning to German uses a country
which is three-quarters Slavonic, is crumbling before the eyes.
German ambitions are being reduced to count only on the services of
instruments that are really German.


_March 9._

I crossed the river and followed the line of the entrenchments. The
men were resting in the evening before their earth-burrows. I passed
along to the corner of our positions; in the half-light one could
stand on the earthworks and see without being shot at. The enemy, who
were Hungarians, were only six hundred yards off. Between the two
lines ran a broad causeway built in time of peace, part of a great
dam of which sections are occupied by us and other sections by the
enemy. Here, where for a short distance it becomes neutral, all sorts
of queer things are possible. Our scouts can pass under partial cover
along either side of it, and constantly do so. The enemy makes no
counter-moves; his advance sentries stand only just outside his wire
entanglements, and creep in and report the moment they see any movement
outside; he does not even open fire. The Russian soldier, who here, as
elsewhere, has a complete moral and physical superiority, goes out on
little night raids, sometimes in small companies, sometimes alone, to
hear the conversation of the enemy, which if Slavonic can be readily
understood by him, or, still better, to catch a "tongue," that is, to
bring home a captive sentinel for information. This is why the enemy's
sentries retreat. If fire were opened, it would only tell the Russians
just what they want to know, namely, in what strength the positions are
occupied.

I should like to have stayed here, but there were other things to see;
so, with a soldier guide, I passed over some flat, marshy ground to
a forward angle of our lines. We found our way by passing the field
telephone through our hands, which is also a good means of seeing that
it is in order. In the dusk, with the sense of danger and mystery
around us and stray bullets sometimes coming from the enemy, my
companion spoke in short and simple sentences, of which one would like
to have preserved every word. "He" (the German) must be having a bad
time; why doesn't he see it? We are drawing in on him from all sides;
the Austrians will be no use to him; they are nervous and fire at
everything, and seldom hit anything; our people only fire to hit.

In a stone cellar with nothing above it, for the whole village was
destroyed soon after it was taken, there are gathered the officers of
the battalion. The commander, Lukich, is a genial, communicative man
who has knit them all together into a little family; indeed, two of the
captains are cousins, and the commander has living with him in his mud
hut his nephew, a boy of fifteen, who has been allowed to spend his
holidays at the war. Not many of those who set out for the war are left
now, and that alone makes a closer brotherhood among the rest. They all
smile at Lukich's inventiveness and resource, and are all very fond of
him.

Lukich gives elaborate instructions for the night's scouting. Pavel
Pavlovich, whose turn it is to go, is a splendidly built man with a
great head and big brown eyes: "an ideal fighting man," I am told. He
is down with a very bad chill, and reports himself quite unfit. Lukich
says that he always has to send out sick scouts. "Don't laugh," says
Pavel Pavlovich; "I can hardly keep on my legs." However, without
further words he gets ready for his night's job. Half-an-hour later he
appears in a long white dressing-gown which hangs carelessly over his
huge figure, and with him are thirty picked men--for there are always
plenty of volunteers for this work--drawn from different companies. All
are clad in white, and when first I stumbled on them in the darkness,
though I knew they were there, I took them for a row of posts. Lukich
made them a little speech, telling them that some one from their
English allies had come to see them and that he hoped they would do
well.

Their job was to crawl some one thousand yards, to overhear the
conversation in the enemy's trenches and judge of the numbers there,
to catch a sentry if possible, to cut through some of the wire
entanglements, and, above all, to throw some hand-grenades into the
Austrian lines. Each man had a definite task; the bomb-throwers were
trained men, and several carried huge scissors for cutting wire. As the
Austrians sometimes pass an electric current through the wires, these
scissors often have wooden handles.

The men passed at once into the darkness, and we waited on the line of
our trenches. Nothing happened for some time. Various figures appeared
from the neutral ground: sentries and patrols, who gave the impression
that all this ground was Russian. At last, at the request of a soldier,
we took cover (the soldiers are always trying to put their officers in
greater safety than themselves), and directly afterwards there was a
big thud, and flash went the first bomb. The next moment the Austrians
were shooting wildly in all directions; but very soon after the firing
had died down the second bomb went up, followed by another excited
discharge from the enemy. This showed that our scouts had stayed close
outside the Austrian lines; and among those around us, too, there was
a sort of buoyant audacity. "They'll come away now?" I asked. "Oh no;
they've several more bombs with them;" and soon after the calm of night
had returned up went No. 3. We waited till six bombs had been lodged
in this way, and each time there was the same nervous discharge of
musketry, bullets flying everywhere, but no one being hit.

After a time Pavel Pavlovich came back, as if from a football match. He
had left a reserve in the rear, sent watchers in various directions,
and taken the rest forward. Not a man was hurt, and every detail of
his instructions had been carried out. Pavel Pavlovich was a different
man, full of life and spirits; and, to complete his satisfaction,
there appeared in our cellar at this very moment his nearest friend, a
brother officer wounded earlier in the war through the head and only
to-night returned to the regiment. "We must leave those two alone,"
said Lukich; "they are like man and wife, and no one will get a word
out of either of them."


_March 11._

The staff of the V regiment was in the usual hut, clean, comfortable
and decorated with religious pictures, as most of these Polish cottages
seem to be. It was the usual family party, the little colonel being
a sort of paterfamilias, the major a kind of uncle, and the younger
men like cousins of different degrees. It was very interesting when
the reports came in from other parts of the huge front and the day's
changes were filled in on the maps--as usual, on the whole satisfactory.

The colonel of artillery was a bronzed man whose face was a mixed
suggestion of a raven and of a kind Mephistopheles. He was a strong
Conservative, and had friendly discussions with the chronicler of
the regiment, a highly cultivated Liberal with a beautiful voice and
the features of a youthful Mr. Pickwick. The war brings all sorts of
political views together, and the exchange is always free, equal and
without rancour.

When I got to know these good people, I told them I thought they spent
a lot of time in copying out verses. "Position warfare"--standing
in the trenches--is not an eventful life; and while I was with the
regiment three sets of verses were put on the machine and circulated to
the battalions. One of these, with a number of jokes about "Wilhelm,"
was written by a soldier in the ranks; and another was the composition
of a non-commissioned officer, also of this regiment. This second was
headed by the word which is in every one's thoughts here, "Forward,"
and contained one verse which had almost the smoothness and simplicity
of Pushkin, and is, therefore, not for translation. The third set came
from Pickwick Junior, and I give a rough rendering of it which, I am
afraid, only spoils it--

  Now in this year of heavy trial
    Happy is he who for his land
  Has passed at price of self-denial,
    Into the heroes' shining band--

  Who of his hopes and love the whole
    On his dear country has bestowed,
  With all the ardour of his soul,
    His highest aims, his mind, his blood.

  'Twill pass, the battle and its blare;
    'Twill sink, the endless crash of guns;
  And, in their place, the burning prayer
    Of mothers orphaned of their sons.

  The meadows will be green again,
    The corn will ripen on the plain.
  The spite of war will pass away,
    And happy peace once more will reign.

These are the simple thoughts that are in most people's minds here--the
more so the nearer one is to the front. There one finds least of all
doubt of the blessings of peace, and least of all doubt of the need to
go to the end, and of the certainty of the final result. But Russia has
done and is doing a giant's task, and one will meet cripples at every
turn for many a year to come.

My friends possessed an interesting little book in a black paper
binding which they kindly lent to me. It was the song-book of the
German army, which, with a soldier's Prayer-book, is carried in every
German knapsack. It is called "War Song-book for the German Army,
1914," and was issued by the Commission for the Imperial Book of
Folk-songs. Roughly, about the ten best things in German patriotic
and military song are to be found here, with a few of the best-known
folk-songs and a number of inferior ditties which vainly attempt to be
light. Prussia has more than her share, for there are very few good
Prussian songs, though such as there are are military. "Fredericus Rex"
and "Als die Preussen marschirten vor Prag"--surely an unfortunate
reminiscence in the present war--are both historic and have the
merit of plainness. The year 1813, a year of liberation and not of
aggression, gives three magnificent songs: "The God that bade the
iron grow," by Arndt, and "Lützow's wild hunt" and the "Sword Song"
of Körner, the latter written a few hours before the author of "Lyre
and Sword" met his death in a cavalry charge at the battle of Dresden.
But, of course, I expected also to find--and am sure that I should
have found in God-fearing 1870--the same writer's "Prayer in Battle,"
one of the most real and masculine of hymns, and his soul-stirring
"Landsturm." As to the omission of the "Landsturm," an Austrian
prisoner explained it to me by saying, "This is no war of liberation."
Of the less specially national songs there is Schiller's magnificent
picture of the soldier of fortune, "Wohlauf Kameraden aufs Pferd, aufs
Pferd," some of the verses of which have certainly been too faithfully
followed in Poland. One finds also the top thing in German war lyric,
"I had a trusty Comrade" of Uhland--a word-perfect poem which I shall
always associate with the Saxon grave outside Saint-Privat where I
heard it sung by veterans of 1870. There is also the simple trooper's
song "Morgenrot"; I should have put in "Die barge Nacht," but one verse
is certainly too plain-spoken for present German hopes. Martin Luther's
"Safe stronghold"--"Now thank we all our God," sung by Frederic's
soldiers on the battlefield of Lützen--and the Evening Prayer--these
are the other best things in the collection; but it is spoilt by the
unnecessary and improbable allusions to the successful wooing of French
and Russian damsels, and beer is too much mixed up with Bible.

I left my friends singing. The Raven, with a plaintive and sentimental
look, was with bent head putting in his bass to the admirable tenor
of Pickwick Junior. My own contribution was about the "leaders"
who "marched with fusees and the men with hand-grenades" (British
Grenadiers). One scout, who usually works alone, had taken an
unexploded Austrian shell back into their very lines, made a small
bonfire round it, and was waiting outside for it to explode; but the
result, when I left, was not yet known.


_March 13._

I have just visited "The Birds," a very tight place for the Russian
soldier to sit in. I was in this part once before, for it was here
that Dr. Roshkov set up his tent, or, to be more exact, his earthwork
bandaging room in the foremost trenches.

The divisional general was kindness itself; for I stumbled on him in
the darkness by opening a wrong door, and his revenge was to ask me
in and offer me a bed. The next day I visited the divisional lazaret,
where an English lady, Miss Kearne, is working with admirable skill
and devotion for the Russians. Nearly all the wounded came from "The
Birds," and nearly all had been wounded while sitting in the trenches
or looking through the embrasures--that is, without taking any risks,
which in "The Birds" all are strictly forbidden to court.

One soon felt one was coming to a warm place. The driver of my army
cart explained that the open space over which we were passing was often
covered with stray bullets, and there, sure enough, were the Austrian
trenches just across the river. The village on our side had a high
church, now smashed by the Austrian fire into an imposing ruin. Around
it the shells continue to fall freely, and women and children going for
water along the village streets are sometimes hit by stray bullets.
Roshkov and his comrades have been sent to another part of the front;
but a Red Cross "flying column" from the Union of Russian towns is
working here under fire, and I met one of its students on horseback
taking wounded to the rear.

I delivered a greeting from England to the scouts who were drawn up in
the village, and then set off with their leader for the advance posts
across the river--as I may say, "The Birds Proper." The chief scout
was almost a boy, who had joined the army as a volunteer only at the
beginning of the war. He was a Musulman, with a most determined face
and a manner of complete ease and indifference. He explained that we
were passing over ground often swept by the fire, and added casually,
"You've a bad coat; it is fur-lined; the fur might stick in your wound
and give you lockjaw, so that you would probably die." Whether he was
right or not I have no idea. The soldiers who accompanied us insisted
on walking above the covered way, until we told them that we should
join them unless they came down to us.

At last we passed some trenches and came out into the open above the
river. It is the peculiarity of "The Birds" that we hold a strip of
land across the river a mile and a half long, but nowhere more than 300
yards deep. When the Russians rectified their line after the advance
to Cracow, they decided to retain certain vantage-points of this kind;
however cramped the position and however difficult the conditions of
defence, the advantage will be felt when, as on the San earlier, the
time comes for another move forward. These advanced lines are connected
with our side by bridges which are constantly under fire, as the
favourite offensive of the Austrians is a hail of artillery; yet they
have never succeeded even in endangering the communications, and their
frequent musketry fire is disregarded.

We were able this time to cross the bridge at a walk, and passed along
the lines, guesting with different officers, and ultimately taking up
our quarters in a spacious earth hut ten yards from the front, which
was protected by a high line of excellent earthworks. One advanced
post which we visited was only sixty yards from the enemy, and in
general the distance from trenches to trenches was 400 to 200 yards.
Artillery fire is seldom brought effectively to bear here, but a
shower of bullets is kept up, mostly explosive, as one can tell from
their splutter; and the enemy have made machines for lodging bombs of
various kinds at this short range within our trenches. There is little
work for scouts here; the distance is too short, and the opposing
sentries are often not more than twenty-five yards from each other. My
young host reassuringly mentioned that shrapnel would penetrate our
roof, and in the night there was the constant thud of bullets striking
against our shelters, while often our door was lit up by the reflection
of the frequent rockets sent up by the enemy. Inside, however, our
accommodation was first-rate, and we soon slept soundly.

Next morning we went along the front line. The men were everywhere in
their places, this line being fully occupied day and night. I had been
told I must not stand anywhere behind an embrasure, so we took our view
in peeps, mostly from the side. At one point we looked over the top of
the works, with the result that there was an immediate volley. One man
had been wounded by a bomb in the night, and another was shot through
an embrasure, as the shadow made by a head at once draws fire. Some
soldiers were busy making little mirrors, so as to see from the side;
another had made a bomb-throwing machine out of an Austrian shell,
which he fired off in front of us, the officer first calling out to two
exposed soldiers, "Here, Beard and Black Collar, get out of the way!"
One man's hand was shot through an embrasure.

The most difficult part of the lines was on one of the flanks, where
they passed close to the river and were separated from the Austrians
at one point by a distance of only twenty-five yards. Earlier it was
worse. The two lines were eight yards apart, the bayonets actually
crossed over the earthworks, and the Austrians held their rifles over
their heads in order to fire down into the Russian trenches. At that
time a flank fire also swept these trenches, which were now protected
by many transverses. Yet I found the men perfectly cool and natural,
just going about the work as they would have done any other.

The bridge on our return was only under a partial fire; but the enemy
was again heavily shelling the village.


_March 15._

From "The Birds" I passed on to a rather similar position occupied by
another regiment. In this case only a small section beyond the river
was held, and the Austrian trenches were at a distance of 800 to
1000 yards. This meant a good deal of difference. The enemy was not
pestering the advance posts with bombs at short range and incessant
musketry fire. The approach was again over a plain bare except for some
patches of trees, and there was again a lofty church, this time of
particularly handsome outlines, ruined by the Austrian artillery fire.
From afar its two towers looked like severed and half-twisted stalks.
The Austrians evidently feel sure that all churches are observation
points for the Russian artillery. In this they are quite wrong. The
Russians in general avoid all such use of churches; I know of many
cases in this war in which churches have figured as points of vantage,
but always for the Austrians. In more than one case, after the Austrian
retreat, telephones for spy's communications have been found attached
to the altars, and once a priest was caught at this work.

We left our horses at a ruined building and crossed the bridge. The
advanced works were deep and well constructed but, as at "The Birds,"
the trenches were often full of water, and one had to walk along them
frog-wise with a foot pressed against each side. This did not affect
the actual shelters of the officers and men, which were dry and fairly
comfortable, with lots of straw. One could look through the embrasures
or even in some parts over the top of the works, without being likely
to confuse the Austrian lines with the Russians as one did at "The
Birds." At one place, however, there was an unusual sight. A covered
way actually ran without interruption direct from the one line to the
other and was often used by the scouts of either side. At the Russian
side it came right up to the wire entanglements and the rampart, and
here there were always stationed sharpshooters with loaded rifles
commanding it for about fifty yards. The enemy's lines were, of course,
very plainly visible.

In January a considerable action took place within this narrow compass.
The Austrians came out in force and tried to storm the trenches. They
swarmed up to the wire entanglements--over which the Russians in
general took less trouble than the enemy, as they ordinarily have the
confidence of the aggressive--but they were beaten off with terrible
loss. Blue uniforms covered all the space between the two lines. Those
who fell nearest to the trenches were buried by the Russians without
delay; but the Austrians made no attempt to bury their dead lying
between, and their fire makes it quite impossible for the Russians to
come out for this purpose. Thus, two months after the engagement, I
saw these bodies still rotting there; it will soon be spring; and with
the two lines so close the danger of infection is pressing for both
sides. It would only need a truce of three hours to remove it, and the
Russians would gladly make this arrangement and do the work. It seems
to me one of those matters which even in this war could be dealt with
by some international association, and I have communicated the details,
through Prince Dolgorukov, to the Peace Society of Moscow.

As usual in the regiments, and more especially in the trenches, I
delivered with the wish of the colonels a greeting to the men from
England; and it is one of my chief interests, in making these visits,
to see how warmly it is returned, usually with some variant of the
Russian military response, "We are glad to do our best"--such as, for
instance, "We'll have a try together and finish him." Here the men were
particularly cordial. There was the usual interchange of news with the
officers as to the eastern and western fronts. I think I may repeat
that there is nowhere a more generous appreciation of England's work
in the war than in the front lines of the Russian army. The attack
on the Dardanelles, which promises to be the most decisive blow that
has yet been dealt, arouses the greatest enthusiasm; and the military
preparations of England, their wholeheartedness and thoroughness, are
a tremendous source of confidence to the Russians. How many times it
has been said to me: "With England with us, we know we shall make a
clean job of it." Here an officer quoted his father, who had always
told him, "Where England is, there things go right," The support is
not only moral. The spirit in the two countries is so identical that I
frequently find in my letters from England the same phrases, word for
word, as I am hearing in conversation here. But it is much more than
that; and when it becomes known how close, detailed and far-reaching is
the co-operation between the three chief Allies, I am sure that it will
be found that no alliance was ever more close or more effective.

Our reappearance on the bridge drew a few bullets. In general all this
firing has very little result, and our people do not take the trouble
to reply to it. As to artillery, I am sure they fire more than twenty
shells to every one of ours. They do it in a routine way at fixed
times for an hour, two hours or three at a time. Our artillery lets
it pass till it becomes a nuisance and then, with infinitely superior
precision, plumps a few shells straight into their lines. This sight I
have witnessed more than once from our infantry trenches, which might
be miles from our guns but were only a few hundred yards from the marks
that they aimed at. It was interesting to see the immediate rebound of
spirits among our infantry, who had been sitting almost without reply
under the aimless crash and roar of the enemy's fire. By instinct they
at once looked freely over the ramparts as privileged spectators, and
called out to each other "Got him again," as the smoke of our shells
rose from the enemy's line. At such times, indeed, the Austrian fire
stops almost immediately; and in one place, after the first Russian
shell, a commanding voice came to us from the other side: "Corporal,
cease firing."


_March 26._

The bombardment of Tarnow has continued. It is now nearly three months
that it has gone on intermittently. Yesterday I was walking along a
street when the heavy bustling goods-train sound of a big shell came
rattling close overhead. There was a crash somewhere near, and a few
soldiers who were close to us laughed and picked up a jagged segment.
The street seemed full of people at once, and all moving toward where
the shell had fallen. An old soldier with a cut face came moodily
toward me, so I took his arm and walked with the crowd, as it was
taking the direction of the chief local hospital, in which I often
worked.

I was afraid that the hospital itself was hit. Far as it was from the
railway or anything of military importance, it had more than once had
the attention of the German heavy artillery. In January, while I was in
this hospital, a shell passed over us so near as to take the breath of
the heavily-wounded Austrians who were lying there, and lodged about
two hundred yards off, reducing a house to ruins. Some weeks later
another shell lodged on an open space about 150 yards off. The Russian
sisters of mercy, under Miss Homyakov, never lost their heads for a
minute and set about reassuring the wounded; but these last, who were
themselves entirely helpless and could not distract their attention by
helping any one else, were very agitated. No one was more indignant
than the wounded Austrian officers, especially a colonel from Hungary,
who regarded the German shot as without any kind of justification.
The Russian Red Cross staff were urged from some sides to move the
hospital to a safer place, but the sisters absolutely refused, because
to transport many of the wounded would have meant death to them. The
Commander of the Army conferred the George medal on them for their
courage.

As I now neared the hospital, I saw a huge rent in the building in
front of it, which was mostly unoccupied. A whole wall of this huge
building was torn out, and the iron staircase within was twisted into
fantastic shapes. At the door of the hospital, nearly all the windows
of which were broken, stood a crowd of townspeople, mostly women and
children bringing in wounded. The operating-room was full; on one
side an old man, on another a wounded girl with blanched face, and
in an ante-room a woman with a wounded baby. Here the local Polish
medical staff works hand in hand with the Russians; and with remarkable
expedition the wounded all received first aid within half an hour.

Twenty minutes, however, had hardly passed when a second shell
banged into something else close to us. I found a little Polish boy,
previously amputated here, crouching in the corridor and shivering with
fear: I had to carry him back to his ward. Not more than 250 yards
off there was a large crowd looking at the new big shell pit (the
shell came from a 12-inch gun). In a garden lay the corpse of a girl
of twenty, terribly mangled, so that no head was to be distinguished;
and her father, running up, cried as if his heart would break and fell
beside her. The people, who are of course Austrian subjects, were
furious.

Two days later the Commandant put up posters announcing that, on the
statement of a captured Austrian officer, these guns are served by a
native of Tarnow.

Throughout the bombardment there have been hardly any Russian troops in
the town, and it is the local population that suffers. The closeness of
so many shell pits near the hospital suggests that this is one of the
regular "numbers" or aims of the German artillery.


_March 30._

The fall of Przemysl, which will now no doubt be called by its Russian
name of Peremyshl, is in every way surprising.

Even a few days before, quite well-informed people had no idea that
the end was coming so soon. The town was a first-class fortress, whose
development had been an object of special solicitude to the late
Archduke Francis Ferdinand. Of course it was recognised that Peremyshl
was the gate of Hungary and the key to Galicia; but, more than that, it
was strengthened into a great point of debouchement for an aggressive
movement by Austro-Hungary against Russia; for the Russian policy
of Austria, like her original plan of campaign, was based on the
assumption of the offensive. It was generally understood that Peremyshl
was garrisoned by about 50,000 men, that the garrison was exclusively
Hungarian, and that the commander, Kusmanek, was one of the few really
able Austrian commanders in this war. The stores were said to be enough
for a siege of three years. The circle of the forts was so extended as
to make operations easy against any but the largest blockading force;
and the aerodrome, which was well covered, gave communication with the
outside world. An air post has run almost regularly, the letters (of
which I have some) being stamped "Flieger-Post." As long as Peremyshl
held out, the local Jews constantly circulated rumours of an Austrian
return, and the Russian tenure of Galicia remained precarious. The
practical difficulties offered to the Russians by Peremyshl were very
great; for the one double railway line westward runs through the
town, so that all military and Red Cross communications have been
indefinitely lengthened.

My friend "Wiggins" did his part toward the taking of Peremyshl. The
air-postmen, on their long journey to the fortress, are often shot at
and sometimes brought down. An Austrian airman found himself compelled
to descend on our ground; "Wiggins" sent a cart to be ready for him as
he alighted, and that night all his papers were worked through. Among
them was the now well-known army order of Kusmanek, announcing that the
only way of safety lay through the enemy's lines, and that the men must
conquer or die. But side by side with it was a letter from an Austrian
staff officer to his wife. He explained that he took this opportunity
of eluding the military censor, that a sortie was determined on, but
that it was not likely to succeed, and that as to danger his wife need
not feel anxious, as the staff did not go into the firing line. Word
was sent off at once to the blockading army to expect the sortie.

For weeks past the fortress had kept up a terrific fire which was
greater than any experienced elsewhere from Austrian artillery.
Thousands of shells yielded only tens of wounded, and it would seem
that the Austrians could have had no other object than to get rid
of their ammunition. The fire was now intensified to stupendous
proportions and the sortie took place; but, so far from the whole
garrison coming out, it was only a portion of it, and was driven back
with the annihilation of almost a whole division.

Now followed extraordinary scenes. Austrian soldiers were seen
fighting each other, while the Russians looked on. Amid the chaos a
small group of staff officers appeared, casually enough, with a white
flag, and announced surrender. Austrians were seen cutting pieces
out of slaughtered horses that lay in heaps, and showing an entire
indifference to their capture. Explosions of war material continued
after the surrender.

The greatest surprise of all was the strength of the garrison, which
numbered not 50,000 but 130,000, which makes of Peremyshl a second
Metz. Different explanations are offered; for instance, troops which
had lost their field trains and therefore their mobility are reported
to have taken refuge in Peremyshl after Rava Russka, but surely the
subsequent withdrawal of the blockade gave them ample time for retreat.
A more convincing account is that Peremyshl was full of depôts, left
there to be supports of a great advancing field army. In any case no
kind of defence can be pleaded for the surrender of this imposing force.

The numbers of the garrison of course reduced to one-third the time
during which the food supplies would last; but even so the fortress
should have held out for a year. The epidemic diseases within the
lines supply only a partial explanation. The troops, instead of being
all Hungarians, were of various Austrian nationalities; and there is
good reason to think that the conditions of defence led to feuds,
brawls, and in the end open disobedience of orders. This was all the
more likely because, while food was squandered on the officers, the
rank and file and the local population were reduced to extremes, and
because the officers, to judge by the first sortie, took but little
part in the actual fighting. The wholesale slaughter of horses of
itself robbed the army of its mobility. The fall of Peremyshl is the
most striking example so far of the general demoralisation of the
Austrian army and monarchy.

Peremyshl, so long a formidable hindrance to the Russians, is now a
splendid base for an advance into Hungary.


_April 1._

I am afraid to-day, which, by the way, was Bismarck's birthday, is a
bad date to put to any anticipations as to the war. But things seem to
be taking a more definite direction than for some months past, and one
may say that the possibility of decisive events is now in sight.

If one glances along both fronts, western and eastern, one sees, I
think, only a single point at which a really decisive blow, military
and political, is possible; it is, of course, the junction on the
eastern front of Austro-Hungary and Germany. This has been clear to
every one for some time past. But one may go further. The greatest
strength of our enemies, both political and military, lies in two
parts, Prussia and Hungary; and the gap between Prussia and Hungary is
a very much wider one than the Austro-German frontier. In this gap lie
Slavonic peoples, the Czechs (Bohemians), Moravians and Slovaks, whose
representatives in arms have shown by extensive surrenders that their
sympathies are rather with us than with the enemy. A number of mountain
chains, the Carpathians, Giant Mountains, Erzgebirge and Böhmerwald,
give this group rough geographical boundaries.

Germany, under the lead of Prussia, is a powerful and compact unit
which has so far given itself heart and soul to this war. Divisions
in the future here are by no means impossible. There have been brawls
even in this war between Prussian and Bavarian troops (in the Argonne);
and it is not difficult to picture a return of the old jealousies
which less than fifty years ago put South Germany and Saxony into the
opposite camp to Prussia. Here, too, the Böhmerwald, Thüringerwald and
Erzgebirge have a traditional political and military significance; but
such divisions are not at present in sight, and can only follow on
decisive events on the western front. Prussia is at present not at all
likely to be troubled by them.

It is very different with Hungary. What an extraordinary position this
valiant people holds, drowned, as has been said, in an ocean of Slavs,
and what vigour it has shown in maintaining it. The Magyar from Asia
has planted himself on the rolling plains of the Theiss and Danube and,
though he does not inhabit the surrounding mountains, he has managed
to grip them into a strong kingdom with good geographical boundaries.
He has made himself the equal, almost the predominant partner with
Vienna and the Austrian Germans in the Austro-Hungarian state, and his
strength rests in the deprivation of the surrounding Slavs of any equal
voice in the destinies of this monarchy. He has gone wholesale for the
intimate connexion between Austro-Hungary and Germany which makes the
first an instrument of the policy of the second, with many incidental
gains to himself at the expense of the Slavs.

Now for the Magyar has come a time of reckoning. Russia, the big
brother of the Slavs and his own hereditary enemy, stands at his door.
The protecting glacis of Galicia has been torn away and Peremyshl,
the road out and the road in, has fallen. Even on the south there is
a victorious enemy, the Serbian, who has just claims on some of his
territory. To east, the sky is equally cloudy for him. Transylvania, a
mountain barrier whose loss would leave him defenceless on this side,
has a large Rumanian population, which his oppressive policy has driven
to its natural affinities; and Rumania seeks the realisation here of
her traditional ambitions.

The Russians are fighting their way from hill to hill through the
Carpathians. The Austro-Hungarian army has suffered severely in each of
the many counterstrokes which it had to attempt in the interest of the
German plan of common defence. The cavalry is practically gone and the
infantry is very exhausted. Sacrifice made to Germany at the beginning
of the war, when so many of the Austro-Hungarian guns and motors were
sent to the western front, have left their marks on the Hungarian
artillery. The Carpathians are like a fan, and might perhaps have been
held from the inside, but they have at many points been lost step by
step; and once they are crossed, the converging passes will bring the
Russians together into a compact mass on the further side.

There is one strong man in Hungary, Count Tisza, and he still reserves
his hand. He is fighting meanwhile the desperate battle of the
Austro-German connexion, to abandon which is to put Hungary at the
mercy of Russia and to sign the abdication of the Magyars' mastery over
his Slav subjects; but this seems to be the result which awaits him
almost inevitably.

Germany is for every reason bound to do all that she can to save
Hungary. But the Russian advance, whatever direction it takes, must
make an ever-widening gap between the two allies.


_April 4._

I had known the airmen for some time. Sometimes I met them discussing
sporting enterprises with their chief in the conspirative quarters
of "Wiggins." Sometimes I dropped in at their spacious lodging in
the town, where everything, meals, talk or plans, seemed to go with
a peculiar briskness and lightness; in particular there was this
touch about any of the several services which they rendered me. It
was Russian in spirit, but in manner very reminiscent of England.
Several of the airmen might be English, and one of them they call "the
Englishman."

On every fine day we see the aeroplanes above the town, and at
different points on both sides there are batteries for firing on them.
There are no longer duels of airmen on the eastern front; there were
two or three, but now they are apparently forbidden on both sides. It
was felt to be waste to lose a competent airman in order to kill one
of the enemy. This means that there is no such attempt on either side
to drive the enemy from the air, as was anticipated by Mr. Wells. Thus
on both sides the airman has come to stay, and the whole significance
of his work is not in fighting but scouting. It is, of course, far the
most valuable scout-work that can be done; altogether wider and more
far-reaching than any other kind; and there can hardly be any doubt
that in the future no Chief of Staff but will have to fly and to fly
often. On nearly every one of Napoleon's battlefields one will find
some commanding point from which he fought and won; there is no such
point at Borodino or Leipzig, but that helps to explain why these
battles were not won. Now, with the scope of operations and of pitched
battles enormously enlarged, there has come also the ideal way of
seeing.

On the other hand, the earth does not give up without a fight.
Batteries capable of any direction and almost any elevation can guard
those parts where the enemy's eye is most to be avoided. Experience on
this side shows that the airman can be kept out of such parts.

The contest is an interesting one to watch. The airman has first to
fetch inland, that is away from his own lines in order to get as much
height as possible. The guns can hit far higher than the airman will
fly, that is if they wish to see anything. The Austrian flyers are
therefore well within range, and the Russians, who take more sporting
risks, often go not much more than half the height of the Austrians.
In this connexion one must remember the infinitely greater precision
of the Russian artillery. On a fine day the buzz of the aeroplanes and
the boom of the batteries are among the most customary sounds here.
One sees the little puff of shrapnel at different points in the blue
sky; the aeroplane always makes off as soon as possible, and it is
seldom hit. It is hard to hit the motor, though I have seen an airship
which we struck on one of its cylinders; shots on the wings or tail are
seldom dangerous. The man who knows least of what is happening is the
airman himself, for the noise of his motor drowns any other.


_April 6._

Yesterday I went out to the aerodrome. I was given some breakfast in
a cottage, and saw the different types of machines while waiting for
the Chief of the Section. I was also shown the little missiles which
the Austrians and Russians respectively let fall: the Austrian is like
a pointed thermometer and the Russian is like a rounded letter-weight
with little wings. After a while there came over the high level ground
a tall man with a swinging stride and a little grizzled man whose walk
and manner spoke of quickness and decision. This last was the Chief of
the Section, and he has a great reputation among Russian airmen. Two of
the smaller machines went out scouting. One seemed at first a little
unsteady, but the other made a splendid take-off and rose like a bird;
soon one of them returned, having gone far beyond the enemy's line in
an hour and a half. My turn came next, and I was seated in a larger
machine with a most capable chauffeur, who sat in front of me. He
cried: "Contact obtained"; the men fell back for a moment, and then we
rushed smoothly along the ground, soon rising into the air. We made a
circle above the town, returned over the aerodrome, saluted our friends
and then struck away inland away from the front to get the necessary
elevation. We passed over a map of ponds and villages and copses, all
clearly marked in the bright sunshine, with the long ridge of the snowy
Carpathians to the right of us. Then we turned and swept higher over
the same ground as before straight for the lines. In front, at right
angles to us, lay the dividing river like a long, twisted ribbon, and
as soon as we neared it we swept to the right and along it. All the
different points at which I had stayed came out clear in the sunlight.
Here was the piece across the river where I had seen the scouting;
there were "The Birds" with the high ruined church behind them; further
came the smaller outpost; and in the distance lay the marshes in the
neighbourhood of the Upper Vistula. We again faced about and this time
passed right over the river which divided the hostile lines, following
it further southward by the broken bridge and to the main road, near
the point where I had sat at night among the sentries and to the hills
which had been the scene of the action with the Tirolese. But for me
the main interest of this, my first air ride, was that suddenly the
unknown land beyond the fatal line was as clearly outlined as all
that was so well known to me. Till now I had seen here a field and a
line of ramparts, there a river with trees, and there again a hill.
It is true that sometimes I had had good field-glass views of a given
landscape with signs of life, but now to the naked eye both sides were
for the first time parts of one common world, the dividing line ran
thin and almost undividing, and all was alive. There occurs to one the
notable description by Tolstoy of Nicholas Rostov looking across the
field. The wonderful and real things that that field meant were gone.
The tremendous and human struggle of all Europe was become a simple
problem of science; one had mounted to the skies and reached what
Napoleon, with his heartlessness and his seeing mind, had called "the
celestial side of the art of war." What would he have given for this
view, where his trained eye could have marked down not only the numbers
indicated by slight symptoms, but the full bearing of each, suggested
by the flash of genius so typical of him. Surely it was a measure of
magnificent consolation for the enormous widening of the area of combat.

The dull flats beyond the river rose to higher ground eastward, and
there on a high wooded plateau ran the railway dead straight, and at
one point a stationary train marked the centre of many of our troubles,
the point from which the 42-centimetre guns had been bombarding Tarnow.
As our aeroplanes flew along the river, there flicked out from a copse
a shot from a masked Austrian air-battery, posted there to keep off the
too curious eye. I was told afterwards that there were other shots, but
we did not see or hear them.

We returned as we came, making a great circuit away from the lines and
wheeling always nearer to the earth. We made a straight drive over the
aerodrome while the company of airmen stood at the salute, and after
circling once more over the town came to the ground. We had had an
hour's run, and our highest elevation was 1200 metres. It appeared
that there had been awkward currents of wind and that we had wobbled a
good deal, but it had not seemed so to me, and what I remembered was a
smooth, regular motion and a broad back and a cool head in front of me.


_April 7._

My flying friends have a small but very interesting collection of
letters which, with the leave of the authorities, no doubt on both
sides, have been exchanged between them and the airmen of the enemy.
It is headed simply, "Correspondence with the --th Austrian Section of
Aviators." It opens with a letter from the Russian Chief of Section:
"Airmen of yours have been taken prisoner in civil costume. They said
that our officers have also, which we doubt. Please let us know what
is the character of the serious wound of Lt. X, taken prisoner by you
on January --th." This note was dropped on the Austrian aerodrome
with two letters from Austrian prisoners. As the answer was delayed,
the Russians dropped a second note, this time in German, on the
same place. It reported that the captive Austrians were unwounded
and proceeds: "Your note picked up at ---- on the ----th of March
leaves the impression that our first message has not reached you; we
therefore would respectfully ask you to answer our note. We also send a
friendly-foemanly request that you will give us news of our airman, Lt.
----. He was taken prisoner on the --th of January and was wounded. We
should like to know how it happened and whether the wound is slight or
serious.--The Russian Flyers."

To this the following answer was received from the Austrian Chief of
Section: "My hearty thanks for your letter, which I have just got. I
am sorry that I have not had time to drop on you a photograph of the
machine of Lt. ----. On March the --th and the --th we have dropped you
news of your airmen taken prisoners _[the names follow_]. I therefore
repeat that all four were unwounded and have probably been transported
to the prettiest part of our country, Salzburg. Lts. ---- and ---- got
a shot on their sparking apparatus. I have myself had a talk with Lt.
----. I saw _no signs_ of any wound. In future every note of yours will
be answered, and the answer will be dropped on your aerodrome.--With
best greeting, Your ever devoted enemy, August, Baron von Mandelslob."

To this the Russians replied, under name and address of the Austrian
Chief of Staff: "Our hearty thanks for yesterday's note which dropped
straight on our aerodrome. We are sorry not to be able to tell you
to what part of our country your airmen have been sent, but we think
that the address will soon be sent you by earth-post by the prisoners
themselves. The _Albatross_ was shot to pieces, about thirty bullets
in the wings and body. One bullet hit the propeller, but made only a
smooth hole without any fissure. The two airmen, Lts. ---- and ----
are unhurt. With this note we shall drop on you two letters from the
prisoners. Please address your next note as follows (----). God greet
you.--The Russian Flyers."

The Austrians continued: "A few days ago our airmen, Captain ----,
Oberleutnant ----, Oberleutnant ----, Professor D---- and two
lieutenants with two airship chauffeurs, left Przemysl in a balloon and
are lost. We beg you friendly-foemanly to drop on our aerodrome news of
these officers" [_three signatures_]. Baron von Mandelslob also writes:
"Many thanks for your last lines about the loss of our _Albatross_.
I am sorry to say that we have not for some time had the honour of
seeing Russian airmen among us on the ground. Will you be so kind as to
forward to Omsk the accompanying note to our captive airman, Lt. ----?
We will try to get the address of your airmen prisoners, and then you
will be able to write to them. Best greeting."

The Russians reply: "A happy Easter. Many thanks for yesterday's
letter. Your note will be sent at once to Lt. ----. On March --th
we received a communication about three balloons from Pzremysl. It
was signed by Captain Kahlen. As we do not know this gentleman, we
address to you, with the friendly request to forward to him. All the
three balloons landed in Russia. We have only private news of them,
and understand that all the airmen were alive and well. We ask you to
forward the four accompanying letters to the proper addresses. We have
been waiting for an answer to our letter of the --th, and that is why
these letters are late. What was wrong with your motor yesterday? We
thought we should soon have the honour of seeing the enemy's airship
land on our aerodrome. Best greeting and Easter wishes to all the
gentlemen of the ---- Section of Aviators.--The Russian Flyers." This
letter was dropped on the Austrian aerodrome, and also on the same day
an Easter egg and a large box of Russian cigarettes. On Easter Sunday
an enormous Easter egg, with the inscription in Russian "Christ is
risen," was dropped from an aeroplane and, having a parachute attached
to it, fell slowly on the Austrian lines.


_April 8._

It was Easter Eve. A wide awning had been set up, and in front of it
an altar with flaming lights all round it. The tall priest served
the Liturgy with wonderful spirit; sometimes it was a hurried and
fervent whisper; sometimes his voice rose to a battle-cry, as when
he powerfully swayed the Cross almost as if it were a weapon. On the
grass, grouped in chance masses, stood the soldiers of the N regiment,
most of them holding lighted candles, with their officers gathered in
front. The young colonel stood near the priest; through Lent he had
shown the example of rigorous fasting. On the other side was a strong
choir of soldiers, led with the slightest movements of the hand.

The service begins with a time of waiting; then there are movements of
expectancy, and the priest retires, as if to see whether the coffin of
the Saviour is still in its place. He comes back and whispers, "Christ
is risen," and these words, which are themselves in Russian like a
whisper ("Christos Voskres") are taken up by the choir, first very
softly and later rising to a song of triumph.

The service ends with the Eucharist. The words "Lift up your hearts"
were a moment of wonderful spirit and elevation. The priest took the
Sacrament on bended knees with the greatest reverence and feeling, and
administered it to two of the soldiers.

Now every one, beginning with the colonel, approached in turn to kiss
the Cross. Then each turned to his neighbour and gave the threefold
brother's kiss, with the words "Christ is risen," to which comes the
answer, "He is risen indeed." All the officers gave the kiss to the
priest and the colonel. From the neighbouring lines shone out two
projectors, whose lights crossed to form the first letter of the name
of Christ--X.

We drove off to the officers' mess, which was in a large cottage. At
the crowded tables there reigned the spirit of brotherhood. After the
Emperor's toast the colonel and the regiment drank to King George and
England, and all stood waving their glasses and roaring hurrah, while
I went round and touched glasses with each. My toast was that the
alliance should last on after the war. We had other toasts, the sisters
of mercy, the colonel's wife, and above all the regiment. It was well
on in the early morning when the young officers on horseback escorted
their guests back to the town.

On Easter Sunday some of the Red Cross people went out to the front.
At this point both sides had agreed not to shoot, and the men came out
of their trenches and fraternised across the Dunajec, the Russians
producing a harmonium. Newspapers were exchanged; and an Austrian
officer sat down and wrote some impromptu verses, which he fastened to
a stone and threw across. The verses began very peaceably, but had an
unexpected end which, my friends felt, would be specially interesting
to me. I give them in German with a translation--

  Auf Grund der hohen Feier tage
  Geändert unsere Feindeslage.
  Wir leben heut' in tiefem Frieden:
  Zur kürzen Zeit ist's uns beschieden,
  Dann werden wir die Waffen mässen;
  Jedoch soll niemals man vergessen
  Den Stifter deiser Weltenbrand.
      "Gott Strafe England."

  The holy days of Easter-tide
  Have set our enmity aside.
  We live in perfect peace to-day:
  'Tis but a little time we may,
  Then to our weapons we must get;
  But ever we'll remember yet
  Who lit this fire of world-wide wrack;
      O God, pay England back.


_April 9._

I have been visiting my friends at the Staff of the army at Jaslo. Even
this place has not been immune, bombs have been thrown from aeroplanes,
doing no damage to the army but wounding and killing some children.

I visited the General in command, who is in splendid spirits. He is the
simplest of men, and stops in the streets to talk to the children or to
any new arrival. He is happy now, because things are going forward.

The Staff lies in rather better quarters here, but with the same
simplicity as when I first visited it at Pilsno. One of the regiments
I knew came through in fine style with its colonel at its head; it
had done forty-eight miles in two days, and was ready for any amount
more. The different battalions were singing different soldiers' songs,
each taking pride in getting a good swing and putting in the best foot
forward. I was struck with one man who marched at the side leading the
songs with a mouth like a brass instrument and a voice to match.

Two German airmen have just come down here. They had made a wide
circuit, and were brought down by the failure of their motor. As always
here, they are being well treated. Even in the case of spies caught
red-handed, it is most difficult to get the Russian soldier to shoot,
especially if the condemned shows any sign of fear.

Austrian soldiers are to be seen here everywhere. The Germans and
Magyars are under close surveillance; but the Austrian Slavs are
ordinarily allowed to wander about freely. Many of them have shown in
the most thorough way their attachment to the Russian cause; but I am
told on the best authority for this area, that there is not a known
instance of their abusing their liberty to play the part of spies. At
many points on the Austrian front the Slavonic cause is like a kind of
contagion. Under German direction disaffected troops are moved from one
point to another to escape this infection, and finally, at the first
opportunity, come over _en masse_.

Every day the prisoners are gathered together in groups according to
their various nationalities for examination. These interrogations,
which are of a very systematic kind, obtain very interesting results.
Most of the prisoners testify to a shortness of food, not only in the
front but in the rear. Letters from home to them speak of the dearness
of all food; some necessities cannot even be obtained for money, and
different parts of the empire are applying to each other for them in
vain. Nowhere is there any spirit left. The only comfort which the
officers can suggest is to await some success from the Germans. Some,
moreover, describe the officers as being never on view, except to abuse
their men, treating them worse than cattle: "So that one does not know
whether one is a man or not." Only one Austrian officer so far has
been taken in this part with a bayonet wound. It is known that there
have been further protests in Bohemia after the taking of Peremyshl,
and that the severest repression has been used, also that two Polish
regiments have been literally decimated, that is, that every tenth
man in them has been shot. One man's brother writes to him that he is
called for the first time to the army at the age of forty-eight, and in
his part the last call covers those between forty-two and fifty-two.
Other new battalions are formed, ninety per cent. of reservists and
ten per cent. of wounded who have returned to the colours; in most of
them there is now a hopeless mix up of all nationalities. Some describe
their training as having only lasted four weeks. In all cases the
preoccupation of the commanding officers is regarding retreat.


_April 11._

The centre of interest is now in the Carpathians. If Russia could
have advanced with success against the strong German positions in
East Prussia, she would have secured her right flank, but only as far
as the sea, which would still have remained in German hands. On her
left, her victories in Galicia have brought her to a very different
barrier, which, if passed by her, will certainly remain impassable for
the beaten enemy. It is a good thing that the Austrians, continually
spurred forward by the Germans, have exhausted themselves in one
desperate counter-attack after another on Galicia. It is a good thing
that the Germans, realising what the ultimate defeat of Austria must
mean to them, have diverted so many of their forces to this side. It is
best of all that they have risked a desperate advance in the Bukovina
and even as far as the Russian frontier, in the hope of dragging
Rumania in on their side. The fall of Peremyshl has opened the gates of
Hungary and has made possible a movement which threatens vital results
on this front. Hungary and Prussia are the two keys to our triumph in
this war. The one element in Austria that holds firm to the Prussian
alliance is the Magyar; the one statesman in Austria is the Hungarian,
Count Tisza, whose estate almost on the crest of the Carpathians is now
in Russian hands. A Russian advance on this side can crush Hungary or
cut her from Prussia. It can bring even the Magyar to wish for peace;
it can finally put aside all action of Austria; and along the real
barrier thus secured to the south, it can facilitate the concentration
of the forces of the allies against the main enemy. It is, indeed, good
that this effect comes at the time when we are hammering at the gates
of Constantinople and opening up an effective advance from our western
front.

But the task in the Carpathians is a stupendous one, and it comes when
the Russian army has been tried to the full by the tremendous work
which it has already gone through. We had in England no adequate army
when the war began; we had not reckoned on the shameless violation of
Belgian territory or on the obligations of a joint struggle with allies
for the independence of Europe. Every one in Russia understands the
miracle that we have done in creating so rapidly a really competent
continental army on the basis of volunteer service, and every one sees
that we were right to defer our blow till the great new instrument
was whole and perfected. But it is Russia who has given us time for
preparing our action on land; and the sacrifices which this has cost
her are heavy indeed. The tremendous impact at Rava Ruska was followed
by another prolonged and exterminating effort on the San, and this
takes no account of the work which was done in holding the furious
attacks of the main enemy in Russian Poland. These efforts put a
terrible drain on the Russian resources. While we stood firm on the
west, whole Russian regiments were almost annihilated in the victorious
storming of one Austrian position after another. In my earlier visits
to regiments I have often asked how many men of the first call still
remain; sometimes only six of a company were still left, sometimes
it was hardly more out of a whole regiment. It was an army already
replaced at almost every point which had to attempt the conquest of the
Carpathians.

The Carpathians are not the Alps. It might be easier if they were, for
there would be fewer positions capable of being defended. They are a
belt of high and higher hills some sixty miles or more in breadth,
where whole armies can hold line after line. They are full of trees,
water and mud. Only one double line of railway runs through them.
As they have the shape of a fan spread northwards, the defence can
concentrate backward along the various converging passes and can, in
a relatively small space, almost block the narrow entrance to the
Hungarian plain. But once that final barrier is passed, Hungary is
lost. Any counter advance can be blocked without great expenditure
of forces, and the conqueror will be free to advance southwards or
westwards.


_April 12._

At the Staff of the Army I fell in with a number of casual
acquaintances who all saluted me as "Mister." There was a keen young
flying-man who was now going back to his cavalry regiment, and a
colonel sent to take temporary command of an infantry regiment. The
talk was in fragments and all of incidents of camp life or engagements.
We knew that another advance had been made and that big things were
going forward.

All night we travelled by train, with changes and queer moments in the
dark when our luggage ought to have been lost but wasn't. In the early
morning the Colonel and I were on an engine climbing the Carpathians
along a fine double track. We sat like Dean and Archdeacon in little
side stalls with our things stacked where there was least coal and
bilge, while the engine-driver, a most intelligent man from the
Caucasus, explained the difficulties of his work. The rise is a very
steep one, and we had a front view of it, passing up long slopes or
through strata of yellow rock. In these mountains one had at once the
feeling of being altogether away from Russia; and the new Russian army
notices blending with the earlier Polish and Hungarian inscriptions
suggested the atmosphere of a big adventure. All along the beautiful
slopes there was the look of a huge Russian picnic, soldiers sitting at
rest in great boyish crowds very much as in peace time the peasants do
on the sloping banks of the Volga. The bright dresses of the Ruthenian
women and the almost theatrical picturesqueness of their men-folk
touched the whole with novelty.

Alighting at a station near the top, I found the usual war crowd and
park of waiting army carts, and a brisk-faced intendant who rapped out
business-like answers to a running fire of questions from all sides.
My own business was to get to General Dobrotin, and it was made easy
by the appearance of a plain-faced officer who said, "He's the man
who pours cold water over himself in the morning; give him to me; we
know him all over the division." I was soon in a _formanka_--a sort
of boat-like cart which works particularly well in the mountains--and
making my way up the gorge, at first with a broad shallow river to my
left and later branching into the hills. Here in a little gully lay a
scattered village; and the notes of a mountain flute were wafted down
the slope.

General Dobrotin and his famous division have had far more than their
share of the great fighting in this war; and they have been given one
critical task after another, because their action has so often been
decisive. In no less than three great movements they made the first
cut in, and held the ground won as a kind of pivot until the whole
operation was successfully completed. It was so at Rava Russka, on the
San, and at Muchowka. They had now been transferred to the other flank
of our Army.

It was the second time that this division, now enlarged into an
army corps, had had mountain fighting, to which the Russian soldier
is much less accustomed than to the plains. This time the task was a
stupendous one. The railway pass crosses one of the lowest parts of
the Carpathians, but close to it rises the long, steep ridge of the
Eastern Beskides, which is the actual crest of the range at this point.
It is covered with forest, and forms a line of rounded heights which
are often separated from each other by almost precipitous gullies.
Along this line ran a chain of carefully prepared positions, which the
Austrian officers regarded as inaccessible.

Dobrotin's force, brought up with the greatest secrecy, had in some
cases hardly detrained before it was launched to the attack. It soon
mastered the outlying ground and then marched from all sides to the
attack of the main ridge. The Russian infantry, on which has fallen
the brunt of attack in this war, does not ordinarily go forward in
close columns like the German. Groups of men, led by the instinctive
enterprise of the more daring, gain one point of vantage after another,
each of which forms a pivot for an advance of the whole line. In night
attacks the movement can, of course, be more general and more rapid. In
any case the last hundred yards or so are covered at a rush; but there
is an inevitable pause before the wire entanglements, which in front
of the Austrian trenches are generally most elaborate and have to be
cut through with enormous scissors under a storm of fire, especially of
quick-firing guns.

The Russians went up the slope with unconquerable daring, the new
recruits showing the same courage as those already seasoned by the
war. The whole operation went with a simplicity which made short
work of all obstacles. Under a furious fire the men swarmed into the
Austrian trenches, at once overcoming all opposition. There is no easy
retreat from heights of this kind; everywhere hands were thrown up
and the positions were won. The Russians sit firm on the crest of the
Carpathians.

The staff from which this crucial attack was directed lived like a
little family of brothers in a farmhouse in the valley. The General,
white-haired, with one eye left, and with two other wounds, but with a
youthful vigour of voice and movement, lived among his officers with
a comradely simplicity, now patting one on the back, now sharing with
another a bench on which to draw up a report, now gazing with amused
interest at the regimental chronicler at work with his typewriter. His
was an authority absolute.


_April 14._

The F and J Regiments were to storm a height of about 2,500 feet on the
further side of the Beskides and thus close the flank of the newly-won
positions against any turning movement of the enemy.

I set out in the General's _britchka_ in a swirling storm of sleet.
Ground could only be made very slowly; for the whole country was sunk
in deep mud. On a slope in the road we came upon an ambulance transport
stuck fast, with a couple of soldiers using all their expletives, which
would have translated quite simply into English. Soon afterwards we
had to leave the road and plough through spongy meadows intersected
with ditches. At one ditch there were two sharp cracks, and here both
our springs were broken.

It was a desolate halting-place, with no one in sight. My
soldier-driver announced: "We shall go nowhere with this to-day."
However, he set to work and showed prodigies of strength and resource,
using broken boughs as levers, detaching certain parts of the carriage
for strange uses in other places, and more than once lifting the cart
almost off its wheels by its own strength. I made a fruitless journey
for help; and a squadron passing on its way to the front could do
nothing for us. My driver did, indeed, succeed in tying up the broken
springs; but the most that he could hope for was to get back safely; so
I went forward on foot over a bog and a moor, to the nearest village.
Here I found a train of transports, whose captain kindly sent help to
the _britchka_, and I myself went on to the staff of the J Regiment.
This was in a Ruthenian cottage several miles behind the firing line;
only orderlies were left here besides the Ruthenian family, which
almost always remains in some corner of its hut during occupation by
the Russians. These people had vigorous, handsome faces, and were
dressed, men and women, in bright colours; they sat almost silent in an
attitude of long waiting. While I was with them, orders came for the
staff to move on: a squad of men marched in, and, saluting, took away
the regimental flag, tramping off southwards. As the last man left,
the Ruthenians began to talk, at first in whispers. Their language was
Russian, their religion Uniat, and they had much more in common with
the invader than with the neighbouring Magyar.

The delays had spoiled my chance of seeing the action, which was nearly
over. Horses sent from the front took me on to the new headquarters of
the F Regiment. It was a big cottage with two bare, spacious rooms.
On the wall of one were pencil pictures of Hindenburg, surrounded
with a laurel wreath, and Austrian ladies of various degrees of
comeliness. The officer in charge made me comfortable; and from the
outside room were audible the telephone reports from the battlefield.
The first words that I heard were "rank and file many: number not yet
ascertained."

The staff had left this cottage at six in the morning. At eight the
Russians opened a heavy artillery fire which came home on a weak part
of the enemy's line. At eleven the infantry left its trenches and
advanced, point by point, making shallow holes with head-cover at each
line when it halted. At five in the evening, being now within storming
distance, the whole Russian line went forward. The Austrian front was
pierced at two points; to left and to right their quick-firing guns
continued to play with deadly effect, but with a third great sweep
forward in the centre, the whole position were surrounded and carried,
nothing being possible for the enemy except surrender. The regiment
encamped on the conquered hill.

All this came in over the telephone, with first some and then more
detail, as to the losses. "G. is killed"; "H. is shot in the ear";
"L. is wounded"; "G. is missing"; "G. is at the station, seriously
wounded." The group of soldiers at the telephone were all taken up
with the general course of the action. I asked the officer if G. was a
great friend: "I am sorry for him," he said. "He's a comrade." Every
word of the reports was checked by the receiver and then repeated to
the divisional officers. It was clear that the Austrian positions were
very strong, and that the chief damage was done by their machine-guns.

I was in bed in my corner, when there was a hubbub of rather exacting
voices; it was a group of fifteen captured Austrian officers. One, who
retained the habit of command, quieted the rest and then entered our
room. He was a young captain, strong and healthy, and showed no sign
of confusion or annoyance. He seated himself to the good meal which
his captors had prepared for him, ate with appetite and, turning to
the Russians, said vigorously, "I see no point in this war; it should
be stopped: it is all England's fault." I interposed from my corner
and asked for his reasons; he had none; he said, "That's the only way
that I can explain it; England is the only real enemy of Germany; she
has egged on the others indirectly; and she has kept her own fleet in
harbour." We had a friendly discussion as to the facts of the matter,
especially about the Austrian policy of aggression at the expense of
the Slavs and Russia; and he ended by saying that he knew nothing of
politics and did not think that officers ought to. He told me the
Austrian trenches were flooded, and though the food was fair, the
condition of the men was enough to make his heart bleed. When the hill
was taken, he was at the telephone; he saw that the Russians were
through on the left, that they were through on the right, and that
they were storming the centre. "There was no point in running on them,"
he said simply, "so I surrendered. But I'm keeping you awake, am I not?"

A young sentry came in, saluted the regimental flag, and mounted guard
over it, his face settling at once into a fixed stare. When I woke the
next morning, the man, his pose and his stare were still the same.

Along the drenched road and fields came numberless batches of blue
Austrian uniforms, prisoners, usually escorted only by one brown
Russian. I had a lot of talk with some of these. "_Miserabel_" was
their word for their condition before capture. All were sick of the
war, "even the Hungarians now, though at first they liked it." "The
main thing," said one, "is that people should not go on killing each
other: nothing else counts. As to territory, it's all one to me to what
State my home belongs; I only want to earn my living." "When you hear
that in Russia," I said, "you will have the kind of peace that you ask
for, but I don't think you ever will."

The colonel came back with his staff, drenched through, even to
the case of his field-glass, but jubilant. After the rest came a
middle-aged officer with his head bound up, and that gentle look which
accompanies head wounds. He said in a conversational voice "Hurrah" and
sat down. Some one asked him of his wound; and he simply answered, "Oh,
that's nothing."


_April 16._

I have been to see one of the first regiments which I visited, in its
new surroundings. When I was first with the H's, they were maintaining
ground under difficulties. They were opposite a notable and commanding
height, which could sweep the Russian line with a cross-fire or lodge
bombs among the H's at short range. I remember in particular a visit
to an exposed part of the trenches in company with two officers, one a
fair-haired florid young man who sniped at stray Austrians, the other
also young, but dark and sallow, evidently not strong, to whom this
part of the front had been entrusted. When I said I should like to
visit it, he said, "You'll be killed"; and when I rather pointlessly
said, "That is interesting," he replied, "No, it is not interesting."
He struck me and others as bearing a hard burden, and bearing it well.
I remember the fair young man sniping at the enemy, and also dealing
with a soldier who asked to be sent to the rear. "What's his wound?
That's not much." "Yes, but he has a wife and three children." "Then I
should say he is one of those who ought to stay: he has seen a bit of
life."

I found the H's beyond the Beskides. My orderly and I rode over a broad
shoulder, then crossed a gully, and climbed the main ridge at one of
its lower points. The Beskides are the frontier between Galicia and
Hungary, and they are in almost every sense a dividing line. From here
the rivers flow respectively north and south--to the Vistula and Baltic
or to the Danube and Black Sea. There is a marked difference between
the views northward and southward. Though on a very much larger scale
and with greater detail, it recalls the difference between the northern
and southern views from Newlands Corner in Surrey. To the north, it
is true, there are descending lines of hills, but they are uniform
and severe, and covered mostly with firs. To the south opens up a
whole series of Hascombes and Hind Heads and, best of all, Horseblock
Hollows. It is an English forest, of oaks and elms and especially
beeches; and the firs and pines, as in Surrey, are in relief and not in
sole possession. Many of the hills are covered with brown fern like the
hills in east Herefordshire. The earth is rich in soil, in water which
seems to bubble to the surface as soon as one makes any hole in it,
and also in snakes, of which a great number have been found wintering
by the Russian soldiers wherever they have entrenched themselves. The
streams are broad and clear with beds of stones and pebbles.

One looks in vain for any sign of the plain below. In every direction
it is a sea whose waves are hills. This is all the more so because the
broad belt of the Carpathians makes an enfolding curve forward and
southward, both to left and to right. One sees in the distance other
hills as high as the Beskides and to the east the towering mass of the
High Tatra.

Near the ridge of the Beskides was a great park of horses, and along
the top were trenches and soldiers. All the way down among the beeches
one seemed to be riding straight on to the enemy, whose positions,
unless absolutely enveloped in cloud, seem to be at less than half
their real distance. Soon the horses had to be left in the wood; and
crossing a narrow hollow we came out on a low, bare bluff which was
the line of the H regiment. A green hill loomed up close above us, and
every man and every line of the trenches could be distinguished. This
was the enemy. It seemed only a stone's throw, but when the rifles and
machine-guns first set to work here, they found that they did not carry
the distance and stopped firing. A desultory cannonade was going on,
but it ceased as the evening began to close in; mingled rain and snow
were sweeping in gusts about us, and even the near distance was soon so
shrouded as to seem for us non-existent. We were as if on a promontory
in a dark sea.

By this time I was in the earth shelter of an old acquaintance,
the commander of the battalion with whom I had passed a night some
months before. How changed he was. Always the soldier, he had before
looked the smart man of the world. Now he was grimed and tired and
had something of the mild and enduring look of a hermit. The water
came through our mud hut everywhere. As we sat eating biscuits and
chocolate, another acquaintance came in and with almost such a smile as
one might have in speaking of a wedding said, "You remember the fair
young man; he is dead." I asked after the sallow young officer. "He
is dead, too; both were killed when we tried to take the green hill
opposite, they are lying out there now." The fair youth just before his
death had telephoned "All in order," and he was first wounded in the
open and then shot dead while looking through his field-glass. The H's
were among the first to move on the Beskides, which they took at the
rush. Here, on the further side, they had three tries at the green hill
in front of us, two at night and one in the early morning; each time
they had won the top, and each time the German troops, which had been
brought up in large numbers to the defence of the Carpathians, proved
too many for them, and they had to retire, leaving their dead behind.
Each attack was made up the stiff ascent in mud knee-deep. Such is the
price to be paid for each hill in the Carpathians.

All night the water poured in on my host and myself. We lay so as to
avoid, as far as possible, its trickling on the face. At intervals in
this unquiet night one saw the soldier servant rise from where he slept
bowed on a box and move over our squelching floor of fir boughs to try
some new plan to stop the dripping. My host said, "I'm used to it now."
However, next morning he had a great inspection of earth shelters, with
the result that we moved into the telephone hole. I asked a private if
it was better there, and with a glad smile he said, "It's good there
and it's good here; as long as we stand here we have got to suffer;
soon there'll be peace."

The colonel, whose staff was some way behind, was of the same way of
thinking. He used to like to say, "He that endureth to the end shall
be saved." He had himself lived for a week in our night quarters, till
he was driven out by a shell which fell a yard off and sent a beam
flying past his head. Firing went on most of the time, and while I was
there shots lodged on or near the trenches and at different points on
our path up the Beskides. When I halted to look back from the crest,
a man came up at once and said, "You're under fire." I remember the
quiet reply of one of the soldiers when he was asked if there were any
wounded that day. He said "Not yet."

I found the regimental staff, with the kindest of colonels, in an
armoured blockhouse that had guarded the railway tunnel between Hungary
and Galicia. I asked him after the two dead officers. The sallow young
man was not dead after all. He had led the storming of the Beskides
and was the first man into the trenches. "He saved the whole thing for
us," said the Colonel, "and I am presenting him for the Cross of St.
George."[1]


_April 17._

I started off from the General's on a journey of six miles, and I had
an object lesson in the difficulties of movement in this region. My
orderly, naturally, did not know the names of villages in this part,
and thus we found ourselves at a neighbouring station eight miles from
my destination. A train was due; but at any station on this line a long
halt may be necessary for the collection of all that must be forwarded,
whether troops or material. I spent the interval at a local Feeding
Point, where I had some acquaintances. Only a soldier-caretaker was
there, attending to a young scout-leader who had got a shrapnel wound.

At last the train moved off. I had made a couch of my wraps in a large
goods wagon; but I was the only passenger who travelled in comfort. The
others were private soldiers, and in the dark they talked freely, and
were entirely themselves. One of them was telling sad things of the
losses in his regiment, of how the telephone might have saved them,
but had broken down. "You won't manage in war without loss," said one
of the elder men. "No losses, no victory." Few as they were, his words
summed up the difference between sitting in trenches and making ground
by attack. They talked on; and as one often notices in these night
talks of the Russian privates, there was a kind of sacred simplicity,
which left one thinking. I recalled the Austrian private who did not
care what country his home belonged to as long as he earned his own
living.

Seven hours had passed since I left my starting-point, and I was still
a mile and a half from my destination. I decided to walk, and set out
along the railway. The night was dark, and the only light was from the
enemy's projectors. There were bridges over deep gullies that called
for caution; and every hundred yards or so I was hailed by a sentry;
one of them asked naïvely whether I was a Magyar. Anyhow, I reached the
station an hour and a half before the train; and in the half-smashed
station building I found first an ambulance room, and above it a little
band of devoted workers with whom I had lived at another part of the
front.

This forward detachment of the Red Cross was always keen and united.
It worked under fire during a time of retreat, and all its members
had the George medal for courage. When I was with them it was a slack
time; and the result was that one member of the band after another felt
the effects of the previous stress and had to go off to Russia. Now
they had struck another period of arduous work, and the absent ones
were returning with a few new additions. Work pulls people together,
especially out here, and they were making more effort than ever. When I
reached their very modest quarters (two rooms: one for the sisters and
one for the men), I could not make out where the ambulance rooms ended,
because each member's bed in the detachment was occupied by a wounded
man or invalid awaiting the evacuation train. Here was an old colonel
(they had nursed several here); there was a private, who had won first
the George Cross and then a commission. Judging by my own experience, I
fully expected the train to be hours late, and thought the detachment
would get no sleep till the morning. However, the train drew up, the
officers thanked and kissed the gentlemen of the detachment, and the
room was clear. I had a warm welcome from my friends, and a bed was
found for me.

The next day I had an interesting talk with some cordial officers
at the staff of a brigade which had taken 7000 prisoners, or almost
the number of its own men, from the enemy since December. In all the
regiments in the Austrian army the various nationalities were now
hopelessly mixed up. They told me of a Serbian, an officer in an
Austrian regiment, who had been court-martialled and transferred for
not joining, at a banquet, in toasting the extermination of Serbia. All
the Austrians, they said, are now for peace, and the military oath,
to which, in this non-national state, the greatest significance is
attached, is the only deterrent from wholesale surrender. As always
elsewhere at the front, I found the greatest enthusiasm for the work of
England in the allied cause.

I ended this journey in an ambulance train standing at Mezolaborcz,
which is already Hungary. The chief of the train, though I did not
know him, gave me a clear night's rest, with luxuries of every kind,
including English tobacco, of which he insisted on making me up a
packet for my journey. But the best of the evening was, as so often,
a clever and fascinating conversation on the war and the future of
Russia and England. There is matter in this subject for all sorts of
interesting suggestion, but one seldom meets any difference of opinion
on one point, namely, that after the war the relations of the two
countries will assume a far wider importance, political, economic and,
above all, social, and that they will be among the chief factors that
make for the peace of Europe.


_April 19._

The staff of the Xth Division was housed in a white-walled cottage at
the end of the little town. After the usual glasses of tea and talk
of England, we set out with a small cavalcade for the front. The long
street was very definitely Hungarian. It was not only the notices and
the shops, with surname written first, among which I saw the historic
name of Rakoczy, probably a Jew; but that the line of the houses, the
river and the landscape were all new to one coming from Russia.

We rode fast along the double track of railway, and very quickly
reached our first halting-place. Diverging to the high road, which
was also fairly hard and dry, we soon left our horses and proceeded
on foot. The road was so good and straight, the weather was so fine,
and the beautiful hills so peaceful, that, though talking all the time
about the war, we somehow forgot that we were in it, when suddenly,
from a high hill that seemed quite close to us, there crashed a shell
about thirty yards from us. The little lurid flame that preceded the
explosion burned long enough to let us throw ourselves against the
bank, which was bright with pretty blue flowers. We found we had
exactly reached the front of our positions and made our way under
shelter up a slope. The men were at work on their breastworks, which
were very different from those of the Galician plain. On this higher
ground, almost at any point the spade soon came on springs of water
which filled the hole in a few minutes. In such places the breastworks
are ordinarily what is called horizontal; they are constructed of
brushwood and spruce fir, and give hardly any shelter. The earth-huts
are replaced by little arbours of fir boughs, which are very much
more difficult to warm, though from the captured Austrian trenches,
unfortunately facing in the other direction, there have been taken
quite a number of excellent little stoves. As the new Russian lines
were only recently occupied, they were still in a very primitive state;
in the wood that stretched in front, trees were still being cut to
the stump to serve as posts for the wire-entanglements, and the lines
themselves were not as yet at all continuous. Shells continued to fall
at short intervals for some time, and a private, killed while at work,
was brought up for burial. The colonel pointed the moral of getting the
shelters finished as soon as possible.

When the firing died away, we walked along the outside of the
lines; the task of sentries and scouts was a difficult one, for the
trees stood close together. After a halt, I was taken further by a
business-like officer with worn uniform and steely blue eyes, and, with
his approval, I passed a word or two of greeting from the English army
to the groups of soldiers at work. Several of the men asked me to send
a like greeting back.

As we went forward, this little procedure became more detailed. The
idea was taken up with enthusiasm by the commanders of companies,
especially after I had been conducted, staff in hand, over a deep
gully which separated us from the next regiment. Here each company was
called outside its trenches and drawn up facing the enemy. I gave the
salute, "Health, brothers"; and the usual answer came in a thundering
peal. I told them how grateful we were for everything that they had
sacrificed and everything that they had done for our common cause,
and said that we wanted to be in time to do our full share on land,
that our new big army was ready, and that we were going to advance as
they had done. There is no difficulty in making simple things clear to
Russian soldiers. They answered with their "Glad to do our best," and
the "Hurrah!" which was so vigorous as to bring the Austrian machine
guns into play; I am glad to say, without results. Several of the men
came and talked to me in groups later; they felt the effects of their
hard work and the heavy losses that go with attack, but their spirit
was a conquering one, and all the more impressively so, because of the
hardships in which I saw them. Later, when I saw the Commander of the
Army, who had run a risk of being captured close to this very ground,
he asked me to continue to give these greetings, "to hearten for the
common cause," and arranged for me to get early news of any successes
on the western front.

I slept with the usual brotherly group of officers in a little
forester's hut, a hundred yards from the comparatively open front; on
the outside of the door was chalked the word "Willkommen," which read
like an amusing invitation to the enemy. We all slept on the floor,
but I was accommodated with a litter, which made an excellent bed. The
porch served as first-aid point, and when the firing was resumed in the
morning, a wounded man was brought in here.

Before I went further, the Brigadier-General sent me by telephone a
warm greeting, to be communicated to England.


_April 20._

The reader will remember "The Birds," a very tight place held by the
L regiment beyond a river on another front. The L's had done no end
of work and had suffered heavily long before I visited them at "The
Birds." There, too, they lost many men--about 1500 out of 4000--in an
action which followed on their occupation of those positions and in the
weeks of cannonade which they endured there.

I was aware that the L's were now in the Carpathians and close to
me. The two regiments whose lines I had traversed had lost many in
this hill warfare. Where a hill is taken, the enemy's losses, though
probably more than double the Russian, are rather in surrenders than
in killed and wounded. A hill attack, which is beaten off by superior
numbers, means heavy sacrifices.

I clambered over another of the steep intersecting gulleys. A group
of S's stood waving their farewells. There was a bit of bare slope
facing the Austrian plateau, and then I came on the first shelter of
the L's, quite a comfortable mud hut. The young officer, who had come
to meet me, was an acquaintance, and he sat down and told me about the
men I knew. In a single night attack on the height in front of us,
two-thirds of the officers that I had known had gone down, and about
half the regiment. Name after name came up with the brief record, "He's
killed." We lay on the straw--in nearly all other huts here there
were only boughs of fir--and he told me the whole story. The hill
was almost inaccessible, the works were long prepared and elaborate,
the Germans had hurried up large forces here; yet the attack all but
succeeded. "All but," and no results but losses. At Rava Russka and on
the San the L's had given of their best, and decisive successes had
followed. The hill opposite had cost more and still faced us. It is one
of the saddest of thoughts, that the bravest of all, the men who go
furthest, must lie where they fell. Yet the L's, who in the course of
a few days have again been brought up to full strength by the enormous
reinforcements which Russia continues to pour into the army, will have
written their name on the Hungarian war in as lasting colours as on the
Galician. We are over the crest; we are fighting in the main downwards;
we touch a vital spot; and we are going forward.

There is nothing which makes one feel all this better than to pass
along the lines of a regiment so battered, still in position at the
time when I visited it; nay, more, occupying for the moment far more
than the natural extent for its full strength, and occupying it as
a conqueror with swiftly thrown-up works that only provide for an
elementary shelter. And the battle is not offered; the enemy sits on
his heights and makes no counter-stroke to push his temporary advantage
home.

I write of a time which has already passed; for the whole position
is very different now. But I say the L's were conquerors. There were
nothing like enough of them for a continuous line; so they had picked
out all those sections which commanded any possible advance of the
enemy, and held them as masters. For the intervals, the gullies, they
detached large scouting parties which met any forward move halfway.
The work which this meant for all will remain with me as giving a
picture of a Russian regiment after a check. All the officers and men
were alert and looking to the next move in the game. A soldier who
guided me, confident and intelligent, stopped only for a moment in
his conversation, to say: "But, as a matter of fact, sir, there are
very few left of us." Regiments that can take punishments like this,
communicate their spirit and tradition to those of the new recruits who
are so fortunate as to join them.

From one occupied point to another, our little party of officers and
men walked freely over the open, in face of the neighbouring Austrian
plateau, till each of our cleverly chosen positions had fallen into its
place in our survey. I had a long walk back; in fact, I did not get out
of the range of the Austrian plateau till the next day. My two soldier
guides and I sat down and smoked by a stream for a while, and they told
me that of their fellow villagers who set out at the beginning of the
war, the one had lost sixteen out of eighteen, and the other fifty out
of sixty. One of them, with three comrades, had fought his way back,
when the rest of his company was lost.

The position is changed now, but I feel that the more we know of this
fighting, the more we shall understand of the Russian spirit and of the
Russian sacrifices, and the clearer will be the picture of the Russian
advance.


_May 1._

Waiting at a railway station, I met a young officer who was taking
home the body of his brother. The young man met his death leading a
night attack. He took his company further up than any, and even got
through the wire entanglements and into the enemy's trenches. The
deadly fire of the machine guns made it necessary to draw off the men,
and this company got the order late. Some fought their way through,
but their leader was mortally wounded. The brother was serving in the
neighbouring artillery and was able to be with the dying man to the
last. He said that his brother might easily have surrendered with
others, but it would always be a satisfaction that he did not "hold up
his hands and go into Austria."

At staff headquarters of the army I passed many funerals. Here the
enemy's airmen make a visit almost every day. Two days ago, and again
to-day, they appeared in force and dropped their bombs almost without a
break. The air battery and picked riflemen kept up an incessant fire on
them. Yesterday I watched an aeroplane under fire of Russian shrapnel.
The shells burst all round it and evidently forced it to give up its
intention of reaching the town: it sped away northwards. These raids
have had hardly any success. Even the bombs which lodged where they
were meant to, on the railway or on the aerodrome, did no real damage.
The net result is a small number of wounded, including civilians and a
sister of mercy.

An officer whom I met in the trenches, and of whom I wrote under the
name of "George," has very appropriately been appointed one of the
judges of recommendations for the George Cross. The soldier's George
is given for any signal act of bravery, and the men thus honoured
are always found to be the rallying points in further attacks. The
officers' George is in four classes. Only some four individuals have
ever received the first class, beginning with Kutuzov. The second
class, which is for very definite achievements of generalship can only
be given to Generals (Ivanov has it for the conquest of Galicia), and
the third only to Generals and Colonels. The fourth, which is for any
act of courage or initiative, can be won by any officer. The different
achievements which can win the George are clearly set out. The two
first classes are conferred only by the nomination of the Sovereign;
for the other two there is in each army what is called a "Duma," or
panel of selectors.

My friend, who is one of the bravest and simplest men that I have met,
told me very interesting things about his work. His own standard of
bravery is not striking acts of daring, but the maintenance of normal
composure in the performance of dangerous tasks. It is, I think, a
standard which will appeal to Englishmen. One of the most typical
instances of Russian courage that I know is among the records of the
battle of Borodino. An aide-de-camp galloped up to a commanding officer
and, pointing towards a hill, said: "The Commander-in-Chief asks you
to attack there." As he spoke, a cannon ball carried away his extended
arm; he simply pointed to the hill with the other, and said, "There: be
quick."

At many points of our line there has been a complete lull. One battery
which I visited, standing on some thickly wooded hills, was building a
wooden villa for the officers, and had already put up a camp theatre
for the performances of short plays written by the men. There was
little but the ordinary diversion of shooting at aeroplanes.

Prisoners continue to testify to the discontent in the enemy's armies.
For instance, an Alsatian says that any Alsatian would come over at the
first opportunity. A German says that the conditions in his regiment
are such that he would have shot himself but for regard for his family.
Czechs report further mutinies in their regiments which have been
punished with military executions. The Ruthenian regiments, which
cannot now be reinforced from Galicia, are rapidly melting away. Even
the Hungarian soldiers are described as desirous of peace.


_May 3._

The advance of the Russians over the Carpathians was sure to draw a
counter-stroke, and it has come just where many have expected it, but
with tremendous force. This is because it is not so much the work of
the tired Austrians, but rather the biggest effort that Germany has
yet put forth in her attempts to bolster her ally. We have all been
preparing for May, and Germany and even Austria have evidently made
great preparations. The food supply in the Austrian army has been much
improved; the proportion of Germans on the Austrian front has been
enormously increased; heavy artillery has been concentrated; and the
Emperor and Hindenburg have been reported to be here.

  [Illustration: THE BATTLE OF TARNOW-GORLICE from May 1. 1915.]

I set out with a nice bright-eyed chauffeur who did a splendid day's
work with me. We had the main road for some distance, and none of the
varieties later seemed to trouble him. We went along a valley, and in a
house standing high by a church we found the staff of the Division. I
had friends; and I was soon dispatched with a tall determined Cossack
to the point where the road climbed the hill. Here we left our machine,
and in a hundred yards or so we had the whole scene before us.

There was a hut on the top of the hill; sitting in front of it one
could see for at least ten miles in either direction. The Division
was holding a front of eight miles with the Z's on the left, the O's
in the middle, the R's on the right and the I's in reserve. The O's,
who were just beyond a hollow, occupied a low line of wooded heights a
thousand yards in front of me. The Z's held a lower wooded ridge, the
R's connected with the O's over a valley and were posted along a less
defined line, of which the most marked feature was a village with a
little church tower. Against these three regiments were nine, mostly
German, and backed by the most formidable artillery. Beyond each of
the flanks of the Division one could see at intervals black clouds of
smoke; one thick stream of smoke that stretched into the skies came
from some distant petroleum works. The whole line of the R's was being
pounded with crash after crash, sometimes four black columns rising
almost simultaneously at intervals along it; under each would break out
little angry teeth of sparkling flame; the only thing that seemed not
to be hit was the church tower, which, as each cloud died down, came
out simple again in the bright sunshine. The Z's were in patches of
smoke that sometimes disappeared for a time.

What was happening to the O's was not so clear; so after watching the
shells and shrapnel bursting along the line and on the slope for some
hours, we descended by some winding gullies, drawing a shrapnel as we
passed over a low shoulder, and soon reached the staff of the O's.
Under the nearer wall of a hut, a group of officers was working the
telephones, while a number of soldiers lay on logs around. The Colonel
came forward to me with a preoccupied smile: "A convoy for the flag,"
he explained, and turning to his men; "you have the flag there?" Then
he took me into the open and pointed at the ridge some six hundred
yards away: all his left was at grips with the enemy who had come
through at several points, and on the right his men were fighting at
the close range of two hundred yards in the wood beyond the crest.

We crouched behind the houses amid a constant roar of shells bursting
all round us, and firing some of the neighbouring huts. The telephones
worked incessantly. Now each of the battalion commanders reported in
turn--one, that his machine guns had been put out of action, another
that there were gaps in his line, a third that he was holding good,
but hard put to it. The Colonel explained that his last reserves were
engaged. A message came that his right flank was open and was being
turned. He seized the telephone and called to the reserve regiment:
"Two companies forward at the double," reporting his action directly
to the staff of the Division. There was a peculiar humanness about
all these messages; in form they were just ordinary courteous
conversation. The question which brought the most disquieting answers
was "Connexions." The Z Colonel reported that his line was penetrated
at more than one point, but was holding out. The R telephone gave no
answer at all. Life there was unlivable, the trenches were destroyed,
and on my way I had heard from soldiers a report that when taking
ammunition to the R's they had seen the Austrians in our lines. Shells
and shrapnel were crashing all round us, especially on our rear; a
great cloud rose where I had sat at the top, and a hut that I had
passed on the way down broke out in full flame. Nearer down there fell
four black explosives at regular distances of fifty yards, "the four
packets" as one officer called it. Our cover would all have gone with
a single shot, and the men crouched to avoid the falling splinters
from each shell. In this depressing atmosphere there went on the
conversation between the Colonel and the divisional staff: "I can get
no contact, with the R's. Cavalry is reported on both of my flanks.
The R's have had to retreat." The answer was an order to retire at
nightfall. Three hours at least had to run. The order was communicated
in French over each battalion telephone. The Colonel apologised for
his elementary French; anyhow it was the French of a brave man. As
disquietudes increased, the permission came to retire at once; but the
Colonel answered that this could not be done: he was in hot defensive
action, and the enemy would follow on his heels; at present he was
holding his own.

Twice on the telephone the fatal word "surrounded" had been used. My
hosts urged me to go. "We have each a different duty," they said.
It was with little heart that I faced for the slope, turning a few
yards off to salute these brave men once more. They were some wounded
struggling up the gullies, one with a maimed foot, whom we helped along
but who had to sit down at times and smoke. As we began to approach
shelter, we suddenly saw on the hills to the west of us men coming
down the slope towards us. "Perhaps ours, perhaps the enemy," said
my Cossack, who never turned a hair throughout the day. We got our
lame man up the big hill, but as soon as we had passed the crest he
said that his strength failed him, and sat down with several others
round a well. The next thing was to look for the motor. We were now
in comparative safety; for we were out of the line of fire, and the
valley to the north of us was full of our own people. Officers galloped
forward, looking at the line of our retreating field trains. In the
valley there was a long train of wounded. I at last found our motor in
the midst of it. We packed in the men with the worst wounds that we
noticed; they lay without a groan, and one old soldier said: "Thanks
to Thee, O Lord; and eternal gratitude to you." A young soldier with
an eager face pressed forward with a letter, begging us to take his
wounded officer, whom he had brought five miles from the distant lines
of the R's. "Harchin"--that was his name, was like a loving son, with
his captain, walking by our side or standing on our step for mile after
mile and all the while helping to hold the litter in position. He told
us that no living man could have driven the R's from their position:
but that the whole area was covered with shells till trenches and men
were levelled out of existence. The companies left comparatively intact
had all joined on to the O's. Of the O's themselves we could only hear
vague rumours; it was said that most of them had made their way back.

There was no panic, no hurry in the great throng, as it retired.
Each was ready to help his neighbour. Crossing a long hill we had to
transfer some of our wounded to an empty cart which we commandeered,
the men moving without a word. In the night Harchin kept holding up his
officer and giving any comfort that he could. "It's quite close now,
your nobility, it's a good road now," he would say. We reached a hut
where the kind Polish hostess showed us beds for our wounded; Harchin
was constant and tender in his care, and I left the two together to
await the arrival of the doctor. A private with a crushed face refused
to lie on his bed for fear of spoiling it, and sat holding his bleeding
head in his hands.

Through the darkness and past an incessant train of army carts, which
without any shouting did all they could to give us passage, I made my
way to the corps of the staff and to the next Division; where I slept
long into the morning. It was only later that we knew the full scope of
our losses. The Division had against it double its number of infantry
and an overwhelming mass of heavy and light artillery. It had held its
trenches till it was almost annihilated.


_May 4._

When I woke up in the morning, the deserted school where the staff had
stretched their beds was alive with work and anxiety. The lines lay
only a mile and a half outside the town of Biecz, and the Germans
and Austrians were making a tremendous attack on them, pounding them
with the heaviest artillery and advancing on them in close column
again and again. The leader of this Division is a fighting General,
robust, active and of great composure. The Staff was very close up
to the front, and our own immediate movements depended on to-day's
results. As we were being shelled, we went for lunch to a neighbouring
Polish monastery, a pleasing white-walled building on a hill. It was
deserted but for one or two monks; and its cloisters and wall-paintings
and stations of the Cross were like an oasis far from the war. I lay
down in one of the empty rooms and had some more hours of sleep.
On my return to the school building I found that the situation was
critical. From the balcony the General viewed the lines and gave some
short directions. In the summer weather one watched groups of soldiers
descending from the neighbouring hill and making for the bridge at the
foot of our house. They were ours and were being relieved; and they
formed up into order and were addressed by an officer before crossing
the bridge. The enemy had been beaten off in every infantry attack, but
many parts of the lines were now non-existent, having been reduced to a
series of shell-pits by the German artillery.

With a young Cossack I started out for the D regiment. The
picturesque little town--all the Polish towns are full of pleasing
architecture--was crowded with troops, and the atmosphere was one of
uncertainty. Men were sheltering from the hot fire all along the banks
of the sunken road. On the top of the hill were a few huts through
which we threaded our way, dodging an exposed area where shells burst
continually. Further on we found to the right of us a deep valley thick
with lofty trees. On the edge of this wood were a number of soldiers
who had lost touch with their regiments. We stopped them to find our
way. The D regiment, we learned, was no longer at the front; and indeed
on this side we should not find any lines at all. We were told that the
Austrians were already in the wood, which later proved to be true. The
fire was heavy here, splinters falling upon us through the trees; and
the stragglers hurried away.

Turning to the left I found myself at the head of a wide hollow in
the hills. Over it soldiers were moving forward. Making my way to one
of the huts, I found the Brigadier-General and got leave to accompany
this advance. It was the first regiment of the famous Caucasian Corps
just arrived after an all-night march, and going up to the attack.
A battalion commander stood just below the hut, putting his men in
position. He was a quiet little man, already elderly and with an old
voice, that sounded vigorously, however, across the slope. "You shall
come with me," he said. The men who had been sitting in groups, made
their way by companies up the different clefts in the hollow and soon
lined into the ridge beyond. The commander moved about among them at
an easy walk, directing some, hurrying on others. The men went forward
on their knees, separating off into what the Russians call a "chain,"
where any one with initiative, by finding cover a little further
forward, gives a lead to all the rest. The officers walked upright
throughout.

When the crest was lined, the commander went forward in different
directions. On his return he gave a few orders to his officers; one of
them was a little excited, and called out: "I have an instinct that
it will go right; God grant that it is a true one," and turning to
his men he shouted, "God is with us." Except for this, nothing broke
the atmosphere of the evening stillness. "Well, children," said the
commander, "what shall I say to you? With God! Forward!"

One company went off to the wood on the right, and after a few minutes
another with the commander and myself moved forward over the bare hill,
leaving two others to follow in reserve. Throughout the men advanced
in little groups, creeping in line with each other; the officers
walked about freely, often in advance of the men, or encouraging any
that showed too much caution. We soon saw that the ground was clear in
front of us, and we descended the hill a good deal more rapidly. The
commander and I branched off into the edge of the wood; all the time he
was calling out to keep touch with the company on our right; he turned
and smiled to me as the shrapnel tore away some of the boughs.

At the bottom the machine guns were hurried up, and we ascended the
further slope. We were now on a bare height, which was like a tongue
projecting forward, and a hot musketry fire was opened on us. A man
near me called out that he was wounded and rolled himself down to the
hollow, where a bearer set about bandaging him; a shell burst beyond
us and another called out. I could only see what happened to the men
nearest to me. The commander continued to stroll about among the men,
in the same way as he would have done out of action; several of the men
begged him to lie down. We went round the outside of the height, and he
brought his men everywhere to the edge of it and told them to entrench
themselves, which they set about doing at once.

We could see where the bullets came from, on the low ground in front.
To our left was a ridge with trees, along which we could see men
on horseback coming from the direction of the enemy. To our right,
beyond the wood, was a high ridge covered with men who appeared to be
advancing upon us but did not open fire. Later it seemed that they
were stationary, and we could not make out whether they were ours or
theirs, so a scouting party was sent to find out. Suddenly a column
of blue figures was seen coming up close on our front. In what seemed
a minute, two of our machine guns had been moved to this side. Round
some brushwood thirty yards away came the first rank of the column; one
caught sight of a line of pale faces; I remember a slim fair-haired
youth who peered anxiously forward. Our commander shouted orders; our
machine-gun men, standing up and with indignation on their faces,
ground out a shower of bullets, and the Austrian column disappeared
into the wooded valley.

Night was closing in, the enemy's cannonade was slackening, and the
time was approaching when the physical superiority of man to man would
put the balance firmly on the Russian side. The men were entrenching
themselves; and the commander wished to send a message to the brigade
about the undefined troops on his right. I was going with this message
and had not got more than two hundred yards from the front when I
heard shouts of hurrahs, which marked the beating off of another
Austrian attack. A few more shells burst on our way back, but my
companion muttered to the enemy: "It's getting dark, brother"; for,
once technique does not dominate, the Russian feels that he is master.

On the road we found a large batch of Austrians (Poles) taken in the
wood. I was invited to examine them; they had had no food that day;
there was much disaffection in Austria; they were strongly against the
Germans and were glad that for them the war was over. Our report was
delivered; the troops on our right were Russians. Later there came
other and sadder news. The little commander was brought back into the
town wounded in the head in the last Austrian attack.

In the evening I rode with the Divisional Staff several miles to our
new quarters. All along the road he stopped any straggling soldiers
and asked closely what had happened to their regiments. This was all
extremely well done; he was really severe only to one batch who told
him an obvious lie. Altogether the retreat, for it was that, was
unattended by any panic. Going at a sharp trot, we reached our new
quarters at three in the morning.


_May 6._

I woke in a farmhouse, in a village that was filled with the divisional
field train. The Divisional General had gone off early to the front
to rectify the new positions. The news that came in was uncertain and
anxious. The first hut which the General and his staff had entered had
been made untenable by the enemy's artillery. The second hut that he
visited was also set on fire. No further news of him came till late in
the evening that he had barely escaped capture.

Word came that the staff would be moved further back. The field trains
were set in motion, and we travelled without any kind of confusion
across a beautiful range of wooded hills. We stopped more than once to
see the fight that was going on below us. It was a blazing line of fire
and smoke, the twin yellow and white bursts of the Austrian shrapnel
being almost lost in the white or black smoke of the German artillery.
We travelled very slowly and for a good part of the day; officers and
men were full of vexation at having to retire before troops which they
felt themselves capable of beating with any equal conditions: among
themselves there prevailed a simple good humour.

I rode at different times with the adjutant, the chief of the field
train, and the divisional doctor, all of whom were perfectly cool and
collected. We made different wayside halts, and in the afternoon drew
up in a large village also full of field trains. Here we took rest and
refreshments, while different rumours came in from all quarters: and
in the evening I drove in for news to the staff of the army at Jaslo,
which was now close to the enemy.

From nearly all the regiments of the corps which I had accompanied,
great losses were reported; on the other hand, practically every
infantry attack had been driven off with great loss to the enemy.
The trenches had been left only when the enemy's artillery had made
them untenable. In some parts the systematic ploughing up of whole
given areas had gone so far behind our lines that even approach to the
trenches had been made impossible.

The game was not lost even on this ground, and immediate measures had
been taken for counter-attacks the following day. Meanwhile Jaslo was
under an intermittent but violent bombardment of aeroplanes; and all
the hospitals were being moved to the rear.

I learned that the enemy were making a similar artillery attack on
Tarnow, where I had spent several of my periods of Red Cross work at
the hospitals. The Russian workers in the local Civil Spital had stayed
on to the last and were now under a hot fire, and it was desired that
they should be moved without delay. The Red Cross authorities had been
told that this detachment could be guaranteed "against capture for the
present, but not against artillery fire." I was commissioned to go and
move it.

I found the General of the Transport at the railway station full of
work, but cool and business-like. His was one of the most difficult
tasks, but there was no better head in the Third Army. At three in the
morning he came to tell me that a motor was at my disposal at once.

At my first stop I was asked to take with me an official of the Red
Cross who had been deprived by contusion of his voice and hearing. He
was in full possession of his senses and wrote down his wishes. He had
been under fire with three hundred wounded in the village where I had
slept the night before. There were other reports more disquieting. In
one advanced bandaging point the German soldiers had burst in, full of
drink and rage, and had bayoneted the staff and, as we were told, the
doctor.

In the early morning I reached an ambulance point managed almost
entirely by the members of one family, the father (who was a retired
divisional doctor), the mother, and their son. To them I handed over my
unhappy companion. Here I had anxious news of the hospital for which I
was making. Tarnow was four miles from the front; on the German advance
nine shells had been fired on the hospital in one day, and one of them
had struck the operating-room and wounded the lady doctor.

I drove on to the staff of the neighbouring corps to see about
transport, and thence to my destination. There was an ominous absence
of troops, other than retreating field trains. The inhabitants were
all in the streets, alive as it seemed to me with excitement and
expectation. As I drove up, I saw the five plucky sisters waiting on
their balcony. They had already sent away all their Russian wounded and
were ready to start. The wounded civilians, who were Austrian subjects,
and some wounded Austrian soldiers had been housed in the cellars and
would be left to the care of their own people.

This work had all been done in two hours directly after the last
bombardment. The sisters had been given a second George medal for
bravery. They spent the evening on a hill watching the artillery attack
on our troops. It was a ring of fire that simply demolished the
trenches. Attack after attack of the enemy's infantry was beaten off.
One detachment, sent to the support of a neighbouring regiment, found
some of the defenders asleep under the cannonade: they had beaten off
eight attacks. The N Regiment was decimated, but full of spirit.

All this I learned later. Without any kind of haste or commotion, the
sisters said good-bye to the Austrian wounded and to the kind Polish
sisters who had worked so long with them, and we all started in my
motor. We were soon out of the range of fire, and continued our journey
until we had reached the new headquarters of the Red Cross, where we
were joined a day later by the staff of the army.


_May 9._

The details of the Austro-German advance on the Third Army are
now clearer. The Russian advance over the Carpathians was not met
directly, but by a counter-advance on its flank. Here five army corps
were concentrated, some of the fresh troops being drawn from reserve
divisions on the French front, especially in the neighbourhood of
Verdun. The journey across Germany is reckoned at three to five days,
according to whether or not one includes the mountain marches at the
end of the railway journey. Prisoners of the Prussian Guard tell me
that they were given special training in hill climbing before they
started.

Meanwhile, the long months of comparative inaction had been employed in
bringing up the heaviest German and Austrian artillery, both of which
were last summer concentrated on the western front, and getting the
range not merely of the Russian lines, but of squares which covered a
good part of their rear. This was a long and toilsome operation, as
these guns cannot be moved except by railway or, with great efforts
and under good weather conditions, on roads which have a certain
consistency. The potentialities of these guns are in any case limited;
they cannot easily follow up an advance or get away in case of a rout.
They can force the evacuation of a given area, but it may be possible
to manoeuvre in such a way that the general position is but little
changed.

  [Illustration: THE GREAT ATTEMPT OF THE CAUCASIANS]

It will be remembered that the Austrians during the idle months have
been covering the Russian lines in front of them with a ceaseless
cannonade. This counted for little at the time. The Austrian
artilleryman has only lately developed any accuracy; for a long time
they continued in the most stupid errors of detail; they hardly ever
placed a Russian battery, and evidently the process of range-finding
has been long and very expensive. The Austrians rarely attempted
infantry attack, knowing that they always met their masters; thus their
ceaseless cannonade was not a preparation for an infantry offensive;
and the Russians might even, if necessary, leave their trenches only
partially occupied during the day, keeping less in those parts which
were under the hottest fire and holding the whole line in force only by
night.

It was a very different story when the initiative on this side was
undertaken by the Germans, who use artillery as a preparation for
desperate attacks in close column. The difference in accuracy between
the German and Austrian artillery fire was very soon discovered to the
Russian regiments in front of them; and it was known that the Prussian
Guard Reserve was here. The trenches were, therefore, occupied in full
and held until they became untenable.

The enemy's advance was at first directed against what was thought to
be the weakest part of the Third Army, namely its right flank, which
had sent a number of reinforcements to the Carpathian wing; but the
alertness of the Russian general on this side produced an alteration
in the plan, and the attack was diverted to the next army corps
eastwards. This corps contained regiments which had had heavy losses
in the previous hill-fighting. A gap was forced between the two army
corps; and the right flank of the threatened corps (the R Regiment) was
crushed by the pounding fire which I have described under May 3. The
regiment retreated in good spirit, but with the heaviest losses, the O
Regiment, holding its ground to the end, retired with its colonel and
some 300 men: the Z Regiment was severely cut up. In all this fighting
practically every infantry attack of the enemy was beaten back. The
next day the impact fell mainly on the troops which I described on May
4. They held their ground to the evening and then executed an orderly
retreat, coming into line with the broken forces to the right of them.
But on both days a tremendous cannonade was directed on the division
still further eastward, with the result that some regiments suffered
terribly. The next day a fresh corps, the Caucasians, one of the most
famous in the Russian army, had arrived and went forward boldly to the
attack on the flank of the enemy's advance. The prisoners cannot speak
too highly of the courage of this corps; and it did succeed in stemming
the tide, with such effect that the broken army corps to its right had
in two days reformed and come again into position. But it did not get
as far as the enemy's heavy artillery, and retired fighting rearguard
actions--not much further than the point from which it had started.

I have explained that the whole advance of the enemy was a
counter-stroke to the Russian advance over the Carpathians further
eastwards. The right wing of that advance was now outflanked and had
to retire. Half of this corps succeeded in rectifying its positions
without serious loss; but the other division had the greatest
difficulty in fighting its way through, and lost heavily.

Meanwhile the enemy's attack was extended also westwards, including the
area against which it had been originally directed. Here the cannonade
was furious and the trenches were in many parts wiped out, all approach
to them of reinforcements from the rear being made almost impossible.
But here, too, practically all hostile infantry attacks were repulsed
with heavy loss. Ultimately a retreat was ordered by the Russians on
this side. Results are indefinite unless they bring one side or the
other to a definite line of defence.

The situation resulting from all this fighting was as follows: The
present area of conflict is a square lying between two rivers west
and east (Dunajec and San), with the Vistula on the north and the
Carpathians on the south. The square may now be divided by a diagonal
running from north-west to south-east. On the one side are the Russians
and on the other are the enemy; but the diagonal is not any natural
line of defence, and the operations must be continued till one side or
the other occupies the whole of the square.

The enemy has made a special concentration by depleting other parts
of his line. The respective forces are now at close grips in a great
battle which is likely to last for several days. The enemy's heavy
artillery is not likely to have the same effect as before; and a
successful Russian advance may even endanger its retreat.

There are two obvious deductions from this fighting. The Germans are
risking more and more of their forces in the support of Austria, or,
to speak more accurately, in the defence of Hungary, and in order to
do this they must surely have weakened their western front. They must
secure definite results on the Russian side if their attack here is
to be of value to them, as they may again have to throw their forces
westwards ere long.


_May 10._

What a picture these days will leave on the minds of those who have
lived through them. It is only the simple things that count; but they
keep coming back on one in new forms again and again, and that is why
one must repeat oneself so often.

The staff is in no way downhearted; it is sometimes preoccupied,
sometimes cheerful, but always full of vigour. The cause of our
losses has been localised; and there is no sign of panic or hurry in
the search for the necessary remedies. At the bottom of all is this
wonderful confidence of the men and officers who come back wounded from
the front. The Commander of the Army is full of spirit and energy, and
we all consider that we are only halfway through this battle.

The other hospital institutions have mostly been sent to the rear; but
this period of movement is a time of small advance ambulance points
which dispatch their wounded to the rear at once and themselves are
ready to move at short notice, whether forward or backward; and the
Russian sisters who returned with me from the front organised at once
such an ambulance at the station, going on duty the same night, and
working sometimes fifteen hours or more at a stretch.

Enemy aeroplanes threw bombs at them every day, and we picked up
several badly wounded at the station, but none of the workers in the
bandaging-room took any notice of the explosions.

The station is a wonderful place--as wonderful as the great station
in Lvov, which I described several months ago. It is crowded with
wounded, lying close together in the family manner of the Russian
peasant. Most are wounded in the hands or the head; this means that
they were under a devastating fire in the trenches which hit anything
that was at all exposed. But there are also many signs of advance or of
infantry attacks beaten off, in wounds of all kinds all over the body.
Every night hundreds of wounded are given clean bandages and fed with
anything that can be bought in a place where all is movement.

The officers lie here like the rest, separated only by the silent
respect shown to them by the men. The number of wounded officers is not
surprising, for, as I have explained, they stand and walk while their
men are ordered to crawl; but the sacrifice in officers is particularly
impressive.

For me the officers are also sources of information as to the fate of
each of the regiments I have visited. Four jolly N's, three of them
wounded, told me of how their trenches were levelled and how they
retired because there were only shell pits to sleep in; seven officers
led the last counter-attack of this regiment. Of some regiments the
news was that they were practically all gone; in one case the answer
was "The regiment does not exist." Some one asked of one of the O's
where his regiment was to be found: he answered "In the other world."
I learned that three hundred men of this regiment with the colonel had
fought their way back; later, I learned that only seventy-one were
left. The General of this Division told me that he had reformed and
reinforced his men and that they were again at the front, where he was
off to join them. The T's had invited me to join them when in action,
and it was a pure chance that I was directed to another point. I passed
in the street the field trains of this regiment; the officer riding at
the head stopped me and grasped my hand: "What I wanted to say," he
said, "is that the T's are gone, only the flag is saved." The next day
a private with the number of this regiment came up to me in the street:
would I come and see the Colonel who had just been brought in wounded?
I found him at the quarters of the Commander of the Army. His head was
bound up, but he was seated and writing. General Radko Dmitriev came
in and shook his hand time after time. "Thank you for your splendid
stand; human strength can do no more." The Colonel related that his
entrenchments were demolished with the men in them; one company was
cut off, and forty hands were held up in surrender; he himself saw
how the Germans bayoneted half the number out of hand; his own men,
when only five hundred were left of them, went on taking prisoners
exceeding themselves in number, and rejoiced in this sign of their
moral superiority. Of forty officers and four thousand men, in the end
two hundred and fifty were left.

The enemy was in overwhelming numbers; but prisoners continued to come
in in great batches. I spoke with some of the Prussian Guard; they
were vigorous and contentious, and spoke with small respect of the
Austrians. The war is becoming more and more bitter.

I return to my inevitable conclusion. There has been a big success
of technique; and it has wiped out a number of good lives. Even this
battle is not over, and our own people are advancing at points which
offer hope of better results. The Russian army is firmer than ever, and
more and more men are being poured in. It can win, but only if it can
be given anything like fair conditions; in a word, that the Germans
should be met on their own ground, that of heavy and more numerous
artillery, by every possible united effort of the Allies.


_May 13._

I learned that the FF Corps, which contained regiments that I had twice
stayed with, was going to make a determined attempt to turn the tide.
On the heels of this came the news that it had already begun a daring
advance and had taken some heights on the rear of the enemy's line. I
had no means of transport, and was wondering how to get to this corps
when I met in the street a group of soldiers who were asking who wanted
to buy a bicycle for five roubles (ten shillings). I learned afterwards
that a large German cyclist corps had been cut off by our cavalry. The
bicycle was there, so I had a turn on it and bought it. The handles of
the bar were gone, and there was no bell or lamp; the seat and brake
wanted screwing up; otherwise it was a good machine. I had lost my maps
in the retreat, so I went to one of the adjutants, who sketched for me
a map of the district, and I started off.

  [Illustration: THE RETREAT FROM THE CARPATHIANS

  a Fighting retreat of Russian S.S. Corps
  b Enemy's forces trying to outflank and turn S.S.
  c Attempt of Russian F.F. Corps on the enemy's flank]

My first destination was Dynow, where I was to find the staff of the SS
Corps. The Polish inhabitants whom I asked pointed forward along a good
straight road, and with the wind behind me I made good way. I passed
plenty of troops going both ways, and the cavalry indulged in friendly
banter with me as to who would arrive first.

Meanwhile, at Dynow things were not at all as we imagined. The FF
Corps further on found that it was advancing into an empty space, while
its neighbour, the SS Corps, was being beset by superior German forces;
there was nothing left for it but to give up its attempt. The SS Corps
arrived at Dynow only to find it already occupied by the enemy. In
instant danger of being cut off, this corps swerved from the road and
went straight forward at a point where it had to cross two bends of the
river. The water was more than breast high; the two passages were made
under a hot fire, and a number of men were killed or drowned; but the
corps made good its retreat, and indeed served as rearguard from hence
to the San line. It was followed closely and vigorously, the Germans
showing the greatest ardour, which in one case brought on them the most
serious losses at the hands of the Russian artillery. The SS Corps also
suffered severely and was greatly reduced in strength.

I should have ridden straight on to the enemy, but my bicycle
collapsed, and I was misdirected as to the road, so that in the evening
I found myself at quite a different point, not far from the town of
Rzeszow, which I had left in the morning. Making for a railway station,
I found a train waiting and learned the new turn of events, also that
Rzeszow itself was likely to fall into the enemy's hands.

It was important that this news should reach those with whom I had
been working; but it was twelve hours before any train could move in
this direction, and then it was only an engine that was sent forward,
with one carriage full of high explosives and a colonel in charge. The
colonel and I sat on either side of the engine, and the driver kept
looking out and slowing down to ask news of the stragglers who were
coming from Rzeszow. Of course we got the usual exaggerated reports;
some said that every one had left or was leaving Rzeszow and that the
enemy were just about to enter. Puffs of shrapnel were to be seen ahead
of us, but we made our way safely into the town.

Here little was known of what was happening; but several plain signs
indicated retreat, and an officer whom I knew kindly gave us the lead
that we required. In the streets there was an unpleasant silence, and
the people seemed to be waiting for something from the west. The last
trains out started with little delay. We looked back on the smoke of
explosions and travelled leisurely and without panic through a peaceful
country, where at each halt the road was lined by good-natured soldiers
resting, eating or chaffing each other on the embankments, as if there
were no war and they were all happy on the banks of some great Russian
river. At one point there was a small collision, but all was put right
without the slightest hurry or excitement.


_May 18._

We had retreated to the San, and the Corps of the Third Army held a
not extensive front, partly in front of and partly behind the river.
The apparently endless file of trains had all made their way along
the single line across the river. Wherever they stopped, the station
was infested by the enemy's aeroplanes; at one time ten of these were
flying along the line. In one day three were brought down, all the
airmen being killed.

The long road picnic on these trains, military or ambulance, shows the
Russian soldier at his best. All content themselves with the simplest
and roughest conditions, and lie anywhere about the spacious vans or
dangle their legs out of the broad doors and talk cheerily with any who
pass. Most of these goods vans are festooned with boughs.

Of course there is an endless stock of narratives from the life at the
front, always with a complete absence of self, except for a summary
mention of the date and occasion of the narrator's own wound. The main
features are always the same--regiments reduced by sheer artillery fire
to half or a quarter, furious infantry attacks of the enemy vigorously
repelled.

Now that we again had a definite line in front of us, I decided to
go up again. I started on foot in fine evening weather and took a
straight line for a point to the south-west. I was halfway to my
destination when in the failing light I saw a motor, which carried one
of the adjutants of the commander of the army. He beckoned me up, and
explained the day's fighting, at which he had been present. It was a
furious artillery duel; and it was chiefly concentrated at a different
point from that for which I was making. He advised me to return and to
visit this point the next day.

On the following morning I started out, again on foot, with a supply of
big biscuits. Nearing the area of firing, I turned across the fields
and came upon a battery of Russian heavy artillery, which was so well
masked that, though I was looking for it, I did not make it out until
I was only a hundred yards off. I had a talk with the commander and
went on to a neighbouring village which was under a heavy fire. Here
were the staffs of a regiment and of the Division which I was seeking.
On the telephone there was brisk conversation. I was invited in to
lunch, where all business talk was avoided, and I was given a Cossack
to take me to the infantry positions. Heavy shells were rattling like
goods vans over our heads, sometimes three being in the air at once
and all taking the same direction. The crashes came from some distance
behind us. The enemy was clearing a space in our reserves and among our
staffs.

The Cossack was a quaint person, with flashing eyes, who walked about
leading his horse everywhere. When he was told to take me in the
direction of the firing, he murmured something about its being "the
very best." His idea was that we should go on foot, he leading his
horse, from which he was most unwilling to part, because he would feel
lost without it. This was all very well: but the appearance of any
horse near the positions is strictly barred, as it at once calls forth
a more or less accurate fire on the infantry. This it was hopeless to
explain to him; so in the end I left both him and his horse behind.

I went on to one of the regimental staffs, and obtained two guides to
the respective regiments which I was visiting. I had hardly left this
hut when a bomb fell on it, killing or wounding several of the staff.
We had sheltered ground almost up to the river. The famous San is here
about a hundred yards broad, with a steep further bank and, on our
own side, a long hollow running parallel with the river and thick with
willows and alder; the country in general, except for some depressions,
is quite flat.

I passed along the front of the C regiment. There was hardly a shot
fired, though the enemy could be seen moving on a hill opposite and was
free to approach to the further side of the river. Our own people had
made some progress with their entrenchments, which were not yet under
artillery fire. To the greeting from the English ally, which I gave
as I passed along, there was an interested reception, and the men put
questions as to the western front. One man, when I told him we were
advancing, crossed himself and said "God grant it."

The men had a very difficult part of the stream to guard and could
easily be put under a flanking fire. With two of the officers I stayed
some time; they were cool and keen, but deeply mortified at the loss
of ground for which they had sacrificed so much. We watched the shells
bursting just behind us; and after a time I made my way back over
ground which was often traversed by shells and shrapnel, usually fired
together.

The cannonade became more and more intense in the evening and lasted
all night and into the next day. Some hours after I left the enemy
crossed at the point which I had visited and made good a footing on our
side of the river. In the morning he was driven back out of our lines;
but returning in force, he finally established himself on our side and
forced these regiments to retreat for some miles. A day later I heard
that the German Emperor in person was opposite to us, just across the
river.


_May 24._

On the day when I walked along the San, the enemy did not show
themselves in any force till the evening. Then and throughout the
night the tremendous cannonade that they had kept up all day became
more intense, and with the aid of the powerful German projectors the
area to the rear of the Russian lines was swept, especially at three
given points. Here in the evening the enemy crossed the narrow stream
in boats. The railway bridge was mined, but was left standing as long
as possible. An Austrian shell cut the train of the mine, without
exploding it, at a point forty yards on the Russian side of the river.
Masses of the enemy were already at the bridge when a Russian officer
and private went forward and made a new connexion, which they fired at
once. The bridge was blown into the air, and the two daring Russians
were sent flying by the shock, but remained alive.

At different points the enemy effected a lodgment on the eastern bank
and, where the Russian line was thinnest and held by regiments already
reduced to half or quarter strength in the previous fighting, the
trenches were partly occupied by the Germans or Austrians. Next morning
the Russians made vigorous counter attacks and recovered the ground
lost; but returning in overwhelming force, the enemy not only regained
his hold on the eastern bank but extended it on either flank and pushed
further eastwards.

There followed five days of very severe fighting. The issue at stake
was whether the enemy's successes could still be limited to western
Galicia--or, in other words, whether half or the whole of the territory
conquered by the Russians was now to be flooded by his armies. His
object was, of course, to find room eastward of the San for his
powerful forces and artillery. There were in all five German or
Austrian armies in the area chosen for the enemy's impact. Of these,
two were engaged with the Eighth Russian Army and three were opposed
to our Third Army; these last numbered nine army corps, including the
Reserve Corps of the Prussian Guard and two others which were drawn
from the French front. German heavy artillery, though apparently of a
different calibre from that employed at the beginning of the Galician
battle, took a prominent part in this fighting; and the Austrians
showed better marksmanship than at any period in the war.

The enemy's advance, however, had slackened before it reached the San;
and the Russians had had time not only to make good a very spirited
retreat but to give their men two days' rest on the eastern side of
the river. These two days were invaluable. Large reinforcements were
hurried up. In the shortest time entrenchments were thrown up of a kind
superior to those held by the Russians during their long occupation of
western Galicia, and very much better supported. The earlier ruinous
effects of the enemy's heavy artillery were now minimised or even
avoided; and the Russian artillery were in much greater force than
before. Above all, the men proved, if proof were needed, by the vigour
of their resistance and by beating off one German attack after another
that the earlier retreat had been due simply to the enemy's technical
superiority in artillery, and that even a half-annihilated Russian
regiment felt itself to be master as soon as the issue lay with the
bayonet.

The enemy daily sent aeroplanes to the Russian rear, in one day ten
at a time, but in at least five cases these were brought down and
in most instances by the fire of musketry and machine guns. In one
comparatively weak spot the Russian infantry was rescued by a few
timely discharges from our artillery, which sent the close column of
Germans running like hares.

Attempt after attempt of the enemy to break through in close column
failed. At certain points the Germans were able to push home their
blow, at others the Russians closed in on their flanks, driving them
back to the river and threatening even their success in the centre
with serious consequences. At one moment the enemy thought that he
was through; but the gap was filled at once from the large Russian
reserves. At another he even launched his cavalry through what seemed
an empty space, and it looked as if he might find room to develop the
favourite German cavalry advance, which has spread such terror among
peaceful inhabitants in other parts; but without delay the tide was
stemmed by Cossacks and Russian infantry.

The struggle is still going on; but one thing is certain--that the
Russian resistance east of the San has stopped the forward flow of
the German advance. It is a new chapter in the war, and different in
essentials from that which preceded it. News of successful resistance
or of advance comes from the Russian armies on either flank of our own.


_May 27._

The situation seemed to be changing rapidly and at the same time
clearing. There were reports of German attempts to break through at
various points, but all of them seemed to be stopped and our line was
apparently becoming more stable. As I have explained before, there is a
splendid ambulance organisation of the most complete kind managed by a
joint committee of all the Zemstva (or county councils) of Russia and
directed by Prince George Lvov. Apart from a wide system of hospitals
right away to the rear and all over Russia, it includes ambulance and
depôt trains which run almost up to the very front, and flying columns,
giving first aid to the wounded. These last have attached to them large
field transport trains, adapted to the local roads and working in close
touch with the generals at the front and the military surgeons.

It is always a pleasure to meet with any section of this organisation.
It possesses the free initiative characteristic of self-government,
for the Zemstva members and employés have everywhere volunteered for
this service; and there is in it the healthy sense of open air and a
practical experience at making the best of any conditions.

There was a flying column which I met at the beginning of our retreat,
and which took charge of my baggage. The same column was now quite
near me, and they kindly gave me a lift to the front. I set out in one
of their sensible "two-wheelers" adapted for carrying the wounded,
and travelled a good part of the night to where they had their park:
there I had a splendid sleep in the two-wheeler. The next day we went
on in a long train of carts through pine-woods and sand, sometimes
almost losing our bearings, until we found the flying column at work
in a wood: among the sisters was an English lady, Miss Hopper, and in
a neighbouring flying column of the Zemstva is another English sister,
Miss Flamborough; the others call them "our allies."

  [Illustration: THE FIGHTING EAST OF THE SAN
                    (May, June, 1915)]

I was told that one of the military doctors wondered whether I was a
spy. As he was going to the staff of the LL Corps, I asked him to take
me with him. Here I had a kind welcome, though I happened to be without
all my papers. Everything seemed to be going better. The General in
command, a man of decision and much humour, was evidently in good
spirits; business was barred at meals; but the position was explained
to me, and it was clear that the enemy was being held.

I was sent on to one of the Divisions, which had been in action for
about five days. Here, in spite of the rapid changes in the _personnel_
of the officers, there was the same feeling of confidence and hope. In
the evening I rode out with the General of Division on his visit to one
of the regiments. Everywhere we passed fresh troops coming up. We found
the regimental staff in a wood; though there were huts quite near, the
Colonel preferred a series of elaborate burrows which had been made in
the sand among the trees. Near these burrows we sat round a table in
the twilight, while orderly masses of grey figures kept passing us in
their march forward. This Colonel, a big genial man with a composure
that inspired confidence, soon dropped into a conversation about old
comrades. The General had commanded the O regiment, and it was painful
to hear his inquiries about one after another of his officers: almost
all were gone.

The next day I again visited this regiment and went forward to the
front. The rear was being shelled by the enemy with a good deal of
shrapnel, and this seemed to be going on every day. As I got further
forward I passed line after line of entrenchments and shelters, and
eventually came on the front line, which was admirably complete and
much more detailed than most of the positions which I had yet seen. The
battalion, which was in a wood, was commanded by a fine young fellow,
still a lieutenant, who exposed himself freely but took the greatest
thought for his men. The enemy was only a few hundred yards off and
suddenly opened a hurricane of musketry fire; practically none but
explosive bullets were used; this was quite clear as they kept crashing
into the trees all around us. The men, who were in fine strength
and spirits, did not suffer; and such measures have been taken that
the losses inflicted earlier by the German heavy artillery are very
unlikely to be repeated.

At no time have I seen so marked a difference in the course of a few
days. When I visited the San there was still the atmosphere of the
preceding operations, heroism against odds. Now there was a quiet
confidence for which one could everywhere see the reason--in the troops
that had come up, and the lessons that had been learned.


_May 29._

Matters here continue to take a better complexion. Yesterday in the
staff of the LL Corps I was given the sketch-map of the day, which
showed an advance at more than one point. The regiment which I had
last visited had now crossed the little brook in front of its trenches
and also the larger stream which runs at some distance almost parallel
with it. Of this I had painful evidence just outside headquarters. A
man with face bound up had just been brought in and came forward to
me making signs. On the paper which I gave him he wrote: "I am the
Commander of the second battalion of the Y regiment. Where are you off
to now?" It was the fine young lieutenant whom I had seen a few days
back, so proud of his new command and so brisk and vigorous in all his
dispositions. He wrote that he had been wounded during the attack by an
explosive bullet, such as I had heard crackling against the trees when
I was with his regiment. His mouth was shattered, but he was quite cool
and gave no sign of pain. My companion sent him off at once by motor to
the ambulance.

At another point there had been a more definite advance, which, coming
as it did just where the enemy had made a great effort to break
through, seemed to promise results all along the line. This was the
point that I decided to visit; so I was directed to a cavalry division
from the Caucasus which was stationed there. I experimented in a new
means of conveyance, namely a hand-truck which worked between our last
station and the front. It was a sporting ride, and we went faster than
a good many trains. Just before I started I was asked to carry word to
a badly wounded officer that a motor was being sent for him. Alighting
at a signal-box, I made my way to the place, and the poor fellow was
delighted; but alas! no motor could make its way over this road, and
the young man died before there were other means of moving him.

Headquarters staff of the Division was a farm building crowded with
fine horses and soldiers. The men wore the long black busbies and the
picturesque flowing uniform of the Caucasus, with decorated sabres and
bandoliers. The General was a patriarchal man with bald head and long
beard, easy of manner and short and conclusive in speech. He kindly
put me up in his own room, and through the night he seemed to be doing
business at a great rate with the minimum of exertion. Next morning the
whole position was shortly and plainly explained to me; in the night
we had taken another village, and levelled up the line of our advance
rightwards. I was sent to see the corresponding movement on the left.

The General took me with him to one of his Brigadiers, and on the
way in a few vigorous words put renewed heart into two brisk-looking
batteries that lay on our road. The soldier who took me forward had the
day before got a skin wound on the face from shrapnel, while carrying
a message to the staff; it had not prevented him from returning to the
front. The General jocularly told him that to-day he would probably get
one on the other cheek.

As we came out of the wood, we saw a man dodge past us, and the next
minute came the explanation in the shape of a shell. The railway
ran straight forward up the bare slope; and the enemy was shelling
all along this line. A few hundred yards on, behind the lightest of
shelters, was a hole in the ground with a telephone, which served
during action for the staff of the regiment. I asked for the Colonel,
and they pointed to a splendidly built man lying stretched out on the
ground. I thought for a moment that he was dead, but he was only lying
fast asleep under the shrapnel, after the ceaseless and arduous work
of the attack. He stood up and shook himself like some noble animal,
standing in the open, much against the wish of his officers.

We sat and talked for some hours. The ground where we were had all
been won in the night. Our present positions, temporary and little
developed, were about five hundred yards further up. Our men were only
six hundred yards from the Germans and had orders to advance by short
stages. Some of them had already crept forward two hundred yards and
were throwing up head cover on the ridge of the slope. Other parts of
the ridge were still in the hands of the Germans; their trenches were
plainly visible, and they were firing down on us, aiming at anything
which stood upright.

A soldier was sent by the railway ditch up to the front, so I went
with him. The best plan after all was to walk forward, stepping out
but without hurry. A little beyond the level of our lines I found some
breast-high shelters on the edge of the railway ditch. Here we posted
the bearers, who would wait to attend to the wounded.

One got a near view of all our front. A group of some twenty men had
gone forward together and were entrenching themselves; others at
intervals crept forward on their own initiative on different sides;
it was rather like men at a Salvation meeting, coming in, one by one,
for conversions. As one was halfway up to his comrades, a shrapnel
burst with a flare just above him; he lay still for a few minutes and
then crawled slowly back, evidently wounded. The twenty had hardly
established themselves when three shrapnels and a shell burst at
intervals all along their little line. However, the slow process went
on, and the line was being gradually levelled up to those who were
furthest forward.

This slow advance, inevitable in daytime, is very trying. The moment of
greatest danger was when the men came in full view of the enemy, who
from his trenches could direct his artillery fire with precision on
to the Russian advance. As our men came closer in, this danger would
disappear, for the German artillery in the rear would be afraid of
hitting its own infantry; but this stage was still far off.

I came back to the staff, and when close to it I was noticed and
followed with a little shower of explosive bullets which burst near me.
Beyond the railway, much the same movement was in process, except that
here machine guns were at work. I made my way back to the wood; shells
travelled overhead far to our rear; as each passed, the wounded men
whom I was supporting jerked instinctively away from me and wished to
lie down or seek any shelter.

I had a long walk back, passing on the way groups of those wounded who
were able to go on foot, and followed for some distance by two soldiers
who were on the lookout for spies.


_May 31._

I have had an interesting talk with a German officer, commander of a
battery which was cut off by the Russians in a recent advance on our
side. He comes from the Rhine and has lived long in Hamburg, and he
inspired in his captors the greatest respect by his breeding and good
feeling.

We talked first of Hamburg: he described it as a dead town; trade
there is, but it goes by other roads and most of the profits remain in
neutral countries. The short rations in Germany he insisted were simply
a measure of precaution, and latterly prices had been lowered; he had a
poor opinion of potato bread. Next we talked of the Rhine Universities,
which are practically emptied of students by the war. There are in the
army many volunteers from the age of sixteen to that of forty-eight,
but this is no indication of the depletion of material for the Army.

We now got on to the main questions; he was very ready to discuss them
and spoke perfectly frankly. I asked on what side Germany could hope
for any deciding success. He admitted at once that no such point,
of the kind that Napoleon used to look for, was to be found on any
side, and he maintained that from the outset, both militarily and
politically, Germany was fighting a purely defensive war, of course by
frequent counter-offensives. In that case, I suggested, Germany could
only have peace by our offering it, that is, by our getting tired of
the war; and surely it was unfortunate that she had all of us against
her at once. In reply he reminded me of the German word _Streber_,
which means a restless pushing person who is always disturbing and
annoying others. Economically, he said, the struggle for life in
Germany had become almost impossible, of which he himself had seen many
instances. Some outlet was essential, and this England and the other
Powers had united to prevent. I said that for us English the issue was
whether Germany should have things which we at present possess, and
that we were not likely to give them up without fighting. He quite
accepted this. Germany, he said, was like the troublesome boy of the
school, who was dissatisfied and had a grievance, and was always making
things unpleasant for all the rest, so that there was no wonder if
he was not liked. I suggested that this went too far, if his own old
allies, such as Italy, turned against him. He expressed a natural
resentment against Italy, and said that anyhow here right was on the
side of Germany, who would continue to defend herself to the end. I
answered that we might disagree as to the question of right, but that
I could not understand how any successful issue could be hoped for
under such conditions. He was of my opinion, and twice spoke of the
war as a "catastrophe." I asked, then, why Germany should persist in
a policy which had obviously, especially in the case of Italy, proved
to be a misguided one; we all felt admiration for the magnificent
fighting power of the German army, which might have dealt successfully
with us separately; but it had been set an impossible task. He replied
that England had a long experience as a state and that policy with her
was well thought out; Germany had only some forty years of a united
existence behind her, and the policy which had led to "the catastrophe"
could not, as a policy, be defended. I asked whether it was likely to
be changed, and to this I neither expected nor got any answer. But
it was interesting that, in spite of the great successes in western
Galicia, he described the present mood of the army as nothing like the
first great outburst of enthusiasm at the beginning of the war.

I was later given an opportunity of examining a German private (a
Hanoverian). This man had been asleep when the Russians stormed his
trenches. I was interested both in the readiness of his answers, which
he gave with a smiling face, and in the answers themselves. The German
heavy artillery was all beyond the San, and troops were being sent away
to the Italian front. Food was poor in Galicia; all the soldiers were
for peace, and there was the same refrain in all the letters received
from home. He had been on the western front near Reims and had made
the railway journey to Neu-Sandec (Nowy Sacz) in five days. He spoke
with especial respect of the first English troops, of the Russian field
artillery and of the accuracy of the French heavy artillery.


_June 7._

I had a talk with a staff officer of the E E Corps on the fortunes of
his corps and on the German methods of advance. The corps had not been
hit so hard as some others by the Austro-German impact; it helped to
cover the retreat to the San, and stood to its ground beyond the river
until one of its neighbours retired. When the enemy had thus got a
footing beyond the river, the E E Corps made a counter-attack vigorous
and successful. But the enemy pushed the next corps still further
back, so that the E E's had also to rectify their line. However, they
continued to make counter-attacks, at one point gaining about a mile
of ground, and they were still holding good. They had at least the
satisfaction of holding the forces of the enemy which were opposed to
them, so that these troops could not move further along the Russian
line to complete their offensive movement. This record is typical of
very much of the Galician fighting, which is full of such ups and downs
of attacks and of counter-attacks, and only reached decisive results by
the employment, at given points, of an overwhelmingly superior heavy
artillery.

The German method is to mass superior artillery against a point
selected and to cover the area in question with a wholesale and
continuous cannonade. The big German shells, which the Russian soldiers
call the "black death," burst almost simultaneously at about fifty
yards from each other, making the intervening spaces practically
untenable. The cannonaded area extends well to the rear of the
Russian lines, and sometimes it is the rear that is first subjected
to a systematic bombardment, the lines themselves being reserved for
treatment later. On one of my visits the divisional and regimental
staffs were being so shelled that the former had to move at once and
one of the latter was half destroyed; but meanwhile there was hardly
a shot along the actual front. In this way confusion is created, and
reinforcements and supply are made difficult. It is the wholesale
character of these cannonades that make their success, for there is
nowhere to which the defenders can escape. The whole process is, of
course, extremely expensive.

When a considerable part of the Russian front has thus been
annihilated, and when the defenders are, therefore, either out of
action or in retreat, the enemy's infantry is poured into the empty
space and in such masses that it spreads also to left and right,
pushing back the neighbouring Russian troops. Thus the whole line is
forced to retire, and the same process is repeated on the new positions.

When success in one district has thus been secured, the German impact
is withdrawn and again brought forward at some further part of the
Russian front. In other words, the German hammer, zigzagging backwards
and forwards, travels along our front, striking further and further on
at one point or another, until the whole front has been forced back.

The temper of this corps, as of practically all the others, is in no
sense the temper of a beaten army. The losses have been severe; but
with anything like the artillery equipment of the enemy, both officers
and men are confident that they would be going forward.


_June 10._

I rode over dull country on my way to the SS Corps, one of whose
divisions I had visited a week or so before. While I sat lunching in a
wood, regiments of cavalry swept past me, filling the air with dust;
sometimes one could not see a horseman until he was upon one. Not far
from the Staff there was a sick soldier lying by the road, with some
peasants looking after him; we sent him forward on a passing army cart.

The SS Corps was having an easy time after the recent fighting in
a large village over three miles long which had several good clean
quarters; the Polish peasants are excellent hosts. Neither side was
making any move, but our Staff went up every day to the positions
to direct the work of entrenching, which was being carried forward
with the greatest energy. The General in command, who is very hearty
and sociable, was just starting in his motor when I arrived, and he
invited me to come with him. It was a far drive, and at one point we
were stuck in the sand; we passed quite a number of different lines of
defence, carefully planned and executed. As large drafts of recruits
had come in recently, we halted at the edge of a wood and the General
gathered the men round him and made them a very vigorous little speech.
He described how Germany and Germans had for several years exploited
Russia, especially through the last tariff treaty, which was made when
Russia was engaged in the Japanese War, and set up entirely unfair
conditions of exchange. He said that the German exploited and bullied
everybody; and that was a thing which the peasant could understand,
often from personal experience. Then he got talking of the great family
of the Slavs, of little Serbia's danger and of the Tsar's championship,
of Germany's challenge and of Russia's defiance. Next he spoke of the
Allies and of their help. And then he spoke of the regiment, which
bears a name associated with the great Suvorov; they were always, he
said, sent to the hardest work, often, as now, to repair a reverse; and
he spoke plainly and without fear of the recent retreat. Concluding,
he told them a story of Gurko: some of his men had said that the
enemy would have to pass over their bodies, and Gurko answered, "Much
better if you pass over his." He ended by telling them all to "fight
with their heads." In the wood he addressed another group. Both his
little speeches were manly and effective, and they were very much
appreciated; one of the men (I wear no epaulettes) called me to closer
attention.

On the further edge of the wood there were good trenches, and from them
ran a long and very winding covered way to the front line of all. The
enemy here was only some sixty yards off, and we could get a good view
of his lines; but this day he only sent a few intermittent shrapnel
over our heads.

The next day we motored again to this side, which was on our extreme
right flank. We left the motors and rode fast through thick brushwood.
Most of us got separated from the leaders, but we picked up their
tracks, and our Cossacks gave us a great gallop to catch up with them.
We had tea in a beautiful wood with an outpost of the Red Cross, which
was living in tents; the regimental band played to us, and gave us
"God save the King." We were just beginning to talk about the stifling
gases. "Confound their politics; Frustrate their knavish tricks"
seemed to have a new significance. After tea we rode and walked to an
artillery observation post, from which the enemy's lines were clearly
visible. This day wore a holiday atmosphere, with music and snapping
of photographs and the forest picnic. But the General's alertness was
soon to be proved. Three days later the Germans made their new advance
exactly at this point, but of that I will write later.


_June 13._

Next to the L Corps on the right is one of the most famous corps in the
Russian army--3 K. In this war it has been put to hard and dangerous
work all over the front.

At Kosienice, which saw some of the hardest fighting in the war, two
regiments crossed the Vistula--the Vistula, mind; and those who have
seen it will know what that means--under fire and in face of two German
corps and three Austrian; another brigade of 3 K came along the river
from a Russian fortress on the western bank, marching knee-deep through
marsh and water with the general at its head. The two regiments that
crossed moved forward to a vast forest near the river, and there they
had an hour and a half's bayonet fighting--one may imagine what that
means. An enormous number of officers went down; the B's lost forty,
and the S's in the course of those five days had seven successive
officers killed while commanding the regiment. In the midst of the
bayonet fighting, when most of the Russian officers fell, some of the
Germans shouted out in Russian, "Don't fight your own men!" and in the
confusion which followed the Russians left the forest and lay, half
in marsh and with only the most elementary cover, under a devastating
artillery fire; however, they held their ground on this bank of the
river, and, as soon as they were reinforced, they again moved forward
and scattered the Germans, drove them off westward, and then pushed the
Austrians, in more than a week of fighting, beyond Kielce, where they
feasted their triumph with the old corps song, "God has given victory."
After this followed arduous fighting in the Czenstochowa region. Later
the corps went to the eastern Carpathians to stem an Austro-German
advance, and it was thence brought rapidly across to the assistance
of our army when the tremendous artillery impact of the enemy fell on
Galicia between Gorlice and Tarnow.

I first saw General Irmanov the day he had entered Kielce. He is one
of the most remarkable and sympathetic figures of the whole war. I
saw what seemed an old man of middle height, of sturdy figure, with
a curious outward kink in his walk as of one who had lived much on
horseback; he has a singularly peaceful and gentle face, with a high
colour and grey hair and beard; a child-like simplicity and directness
blended with a fatherly benevolence; but the suggestion of different
ages ends, when one sees much of the General, in one's forgetting age
altogether. The voice is a mild, high one which sometimes comes out
like a little bark. I had a long talk then with General Irmanov, and
for every one of my questions got a clear and full answer. Irmanov was
not a General Staff officer; in peace and off duty he lives a quiet
domestic life in his mountain home. His staff is like a family; there
is a peculiar smartness and spirit in the salute when the General
appears and all line up to greet him. He mounts without delay and is
off in a moment; he is one of the fastest riders in the army, and in a
few minutes his suite, trained riders as they are, are all streaming
behind him.

In the battle of Gorlice the corps was set a desperate task. It was
to turn the German flank and get to the devastating heavy artillery
and take it. It is always shorter to go forward than to go back; and
this was the one way in which bold hands could beat metal. When I
first heard the order, some one said, "Irmanov can do it"; and he
very nearly succeeded. The Prussian Guard Reserve was against him, and
their prisoners, who held their heads high in other matters, were all
agreed as to the heroism of 3 K. There followed tremendous rearguard
fighting, battles or marches every day. The corps was 40,000 when it
marched on the guns; it was 8000 when it stood covering the Russian
rear beyond the river San. It was 6000 when it made its counter-advance
on Sieniawa, and then it took 7000 prisoners and a battery of heavy
artillery. Not much of the beaten army in this!

I reached the pleasing white farmhouse in which the staff of the corps
lived, and felt at home from the first. They made me feel myself to be
one of the party; there was no ceremony, but the General, who found
time for everything, saw to it himself that I had a little room of my
own, which he visited to see that all was in order.

Next day he asked me whether I would like to go with a colonel of
Cossacks. This seemed simple enough. We went to the colonel's quarters,
took a quick lunch and then mounted. The whole regiment, I noticed,
was behind us; we started at a dashing pace, breaking a way through
thick forest, the branches often lashing our faces. The Germans had
come through at one point, and we were on our way to stop them; if
we found them on the march, the regiment would charge; if they were
taking cover, we should take cover opposite them and possibly advance
on foot to a counter-attack, in which the Cossack's sword would replace
the infantry bayonet. At a signal all heads were uncovered and, while
we still rode forward, there rose a solemn hymn which is always sung
before action. Later the colonel said, "We have been serious long
enough; let's have some songs"; and with the music of the Don and
Caucasus rising and falling we rode forward.

I had begun to wonder what exactly was my part in the day's
business--for I was riding, with only a Red Cross brassard, next to
the colonel--when we were all told to dismount, hide in a wood and
await further orders. We were here for about two hours; I woke from a
good sleep to see the divisional general come out of his hut with our
colonel. The General made vigorous gestures which I thought must be an
order for attack; but it turned out just the opposite. The gestures
meant that the German advance had already been stopped, and the colonel
came back, saying, "Got to go home." From my point of view it was just
as well, for I am sure I could have done nothing to help except fall
off. We rode slowly back in the evening; and every now and then the men
sang long melodies that fitted the hour and the bare plains.


_June 16._

The day after our ride there was nothing doing, and it was difficult
to make any plan. I spent most of the day lying about the big garden,
as many of the soldiers did. There were pleasant gullies, and beyond
lay the long, rambling, white-walled village with a pretty church. The
village girls were all on the way thither dressed in bright colours. It
seemed that there were services twice a day; and the people, who were
Poles, met whenever they heard the cannon, to pray for the success of
the Russian arms.

I sat for some time in the church. The younger girls all knelt before
the chancel and sang a long and beautiful prayer, into which, in the
second half of each stave, there joined the voices of the men behind.
Then the priest, who looked both kind and clever, had a talk with the
younger children. Poland is one of the few countries where all the
church music is congregational, and it is often sung very beautifully.
For the Pole the church is the fortress and shelter of his country;
and in this terrible war, which has fallen so hardly on Poland, this
comfort is more needed and more real than ever. It is many times that
the inhabitants of this region, especially old peasant women, have told
me how they feared the coming of the Germans.

The Staff was a very pleasant company. The chief, also a general, had
the face and manner of a conscientious English country gentleman; he
was widely read in military history, and his judgments were always
weighed. The senior adjutant had been contusioned and invalided, but
somehow had managed to return almost at once; he was humorous and
talkative; in his room he had a placard, "There is no air in this room,
don't spoil your health and GO AWAY." Over the General's door he had
written, "Don't disturb work or rest."

Two officers examined our prisoners, assisted by a Czech interpreter.
There was one very militant Austrian German, who would have it that
Austria would win; he was so rude about the Austrian Slavs that I asked
him at the end whether Austria wanted the Slavs. He said they wished
to be quit of Galicia, and in fact of all their Slav provinces; I
suggested that Austria proper and Tirol might find their natural place
inside the German empire; he answered with alacrity, "Of course, far
better under Wilhelm II." It is a view which offers possibilities of a
settlement; but I did not see how it would suit Austria.

In the evening the Cossacks, encamped in different groups in the wood,
struck up their strange songs and the Russian national hymn, which they
have their own way of singing, suggestive of cadences in the music of
the north of England. I came back from a walk in the cornfields to hear
that the General invited me to come with him the next day.

At eight in the morning all was movement. We made a vigorous start, and
went off at a great pace towards our left flank, the point which I had
already visited when with the SS Corps. The General missed nothing.
He had a salute in his little high voice for every one: "Good day,
sapper," "Good day, cavalier" (to any soldier with the George Cross);
and men standing far away across the fields drew themselves to sharp
attention to anticipate him with their lusty greeting. "Thank you for
your trouble," he said, whenever we passed a group of men at work.
At one point he galloped right away from all the lot of us, and when
we caught him up he said, "I thought somehow he looked like my son."
He turned round several times to ask, "Is the Englishman there?" and
insisted on superintending the adjustment of my stirrups.

After passing several lines of entrenchments, we came to the front
line. Here he ordered us all to stay on the edge of a wood and went
forward into the open alone, diving into the trenches, talking with one
man or another, patting them on the back and distributing rewards for
bravery. He was soon back again from his scramble and said he must have
an observation point. They took us to a tree with a ladder against it;
the tree was outside our lines. He was up it in an instant. "They can
come at us from three sides under cover here," he said, pointing to the
surrounding woods. "Go up and have a look"; then, "Who's on our flank?"
for we were at the limit of our positions. The answer did not satisfy
him, nor did the reply which he received from a neighbouring regiment;
he made the necessary dispositions and was off on horseback.

As we passed behind our lines we met a Red Cross outpost, where we
made a short halt. A little further on there passed us at full gallop
four regiments of Cossacks on their way to relieve our neighbours on
the left, where, as we now knew, the Germans were breaking through. As
we passed, the General called a salute to each regiment by name and
to officers or soldiers in person; and we saluted each flag as the
Cossacks swept past in full swing. We pulled up sharp at the Staff of
the brigade. The General had the men out and talked to them; to the
candidates presented for the George he said, "I will give it to any one
who accounts for ten Germans;" then he spoke of England, and asked me
to give a greeting, so I told them how grateful we were for all that
they had done for the Allies, and how we meant to do our full share of
the work.

Rewards were distributed, and we were off for home; but we had hardly
got there, with every one except the General fairly tired, when he
ordered his motor to take him off to his opposite flank, the right.
He invited me to come with him, and I asked leave to spend the night
in the trenches of the Q regiment, which held that flank. He gave his
leave, as there was no disquieting news from that side, and my traps
were put in the motor. We had a long push through the oceans of sand,
but at last were travelling along the rear of the right flank. At one
point some sinister hand, well in the rear of our front, had laid a
whole line of fire through a great wood.

Suddenly there opened before us such a sight as I had seen at the
beginning of the great fighting in Galicia when I was with the J Corps.
There was one long line of fire, shell on shell bursting at close
intervals and almost continuously in the twilight, with a deafening
noise, though we were some way in the rear. It was the smashing tactics
again--and again at the expense of the J Corps--which had suffered so
much in the previous fighting.

General Irmanov thought for a moment that we had gone beyond our own
positions; but it proved otherwise. We found the Staff of the Division
in a garden outside a hut. It was a General whom I had met elsewhere,
with a new Chief of the Staff, very conscientious and painstaking. With
a lamp on the table we sat in the garden and heard the news. At four
o'clock the Q's were intact. The neighbouring regiment of the J Corps,
which was only at half strength, had had to retire from its positions;
and the Q's, with their flank uncovered, were pounded till they had
but few men left. These retreated in good order, guarding as best they
could against further outflanking; but there was no question of getting
to them that night.

In a single day our corps, which the enemy respected enough to leave
till last, had been turned on both flanks; and at each of the
threatened points so far distant from each other, General Irmanov, who
could not have anticipated the danger, had managed to be on the spot as
soon as it presented itself.


_June 19._

The morning after our return from the right flank every one was very
busy, and the best thing that one could do was not to get in the way.
I had a chat with the Chief of the Staff, who, when he could snatch
an interval at an anxious time, usually spent it with one of the
more fantastic novels of Mr. H. G. Wells. We talked of the military
reputations of the war. He told me we were engaged along our whole
front; I had thought of getting to the regiment which I had accompanied
near Biecz, and which belonged to this corps; but he said that it was
difficult to send me. Shortly afterwards, in the most business-like
way, everything in the house was packed; we, too, were to retreat.

General Irmanov believed in meeting attack by counter-attack, and
almost every day his corps had contrived some surprise for the enemy,
usually by night; on the day of my arrival it took over a thousand
prisoners. Altogether the corps had taken in prisoners much more than
its own original strength. But this time there were reasons which made
retreat imperative. "If I had what I need," said the General, "I should
advance to-morrow."

The retreat was conducted in the most perfect order. The General
visited on his way the new line of entrenchments, which had been
prepared with great care. I accompanied the senior adjutant to the
new quarters, which were only four and a half miles off, but, alas!
beyond the old frontier and in Russian Poland. What of our friends,
the poor inhabitants, whom we left behind? In our new halting-place I
could not fail to notice the delicacy of the corps authorities in their
arrangements for their quarters. Everything was done to lessen the
inconvenience for the townspeople; and the General's own quarters were
asked, rather than claimed, of the local priest. The General had given
a special order as to my own accommodation; I was again to have a room
of my own.

By now I was coming to a conclusion which I had long been considering.
I had visited these last corps to complete my information on some
points which seemed to me to be of the first importance, not only to
the army, but to Russia and to the allies. The data, of which I now
had much more than enough, were overwhelming in what they indicated.
Clearly the troops had lost not an atom of their fighting spirit;
equally clearly they were fighting under the most unfair conditions and
would continue to do so until their technical equipment, in arms and
munitions, was much more on a level with that of the enemy. I wished
to report in person what I had seen; and in this conclusion I was
encouraged by the General. He thought I should not wait for the end of
these operations, which might last a long while, but that I should be
off as soon as possible. "Come back and live with us when we've got
what we want," he said; "and we'll show you how we use it."

He gave me his motor to go and pick up my luggage. It was a curious
journey. Apparently I had twelve miles to go, but one could not
tell how fast the enemy was advancing elsewhere. We ourselves were
retreating twelve miles next day. Besides, the roads were mostly a
hopeless waste of sand, in which motors stuck fast and had to be
dragged out by horses. I was therefore advised to make a circuit of
something like eighty miles.

For most of this distance I had a glorious paved road, constructed, I
believe, by a Polish count, and certainly as good as asphalte. Late at
night I was only five miles from my luggage: but it took me till the
morning--something like seven hours--to get over those five miles, and
it was a wonder that we got through at all, for the aquatic feats of
the chauffeur were astonishing. However, by the evening of the next day
I was with the Staff of the army and making all preparations for going
further. Among the Staff I found not the slightest trace of agitation.
The situation was fully recognised, and there was a clear-cut plan for
dealing with it. I saw all my friends, got all further information that
I needed, and started for Moscow and Petrograd.

The last words of the Chief of the Staff of the army were these: "Be
sure to say, after everything else, that we won't consider a separate
peace and that we are perfectly confident of the final result."



DIARY OF AN AUSTRIAN OFFICER DURING THE AUSTRO-GERMAN RECONQUEST OF
GALICIA


[This officer served in the 12th Rifle Battalion of the 10th
Austrian Division. He was at the front opposite the Russians in the
neighbourhood of Gorlice. He took part in the Austro-German advance
from that place, which was the point selected for the first and most
crushing artillery attack by the enemy. With an interval due to
indisposition, he advanced as far as Sieniawa. This Diary, in many
particulars, supplies interesting confirmation of the intelligence on
the Russian side. I was myself for some part of this period opposite
to the troops in which the Austrian officer was fighting. The chief
value of the Diary is the way in which it illustrates the striking
contrast between the very great successes of the enemy's artillery fire
and the inferiority of the spirit of the enemy's troops to that of the
retreating Russians. I am fully persuaded that no such Diary could have
been written in any of the Russian regiments with which I was during
this period.--B. P.]


_March 18._--At 7.45 p.m. we left Liebertz.[2] It was a merry send-off.
They gave us lots of flowers, cigarettes and a bottle of liquor; the
band plays and the train slowly moves off. I am very tired and soon go
to sleep.


_March 21._--At 8.45 a.m. we arrived at Gribow. We had a rest at Rona.
The detachment was reviewed by the Commander of the corps. The chief
thing is to keep up the men's spirits. In the night of March 23 there
was to have been an attack on our flag. We bivouacked at Lossie. There
I found our field train with Siegel Novak and Kolaris.


_March 22._--At 10 o'clock in the morning we marched out to Riechwald;
the roads were sunk in mud. Kolaris tells us of a four days' fight
at Sekow; of his company there were very few left. The division is
attacking the heights with the Imperial Rifles, the 26th and the 21st.
The Commander of our company was told that in the trenches there were
about fifty Russians who were only waiting for us to surrender. When
we attacked we found as a matter of fact that we had no less than two
Russian regiments against us with four machine guns.[3] The company
of Kahlen marches out to a bare hill, but is met by a murderous fire
and is almost destroyed. The Little Russians are almost all left on
the field, either dead or seriously wounded. They are very lacking in
initiative and resource. When one goes up-hill the heavy knapsack is
a great hindrance. According to what the officers think and what the
soldiers say, this attack was an evident impossibility. Of the officers
there fell Nietsche and Haube. Heavily wounded were Andreis, Lajad and
Ensign Steiner. Riechwald is a dirty Ruthenian village. Near the church
we buried Ensign Buhlwas. Our company is in the trenches eastward of
Riechwald in the direction of the Dukla Pass. The company has been
in the trenches there for seven days in all. At times the Russian
artillery bombards our trenches. Our cannon reply. After dinner, work.
Close to us on the right there burst two shrapnels, and two hundred
yards from my house a Russian shell went past. In front of us, twenty
yards away, there is a hut with our Staff. Not long ago a shell fell
there; luckily there was no one here. In the evening at 9 o'clock the
company returned from the trenches.


_March 24._--At 5 o'clock in the morning there was an alarm. We go off
to the trenches to relieve the 21st Regiment. Our trenches are not very
sound. We are always improving them. The Russians look at us from their
trenches, but do not fire.[4] They, too, are working at their trenches.
Our sixteen-year-old volunteer went out on the Mahlsdorf side _and saw
there_ seven Austrian soldiers. Perhaps they were Russians disguised.
The Brigadier-General has forbidden us to send any scouting parties to
Mahlsdorf. The 21st Regiment sent out a Czech and a German scouting
party, but neither of them came back. We could not hear any firing.[5]
In front of our trenches there is a wire entanglement, at which we put
a sentry, to listen, especially at night, when any danger appears.[6]
By night our outposts fire on the Russians, but the firing soon dies
away.[7]


_March 25._--We have come out of the trenches. In the evening we all
sat together and had a good time with music and beer. The news came
that Przemysl had fallen. Probably now the Russians will march on Dukla
and on Krakow. Lots of complaints against our generals. No one has
anything to say in favour of our offensive.[8]


_March 26._--We are now in the reserve of the division. The second
company is going off to Dziara, where a Russian attack is expected. We
are leaving the village.


_March 27._--The second company has come back. The Russians did not
attack. Jeschko took a scouting detachment and went off towards
Mahlsdorf. There he caught two soldiers of the 21st Regiment. I went
out riding beyond Riechwald. After dinner, work. All round there are
lots of crosses. On the bridge they were carrying a dead soldier; in
front of him was a heap of straw. Infectious disease is beginning.[9]


_March 28._--The 26th Regiment has been joined by the 59th.
A Divisional Order has been issued that too many men are
surrendering.[10] At 6 o'clock in the morning two soldiers brought in
by Jeschko were shot.[11] One was twenty-one, the other twenty-five.
They were buried near the road with a third, who was shot by a sentry
for not knowing the password. The first and second companies are
digging trenches. All day rain and snow. Work with the company till 3
o'clock. In the evening a lot of snow fell. At 8 o'clock in the evening
the company of Kahlen starts off from Ropica Russka, to scout--to find
out what regiments are in front of us.

In front of the Mahlsdorf crest we discovered that we had the 34th
and 248th Russian Regiments. The Russians use Czechs as scouts. The
Commander of the 10th Division has given a prize of 500 crowns to catch
a man.[12] Nestarowicz is ill; so is our doctor. The Russians every
day get bolder and more impudent. They know when dinner is sent to the
trenches and break out laughing, and before the signal is given they
shout out to the 36th Regiment: "Thirty-sixth, to your coffee!" They
also freely employ N.C.O's who know German. Not long ago a Russian
N.C.O. came up boldly to our wire entanglements of the 18th Regiment
and began abusing our men in German, telling them "they had better not
go catching crows but hide in the trenches at once." And indeed our
brave recruits diligently executed his orders.[13]


_March 29._--We are working at the trenches on the Magora. The scouting
detachment of the 59th Regiment sent to Mahlsdorf has lost 14 killed. A
stray bullet killed a N.C.O. of Sappers. In the evening we had dinner
together in honour of the arrival of Major Eisen.


_March 30._--Heavy snow is falling. In the morning, work. Cannonade was
to-day weak. After dinner, confession; nearly all the soldiers went.


_April 1._--In the morning, work. The Russian artillery is strongly
bombarding Sekov. Strict orders to be on the alert. After dinner our
artillery bombards Ropica. In Sekov the Russians have occupied the
bridge, which was guarded by the Imperial Rifles. Meisler is promoted
to the Second Rifle Regiment. Wittner is going off to hospital.[14]


_April 2._--In the morning we dig trenches towards Dziara. Two of our
aeroplanes circle over the Russian trenches. Above Gorlice, there is a
heavy artillery duel.[15] A splendid day. About 5 o'clock three Russian
shrapnels burst over one of our aeroplanes, but it fortunately got
away. In the evening Jeschko is again off to Mahlsdorf with his scouts.
I very much want a drink, but there is no water, nor beer nor wine.[16]


_April 3._--We are digging trenches. After dinner we were free. A
magnificent day. Winternitz has brought champagne, cakes, wine ... and
oranges. In the evening we all met at the doctor's. There was a sudden
alarm.


_April 4._--At 3.45 a.m. we marched out of Riechwald. At Dukla there
was a strong artillery duel. We go through Laszenian and Lovica to
Prislak. Very warm. Impassable marshes. We met Major Braunlich of the
Second Rifle Regiment. I had dinner with him. We had only just finished
our soup when the order came to go over our positions with Silberbauer.
In the wood I parted with the Major. We came on a post where there
were a colonel, major, captain and a lieutenant. They entertained us
hospitably, but all were anxious for peace.[17] In the evening we
came to the trenches. We are working hard. There is water everywhere.
As soon as you think of lying down there comes the order to go on.
All are discontented. We marched up to the knees in mud. On the road
we received letters. Mary hopes I will have a pleasant Easter. I was
so tired I could not move a yard. We forded a pretty deep brook. One
soldier, while crossing, sprained his leg. At 3 o'clock in the morning
we reached Kwieton. I drove out the bearers and slept on a stretcher.


_April 5._--I cannot stand on my legs, and throw away my socks. I and
the Staff Captain have got a rather nice room. They say that the
Russians at Gorlice wanted a three days' truce,[18] but it was not
granted. In the evening there was heavy musketry fire. One hundred
yards from us a house is on fire. The machine gunners of the 59th
Regiment have lost a lot of saddles and harness. At 10 o'clock there
comes the news that the Russians are repulsed.


_April 6._--Splendid day. We were again ordered to join the 8th I.T.
Division as reserve. They have brought a machine which destroys.... To
it were tied an old man and a ten-year-old boy. The boy had eyes like
a hawk; he knows men of all ranks and puts all the work on the old
man. There were salvos of artillery. In the evening a hundred yards
off us the house with our machine guns is set on fire. The ammunition
blows up; the soldiers, barefoot and without uniform, rush out into the
marsh. One soldier and a lot of harness were burned.[19]


_April 7._--At 4 a.m. there is an alarm. We put our bags on a cart. We
had a rest at Rona. We spent the night with a Jew. Two pretty Jewesses
offered their services. Ludwig sings, after which he throws out of
the house the Honved Staff Corporal, who was here drinking champagne.
Before this we met in the village a pretty Pole. There were Honveds,
who are worse than Cossacks.[20] In November the Jew entertained here
a Russian General and his staff. The Polish lady entertained us with
cakes, and even knows German.


_April 8._--After a wretched night in the Jew's house we occupied some
trenches above Cieszkowice. We are relieving the Honveds. I met by
chance Lieutenant Spalen. I was very glad to see him. The trenches are
very good and dry. The Russians are nine hundred yards off. We have in
front of my squad three machine guns. In the evening they open fire on
us in honour of our arrival.


_April 9._--At 2 a.m. a Russian scouting party and two squads came out
of the wood. At 4 our machine guns fired on them. We were exchanging
shots the whole day.


_April 10._--The Russians get their breakfast earlier than we do. In
the evening they attacked to our left, where they set a house on fire.
It is very dull; I have a cold and want to sleep. The Russians keep
throwing earth straight into my beer; they shoot so well at my mud hut.
At night I send out scouts.


_April 11._--Life goes slowly. We got newspapers a week old and I read
them diligently all through. The Russians fire now and then.


_April 12._--The day has gone rather quietly. The 4th Company has taken
prisoner a Russian deserter, a Jew.[21]


_April 13._--There are lots of wounded in the 2nd and 4th Companies. At
11 p.m. the Russians attacked the 80th Honved Regiment to the left of
us, but were beaten off.


_April 14._--At 5 a.m. the Russians attacked the 56th Regiment on our
left flank. They took prisoner a lieutenant, commanding the company,
and about thirty privates. Our artillery, however, drove them out of
our trenches.[22]


_April 15._--The whole day we were exchanging shots. It was a simply
hellish night. The Russians at midnight made six attacks. The Russian
heavy mortars threw about 150 shells at a copse not far from my squad.
Our artillery replied. The attack is chiefly directed against the 80th
Regiment and part of our company, where two huts were smashed. Two men
wounded.


_April 16._--A recruit named Szebek was killed close to the trench. He
was carrying wood. In the evening we put up a wire entanglement and
took prisoner a Russian of a scouting party, who came too near to our
wire entanglement.


_April 17._--At 3 a.m. a Russian scouting party tried to get through
our wire entanglements, but was observed and beaten off. In the evening
another strong artillery duel. We are improving our trenches.


_April 18._--We are almost all ill. The Russians worry us all day.
No one dares to show himself in the communication passage, otherwise
bullets whistle over our head.[23] We are making wire entanglements.


_April 19._--The morning was quiet. At mid-day there began a strong
cannonade by our artillery. The Russians replied with only a few shots.
A Russian aeroplane. Towards evening the Russian machine guns again
fire on my house. We were to be relieved. The order was issued, but has
been cancelled. We are waiting for the 9th marching battalion, which
ought to arrive about now.


_April 20._--A normal day. The 9th marching battalion arrived and
brought us 54 men.


_April 21._--We were relieved by the 90th Magyar Foot Regiment. Awful
disorder. In the evening we slept in Cieszkowice. The Russians, as we
march off, show they know what is happening.


_April 22._--Nearly the whole day quiet. I sleep on a sofa.


_April 23._--They say that we shall be put in reserve. What a long time
they have left us here!


_April 24._--They say that German regiments are coming.[24] At Gribow a
Russian airman dropped a bomb on the station. At night there was a lot
of shooting in the trenches.


_April 25._--Lots of aeroplanes. The Russian cannon and machine guns
are firing at our airships. I am entertaining Spalen. He says that on
one of the lines a Honved battalion has communication with a Russian.
The Russians send champagne and caviare. I myself saw the Russian
soldiers and ours walking about together between the trenches, the
distance being not more than 300 yards. Three German batteries have
arrived. They say that we are going to pass to the offensive.


_April 26._--In the morning and afternoon, work with the recruits.
The German General was surprised that we had not taken the offensive
earlier. I have changed my quarters and am sleeping in a bed. In the
evening there was a strong cannonade. The windows shook. Sleep was out
of the question.


_April 27._--In the morning it rained. Orders to march at mid-day;
cancelled. The German Guard is marching. They are going in the
direction of Bartieczew. There are already some wounded at the bridge,
for the Russian artillery hits the columns, which scatter over the
slopes. Our artillery replies. In the evening we go into reserve.


_April 28._--In the morning we get up late. Two German aeroplanes are
reconnoitring the ground. Two of our companies are to attack, the third
and fourth in reserve. I sleep very badly in a mud hut.


_April 29._--Katz is ill. A great attack is in preparation. Six corps
of the German Guard have come from France, to our part of the front.
The post is stopped; writing is forbidden; my poor Mary!


_April 30._--We are drawn up in attacking order opposite Rzepeinik.
Four hundred of our cannon thunder against the heights at Gollanka.[25]
At 9 o'clock in the evening we cut through our wire entanglements. The
1st and 2nd company go forward to the attack, and we behind them in
reserve. We lose connexion. The trenches are empty; there is no one
there.[26] At last, after three-quarters of an hour, we find other
trenches. We have advanced 1-1/2 kilometres. We entrench ourselves.
Katz wants us to entrench in the open in front of the wood, but I
advise on the edge of the wood as the enemy's artillery cannonades us
on our flank.[27] We have scarcely begun entrenching ourselves when
heavy Russian mortars open fire on us. That night was awful. I sit with
Janikowski (my orderly); no one speaks. We press our backs against the
clay dug-out. The side of the trench is an admirable defence from the
firing. The shrapnels burst all round us, lighting up the surroundings
with a hellish fire. Janikowski shuts his eyes and does not want to
look. I try to begin talking. The clay keeps on crumbling into the
trench from the impact of the air. I think of every one at home. I
think of Mary. I think of the action of shells and wonder how it was
possible to invent such a terrible thing. It is dawning. Thank God. The
shells no longer shine up in the darkness and do not seem so terrible.
Now our two batteries have begun to talk. Beneath me I hear soldiers
talking. They want to get breakfast. The Muscovite has, perhaps,
stopped already. I remain silent. They get me beams to cover my trench
in case the Russians should think of bombarding us again. I go off to
sleep.


_May 1._--About 6 I woke up. Janikowski has made some coffee. Where
he got it is for me a mystery. I stretch myself and feel altogether
knocked up, as my legs were higher than my head. Our artillery thunders
in salvos all round. We wait. At 11 o'clock the guard regiment with
the 21st is to go to the attack. It is already mid-day. It is only now
that musketry fire has suddenly begun. Our men are talking. The Russian
cannon fire straight on to us. We have to go forward in the direction
of Rzepeinik. It is in the valley in front of us. My squad has three or
four men crawling forward. The Russian shrapnel bursts a few yards off
us. I and Katz go to the left. The bullets whistle past us. Our people
are pressing the Russians on the right flank. After two hours we all
go forward. In front of us the village of Rzepeinik is in flames. The
21st Regiment has had enormous losses. We receive orders to take the
southern slope of the hill from Kazalow. The Russians fire on our flank
from the left of Gollanka. The hillock is taken. We have only two or
three wounded. I sleep in a hut in front of which are our trenches.


_May 2._--At 8 a.m. orders to march. With the 2nd Rifle Regiments we go
up through the wood on Dobrotyn, Hill 517. We come under fire of the
Russian artillery. We have to go forward as quick as we can. We march
in column. One shell burst on the first column and knocked out 8 men--2
killed, 4 seriously wounded, 2 slightly wounded. A volunteer is killed.
We go forward at a run. The shrapnel bursts behind us. We several times
march forward round Hill 517. In the end we entrench for the night.


_May 3._--Morning. We move forward as the reserve of the I T Division.
Three short advances and then an order came to take Hill 417 (Obzar)
with the Rifles. It is 3 o'clock already. We turn from the road into
the wood. We are to attack at night. At 6 o'clock we are ready. We go
round the wood. It begins to get dark. The 3rd company has to cover
a battalion on its left. We lose connexion with the front line. Katz
runs back and I come out on to the road. Katz is unnerved. He has lost
connexion. He wants to lead his company from behind. I run forward to
Katz and in person order the company to disperse into attack order and
advance up the hill. In front of us are our sentries. I meet the squad
of Ensign Minster. I take it with me. By this time we are come up to
the reserve company of Canicani. I determine to attack along the road.
Canicani goes first. We make our way for a whole hour parallel with the
crest of the hill. It is dark. Left of us the houses are on fire, where
the Russians were in the morning. We have certainly gone forward a
long way, and the Russian left flank is able to turn us. We turn back.
Midnight. We want to stay on the road in the wood. We have found a
company of the 18th Regiment to the left, and to the right is the 80th.
We entrench.


_May 4._--Three a.m. Obzar is in our hands. We may expect a Russian
artillery attack. We entrench ourselves on the Obzar Hill. In a hut by
the road they have got us breakfast. I entrench myself with the chief
of scouts, Altman, who was a volunteer from Liebertz. At 11 o'clock we
get wine and something to eat. Katz and Hoffmann go off to hospital.
Lieutenant Kahl takes over the company. At 5 a.m. we are relieved by
the 98th, and go in the direction of Wyzjowa, Hill 419. Between Obzar
and Wyzjowa we entrench for the night.


_May 5._--The Prussian Guard is attacking to the right of us. All round
huts are burning. The Russian batteries fire past us. Our batteries
are going off to their positions. Behind, one catches sight of a group
of cavalry. We bivouac in a courtyard. The second company of Canicani
sends out sentries towards Wyzjowa. What is Mary doing? May is the
month of love, and my dear one is asleep at home. Shall I return? I
believe, I believe; it is by belief that I live. We have taken prisoner
a Russian N.C.O., a gunner.


_May 6._--Alarm at 4 a.m. We march in the advanced guard and are to
go to the river Wislok. With fifteen men I go scouting, direction of
Wyzjowa, Dembow and Blazkow, or rather south of Blazkow, Hill 291. We
are to reconnoitre the course of the river Wislok to see if the enemy
is there. I go with Polnerycz; he goes off a little to the north. We
get to Czerinne. In the morning there were Cossacks here everywhere.
Every one is afraid of the Germans.[28] On the road, we buy some eggs.
We got to the top of the hill, and in front of us lay the Wislok. We
could not advance further. German scouts. The Russian artillery is
cannonading us from the opposite heights. I and my men look for cover
in a deep ditch. Only two go forward on their knees up the hill, and
keep a look out; two I send to a hut to cook some potatoes. Columns are
moving along the road to Blazkow. I think it is our battalion coming
up. I send two men to the village and meanwhile read the newspaper. At
my order the thinned ranks go forward. God of Mercy have mercy on us. I
wonder who of us will survive. Two o'clock. We eat some potatoes. The
battalion is in the village. I go forward to it. We got there safely.
In the village two of our batteries are taking up position. We get some
dinner. Unexpectedly there arrive two civilians. I thought I knew one
of them. Just then he came up to me and said in pure German, "Sir, I
have the honour to report myself from captivity." It was Tandler of
my squad, who with Palme, of the Rifles, was taken prisoner by the
Russians in December and escaped. They were disguised as Poles. Tandler
spoke Bohemian well, and the Russians took him for a Pole. The other
pretended to be dumb. The schoolmaster of the village of Blazkow helped
them. The first company went forward towards the river. At night we
were to attack the heights beyond the river. The Russians have burned
the bridges. We must ford the river. I left my knapsack in the kitchen
and took with me only my field glasses, ... spade and revolver. At 12
o'clock we get up, have a meal and drink black coffee. We come to the
river, the 4th company in front, at 2 a.m. The road was very dusty.
Behind us a Russian shell set the hut on fire. Our 4th company arrived
at the burned bridge. Just then we came under a rain of bullets. All
lay down. Next to me was Sub-Lieutenant Bader. I call Kahlen and want
to give orders but it is no use. We run along the marsh to the bank
of the river; I see its shining surface. Just one plunge forward and,
with the name of God, we are in the water. Some fall behind in the
water. I see that the copse on the opposite bank is full of our men
and hear the rear ranks coming through the river. About 600 yards from
us a hut was set on fire, and lit up the house to the right. We are
going towards the flaming hut. The sub-lieutenant doesn't want to go
forward, saying that he has no orders. I lost him. Our right flank is
already engaged. We hear a Russian machine gun. I send an orderly to
the left and want to know who is there, as so far there is not a sound
on that side. We run forward about 300 yards and begin going up the
hill. At 100 or 115 yards in front of us we see the trenches. I don't
know whether they are Russians' or ours. The firing does not slacken.
If the Russians have gone, then they may come back. "Forward," I shout,
"first battalion, forward, hurrah," but no one wants to move. All our
men turn to the left, and no one listens to me. Only when I repeat the
order and explain that there are very few Russians, they go forward.
Three or four Russians are still firing; the rest throw away their guns
and throw up their hands, about seventy. I leave four men with them and
go forward. To the left of us the Russian machine guns are firing on
our flank. We are joined by a company of the 2nd Rifles. I direct them
quickly to the left, where I see flashes of musketry fire. Myself I go
at a quick pace to the hill. I see that the Russians are returning
and can easily turn our 4th company. Quickly forward. It is sad to
think of so many lives. The will of God be done. Just then I heard from
behind shouts of hurrah and bullets whistling. This was the reserve
of the 98th Regiment, which was going to attack the Russians whom we
had already taken prisoners, and took us for retreating Russians. They
fire at us with machine gun. I shout out, use my whistle and at last
succeed in stopping the fire. I look round to the left and see that
Captain Tezera coming up. I am very tired, tortured with thirst and can
hardly stand on my legs. With a gesture I explain to him the position
of affairs to the left. He is wounded in the hand. Our men quickly
entrench on the hill. Czwanczara takes me to a hut and makes some
coffee. They now suggest that I should go to the first-aid point. I am
in the village of Bukowa. I wait for Janikowski with clean linen, so as
to change. The Russian shrapnels are bursting in Bukowa, above which
are our trenches. After paying the hostess I go to look for the doctor.
Everywhere there is a mass of wounded, ours and the Russians. Some dead
Russians lie on the road. In the hut I happen to meet our major. I tell
him that I am going off. He seems very annoyed, and says that he has
no one to replace me. The doctor of the 2nd Rifles looked me over. He
was anxious about my lungs, otherwise it was simply fatigue and a bad
cold. At the first-aid point there were a mass of wounded; lots of them
ours. I met Janikowski. I heard from him that among the wounded were
Boguslaw, Minster, Klein, Tepser, Werner, Silberbauer, seriously; and
killed Radlenbacher, Gezl, Scoutmaster Malina, and Altman. The field
hospital was in the school. There were many wounded in head and chest
and stomach. I slept with the slightly wounded, and had a fairly good
night.


_May 8._--We went by cart to Tuchow. The road was broken up. We stopped
in Jedlowa. I had a talk with the commander of the corps, Kraliczek.
After dinner we arrived in Tuchow. The bridge had been burned by the
Russians. Lots of houses had been smashed by our artillery.[29] There
were thousands of wounded lying there. Colonel Szeol of the 21st told
me of the fighting in Serbia where he was earlier with the 79th.[30]
He is a Czech. Boguslaw is angry because they won't allow us to bury
Silberbauer, in case of his death, in the garden of the estate, where
many Russians were wounded. In the town nothing was to be bought.


_May 9._--They have brought in lots of wounded. In the evening it
turned out that there were 600 new wounded. I wrote to Mary.


_May 10._--Slept well, and had a walk in the town. Appetite returned.


_May 11._--We were invited to supper by the staff doctor. To-day there
arrived sisters of mercy and with them a captain, under whose orders
they were. The wife of the doctor, who is in prison in Russia, is
living with the captain, as husband and wife; rather early.


_May 12._--They promised us a cart from the corps field train, but it
went off under our noses. Luck brought us a Jew from Sanc with a trap.
We got off through Ryplica, Jedlowa and ... to Wielopole.


_May 13._--Got up at 6. The cart was already at the door. Our men are
already beyond Rzeszow. At 8 p.m., very tired, we reached Rzeszow.
Everywhere we could get bread, rolls, etc. They say the Russians have
sent off from here lots of prisoners (to Russia).


_May 14._--Got up at 6. Travelled very fast, but in spite of a
four-hour drive did not catch any one up. We dined in despair, waiting
for our servants. Only towards evening to our joy we found them at
last. We travelled on; the springs of our cart broke. In the evening we
catch up the field train. Lieutenant Koblentz has been killed by a shot
in the mouth. Lieutenant Szipdelarz has been wounded in the leg.


_May 15._--Went forward to my battalion through Zolinia, Bidaczew
and Lezaisko. At 12 o'clock, found my company at the manor near
Zwiedzinicz. Presented myself to the major and went off to cover the
artillery. The Russians sent us about 800 shells and burned 3 houses
behind us, killing 6 men, wounding 3 and killing 2 horses. The 30th
Regiment standing in reserve had 3.... Two telephonists were wounded.
The San is only a kilometre off.


_May 16._--Slept in mud hut. Firing all night. In the morning the
Russian artillery was trying to find ours. All afternoon a vigorous
artillery duel.


_May 17._--At 2 a.m. we got breakfast. Near us were twelve batteries
and behind two batteries of heavy mortars. The Russians kept firing
incessantly. The 1st company has six dead. Towards evening the 30th
Regiment arrived to relieve us; however, it will only do so at 11.
The Russians keep on entertaining us with salvos of artillery. We are
going along a lime alley; behind us near a cottage is the staff of our
regiment.

Shrapnels are bursting. The major is hiding in a mud hut. My company
runs past the village. Janikowski calls out that he is wounded. The
wound is in his right elbow. I give him an arm and we go forward. The
battalion comes up in half an hour. We go about 1000 yards parallel
to the railway embankment and stop to have a rest. Rain. At 4 o'clock
we are about 10 kilometres south-east of the village of Chalupka. We
bivouac. Janikowski has forgotten to hand over my chest with toilet
case, which is very tiresome for me. At 4 we reach the San; my new
orderly is called Schütz.

       *       *       *       *       *

Shortly after this, at Sieniawa on the east bank of the San, the writer
was taken prisoner and this diary was found on him. He was one of
7000 prisoners who were taken with a battery of heavy artillery when
Sieniawa was stormed by no more than 6000 Russians.[31]

At the same time was captured the interesting postcard which I append.

Translation of a postcard, May 25, 1915, from Kralowskie Winogrady
(Bohemia). Written in Czech.

    "MY DEAR FRIEND,

    "We have got your postcard and we wish you a happy return. We are
    often thinking of you. Here there is no news, only hunger and
    shortage of bread. Many of the bakeries are closed. Flour is not to
    be bought; meat is very dear. Soon there will be a general crisis."


  [Illustration]



INDEX


  Alexander I, 4

  Alexey of Jaroslav, 133

  Alexeyev, Mr., 14

  Armenians, the, 134

  Arndt, 83, 146

  Austria, 2, 3, 6, 26, 109, 140, 162, 175, 176, 202, 221
    Army of--
      airmen of, 164, 168-71, 199, 200, 227, 228, 233
      artillery fire of, 154, 158-9, 218, 232, 261
      cholera in, 266
      clothing of, 87
      disaffection of, 84, 85, 174, 201, 212, 265, 268
      methods of advance, 88
      nationalities of, 84, 87, 174, 192, 201, 266
      prisoners and wounded, attitude and spirit of, 19, 55-8, 79-80,
        108-9, 121-2, 133, 135, 174, 184, 185, 253-4
      question of excesses of, 45-7, 51
      treatment of Czechs, 85, 175, 201
      use of churches, 151-2
      violence of, 29, 30

  "_Austrian officer_," diary of, 263-82


  Bartieczew, 272

  Bavarian troops, atrocities of, 83, 108

  Belgium, 4, 7, 45, 108, 176

  Bergen, 8, 9

  Beskides, the, 186-7

  ----, the eastern, 180-1

  Beskides, fighting in, 188-90

  Biecz, fighting at, 208, 257

  "Birds, The," visit to, 147-51, 196

  Bismarck, 160

  Blaskow, 277

  Blonie, 38

  Bobr, River, the, 28, 35

  Bobrinsky, Count George, 21-3, 25, 75, 95

  ----, ---- Vladimir, 23, 25

  ----, Countess O., 15, 95

  Bohemians, the, 24, 80, 84, 85, 87, 139, 161

  Böhmerwald Mountains, the, 161

  Borodino, battle of, 164, 201

  Bosnia, 2

  Bosnians, 87

  Braunlich, Major, 268

  Bruselov, General, 27, 28

  Bug, River, line of, 26, 28, 48, 59

  Bukovina, the, 23, 176

  Bukowa, 279


  Caillaux Case, the, 3

  Carpathians, the, 161-3

  ----, Austrian advance on, 263-82

  ----, difficulties of movement in, 190-1

  ----, fighting in, 181-6, 188-9, 198-9, 209-12, 224-6

  ----, German rally in, 203-5

  ----, ---- tactics in, 216-21

  ----, Russian advance lines in, 151-4

  ----, Russia's task in, 175-8, 180

  ----, with German advance over, 272-82

  Carpathians, the, with Russian advance over, 97-104, 115-22, 126-54,
     178-90, 193-9, 203-5

  ----, with Russian retreat from, 205-16

  Caucasian Corps, the, 209

  Chalupka, 282

  Christmas, celebration of Russian, 99-101

  Constantinople, 176

  Cossacks, 30-1, 233, 251

  Cracow, road to, 53-7, 59

  ----, Russian advance to, 61, 265

  Czenstochowa region, fighting in, 249

  Czerinne, 276

  Czieszkowice, 270, 272


  Dardanelles, 153

  Dmitriev, General Radko, 67, 74, 86, 112, 139, 223

  ----, staff of, 88

  Dmowski, Mr., 1, 2, 47

  Dniestr, River, the, 29

  Dobrotin, General, 179-81

  Dobrotyn Hill, 275

  Dolgorukov, Prince, 153

  Dolina, Mary, 71

  Dombrowski, 139

  Dowager Empress, hospital of, 25

  Dresden, battle of, 146

  Dukla, 264, 265, 268

  Duma, the, 12

  ---- lazaret, 62, 63

  Dunajec River, the, 126

  Dynuw, 225, 226

  Dziara, 267


  Easter, celebration of, 171-3

  Elchingen, heights of, 104

  England, 4, 7, 8, 26, 47, 120, 137, 153, 154, 172, 176, 184, 192, 193,
      242, 243

  Erzegebirge Mountains, the, 161

  Eulogius, Archbishop, 66, 76


  Flamborough, Miss, 235

  France, 4, 7, 8, 26, 47

  Francis Ferdinand, Archduke, 109, 157

  Francis Joseph, Emperor, 116

  Friedmann, Mr., 12


  Gagarin, Princess, 15

  Galich, 29, 30

  Galicia, 21-3, 26, 47, 59, 61, 157-8, 175, 250

  ----, battlefields of, 26

  ----, road to, 73-5

  Geneva Convention, 115

  George Cross, the, 200

  Germany, 2, 3, 6, 7, 13, 26, 68, 108, 122, 162, 163, 175-6, 184, 202,
      242-3, 247
    Army of--
      artillery fire of, 218
      cavalry advance of, 233
      heavy artillery of, 33, 46, 202-3, 208, 216-17, 219, 224, 232,
        245, 273
      methods of infantry advance of, 88, 94-5, 108, 244-6
      prisoner of, chat with, 242-3
      question of excesses of, 45-7, 51, 215
      rifle fire of, 33, 50
      wounded, attitude of, 107, 134
    Attitude of, to war, 107, 108

  Giant Mountains, the, 161

  Gnila Lipa, battle of, 26

  Gollanka, artillery duel on heights of, 273-5

  Goremykin, Mr., 12

  Gorlice, battle of, 250, 251, 267, 269

  Gorodok, 28

  Gozhansky, Colonel, 38

  Grey, Sir Edward, 4

  Gribow, 262, 272

  Guchkov, Alexander, 72

  Gurko, 247


  Hamburg, 242

  Harchin, 206, 207

  Hindenburg, General von, 183, 202

  Homyakov, Mr., 25

  Homyakov, Miss, 155

  Honveds, the, 269

  Hopper, Miss, 235

  Hungary, army of, attitude towards war, 24, 87, 109, 140, 201

  ----, ----, horse artillery of, 65

  ----, defence of, 221

  ----, Magyars of, 161-3, 176

  ----, Slavs of, 161-3

  ----, survey of, 161-3, 176, 178


  Irish conflict, the, 2, 3

  Irmanov, General, 250-1, 254-8

  ----,   ----, staff of, 253-4

  Italy, 7, 8, 243

  "Ivan," 134

  Ivangorod, fighting near, 48

  Ivanov, General, 200


  Japanese War, the, 247

  Jaslo, 213; bombardment of, 214

  Jews, the, 12, 17

  ---- of Galicia, 25, 31, 33

  ---- of Poland, 41


  Kasso, Mr., 2

  Kazalow, 274

  Kazimierz, fighting at, 36, 43

  Kearne, Miss, 148

  Kemble, Mrs., 71

  Kielce, 55, 250

  ----, fighting at, 49-50, 53, 56-7, 249

  ----, scenes at, 56

  Kiev, 73

  Körner, 83, 146

  Kosienice, desperate fighting at, 48, 49, 249

  Krasnik, battle of, 19

  Kristiania, 9

  Kruchkov, 18

  Kusmanek, commander of Peremyshl, 157, 158

  Kutuzov, 200

  Kwieton, road to, 268


  Leipzig, battle of, 164

  Lemberg (_see_ Lvov)

  Lerche, 25

  Liebertz, 262

  Lithuanians, the, 12

  Lodz, 45

  London, Bishop of, 100

  Lowicz, 38, 39

  ----, Poles of, 38, 39

  Lützen, field of, 147

  Lukich, Commander, 141-3

  Luther, Martin, 147

  Lvov (Lemberg), 22-3, 25-6, 28, 60, 74-8, 222

  ----, Prince George, 12, 14, 72, 234

  ----, N. N., 10, 13

  ----, Nicholas, 72


  Magyar, the, 161-3, 176

  Mahlsdorf, 264-6

  Maklakov, Mr., 13

  Metz, 159

  Mezolaborcz, 192, 193

  Mlawa, 61

  Mokra, 40

  Moravians, the, 161

  Moscow (1812 and 1914), 13-16

  ----, Press of, 71

  Muchowka, battle of, 179


  Napoleon, 40, 86, 139, 164, 167, 242

  Narev River, the, 28, 35, 48

  Naudeau, M., 57

  Newlands Corner, 186

  New Year, keeping Feast of, 105, 106

  Ney, Marshal, 104

  Nicholas II, Tsar of Russia, 2, 4, 13, 16, 72, 247

  Nicholas, Grand Duke, 9, 17, 18, 36, 61

  Niemen River, the, 28, 35

  Nikolayevich, Nikolay, 97, 98

  Norwegians, the, 9


  Obzar Hill, 275-6

  Olga Alexandrovna, Grand Duchess, 20


  Pavlovich, Pavel, 141-3

  Peace Society of Moscow, 153

  Peremyshl, fall of, 157-60, 176, 265

  ----, fortifications of, 157, 158

  ----, garrison, etc., of, 157, 159

  Petrograd, 13

  Plock, 61

  Pochayev Monastery, 66

  Podymov, Colonel, 190 note

  Poland, 2, 40, 47-8, 112, 135-6, 253

  ----, cottages of, 126

  ----, Russian, 26, 28, 177

  ----, scenes in, 41-4

  ----, wounded children in, 135-6

  Poles, the, 16, 17, 47, 50-3

  ---- of Lowicz, 38-41

  ---- of Galicia, 61, 79, 87

  Prislak, 268

  Protopopov, Mr., 1

  Prussia, East, 26, 28, 47, 48, 62, 175

  Prussia, strength of, 161, 176

  Pruszkov, fighting at, 35, 37

  Pushkin, 144


  Radom, 49, 51-3, 57, 59

  Rakitna, fighting at, 36-8

  Rakoczy, 193

  Rava Ruska, 27, 29, 31-4, 177, 179, 197

  Red Cross Organisation of Russia, 11, 16, 25

  ---- ----, keenness and enthusiasm of, 122-5, 148, 156, 191-2, 15-16,
     222
   (_see also under_ Russia and Zemstvo League)

  Religious questions in Galicia, 21, 22, 76

  Riechwald, 263, 265, 268

  Rona, 263, 269

  Ropica Russka, 266

  Roshkov, Dr. Vladimir Petrovich, 125, 147, 148

  Rumania, 162, 176

  Russia, 2-4, 7, 109, 162-3, 177, 185, 247
    Army of--
      airmen of, 163-8, 271-2
      ambulance points of, 95-104, 215, 221-2
      artillery fire of, 30, 36, 46, 116, 154, 165, 244, 269-71, 275, 277
      cavalry of, 46
      chaplains of, 66-7, 100
      field hospitals of, 20, 62-7, 96
      first-aid stations of, 112-15
      growing enthusiasm of, for England, 120, 137, 153-4, 192-3, 195-6
      losses of, 177, 196-7, 199, 207, 213-14, 222-4, 249
      method of infantry advance of, 88-9
      Siberian regiments of, 35-6
      spirit of, 19-20, 24, 33-4, 41-4, 54, 58, 60-1, 64-6, 98-9, 125, 133,
        228, 259, 261
      treatment of prisoners by, 24, 174
      winter kit of, 87
      wounded of, stoicism of, 64-6, 133-4, 222-3
    Peasants and people of--
      attitude to war, 10, 11, 53, 68-78, 88, 199, 259
      characteristics of, 7, 8, 120, 125, 128

  Russo-British Chamber of Commerce, work of, 11

  Ruthenian troops, the, 30, 179

  Ruzsky, General, 27

  Rzepeinik, advance on, 274-5

  Rzeszow, 226, 227


  San River, Austrian advance to, 282

  ----, defence of, 228-34, 236-41, 247-8, 250-7

  ----, fight for, 26, 114, 177, 179, 197

  ----, German tactics at, 232

  ----, line of, 28-9, 35, 59, 62, 65

  ----, passages of, 48

  ----, Russian retreat to, 227, 244

  ----, Russian Retreat from, 257-8

  Sandomir, 61

  Saxony, King of, 45

  Sazonov, Mr., 3, 10

  Schiller, 146

  Sczydlowiecki family, monuments of, 54

  Sekow, bombardment of, 267

  ----, fight at, 263

  Seniawa, Russian advance on, 251, 282

  Serbia, 2, 3, 7, 109, 247

  Shchepkin, Mr., 14

  Shingarev, Dr., 63

  Silesia, southern, population of, 61

  Skiernewice, 38, 40, 41, 44

  Skobelev, 39

  Slovaks, the, 161

  Slovenes, the, 24

  Sochaczew, 38, 41

  Stakhovich, Mr., 25, 74

  Surrey Hills, 1, 2, 186, 187

  Suvorov, 247

  Swedes, the, 9

  Szydlowiec, 49, 54


  Tarnow, bombardment of, 106-7, 110-11, 155-7, 214-15

  ----, fighting at, 81-2

  ----, hospital scenes at, 82-6, 155-6

  ----, journey to, 79-81

  ----, Russian lines outside, 92-5

  Taslo, visit to, 173-5

  Thüringerwald Mountains, the, 161

  Tikhon, Father, 99-101, 103, 105

  Tirolese, the, 131, 132

  Tisza, Count, 163, 176

  Tolstoy, Count, 167

  Transylvania, 162

  Trubetskoy, Princess O., 15

  Tryphon, Bishop, 100, 101

  Tuchow, 280

  Turkey, 89


  Uhland, 146


  Verdun, 216

  Vilna, 16, 17

  Vistula River, crossing of, 249

  ----, Middle, 28-9, 35, 48

  ----, Upper, 46

  Volkonsky, Prince, 63

  "_V. S._," 89-92


  Wagram, 32

  Warsaw, 28, 35-7, 45, 48, 51, 59

  "War Song-book for the German Army, 1914," the, 145-7

  Wells, H. G., 164, 257

  "_Wiggins_," 136-9, 158, 163

  William II, Kaiser, 7, 109, 202, 231, 254

  Wisloka, 59

  Wislok River, the, 276-8

  Wyzjowa, 276, 277


  Zemstva, 12-13

  Zemstvo League, 14, 234

  ---- ----, Red Cross Staff of, 77-8, 80-1, 234-5

  Zwiedzinicz, artillery duel at, 281



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FOOTNOTES:

[1] Colonel Podymov was himself killed later, while defending the San
line against an overwhelming force of artillery. Peace to him, and
honour to his memory.

[2] In Bohemia.

[3] One Austrian regiment usually had twenty-four to thirty-two machine
guns.

[4] Haphazard firing in the Russian trenches is not encouraged.

[5] The Russians were always masters of the neutral zone at night,
and took many enemy scouting parties, often with ludicrously inferior
numbers. The Russians planned and executed new enterprises every night.
They never fired unless it was necessary.

[6] This was usual among the enemy at all points which I visited. The
sentry had orders to retreat at the first alarm, and in some parts none
of the enemy came any nearer to our trenches.

[7] This firing was ordinarily wild and general. It seldom took any
effect, and our men did not reply to it, not wishing to give the
desired information as to the whereabouts and strength of our forces.

[8] The first allusion to the projected Austro-German advance through
Galicia.

[9] Previous to this Austrian prisoners interrogated by me bore witness
to widespread enteric and to shortage of food. Cholera came to us from
the Austrians during their advance, but was quickly isolated.

[10] The numbers were enormous. In our interrogations we usually had
to distinguish between "Did you surrender?" and "Did you come across
of yourselves?" The mass surrenders of Austrians took the following
order in respect of nationalities: Serbians and Bosnians, Ruthenians,
Rumanians and Italians, Poles, Czechs, and later in lesser numbers,
Magyars, and Germans of Austria proper, last of all Tirolese; and
Croats, not at all.

[11] Evidently Austrian deserters.

[12] On our side there were always plenty of volunteers to catch "a
tongue," or person who could talk. No prizes were offered.

[13] This is typical of the mutual relations which I witnessed.

[14] These frequent references to officers going off to hospital
without mention of any wound or illness would be difficult to parallel
on the Russian side. One Russian officer's principle was "You may be
killed, but you mayn't be ill."

[15] Gorlice is the point from which later the Austro-German advance
began.

[16] The Russian soldiers cannot get any stimulants and Russian
officers very seldom. The Staff of our Army was teetotal throughout.

[17] The universal desire of all our Austrian prisoners, also of most
of the Germans.

[18] For Easter.

[19] There are throughout several references to the accuracy of the
Russian fire, which was nothing like so sporadic as the enemy's.

[20] A verdict given to me several times by Austrian prisoners. One of
our men escaped from the Honveds with his tongue cut out for not giving
information. I have seen old peasants who had been shot by the Honveds.

[21] This almost isolated reference to Russian prisoners is suggestive.

[22] The Austrian infantry seldom did so.

[23] I have seen nothing like this attitude on the Russian side, even
where our trenches were sixty or even twenty-five yards from those of
the enemy.

[24] For weeks before, the Austrian officers tried to keep up the
spirits of the men by this promise.

[25] About 240 heavy and 160 field artillery.

[26] This is the ordinary advance into an empty space when all trenches
and all life has been destroyed by the enemy's artillery.

[27] This circumspection should be noted; this is the day of one of the
greatest Russian losses.

[28] This was my general experience when retreating with the troops in
front of the writer.

[29] This was the state of Tuchow before all this fighting; there had
now been another terrible artillery canonnade.

[30] Austrian prisoners say that the hardest fighting is in Serbia.

[31] _Cf. supra_, p. 251.



TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES:

  Text in italics is surrounded by underscores: _italics_.

  Emboldened text is surrounded with equals signs: =bold=.

  Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

  Inconsistencies in spelling, hyphenation, and punctuation have been
    preserved.





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