(navigation image)
Home American Libraries | Canadian Libraries | Universal Library | Community Texts | Project Gutenberg | Children's Library | Biodiversity Heritage Library | Additional Collections
Search: Advanced Search
Anonymous User (login or join us)
Upload
See other formats

Full text of "Poland, the knight among nations;"

POLAND 

THE KNIGHT AMONG 
NATIONS 





pw£ 



ZRAV* 




POLAND 

THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 




NICHOLAS COPERNICrs THE FATHER OF MODERN 
ASTRON.MV. 

(This view of the Polish astronomer, (who w;is the 
first to propound the theory that the earth moves aroun 1 
the sun) surrounded by the scientists and other worthies 
of his time, is reproduced from a rare old si pel em 
ing made in 1843, at the celebration of the three- 
hundredth anniversary of his death.) 






POLAND 

THE KNIGHT 
AMONG NATIONS 



LOUIS ifc VAN NORMAN 



With an Introduction by 
Helena Modjeska 

illustrated 



a 




^ 



* n i At 



New Yohk Chicago Toronto 

Fleming H. Revell Company 

London and Edinburgh 



Copyright, 1907, by 
•FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY 

All rights reserved 



SECOND EDITION 



New York: 158 Fifth Avenue 
Chicago : 80 Wabash Avenue 
Toronto : 15 Richmond St., W. 
London : 21 Paternoster Square 
Edinburgh : 100 Princes Street 



TO MY WIFE 

who taught me all the noble qualities of the Poles and 

made me very hopeful of their 

national destiny 



INTRODUCTORY 

ONE fine characteristic I have especially 
noted in the American people. As a gen- 
eral rule, they are not led to an opinion 
by the verdict of any other nation. Of recent 
years, particularly, their popular verdicts have 
been based upon their own independent judg- 
ment, and some of these verdicts have afterwards 
been accepted by the whole world. They were 
the first to "discover" Sienkiewicz. They did 
not accept him on the claims of French, or Ger- 
man, or English criticism. By their own native 
perception they knew he was great, and now the 
whole world has accepted their judgment. 

Therefore, I think it is particularly appropri- 
ate that it should be an American who now, for 
the first time, presents the true Poland, the coun- 
try of Sienkiewicz, to the American people. 

I must confess that I am usually frightened 
when I begin to read anything foreigners write 
about Poland and us Poles. So much has ap- 
peared that was untrue and distorted and ridic- 
ulous. But these " impressions " are so sympa- 
thetically written, so discerning, and, at the 
same time, so generally impartial and just, that 

7 



INTRODUCTORY 

I am glad to recommend the volume to the dear 
land of my adoption as the best I know of about 
modern Poland by an outsider. It is so clear, 
bo interesting, so pleasantly written, that one 
does not want to put it down before reading the 
entire book. I was especially pleased with the 
chapter on " Polish Music and the Slav Temper- 
ament." It is so fair and discriminating. Most 
of the names mentioned in this chapter are well 
known to me, are personal friends, and I can 
recognise the faithful portrayal of these artists, 
who, like myself, were contemporaneous with 
the first stages of development in the great art 
movement in Poland. Several of them, includ- 
ing Mr. Sienkiewicz himself, were with my hus- 
band and myself in our little colony in Cali- 
fornia. 

Americans know very little of the real Poland. 
Most of them have read " Thaddeus of Warsaw," 
but this Thaddeus was not the real Kosciuszko. 
He was not even a real Pole — only a creature 
of the author's imagination. Since Sienkiewicz 
wrote his Trilogy, Americans have known more. 
They have much still to learn, for with all her 
faults, there is much in Poland, with her history, 
her literature, her art, and her unfortunate p 
pie, which Americans ought to know. I am glad 
this excellent book has been written. 

Helena Modjeska. 



8 



A FOREWORD 

AN" impression " comes so perilously near 
A\ being a judgment that the author of this 
volume feels called upon to offer a few 
words of explanation. 

In the following pages no attempt is made to 
write a history of Poland, or to present a com- 
prehensive study of the Polish national psychol- 
ogy. To sound the depths of racial character 
would require many years of actual life near the 
heart of the people, and elaborate historical re- 
search. Nor has the writer ventured to prophesy 
the political future of the Poles. Nor, finally, 
has he attempted to describe the condition of 
Kussian Polish cities during the reign of terror 
of the past two years. The following chapters, 
many of which have already appeared as maga- 
zine articles in this country and in England, 
are no more than the first-hand impressions of 
an American journalist who has been permitted 
to spend a year in the former Polish Common- 
wealth, visiting almost all the important his- 
toric points. Being the first American ever to 
visit all sections of old Poland for the express 
purpose of writing about it, he was accorded ex- 
ceptional facilities for observation and study. 
The result is a collection of honest impressions of 
a remarkable people, presented as an humble con- 

9 



A FOREWORD 

tribution to race psychology. To make the pic- 
ture more complete, it has seemed worth while 
to summon back from the past some of the more 
potent personalities of Polish history. 

Here is the home of a denationalised people, 
in which there is being enacted a century-long 
drama worthy of a Homer or a Tacitus. Forty- 
four years ago, in the middle of our Civil War, 
the Poles had their last uprising against Russian 
rule. Ten years of " reconstruction " for our 
South seemed an age. Mutinies, riots, and revo- 
lutionary outbreaks, all suppressed in blood and 
fire, show the world that, after nearly half a 
century, Poland is not yet fully " reconstructed." 
Politically, there is no Poland, but a distinct, in- 
dividual, resistant people, who are no more con- 
quered and absorbed by the partitioning powers 
than the Hungarians are assimilated by Austria. 
The Poles remain a persistent national type, and 
the " Polish question " is an ever-present " ghost 
that troubles at every European Council." 

And yet, up to the time when the Trilogy of 
historical works by Henryk Sienkiewicz appeared, 
Poland was, of all civilised geographical enti- 
ties, the least known to Americans. It is in the 
belief that the country of Kosciuszko and Pu- 
laski, of Copernicus and Sobieski, of Chopin and 
Paderewski, deserves better of the land of Wash- 
ington that this book is written. 

There are so many striking contrasts — and 
startling similarities — between Poland and these 

10 



A FOREWORD 

United States of America, that a study of Polish 
history and conditions ought to be of peculiar 
interest to us. We Americans are citizens of a 
young, powerful, active country, which is the 
bulwark of freedom and the refuge of oppressed 
peoples. Poland — if one may still speak of her 
as a nation — is very old. For a century and 
more she has been in chains, with no chance for 
activity, save in her spasms of revolution. Yet 
how much alike are the two peoples. Both are 
brave to a fault. Both live in a country which 
is a confederation. The union, in 1569, of Po- 
land, Lithuania, and Ruthenia, was the first vol- 
untary confederation of independent powers in 
Europe. Both peoples incline to elective gov- 
ernments; both, while religious themselves, have 
ever been tolerant to all other creeds. Both love 
liberty better than life. And finally, the greatest 
soldier heroes of both — Washington and Kosci- 
uszko — fought side by side for American inde- 
pendence. But there is a vital present signifi- 
cance also to Americans in the psychology of the 
Pole. Almost three millions of this highly de- 
veloped Slav race are now settled in this coun- 
try, rapidly becoming bone and sinew of Ameri- 
can national life. A study of the temperament 
and genius of this sturdy stock will help us in 
understanding more than one factor in our own 
pressing problems. 

Of modern books on Poland, available to the 
general reader, there are very few. Those inter- 

11 



A FOREWORD 

ested in following up some of the facts and allu- 
sions in this book should, first of all, read the 
immortal Trilogy of Sienkiewicz, as well as 
" Children of the Soil," " Hania," " Knights of 
the Cross," and " On the Field of Glory," by the 
same author. Georg Brandes' " Poland, a Study 
of the Land, People, and Literature," will also 
prove of value. W. R. MorfilPs " Story of Po- 
land " is a good brief reference history, while 
Herman Rosenthal's article on " Poland " in the 
Jewish Encyclopaedia is an excellent resume of 
the Polish Jews' part in history. 

The list of those who have aided the author in 
the preparation of this book is so large that it 
includes practically everyone he met in Poland, 
and many others in this country. It is impos- 
sible to render adequate thanks to all, but the 
author wishes to express grateful acknowledg- 
ment, particularly to the patriotic Poles who 
have read the manuscript and have made many 
valuable suggestions. He also desires to ac- 
knowledge courteous permission to reproduce 
articles from The Bookman, The Outlook, The 
Chautauquan, The Cosmopolitan, Brush and 
Pencil, The Booklover's, and other magazines. 

The author's opinions, of course, are his own, 
and Madame Modjeska's sympathetic introduc- 
tion does not indicate, necessarily, her agree- 
ment, in detail, with these opinions. 

Louis E. Van Noiman. 

Wyceojt, New Jeeset, August 1, 1907, 

13 



CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PACK 

I. Poland's Role in History ,. M 17 

II. Polish Autonomy — Under Austria . 30 

III. Cracow: the Heart op Poland . 44 



IV. The Poles and Germany's World 
Dream .... 



V. Russia's European Door . * 

VI. The Geographical Centre op Eu 

ROPE ;. • • . • 

VII. How Vienna Escaped the Turk 

VIII. The Real " Thaddeus op Warsaw * 

IX. On the Field op Glory . 

X. The Mecca op the Poles . 

XI. A Voyage Over the Steppes 

XII. What Poland Owes to Her Women 

13 



70 
99 

123 
138 
153 
181 
192 
207 
221 



14 CONTENTS 

CHAPTER PAGE 

XIII. The Polish Peasant and the Future 

of Poland 232 

XIV. The Pathetic Outcast of the Ages . 248 

XV. Polish Music and the Slav Tempera- 

ment 265 

XVI. A Race of Artists by Bieth . . 274 

XVII. The Geographer of the Heavens . 287 

XVIII. Polish Country Life and Customs . 294 

XIX. Poland's Modern Interpreter . .313 

XX. The Poles in America * M . 326 

Note on Pronunciation of Polish . 348 

Index h . . m m m 355 



ILLUSTRATIONS 

FACING PAGE 

Nicholas Copernicus Title 

The Sukiennice of Cracow ... 52 

The Westminster Abbey of Poland . . 56 
The Old Royal Palace in Warsaw . . 130 
Palace in the Lazienki Park in Warsaw . 130 
The Eeal " Thaddeus of Warsaw " . .156 

The Kosciuszko Mound 178 

"Matka Boska Czenstochowska " . .200 

The Old Fort in Kamieniec . . . 214 

Blessing the Harvest .... 234 

Types of Polish Mountain Peasants . .236 
The Peasant: the Hope of Poland . . 240 
The Religion of the Peasant Is His Life . 246 
* The Pathetic Outcast of the Ages " . . 254 
Polish Art and Artists . . . .272 
" Deliver Us from Evil * . . . .278 
Sienkiewicz, Poland's Modern Interpreter . 314 
Map of Poland . ., . . . . 352 



15 



POLAND 

THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

I 

POLAND'S R6LE IN HISTORY 

IN an age which is, beyond all else, material- 
istic, what can better entitle a people to dis- 
tinction and homage than the facts that it 
worships the ideal, that its heroes are personifi- 
cations of aspiration, and that its very faults are, 
in large measure, directly traceable to "vision- 
ary patriotism " and " artistic preoccupation "? 
It is the glory of the Polish people to hold 
aloft the torch of idealism in a materialistic age. 
While many a western nation is going to war 
over commerce; while the ears of the chancel- 
leries are tuned to the tones of the stock-ticker, 
and the ambitions of the day run to the men who 
can amass the most gigantic fortunes, the Poles 
lavish all their national affections on a living 
word-master. In the national Sienkiewicz jubi- 
lee a couple of years ago they did for a mere 
creator of literature what the rest of the world 
is wont to reserve for " Napoleons of finance " ; 

17 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

for men who have defeated others with great 
slaughter, and for colossuses who have moulded 
empires out of the patrimony of other peoples. 

For four centuries Poland was the bulwark of 
Europe against the floods of barbarism from the 
East. That mysterious, fecund East, from which 
countless human hives have swarmed out over 
Europe, gave out these swarms in myriad, piti- 
less numbers, at frequent intervals from the 13th 
to the 17th century. Impelled by some unex- 
plainable ethnic force, the barbarian tribes 
moved ever westward, until, on the banks of the 
Dwina, the Dniester, and the Vistula, they met 
the swords of the Poles. But for Polish valour, 
Western civilisation would have been blighted ; 
Christianity itself, perhaps, engulfed. Poland 
was the sentinel who kept watch on the eastern 
gate of Europe, while Latin civilisation, in the 
person of France, flowered and taught the world. 
" While my own dear France was the missionary 
of civilisation," said Victor Hugo, " Poland was 
its knight." 

The eastern frontier of the Commonwealth 
was, by its low, level, natural formation, partic- 
ularly open to attack. Poland was essentially 
a land of plains, which, for centuries, were swept 
and desolated by vast, contending armies. Time 
and again the Mongols completely overran the 
Commonwealth. Twice these fierce nomads 
rolled in great waves over the entire country, and 

18 



POLAND'S R6LE IN HISTORY 

were checked only on the banks of the Vistula, 
beneath the very walls of Cracow. 

For this defence of Europe against the bar- 
barism of the non-Christian East, Poland asked 
no contributions of troops, or money. She asked 
no thanks. The treatment she has actually re- 
ceived from Europe is one of the crimes of the 
ages. 

Poland upheld the Christian faith when most 
of the rest of Europe was sunk in petty wars and 
struggles for greed. She received the poor Jew 
when all the rest of the Christian world would 
have none of him. Her bosom was a refuge for 
the Hussites and emigrants of the Thirty Years' 
War. She has always accepted this as her r61e 
— to be the champion of the West against the 
East ; of culture against barbarism. With a reli- 
gion and civilisation based on those of Rome, and 
a language strongly modified by Latin influences, 
she has been the outpost of Occidentalism against 
even the great mass of the Slav race itself, which 
is cast in a Byzantine mould. 

It must be admitted that this attitude was 
more the result of an impulsive generosity than 
the development of a conscious, logical will. It 
was a great virtue, but a virtue, alas, singularly 
favoured by the recklessness and love of glory 
characteristic of the national spirit. This was 
admitted in an eloquent memorial published by 
the Poles of this country at the time of the con- 

19 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

Tocation of the first Hague Peace Conference. 
This document, however, rightly gloried in the 
" improvident generosity " of Poland. It said : 

" History proves that the Polish people were 
not believers in force or the use of destructive 
weapons to vindicate their rights. To the last 
moment of their political existence they looked 
with contempt upon all destructive weapons. 
They prized individual courage much higher. 
They attacked the enemy with sword in hand, 
abhorring those who hid in trenches under the 
protection of batteries. When the other nations 
of Europe relied mainly upon powerful artil- 
leries for the success of their troops, Poland, 
too proud, and placing too high the honour of 
the military calling, looked with disdain upon 
those who were willing to kill and dared not 
expose themselves. In view of the greed of the 
neighbouring powers, this characteristic trait of 
our nation did not redound to our advantage. 
Nevertheless it existed, and was one of the 
brightest features of our history." 

Poland is, or rather was, a large and power- 
ful nation with a territory greater than that 
of modern Germany, and for nearly a century 
her voice was authoritative in the councils of 
the continent Take down the map of Europe. 
Draw a line from Riga, on the Baltic Sea, to 
Dresden in Saxony. Draw another line from 
Dresden to the mouth of the Dniester River, on 

20 



POLAND'S R6LE IN HISTORY 

the Black Sea; another from the mouth of the 
Dniester to Smolensk, Russia, and a fourth 
from Smolensk back to Riga. You have en- 
closed the Commonwealth of Poland at its 
greatest extent — the country of Sienkiewicz. 
Before the partitions Posen, West Prussia, 
Galicia, Lithuania, Volhynia, Podolia, and 
Kiev were Polish. In still earlier times, Bes- 
sarabia, Moldavia, Silesia, and Livonia belonged 
to the Polish crown. Even as late as 1772 Dan- 
zig (Gdansk) was a Polish seaport, and Kam- 
ieniec (near the modern Kishinev) the Polish 
defence against the Turks, while to the north 
and west Poland's frontier extended almost to 
the walls of Riga and to within the shadow of 
the Kremlin at Moscow. To-day Poland is a 
portion of three great European nations, Rus- 
sia, Austria, arid Germany. She has long ceased 
to have a separate political existence, but her 
sons remain a distinct, individual and resistant 
people. 

No doubt the ultimate aim of Polish activity 
everywhere is the re-establishment of Poland as 
a national and political entity. The dream of 
every Polish patriot is to see a Poland arise, on 
the ashes of the past, stretching from the Baltic 
to the Black Sea — a country 750 miles in length 
and almost as much in width, comprising 400,- 
000 square miles, and with a population of 
thirty-five millions. This would embrace the 

21 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

modern Polish provinces of Prussia, up to within 
a short distance of Berlin, with half the Prussian 
shore of the Baltic, Galicia in Austria, and the 
whole of that portion of Russia which at one 
time, some of it three hundred years ago, formed 
a part of Poland at her greatest extent. 

Like all Slav peoples, the Poles are extreme 
in temperament. They are apt to be emotional, 
over sentimental, perhaps. With them, there is 
no mean in emotion, intellect, or society. They 
love or hate. They are brilliant or slow. They 
are nobles or peasants. Ancient Poland had 
no middle class, no bourgeoisie, — except the 
Jews — a class so necessary for the perpetuity of 
a nation. It was in consequence of this inequal- 
ity in the national character, and as a result 
of certain fatal diplomatic mistakes, and a false 
political method, that Poland was reduced to 
a state of internal anarchy in the 18th century. 
She then easily fell a prey to the three neigh- 
bouring monarchies. Poland was an elective 
kingdom, with almost all the civil rights in the 
hands of some fifty or sixty thousand nobles. 
The mass of the peasantry, numbering ten or 
twelve millions, were excluded from all political 
rights. With no middle class to fall back upon, 
with more than one foreigner on the throne, and 
with no sort of unity among themselves, what 
could these sixty thousand nobles do against 
the armies of their enemies? 

22 



POLAND'S R6LE IN HISTORY 

For centuries Poland was known as a repub- 
lic. In reality, the Polish state was a consti- 
tutional monarchy, in an age when the rest of 
Europe never even dreamed of constitutions. 
There was great liberty in Poland, but liberty 
jealously guarded by one single social class, the 
nobility, for itself. Peasant and burgher were 
thrown absolutely upon the mercy of the noble. 
The strength and character of the army de- 
pended on the vote of the Diet, which always 
kept down the number of the national forces. 
At the same time each magnate had his own 
retinue, often more numerous than the national 
army. Many such magnates opposed the King 
with force of arms, and even conspired with 
foreign powers to further their own selfish am- 
bitions. This not only weakened the power of 
the state against outside aggression: it also 
produced a condition of internal anarchy which 
almost invited the spoiler from without. 

Every noble was virtually a king, under a 
constitution surviving from feudalism. Each 
had the right of liberum veto, that is, the right 
to forbid, by his single vote, any measure in 
the Diet. Each noble was a law unto himself, 
and the country suffered. Sobieski, who had 
saved Vienna for the Austrians, could not keep 
Kiev and Little Russia for the Poles. " Poland 
has no right to proclaim herself innocent of all 
her calamities; she has herself contributed to 

23 




POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

them ; she went to sleep upon a volcano ; she was 
guilty of a marvellous inertia, of a frivolous im- 
providence, of an incomprehensible torpidity." 

The Poles tried to reform these -abuses by the 
famous constitution of May 3, 1791. This his- 
toric document admitted the citizens of the 
towns to the representative body of the people, 
ameliorated somewhat the condition of the peas- 
antry, decided the question of succession by he- 
redity, and provided for the creation of a stand- 
ing army of regular troops. Although all this 
came too late, and could not prevent the fall of 
the Kingdom, it was the first thoroughly na- 
tional movement in the history of Poland. It 
did not come about by an oppressed class vio- 
lently overturning society to obtain its rights. 
It was the voluntary renunciation, from patri- 
otic motives, of exclusive privileges by a power- 
ful class of nobles. But it was then too late, 
despite the heroism of Kosciuszko. One par- 
tition had already been consummated. The two 
others followed rapidly, the last King went as 
a salaried functionary to St Petersburg, and 
Poland was no more as an independent state. 

While the partition of Poland cannot be jus- 
tified by any possible standard of ethics, the 
political downfall of the Polish Commonwealth 
must be charged also against the Polish char- 
acter. Since Sienkiewicz himself admits this, 
an outsider may be pardoned for repeating it. 

24 



POLAND'S R6LE IN HISTORY 

The Polish author makes one of his characters, 
a typical Pole, say: 

"We Slavs have too much of that restless 
Aryan spirit, in consequence of which neither 
our mind nor our heart has ever been perfect, 
has ever been balanced. . . . And what 
strange, peculiar natures ! The German students, 
for instance, drink, and this is not, in any shape 
or form, detrimental to their work, nor does 
it prevent them from becoming sober, practical 
men. But let a Slav acquire the habit, and he 
will drink himself into an early grave. A Ger- 
man will be a pessimist; will write volumes on 
the subject whether life is or is not mere de- 
spair, and will continue to drink beer, bring up 
children, hoard money, water flowers, and sleep 
under thick covers. Under similar circum- 
stances, the Slav will hang himself, or throw 
himself to the dogs, leading a wild life of dis- 
sipation and license, and perish and choke in 
the mire into which he voluntarily sank. In- 
deed, ours are strange natures — sincere, sensi- 
tive, sympathetic, and, at the same time, fraud- 
ulent and actor-like." 

Unity is not a Polish virtue. Neither is sub- 
ordination for the common weal. Every one 
must lead. There have always been plenty of 
princes, marshals, and generals in Poland; of 
obedient privates, very few. The term " a Polish 
gentleman," in the words of a clever novel 

25 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

writer, implies " so much of tact, versatility, vol- 
atility, nobility, and futility." 

Turn the shield and one becomes positively 
exasperated at the Poles for permitting one 
fault, the lack of one quality, to nullify almost 
completely the rest of their magnificent heritage. 
A record of gallantry and chivalry in war so 
splendid and untarnished that the world knows 
not its equal; an idealism and a subtle grasp 
of the fundamentals of the human heart, with 
all its actions and desire, that has made them 
such wonderful artists in tone and colour; a 
keen, brilliant, intellectual versatility; a bound- 
less hospitality and courtesy; beautiful, fasci- 
nating family and social life; a sympathetic, 
poetic responsiveness that makes them irresist- 
ible; all these the Poles have to-day and in like 
measure as in the days of the Sienkiewicz heroes, 
when, before Zbaraz, the gallant Podbipienta 
yielded up his soul " as an offering to the Queen 
of Heaven," and as when Kmicic performed his 
prodigies of valour to win Olenkn. 

The impatience of necessary restraint and 
fatal lack of cohesion between classes that has 
marked the suicidal policy of so many Polish 
campaigns in the past, has, to a certain extent, 
however, been conquered to-day. The patience 
and self-restraint of the Poles during the Rus- 
sian social and political crises has been really 
remarkable. Race consciousness, religion, and 

26 



POLAND'S R6LE IN HISTORY 

strenuous modern competition are mighty im- 
pelling and controlling forces. When fostered 
and directed by such an organisation as the 
Catholic church, there is scarcely a limit to what 
racial impulse will do for a people. To the Poles 
it is bringing not only cohesion and even the 
spirit of self-sacrifice for the common good, but 
an indomitable earnestness in perfecting them- 
selves for the struggle of modern life. It has 
enabled them to preserve, and even intensify, 
their native strength and charm and at the 
same time to add a touch of Anglo-Saxon prac- 
ticality. In industry, in agriculture, in the arts 
and sciences, in education, in wealth and num- 
bers the Poles are progressing. It is impossible 
to kill a people that has a will to live. The 
commercial spirit has touched them, and they 
have adapted themselves to it as one more 
weapon wherewith to preserve their sense of ra- 
cial unity and improve their condition and pros- 
pects. A strong middle class is developing 
among them. Up to about twenty-five years ago 
the small middle class to be met with in Polish 
towns and cities was composed almost wholly of 
Germans and Jews. To-day the young and well- 
educated generation of Poles have largely re- 
placed them. Polish merchants, bankers, shop- 
keepers, mechanics, artisans, physicians, law- 
yers, and engineers are now in the majority. 
In the words of a famous Polish historian : " In 

27 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

1800 we prayed to be allowed to live. In 1900 
we know that we shall live." 

The chief reason alleged for the dismember- 
ment of Poland by the three adjoining empires 
was that the ruling classes in those empires 
feared to have so near them the influence of a 
national unit so democratic as Poland. Now 
conditions are changed. The times point to a 
considerable democratising of Russia, Germany, 
and Austria. The democratic influences, how- 
ever, that the despotisms sought to avoid by the 
dismemberment of Poland have, after all, per- 
meated their peoples from French, British, and 
American as well as Polish sources. The old 
object for partitioning Poland is no more. In 
fact, dismembered Poland presents much more 
of a problem than independent Poland possibly 
could, on account of its revolutionary propa- 
ganda. Not merely in the present Russian rev- 
olution, but in the entire European revolution- 
ary movement has Poland a leading part to play. 
Her role with regard not only to Russia, Ger- 
many, and Austria, but also with regard to all 
Europe, is no more a thing of the past. The 
proletariat of all Russia has become the cham- 
pion of the revolutionary struggle of Europe, 
and Poland has become the natural intermediary 
between the East and the West. 

There is a beautiful legend current among 
the mountain peasants of the Carpathians. One 

28 



POLAND'S R6LE IN HISTORY 

of the Polish poets has put it into verse and it 
has been played on the stage. Many, many years 
ago — so runs the legend — the King (meaning the 
King of the Poles), seeing that the all-mother 
(Poland) was grievously ill, consulted with 
the doctors, but all to no purpose. A cer- 
tain prophetess, however, declared that three 
brothers, to each of whom she gave a portion 
of a flute, must travel together over seven moun- 
tains and seven rivers, until they came to a cer- 
tain peak in the Carpathians. Then they must 
put the pieces together and blow. In response, 
King Boleslaw, surnamed the Brave, and his ar- 
moured knights would wake from their sleep; 
would once more come forth to conquer, and the 
land would be restored to its ancient splendour. 
But the brothers could not agree upon the one 
to blow the flute. Each thought himself entitled 
to that honour. So the cure was not effected; 
and so the knights sleep on. 

The legend is symbolic of Polish character 
and history, and the playwright so represents it 
on the stage. The three brothers are Aristoc- 
racy, Bourgeoisie, and Peasantry. When these 
three come together in perfect accord, — when 
the national character rings as pure melody as 
the music of Poland's artists, — then, from the 
fastnesses of the Carpathians will arise King 
Boleslaw, and his knights, and Poland will once 
more be an independent nation. 

29 



II 

POLISH AUTONOMY— UNDER AUSTRIA 

THE " Polish Question " is the political and 
economic problem presented by the oppo- 
sition of two apparently irreconcilable 
facts. Three of the great powers of Europe be- 
lieve it necessary for their national existence as 
world states to keep in subjection, without na- 
tional rights, twenty-five millions of a highly 
sensitive, highly cultured, patriotic race, whirli 
refuses to be assimilated and which is increasing 
more rapidly than the dominant nations. The 
problem concerns all Europe. It is of vital im- 
portance to Russia, Germany, and Austria. 

How does injustice to the Poles affect the na- 
tional aims and complicate the national prob- 
lems of Russia, of Germany, of Austria? 

If Polish nationality is ever again triumphant, 
the triumph will come, not through the efforts 
of the Poles, but out of the necessity and peril 
of their oppressors. The Poles have learned by 
the bitterest and most terrible of experiences 
that, unaided, they are not strong enough to re- 
gain their lost independence, and that they can- 
not hope for foreign intervention. The ascend- 

30 



POLISH AUTONOMY— UNDER AUSTRIA 

ancy of materialism and political " expediency " 
is too complete to-day for any nation or nations 
to assume the r61e of liberator of Poland. But 
Russia, Prussia, and Austria, it is easily con- 
ceivable, may be forced, by pressure of problems 
more vital to their own nationalities, to loosen 
their grip on their prey. 

The Poles are grateful to Austria, not for 
what she has done, but for what she has re- 
frained from doing. Galicia (Austrian Poland) 
is to-day the only portion of the old Common- 
wealth in which Poles can breathe freely, think 
and speak in their own tongue, and develop them- 
selves. It is true that Austria was one of the 
partitioning powers. But Poles will not forget 
that Austria, under Maria Theresa, was the only 
one of the three which hesitated before yielding 
to the political pressure which resulted in the 
dismemberment. 

Compared with the position of their brethren 
in Russia and Prussia, the lot of the Austrian 
Poles to-day is certainly an easy one. Their 
status is entirely different from that under 
which both the " Kingdom " and Posen are made 
to " lie quiet." The Galician Poles are not op- 
pressed at all. They have autonomy, they are 
not molested in the use of their language, they 
publish their newspapers without let or hin- 
drance, they have their representatives in the 
national Reichsrath, and one of them (Count 

31 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

Badeni) has even been Premier of the entire 
Empire, while another (Count Goluchowski) 
was for a decade imperial foreign minister. 
Warsaw shopkeepers are compelled to hire at 
least one Russian clerk, but Austria does not 
pursue a like policy in Galicia. Nor does she 
interfere with Polish schools, or refuse to for- 
ward letters bearing Polish titles, as is done in 
Posen by Prussia. There are no overt acts in 
Galicia by the Austrian government toward 
making life hard for the Poles (at any rate, 
if there are, it takes a long sojourn in the coun- 
try to notice them). Russia and Prussia do not 
officially recognise the existence of the Poles. 
There are, in Russia, inhabitants of the govern- 
ments of the Vistula who were formerly Polish. 
There are German subjects in the East Mark 
of Prussia who happen to prefer to speak the 
Polish language. Austria, however, does not 
thus wilfully shut her eyes to the painfully 
evident truth. She frankly admits that the 
Poles are not Austrians, not Germans, but Poles, 
wholly, irreclaimably, often resentfully, Poles. 
She permits them to sell openly all kinds of 
books, for and against the Austrian government, 
or any other existing or conceivable form of gov- 
ernment. The court at Vienna does not claim 
that Kosciuszko was an Austrian, as Prussia 
claims Copernicus. She admits that he was a 
Pole of the Poles. She does not forbid monu- 

32 



POLISH AUTONOMY— UNDER AUSTRIA 

ments being erected to him, nor tear down those 
already erected. The Viennese idea is of the eco- 
nomical order. The Austrians use the Kosciuszko 
memorial in Cracow as a military garrison. On 
the whole, however, the Poles have a good deal of 
sympathy politically for the Hapsburg Empire, 
and a real affection for the person of the aged 
Austrian Kaiser. 

Commercially, Austrian Poland has little for 
which to thank Vienna. Galicia, a province 
containing 30,000 square miles (it is about the 
size of the State of South Carolina), with a pop- 
ulation of eight millions, and a provincial gov- 
ernment of her own, is yet very backward eco- 
nomically. Galicia is miserably poor, thanks 
to the exhaustion of generations of war which 
the present system of taxation does not improve. 
There is another cause for her poverty, in the 
natural antipathy of the race of landed propri- 
etors to trade and industry. This prejudice is, 
however, fast dying out. Nature has endowed 
Galicia with a rich, fertile soil and a fair share 
of mineral wealth. The country is pleasantly 
diversified, from the level plain region about 
Cracow and Lemberg even to the summits of 
the Carpathians. All kinds of grain and veg- 
etables grow magnificently. As the country dips 
and then rises again to the foothills of the Car- 
pathians, traces of iron and copper appear, and 
westward, in the region of Schodnica, are to be 

33 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

found the richest naphtha wells in the world. 
The province also has generous supplies of salt. 
The famous old salt mines of Wieliczka, a few 
miles from Cracow, have been worked for nearly 
800 years, and still yield abundantly. But salt 
is a government monopoly in Austria, and the 
Galicians have to pay, in consequence, about six 
times as much for it as we do in America. 

Business is not good in Galicia. Everything 
is taxed to the breaking point. New enterprises 
must pay such enormous assessments for the 
privilege of beginning that their future for a 
dozen years is often mortgaged before they begin. 
As for the taxes on many of the estates, it is as 
much as the poor proprietor can do to satisfy 
the government and at the same time provide 
himself with the necessaries of life. At one time 
the Poles were the most extravagant and osten- 
tatious people in Europe. Now they are even 
frugal, simple, and saving. Perhaps they will 
some day thank Austria for teaching them the 
lesson of frugality, just as they are beginning 
to recognise the benefits of the rigorous but or- 
derly regime of Prussia. 

The Prussian Pole has benefited to a certain 
extent by the progressive commercial policy of 
the German government, and so also, though to 
a less extent, has the Russian Pole from Rus- 
sia. But the Pole in Austria has not had this 
stimulus, and he is still a good deal wedded to 

34 



POLISH AUTONOMY— UNDER AUSTRIA 

his old-fashioned ideas of the degrading nature 
of trade and work in general ; that is, work other 
than on an estate. He labours hard enough on 
his farm to satisfy even the American notion of 
work, but that is because he must. All his his- 
tory shows this distaste for commerce. From 
the early Middle Ages, so Voltaire tells us, al- 
most all the commerce and trade of Poland was 
in the hands of Scotchmen, Germans, and Jews. 
The great natural wealth of the country and the 
constant and immense stream of plunder coming 
in from the generations of usually successful 
war built up an enormously rich class of landed 
proprietors whose pride and luxuriousness was 
long the envy and wonder of the rest of Europe. 
Naturally such a wealthy class soon learned to 
regard traffic and work in general with contempt 
and as only fit for peasants and slaves. It is 
more than the aristocrats can stand even to-day 
to barter and sell goods. Anything, even pov- 
erty and actual want, is preferable to trade, and 
what at first seems utterly inexplicable to an 
American, soon becomes perfectly intelligible 
when the history of Poland is studied sociologic- 
ally. 

Besides this deeply ingrained prejudice, it 
must not be forgotten that the Pole has had but 
little training for business and is generally no 
match for the Jew with his natural cunning for 
barter, or the German, who has had the benefit 

35 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

of a commercial education and who often has the 
business aptitude in his blood. Much of the 
trade in the large cities of Galicia is in the 
hands of Germans or of Poles with German 
names, Poles in spirit it is true, but coming by 
their commercial proclivities from their foreign 
ancestry. This can be seen by walking through 
the principal streets in Cracow and Lemberg 
and noting the names on the signs. The younger 
generation of Poles in Galicia is indeed begin- 
ning to look at this matter in a new light and 
is going into business in increasing numbers. 
If they were only permitted liberty of initiative 
and freed from some of the ruinous taxation 
which now grinds them down, they would suc- 
ceed to-day. 

Yet, withal, the Galician Pole seems fairly 
contented. He tills his land in patience (a qual- 
ity he is beginning to show to a degree which 
would have considerably astonished his fiery and 
unruly ancestor), sells some of his farm produce, 
and hopes. He is beginning to look almost long- 
ingly toward Russia, where, despite political 
oppression, a fairly liberal commercial policy 
makes life offer new and attractive possibilities. 

The Poles form but one of the many diverse 
elements — although an important one — in that 
geographical expression which we know as Aus- 
tria. What a mosaic is the Hapsburg Empire- 
Kingdom! The traveller through this land sees 

36 



POLISH AUTONOMY— UNDER AUSTRIA 

so much diversity of tongue and religion in a 
ride of a few hours that he is bewildered. 

Four persons shared the railway carriage with 
me on the train from Vienna to Cracow, a lady 
and three gentlemen. A stout, dignified look- 
ing man with olive complexion and black hair 
that almost curled, sat directly opposite. He 
wore ordinary dress except that his modern suit 
was covered by a splendid cloak drawn partly 
together with a gorgeous sash. A Magyar mag- 
nate, but, as political geography goes, an Aus- 
trian subject. Next him sat the lady, whose 
delicately chiselled Latin features and general 
slender brunette type were very southern, quite 
Italian. No, she was Istrian — and Austrian. 
At her side was a powerfully built man with a 
haughty patrician face, small nose, and a great 
thick neck — the type of which Napoleon said, 
" Put him on a horse and you have a devil." A 
Pole, yes, but officially an Austrian. Next to me 
and opposite these three sat a little slim lieu- 
tenant with an air of suave dignity about him. 
A real Austrian, an Austrian of the Austrians, 
who said " Bitte pardon " or " Bitte schon " on 
every possible occasion, with a soft accent such 
as no one but a Viennese can master. At a 
small station near the famous field of Auster- 
litz a sixth passenger entered and made our 
coupe "complet." He was a "jager." The 
knee-breeches, mountain hat with jaunty feather 

37 






POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

in it, and the breezy honest politeness, all plainly 
said Tyrol. Yes, but an Austrian. As the guard 
ran along banging closed the doors of the car- 
riages, I caught a glimpse of a party being hus- 
tled into a third-class compartment. They were 
mostly women, and evidently peasants in holi- 
day attire. The gaily decorated bodice, large 
hat, wide flaring short skirt on the muscular 
frame, the clumsy top boots with dainty French 
heels, indicated Moravian peasants, — but Aus- 
trians. The train glided out of the station and 
there was a snap-shot view of a big fellow in 
white kilts and red tunic, wearing a fez. A 
Turk? Very nearly. He comes from the bor- 
ders of Dalmatia — and is an Austrian. If only 
a Czech, a Croat, a Slovak, and a Jew had been 
present, I might have received an idea of the 
heterogeneous population that owes allegiance 
to Kaiser Franz Joseph and calls itself Aus- 
trian. 

There is no Austrian language, no Austrian 
literature or patriotism or nationality, nothing 
the congeries of races have in common except 
the Emperor, the army, and the Reichsrath. 
What will happen when the object of their per- 
sonal allegiance has passed away? The empire 
of the Hapsburgs is the keystone of the European 
arch, and the continent dreads few things so 
much as its displacement. Eighteen million 
Hungarians, nine and one-half million Germans, 

38 



POLISH AUTONOMY— UNDER AUSTRIA 

eight million Poles and Ruthenians, six million 
Czechs, two or three million Servians, Croats, 
and Slovenians, about a million Italians, and 
nearly a million Jews — with as many tongues 
and religions as there are nationalities — if not 
more — what a marvellous but artificial struc- 
ture it is! 

In the matter of religion, also, the Dual Mon- 
archy is a mosaic. In the first place, it is the 
greatest Roman Catholic power in the world. 
By its constitution, the ruling dynasty must 
profess the Catholic faith. Vast property is in 
the ecclesiastical hand, and the church enjoys 
cordial recognition from the government. Pri- 
mate and priest are among the largest landed 
proprietors. Along the banks of the Danube the 
greater part of the soil is owned by the church. 
The Archbishop of Grau, who is Primate of Hun- 
gary, has an annual income of 1,000,000 florins, 
or more than $400,000; enough to support eight 
such mighty individuals as the American Presi- 
dent. About two per cent, of all the territory in 
Hungary belongs to the church. Every year at 
Easter " His Apostolic Majesty," as the Emperor 
is called, and his Empress wash the feet of poor 
beggars. 

Austria is not all Catholic, however, nor was 
she always a Catholic country. John Huss and 
Jerome of Prague were, in the geographical 
sense, Austrians; and Moravia, which is a word 

39 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

almost synonymous with Protestantism, is in 
Austria. Transylvania, of which Hungary is 
suzerain, is to-day perhaps the most remark- 
able conglomeration of religions known to 
history. Jew, Armenian, Russo-Greek, Latin- 
Greek, Nazarene, Roman Catholic, Lutheran, 
Calvinist, and Uniate have dwelt there in close 
proximity for centuries, but seldom in Christian 
harmony. 

For hundreds of years the many different 
races of the Empire have jostled and fought, and 
yet they have never mingled. Each has lived 
its own life and made its own history, jealous 
of its national individuality. While in Buda- 
pest I spoke to a Hungarian gentleman about 
the differences between the Magyars and their 
Emperor. But he replied decidedly, giving the 
keynote to the racial independence: " Es gicbt 
keinen Kaiser in Budapest, nur einen K6ni</ von 
Ungam." 

What would happen if the Empire should fall 
to pieces? Europe has not forgotten the one 
war over the Austrian succession, and fears that 
the death of the present Kaiser, loved and re- 
spected as he is throughout the continent, would 
precipitate the great European conflict which 
is the nightmare of all the chancelleries. Eu- 
rope feels that, in the word of a Czech states- 
man, " if Austria did not exist, she would have 
to be invented," in view of the political necessity 

40 



POLISH AUTONOMY— UNDER AUSTRIA 

for a strong grip on the jarring nationalities of 
the " central European lumber room." 

It follows as a corollary of her geographical 
position and her ethnological composition, that 
the Dual Monarchy desires nothing so much as 
to maintain the political status quo in central 
Europe. Any change in southeastern Europe 
is likely to disturb the internal equilibrium. 
Hence the anxiety with which Vienna watches 
developments in the Balkans and Turkey, and 
shudders at the possibility of Hungarian defec- 
tion or Bohemian linguistic patriotism unset- 
tling the balance of power within her borders 
and thus weakening the hold of the imperial 
capital. Put concretely, the two great spectres 
which haunt the dreams of the aged Austrian 
Kaiser are Pan-Slavism and Pan-Germanism. 
Russian propaganda in the Balkans and Ger- 
man influence in Austria proper must be 
watched continually, and these are the factors 
in Austria's foreign policy. Both of these fac- 
tors are growing more impressive and signifi- 
cant. Muscovite intrigue precipitates Bulgaria 
and Servia into a customs union which threat- 
ens to destroy completely Austrian para- 
mountcy in the Balkans. As for the influence 
of Germanism, the road to Constantinople long 
ago ceased to travel through Vienna. It now 
goes by way of Berlin. 

There is one factor, however, in her national 
41 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

life which Austria apparently slights or the im- 
portance of which she minimises, and that is 
her relation to the section of the ancient Polish 
Commonwealth, which is now a portion of the 
Dual Monarchy. Having a large amount of 
freedom and local self-government, the Austrian 
Poles are not the constant thorn in the flesh that 
their brethren are in Russia and Prussia. But 
as far as assimilation is concerned they are just 
as irreconcilable. No prescription has yet been 
offered, nor is any likely to be, for making a Rus- 
sian, a German, or an Austrian out of a Pole. 

The Poles of Galicia are more than half the 
population of that province, and their represent- 
atives in the Reichsrath at Vienna form the larg- 
est, best organised, and most influential group 
in that body. They hold the balance of power: 
with their eighty votes (1907) they are the 
determining party, and their views, in conse- 
quence, cannot be wholly disregarded by the 
Austrian government. On the subject of the 
treatment of their compatriots by Prussia they 
hold very strong views. They are satisfied with 
their own condition, and they see in it a proof 
that it is perfectly possible so to govern the Poles 
as not to keep them seething in discontent. The 
only way in which they can give effect to this 
feeling is to press upon their government the 
duty of making occasional representations to 
Germany in favor of the Polish subjects of that 

43 



POLISH AUTONOMY— UNDER AUSTRIA 

empire. This they are constantly trying to do, 
and at times they succeed in placing Emperor 
Francis Joseph in something of a quandary. 
He cannot well offend his ally by mentioning 
the matter, and he cannot afford altogether to 
alienate the parliamentary support of the Gali- 
cian Poles. Nor is this all. The Austrian gov- 
ernment, as such, is not anxious to take sides 
in the undying conflict between Teuton and 
Slav, which has begun, of late years, to assume 
such grave proportions. 

Few travellers can resist the charm of Vienna. 
Is there, in any other city in the world, such 
a happy combination of German solidity, with 
French chic, Teutonic warmth and thoroughness 
without a bit of Prussian arrogance, Gallic lithe- 
ness and taste, but not a trace of the staccato 
pertness of the Frenchman, all welded into a 
delightful whole by a cement of quiet good taste 
and picturesque abandon which is distinctly 
Viennese? It is the polite art-loving capital 
of a courteous, artistic people. 

The charming capital on the Danube, how- 
ever, has a short memory. She has found it too 
easy to forget that, but for a certain chivalrous, 
art-loving, whole-souled, and warrior Polish 
king, she might even now be only the "head 
town " of a Turkish vilayet. What would Vienna 
be to-day but for John Sobieski? 



43 



Ill 

CRACOW: THE HEART OF POLAND 

LEGEND has it that Lech, the mythical 
founder of the Polish people, was once 
attacked in his cradle by a three-headed 
dragon. The cradle of Lech was Cracow, and 
Cracow was the last resting-place of Polish inde- 
pendence. The free city and republic of Cracow 
lived till 1846, and was the last rallying point 
of Polish national existence. Here the three- 
headed dragon, or the three partitioning nations, 
descended for the last attack on prostrate Po- 
land. Cracow, therefore, is, for the best of rea- 
sons, the point from which to begin a study of 
Polish life as it is found to-day. 

Cracow is the most characteristically Polish 
city of the present The visitor will find more 
life and progress in Warsaw, but life of a cos- 
mopolitan, European kind. The traveller who 
wishes to see a real Polish city must see and 
study Cracow. This city is, undoubtedly, the 
real centre of the Polish nation, the point toward 
which the affection of the Poles turns as the 
most dignified, precious memento of their past 
glory. 

44 



CRACOW: THE HEART OF POLAND 

My first impressions of this quaint old Polish 
city were received under very characteristic and 
fortunate circumstances. The University of 
Cracow was about to celebrate the 500th anni- 
versary of its foundation. Was it not Matthew 
Arnold who, in speaking of the 500th anniver- 
sary of Oxford, remarked that a university does 
not come of age till it has attained its demi-mil- 
lennium? 

The coming of age of the Polish seat of learn- 
ing at Cracow gave the Poles an opportunity 
such as they have seldom had during the century 
just closed, an opportunity for showing to the 
world the love and mastery of picturesqueness, 
symbolism, hospitality, ceremony, and good 
cheer which is so characteristic of them as a 
people. 

The University of Cracow is a monument to 
the statesmanship and liberality of the early 
Polish kings. In the latter half of the four- 
teenth century — in 1364, to be precise — Kazi- 
mierz the Great decided to commemorate his ac- 
cession to the thrones of Poland and Lithuania 
by founding a library. This he endowed with all 
the magnificence and generosity of his age and 
line, and it soon became the centre of Polish 
culture. In two decades it had evolved a uni- 
versity, and had become the intellectual point 
d'appui of the kingdom. For a few years, owing 
to religious wars, the university was forced to 

45 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

close its doors. In the Christmas season of 1400, 
however, Jagiello, founder of his house, re-en- 
dowed and reorganised the institution, and 
from that day to this its work has never lapsed. 

The occasion of the celebration of its 500th 
birthday was a national event with the Poles, 
and the national pride came out strongly in the 
reception of visiting delegations from institu- 
tions all over the world. Impressive exercises, 
speeches, processions, and the presentation of 
gifts and souvenirs from sister universities, 
made up the celebration. The American dele- 
gation of professors commissioned the writer to 
lay on the tomb of Tadeusz (Thaddeus) Koscius- 
zko a wreath, as a token of grateful remembrance 
from America. 

On that memorable Sunday morning in June 
the sun shone brightly, and the pious peasant 
trudged to church to the sound of the solemn 
bell. Far down in the cathedral crypt, in the 
Wawel — the Westminster Abbey of Poland — by 
the fitful, subdued light of lanterns the writer 
reverently made his way through the aisles of 
sarcophagi in which slumber all of Poland's 
great dead. There lie Jagiello, Jadwiga, Kazi- 
mierz the Great, Zygmunt the Great, Stefan Bat- 
ory, John Sobieski, anl Joseph Poniatowski. 
By the side of the sarcophagus of the great So- 
bieski is a massive stone coffin in which lies all 
that was once mortal of Tadeusz Kosciuszko. Al- 

46 



CRACOW: THE HEART OF POLAND 

most religously laying the bit of laurel, with 
the inscription, " In the name of America, to 
the memory of Kosciuszko," on the pile of cold 
stone, I withdrew. 

The Poles owe the careers and great achieve- 
ments of many of their foremost men to the 
venerable Jagiellonian University. One of its 
graduates — " the most illustrious in half a thou- 
sand years" — belongs to the world. Nicholas 
Copernicus, when quite a youth, spent three 
years at the University, and it seemed fitting 
that the celebration should have been closed by 
the unveiling of a monument to the great mathe- 
matician and cosmographer. 

Cracow is a sort of " half-way house " between 
Vienna and Warsaw. Commercially, it depends 
on the former; politically (speaking from a Po- 
lish standpoint), on the latter. As long as the 
railroad connects Warsaw, Cracow, and Posen, 
Polish national life will not cease to be. In 
the military scheme of the Austrian Empire 
Cracow is a very important place. Within easy 
driving distance of the Russian frontier, this 
former capital and royal residence of Poland's 
kings has become one of the chief Austrian 
strongholds. The empire of the Hapsburgs has 
made it one of the strongest outposts of the re- 
ceding Teutonic power before the advance of 
the Slav. 

A denationalised people will always cling 
47 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

fondly to the past, and its monuments of former 
glories will constitute its chief claim to the in- 
terest of the rest of the world. With no polit- 
ical or military life of their own to-day, except as 
parts of the nations which hold them subject, 
the Poles point with most pride to the evidences 
of their former greatness. The traveller will be 
charmed by the hospitality and sympathetic 
character of the people themselves, and the stu- 
dent will be thrilled by the tragic interest of the 
drama of denationalisation which is still being 
enacted. Aside from her artists, musicians, 
and writers, the great things of Poland are 
chiefly those that have already had their day 
and their history. Cracow actually lives in the 
traditions of her great past. With 90,000 inhab- 
itants and many of the artistic, social and polit- 
ical characteristics of modern Europe, she is 
essentially a city of the past. An air of delight- 
fully picturesque somnolence hangs over her 
streets, even in the business quarter. Antiquity 
and historical recollections — these are the dis- 
tinctions of Cracow. They are her boast. How 
old these Poles are! Speak of your material 
progress, and the Cracovian replies that he has 
real, unadulterated antiquity. When you come 
to Cracow they show you the Wawel, the ancient 
fortress-castle, where, for 600 years and more, 
have slumbered the greatest of Poland's great 
dead. Through the court-yard, where many a 

48 



CRACOW: THE HEART OF POLAND 

tournament and joust has been held in splendour, 
the passing centuries have seen Bohemian, Prus- 
sian, Mongol, Swede, Tartar, Russian, and Aus- 
trian ride, rough-shod, in triumph, over a proud 
and sensitive prostrate nation, laden with spoil 
so rich that the mere description sounds like 
romance. 

Cracow was the second capital of the Polish 
kings. About the year 560 A. D., say the leg- 
ends, in the Carpathian Mountains there lived 
a petty chief or " leader of the province " named 
Krakus. He was a strong man and well be- 
loved. On the hill Wawel he built a fortress, 
now known as the Wawel, overlooking the River 
Vistula. This was a great task, as he had first 
to kill the dragon which dwelt on the hill. The 
cavern in which this Polish St. George met his 
foe is still pointed out to the visitor. At present, 
however, the entrance is closed with an iron 
trap door, heavily padlocked, and no one (for 
what reason it is not stated) is permitted to 
view the interior. Perhaps closer inspection 
might tend to lessen the belief in the old legend ; 
we moderns are so sceptical. 

But to return to Krakus. We are told that 
his rule was wise and good, and that when he 
died there was general mourning. His daugh- 
ter Wanda was elected " over lady." Now, 
Wanda was very beautiful, and this fact soon 
made trouble for her and Poland. Before long 

49 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

her beauty attracted the attention of a German 
prince named Rytyger, who fell in love with her 
and began violent suit for her hand. Wanda, 
however, did not return his affection and 
promptly refused him. The gallant lover wrote 
her an angry letter, threatening to invade her 
domain and make her his wife by force. But 
Wanda was not of the submissive kind. She 
gathered a great army and marched out and de- 
feated the Germans with great slaughter. Then, 
fearing that her beauty might cause further trou- 
ble to her country, tradition tells us that she 
deliberately drowned herself in the Vistula. I 
will not vouch for the truth of this story, but 
I have seen the kopiec, or mound, which has 
been erected to her memory. 

Stormy times, pagan wars, and long stretches 
of obscure history follow. Polish history turns 
to the north, to Gniezno (Gnesen), where be- 
gan the dynasty of Piasts, of legendary origin, 
which gave so many kings to Poland. From this 
time until the beginning of the last century 
Cracow had as stormy a history as is ascribed to 
any European city. Four times it was in the 
hands of a foreign invader. For three centuries 
it was the capital of Poland, and the kings were 
crowned there until 1764. When Poland WM 
first dismembered Cracow fell to Austria, to be 
appropriated later by Napoleon, and then by 
Alexander of Russia. The congress of Vienna 

50 



CRACOW: THE HEART OF POLAND 

declared it " for ever a free, independent, and 
neutral city, under the protection of Russia, 
Austria, and Prussia." " For ever " was the way 
it read in the treaty. Thirty-one brief years, 
however, was the length of the republic's life. 
The social ferment of the middle of the past cen- 
tury, culminating in the " terrible '48," began in 
Cracow in the summer of 1846. As a pretext for 
extinguishing a free commonwealth, what was 
easier for the emissaries of absolutism than to 
incite the peasants to revolt against " the op- 
pression of the aristocracy"? The insurrection 
spread over all Galicia. The privileged classes 
could remember the French Revolution, and to- 
day the aristocrats do not like to be reminded of 
this terrible summer, more than sixty years ago, 
when whole families died on their estates at the 
hands of peasants carrying scythes. Of course, 
this was not the proper way for a free common- 
wealth to behave, and the three powers directly 
concerned insisted on a " friendly meeting " at 
Vienna, at which they decided to incorporate the 
" Free State " of Cracow with the Austrian 
Empire. 

As with most European cities that date back 
more than a century, the radiating point, the 
central square of Cracow, is the market-place, or 
rynek, as the Poles call it, a picturesque old place, 
with the church of Panna Marya (Virgin Mary) 
on one side, the Cloth Hall, or Sukiennice, in the 

51 






POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

centre, flanked by the ancient City Hall, the 
chapel of St. Wojciech, and the noble monument 
to the poet Mickiewicz. Every Tuesday and 
Friday, from time immemorial, the venders 
of produce of all sorts have gathered on the 
rynek. 

The open market is a very pretty sight. The 
variety offered and the picturesqueness of the 
trade is very interesting. Here, the gaily dressed 
peasant woman brings her wares: chickens and 
ducks, alive and remonstrating volubly, vegeta- 
bles, fruits, bread, small cakes, poziomki (wild 
strawberries), and knickknacks of every imag- 
inable kind. Here, also, may be seen the gar- 
dener or factor of the landed estate, selling his 
fruit and vegetables to help out the revenue of 
the proprietor. 

The favourite spot for the exhibition of these 
wares seems to be in front of the ancient castle 
of the Potockis, known as Pod Baranami, " Un- 
der the Rams' Heads." When the Emperor visits 
Cracow he usually stays at this castle, having 
first informed the family that they may leave, 
although occasionally, during his stay, he gra- 
ciously invites them to dinner. 

The cabmen love to congregate before the little 
chapel of St. Wojciech, where, tradition has it, 
the Czech missionaries first preached the Gospel 
to the then heathen Poles. From this spot the 
cabbies can gaze reverently at the stone tablet 

52 



CRACOW: THE HEART OF POLAND 

which is set in the square near by, declaring that 
here, on March 24, 1794, Kosciuszko took the 
oath as commander of the Polish army, before 
that memorable campaign against the Russians 
— the famous campaign of Raclawice. 

In the very centre of the rynek is the Sukien- 
nice, the most impressive and perhaps the most 
interesting building in the city. In the early 
Middle Ages this now ancient edifice began its 
career as Cloth Hall, or place of exhibition for 
merchandise, principally dress-stuffs, hence its 
name. 

The Sukiennice is now used as a gallery for 
the exhibition of paintings, a reception hall, 
and a museum. A long arcade, fitted up as a 
market and panelled at regular intervals with the 
different national and local Polish coats of arms, 
pierces the building and gives it a very pictur- 
esque and busy air. 

Outside, except on market days, the old square 
suns itself in dignified repose, the quiet broken 
only by an unusually expeditious cabman, or by 
the deep-toned bell from the tower of Panna 
Marya. Every hour the clear musical note of 
the hejnal comes from the church tower. I have 
taken down the notes of this trumpet call, which 
is regularly sounded from the three corners of 
the tower of Panna Marya, but there is no in- 
strument which can fully reproduce its liquid 
melody. The " colour " of the notes seems just 

53 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

between that of the cornet and that of the mili- 
tary bugle. 



kf, %jJWJ3jJ]Jf^^ 



Cracow is a grey city. The buildings are quite 
generally of that soft, artistic grey tint which 
improves with age in the stone or stucco so com- 
mon in old European cities. Cracow reminds 
one of a well-bred woman who has begun to age 
and to grow grey. It is not the greyness of de- 
crepitude, but of well-seasoned middle age. Cra- 
cow has seen so much of life that she knows its 
varied experiences thoroughly. In her youth 
her sons went forth to the Crusades. In the 14th 
century her people numbered nearly half a mil- 
lion. She was full grown when the Thirty 
Years' War broke out. She was developed, cul- 
tured, and civilised long before the three-headed 
dragon appeared, and she is weary of waiting for 
her rather uncouth neighbours to catch up with 
her intellectually, socially, and in almost all 
the other arts of civilisation — the politer arts. 
She has seen so much of strenuous life that she 
is no longer surprised at anything. An air of 
well-bred ease and nonchalance sits gracefully 
on her. Even modern newspapers and the slowly 
widening circle of " families in trade " cannot 
conceal this air. Moreover, she has acquired all 

54 



CRACOW: THE HEART OF POLAND 

the arts of the mature coquette, the coquette who 
is better educated than her neighbours, who has 
some idle time on her hands, and who makes 
sport, quietly, of her associates. One can almost 
fancy that, at times, he detects her yawning be- 
hind her fan. She is very diplomatic, with a 
finesse all her own. It must be confessed that 
she has many of the symptoms of a civilisation 
just a bit effete. With her societies, her card- 
playing parties, her ennui, her little contests for 
social pre-eminence — in these she is irreproach- 
ably fin (or commencement) de siecle. 

Cracow is not married to the material, indus- 
trial present, but she is betrothed to it. Her 
engagement ring is the beautifully modern boule- 
vard extending all around the city limits, known 
as the Plante. Some years ago a wealthy gentle- 
man had municipal pride enough to found this 
beautiful adornment to the city. There are 
other parks in the city, notably the beautiful 
Jordan Park. The Plants, however, is unique. 
A delightful, shaded walk, bordered with flower- 
beds kept in the pink of condition, it affords 
the Cracovian an hour's promenade, in the course 
of which he can pass before almost all the fea- 
tures of the city of which he is proud. The new 
university, the new home of the Society of Fine 
Arts, many handsome residences, and several of 
the public buildings face on the Plants, which 
is the favourite promenade ground of the whole 

55 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

town. Here may be seen every grade and class 
of life out on a holiday. All Cracow and his 
wife, or sweetheart, are here. Slim, straight, 
olive-complexioned Austrian army officers, the 
politest military men in the world, but positively 
radiating their own importance many feet before 
them ; common soldiers in the eminently practical 
but scarcely handsome Austrian uniform, slouch- 
ing along by the side of their kitchen-maid sweet- 
hearts; stooped, reverend university professors 
and earnest-looking students; Jews in long gaber- 
dines, talking mongrel Polish in high, nasal 
tones, and lovingly anointing their corkscrew 
curls — you may see them all on almost any fine 
afternoon. The Plants encircles the city outside 
the old fortifications, and it is an interesting and 
delightful contrast that is experienced when one 
steps from this modern boulevard into the sally- 
port of one of the ancient gates, such as the 
Brama Floryanska (Florian gate), and, after 
passing the shrine, with its ever-burning lamp, 
emerges again into the open air in the old city 
itself. 

The stone in this engagement ring of Cracow is 
not modern. It is the heart of Poland, its in- 
nermost shrine, the Wawel. But here the co- 
quette simile must be stopped. It would seem 
a bit flippant when referring to the ancient, 
hoary, revered Wawel. 

The Wawel is a collection of buildings, really 
66 



CRACOW: THE HEART OF POLAND 

a small fortified city — cathedral, chapels, bar- 
racks, dwelling-houses, and court-yards — all sur- 
rounded by a high wall, flanked at the corners 
by towers. It was, indeed, a fortress independ- 
ent of the city about it. The Vistula rolls 
peacefully at its feet. 

The chief interest attaching to the Wawel lies 
in the fact that, in the crypt of its cathedral, are 
buried most of the monarchs of Poland. Though 
for many years ruin and neglect was the fate of 
the Wawel, the ancient pile is now being restored. 
The government at Vienna has consented to re- 
move the arsenal and barracks if the city will 
build other quarters for the troops. This trans- 
formation has now almost been completed, 
j For richness and magnificence of artistic and 
religious treatment, the Wawel cathedral is, per- 
haps, unequalled in the world. The Pole is lav- 
ish by nature, and, in matters that concern his 
religion, he is prodigal of costly gifts. Gold, 
silver, jewels, stained glass, rare marbles and 
other stones, costly carved woods, pictures, heavy 
stuffs in decoration, sculptures, beaten and car- 
ven work in metals — these are all to be seen in 
such profusion that description is at a loss where 
to begin. The great altar is backed by four mas- 
sive columns, heavily covered with gold, between 
which, on either side, one may see the painted 
imago Christi, in rich bejewelled colour folds, 
smiling sadly and benignantly down on the wor- 

57 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

shippers. To the right is the chapel and tomb 
of St. Stanislaw, the patron saint of Poland. 
The chapel of Zygmunt (Sigismund) August is 
the jewel of the coronet. This is said to be the 
finest piece of Renaissance work north of the 
Alps. The lower section of the wall is finished 
in the beautiful red-veined Italian marble, mar- 
vellously carved into shapes as delicate as though 
of wood. The upper portion of the circle and 
tomb is finished in grey marble, and adorned with 
beautiful designs, rosettes and cusps, so cun- 
ningly cut that, although the whole presents the 
appearance of uniformity, no two ornaments are 
alike. The splendid tomb itself is thickly gilded 
with solid gold on the outside. During the Swed- 
ish invasions, in the 17th century, this tomb was 
painted black, or the rapacious soldiers of 
Gustavus would certainly have carried off the 
whole thing. In the rear of the great altar may 
be seen a large, almost life-size figure of the 
Christ, wrought out of solid silver. This also 
was blackened that it might escape the Swedes, 
and it still stands, dark and sombre, against its 
background of silver ornament, which, however, 
has been brightened. 

Memories of the saintly Queen Jadwiga hang 
about the Wawel. In one of the palaces, known 
as "The Chicken's Foot," tradition has it thai 
she used to meet her Austrian lover, Prince Wil- 
liam, and it was from here that she went forth to 

58 






CRACOW: THE HEART OF POLAND 

marry the barbarian Duke Jagiello, of Lithu- 
ania, for the glory of God and the extension of 
Poland. 

One of the most picturesque customs that sur- 
vives in this land of beautiful and picturesque 
traditions, is the celebration of the Wianki 
(wreaths) on the eve of St. John's night (June 
24 ) . The great feature is the casting of wreaths 
on the waters of the Vistula, just below the walls 
of the Wawel. The legend of St. John's night 
tells of the wonderful fern blossom which blooms 
only at midnight, the flower disappearing almost 
immediately. The girl who has courage enough 
to penetrate into the depths of the wood at this 
hour may find this blossom, and if she succeeds 
in picking it, she holds in her hand lifelong hap- 
piness. But she must be unusually brave to 
face and pass the many dangers which await her 
on the way. The night is full of horror. Elves 
and spirits of the forests lurk among the trees, 
witch wolves and monsters lie in wait in pits and 
ravines, and many other frightful perils must 
be faced. Indeed, she cannot even be certain 
where this delicate plant grows. But one thing 
she does know: the deeper she penetrates into 
the forest the more certain she is of finding it. 
This legend has a pretty origin, with a lovely 
princess and a handsome prince in it, and, some- 
how, the legend and Wanda, who, it will be re- 
membered, threw herself into the Vistula to 

59 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

escape the attentions of unwelcome admirers, all, 
in some way, became connected. On the beauti- 
ful evening in June, amid fireworks, music, and 
general festivities, wreaths are cast on the river 
from the walls of the Wawel. They are of vari- 
ous colours. Set on fire, they float down the 
river. A picture of Wanda about to throw her- 
self into the river, surrounded by festoons, is 
one of the features of the celebration observed by 
great crowds from the parapets of the ancient 
fortress. 

A volume could be written on the churches of 
Cracow alone. There are thirty-six of them, to 
about 90,000 inhabitants. The whole story of 
Polish religious fervour, of all the ecclesiastical 
pageantry and devotional symbolism of this 
devout people, may be seen in Cracow. Age, tra- 
dition, form — these are the things one notes when 
he enters one of these churches of Cracow. The 
church of Panna Marya is one of the oldest and 
most interesting of these temples. It is of pure 
Gothic architecture, but with Byzantine effect. 
The interior is thickly covered with gold, silver, 
and jewels. The walls of the great nave are 
covered with paintings of golden angels on a blue 
background. There must be 300 of them, but 
the painter, Jan Matejko, who restored this in- 
terior, has not repeated himself. No two are 
alike. Everything likely to impress a sensuous, 
poetic, religiously inclined temperament is in this 

60 



CRACOW: THE HEART OF POLAND 

church. Great stained windows, through which 
the sunlight filters in a perfect riot of splendid 
colour, make all the vaulted chamber look like 
a kaleidoscope. On one side is a chapel of the 
Madonna, literally blazing with jewels. At the 
entrance, thickly placarded with sombre death 
notices,* the beggars sit and quaveringly ask for 
dole. 

The great religious pageant of the year, a spec- 
tacle unique in the world and this age, is the 
procession of Boze Cialo, or Corpus Christi. One 
may see very picturesque processions of Corpus 
Christi in Italy, in Spain, in Mexico, in Canada. 
But for impressive pageantry, flood of colour, 
devotion and form that make you rub your eyes 
and wonder if you are not back in the Middle 
Ages, you must see Boze Cialo in Cracow. 

It was a beautiful day in the early part of 
June that I saw the procession from a window 
overlooking the market place. Perhaps two thou- 
sand persons participated in the ceremonies, but 
many more, probably, watched from the square. 
The day is a national holiday, the ceremony being 
observed throughout Austria, even " His Apos- 
tolic Majesty," the Emperor, formerly joining the 
procession in Vienna and carrying his lighted 
candle. In Poland, however, the ceremony is 
most strictly and picturesquely observed. By 
* When anyone dies in Cracow a black printed notice is 
posted on the church door. 

61 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

law, the military must be represented. This 
morning one regiment marched with the wor- 
shippers, its fine band (and the Austrian military 
music is the finest in the world) blending with 
the sacred chorals of the singers and the mellow 
notes of the hejnal from the towers of Panna 
Marya. 

The procession begins. The crowd removes 
their hats. The march is to the church, around 
the square, and back again to the church, halting 
at the four corners of the rynek for the reading 
of the Gospel by the Bishop, at four altars which 
have been erected. It is a riot of colour. 
Brotherhoods and other religious orders, wearing 
distinctive colours, pass in groups, some all in 
white with blue facings, some with greens, others 
with reds, yellows, purples, but all brilliant. A 
large proportion are women, some with little 
children, in arms or led by the hand. The 
little ones are bareheaded, and most of them are 
garbed in white, but they have badges, patches, 
ribbons, of other distinctive colours. The women 
are like tropical birds of plumage — skirt, bodice, 
headkerchief of vivid reds, vermilions, blues, 
greens, yellows, orange. 

While the reading of the Gospel is in progress 
a choir of young men chants sacred music. The 
Bishop elevates the Host, and a soft, mellow- 
toned bell tinkles. Down on the cobbles, on 
their knees, falls everyone, participants and on- 

63 



CRACOW: THE HEART OF POLAND 

lookers, and at the word of command, soldiers 
also. As the Bishop finishes the rifles of the 
military crash out, frightening the pigeons from 
the eaves of the belfry of Panna Marya in great 
white clouds. Then he marches to the next can- 
opy slowly, under his baldachin, preceded by the 
thurifer swinging incense, while, in front, pat- 
ter little girls and boys, some so young that they 
must be guided by mother's hand — all robed in 
white and crowned with wreaths. The toddlers 
walk backward, bearing baskets of flowers, which 
they scatter in the path of His Reverence. This 
is done at each of the four altars. 

There are many banners. The Virgin and 
Child, and the suffering Christ, appear, in picture 
and image, in every conceivable material, in rich- 
est panoply. Gold, silver, brocades heavy with 
gilding — these represent the loving gifts of many 
peasants for many years. Figures of the ago- 
nising Christ, large and repellent, in brown wax, 
standing upright or recumbent in great boxlike 
structures, heavy and unwieldy, are borne by 
gaily dressed peasant women, with proudly swell- 
ing breasts. For this is the reward of virtue and 
self-denial through the entire year, and the priest 
has decided these women to be the worthy ones. 
The banners are carried by men, but with diffi- 
culty when the wind blows. The loose brown 
coats, with leather supports for the banners about 
the waists, make the bearers look like labourers 

63 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

of the soil. But far from this. It is a religious 
garb, and they are proud of it It is the sign of 
virtue attained. 

As the eye wanders over the motley but super- 
latively picturesque crowd, it notes, after an 
effort, the individuals here and there, the types. 
Here a peasant, in red jacket and big boots, kneels 
on the cobbles in the middle of the road, facing 
the altar. Here a woman in vivid colour pros- 
trates herself on the stones, oblivious of her sur- 
roundings. There an old man in patched, 
threadbare, dirty garments, his hands calloused 
and brown from the moil of the fields, bends his 
head, a la Angelus, and blesses himself. There 
little children, scarcely out of arms, kneel, and 
their lips tell the prayers. A choir, under a 
wide-spreading chestnut tree, chants; the regi- 
mental band plays martial music, while the 
crowd, in its flashing attire, parasols as flaming 
spots studding it at intervals, colours in " im- 
possible " but effective combinations, closes in 
slowly behind. The mass eddies and ebbs and 
flows. The colours move, change, dissolve, com- 
bine, dissolve again, till the observer feels almost 
the sensation of sea-sickness. The old square 
is fairly planted with colour as a gorgeous flower- 
bed, and studded with censer, monstrance, can- 
opy, baldachin, image, vestment. A row of 
lighted candles, flickering weirdly in the bright 
sunlight, fringes the procession, which slowly, 

64 






CRACOW: THE HEART OF POLAND 

gracefully, undulatingly, like a large, beautiful, 
multicolored serpent, sparkles, crepusculates, 
vermiculates back to the church. The architec- 
ture of the surrounding buildings harmonises 
completely with the scene. The ancient Sukien- 
nice, with its dash of Orientalism — time-worn, 
grey — fits in perfectly with the ceremony. What 
a spectacle for an artist ! 

How the Poles love the drama ! Even to those 
who know the theatres of the large cities of 
Europe, the Cracow playhouse is for its size one 
of the best arranged and most artistic on the con- 
tinent. Everything is in the exquisite taste 
which the Poles always show in matters of art. 
The architect was not hampered by enormously 
high land values, and perspective is permitted to 
display all its charms, landscape art all its beau- 
ties. 

From the finely proportioned stair and en- 
trance to the splendid curtain painted by that 
king of curtain-painters, Siemiradzki, everything 
quite satisfies the eye and the aesthetic taste. The 
Polish school of art, which received its first im- 
pulse from the Academy founded in Cracow by 
the famous historical painter, Jan Matejko, can 
have no nobler monument than this perfect little 
playhouse. The Austrians have learned one les- 
son. For some years they have thoroughly ap- 
preciated the fact that subsidising a German 
theatre in Cracow, where German plays are 

65 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

given which no one goes to see, is no more 
efficacious as a Teutonising agency than subsidis- 
ing a German newspaper in Posen, which no one 
reads — which has been conclusively demonstrated 
to the Prussian government. The Cracow thea- 
tre gives Polish plays, and intensely Polish ones 
at that. 

It was under the most characteristic circum- 
stances that I first witnessed a performance in 
the Cracow theatre. Slowacki's intense, soul- 
harrowing allegorical drama, " Kordjan," was 
being given, at the special request of certain 
patriotic citizens. Warsaw and the terrible 
days of '30 and '31 were acted on the stage and 
lived over again by the audience. Many of those 
present had journeyed from the Polish metropolis 
in the Russian Empire expressly to witness this 
performance. Within the limits of the old repub- 
lic, now under Russian domination, it is not 
permitted to play " Kordjan," or to render, by 
voice or instrument, the splendid, sad dirge, 
"Z Dymem Pozardw "— " With the Smoke of 
Conflagrations." — one of the Polish national 
hymns, composed in 1846 by Ujejski. Whenever 
the Russian Poles come to Cracow this hymn is 
played for them. It is seldom that the Varso- 
vians can hear, with unwet eyes, the solemn 
strains which sum up Poland's agony and yearn- 
ing. Are they not searchingly impressive? 



66 



CRACOW: THE HEART OF POLAND 

Adagio maestoso. 

pH eet f ir r rr H J r (H i 



g 



^: 



* * 3 3 i* 

f j Nj i r ccrT i f »f r 



Jul 



rtf 



^M 



3 3* 



5 



9 •__ 



Nrr£: 



V-W- 



J in \ iM 



$ 



H n H l iPi^$gl 



p 



g§ 



IB 



67 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 




68 



CRACOW: THE HEART OF POLAND 

" Kordjan " is Polish life and history for the 
past century sublimated to an essence, with none 
of the struggle and agony omitted, and it was 
plainly evident that the citizens of Cracow had 
come to the play not to be entertained by strong, 
good acting (although in that respect the most 
exacting could not have been disappointed), but 
to iiave their patriotism quickened by living over 
again while the actors spouted, in the nervous, 
resonant lines of the mystic poet, one of the stern- 
est chapters in their national history. Cracow 
is the only Polish city in which " Kordjan " could 
be presented, and to see this splendid, soul- 
racking production in its theatre, is to come as 
near to the heart of the Polish people as an alien 
can ever hope to get. The majesty and intensity 
of the poem goes straight to the patriotic con- 
sciousness of even a spectator who knows no 
Polish. 



69 



IV 



THE POLES AND GERMANY'S WORLD 
DREAM 

AS the "Battle Gallery" in the Palace of 
ZjL Versailles was established to be " an il- 
A m luminative monument," * d toutes le% 
gloires de la France" so the great series of his- 
torical paintings which the celebrated Jan Ma- 
tejko left as a patriotic legacy to his country are 
really a splendid illustrated chronicle of the 
glories of Poland. The Poles are immensely 
proud of all these paintings, but not even the 
magnificent " Sobieski before Vienna " gives 
them such a sense of exultant satisfaction as the 
two, " The Battle of Grunwald," and " The Prus- 
sian Homage," both of which record triumphs 
over the Teuton. These paintings now hang in 
the Sukiennice at Cracow. The first shows the 
Lithuanian prince, Witold, sharing with King 
Wladyslaw (Ladislaus) of Poland the glory of 
his tremendous victory over the Teutonic knights 
(July 15, 1410). The second shows the envoys 
of Prussia bending the knee before the Polish 
king, Zygmunt I. (April 25, 1525). It recalls 
the almost forgotten fact that Prussia was once 
a fief of the Polish crown. 

70 



POLES AND GERMANY'S WORLD DREAM 

The traveller who visits the Grand Duchy of 
Posen today, especially the cities of Posen and 
the more ancient Gnesen (Polish, Gniezno), and 
meets at all points the proud Prussian army 
officer, and sees all about him the evidences of 
Prussian power and progress, will, no doubt, 
find it difficult to realise that, four centuries 
ago, Poland was supreme in what is now Prussia, 
Silesia, and Pomerania, and, going still further 
back, that the now sleepy little town of Gnesen 
was the first capital of Poland. 

Of Gnesen itself, the oldest town of Poland, 
there is very little to be said to-day. Take a 
horse and ride for six hours to the northeast of 
the city of Posen, through a pleasant rural 
region, all of hills and lakes, and reminding one 
of central New York, and you reach Gnesen, in 
the Prussian " government " of Bromberg. About 
30,000 people, nearly equally divided between 
Poles and German Jews, make a living in Gnesen 
by weaving linen, distilling brandy, and trading 
horses and cattle. After seeing the cattle mar- 
ket, which is interesting to an American as being 
so very different from the ones he sees in his 
own great West, the hunter after antiquities goes 
at once to the Cathedral. Here one is ready to 
begin Polish history, and to begin it at its most 
characteristic and essential phase, the religious. 

Swienty Wojciech (in English, St. Adalbert), 
whose bones rest in the cathedral, was one of the 

71 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

first to preach the Gospel to the then heathen 
Poles and Prussians. It was he who really in- 
troduced Christianity into what is now Germany. 
Toward the close of the 10th century he was 
appointed Bishop of Prague, Bohemia being then 
part of the Empire. But it was no bed of roses 
that had been provided for him. The Bohemians 
had but recently been converted to the new re- 
ligion, and the Czech blood was still warm with 
paganism. St. Adalbert's holiness was alto- 
gether too much for his flock. They objected to 
his austere code, in general. But when he for- 
bade polygamy, they felt that their personal 
liberty was being infringed upon. So they drove 
him out of the city. After ten years' absence in 
Rome he returned to his flock, but found them 
worse than ever. So he gave them up in despair, 
and devoted his remaining years to missionary 
labours, principally in Poland and northern 
Germany. He became the " Apostle to the Prus- 
sians," and first preached the Gospel to the Poles 
from beneath a great tree in what is now the 
market place of Cracow. Over this spot has been 
erected a chapel chiefly supported by the volun- 
tary contributions of the cabmen, who hold St 
Adalbert in particular reverence. The heathen 
Prussians were no more appreciative of the 
saintly Adalbert than the Czechs had been, and 
they treated him far worse. While preaching in 
Pomerania, near the modern city of Danzig, at 

72 



POLES AND GERMANY'S WORLD DREAM 

Easter, in the year 997, one of the heathen priests 
speared him to death. Legend has it that the 
Poles begged his body, but the Prussians de- 
manded its weight in gold. The reckoning was 
made, and, lo, a miracle! The saint's body 
weighed nothing at all — which was, indeed, a 
miracle, for all representations show him to have 
been of a very substantial build. 

Gnesen was made the seat of an archbishop 
in the beginning of the 11th century, and, 
though it still has a cathedral chapter, the arch- 
bishop now resides in Posen. It is to Posen, 
therefore, rather than to Gnesen, despite the lat- 
ter's longer history, that attention is to be di- 
rected. Posen is one of the most strongly 
fortified towns in the German Empire. It is 
about fifty miles from the Russian border, and 
counts, as the Germans put it, 150,000 inhabi- 
tants. Its fortifications are of the first order, 
and there are 60,000 men in the garrison. Posen 
was for centuries a great depot on the overland 
trade route between Asia and Europe. Like all 
Polish cities, it formerly showed a semi-Eastern 
cast of architecture and life, which, however, was 
wiped out by the great fire in 1803. As rebuilt, 
it looks very German. 

It is as difficult to speak of the history of 
Prussian Poland without bringing in the Teu- 
tonic Knights as it would be to treat of early 
American history without mentioning the Indian. 

73 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

There is the same bloody story of age-long strug- 
gle to the death, of cunning, frightful cruelty, 
broken faith, and shameless prostitution of the 
Christian religion, in this case to further the 
private ends of a corrupt, rapacious military 
oligarchy. There was this important difference : 
The Teutonic Knights were not the original pos- 
sessors of the land, as were the American Indians. 
Eight hundred years ago Conrad, Duke of Mazo- 
via, sent an embassy to invite the Teutonic 
Knights to occupy eastern Prussia, on certain 
conditions (which they did not fulfil), and two 
centuries later all Prussia called upon Poland 
to deliver it from the bondage of the Knights. 
Like all other organisations which began during 
the Crusades as a militant religious order, the 
Teutonic Knights gradually forgot their religion, 
except as a convenient cloak, but retained the 
militant side of their idea. They originated the 
" for the good of the Order " slogan. To-day this 
once powerful organisation is confined largely 
to Bohemia and other portions of the Austrian 
Empire. Many of its members have become ad- 
herents of the University of Prague, where they 
hold good " livings " as professorships. Take a 
ten minutes' walk through the quaint capital of 
Bohemia and you will see a number of reverend, 
inoffensive individuals, wearing a badge which 
consists of a red satin cross over a six-pointed 
star. The Praguers, who have not forgotten 

74 



POLES AND GERMANY'S WORLD DREAM 

their Latin, call them Stelliferi. They are the 
successors of the men who tormented Jurand, of 
" The Knights of the Cross," and were defeated 
at Grunwald, by the Lithuanians and Poles under 
King Wladyslaw and Prince Witold. 

From Gnesen as a centre the Polish Common- 
wealth grew by conquest and marriage. The 
histories of Poland tell us that the town became 
great as a result of the marriage of Mieczyslaw 
I. to DombroVka, a Christian Bohemian prin- 
cess who is to Polish history what Chlotild is to 
French. Through her, Mieczyslaw was converted 
to the Christian faith, and one of his successors', 
Boleslaw L, known as the Great, was so powerful 
and held such a splendid court that the Emperor 
Otho determined to pay him a visit. Indeed, 
there was good reason for an acquaintance to be 
mutually desirable. The pagan Slavonians gave 
the Emperor a good deal of trouble by their fre- 
quent descents on his loyal province of Saxony. 
He also had difficulties in Italy. So he was very 
anxious for a treaty of peace and friendship with 
Boleslaw. That monarch saw a chance of realis- 
ing, through Otho, his great ambition — to gain 
permission from the Pope, who then dispensed 
all the crowns of the world, to be recognised as 
King of Poland. Up to this time the Emperor 
had looked upon Poland as a part of the German 
Empire. Under pretext of making a pilgrimage 
to the tomb of St. Adalbert, the Emperor paid a 

75 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

visit to Boleslaw. So impressed was he with the 
magnificence of the Polish court and the lavish 
hospitality with which he was welcomed, that he 
took the crown from his own head and placed it 
on that of Boleslaw. He made a treaty with the 
Polish monarch, and the Pope erected an Arch- 
bishopric of Gnesen. 

Centuries of war with Kussians, Swedes, Cos- 
sacks, Tartars, and Germans, feats of national 
chivalry followed by wild periods of bloodshed 
and intrigue, bring Polish history down to the 
time of the first partition in 1772. Since the 
reign of Frederick the Great of Prussia a large 
section of the old Polish Commonwealth has been 
part of the Prussian realm. Meanwhile, Prussia 
has risen to her present splendid altitude of 
leader in the German Empire, and the strongest 
military power in the world. What relation do 
the Polish subjects of the Prussian crown bear to 
the Empire in its national aims to-day? Let us 
pause for a moment to consider the world dream 
of the German people. 

In this first decade of the 20th century, what is 
Germany trying to do? What is the idea and 
ideal which is engrossing all the energy and in- 
tellect of the German people? A study of the 
career of the German Emperor can scarcely fait 
to show that Germany is aiming at nothing less 
than the Germanisation of the world. 

When the Kaiser "dropped the pilot over- 
76 



POLES AND GERMANY'S WORLD DREAM 

board " and determined to be his own steersman, 
he took from the hands of Bismarck the main out- 
lines of his chart of empire building. " Germany," 
said the greatest of Teutonic statesmen, " lies be- 
tween two great military nations neither of which 
bears her any good will: Russia on one side, 
France on the other. With a revengeful power 
on one side, and an ambitious one on the other, 
Germans can hardly be either tranquil or con- 
tent. Germany is not a match for both at the 
same time, and, lest they join their forces [did 
the keen statesman actually foresee the Franco- 
Russian alliance?], the great defensive aim of 
Germany should be to keep her two formidable 
neighbours busy elsewhere." 

This was the keynote of the Bismarckian sys- 
tem of foreign politics. With this end in view, 
the creator of modern Germany played " high 
politics " till he had succeeded in getting France 
busy opposing England in Egypt and in making 
Russia " face the British lion all along the fron- 
tiers of the world." By this policy he also 
succeeded, to a certain degree, in distracting 
England's attention from German commercial 
development. 

Secure for a long period from molestation by 
her most feared neighbours, Germany is begin- 
ning to show her hand in active policy. Her 
wonderful industrial and commercial develop- 
ment is leaving England behind, and she is now 

77 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

reaching out in challenge to the other members 
of the great Anglo-Saxon family. The rise of 
united Germany, the tremendous start in the 
world of politics, economics, and commerce given 
her by the victory over France and the vast 
money indemnity she wrung from her prostrate 
foe, the far-seeing world policy of Bismarck, the 
comprehensive schemes for domestic development 
and foreign advancement which the present 
Kaiser has inaugurated and is bringing to p 
— these, together with the acknowledged military 
leadership of the world, a rapidly increasing 
navy, a merchant marine whose sails whiten every 
harbour of the globe, and an unrivalled system of 
technical commercial education, have made the 
comparatively short life of the new German 
Empire unique in the history of nations. The 
Kaiser is one of the most brilliant and fascinating 
personalities of the day, undeniably of great 
capacity for statesmanship. His ambition, more- 
over; is boundless. Keen students of contem- 
porary history believe that, in his famous phrase, 
" Unscre Zukunft Hcgt auf dent ^Ya88cr,'' whicll 
was emblazoned on the German building at the 
Paris Exposition, is to be found the latest 
" feeler" " of Germany in the direction of world 
supremacy. 

A number of nations have been possessed by 
the ambition to become supreme on both land and 
water. No nation has ever achieved this ambi- 

78 



POLES AND GERMANY'S WORLD DREAM 

tion, although France, under the tremendous 
ideas of Colbert, came very near success. Eng- 
land's supremacy on the sea is unchallenged, but 
she does not claim, nor has she ever claimed, 
hegemony on land. Will Germany wrest the 
supremacy of the ocean from England? Only 
the future can tell, but a comparison of the re- 
spective growths of German and British merchant 
marines during the past twenty-five years will 
make historical students pause and think. 

If the headship of Europe is to be won on land, 
it is evident that Germany must keep all the 
Teutons together and create a greater Germany, 
occupying the centre of the continent, to which 
all men of German speech shall owe allegiance. 
And here comes in Germany's interest in Aus- 
trian politics. The Austrian Germans do not 
hesitate to admit that they regard their ultimate 
destiny as within the German Empire. If to the 
sixty or more million inhabitants of the Father- 
land are added the eight or ten million German- 
speaking subjects of Franz Joseph, and if Hol- 
land finally (as now seems possible, despite 
Dutch patriotism) falls into the German basket, 
we have the thrilling fact that between Hamburg 
and Triest there is a German empire numbering 
seventy-five millions or more. Berlin is already 
the dominating capital of the continent. It is no 
longer asked what will Paris or Vienna think, 
but what will Berlin do? Get just beyond the cen- 

79 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

tripetal influence of London and Paris, and all 
roads lead to Berlin. At most of the railroad 
stations in Austria, Kussia, and Scandinavia, 
and of course the less important countries, the 
first item usually on the schedule boards is u nach 
Berlin." The busy modern city on the Spree is 
the great maelstrom of continental Europe. Her 
policies challenge Japan at Pekin, and France in 
Morocco. Nothing short of an alliance of all 
western Europe is now considered adequate to 
offset the influence of the German capital. 

While Englishmen and Americans are assert- 
ing that the future will be divided between the 
Anglo-Saxon and the Slav, the German believes 
that the Germanic stock is the one that, in the 
coming centuries, will contest world supremacy 
with the Slav peoples. It is always admitted, 
however, that despite his setbacks the Slav is 
coming without a doubt. Even now, has not the 
temporary effacement of Russia given to Ger- 
many the undisputed leadership of the continent? 
The German knows that his breed is much more 
prolific than either member of the so-called 
Anglo-Saxon family. Not only does he want ex- 
pansion for political reasons — he must have it 
for his surplus population. The programme of the 
Pan-Germans has been definitely outlined by 
one of the Young Czech leaders in the Austrian 
Reichsrath. In reply to a hint from one of the 
Pan-German members that Austria would be com- 

80 



POLES AND GERMANY'S WORLD DREAM 

pelled to call in foreign assistance to subdue 
Czech intransigentism, the Bohemian statesman 
declared that his countrymen fully realise they 
are only a small Slav outpost in the country of 
the " Teutonic enemy." 

The union of Austria's German provinces with 
Germany would mean the creation of a German 
empire possessing the heart of the continent, an 
empire that would be the arbitress of Europe and 
the greatest of the world powers. It would cer- 
tainly give the Germans relief for years from 
the pressure of their agrarian problem, and tre- 
mendous impetus in their economic struggle with 
England and the United States. The Kaiser's 
present comprehensive canal programme would 
be a plaything compared with the grand scheme 
of internal waterways which the Berlin govern- 
ment would bring about by the union of the canals 
of the Elbe, the Oder, and the Danube. Berlin 
would become mistress of all the resources and 
commercial legislation of central Europe, of all 
the railroads, posts, telegraphs, and telephones. 
The Danube is really a German river from its 
source in the Swiss mountains to the Iron Gate 
on the Roumanian border. Sailing down the 
lordly stream from the heart of Bavaria to Buda- 
pest, the traveller passes through the homes of 
German-speaking men all the way. 

With the great Middle Empire an accomplished 
fact, the Danube would become a German river 

81 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

from its source to its mouth in the Black Sea. 
It would be the uninterrupted water route by 
which German stuffs would go direct to the 
Orient. It would mean commercial and indus- 
trial supremacy in the Balkans and Asia Minor. 
When the Kaiser sets out to claim this supremacy 
he will find well-prepared soil. Railroad con- 
cessions, colonial settlements, and other vested 
interests in Syria and Asia Minor will give him 
the position of the first " preferred creditor " 
when the final liquidation of the debts of the 
Porte is made. 

Italy, although a little restive because of her 
sympathy with France in the Moroccan problem, 
yet remains loyal to the Dreibund. Thus the 
southwestern frontier of Germany is secure, for 
Switzerland has, these many years, been circling 
within the German orbit. 

To the northward, in Denmark and across the 
Baltic, are eleven million Scandinavians, all Teu- 
tons, of a purer Teutonism than the Prussians 
themselves. The northern peoples are impressed 
by the splendour of German greatness and power. 
One of the most serious of German journals, the 
Deutsche Tages Zeitung, recently quoted a Stock- 
holm review as declaring that there is only one 
hope for the nations of the North — an alliance 
with Germany. " This is easy, for Germany does 
not seek conquest, and is highly popular in Scan- 
dinavia, as she aims only at a triumph of the 

82 



POLES AND GERMANY'S WORLD DREAM 

Germanic nations in the work of civilisation." 
This review is quoted as favouring the entrance 
of Sweden into the German union on the same 
terms as Bavaria, Saxony, and Wurtemberg. 
There is some popular agreement with this idea 
in Scandinavia. " If Russian aggression be- 
comes much more threatening," said a prosperous 
Stockholm merchant to the writer several years 
ago, " Sweden must look to western Europe to 
guarantee its integrity, or go over to Germany." 

Even the most distant outposts of the Germanic 
race are not to be neglected in the great ingather- 
ing. Therefore much active sympathy with the 
Boers, and therefore half a dozen great steam- 
ship lines, supported by the government, to bind 
to the Fatherland the more than half a million 
Germans and their increasing interests in South 
America. 

Now we begin to see the titanic stature of the 
Germania of the future as German enthusiasts 
tell us she haunts the dreams of the Kaiser. A 
united empire of all the people of Teutonic blood 
and speech, with the military leadership of the 
world, a powerful and constantly expanding 
navy, agricultural self -sufficiency (if the agrari- 
ans can only be satisfied without incurring too 
heavy tariff reprisals from foreign nations), 
room and resource for industrial development — 
did ever Napoleon conjure up such an ambition 
as this? 

83 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

And what of the Poles in Prussia? Have they 
been Germanised? Have they been assimilated? 
Do they also dream this world dream? 

Although it is more than a full century since 
the last partition of Poland, there is still a " Po- 
lish question " to reckon with, and nowhere is 
it more acute and clamorous for solution than in 
Prussia, the country in which, numerically, 
" Polonism " is weakest. There are only four 
million Poles in the German Empire, yet the 
Polish " danger " is one of the biggest bugbears 
of the imperial government. Bismarck used to 
insist that the only internal dangers which 
threatened Germany were Polonismus and So- 
cialismus. Both of these " dangers " have in- 
creased ominously of late. 

The real " Polish danger " to Prussia, stated in 
its broad, general lines, arises out of the fact that 
the Poles are the advance guard of the great Sla- 
vonic race, which is the latest swarm from the 
East. It is the inevitable race antagonism which 
seems to be one of the ordinations of nature. 
The Poles have a proverb that never, while the 
world lasts, will the German be a friend to the 
Pole. The basic characteristics of the two peo- 
ples are radically, irreconcilably different. The 
German realises that the Slav is the coming 
people. He fears that, perhaps, his own day 
has arrived, that, perhaps even now, his sun is 
slanting toward its western sky. He is in con- 

84 



POLES AND GERMANY'S WORLD DREAM 

stant dread of a Catholic Slav empire on his east- 
ern frontier. The Pole is the oldest, the most 
finely organised, most highly developed member 
of the Slav family, and if he can be kept down 
with a strong hand, perhaps the whole family 
may be held in check. Therefore, the Poles must 
be kept down. 

All along his eastern frontier, from Lapland to 
Transylvania, the Teuton touches the Slav, and, 
where the two powerful, virile races meet, there 
is the frayed edge of differing civilisations, the 
fierce clash of race passions, the intense white 
heat, not of fusion and welding, but of sputter- 
ing, seething, spark-emitting contact. And the 
Slav is gaining at every point. Indeed, it would 
very much surprise the man who knows his 
Europe only from the map were he to travel 
through the eastern part of the kingdom of Prus- 
sia and Austria and see how far westward the 
boundary line of the Slavonic peoples has been 
retraced during the past century. On the map, 
provinces and cities are coloured as German, and 
appear under German names. But walk the 
streets of these cities, tramp through the country 
districts of these same provinces, and you will 
find that the people are Slavonic in characteris- 
tics, and in speech even, and that there is only 
a very thin veneer of " official " Germanisation. 
To the world, which sees only the map, it is Posen, 
Danzig, Breslau, Krakau, Lemberg. Actually, 

85 



POLAND : THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

to the people who live in these places, or who do 
business in them, it is Poznan, Gdansk, Wraclaw, 
KrakoV, and LwoV, as it was when Poland was 
at the height of her power. The grand duchies 
of Posen, East Prussia, and West Prussia are 
Polish, Silesia is almost all Polish, and even the 
Pomeranians and Brandenburgers speak a dia- 
lect which betrays their Slavonic origin. 

The great wedge of Polish territory which ex- 
tends to within eighty miles of the capital of 
Frederick the Great, and for the possession of 
which he joined in the first partition, is still Po- 
lish. Officially it is Teutonic, but actually it is 
unmistakably, irreclaimably Slavonic. It elects 
sixteen Polish deputies to the Reichstag, who 
represent Polish constituents. Across the east- 
ern border of Prussia lies the largest section of 
the former Commonwealth, now a portion of vast 
Russia. To the south is Galicia. Prussia's en- 
tire eastern frontier and a good part of her 
southern boundary line touch Slav peoples. 

The Poles in Prussia continue to advance and 
increase despite the best laid, most expensive, 
even frantic schemes of the Prussian government 
to keep them back. The plan of German isation 
is twofold in scope: it is aimed against the Po- 
lish landowners and against the Polish language. 

The campaign gradually to acquire Polish 
land and introduce German colonists on it is one 
of the pet schemes of the Prussian government. 

86 



POLES AND GERMANY'S WORLD DREAM 

This scheme was begun by Bismarck at the time 
of the Kulturkampf, in the early 'seventies of 
the past century. This Kulturkampf was anti- 
Polish as well as anti-Catholic, in Prussian Po- 
land, or, it should perhaps be put, anti-Polish 
because anti-Catholic, for the close association 
of creed and nationality among the Poles must 
never be forgotten. It was Bismarck who 
brought about the Germanisation of the schools 
of the Empire, and the dismissal of all Poles from 
governmental service, and compelled the vote 
of a large sum of money to buy Polish lands and 
introduce German colonists on it. This last ac- 
complishment was the origin of the famous move- 
ment now known as " Hakatism," from the 
initials of the three leaders, Hannemann, Kenne- 
mann, and Tiedemann. The fund has been 
increased at various times, and now amounts to 
a round four hundred and fifty million marks, 
that is, one hundred and twelve million dollars. 
The policy of Germanising Polish lands con- 
sists in attempting to settle German peasants 
in the districts where Poles are in the majority. 
With the funds appropriated land belonging to 
Polish landed proprietors and Polish peasants is 
bought and the Poles are replaced by German 
proprietors and German peasants. This measure 
has proved a godsend to those Polish landed pro- 
prietors whose estates were heavily encumbered, 
for they were by this policy enabled to sell them 

87 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

on very favourable terms. German buyers for 
lands in this part of the Empire are rare, but 
Poles are ever ready to buy, even at the highest 
price. The large supply of gold which the coloni- 
sation commission brought has raised the price 
of land and increased the credit of the Poles, and 
the value of their estates to-day is more than 
twice as great as it was twenty years ago. They 
have now an abundant business capital and are 
increasingly prosperous economically; therefore, 
they will pay any price to retain or acquire Polish 
land. The Pole, indeed, must buy land, since he 
is debarred from holding government office and 
has no other means of making a living. 

So far, about 6,000 families, or about 30,000 
people, have thus been settled by the state among 
the Poles, but in spite of all the government can 
do, the Poles have not only held their ground in 
the east of Germany, but they have apparently 
even gained ground, partly because their national 
instinct is strongly developed and because they 
cling to their language ; partly also because they 
are even more prolific than are the Germans. 
Indeed, they are everywhere increasing faster 
than the Germans. They are a prolific race and 
are gradually pushing their oppressors out of 
Poland by the simple, natural method of growing 
more rapidly. Consequently, in the province of 
Posen, where about 1,500,000 Poles and about 
1,000,000 Germans are living side by side, the 

88 



POLES AND GERMANY'S WORLD DREAM 

Germans have increased by only 3f per cent, 
between 1890 and 1900, while the Poles have in- 
creased by about 10| per cent, during the same 
period. 

The Colonisation Commission appointed by the 
Prussian government to administer the large 
sums voted for the purchase of Polish lands has 
undoubtedly accomplished good results in the 
way of bringing neglected and worn-out land 
under modern methods of cultivation, and in 
dividing up the large estates. In curbing the at 
times arrogant attitude of the landed nobles, the 
Commission has also brought about social and 
economic benefit. But, politically, its work has 
been a failure most dismal. The only lands it 
has been able to buy are those of the Germans 
anxious to withdraw from among a people that 
dislike them. The Germans who are persuaded 
to settle in the Polish land soon learn that they 
are an alien people, disliked and distrusted. Ger- 
man professional men who have tried to practise 
in Posen complain that they cannot live for want 
of patronage, and a German merchant is boy- 
cotted if there is a Polish tradesman near. The 
Poles simply will not sell their land except under 
the severest need, and even then the sale of Polish 
land to a German is regarded as a crime by the 
Poles. I heard of more than one case in which 
the entire family of an impecunious noble boy- 
cotted and disinherited him for selling his estate 

89 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

to a German, although he was in need to desti- 
tution. 

The " Hakatist " movement has had one result 
not counted upon by its projectors. It has 
greatly intensified the Polish Nationalist idea, 
and given it form and a distinct aim in 
Prussia. The Prussian Poles have an organisa- 
tion which is a sort of " counter-irritant " to the 
Hakatists. Its work consists in aiding poor 
Polish nobles who, without its assistance, might 
be tempted to part with their lands to Germans. 
The large landowners have endeavoured, by in- 
dividual as well as organised effort, to colonise 
on their own account by parcelling or sub-divid- 
ing their lands and selling the parcels to Polish 
peasants, who are only too willing to buy them. 
The Pan-Polish movement in Prussia is vigorous 
and well developed. It is even trying to buy 
back some of the land already expatriated to 
Germans. Most of the landowners who have 
been bought off have gone into the towns and 
entered commerce, forming an active bourgeoisie. 
This is gradually weaning the Poles away from 
their old prejudice against trade and furnishing 
them with the nucleus of a strong, patriotic, and 
respected middle class, the lack of which has been 
heretofore one of the weakest spots in Polish na- 
tional life. 

No more successful has been the campaign of 
the Berlin government against the Polish lan- 

90 



POLES AND GERMANY'S WORLD DREAM 

guage. By law, all Polish children must attend 
schools where only German is spoken, adult Poles 
are forbidden the use of their native tongue in 
any public proceedings, and letters which are ad- 
dressed in Polish will not be delivered. German 
officials only are appointed in Polish districts, 
and, within the past few years, nearly every 
Polish professor has been transferred to distant 
German sections. A Polish gentleman of Posen 
told me that even the prayers and catechism are 
taught in German, despite the petitions of the 
Polish bishops. This was the real cause of the 
celebrated trial and punishment of the Polish 
school children at Wreschen several years ago. 
Yet it must be confessed that some headway in 
the supplanting of the Polish language is notice- 
able in Germany. In the technical, scientific, and 
commercial subjects as taught in the schools of 
these provinces, of course, only German is used. 
The Polish children never use these expressions 
at home, and consequently never learn the Polish 
equivalents. Indeed, there are no Polish equiv- 
alents for many such special terms, for the very 
reason set forth above. The son of one of these 
pupils may not learn Polish anywhere except as 
an acquired study. In Germany all letters must 
be addressed in German, and the time will per- 
haps come when the young generation will not 
know how to address a letter in Polish. 

So far as the material development of her Po- 
91 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

lish provinces is concerned, it must be admitted 
Prussia has done excellently. " When they be- 
came a part of the Prussian monarchy, the condi- 
tion of these provinces was deplorable, due largely 
to the weak, dissolute Saxon kings, it must be 
confessed. Frederick the Great, with his charac- 
teristic energy, at once devoted a considerable 
portion of Prussia's meagre resources to improve- 
ments of every kind. Whole villages and towns 
were rebuilt. This was, of course, in the interest 
of Germans, but the Poles also benefited. The 
impoverished peasantry was furnished with seed 
corn, potatoes, and cattle, and taxes were remit- 
ted for years. German colonies were established, 
and for a long time the government aided them 
in attaining a sound financial basis. The civil 
administration, which had been in a chaotic state, 
was put on a sound basis, and security of life and 
property was rigidly enforced." 

Especially since 1860 has Polish Prussia pros- 
pered economically. Agricultural methods have 
been improved, mines developed, and manufac- 
turing industries established. A prosperous 
middle class has been growing up. Education 
has made rapid strides, and the percentage of 
Polish scholars at German universities has in- 
creased tenfold since 1880. 

It is only politically that the Prussian gov- 
ernment, totally misreading the Polish national 
character, has utterly failed. Fair-minded stu- 

93 



POLES AND GERMANY'S WORLD DREAM 

dents of history will concede that the Polish 
problem is one full of grave consequences for 
the German Empire. Left to themselves, the 
Poles would, beyond a doubt, defeat by force of 
their rapid increase alone the programme of 
Germanisation, the welding together of all parts 
of the Empire into homogeneity. The very ma- 
terial wealth of these provinces has made the 
task of Germanising them all the harder — almost 
impossible. The Poles refuse to be dominated 
or cajoled, and exceptional laws, in view of the 
liberty enjoyed by the Galician Poles under the 
Austrian Emperor Francis Joseph, and the con- 
dition of Germany's internal and external poli- 
tics, are difficult to enact. With an intellectual 
training, the Poles who have been educated 
in German universities are the leaders in the 
movement to perpetuate the Polish race, lan- 
guage, and mode of thought, and to put the 
masses in a state of readiness for the independ- 
ent Poland of the future. The problem is one of 
the most serious which the Prussian monarchy 
has to face. 

In dealing with the Poles, however, the policy 
of Germanisation seems to have duplicated all 
the mistakes England has managed to make in 
Ireland, and, in addition, all that the English 
would no doubt have made if Ireland still spoke 
Erse, and was located on a dangerous frontier. 
In commenting on the futility of the policy of 

93 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

repression, an eminent Prussian writer (Prof. 
Hans Delbrueck, in the Preussische Jahrbitcher) 
recently contended that the danger from the Poles 
to the German state is not in the fact that Polish 
is spoken in the East Mark. " The danger is that 
fully ten per cent, of the subjects of the Prussian 
king, who sit together in compact masses on a 
highly dangerous frontier, instead of feeling at- 
tachment to Prussia, thoroughly hate the state." 

The Prussian Poles have never made an at- 
tempt to throw off their allegiance to Prussia. 
The small insurrection in the province of Posen 
in 1848 was the outcropping of the Berlin revo- 
lution of that year, and it had more the charac- 
ter of a fight for constitutional than for national 
rights. 

It is only against Russian dominion that the 
Poles have taken up arms. On the other hand, 
how much Polish blood has been spilled for 
Prussia in her late wars! The greatest enemy 
of Poland can speak with enthusiasm of the 
bravery displayed by the Polish contingents in 
the Prussian armies. 

Moreover, after the last division of Poland had 
been sanctioned by the Congress of Vienna, the 
Prussian king, in a royal manifesto which has 
never been officially rescinded, guaranteed to the 
Poles the free exercise of their national rights: 
their religion, their language, their schools, and 
a certain amount of local self-government. This 

94 



POLES AND GERMANY'S WORLD DREAM 

royal manifesto contains the total of demands 
on the part of the Polish subjects of the Prussian 
crown. As citizens they are entitled equally 
with their fellow-subjects of German nationality 
to the full protection of the law, and the good 
will of the authorities. Instead of this, special 
laws are constantly being framed, which injure 
them morally or materially; existing laws are 
stretched to their utmost, and sometimes even 
overstepped for the same purpose. 

It is a moral as well as a political score which 
the Poles have to settle with Prussia. Treat- 
ment, not so much with hostility as with con- 
tempt, as if of an inferior race, is the reason 
for the at first somewhat surprising fact that, 
despite the greater cruelty of the " Russifica- 
tion " process, there is undoubtedly less common 
feeling between Poles and Germans than be- 
tween Poles and Russians. While Russia perse- 
cutes the Poles, the latter feel that there is, after 
all, a kinship of race which somehow makes it 
easier to forgive. During the Russian persecu- 
tion, furthermore, the Poles have always had the 
satisfaction of feeling that they were of a more 
mature branch of the race, a more refined, more 
subtle people than their oppressors. But the 
Germans are thoroughly imbued with the idea 
that German civilisation and German adminis- 
tration are so manifestly superior to Polish that 
for a Pole to become a German must, of course, 

95 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

be a promotion which he ought earnestly to de- 
sire, and if he does not desire it, he ought to be 
made to do so. The Poles must accept German 
civilisation, because it is infinitely superior to 
theirs. This brusque treatment of the Poles by 
the Germans as a much inferior people who 
" must be protected against themselves," is very 
exasperating to a proud, sensitive nation that 
had a university before Germany ever had one. 

" How do the Poles live under the Prussian 
government?" I asked a gentleman of Breslau. 
" They work hard and defend themselves as best 
they can against Germanisation," he replied. 
" Sienkiewicz has certainly been a godsend to 
us in these days of heaviness. His books keep 
the national spirit from despondency. Written 
as they are in the purest Polish, they comfort 
the Polish hearts. He is a great moral asset, is 
Sienkiewicz, almost a prophet. His writings 
keep us from moral decline, from the injury of 
hating even our oppressors." 

The real danger for the Poles, Sienkiewicz has 
written, is hatred against Germanism. No mat- 
ter how harshly they may be treated, the Poles 
must not get the fever of hatred. They must not 
abate one jot of their patriotism. But hatred is 
a disease. 

" Hatred begets hatred. Protect the Polish 
popular mind from hatred, in order not to be 
poisoned. Protect it morally and politically. 

96 



POLES AND GERMANY'S WORLD DREAM 

Remember that only God knows what evolutions 
are impending. . . . Whatever great changes 
may come, you must always live with the Ger- 
mans in the eastern provinces. Remember that 
hatred is a fever. Whoever does not want to die 
of fever must overcome it. . . . One must 
be bereft of all political or historical perception 
not to see that the treatment you are receiving 
from your enemies not only lacks dignity, but the 
equipoise and intelligence which characterise ac- 
tions as reasonable. Intelligent Germans see 
this. You, too, must feel that logic is lacking 
in the measures applied against you, and that 
the authorities themselves are not clear regard- 
ing the success of those measures, and are tor- 
menting you even against their own advantage. 
Hold fast to your Polonism. Let no power on 
earth tear it from you. But avoid hatred of the 
present government's policy. It will pass." 

If the German is to expand and become master 
of the world by conquest of the water, he must 
do it at the expense of the Anglo-Saxon. If he is 
to acquire world supremacy by consolidation of 
all the men of his speech, and conquest of conti- 
nental Europe, it must be done by elbowing out 
the Slav. And he will have to settle first with 
the Slav of his own household. When the war 
breaks out between Russia and Germany (as 
most Germans believe it some day must), then 
will come the opportunity of the Poles. More 

97 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

than two hundred thousand Russian troops are 
always ready in Russian Poland " for emer- 
gency." The traveller at all familiar with the 
Grand Duchy of Posen, and, indeed, all of Prus- 
sia, finds it not difficult to prophesy what would 
happen the moment a Russian army corps set 
out from the erstwhile Polish capital bent on a 
hostile errand toward Germany. All Slavonic 
Germany (if I may use the expression), meaning 
all of the Empire east of a line drawn from the 
mouth of the River Elbe to but a little east of 
Dresden, would be tolerably certain to spring to 
arms to join the invader. "If Prussia were 
really shrewd and realised what is best for her," 
said a Posen Pole to me, " she would quit tan- 
talising the Poles by perfectly useless methods 
of persecution, and would look to establishing a 
buffer between herself and Russia against the 
inevitable day of conflict. By her present meth- 
ods, she only succeeds in making chronic a sore 
point in the very body of the Empire." 



98 



RUSSIA'S EUROPEAN DOOR* 

I ESS than two hours' ride by a good train 
from Posen brings the traveller to the 
J line of bayonets which betokens the pa- 
tient, untiring, ever watchful advance of the 
mighty Slav race, Poland yet, but Poland under 
the aegis of the Russian eagles. This boundary 
is not merely the dividing line between two geo- 
graphical divisions; it is the picket line of two 
ethnic units. The points of contact between 
Teuton and Slav, from Lapland to Transylvania, 
are the points of white heat conflict between two 
powerful, radically different races and civilisa- 
tions. It is at the point where she touches Teu- 
tonic peoples, that is, on Polish soil, that Russia, 
the leader of the Slav march, must be ap- 
proached, because it is across the Polish thresh- 

* This chapter was written before the Russo-Japanese 
war and the political and economic crisis following that 
conflict My claims for Russia's potentialities may seem 
contradicted by the apparent weakness of the present 
situation. Are the Russian people able to even govern 
themselves? The future is on the knees of the gods. I 
claim no gift of prophecy, but there is something at the 
back of my consciousness that makes me unwilling to re- 
cast this chapter now. L«. H. V. N. 

99 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

old that the world goes to Kussia, and Russia 
comes to the world. All the railroads that con- 
nect the Tzar's empire with the rest of the world 
(there are no exceptions worth mentioning) 
from Vienna, from Berlin, cross what was for- 
merly the republic of Poland. The country of 
Kosciuszko and Sienkiewicz, of Chopin and 
Paderewski, is the European threshold of Russia. 

The Polish problem is of vital importance to 
Russia. When complications with the Teutonic 
powers are threatened, it sends shivers down the 
back of the war office in St. Petersburg. As 
Captain Mahan has pointed out, Russia is al- 
ways menaced on the one flank by Germany, and 
on the other, 7,000 miles away, by Japan. The 
reality of danger from the latter has now been 
pressed home to Russia with terrible force. 
What if, now or in the near future, the splendid 
army of the Kaiser should be set in motion? Po- 
land is Russia's European door, and it would be 
much better for the empire of the Tzar if that 
door were not so willing to be opened. There 
can be no questioning the truth of the statement 
that, bound up in justice to Poland, is the safety, 
the welfare, of the Russian Empire, and the 
speedy realisation of its vast ambitions in Asia 
as well as in Europe. 

The famous international compact of 1815, 
known as the Treaty of Vienna, settled the pres- 
ent political divisions of the old Polish republic. 

100 



RUSSIA'S EUROPEAN DOOR 

By far the largest portion went to Russia. This 
included the kingdom of Poland, which was to 
be a separate state bound to the Empire by a 
personal union of sovereigns, and the provinces 
comprising the old Lithuanian country united to 
Poland in the 15th century, and the Ruthenian 
country (now known as Little Russia). It 
is " Kr61estwo Polskie," however, " the Kingdom 
of the Congress," which is Poland to the general 
reader to-day. The Tzar still bears the title of 
King of Poland, but the constitutional kingdom 
created at the great settlement of political ac- 
counts in 1815 has been officially styled " The 
Cis- Vistula Governments," ever since the abso- 
lute incorporation with the Russian Empire in 
1868. 

Russian Poland is almost exactly the size of 
the State of New York, each geographical divi- 
sion covering slightly more than 49,000 square 
miles. It comprises ten "governments," and is 
the most densely populated portion of the entire 
Empire. In the chapter on Warsaw the writer 
has endeavoured to set forth some of the most 
striking indications of Poland's industrial and 
economic progress. This growth has been phe- 
nomenal. In 1870, almost before the nation had 
begun to rouse itself from the terrible experi- 
ences of '63, the value of Polish manufactured 
products was about |30,000,000. When the 
Russo-Japanese war broke out it had attained 

101 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

the total of $250,000,000. In this period the 
number of factory hands had increased from 
65,000 to 245,000. Industrial development has 
made the urban population 27 per cent, of the 
whole. Persecution has certainly developed the 
resources of the Pole. The energy which is de- 
nied outlet into politics and public life is de- 
voted to trade, manufacture, science, art, and 
literature, in all of which the Poles excel to-day. 
Though Poles are denied many of the rights 
accorded to other subjects of the Empire, and, as 
Poles, are not permitted to rise higher than a 
certain rank in the army, the influence of Polish 
thought and enterprise is stamped ineffaceably 
on Russia. In his first book on Siberia, George 
Kennan praised the Tzar for the progress and 
development he found in the southern part of 
that vast Asiatic realm. He did not then know 
that most of the civilising work he saw was due 
to the industry and culture of the Polish exiles 
sent across the Urals in the reign of the Empress 
Catherine. Poles have everywhere contributed 
to the advance of Russia. To serve the Empire 
officially in Poland would compromise a Pole's 
patriotism. But outside of the kingdom many 
Poles are in high positions. The vice-president 
of the Manchurian Railroad is a Pole. The lead- 
ing civil and military engineers on the Siberian 
and Manchurian Railroads are Poles, as are also 
most of the directors of these roads. The direct- 
ion 



RUSSIA'S EUROPEAN DOOR 

ors of the Russo-Chinese Bank are Poles. Coal 
for the whole Siberian and Manchurian Railroad 
is furnished by Poles, who are owners of immense 
coal mines near Irkutsk. The chief of motive 
power of the railroad in Irkutsk is a Pole. The 
chief of the railroad works in Irkutsk also is a 
Pole. The Russians are wont to call Poland a ' 
burden, but it is a burden that has meant riches 
and industrial expansion to the Empire. 

It must be admitted that the imperial gov- 
ernment is very liberal and progressive in its 
commercial policy when this is for the benefit of 
the entire Empire. New businesses are often ex- 
empted from taxation till they are on their feet, 
and everything is done to build up trade possi- 
bilities. And, despite the discriminations against 
them, up to the breaking out of the war with 
Japan the Poles were thriving commercially. 
They are increasing faster than the Russians. 
Towns that thirty years ago had a Russian 
population of 20,000 and a Polish population of 
10,000, now number 50,000 Poles and 30,000 
Russians. 

Even to-day most of the Russian Poles date 
everything back to 1863, that terrible year when 
50,000 of the best of the nation perished on the 
scaffold or were deported. After such a blood- 
letting, the nation sank into a sort of moral stu- 
por which lasted until the 'nineties of the past 
century. 

103 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

Oppressed and persecuted at every step by the 
Russification policy of the reactionaries, dis- 
heartened by disaster, and having lost the very 
flower of its manhood, the Polish people became 
filled with an apathy amounting to a complete 
political indifference. With the emigration after 
the uprising, it left but little hope among the 
Poles. 

Realising their utter hopelessness, " disillu- 
sioned and exhausted, the intclligcntcya of 
Russian Poland broke away from its old ideals," 
and began gradually to work out a new political 
creed, a new set of ideals, better suited to the 
material interests of the bourgeois class, which 
had now become predominant. 

The landless proletariat of the rural districts 
began to concentrate in the large cities. War- 
saw, Lodz, Czenstochowa, and other cities be- 
came the centres of important industrial devel- 
opment. Their population increased rapidly, 
almost in American fashion, and at the end of 
the 'seventies the Socialist movement began in 
Poland. 

Meanwhile the Russification process contin- 
ued. The bureaucratic ideal, which mistakes a 
dead uniformity for unity, went on its stupid 
way, trying to mould every subject of the Empire 
upon one pattern. " It is a sign of an evil and 
rebellious nature if he happens to speak a lan- 
guage or profess a religious creed different from 

104 



RUSSIA'S EUROPEAN DOOR 

those of the ruling caste." The Polish insurrec- 
tion had crystallised this dream of a Katkov, and 
a Pobyedonostzev, into the brutal policy of a 
Plehve. The Poles were suppressed in 1863. So 
also were the hopes of the Russian liberals in 
that year. In the name of patriotism, they 
forgot their liberalism and crushed Polish 
liberty. 

The Russification process, in its two phases of 
mechanically crowding out Poles with Russians, 
and in attempting to kill the Polish language, 
has had some " by products," probably not looked 
for even by its advocates. The legal immunity 
of the Russian element in Poland from abuses of 
governmental and social rights has brought about 
a complicity between police and wrongdoers of 
all kinds which is almost incredible. It has, 
moreover, made " everything in Poland which is 
worth while doing an evasion." Of course, the 
Poles teach their children Polish, despite the 
law. "We study with a Russian book on top 
of the desk and a Polish book beneath." And 
so, also, with the other regulations looking 
toward Russification. The Poles naturally vio- 
late them all when they can do so undetected. It 
is at the point of attempted forcible conversion 
by the Orthodox Church, however, that Russifi- 
cation arouses the hostility of the Polish peas- 
ant. The proselyting activities of the Russian 
Church are slowly but surely converting the Po- 

105 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

lish peasant into an active anti-Russian political 
element. , 

The Polish peasant, thanks to the efforts of the 
native Roman Catholic clergy and the numerous 
patriotic associations of to-day, is coming to read 
and write his own language with ease. There 
are many newspapers and books in Polish, but 
these, of course, have a nationalistic tone. 
Booksellers, however, who venture to sell Polish 
literature are " discouraged " by the Russian 
police, who fear — not, perhaps, without reason 
— that Polish works will tend to foster the 
nationalist sentiment. The result is that for 
years practically the only reading matter within 
the reach of the masses in Poland has been those 
revolutionary and socialistic pamphlets, books 
and papers printed in Polish, with which the rev- 
olutionary and socialist committees manage to 
flood the country. More than once it has been 
suggested to the Imperial Department of Educa- 
tion that great advantage would be derived from 
the establishment in Poland of a system of public 
libraries filled with serious " innocuous " works 
printed in Polish, with means of circulating the 
books, not only in the industrial centres, but also 
in the villages. In this way the labouring man 
and the peasant might have been weaned from 
revolutionary literature, which now constitutes 
their chief mental food. This might have been 
done at a relatively small cost, especially if the 

106 



RUSSIA'S EUROPEAN DOOR 

co-operation of the Catholic clergy had been ob- 
tained. But, like many other excellent sugges- 
tions, this remained hidden away in some pigeon- 
hole at St. Petersburg. Now the Poles have won 
in the language fight, and it is too late. The 
Polish labouring classes, also, are rapidly ma- 
turing politically, and they are among the most 
radical antagonists of the bureaucratic regime. 
The labour laws in force in " the Kingdom " 
were devised by Russians to meet the require- 
ments of labour in Russia proper, which are 
entirely distinct and different from those in Po- 
land. In Russia strikes have heretofore consti- 
tuted a crime, and concerted action on the part 
of labour against capital is called conspiracy. 
Labour unions, such as we understand them here, 
are compelled in Russia to take the form of ille- 
gal secret societies, and these naturally develop 
revolutionary tendencies. In fact, the relations 
between labour in western Europe and in Poland 
have become so close that the Polish working 
classes have determined to submit no longer to 
what they describe as the intolerable tyranny of 
Russia's labour laws, which leave them com- 
pletely at the mercy of their employers. This is 
the chief cause of the recent labour riots at War- 
saw, and in most of the industrial centres of Po- 
land. The growth of socialism, moreover, has 
given rise to incessant conflicts between Polish 
workingmen and Russian police. Since 1878 

107 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

workingmen in Warsaw have been arrested so 
frequently that this has seemed to be the normal 
activity of city life. 

The Polish Nationalist movement was born in 
the later 'eighties of the past century. It has set 
a definite political programme. Then came the 
National Democracy, at first revolutionary in 
character, but latterly only extremely national- 
istic. The National Democracy admits that it can- 
not decide now on a definite programme looking 
toward independence. Its immediate aim is " the 
guidance of the people toward political activity 
under the governmental conditions of the three 
empires which divided the Polish Common- 
wealth," and " the encouragement of the many- 
sided achievement of the inner life of the Polish 
people . . . under the shadow of the Cath- 
olic Church." 

You cannot emancipate yourself from politics 
in Poland. It is a country forcibly subjected, and 
you feel it when walking in the streets and in 
the fashionable hotels. As soon as the language 
edict was passed, the Poles began to study Polish 
as never before. This edict they resisted pas- 
sively until the Tzar ordered its repeal ( May 16, 
1905) in Lithuania. Several months later it 
was announced that, under orders from St. 
Petersburg, the Inspector of Schools would there- 
after permit the use of Polish as the language of 
instruction in all the schools and universities of 

108 



RUSSIA'S EUROPEAN DOOR 

Poland. In the six months following the edict of 
religious toleration, more than 20,000 members 
of the Orthodox Church, who had been made Or- 
thodox by law, returned to the fold of the Roman 
Church. 

What do the Russian Poles want? There are 
several political parties among them, with vary- 
ing programmes and demands, from reconcilia- 
tion, on the best terms possible, with the impe- 
rial government and the Russian people, to ab- 
solute complete independence. 

The great mass of the people, however, would 
probably be contented if governed constitution- 
ally. The Pole is not submissive by nature, like 
the Russian. He is a democrat, and believes 
thoroughly in representative government. By 
the terms of the Treaty of Vienna, in 1815, which 
gave Russia her largest share of Poland, the 
Tzar promised Europe to give the Poles a consti- 
tution (in place of the one Suwarrow deposited 
in the Kremlin as "a trophy taken from the 
enemy " ) . He did, but when the Poles revolted 
against the oppression of 1831, it was abolished. 

All Poles dream of a future independence. 
For the present, most of those living in the Rus- 
sian Empire demand the recognition of national 
rights, while remaining within the Empire. They 
accept such concessions as they can get, but feel 
that they cannot afford to antagonise the Rus- 
sian government. The National Democracy, 

109 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

while counselling moderation and discouraging 
attempts at revolution, refuses to recognise the 
right of the three partitioning powers to sepa- 
rate loyalty. The Polish people are one, it in- 
sists, since, in the words of a Prussian Pole, 
" fancy lines on a geographical map do not de- 
stroy the unity of a people." Some day, it is not 
inconceivable, there may be a union of all Poles 
in a separate state like Hungary, under Russian 
suzerainty. It is held by the advocates of this 
idea that the balm of kinship of race and that 
underlying fellowship of temperament between 
the Slav peoples would dull the memory of past 
severity, and if Russia would but say the word, 
would restore Polish autonomy and govern Po- 
land according to- a constitution, as she solemnly 
bound herself to do by the Treaty of Vienna, the 
German powers would have difficulty in holding 
their Polish provinces. Prussian rule is harder 
than Muscovite for the Pole, and Austria's sys- 
tem of taxation makes Russia's liberal commer- 
cial policy seem very alluring. 

What the Polish patriots want just now, how- 
ever, is a few years of peace under at least a 
European government — even though it be such 
as that under which they live in Prussian Poland 
— in order to educate all their countrymen up to 
a national consciousness. Then will the Polish 
people present the solid front of an enlightened, 
homogeneous, patriotic race, and Europe will 

110 



RUSSIA'S EUROPEAN DOOR 

sees its value as a buffer between Teuton and 
Slav. 

In the long-heralded Russian Parliament, the 
first and second Duma, there were many ad- 
vocates of granting autonomy to Poland. The 
Polish group itself has held the balance of power. 
The Russian intelligentcya is overwhelmingly 
in favour of this. The extreme liberals go even 
farther, many of them favouring a Polish Parlia- 
ment, or Sejm, at Warsaw. The Russian peas- 
ant has just begun to understand the character 
and aims of his Polish brother, and Russian 
Socialists and Constitutional Democrats have 
begun to urge that, in the New Russia, Poland 
must be autonomous. The old bureaucratic con- 
ception of the Russian state in which the Great 
Russians, or Muscovites, should be supreme, in 
order that, with the ideal of " one church, one 
state, one law," Russia might make her contri- 
bution to civilisation as a homogeneous nation, 
is slowly giving way to the new idea of the 
" United Nations of Russia," with autonomy for 
the different peoples, in place of the loyalty im- 
posed — or attempted — by the police and the 
army. 

But, say the bureaucrats, if Polish becomes the 
language in Poland, if it is taught in the schools, 
by Poles, then there will be no places for Rus- 
sians in Poland. So be it, reply the Poles. Let 
us manage our own affairs. Let us have our 

111 



POLAND: THE "KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

Parliament in Warsaw, with Poles in the public 
offices. Only Poles can understand Poles. With 
a Polish Parliament in Warsaw, and Polish rep- 
resentation in the Imperial Duma in St. Peters- 
burg, most of the bitter resentment would die out 
of the Polish heart, and Poland would become in 
fact, what she has so far been only in name, an 
integral part of the Russian Empire. Separatist 
tendencies would disappear. Poland's commer- 
cial interests bind her to Russia. More than one 
prominent German and Russian writer has, dur- 
ing recent years, declared, in the reviews of 
both countries, that an autonomous Poland 
could not, in any way, menace German or Rus- 
sian national aims. A most vigorous article on 
this subject recently appeared in the St. Peters- 
burg Vyedomosti, from the pen of Professor Sobo- 
lewski, a member of the Academy of the Capital. 
The Japanese War, and the consequent weak- 
ening of the bureaucratic regime, was highly sig- 
nificant in Poland. By the peace of Portsmouth 
an impetus was given to the revolutionary move- 
ment. In Warsaw, then in a state of siege, the 
famous manifesto of October 30, 1905, was hailed 
as a positive assurance of the entrance of the 
Polish people upon a new era of peaceful devel- 
opment. "All Poland was seized with a single 
aspiration — to begin a new life on the ruins of 
the old regime. No one thought of separation." 
The watchword of the great majority was: 

112 



RUSSIA'S EUROPEAN DOOR 

"Autonomy, on the foundation created by the 
Constitutional Assembly at Warsaw." This 
watchword became the minimum upon which all 
the serious factors in Polish life were willing to 
unite. What will Russia's answer be? The re- 
sponsibility must rest with the Duma. 

The attitude of the Poles during Russia's war 
with Japan was absolutely correct. They rioted 
against mobilisation. But so did Russians. The 
Poles had no greater dislike for the war than the 
Russians themselves, although their industries 
suffered more by it. The recent sanguinary 
riots in Warsaw, in L6*dz, and elsewhere through- 
out "the Kingdom" were economic and indus- 
trial — not political. The war between Russia 
and Japan wrought untold injury to Poland. As 
the great working section of the Empire, Poland 
was almost prostrated, not only by the stoppage 
of trade, but by the loss of the productive labour 
of her sons, who were gone to fight Russia's bat- 
tles. As long as they wore the uniform and be- 
longed to the army of the Tzar, to whom they had 
sworn to be faithful, they passively fulfilled their 
duties, but not one of them, even though he might 
have the opportunity by rank or chance, ever 
presented any individual ideas which could suc- 
cessfully be put in practice by the army. They 
only obeyed orders. A few of them deserted, just 
as the Russians, Kurds, Cossacks, Finns, and 
Jews deserted, 

113 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

He has been but a dull reader of the world's 
history who looks upon autocracy's recent fail- 
ure in the Far East as a defeat, or even a serious 
check, for the Russian people. The failure in 
Manchuria was inevitable. Flogging and ban- 
ishing the thoughtful students of yesterday who 
are the officials of to-day, ignoring or imprison- 
ing the best brains of the Empire and submitting 
to a horde of self-seeking, dissolute place-hunters 
— this is not the proper preparation for great na- 
tional expansion. But the Russian people, or, 
rather, Russian society, and the Russian chinov- 
nik are not identical. Look at Russia's history 
for a moment. 

One hot day in August, three hundred and 
twenty-two years ago, a Tartar freebooter, 
searching for grass for his horse along the banks 
of the River Irtish, saw in the shallows the 
corpse of a warrior, clad in a rich coat of mail, 
with a golden eagle on its breast. He bore it to 
the captain of the nearest military post, and then 
found that it was the body of the famous and 
terrible ataman Yermak, the Volga robber 
and pirate, Hetman or Chief of the Don Cos- 
sacks, who became the founder of Russia's Asiatic 
empire, the man who first crossed the Urals to 
take Siberia, who first saw the potential destiny 
of the Slav race, and led it out on its great east- 
ern exodus. 

Russia is the " biggest fact " (after the United 
114 



RUSSIA'S EUROPEAN DOOR 

States) with which the Europe of to-day has to 
reckon, and that fact is becoming more momen- 
tous every year. Russia is the only country in 
moribund old Europe that is growing and ex- 
panding. If ever the word "coming" could be 
justly applied to a country, it can be so applied 
to her. 

Russia is the only country that ever expanded 
eastward, and she did so only because she was 
effectually blocked from going farther west. For 
years Peter the Great sought to obtain " a win- 
dow open toward Europe," but Europe kept him 
back with the strength of desperation. Russia 
will yet have her window. On ground torn from 
Sweden, the imperial city of Peter looks with 
steady, relentless eyes over Scandinavia to an 
ice-free port on the coast of Norway, and smooths 
out the way by swallowing and digesting the 
Finns. She has not forgotten the wonderful City 
of Constantine in the south. But for the com- 
bined might of the West, long ago the Russian 
eagles would have floated from the mosques of 
the Golden Horn. But, in the words of a Rus- 
sian diplomat, " When a pear is ready and ripe, 
it falls of its own accord. Why spend energy in 
attempting to hasten the inevitable?" 

While she waits, with century-long patience, 
for Constantinople to fall at her feet, the Mus- 
covite empire keeps a tireless eye sweeping her 
vast European frontier — from where she touches 

115 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

Sweden on the frozen Arctic to the Iron Gates 
of the Danube, scarcely six hours, as the swallow 
flies, from the sentinel on the Yildiz Kiosk. On 
all points of the dike which western Europe has 
built against her, Russia presses like a mighty 
flood. Every year she moves a little forward, 
now baffled, retiring a little, now advancing, mov- 
ing along the lines of least resistance, like water 
turned back at one point, at last inevitably find- 
ing its level. More and more Scandinavian 
names appear on the map of " Russian territory " 
at the far north, while Pan-Slavism is the solvent 
for the widely-differing, hostile, ethnic elements 
of the Balkans. 

Temporarily turned back on the west, the Mus- 
covite went eastward and found his destiny, in 
accordance with that blind racial impulse which 
makes him kin to the Oriental peoples. " After 
all," confessed the editor of one of the great 
dailies of the Russian capital, " after all, we 
Russians are more than half a yellow people our- 
selves. Our destiny is in Asia." 

The story of Russian expansion is one of the 
most wonderful in the history of nations. The 
long march of the Russian from the Urals 
toward the rising sun is even more soul-stirring 
and full of romance than the American pilgrim- 
age to the setting sun ; more wonderful, perhaps, 
because it was made before the advent of steam 
and the telegraph. 

116 



RUSSIA'S EUROPEAN DOOR 

It would not be easy to condense the history 
of any western European nation into a para- 
graph; but with Russia it is not so difficult. 
The centuries of Mongol domination, of Norman 
ascendency, and those of subjection to the petty 
princelets and grand dukes of Muscovy, seem 
blind, but they prepared the people for their mis- 
sion. From the days of Peter, when the peasant 
soldiers fell over their long cloaks in battle with 
the Swedes, and were driven back with the 
knouts of their king to crush their conquerors, to 
the humbling of China, the defiance of combined 
Europe, and the " penetration " of Manchuria, it 
is but two hundred years. 

Over all Russia is stamped a purpose. One 
sees it the first hour over the frontier. It is a 
purpose to conquer nature and to build up a 
powerful and homogeneous people. The present 
political and social crisis will pass. The Rus- 
sian people will remain. 

In the Russia of to-day, vast and amoeba-like 
as she yet is, two powerful influences, aside from 
conscious political effort, are at work. These are 
the country estate (the peasant farm), and the 
railroad — the first two representing the old order, 
and uncouth, protoplasmic Russia of the cen- 
turies gone ; the third standing for progress, and 
slowly but inevitably binding the empire of the 
Tzar to the world and life of our day. There are, 
in fact, two distinct Russias — the Russia of the 

117 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

estate and the Russia of the towns, which means 
the Russia of the railroad and its influences. The 
tourist rarely sees the Russia of the estates. The 
Russian is not proud of being an agriculturist, 
and very seldom refers to his country place. Per- 
haps he does not care to acknowledge how hard 
he has to work, or to admit the difficulties with 
which he has to contend. A whole chapter can 
be read out of the fact that the Russian word for 
the labour of the farmer, especially during har- 
vest, is strada — from the verb stradat, to suffer 
pain or anguish. 

Life on a country estate or in a peasant vil- 
lage is still patriarchal, the form of life so deeply 
implanted in all the original Slav and Turanian 
races. The large estate was, and still continues 
to be, in certain sections of the Empire, a world 
in itself. Its immense size is only equalled by 
its almost pitiful isolation. The peasant vil- 
lage is even more isolated. 

Near the borders of Courland I visited an 
estate of seventy thousand acres, the next house 
being three miles away, and the house in ques- 
tion thirty-eight miles from the railroad. The 
aristocratic feudal idea and regime cannot but 
obtain under such conditions. Much of modern 
comfort — indeed, a surprising amount — is to be 
found on this place, but the life of to-day touches 
it at but very few points, and at very wide inter- 
vals. Contentment with more or less primitive 

118 



RUSSIA'S EUROPEAN DOOR 

methods (because no others are accessible), fall- 
ing into the ruts of tradition and the stereotyped 
way of doing things, virtual imprisonment afar 
from the restless, curious, inventive life of the 
rest of the world, opposition to material prog- 
ress, which, while depriving it of some of its an- 
cient privileges, confers no adequate return — 
because not ready to receive it — this life must 
needs become stereotyped. It is so difficult to 
travel that provincialism in life and thought is 
inevitable. 

The railroad comes along and upsets all this. 
Originally a military necessity, it is fast becom- 
ing the artery of trade. It brings the latest in- 
vention; it makes travel easy; it broadens the 
view. The estate uses the railroad to send its 
surplus to market, and the estate people must be 
up to date in general, because of the stern rivalry 
of life which is now brought to their very doors. 
New social problems based on hitherto unimag- 
ined congestion of population come up ; military 
operations are made easier; the telegraph tells 
what the rest of the world is doing and say- 
ing, to a simple folk which scarcely knew of 
the existence of a world outside of their 
fields. 

Conceived and brought forth in the heart of a 
continent, surrounded on every side by other and 
generally hostile states, the age-long struggle of 
the Russian Empire has been to secure an outlet 

119 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

and water-front. It is that for which she fought 
Japan. Shut out from the possibility of it in 
Europe, she is now actually succeeding in Asia. 
Vladivostok, literally " the Dominator of the 
East," is the extreme monument-stone of the tre- 
mendous migration, the epic of which will have 
for its heroes the pioneer chieftain Yermak and 
the great Muraviev. These two names sum up 
the history of the Russian conquest of Siberia. 

The country estate and the railroad in Russia 
are coming together. The latter is bringing the 
former to the world of to-day. The railroad has 
already taken the Russian flag from the Neva to 
the Pacific and it will lead the expansion still 
further. 

The Russian believes in his mission, and 
holds that to be the possession or control of 
all Asia. If his diplomacy is more subtle and 
less scrupulous than that of other nations, his 
large ambitions are natural, and, in a certain 
sense, legitimate. One may doubt whether their 
scale is not too colossal for the welfare of the 
world. 

The desire of Russia, as the political leader of 
the Slav peoples, for a warm water port is, how- 
ever, instinctive. It is the keynote of Russian 
foreign policy and has been for more than two 
centuries. The substitution of a constitutional 
government for the autocracy would not change 
this policy. On the contrary, the more efficient 

120 



RUSSIA'S EUROPEAN DOOR 

the government of Russia may become in the 
future, the more certain is she to attain the object 
of her ambition in the end. It makes no material 
difference whether the warm water port be in the 
Dardanelles, the Persian Gulf, or the China Seas. 
The united aim of one hundred and fifty millions 
of white people of the North is bound to be real- 
ised some day. 

And the new, young Russia of the future, what 
of her? When she emerges in the greatness of 
a gigantic world-task accomplished, when she ap- 
pears in the beauty of suffering endured — as the 
Poles have endured for generations — for the sake 
of the highest human ideals, the brightest hope 
the world can have for her is that she may real- 
ise the Anglo-Saxon ideal of a free state within 
which many tongues, many creeds, many races, 
shall dwell in harmony and with full liberty of 
thought and action. 

The more liberal and democratic Russia be- 
comes the more reactionary her neighbouring 
nations will show themselves, and the less will 
be the tendency of Poland to separate from Rus- 
sia. The ties that unite the two peoples will be 
the closer the more Poland begins to look upon 
democratic Russia as her defender. But, neces- 
sary as Russia is to Poland for her defence, still 
more necessary is Poland to Russia for the lat- 
ter^ protection against Germany. The larger 
the amount of autonomy Russia grants her Polish 

121 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

subjects the greater their gratitude and the bet- 
ter they will serve as a buffer against the Teuton. 
A free, rejuvenated " United Nations of Russia " 
would be most likely to find a reunified and 
happy Poland ready to enter. 



123 



VI 



THE GEOGRAPHICAL CENTRE OF 
EUROPE 

WARSZAWA!" shouted the guard 
at half-past nine one evening in 
August, as we steamed into a beau- 
tiful white city, splendidly lit by electricity and 
gridironed closely by tram lines. " Are all large 
Russian cities as handsome as this? " I asked 
my seat companion, a gentleman whose French 
was Parisian, — or Slavonic, for all Slavs speak 
nearly perfect French. He looked at me in 
surprise. " This is not Russia," he said ; " this 
is Poland." And there you have the whole mat- 
ter, after nearly two centuries of the " benevolent 
assimilation " of Pan-Slavism. Warsaw is Po- 
land, and Russia is a foreign country, off at a 
distance. Approaching Warsaw from the Vis- 
tula, one may see where the city has built its 
defences, — toward the East. Thence came the 
enemy, the Mongol, the Russian. Moscow is Rus- 
sia, Kiev is Russia. Odessa and St. Petersburg 
are Europe. But Warsaw is not in Russia; it 
is in Poland. The government on the Neva may 
designate " Krolestwo Polskie," the old kingdom 

123 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

of Poland, as the governments of the Vistula, and 
deny that the Poles exist as a national force, but 
this same government finds it necessary to keep 
ready a garrison of 200,000 troops to overawe a 
city of 900,000 people, and, somehow, the guns 
of the citadel are turned, not toward the German 
frontier, the only point from which a foreign 
enemy could be expected to come, but toward the 
streets and shops of the third most populous town 
of the Empire. Poland does not exist officially, 
but it is, if dead, certainly a very lively corpse. 

If you draw a circle about the entire continent 
you will find that the former Polish capital is the 
geographical centre of Europe. It is now one 
of the busiest, liveliest of European cities, and it 
is destined in the future to become one of the 
great world-centres of population. The comple- 
tion of the Trans-Siberian Railroad brings Asia 
to the very door of Europe, and Warsaw is that 
door. The newly constructed line ends at Mos- 
cow, but Warsaw is the real western terminus. 
Moscow, more than half Asiatic, belongs to an 
Eastern, Byzantine civilisation. Warsaw is 
Latin, Occidental, the first great really European 
city on the steel arteries of trade that throb be- 
tween Berlin and Vienna, St. Petersburg and 
Moscow. Besides being a distributing point for 
what Asia wants to send to Europe, she is a great 
manufacturing centre. Her factories supply all 
of Russia. She is the Birmingham and Sheffield 

124 



The GEOGRAPHICAL CENTRE of EUROPE 

of the Empire. All the articles de Paris, all the 
" galanterie " and goods " made in Germany " 
bought in Russia come from Warsaw. More- 
over, she is now making a bid for the trade of 
the Far East. She makes sugar, leather, cotton, 
wool, iron, gold and silverware, and shoes for 
the rest of the continent. She sends more than 
half a million dollars' worth of beet sugar alone 
every year to America. 

The outlying neighbour of Warsaw, Lodz, 
known as the Polish Manchester, is fast gaining 
on its English rival. This great manufacturing 
centre, which stepped from the rank of village to 
that of city in two decades, has thousands of 
spindles which turn out cotton for the world. 
The boll comes on cars from north of Samarkand 
— what Americans know as Siberia. Almost all 
of L6dz's half million people help turn it into 
useful fabrics for the Tzar's empire. The indus 1 - 
trial and commercial impulse that has charac- 
terised the Russia of the present, is perhaps, no- 
where more strikingly evident than in what was 
the old kingdom of Poland, and particularly in 
Warsaw, still the capital, the head of the race, as 
Cracow is the heart. Warsaw helps distribute 
the overland trade from the East. In her shops, 
whose clerks speak Polish, Russian, French, and 
German, and sometimes English, is every variety 
of product direct from the Orient. 

In Warsaw the Pole is at home. He and he 
125 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

alone is the citizen. In society, in life generally, 
the Russian is nothing. He is bourgeois. The 
Pole is the aristocrat. In Germany, and to a 
degree in Austria, the Pole belongs to an imma- 
ture stage of political civilisation. In Russia he 
is the representative of culture, of the superior 
race, and even his military master confesses it. 

Within the Russian Empire dwells the marrow 
of the Polish nation, the Polish aristocracy, and 
that industrious middle class which has become 
rich. There are twelve million Poles pinned to 
Russia by bayonets, is the way a Warsaw Pole 
recently summed up the so-called success of the 
Russification process. 

There are many traditions concerning the 
origin of Warsaw. One of the oldest is the ac- 
count which says that, in the year 1108, a Bo- 
hemian family of the name of Varszovski, sus- 
pected of treason to its king, was banished from 
Bohemia. It settled on the banks of the River 
Vistula, and the growth of centuries has made of 
its little settlement the city of Warsaw. On the 
north shore of the Vistula is the original seat of 
this family, now a suburb of Warsaw, and known 
as Praga, in memory of the Bohemian capital. 
Prague. Then the princes of Mazovia took pos- 
session of the growing town, and when the last 
of this Mazovian line died, Zygmunt, the Polish 
king, made Warsaw his fortified residence. 

There is something in Warsaw that seems 
126 



The GEOGRAPHICAL CENTRE of EUROPE 

familiar to the traveller that knows western 
Europe — at first he is at a loss to say just what. 
Then it comes back — the touch of Paris, the 
light gaiety and pleasure-seeking, the beautiful 
parks and splendid drives, the fine theatres and 
seemingly inexhaustible capacity of the people 
for amusement — almost all that makes Paris 
Paris is characteristic also of Warsaw. But 
Warsaw has, in addition, a flavour all her 
own. 

Landmark hunting begins with the Stare 
Miasto. This old city market is in much the 
same condition as it was nearly four hundred 
years ago. Every visitor pauses to examine No. 
31 Wanski Dunajec Ulica (Narrow Danube) 
Street. This is the oldest building in the city, 
and its classical bay-window is one of the best 
preserved specimens in Europe. Near here is the 
wine-shop of Fouquier, where (so Sienkiewicz 
tells us) Zagloba and Wolodyjowski drank the 
mio'd (mead) so dear to the heart of the doughty 
old knight. The visitor, of course, also drinks 
mi6d at Fouquier's. 

How much these Poles have suffered and are 
suffering day by day! The old royal palace, in 
front of which the recent massacres of strikers oc- 
curred, is weighted down with tragic, agonising 
memories. On the great balcony, to the right of 
where the Russian sentinel now treads day and 
night, Stanislaw Poniatowski, the last Polish 

127 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

king, looked out upon the square along the Vis- 
tula, and saw the soldiers of Marshal Suwarow 
slaughter 14,000 Poles. Here, in 1863, 50,000 
Russians camped and made " order " by firing 
with cannon on men and women who knelt in the 
snow and sang the national hymn. I tried to 
enter and look over this palace, but found it so 
full of Russian soldiers that visiting was exceed- 
ingly difficult, even with an official pass. On 
coming out of the court-yard I found my way 
across the square barred. A Russian army corps, 
including 4,000 Cossacks and the famous 
mounted infantry regiment organised by Alex- 
ander III., was returning from a review prepara- 
tory to leaving for the seat of war in the East. 
The force of Cossacks looked formidable. Ei.ch 
man carried an 18-foot lance resembling one of 
the celebrated Cromwellian pikes, a short sword 
with a wicked, half-Turkish crook to the blade, 
a long carbine, and the cruel Cossack whip, the 
most terrible of the four. 

The detachment stopped directly in front of 
the monument in the palace square to the Polish 
king, Zygmunt. This column, says the inscrip- 
tion on its base, was erected to the memory of 
Zygmunt III. by his son Wladyslaw IV. In Zyg- 
munt's reign, the inscription says further, Mos- 
cow was captured by the Poles and Prince 
Wladyslaw proclaimed Tzar of Muscovy. The 
inscription does not refer to the fact, but.aH this 

128 



The GEOGRAPHICAL CENTRE of EUROPE 

reminds one that Philaret, the father of the first 
Romanov, was carried a prisoner to Poland and 
kept there for nine years, for refusing to ac- 
knowledge Wladyslaw as king. It was significant 
to recall this fact again when, standing in the 
Red Square, in front of the Kremlin, in Moscow, 
I read beneath the great group of statuary in its 
centre : " To the memory of the Aristocrat and 
the Peasant who, in 1613, saved Russia from the 
Poles." The Cossacks halted right beneath this 
Zygmunt column, and the humble citizen of the 
latter-day Warsaw stepped nervously aside. So 
history mutates. 

Warsaw is like Paris in one other respect. 
Apparently it has " no visible means of support." 
The sole aim and occupation of its citizens seems 
to be amusing themselves. Of course, this is only 
in appearance, as it is in the case of Paris. * A 
Yarsovie," said the first Napoleon, in 1810, "le 
monde s'amuse toujours, sans cesse. Yarsovie 
est une petite Paris" To thoroughly enjoy War- 
saw, understand it, and appreciate it, one must 
enjoy good music, understand good painting and 
good acting, and be able to appreciate fine public 
gardens, splendid horsemanship, good eating, and 
— and beautiful women. The subtle, cultured 
taste of the Poles is especially conspicuous in 
Warsaw in all of these: in the music they hear, 
the painting and drama they see, the parks and 
horses they enjoy, and the fascinating women 

129 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

who make their streets and drawing-rooms so 
alluring. 

During the summer and fall months all War- 
saw goes every day to the Saski Ogrdd — the 
Saxon Gardens — which is complete as a park, 
and has, besides, a summer theatre. In the win- 
ter young Warsaw flocks to the Saski Ogr6d to 
skate. On Saturday afternoons, Sundays, and 
holidays it is really difficult to force one's way 
through the moving mass of promenaders. If 
the visitor is wise, he will go with the crowd, 
which will, like as not, take him out to the other 
park, Lazienki. This is a little Versailles, with 
an exquisite palace formerly used as a bath by 
the princes of Mazovia, the park being their Lunt- 
ing-ground. One of the later Polish kings re- 
modelled the palace and the Tzar Alexander I. 
redecorated it. It faces on a most beautiful little 
lake, and near by is an open-air theatre with a 
stone amphitheatre for more than a thousand 
spectators. 

When Sobieski returned from his triumph at 
Vienna he brought with him a number of Turk- 
ish prisoners, whom he set to work on the park 
and palace, built by Queen Bona, which he was 
rearranging for his French wife, Marysienka. 
This is WillanoV — Villa Nuova — just beyond the 
limits of the present city. A great white quad- 
rangle of stone with statues at every convenient 
point and paintings on the outside walls — it is 

130 




THE OLD ROYAL PALACE OF THE POLISH KINGS IN 

WARSAW. 







r 

<** 




5- 


1 





THE PALACE IN THE LAZIENKI PARK IN WARSAW- 



The GEOGRAPHICAL CENTRE of EUROPE 

an impressive palace, and the park, which is said 
to have been laid out by Sobieski's own hand, is 
kept like a drawing-room by the Countess Bran- 
icka, who now occupies the palace. 

One of the gayest corners of Warsaw is the 
Krakowskie Przedmiescie — the Suburb of Cracow 
Street — in front of the Hotel de Europe. Most 
of the churches, newspaper offices, and public 
buildings of the city are located on this busy 
thoroughfare. At night it is a blaze of light 
and a whirl of life and motion. Hundreds of 
cabs dart about — and in Warsaw the cocher 
drives as swiftly and recklessly as the swallow 
flies — and the elegantly dressed throng passes 
and repasses. The street is literally lined with 
cukiernias — those attractive little tea and cake 
houses which were originally an exclusively 
Italian institution, but brought into Poland dur- 
ing the Italian immigration. There the Varso- 
vian sits and sips his glass of tea and munches 
his bit of cake, while he skims the latest news- 
paper from Paris, London, Berlin. The cukier- 
nia is to him what the cafe is to the Parisian, 
and more than the beer-garden is to the Ger- 
man. 

There is a nervous quickness about the Pole, a 
staccato nimbleness of spirit, which makes him 
again resemble the Frenchman. He is exceed- 
ingly fond of light and sociability, and these little 
tea-houses which line the streets of Warsaw are 

131 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

immensely popular with him. They are scarcely 
second to his home. 

The Varsovian calls his boulevards "aleja," 
and it is along the Aleja Ujazdowska and Jero- 
zolimska that fashionable, pleasure-loving War- 
saw comes out most strongly. Here the elegant 
equipages pass in one continuous stream, beauti- 
ful women in dazzling costumes, handsome army 
officers, aristocracy, bourgeoisie, demi-monde — 
all dashing along these splendid avenues from 
early afternoon till late into the night. Even 
Paris cannot surpass the former Polish capital 
in this respect. 

Warsaw is more than a city of music and mu- 
sicians. Every Varsovian is a musical connois- 
seur. Warsaw has been the home of Paderewski, 
Sliwinski, and the Reszkes. Its conservatory is 
world-famous. 

The Poles are born actors. Even after Vi- 
enna, Berlin, and Paris, one can find new beauties 
and harmonies on the Warsaw stage. This stage 
is the place to see artistically perfect dancing. 
The polonez, the mazur, and the krakowiak, the 
three national Polish dances, are the race in 
epitome. The polonez gives the colour, ceremony, 
politeness, grace, suppleness, and rhythm of the 
Polish lady and gentleman. It is the aristocracy 
personified. The mazur gives the agility, sup- 
pleness, almost recklessness, and, withal, the 
gallantry of the szlachta, or landed gentry. The 

132 



The GEOGRAPHICAL CENTRE of EUROPE 

krakowiak shows the quick, gusty, passionate al- 
ternations between passivity and wild abandon, 
so characteristic of the Polish peasant. The 
music seems to be part and parcel, bone and 
sinew, of the dance itself, and the colour of the 
costumes is picturesquely and artistically perfect. 

The art impulse of the past twenty-five 
years that has resulted in the appearance of a 
distinctively Polish school of painting, looks to 
Warsaw as the home of many of its imitators. 

The Sienkiewicz house, in Spolna street, has 
long been the shrine of literary Poland. War- 
saw has been the home of Alexander Glowacki 
(better known by his nom de plume of " Boleslaw 
Prus"), who has been captivating Germany by 
his classical novels ; of Waclaw Sieroszewski, the 
Polish Pierre Loti; of Maryan Gawalewicz, 
author, and editor of the Kurjer Warszawski, 
and of Eliza Orzesko, author of " The Argo- 
nauts," recently translated into English. 

The aristocracy of the old kingdom of Poland, 
among the oldest and most blue-blooded of 
Europe, takes an active interest in the social, 
moral, and intellectual betterment of Warsaw. 
The Lubomirskis, Potockis, Zamoyskis, and Rad- 
ziwills, the oldest and most aristocratic families 
of Poland, each has a representative in philan- 
thropic and educational work in the city. 

The Poles think very highly of their physicians, 
and justly. The medical profession is unusually 

133 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

well represented in all advancement and public 
enterprise in Poland. One of the best known 
presidents of the Warsaw Society of Fine Arts, 
which numbers more than 5,000 members, was a 
physician, Dr. Karol Benni. It was a physician, 
Dr. Chalubinski, who founded the great Polish 
health resort, Zakopane, in the Carpathian Moun- 
tains. Dr. Jordan, who established the unique 
park for children in Cracow, which bears his 
name, was a citizen of the widest reputation. Dr. 
Jakubowski, at one time Rector of the Cracow 
University, founded a hospital for poor children 
irrespective of their religion. 

Two details of the vast scheme of the Russian 
government to minify the evils of intemperance 
are worked out very picturesquely in Warsaw. 
Local temperance committees supervise a popular 
theatre and a " sociological park," supported by 
government subsidy. The theatre gives perform- 
ances for merely nominal prices — the maximum 
being sixty kopecks, about thirty cents. 

Here to the accompaniment of an excellent or- 
chestra, popular plays are given every night in 
the year, all with temperance morals. The writer 
attended one performance. The hall was 
crowded with intelligent looking, fairly well 
dressed people of the peasant and lower bour- 
geois class. The play rendered was simply an- 
other variety of the old story. The husband, led 
away by jovial companions, spends all his money 

134 



The GEOGRAPHICAL CENTRE of EUROPE 

for drink, even the little hoard the hard-working 
mother has laid aside for her sick child. The 
child is finally taken to a hospital, where the 
parents cannot see it. Through the intervention 
and good offices of a kind, temperance gentle- 
man, the husband reforms, the child is restored 
to its parents, and every one is happy. Of course, 
all the scenery and accessories are Russian (or 
Polish), and the people see before them a bit of 
their own life, with its consequences. The act- 
ing is excellent, and the audience in complete 
sympathy with the performance. The state of- 
ficial who is in charge of these plays declared to 
me that they are growing in popularity every 
year, and that a decided change for good is to 
be noted since they were begun. These plays are 
now given in Polish, but occasionally a Russian 
play is presented. The radical Polish party fear 
that these performances will be used to further 
the Russification process. Consequently, the 
local support is not as strong as it might be. 

In Praga, one of the suburbs, the Sunday enter- 
tainment is perhaps unique in the world. The 
day I visited the park there were between 32,000 
and 33,000 people enjoying its amusements. The 
entrance fee is ten kopecks (about five American 
cents), and for this sum one has the privilege of 
every feature the park presents — music, side 
shows, theatres, merry-go-rounds, swings, and a 

number of games especially arranged for the little 

135 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

ones. All sorts of cakes and fruit are vended, as 
well as a large variety of soft drinks, red lemon- 
ade, " pop," etc. But not a drop of alcoholic 
liquor is allowed. 

It is an interesting sight to the student of 
sociology to walk about the well-kept paths. 
There are no " keep off the grass " signs in this 
park. All the Slav love of colour, music, and 
pleasure can be seen on every hand. There are 
eight dancing pavilions, where the stout, healthy, 
rosy-cheeked peasant gins dance the Polish 
dances. One may see soldiers in white uniforms 
and great black top-boots whirling around, often 
two heavy fellows embracing each other and 
fairly beaming with delight. At the accented 
note of the music, all stamp vigorously on the 
wooden floor, with a resounding noise. Acro- 
batic shows, Punch and Judy pavilions, " post- 
office," games whereby, for the extra sum of three 
kopecks, the peasant lad may address a card to 
an unknown girl, and, in the course of an hour, 
be regularly presented to his partner for the 
evening's festivities; fireworks, a kitchen spot- 
lessly clean where, for a merely nominal sum, 
you can get an excellent meal — these and other 
features make an afternoon spent in the park 
exceedingly interesting. The very little ones 
have sections devoted to them exclusively, where 
they play games, sing songs, make sandcakes, ac- 
cording to model — all under the direction of a 

136 



The GEOGRAPHICAL CENTRE of EUROPE 

trained kindergartner. The parents must see 
that the youngsters are clean and presentable; 
must bring them and come for them when the 
exercises are over. 

Two thousand children, of twelve years or 
under, were playing in the park on that Sunday. 
An efficient fire department and ambulance serv- 
ice complete the equipment of the park. These 
two features — the theatre and the park — cost the 
government $750,000 in one year. 

This picture of the old Polish capital is the 
one I prefer to have remain in my memory — 
rather than that showing the great seething cen- 
tre of industrial and social revolt which, during 
the past two years, has suffered so much bloody, 
vicarious agony for Russia's misadventure in the 
Far East. 



137 



HOW VIENNA ESCAPED THE TURK 

FATHER iWOJNOWSKI, the militant 
priest, who is one of the most lovable 
characters in Sienkiewicz's novel, " On 
the Field of Glory," tells the young men leaving 
for the campaign : " War is abhorrent to Heaven, 
a sin against mercy, a stain on Christian na- 
tions." But a war against the Turks must be 
excepted, "God put the Polish people on horse- 
back, and turned their breasts eastward ; by that 
same act He showed them His will and their 
calling. He knew why He chose us for that posi- 
tion, and put others behind our shoulders ; hence, 
if we wish to fulfil His command and our mis- 
sion with worthiness, we must face that vile sea, 
and break its waves with our bosoms." 

This is a Pole's conception of the national 
mission of the Polish people. And no better il- 
lustration of how ruler and people held to this 
view can be found than the campaign of King 
John III. Sobieski against the Turks, to rescue 
Vienna, and gain a victory for the Cross over the 
Crescent It is a thrilling, dramatic story, be- 
ginning with the election of a King of Poland. 

138 



HOW VIENNA ESCAPED THE TURK 

From the corner of one of the oldest buildings 
off the Rynek of Cracow hang several ponderous 
iron chains. I asked their history. " They are 
a sign of one of the reasons that have contribu- 
ted to our downfall as a nation," said a Polish 
gentleman sadly. " Those chains used to be 
stretched across the road when a Diet was con- 
vened, lest the excitable populace break in upon 
the deliberations, especially at an election, and 
also lest the equally excitable deputies break out 
and fight with the people. Alas for our turbu- 
lence and unruliness! I almost wish the rever- 
ence for tradition, which is so characteristic of 
our people, did not demand that these unpleasant 
mementos be kept here on public view." 

One of the most turbulent Diets in Polish 
history, the one that elected the Hetman John 
Sobieski King of the Commonwealth, was held in 
Warsaw in April, 1674. What was once the 
throne room of the splendid palace at Willanow, 
in the suburbs of Warsaw, the room in which 
Sobieski died, is now a chapel, its walls covered 
with relics of the mighty warrior. Near by is 
a fine collection of books. From these, and with 
the assistance of Count Ledochowski (whose 
brother was then secretary of the Propaganda at 
Rome), who has a splendid museum of antiqui- 
ties, trappings, and documents of the days of 
Poland's glory, I can perhaps paint a mind 
picture of that memorable, extraordinary scene: 

139 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

a Polish Diet electing a king. The event is so 
dramatic that one can imagine it being actually 
re-enacted before his eyes. 

Eighty thousand people have come to Warsaw, 
and are gathered on the plain of Wola. In the 
city all the shops are closed, and many of the 
houses have barred their doors. Great numbers 
of Jews are moving to other parts of the country, 
for they know how near to a battle a Polish elec- 
tion is likely to come. The streets are full of 
gorgeously uniformed troops, brilliant magnates, 
palatines, castellans, dignitaries, and officials 
from all portions of the Commonwealth. Foreign 
ambassadors and members of a hundred different 
ecclesiastical orders fairly blaze with decora- 
tions. Twelve vast tents have been erected on 
the plain, and 100,000 horses are stabled near by. 
For six weeks the Diet deliberates, listening to 
the claims of the foreign rulers who aspire to the 
Polish crown. Intrigue and conspiracy are ram- 
pant It is Lithuania against Warsaw. In the 
main tent, a vast circular canvas, supported by 
a single pole, 6,000 persons sit and listen to the 
orations delivered in favour of this monarch, that 
great lord, the other famous general. Adjourn- 
ments for prayers and for tournament and joust 
are frequent. 

At last the great moment comes. The Senators 
and other delegates are weary of the long wait 
The principal candidates are Prince Charles of 

140 



HOW VIENNA ESCAPED THE TURK 

Lorraine, the Austrian candidate, Philip of Neu- 
burg, France's choice, and the Prince of Cond6, 
the choice of the Poles. Austria and France are 
in the heat of their great rivalry for European 
leadership and the crown of Poland is one of the 
pawns in the game. Ambassadors from Spain, 
England, and Holland speak for Charles. More- 
over, he is supported by Eleanor, widow of the 
last Polish king. She openly declares in his 
favour. If he is triumphant she will marry him 
and once more be queen. 

Presently there is a commotion among the 
magnificent generals seated near the centre of the 
assemblage. A stout man, in the resplendent 
uniform of Hetman, arises and begins to address 
the company — a strong, fine figure, with a clean, 
powerful face and a voice of thunder. He sub- 
mits the name of the Prince of Conde as candi- 
date of the Opposition. In a short but vigorous 
speech he completely demolishes the claims of 
Neuburg and Prince Charles, and declares that 
Conde, and Conde only, shall be the choice of the 
Diet A Lithuanian noble in the rear of the hall 
" calls for the question." The interest is intense. 
It is like a modern political convention. The 
voting is by wojewodztwos (electoral districts), 
each delegation answering from beneath its own 
banner. The spokesman for the first registers its 
vote for Charles, then withdraws it. The speaker, 
Stanislaus Jablonowski, Palatine of Podolia and 

141 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

Ukraine, again springs to his feet and shouts: 
" No more foreigners. Give us a Polish hero for 
King." " Speech ! " cry the delegates, and he 
continues : 

"Poland, the rampart of Christendom, must 
have a glorious name to lead her armies. Cond6 
is the first captain of the age. I knelt before my 
God this morning to ask for light on the discus- 
sion which is to end the widowhood of my mother- 
country. I know that in naming Conde I would 
have no cause for remorse — his fame answers for 
him. Nevertheless, neither this man nor his rivals 
shall obtain my vote. I demand that a Pole 
reign over Poland. If our ancestors sometimes 
raised a foreign prince to our throne, it was be- 
cause they feared the dangers of rivalry among 
equals. We have not this danger to avoid now, 
for the eyes and the thoughts of each and all of 
you are fixed on one and only one among us. 

" There is a man in our midst who, having 
saved the Republic many times by his counsels 
and his sword, and won for it the respect of the 
world, is regarded by all the world, as well as by 
ourselves, as the greatest, the first son of Poland. 

" Poles, one final consideration determines 
me! If we are deliberating here in peace over 
the choice of a king; if the most illustrious dy- 
nasties in the world are soliciting our suffrages ; 
if our power has grown ; if our freedom has been 
maintained ; if, in short, we still have a country 

142 



HOW VIENNA ESCAPED THE TURK 

— to whom are we indebted for it? Call to mind 
the wonders of Slobodyszoze, Podhaice, Kalusz, 
and above all, of Chocim ! — those immortal monu- 
ments of glory, and choose for King [and here he 
raises his voice to a shout] — John Sobieski." 

The foes of Sobieski, however, are obstinate, 
and the decision wavers. The presiding officer 
announces, "No election; adjournment till to- 
morrow." But the people are tired, and want an 
end to the debates. "Vote, vote," cry the dele- 
gates. To this, Sobieski himself objects. Rising 
to his feet, he shouts : 

" To this I am opposed. Remember the na» 
tion for which you are about to choose a head — 
the freest on the face of the earth. Such haste 
would ill accord with liberty. God forbid that I 
should accept a Crown conferred at the expense 
of a single infringement of the public right, or 
by the constraint or suppression of a single vote. 
I would rather remain a subject all my life, a 
thousand times rather, than rule over one of my 
fellow-citizens against his will. It would, in- 
deed, be unworthy of me to ascend the throne in 
this furtive manner, at nightfall, and before any 
time had been granted for the reconsideration of 
so sudden a resolution. I demand that no fur- 
ther action be taken to-night, and in demanding 
this I declare that should there be no other dis- 
senting voice, I will oppose it with my VETO." 

But his speech wins him the crown. The con- 

143 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

vention goes wild, and the stampede begins. 
Lithuania goes over to Sobieski's side; other 
delegations follow, and he is finally elected by 
acclamation, as John III. 

The new king greatly surprised the Diet by 
informing it that he did not care for any formal 
ceremony of coronation. It was too expensive, 
he said, and would take too long, especially as 
the Turks were already advancing toward the 
Polish frontier. The Diet, accordingly, pro- 
claimed him king from the moment of electing 
him. 

King John soon began to have considerabla 
trouble with his wife, Marya Kazimiera, or Mary- 
sienka, as he called her. This lady was little 
more than a fascinating adventuress. A French 
protege" of Marya Ludwika, one of the former 
queens, to satisfy her ambition she married Count 
Zamoyski. On his death she captured Sobieski, 
the Hetman and Grand Marshal of Poland. The 
refusal of Louis of France to make her family 
peers of the realm incurred her bitter enmity and 
caused much trouble for Poland. 

Sobieski himself was devoted to science and 
chivalry, and was really one of the most progres- 
sive of Polish monarchs, but almost everything he 
did his wife exerted her very best to undo. While 
he was fighting Turk and Tartar, in defence of 
the Commonwealth, she, ambitious and rapacious 
by nature and training, was fostering discontent 

144 



HOW VIENNA ESCAPED THE TURK 

at home, and favouring everything reactionary 
proposed by Sobieski's enemies. The cabinet 
that she used is in the palace at WillanoV, and 
it shows her to have been an exceedingly vain 
woman. One could imagine her sitting before it 
and admiring her own portrait, which is set at 
every convenient point. 

Fate made Sobieski a foil for the ambition of 
Louis XIV. of France, and the latter's hatred for 
Austria kept Poland in constant war with all her 
neighbours, particularly the Turks. But it gave 
Sobieski the great triumph of his life. In the 
Vatican there is one of the greatest of historical 
pictures, " John Sobieski before Vienna," painted 
with wonderful fidelity to detail by Jan Matejko. 
It shows Sobieski on horseback at the moment of 
the Polish king's great glory, receiving the plaud- 
its of the citizens and the army after his rescue 
of Vienna from the Turks. 

It had been a long Turkish triumph. The Sul- 
tan of Turkey had been proclaimed King of Up- 
per Hungary, and with his commander came the 
Khan of Tartary, various Hungarian chiefs, 
and the great horde. Kara Mustapha, the Mos- 
lem general, had 300,000 men when he came to 
besiege Vienna. The Austrian capital lay de- 
fenceless. The Emperor Leopold fell back in 
panic before the advancing host, and Europe be- 
came alarmed. Not only the Empire, but Chris- 
tianity itself was at stake. The Pope sent an 

145 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

envoy calling upon Sobieski, in the name of 
Christianity, to go against the Turks. Lorraine 
returned to Vienna and let himself be shut in, 
but Leopold fled and sent a frantic appeal to 
Sobieski to come to his aid. All Europe, except 
Louis of France, and his vassals, held its breath 
with fear. France and her satellites waited in 
eager hope that this might be the end of the hated 
Hapsburg. 

All eyes were turned to the court in Warsaw. 
Should Vienna fall, Austria would fall with it. 
Every day messengers arrived at the royal resi- 
dence, imploring Sobieski to come to the aid of 
the stricken empire. It was not so much the aid 
of the Polish troops that was demanded; it was 
the peerless leadership of the Polish king. So- 
bieski would not go without a sufficient army, and 
as his unhappy country was, as usual, rent by 
factional troubles, his preparations went on very 
slowly. Louis's resources in the way of finding 
obstacles to his going seemed inexhaustible. It 
was believed Sobieski could no longer bear the 
hardships of campaigning. For several years the 
Polish king had not seen active military service, 
and rumour had it that court life and inactivity 
had rendered him unfit for real leadership. 
" Don't trouble yourself," wrote the French am- 
bassador to King Louis, " Sobieski is too fat to 
sit on a horse and fight" The Polish king heard 
of this message. It settled the matter for him. 

146 



HOW VIENNA ESCAPED THE TURK 

He at once started for Warsaw, and, as he left, 
he rode in full armour and equipment under the 
window of the French embassy, and shouted as he 
rode : " Be kind enough to send another message 
to your master in Paris. Tell him that I have 
started for Vienna, on horseback, and to fight." 

On the way out of the city he received two 
messengers from the Emperor, begging him to 
hasten, and offering him the command of all the 
Christian forces, Germans included. These en- 
voys fell on their knees before the Polish king. 
" Save Vienna, save Christianity," they cried. 
" It is our duty," replied the Polish king. 
"Now," shouted Father Wojnowski (who was 
with the Polish army), "now I know why this 
Polish people was created ! ... It is only when 
the pagan sea swells, when that vile dragon opens 
its jaws to devour Christianity and mankind, 
when the Roman Caesar and all German lands 
are shivering in front of this avalanche, that I 
learn why God created us and imposed on us this 
duty. The Turks themselves know this. Other 
men may tremble, but we will not, as we have not 
trembled thus far; so let our blood flow to the 
very last drop, and let mine be mixed with the 
rest of it. Amen." 

In mid-August, with about 30,000 men (mostly 
cavalry), a large portion raised and paid for by 
himself, Sobieski began his long, slow march 
through the German cities. There were a few 

147 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

representatives of every army in Christendom in 
that small force of the Polish king, — men from 
every country, except France — and Europe, from 
Sweden to Italy, watched and waited and hoped. 

It was a hard march over the Danube and 
through the mountains. All the German artil- 
lery had to be left behind, but the Poles dragged 
28 pieces over the summits. Kara Mustapha had 
300. Sobieski's famous Polish horse never failed 
him. One of the battalions presented a very 
ragged appearance, and a German general, whose 
gold lace was brighter than his courage, com- 
plained to Sobieski that it was a disgrace to the 
others. " Wait," said the Polish king, " wait. 
That battalion has sworn never to wear any 
clothes but what it takes from the enemy. In 
the last war the men all looked like Turks. They 
will again. Wait." 

By the middle of September the Christian 
army, now swollen to 70,000 men, Poles and Ger- 
mans, reached the top of the ridge and could 
Vienna surrounded on all sides by the Mussul- 
man camps. It was a magnificent spectacle. As 
far as the eye could reach the tabours of the 
Mussulmans and Tartars stretched and glistened 
in the sunlight " Behold," says Coyer, Sobies- 
ki's Boswell, " the immense plain and all the 
islands of the Danube covered with pavilions 
whose magnificence seemed rather calculated for 
an encampment of pleasure than the hardships 

148 



HOW VIENNA ESCAPED THE TURK 

of war — horses, camels, buffaloes, 300,000 men 
all in motion, swarms of Tartars dispersed in 
their usual confusion ; the fire of the besiegers ter- 
rible and incessant; the city only to be seen by 
the top of the steeples, and the fire and smoke 
that covered it" " This man," said Sobieski 
when he saw the Turkish lines, " is badly en- 
camped. He knows nothing of war. We shall 
certainly beat him." 

When Kara Mustapha beheld the Christian 
forces descending the mountain he could scarcely 
believe his eyes. Even when his enemy's army 
had spread out upon the plain, he would not be- 
lieve that the terrible Sobieski was leading. So 
little did the Moslem general understand what 
was coming against him, that he sent out only the 
Tartars, some light cavalry and other irregulars, 
to meet the Christians. He sat in his tent, sip- 
ping his coffee, and consigning all Christians to 
the Mussulman inferno. 

It was Sunday morning, and the besieged in 
Vienna were at church, but they saw their res- 
cuers and took heart. Dashing down the moun- 
tain, the Polish and German knights met the 
Tartars full tilt, the Austrians and Saxons in the 
left wing beginning the fight. The centre, which 
was composed of Germans alone, and the right of 
Poles alone, reached the field at noon, and, in a 
few hours, the Moslem defence was broken at all 
points. All day long they fought, and then an 

149 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

eclipse of the moon completed the panic of the 
Turks. " Look at the sky," shouted the Khan 
of Tartary to Kara Mustapha. " Don't you see 
that God is against us? It is the King of Po- 
land." 

Sobieski kept in the centre in the thickest of 
the fight, and literally hewed his way to where the 
Grand Vizier, on horseback, commanded his 
corps. "God for Poland," shouted the Chris- 
tians. " Not to us, not to us, O Lord, but to Thy 
name be the glory," cried Sobieski. When the 
Mussulman chieftain realised that the Polish 
king himself was before him, his bravery left him, 
and he fled. Almost all the pashas followed his 
example, and the flight became general. Lor- 
raine and his little band of 10,000 hurried out of 
the city to meet their deliverers. The town went 
wild over Sobieski. The people fell on their faces 
before his horse, kissed his dress and his boots, 
and even the legs of his horse. The Te Deum 
was celebrated in St. Stephen's, and the preacher 
chose for his text : " There was a man sent from 
God, whose name was John." 

They had been in sore straits, this little band, 
and the good citizens from hunger and the ter- 
rible plague. H The grave continued open with- 
out ever closing its mouth, and in three days 
more we must have submitted," wept Lorraine 
to his rescuer. One brave Pole named Kulczycki, 
who worked all through the mining and counter- 

150 



HOW VIENNA ESCAPED THE TURK 

mining, sallied out, made his way out through 
the Moslem ranks and carried the news to So- 
bieski. For this he received permission to set up 
the first coffee-house in Vienna. This is how 
Vienna rolls came to be crescent-shaped — as they 
are to this day. And if you want to hear the story 
for yourself, go into the coffee-house, kept by 
the lineal successor of Kulczycki, on the Graben, 
in Vienna. 

The Vizier, the Moslem general, and six of his 
pashas died. The Sultan ordered Kara Mustapha 
to be bowstrung. Then the Polish cavalry took 
his head to Vienna on the end of a lance. They 
show this skull in the Arsenal Museum to-day. 
It is that of a brutal, blood-thirsty man. 

The best account of the campaign and battle 
can be gleaned from the letters that the warrior- 
king wrote home to his wife, under whose thumb 
he lived even when out of her sight. At the close 
of the fighting he took one of the Vizier's finely 
enamelled stirrups and gave it to an aide. " Take 
it to the Queen," he commanded, " and tell her 
that he to whom it belonged is defeated and 
slain." 

Looking over a collection of ancient parch- 
ments and " letters patent," in possession of 
Count Ledochowski in Warsaw, I noted that So- 
bieski and Jan Kazimierz were the only two Po- 
lish kings who signed official documents " Kr6l 
Polski " (King of Poland) instead of " Rex Polo- 

151 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

niae," as did all the others. Sobieski was the 
last absolutely independent king of Poland. As 
a general he was one of the greatest characters 
in her annals. With all his eminence as a 
soldier, however, it was Sobieski, who, beyond 
a doubt, began the ruin of Poland. He ceded 
Kiev to the father of Peter the Great, 'and in so 
doing placed the keys of his house in the hands of 
his most determined enemy. He also conceded 
to Russia the protection of the Ruthenians, Poles 
of the Greek Catholic faith. This brought Mus- 
covy across the Dnieper, and, a few years later, 
when the Poles drove the Cossacks to seek Rus- 
sian protection, they sealed their fate as a nation. 



152 



VIII 
THE EEAL "THADDEUS OF WARSAW" 

EVEN in the annals of the romantic, chival- 
rous, patriotic Polish people, always so 
given to idealistic conceptions, there are 
but very few names (if there are any) about 
which cluster so much romance, chivalry, and 
patriotism as will keep ever green the memory 
of the soldier-statesman who led Poland's 
armies against her enemies of the third par- 
tition. For Tadeusz Kosciuszko the world held 
but one country — Poland. For her he bled and 
sacrificed and suffered, and even when fate 
seemed most against her he worked on and 
hoped on, refusing to believe that his beloved 
country could ever perish. 

The famous Perroneta, who taught him engi- 
neering in Paris, said of him " He is a fine fellow, 
modest, manly, a noble character, and a splendid 
soldier. He has all the liberal ideas of the day, 
and yet he will not talk of anything but Poland 
and her restoration. For him, there seems to be 
no other country in the world." 

There is a whole character sketch in these 
words. One of the greatest soldiers of his time, 

153 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

one of the noblest spirits of all times, a leader in 
the great revolutionary period from 1790 to 1810, 
in three prominent nations, Poland, France, and 
the United States, an " inseparable part of two 
worlds and all classes " — it is yet as the unselfish 
lover of his country and a knight in her defence 
that Kosciuszko will be known to history. 

Kosciuszko had something greater and finer 
in his soul than any of his compatriots. He re- 
lied entirely on the resources of Poland. He 
saw that Polish liberty could come only through 
Polish effort, and he never looked to aliens for 
help. Especially did he trust the peasants. When, 
during the Cracow insurrection of 1794, the 
faint-hearted ones asked, " Who are at our backs? 
To whom shall we look for help? " Kosciuszko 
replied, " Here are the backs (striking his own). 
Trust the Polish people. Let us recognise, in 
the millions of peasants, our brothers, and we 
shall then easily be able to throw off the yoke of 
oppression, and to re-establish solidarity and 
equality before God and the laws of our country. " 

It has been asserted that Kosciuszko was of 
noble blood. This is not true, at least not with- 
out a qualifying statement. His was a very old 
family of Lithuania, which was noble in the time 
of Prince Witold's wars against the Teutonic 
Knights. But war, poverty, and family misfor- 
tunes had brought about reverses which had ob- 
scured the title. 

154 



THE REAL " THADDEUS OF WARSAW" 

Ludwik Kosciuszko, the father of Tadeusz, was 
one of the landed proprietors of Lithuania, known 
among the Poles as szlachta. He was a man of 
unusual ability, and his public-spirited life in 
these troubled times won for him the title which 
his forebears had lost or forfeited. The elder 
Kosciuszko, however, had a violent temper and 
was very cruel to his peasant retainers. The son, 
early in his life, learned the terrible consequences 
of injustice. It is generally believed that Lud- 
wik Kosciuszko was killed by his serfs for some 
outrage on them. He did not realise that in that 
fact of injustice and cruelty to the Polish peas- 
ant lay one great cause of Poland's downfall. 
But the son never forgot the lesson. 

Tekla Ratomska, the mother, was one of those 
strong yet beautifully womanly characters so 
often found among Polish women. It was to her, 
he always asserted, that Tadeusz owed his lofty 
views and steadfastness of purpose. Young Kos- 
ciuszko was a patriot from his cradle. He was 
not an only child. There was another boy, 
Joseph, whose character was not exemplary, and 
two girls, Anna, the confidant as well as sister 
of Tadeusz, and Katarzyna, both of whom mar- 
ried soldiers with titles. 

The early boyhood of Tadeusz was spent on 
the paternal estate. The outdoor life and train- 
ing in horsemanship, which was the birthright of 
every Polish youth, fitted him for a course at the 

155 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

military school in Warsaw, from which he grad- 
uated with higli honours. He is said to have been 
the most talented student who ever attended its 
courses. The Polish king was so impressed with 
his ability indeed that he is generally believed to 
have given the young captain a stipend with 
which to continue his studies abroad. He was 
also befriended by an official in the War Depart- 
ment, one Joseph Sosnowski. It is well to re- 
member this name, since it played a prominent 
part in the developments which turned the steps 
of the young Kosciuszko to the United States of 
America. 

The class of 1766 at the Warsaw School of 
Knights, in which young Kosciuszko was grad- 
uated, was a bright but unruly one. Tadeusz 
was the leader in both respects. This thickset 
lad, with a rough, ugly face, but a distinguished 
military air, had inherited his father's stubborn- 
ness and fiery disposition as well as his high 
abilities. Kosciuszko was a hard student at this 
school. One of his fellow-students used to tell 
of his waking himself at three in the morning that 
he might have more time for study. He accom- 
plished this by the then original method of tying 
a string to his left hand in such a way that the 
servant, going through the hall early, in order 
to light the fires, could pull it. On the other 
hand, to keep awake late into the night he used 
to sit with his feet in cold water. 

156 




TADEUSZ KOSCIUSZKO— THE "REAL THADDEUS OP 
WARSAW." 



(From a pastel from life in 1790. 
Ossolinski Museum in Lemberg.) 



The original is now in the 



THE REAL " THADDEUS OF WARSAW" 

Five years spent in travelling in western 
Europe, particularly in France, which was then 
looked upon as the world's mentor in the art of 
war, fitted Kosciuszko to begin the strenuous ca- 
reer that was in store for him. Full of honours 
and the learning of the schools, the young soldier 
found his country in need of stern, practical, ex- 
perienced administrators and fighters. 

It was one of the darkest hours of Polish his- 
tory. One partition had been consummated, and 
the unfortunate people, shorn of the greater part 
of their national strength, governed by a weak 
king and tyrannised over by a corrupt, effeminate 
aristocracy, lay almost helpless, waiting for the 
final descent of the vultures. Poland needed all 
her sons to defend her, and a soldier with the 
training and equipment which the great French 
schools had given Kosciuszko was a godsend to 
the distracted Commonwealth. He at once vol- 
unteered for service, and was made a captain of 
artillery. 

At this point in his career the woman enters. 
In order to increase his modest stipend as cap- 
tain of the army, young Kosciuszko improved his 
spare moments by giving history and drawing 
lessons to Panna Ludwika Sosnowska, the 
daughter of his old benefactor, who had now 
become wojewoda, or judge of the community. 
Panna Sosnowska was beautiful and clever, and, 
of course, the inevitable happened. In a very 

157 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

short time the impetuous young artillery captain 
fell desperately in love with his fair pupil. The 
lady returned his affection. But the wooing was 
carried on under great difficulties. All this, it 
must not be forgotten, was in Poland, in the 18th 
century, when social conventions were very rigor- 
ous. Whenever the tutor came there was a chap- 
eron present who remained all through the lesson. 
This lady, Panna Karolina Zenowicz, was a rela- 
tive, and not a dragon. But poor Kosciuszko 
had to address to Karolina all the pretty speeches 
he meant for Ludwika. It was embarrassing, 
to say the very least. But more trouble was in 
store for him. The young cavalier was poor. No 
mere captain of artillery, whatever his ability or 
prospects, could hope to win the hand of the 
daughter of so exalted a dignitary as a wojewoda. 
Kosciuszko, however, had unlimited enterprise 
and energy. It was a matter largely of official- 
dom and money, not of character or heart. Why 
not go to the head of all things? Tadeusz 
marched straight to the King and told him 
frankly just how matters stood. He besought 
the monarch to intercede for him with the 
haughty parent of his lady-love. Amazed at the 
young man's impetuosity and audacity, the King 
tried to dissuade him from the whole project. 
But, after all, this last of the Polish kings, Stan- 
islaw Poniatowski, was as easy-going and good- 
natured as he was weak and vacillating. He 

158 



THE REAL " THADDEUS OF WARSAW" 

consented to help Kosciuszko. Then, quite char- 
acteristically, he suddenly changed his mind and 
sent a warning to the wojewoda of what was 
likely to happen. The irate father was furious. 
Soon afterward, when the tutor and suitor ar- 
rived at the estate he found no one at home. 
Parents and daughter had fled. 

Ludwika, however, was faithful to him. 
Though she afterward married Prince Lubo- 
mirski, to save the falling fortunes of her father, 
she never forgot her real love. When he returned 
from the United States she interceded with the 
King to give him a position in the army. She 
even wrote to her former lover, giving him some 
good advice. But they never met again. 

It is to this first disappointment in love that 
America owes Kosciuszko's first visit to her 
shores. In despair, he determined to leave his 
country and seek military glory in France. 
When he arrived in Paris he heard of the patri- 
otism and sufferings of the American colonies of 
Great Britain, in their struggle for independ- 
ence, and his soul was aroused. Benjamin 
Franklin, then United States Envoy to France, 
talked with the fiery young idealist, and declared 
him to have been one of the noblest, most unself- 
ish spirits he ever knew. Franklin gave Kosci- 
uszko letters of introduction and recommenda- 
tion to Washington, and in the summer of 1776 
the young Pole reached the American camp. 

159 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

" What do you wish to do? " asked Washington. 
" I come to fight as a volunteer for American in- 
dependence." " What can you do? " " Try me." 

For eight years Kosciuszko's name was a part 
of our strenuous history. He was one of the 
noblest of the little band of European idealists 
who, when liberty was defeated in their own 
lands, transferred their zeal to our patriot cause, 
and, sword in hand, fought for our independence. 
France sent us Lafayette and Rochambeau ; Ger- 
many, DeKalb and Steuben ; Poland, Kosciuszko 
and Pulaski. Kosciuszko taught our army the 
science of fort construction. He began his serv- 
ice in the American army as a colonel of engi- 
neers and a member of Washington's staff, but 
he soon became the scientist of the army. It was 
he who planned Gates' fortified camp at Bemis 
Heights, and he was the principal engineer in 
the work at West Point All through Greene's 
southern campaign, he was the inspiration and 
executive of the scientific warfare. Congress 
gave him a vote of thanks, brevetted him a briga- 
dier-general, and made him a member of the 
Order of the Cincinnati. And yet, up to very re- 
cent years, when the Poles erected the statue in 
Chicago, there was no monument in this country, 
worth the name, to the gallant Kosciuszko, un- 
less West Point itself be considered such a 
monument. 

When the Polish patriot came to America 
160 



THE REAL " THADDEUS OF WARSAW" 

a second time, after his Russian captivity, his 
welcome was as enthusiastic as could be wished, 
and all sorts of social demonstrations were made. 
" I consider America my second fatherland," he 
said, "and am exceedingly glad to be back 
again." Congress caught the popular enthusi- 
asm. Kosciuszko was voted a grant of land and 
a pension. 

It is not generally known how much the Polish 
leader did for the United States, in other than 
a military capacity. But his affection for Amer- 
ica and his readiness to serve her in any and 
every possible way deserve a dozen monuments. 
When he reached Philadelphia, in 1797, there was 
no more fighting to be done, but much diplomacy 
was needed in our relations with Europe. Ultra- 
republican France soon became irritated at our 
" Alien and Sedition " laws, which were aimed, 
chiefly, it was thought, against the Irish, then 
the special proteges of France. There was also a 
powerful though not generally recognised senti- 
ment in this country in favour of establishing a 
monarchy. France was much incensed over this 
suspected lapse in the young republic which she 
had just helped to its feet. Kosciuszko was in 
full sympathy with the republicans of both coun- 
tries, was popular with both peoples, and he suc- 
ceeded in allaying, in large measure, the irrita- 
tion of France. His services to this country did 
not end here, however. France was then the first 

161 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

military power in the world, and it was in her 
artillery that she excelled. The American En- 
voy to Paris requested General Kosciuszko, who 
was master of the French system, to write a trea- 
tise on the manoeuvres of " Horse Artillery," for 
use in the armies of the United States. Kosci- 
uszko's book, written in response to this request, 
was a manual in great favour in this country for 
many years, and at one time a text-book at West 
Point. 

A more intense, unselfish lover of liberty than 
Kosciuszko, perhaps, never existed, and nothing 
shows this more clearly than his last Will and 
Testament, which was made in this country and 
left with our own Thomas Jefferson. It runs : 

" I, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, being just in my de- 
parture from America, do hereby declare and 
direct that, should I make no other testamentary 
disposition of my property in the United States, 
hereby authorise my friend, Thomas Jefferson, 
to employ the whole thereof in purchasing ne- 
groes from among his own, or those of any other 
gentleman, and giving them liberty in my name, 
in giving them an education in trades or other- 
wise, and in having them instructed for their 
new condition in the duties of morality which 
may make them good neighbours, good fathers or 
mothers, good husbands or wives, and in their 
duties as citizens, teaching them to be defenders 
of their liberty and country, and of the good 

162 



THE REAL " THADDEUS OF WARSAW" 

order of society, and in whatsoever may make 
them happy and useful, and I make the said 
Thomas Jefferson my executor of this. T. Kos- 
ciuszko, 5th day of May, 1798." 

A strong friendship grew up between Kosci- 
uszko and Jefferson. The Pole was clever with 
his pencil, and always declared that one of the 
best things he ever did was a pastel of his Ameri- 
can friend. After the death of the Polish pa- 
triot, the aged Jefferson, then in his 75th year, 
stood before the court of Albemarle County, Vir- 
ginia, and declared that, owing to the infirmity 
of age, he could not carry out the provisions of 
the testament, but desired that all Kosciuszko 
had wished be done. Seven years later a school 
for negroes, known as the Kosciuszko School, was 
founded in Newark, New Jersey. Kosciuszko 
left $13,000 for its benefit. 

Kosciuszko's services to his country were pri- 
marily those of the soldier, but the soldier com- 
pletely dominated by the patriot. After our Rev- 
olutionary War he returned to his native land 
and his property at Siechnowice. The liberal 
ideas of the times had fired his noble nature. 
The dazzling ascendency of France, her cham- 
pionship of republican principles, the successful 
revolution in the former American colonies of 
Great Britain, the social and political ferment 
over all Europe that marked the close of the 
18th century and the opening of the 19th with 

163 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

so many triumphs of democracy and liberty — 
all appealed powerfully to the young idealist re- 
publican. He began at once to put his liberal 
ideas into practice. By one act, he freed all the 
peasants on his estate from serfdom. He then 
went quietly to work to organise his own prov- 
ince for defence against Poland's outside ene- 
mies. Despite its warlike record, he saw that 
the order of knights was not sufficient for na- 
tional defence. The position of the Polish peas- 
antry was then, in general, but little higher than 
that of serfdom. Kosciuszko, however, saw that 
it was necessary to make the whole nation homo- 
geneous. Each and every class must have its 
share, its privileges as well as its responsibili- 
ties. The peasants must be called upon to de- 
fend the fatherland. 

This was a revolutionary idea. But the coun- 
sels of Kosciuszko prevailed. At the sejm (par- 
liament) called at Warsaw in 1788 the entire 
plan of national defence was " overhauled." 
Kosciuszko, whose name was as yet compara- 
tively unknown in Poland, but whose deeds in 
America had begun to make him famous, was 
suggested as general. The next year the reor- 
ganisation of the army was complete, and Kos- 
ciuszko was made major-general. 

The air of Europe was full of liberalism, and 
Poland was among the first of the nations to 
transmute this into formulated safeguards for 

164 



THE REAL " THADDEUS OF WARSAW" 

popular liberties. The new Polish constitution 
of the 3d of May (1791), liberal like the French 
constitution of the same year, was full of 
lofty idealism. Its chief purpose was to do 
away with much of the political and social in- 
equality of the day in Poland. Indeed, it bore 
heavily on the privileges of the aristocracy. It 
was the child of four years' travail of the Diet, 
and was received with great enthusiasm by the 
people. Austria, Russia, and Prussia, however, 
objected to these proposed social and political 
changes, marched immense armies into Poland, 
and the second partition followed. 

Most of the Polish officers fled abroad. They 
were marked men. Kosciuszko resigned and 
went to Warsaw. He was a dangerous man, and 
Russia at once cast him out. These were bitter 
moments for the patriot, but he refused to de- 
spair. 

He was known all over Russia as the most 
patriotic of the Polish leaders, and absolutely 
incorruptible. On his way to Russia an inci- 
dent occurred which shows the power of his 
name. Hearing that he was about to cross the 
frontier, the colonel in command on the border 
directed the whole regiment to be ready for emer- 
gencies. The sentry was strictly enjoined not to 
let Kosciuszko pass. It was a dark, stormy 
night, and the sentry was nervous. Hearing a 
slight noise, he challenged and fired into the 

165 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

darkness. A cat from a neighbouring farmhouse 
scampered off in a fright. Thereupon the whole 
regiment rushed to the spot to listen, open- 
mouthed, to the story of the shivering sentry. 
The terrible Kosciuszko had appeared, he said, 
he (the sentry) had fired, but a witch had at 
once changed the Polish leader into a cat. This 
story was widely repeated, and generally be- 
lieved. Had not others of the regiment also seen 
the cat scampering off? 

The dramatic event of the patriot leader's life 
was the " insurrection of Kosciuszko," and its 
one decisive and fruitless victory of Raclawice. 
France had proved a broken reed, England re- 
fused to hear, and all the continent seemed 
against unhappy Poland. It must be the Poles 
themselves who would win liberty for Poland. 
So Kosciuszko ventured alone. 

It was a memorable journey, memorable in the 
annals of patriotism, of war, of suffering, of in- 
domitable heroism, that slow progress from Dres- 
den to the frontiers of Poland. The gendarmes 
of Austria, Russia, and Prussia heard he was 
coming, and redoubled their vigilance. His coun- 
trymen must have time to prepare for him. Kos- 
ciuszko accordingly turned his course southward 
to Florence, and so put the police off his track. 
But he soon returned to Dresden, and, on Febru- 
ary 12, 1794 (his 48th birthday), the two famous 
emissaries, Karol Prozor and Francis Xavier. 

166 



THE REAL " THADDEUS OF WARSAW" 

Dmochowski, arrived from Cracow and an- 
nounced that the time was ripe for action. 

In the beginning of March these three heroic 
men reached the Polish frontier, and waited for 
the opportune moment to begin " Poland's last 
stand." The Diet was still intriguing, and the 
soldiers of General Madalinski in Cracow were 
in revolt against the order to lay down their 
arms. On March 23, 1794, while the Russians 
left the city to look for Madalinski, who had fled, 
Kosciuszko quietly entered. He was armed 
with dictatorial power. The president of the 
city, who supported the Russian faction, at first, 
opposed him, but, with the help of General Wod- 
zicki, a noble, unselfish patriot, he at last suc- 
ceeded in bending the officials to his will. The 
day after his arrival Wodzicki ordered his regi- 
ment out on the rynek, the quaint old market 
place of the city, to await the commander, who 
was received with shouts of acclamation when 
he appeared from Wodzicki's palace. 

It was a beautiful morning, with a touch of 
spring in the air, when the general stepped into 
view of his enthusiastic troops, ill-equipped and 
unwarlike in appearance, but full of determina- 
tion and fire. The old square was packed with 
spectators. It was the " forlorn hope " of the 
nation. The ancient Sukiennice, or Cloth Hall, 
time-worn and grey, and the hoary palaces flank- 
ing it, were fit framing to the picture. When the 

167 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

army had sworn allegiance, Kosciuszko, clad in 
the peasant's dress which he afterward wore to 
show his contempt for caste and his gratitude to 
the peasants for their aid in the national defence, 
stepped forward and cried in a loud voice: 

" I, Tadeusz Kosciuszko, do swear before the 
face of God, to the entire Polish nation, that I 
will never use the power entrusted to me for pri- 
vate oppression, but only for the defence of the 
whole nation, and to establish universal liberty, 
will I use it. So help me, God, and His Innocent 
Passion." 

A flat stone, with an appropriate inscription, 
now marks the spot on which he stood, and the 
cabmen of Cracow, to-day, point it out with rev- 
erential awe. 

After the oath, the proclamation of the new 
insurrection was read, and the soldiers marched 
to the Church of Panna Marya to celebrate mass. 
This done, the officers, led by Kosciuszko, went 
to the City Hall, a quaint, square building on the 
market place (now used as an Austrian bar- 
racks), from the towers of which Kosciuszko 
called to the people of every class — nobles, 
tradesmen, peasants, priests, and Jews — to rise 
in defence of the country. The peasants, who 
formed almost one-half of the entire nriny, were 
serving for the first time as volunteers. The new 
leader ordered them to be equipped with pikt s 
and scythes. They knew nothing of warfare, but 

168 



THE REAL " THADDEUS OF WARSAW" 

they understood the scythe, and these Kosyniery 
(scythe-bearers) made a terrible arm of war. 

The next day, before the force had started to 
meet the Russian enemy, a little incident oc- 
curred which showed Kosciuszko's love for the 
masses, and illustrated, also, their own unselfish 
patriotism. Three coal-heavers, who owned a 
number of vessels transporting coal down the 
Vistula, elbowed their way through the crowd 
and presented themselves in the ante-room of the 
palace to offer these barges to the general. Kos- 
ciuszko went out personally to receive them. 
" Come nearer," he said, calling them by name 
(he seemed to know personally every man in his 
army). "Come nearer. I want to thank you. 
I am only sorry that at present I cannot accept 
your offer. But if the war succeeds, then the 
country will accept it." 

" At least, Pan Commander, you must accept 
the money intended to keep the men on these 
barges." So saying, the leader unbuckled his 
leather belt and shook out thirty ducats into his 
sheepskin cap. The two others followed suit, and 
offered the entire amount to Kosciuszko, saying, 
with a smile, "We beg you to take these but 
poorly-stuffed sheep." 

Kosciuszko took the caps and handed them to 
one of his aides. " I must have my hands free 
that I may press you to my heart," he cried. It 
was not by any means the first offering of these 

169 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

three. They prostrated themselves and kissed 
his hands. Kosciuszko cried aloud, but in a voice 
choked with feeling, " Long live such citizens." 

On the first day of April, 1794, he left Cracow, 
leading an army of 4,000 men, about half of which 
were regular troops, and the rest unorganised 
peasants. As a lion seeking his prey, the Polish 
general directed his course straight for the Rus- 
sian army, which occupied a strong position near 
the village of Raclawice. The Russian general, 
Tormasow, had heavily fortified his mountain po- 
sition at Kosciejow, and posted his 5,000 vet- 
eran regulars. Under the protection of his guns 
he waited the arrival of heavy reinforcements 
which he expected by sunset. On April 4 the 
famous battle of Raclawice, Kosciuszko's one 
brilliant victory, was fought. Though not a de- 
cisive battle in its results, it was a brilliant 
stroke, which furnishes a conclusive proof of the 
Polish general's ability as a strategist 

TormasoV was not anxious to begin the fight- 
ing. He preferred to wait till his reinforcements 
came up. But the Polish commander success- 
fully tempted attack at about three in the after- 
noon. A sunken road, in a deep ravine connect- 
ing two small villages about a mile apart, wms 
the axis upon which the Polish army turned. 
The Poles were drawn up on the plain in three 
divisions, and so disposed that, while two heavy 
batteries would completely sweep the level 

170 



THE REAL " THADDEUS OF WARSAW" 

ground over which the Russians must advance to 
the attack, a flanking column of Poles could pass 
beneath the fire without harm, along the depths 
of the sunken road. On a little hill, midway be- 
tween his two wings, Kosciuszko stationed a 
picked force of regulars, and, to support them, 
behind a hill he arrayed the so-called " Craco- 
vian Militia," or Kosyniery — peasants with their 
terrible scythes. Kosciuszko took personal com- 
mand of this corps. 

A quarter of the Russian army was soon in 
motion. Over the gently rising ground it came 
and fell upon the Polish left wing. But the Poles 
were ready for it, and the charge weakened. It 
swung over to the centre. Kosciuszko's eyes 
flashed with victory in sight. All his ten guns 
opened on the demoralised Russians. Just at 
that moment a second Russian column, artillery 
and cavalry, debouched into the plain, and, at 
almost the same instant, a third column was seen 
advancing. An aide sped furiously to warn 
Madalinski, who commanded the right, that the 
third detachment was meant for him. Then the 
Polish leader turned his attention to the first 
column of Russians, which had partly extricated 
itself from the ravine, and was deploying in line 
of battle on the plain. 

"Charge bayonets!" shouted Kosciuszko. 
" Captain Nidecki, at the head of two companies, 
will support the scythe-bearers while they take 

171 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

the Russian batteries." Turning to the Kosy- 
niery, and pointing to the Russian cannon, he 
shouted, " My brave boys, get me those guns ! 
God and our country ! Forward, my boys ! " 

There was a shout that shook the plain : " Vic- 
tory or death ! " Two thousand scythes beat the 
air. Two thousand peasants, frantic with patri- 
otic enthusiasm and love for their chief, swept 
along the sunken road like a mountain freshet 
in the spring. The white cloaks gleamed in the 
sun, and the scythes flashed terribly. A sullen 
roar arose from the thin column, as, in two divi- 
sions, its beloved leader at its head, it raged 
through the ravine. Spreading out into line upon 
the plain, the Kosyniery fell upon the Russians 
with such rapidity and fury that, although the 
charge covered more than a mile, the astonished 
gunners had only time to fire twice before the 
terrible reapers were at the mouths of the cannon. 
Bartos Glowacki, a peasant innkeeper, was the 
first to reach the Russian batteries. With a fierce 
shout, he jumped on one of the caissons and cov- 
ered the mouth of the gun with his cap, while 
several of his comrades drew it off toward the 
Polish lines. This act made Glowacki famous. 
He was created a standard-bearer, and he and all 
his family were liberated forever from serfdom. 

The Russians broke and fled. Meanwhile, the 
second division, not knowing the fate of the first, 
had engaged the left wing of the Poles, and an 

173 



THE REAL " THADDEUS OF WARSAW" 

obstinate struggle was in progress, when Kosci- 
uszko, having collected his forces somewhat, fell 
upon the Russians like a whirlwind. They scat- 
tered, and the third column lost heart and broke. 
The entire Russian army turned and fled. 

The Polish victory was complete. The Rus- 
sians lost twenty guns. Upon the battlefield, 
from his horse, Kosciuszko, still in his peasant 
garb, shouted to his army, " Long live the na- 
tion ! Long live liberty ! " The troops shouted in 
reply, " Long live Kosciuszko ! " He rejoined, 
" I am happy that I can sing the praises of your 
valour, and I will lead you as long as heaven 
permits me to live ! " A few days afterward he 
issued a manifesto proclaiming freedom for every 
serf who volunteered for the national defence. 

The news of the victory of Raclawice electri- 
fied Poland. Warsaw arose en masse and drove 
out the Russians. The whole country seemed to 
revive. The King wrote a personal, flattering 
letter to Kosciuszko, promising all sorts of help. 
The patriot leader at once instituted a new gov- 
ernment, and went in further search of the Rus- 
sian army. Then Prussia, trembling for the fate 
of her own Polish lands, declared war, and a 
great Prussian army marched against Warsaw. 
Events moved rapidly. Kosciuszko was defeated 
at Szezekocin by a foe greatly outnumbering him. 
He retreated and defended Warsaw so valiantly 
that, after a few weeks' siege, the Prussians gave 

173 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

up and retired. But two immense Russian armies 
were advancing against the Polish capital. At 
Maciejowice, on the banks of the Vistula, Kos- 
ciuszko again suffered defeat, himself falling 
wounded. It was at this battle that, according 
to the time-honoured lines of the poet Campbell, 
" Freedom shrieked when Kosciuszko fell." 
Poetry, however, has gone too far in asserting 
that the Polish leader, as he fell, cried : " Fin is 
Poloniw!" Kosciuszko himself vehemently de- 
nied the truth of this. He called it a " blasphemy 
against which I protest from the depths of my 
soul." » 

For two years Kosciuszko languished in a dun- 
geon in the Russian capital. His most bitter 
moments there were cheered by the presence of 
his friend, the famous poet-soldier, Niemcewicz. 
When the Emperor Paul came to the throne he 

•In a letter written to the French Count Segur years 
after Maciejowice (October 31, 1803) the Polish leader said: 

" When the Polish nation called upon me for the defence 
of the territorial unity, the dignity, the glory, and the free- 
dom of the fatherland, it knew well that I was not the last 
Pole, and that with my death on the field of battle, or else- 
where, Poland cannot and shall not end. All that the Poles 
have done since in the glory-covered Polish legions, and 
all that they will still do in the future for the reconstitu- 
tion of their fatherland, is sufficient proof that if we, the 
devoted champions of that country, are mortal, Poland her- 
self remains immortal, and that it is not permitted to 
anybody to repeat the grossly insulting words: ' Finit 
Polonia.' 

" What would the French say if. In the disastrous battle 
of Rossbach, in 1757, Marshal Charles de Rohan, Prince of 

174 



THE REAL " THADDEUS OF WARSAW" 

not only liberated Kosciuszko, but treated him 
very generously, and made him many presents, 
including furniture,- paintings, and bric-a-brac, 
from the private rooms of his deceased prede- 
cessor, Catherine. He and his son, Alexander, 
even visited the fallen Polish leader, who was 
lodged in one of the palaces in St. Petersburg. 
" I have come, my general, to return to you 
your liberty," Paul said. " I know how harshly 
you have been treated. But, during the last 
reign, all honest people — myself especially — 
were so dealt with." ( Referring to the fact that 
Catherine kept him in durance as being non com- 
pos mentis. ) He continued : " They tried to lead 
all honest folk by the nose — even me. But they 
couldn't do it with me." Here he brushed his 
hand downward over his face significantly, and 
made a comical grimace. Paul had no nose, or 
only an apology for one, so that it would afford 
absolutely no hold or handle by which to lead 
him. "You are free, but promise me that you 
will remain quiet. It is the best thing for you." 
To another Polish prisoner then present, Ignacy 

Soubise, had exclaimed: 'Finis Gallia'? or if this cruel 
utterance had been attributed to him in the descriptions of 
his life? 

" I would, therefore, feel obliged to you if, in the new 
edition of your work, you would not any longer speak of 
this 'Finis Polemics'; and I hope that the great influence 
of your name will make a commanding impression among 
all those who in future would repeat these words and 
attribute to me a blasphemy against which I raise a protest 
from the very depth of my soul." 

175 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

Potocki, the Emperor Paul continued : " I will 
say that I was always opposed to the partitions 
of Poland; I considered them unjust and 
impolitic. But now, to restore Poland, we must 
needs have the consent of three powers. Do you 
think that Austria would consent, or, much less, 
Prussia? Or must I, for Poland, declare war on 
these, my neighbours? Russia needs peace. 
You must, my dear Kosciuszko, submit to the sad 
necessity." " I have never pitied my own fate," 
replied Kosciuszko, " but I shall never cease 
pitying the fate of my country." To show his 
good will further Tzar Paul, at Kosciuszko's re- 
quest, liberated 13,000 Polish prisoners then 
languishing in Siberian prisons. 

Kosciuszko then determined to make a second 
visit to the United States. Before leaving Rus- 
sia, however, he went to the Winter Palace, and 
thanked the Emperor Paul for his kindness. The 
Polish hero was dressed in an American army 
uniform on this occasion. Being still so ill and 
weak from his wounds that he could scarcely 
walk, he was relieved when he came to the great 
stairway to find a chair waiting for him. Two 
grenadiers bore him to the room in which the 
Emperor received him most graciously. The en- 
tire imperial family was present. They inquired 
after his health, and begged him to write them 
from America. The Tzaritsza, Marya Fedorovna, 
asked him to send her flower-seeds from the 

176 



THE REAL " THADDEUS OF WARSAW" 

United States, and insisted upon taking from 
him, as a souvenir, his famous peasant coat. In 
exchange, she presented him with a pocketbook, 
embroidered by her own hand, and a collection 
of cameo miniatures of the whole royal family. 
In this pocketbook he afterwards found a check 
on the Bank of England for 3,000 ducats (nearly 
$7,000). Paul beamed with delight, and offered 
him 100 serfs, as a slight token of esteem. Kos- 
ciuszko asked that, instead of this, he might have 
money to help his fellow-prisoners. Paul assented 
and gave him $30,000. He also gave the Polish 
leader a coachful of personal apparel and kitchen 
utensils (most of them taken from Catherine's 
private apartments), a sable coat, a cap, and a 
number of pairs of shoes. " If you want any- 
thing," were the parting words, " do not hesitate 
to ask as you would from a friend, for I am your 
true friend, and desire you to return my feelings." 
The money Kosciuszko deposited in a bank and 
never drew out for his own interests. Toward 
the end of his life he made it over to several needy 
Polish soldiers. 

The progress of the defeated Polish leader to 
the shores of this country was one continuous 
ovation. At Stockholm, statesmen, ministers, 
ambassadors came from all Europe to pay hom- 
age to the patriot hero. In order not to disturb 
him in his sick condition, they made the journey 
on foot, lest their carriage wheels cause too much 

177 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

noise. The English papers announced, " Kosci- 
uszko, the hero of liberty, is coming," and when 
he reached London, all the British worthies of 
the time paid him their respects — Fox, Sheridan, 
Grey, and nobles without number. The harbour 
was gaily decorated with flowers and bunting 
when he sailed, many admirers accompanying 
the vessel in small boats for several miles out of 
port. The defeated leader of Maciejowice left 
Europe as only a conqueror might. 

The mean, unscrupulous side of Napoleon's 
character has, perhaps, never been displayed so 
fully and unmistakably as in his relations with 
the Poles, and particularly with Kosciuszko. 
Poland never lost faith in the disinterestedness 
of Napoleon's use of her sons in his armies. She 
believed in him, even after the unsuspicious Kos- 
ciuszko had seen through the selfishness and per- 
fidy of the French dictator. Negotiation after 
negotiation with French secret agents for active 
help to the Poles resulted in nothing more than 
wholesale enlistment by enthusiastic Poles in 
Napoleon's cause, and the use of Polish soil as a 
battlefield for French armies, or as so much booty 
to be carved up and distributed as rewards to 
various kinglets, princelings, and sycophants who 
had been loyal to the schemes of Napoleon's am- 
bition. The famous Polish legion, that played 
such a conspicuous and brilliant part in almost 
all the Napoleonic campaigns, under the leader- 

178 




§1 

& s 

o M 

S > 
o & 

§5 

i— i *j 

I 3 

o •« 
M ■§ 

tf ° 

O O) 

O ° 
§ 3 

l-H U 

O U 

2 « 

O o 

M CO 

£1 

o E 
a 33 

5 | 
o 5 
M 



H 5 



THE REAL " THADDEUS OF WARSAW" 

ship of Dombrowski, who believed that the tri- 
umph of Napoleon meant, as a fulfilment of that 
leader's promise, the re-establishment of his be- 
loved country as an independent nation, was a 
mere football in the Bonaparte ambitions. Na- 
poleon tried to get Kosciuszko himself to enlist 
in the French army, and even called on him 
personally, complimenting him as " the hero of 
the North." " Tell your comrades in arms," said 
the dictator, " that I always have them in mind, 
that I count on them, that I appreciate their self- 
sacrifice in the cause that we are protecting, and 
that I will always be their friend and compan- 
ion." But the Polish leader refused to be duped, 
and he personally warned his soldiers against 
the blandishments of the French emperor. 

When the Napoleonic era was near its end 
the Polish patriot began to again hope that, with 
the readjustment of the map of Europe, some 
measure of justice would come to his unfortu- 
nate country. He again returned to France. 
His arrival in the old world made Vienna, Ber- 
lin, and St. Petersburg very uneasy. The Rus- 
sian police searched all Lithuania for him, and 
an unfortunate peasant, who resembled him 
closely, was " investigated " so thoroughly that 
he nearly died during the operation. 

When the allies entered Paris, Kosciuszko had 
a long talk with the Tzar Alexander, who had 
promised to restore Poland to its ancient bound- 

179 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

aries. But the odds were too great, and even 
Alexander's generosity could not cope with them. 
After a long illness in Vienna, Kosciuszko, now 
a broken old man, retired to a little farm in 
Solothurn, Switzerland, where, for two years, he 
lived very quietly. He passed away from earth 
on October 26, 1817. 

The next year his remains were brought to 
Cracow and placed in the Wawel, by the side of 
those of Sobieski. The whole nation helped build 
a monument to him. A great kopiec, or mound, 
a favourite style of monument in Poland, was 
erected on Bronislaw Hill, just outside the city 
limits. One patriotic Pole, it is said, tore down 
his house and gave the ground. The centre or 
foundation was a small pile of earth from the 
field of Raclawice, and then came earth from 
other battlefields. All the nation — speaking al- 
most literally — noble, merchant, peasant — each 
brought a handful of earth and deposited it as a 
testimonial of love and respect to the memory of 
the beloved chieftain. A spiral pathway leads to 
the top, now grass-grown and capped with a 
block of Carpathian granite. Rising more than 
400 feet above the level of the Vistula, from its 
summit it affords a splendid view of the most 
Polish of cities, and its peaceful, rural suburbs. 
The patriot's heart was presented, a few years 
ago, to the Polish National Museum at Rap- 
perswyl, in Switzerland. 

180 



IX 

ON THE FIELD OF GLOEY 

IN its main traits, — those of devotion to an 
ideal, moral and physical heroism, and pas- 
sionate patriotism, — Polish character was 
developed completely four or five centuries ago. 
It is for this reason chiefly that the works of 
Sienkiewicz are so interesting and significant. 
The men and women he describes are types 
which can be seen to-day ; therefore, the histori- 
cal novels on Poland, the famous Trilogy, " The 
Knights of the Cross," and "On the Field of 
Glory," are epitomes of the national character. 

What a vast canvas is that covered by the 
scenes of the Trilogy ! The heroes of these three 
romances have for their " stamping ground " al- 
most the entire ancient Commonwealth. Three 
places, however, stand out prominently, above 
all others, one in each of the three volumes. In 
" With Fire and Sword," the siege of Zbaraz, by 
Chmielnicki and Tugai Bey and its heroic de- 
fence by Prince Jeremi (Jeremiah) Wisnio- 
wecki, is the pivot upon which the story turns. 
In " The Deluge " there is another heroic defence, 
of the Church of Jasna G6*ra, at Czenstochowa, 
where Kordecki and Kmicic withstood the Swedes 

181 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

under the redoubtable Miller. In the last of the. 
Trilogy — " Pan Michael " — the point d'appui of 
the story is the siege of Kamieniec (a third gal- 
lant defence), where the little Knight Wolody- 
jowski lost his life battling against the Turks. 
The incidents connected with these places also 
may be regarded as illustrating three of the 
salient traits of the Polish national character: 
at Zbaraz, military valour; at Czenstochowa, re- 
ligious devotion ; at Kamieniec, self-sacrifice and 
patriotism. 

" With Fire and Sword " is the thrilling story 
of the wrong and disaffection of Chmielnicki and 
his terrible warfare against the Commonwealth 
from 1640 to 1650. The great wave of Cossack 
and Tartar inundation — one of the many that 
devastated Poland during her four centuries as 
the bulwark of Europe against Eastern barbar- 
ism — gathered and broke on a small fortified town 
called Zbaraz, in what is now Austrian Poland. 
It was during the reign of King Jan Kaziinierz 
II. (1648-68) that Bogdan Chmielnicki, with his 
Cossacks and his Tartar allies under Tugai Bey, 
came against the little town made so famous by 
Sienkiewicz's pen. 

Zbaraz is situated at the first point on the 
great plains — Podolia — where the land rolls, and 
so, very naturally, by its position it became a 
rendezvous for the Christian knights and the first 
point of attack for the Cossacks. 

182 



ON THE FIELD OF GLORY 

Chmielnicki tried first to reach Zbaraz by way 
of the modern city of Tarnopol, from which 
Zbaraz is distant about seven miles. The Poles, 
however, had strongly fortified the main road of 
the town, and he was compelled to turn aside to a 
hill opposite the old castle (this castle still 
stands) and to cross the marsh which has now 
shrunken to a small pond. Then it was a lake, 
whose waters came up to the very walls of the 
castle. It was in the month of July, 1649, that 
his army of 100,000 men — about equal numbers 
of Cossacks and Tartars — camped before the 
walls, and at about the same time Prince Jeremi 
came up with his 3,000 knights. When the Po- 
lish leader took command in Zbaraz he had, all 
told, a force of 9,000 men, picked warriors, it is 
true, the flower of European soldiery, but a mere 
handful in the face of the host outside the 
fortress. 

With the idea of seeing how the country de- 
scribed in " With Fire and Sword " looks to-day, 
I accepted the invitation of a Polish gentleman, 
who owns a large estate within a mile of Zbaraz, 
and made his home my headquarters. The estate 
is situated in the village of Ochrymowce, a vil- 
lage less than half a mile distant from the little 
wood in which Podbipienta met his death at the 
hands of the Tartars. 

The country about Zbaraz is a beautiful rural 
one. It is at the break-up of the great fertile 

183 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

plains of Podolia, which formed a portion of the 
ancient Polish Commonwealth, but are now 
partly in Austria, partly (and mostly) in Russia. 
The ground is that splendid black loam which 
yields such generous harvests. Naturally a mag- 
nificent land, it is now fertilised by heaven only 
knows how much human blood and bones cast on 
it during the centuries of almost ceaseless war- 
fare waged on these plains. 

A circuitous route leads through Zarudzie, 
Wachldwka, and Stryjdwka — villages all referred 
to in the Trilogy as having been burned by the 
Cossacks, and still plodding along in the same 
peasant way under the same names. The first 
thing to attract the attention on approaching the 
town is a great hill which was thrown up by the 
Tartars, from which to bombard the walls. Most 
of the elevations in and about Zbaraz to-day, in- 
deed, are the remains of military works. 

From the ruins of the old wall I set out on 
foot to follow the route of Pan Longin, the gal- 
lant Lithuanian, on his errand to King Jan Kazi- 
mierz. On the grass-grown slope of the old bat- 
tlements, a white-gowned, white-haired peasant 
was walking toward the town. He saluted: 
"Nech bcndzic pocJiiraloni/ Jczus Chri/stns" 
(Blessed be the Lord Jesus Christ), he said 
reverently. " Na trick i triekSw" (for ages and 
ages), I replied, just as Podbipienta did, as mil- 
lions of others have done and will continue to 

184 



ON THE FIELD OF GLORY 

do, " for ages and ages," in this venerable pictur- 
esque land, among these tradition-loving people. 
It took me an hour in the broad sunshine, over 
what is now comparatively easy country, to reach 
the wood where the Tartars caught the gallant 
Podbipienta. He must have wandered for five 
or six hours — all night, as Sienkiewicz puts it. 
His martyrdom took place early in the morning. 
How beautiful the end ! " The angels of heaven 
took his soul and laid it like a bright pearl at 
the feet of the Queen of Heaven." 

Many wayside shrines, in the forms of a figure 
of the Virgin, the Christ, or some saint, were 
passed on the road, their weather-stained grey 
plaster masses looming up oddly from among the 
blades of yellow grain, ready for the sickle, the 
statues often garnished with wreaths or skulls. 
A peasant might be seen now and then bowing 
reverently before one of these figures. It is a 
serious matter to these devout peasants, this wor- 
ship at shrines, but it sometimes presents a 
humorous side to the less religiously inclined. I 
saw, for example, one plaster figure with a head 
much too large for the body, and also set on at 
an angle, and afterwards learned that a rich 
peasant, desiring to make a thank offering for 
some piece of good fortune, had placed this head, 
regardless of its fitness, and no doubt blissfully 
unconscious of any incongruity. 

By a fortunate chance I arrived in Ochrzy- 
185 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

mowce on the 12th of July, the night preceding 
that night upon which, centuries before, the great 
storm of nature and of war occurred. " It 
seemed as though the vault of heaven burst, and 
was about to fall on the heads of the combatants." 
Thus the weather and other conditions were as 
favourable as possible to realise what Sienkie- 
wicz describes. The night of the 11th had experi- 
enced a terrible downpour of rain, flooding the 
whole region and bringing vividly before the 
imagination the great storm described in the 
novel. The narrow village road was rough and 
reeking with mud, the identical road through 
which the Tartar horsemen had dashed to attack 
Zbaraz. 

There is a rare artistic quality to the air in 
this region, particularly at the beginning of the 
long twilight. It softens outlines, tones down 
contrasts, yet brings out colour values in a mar- 
vellously effective way. A red-gold shimmer 
from the setting sun burnished all the landscape. 
The wheat fields positively gleamed, and the 
cherry-trees fringed the road like a hedge of bead- 
ing. Off to the south the little stream widens 
into a lake. From its banks behind the trees 
came the soft, plaintive strains of a Ruthenian 
folksong, as the bare-legged peasant women beat 
their linen into cleanliness. One of the peasant 
men, a clean-limbed, clear-eyed fellow, came out 
of a hut, and modestly, but with quiet dignity, 

186 



ON THE FIELD OF GLORY 

invited us to enter. He brought a great bowl of 
cherries, some black bread, and a bottle of miod, 
the honey drink the Poles love so well. We ate 
and drank, and then, as his fathers and grand- 
fathers did, and as he is teaching his children to 
do, the entire family approached and respectfully 
kissed our hands. 

To-day the town of Zbaraz has from five to six 
thousand inhabitants, mostly Jews. It contains 
one long street, the greater portion of which is 
in very bad condition and very dirty, and there 
are, by actual measurement, just sixty-two feet 
of sidewalk in the town. Zbaraz has begun to 
realise the importance it has attained through 
Sienkiewicz's novels, and it has now a Sienkie- 
wicz Street (the one long, dirty road already re- 
ferred to), a Sobieski Street, and also streets 
named after Skrzetuski, Wisniowiecki, and Mic- 
kiewicz. One of the first objects of interest is the 
old church in which the Knights took the oath 
of eternal fidelity. Here the body of Podbipienta 
lay in state, after the Tartars had brought it to 
Zbaraz. Report has it that the hero was buried 
in the cemetery of the town, and that the soldiers 
raised a great kopiec, or mound, over his body, by 
despositing each a handful of earth as a testi- 
monial of their affection and sorrow. 

As were all churches in those troubled times, 
this is surrounded by a half-ruined wall, pierced 
by embrasures for cannon and also connected by 

187 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

underground passages with several of the bas- 
tions on the great wall, so that, in case of need, 
the city's defenders might flee for refuge to the 
house of God. It is a grey, time-worn struc- 
ture, with two Oriental-looking towers. Two 
great images of the Christ, erected in the early 
years of the past century, stand in the space in 
front. The church is now in charge of the P»« r- 
nardine monks, who have a school for the boys 
of the town. In its crypt are the mummies of 
twenty or thirty Cossacks and Tartars. From 
the church it is but ten minutes' walk to the old 
castle to which the Poles retired after the first 
storm, after which began the regular siege. Al- 
most entirely dismantled by time, the old ruin 
still stands untouched by the desecrating hand of 
" improvement," because the present owner of 
the land will not permit the hoary relic to be re- 
moved. 

The Zbaraz of to-day has grown away from the 
old town, and is, for the most part, built outside 
the old walls, but toward the opposite side from 
the old castle. A good piece of the wall still re- 
mains, with the slope dry and grass-grown. Sit- 
ting on the soft, green slopes, now so peaceful 
and quiet, it was difficult to imagine the scene on 
that terrible night, when the Tartar regiments 
came up and died all through the long hours, 
" filling the moat with corpses and making the 
wall slippery with their blood." The venerable 

188 



ON THE FIELD OF GLORY 

building still stands guard at the southwest, as 
it did when Chmielnicki and his legions came 
down like a flood. Twenty times — as Skrzetuski 
afterward told the king — did the terrible warrior 
lead his fierce soldiery against the ramparts of 
Zbaraz, each time to be repulsed with fearful 
slaughter. Here it was also that Skrzetuski had 
his single combat with Tugai Bey, and from this 
spot it was that, when the Tartars began to flee, 
" their white turbans making the fields look like 
snow," he pursued with his dreaded hussars. 

The castle is, or was, a practically square struc- 
ture perched on an elevation with a wide moat 
about it, and flanked by towers at the corners 
of the walls, each, perhaps, fifty feet high. The 
building itself was two stories in height, and 
constructed of stone and brick, with stucco on 
the outside. It is surmounted by a ridge-pole 
roof, fashioned of rough, wooden joists bound to- 
gether with rope and, covered with cement. The 
great keep still yawns to the left of the main hall, 
and remains of secret passages may be seen at 
every possible point. Surrounding the court 
yard, under the walls, and looking out through 
cannon holes on the moat, were the officers' quar- 
ters. At one corner of the wall, where the turf 
slopes rather abruptly down to the moat, there is 
a narrow ridge, along which the Turks are said 
to have attempted to enter on the night of the 
great storm. Here it was that Podbipienta cut 

189 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

off the heads of the three Turks at one blow, thus 
fulfilling his vow, and winning the right to marry. 
"Wings seemed to sprout from his shoulders; 
choirs of angels sang in his breast, as if he were 
rising up to heaven. He fought as in a dream, 
and every blow of his sword was like a prayer of 
thanks." 

Off to the west, near where the manor-house 
stands to-day, are the remains of the bastion or 
fort, the point at which Skrzetuski climbed down 
on his perilous mission to the king. Podbipienta 
had failed, and the gallant Skrzetuski volunteered 
to carry the message telling of Zbaraz's dire need. 
At the time there was a great pond or staw, which 
extended up to the very wall. At the present 
time this has shrunk, so that it is but a widening 
of the little stream that runs through it, but so 
lazily that the pond is mostly stagnant water. 
With a good road, a row of huts, and altogether 
fully one hundred feet of dry earth between the 
foot of the wall and the pond, I found it an ardu- 
ous and even perilous undertaking to clamber 
down the steep stone wall. The marsh looks in- 
hospitable enough to-day, when there are no 
corpses floating about in it, — at least, no human 
corpses, — and no enemy worse than a mosquito 
on watch for the unwary. Skrzetuski's heroism 
can only be fully appreciated when one sees the 
spot, knows somewhat of the characteristics of 
the age, and then reads the novelists vivid de- 

190 



ON THE FIELD OF GLORY 

scription. Sienkiewicz says that the wall was 
not completed on the side of the ponds at the time 
of the siege, and it was here that Burlai, the old 
Cossack commander, almost succeeded in forc- 
ing an entrance. The Hungarians were yielding 
when the stout German mercenaries came up and 
saved the day. In the darkness the besieged be- 
gan to throw lighted tar down from the walls, 
that the repulse might be complete. One could 
almost fancy that he saw Zagloba before him, 
trembling as he recognised the terrible Burlai, 
the warrior who had just killed his tenth man. 
The fright of the old Falstaff— " I shall die, I 
and all my fleas with me," — his anger and his 
triumph, as, in full view of both armies, he slew 
Burlai with one stroke of the sword — all seemed 
more vivid as one walked over the spot where it 
actually happened. 

The day was drawing to a close as I took my 
last look from the battlements of Zbaraz — a beau- 
tiful, clear July evening. To the west, the coun- 
try stretched off to Russia, wave upon wave of 
ripened grain, amid which gleamed and nodded in 
the breeze hundreds of scarlet poppies, like the 
red dragoons of Wolodyjowski, bending for a 
charge. Everything was quiet, peaceful, beauti- 
ful. And then, as on that other July day, night 
fell and vespers began to toll. 



191 



THE MECCA OF THE POLES 

IN a small peasant village just outside of 
Warsaw my host accosted two sturdy boys. 
" See what fine Polish boys we have here," 
he said. One of them spoke up quickly. " I am 
a Pole," he said, "but he," indicating the other 
boy, " is a Russian." " So one of you comes from 
Russia, eh?" "Oh, no," was the reply. "We 
were both born in this village. We both live 
here. But I am a Pole, and he is a Russian." 
It seems that one was a Roman Catholic and the 
other a member of the Orthodox Church. At- 
tempted explanations that nationality was one 
thing, religion quite another, were of no avail. 
" I am a Catholic, and so I am a Pole. But he 
is not a Catholic. Of course he is a Russian." 

Religion and patriotism are so closely identi- 
fied with the Poles that it is difficult to separate 
them, and this connection has had its origin in 
historic and geographical reasons. 

There is something in the constitution, in the 
temperament of the Slavonic race — perhaps this 
is partly due to its strain of Oriental blood — 
which makes it peculiarly susceptible to sensuous 

192 



THE MECCA OF THE POLES 

impressions. The artistic, imaginative tempera- 
ment of the race is peculiarly fertile soil for the 
growth of a religious fervour and devotion per- 
haps unparalleled in the history of human fami- 
lies. The Slav, like the Celt, is a poet and musi- 
cian by nature, and he sees poetry and music in 
stones, trees, and rocks where the more " practi- 
cal " races can discern only material facts and 
forces. The Poles are the most finely organised, 
most highly developed branch of the Slav race, 
and history has written them down as warriors 
and religious zealots — often as fanatics. The 
Pole never did anything by halves, and he not 
only threw all his soul into the service of his 
religion, but all his mind and body into the ob- 
servance of its forms. 

The intense religious fervour of the Pole may 
be partly due to his geographical position. Na- 
ture so placed him that he was the buffer between 
the East and the West. For centuries he stood 
the bulwark of Occidental civilisation and the 
Christian Church alike against the barbaric Mus- 
covite from the frozen North and the turbaned 
janissary from the burning plains of the Turkish 
Sultan's domain. " We are purely Christ's war- 
riors, created in defence of the Cross, and the 
faith of the Saviour. Other nations, who till now 
have lived without care behind our shoulders, 
will see in the clear day of heaven how the task 
is accomplished, and w r ith God's will, while the 

193 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

earth stands, our service and our glory will not 
leave us." The champion, the knight-errant of 
Christianity, the Pole, became the most devoted, 
zealous cavalier that ever drew blade in de- 
fence of his mistress. For her — the Church — 
he fought, bled, and died. While other peoples 
went after strange gods and sought sordid gain, 
he expired amid fields of ice or burned out his 
life on the arid plains of the South. His history 
is one long crusade in defence of Holy Church. 

From such constant, unremitting champion- 
ship of Christianity against surrounding non- 
Christian nations, he gradually assimilated his 
religion to his patriotism. To be a good Pole, he 
must be a good Christian. Later, he spun it more 
finely. To be a good Pole, he must be a good 
Catholic. If a Pole, a Catholic. If a Catholic, 
per se, a Pole. Thus nationality and religion be- 
came so firmly welded as to be inseparable; in- 
deed, scarcely more than different terms for 
the same fact. The more the Polish aristocrat 
studies the history of his country, the more pa- 
triotic he becomes, and the more of a patriot, the 
more religious he grows. The Russian goes to 
church once and then home. The Pole attends 
service in the church, and then, lest he forget, 
bows down at every wayside shrine from the 
church to his dwelling. It is almost pitiable, this 
frantic clinging to old religious forms, many more 
than a thousand years old, a sort of desperation, 

194 



THE MECCA OF THE POLES 

as though this might, in some way, save the Pole 
from complete Russification. 

The religion of the Pole is his life, and it is 
one of the glories of the Polish priest that he 
is the real friend and helper of his people. He 
is identified with every phase of the national life, 
even to the festivities of the peasant. These holy 
men have been the hope and help of the nation in 
war and in peace for centuries. 

Religious devotion and fervour are the main 
theme of " The Deluge," the second volume of 
the Sienkiewicz Trilogy. The story is that of the 
invasion of the Commonwealth by the Swedes 
under King Charles Gustavus, the apparent sub- 
mission of Poland, the flight of King Jan Kazi- 
mierz, his return, and the arousing of the Com- 
monwealth to expel the invaders. 

Through the mazes of Polish and Swedish re- 
lations it is unnecessary to go. Suffice it to 
say that in the middle of the 17th century a 
number of conflicting claims of Swedes to the 
crown of Poland, and of Poles to the throne of 
Sweden, sprang up. The Swedish King Charles 
Gustavus, with 60,000 veteran troops, invaded 
Pomerania, then a part of the Polish Common- 
wealth. He met with but little opposition, took 
Warsaw, and Cracow, and forced the Polish 
king to flee. The country was divided and 
torn by factional strife, and the Swedes had al- 
most a triumphal march till they laid siege to 

.195 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

Czenstochowa, to which stronghold they had been 
attracted by the great riches of the Church of 
Jasna Gtfra. The Poles regarded this as a sacri- 
lege and sprang to arms. King Jan Kazimierz 
returned to his kingdom by way of Hungary, 
forcing his way through the Carpathian Moun- 
tains, after a desperate struggle with the Swedes 
in one of the most isolated passes. Here it was 
that Kniicic performed such prodigies of valour, 
and the gdrali, or mountaineers, wrought such 
havoc with their ciupagi, and by casting down 
rocks on the Swedes. The pivotal event of this 
war was the siege of the church stronghold of 
Jasna GoYa at Czenstochowa, in 1655, by Gen- 
eral Miller and his Swedes, and its defence by 
Kordecki and Kmicic. 

Czenstochowa is in Russian Poland, in the old 
kingdom, and is a station on the railroad half- 
way between Cracow and Warsaw, being about 
six hours' ride from the latter city. It is now 
a town of 70,000 inhabitants, one of those 
irregularly constructed but rapidly growing 
manufacturing cities that one finds all over 
Russia. 

The city is spread out and rambling and not 
particularly attractive. A long, wide, tree- 
arched promenade through the centre affords op- 
portunity for a continuous parade of rich and 
poor — handsome Russian officers with pretty 
women, and droshky men and 'ostler boys with 

196 



THE MECCA OF THE POLES 

factory girls. The common Russian soldier is 
rather a jolly fellow. Large, raw, with hair fre- 
quently as light in colour as tow and as thick as 
a mop, he roams about the streets when off duty, 
often in twos, hand in hand, grinning good- 
humouredly and promptly taken in by all the 
" skin " devices with which the town abounds — 
side-shows of " disappearing ladies " and reap- 
pearing skeletons ; steam calliopes, " test your 
lungs " apparatuses, and all the rest. There are 
eight or ten thousand soldiers in Czenstochowa, 
and one sees them everywhere. But there is 
really nothing in the town itself for the traveller. 
The church is the great point of interest. 

Jasna G<5ra — " Bright or Exalted Mountain " 
— is a church, or rather a group of church build- 
ings, situated on an elevation, from which a great 
stretch of surrounding country can be seen. The 
situation is a fine one for a church, and, by the 
earthworks and masonry that still remain, one 
can see how strong it must have been when the 
Swedes tried to take it. The church has a long 
ecclesiastical history. Tradition says that many 
miracles have been wrought there, and on several 
occasions the Virgin Mother herself has appeared 
to worshippers. After successfully resisting the 
Swedes, "Saint Mary" was declared Queen of 
Poland, as she was believed to have aided in the 
defence of Jasna Grfra. 

Leaving the busy part of the town, one ap- 
197 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

proaches the church by a wide avenue, shaded 
with handsome trees and leading through a fine 
park. A panorama showing Christ's passion 
and death is given periodically at the entrance 
to the park. Before reaching the church itself 
you come upon a great bronze statue of the Tzar 
Alexander II., guarded day and night by a senti- 
nel on either side. A little farther on, but less 
conspicuously placed, is a statue of the brave 
soldier-priest Kordecki, to whose heroism and 
valour Jasna Gora chiefly owed its deliverance. 
Then one comes in front of the church itself, a 
pile of buildings in old, grey, irregular style, sur- 
rounded by, or rather perched above, a fifty-foot- 
high brick wall, pierced for cannon. It is one of 
the best extant specimens of the old fortress- 
church — the literal church militant. The old 
earthworks still remain, although now grass- 
grown and peaceful looking. The walls are being 
restored and an outside cordon of masonry is in 
process of erection. Surrounding the walls, on 
two sides, are rows of little booths — there must 
be a hundred of them — where images, rosaries, 
praying cards, pictures of saints, and relics are 
vended. Here also are all sorts of comestibles 
and drinkables — fruits, sandwiches, little cakes, 
cold coffee, with slices of lemon — ready for the 
refreshment of the pilgrim from afar. 

Bands of pilgrims are constantly arriving. 
This is certainly one of the great religious centres 

198 



THE MECCA OF THE POLES 

of the world, and the sight (which can be seen 
almost every morning in summer) of acres of 
peasants lying flat on their faces before the mon- 
astery is marvellous. One of these peasant pil- 
grim bands passed along the outskirts of Cracow 
while I was there. One hot July noon about 
one hundred tramped by, singing, bearing ban- 
ners and loaded with their packs, journeying to 
Czenstochowa, as do the Moslems to Mecca. It 
is a solemn duty, this pilgrimage, and there is no 
sacrifice too great to be made in its behalf. A 
priest in Cracow told me of an old confrere of 
his near Warsaw who, when he heard that a 
band of pilgrims was coming from Lithuania, 
past his little hut, though it was a stormy night 
and he ninety years old, went out to meet and 
bless the wayfarers. They were in some way de- 
layed, and he waited, cold and hungry, for three, 
four, six, nine hours, patiently, uncomplainingly. 
Then he lay down and died, and they found him 
in the road with a peaceful smile on his aged 
countenance. 

It was on a Sunday morning in August, at 
about ten o'clock, that I visited the church of 
Jasna Gora. Shouting, singing, and praying 
had resounded through the streets since six 
o'clock. 

I made my way to the main gate, through a 
long avenue of beggars, sightless, earless, nose- 
less, limbless, in the most revolting states of de- 

199 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

formity. Women with no arms or legs begged for 
kopecks. An idiot leered at me and muttered an 
inarticulate demand. A grizzled old man, with 
no legs, squatted in almost the middle of the road, 
fingering one of the old lyra, and droning out 
in the most lachrymose fashion some ancient, 
moth-eaten strain, was very importunate. He 
seized me by the coat and whined : " Please, kind 
sir, an alms, in the name of the Mother of God 
of Czenstochowa, Queen of Heaven." 

On the church wall, facing the entrance, is a 
large picture of the famous Matka Boska Czen- 
stochoska, the Virgin of Czenstochowa. This is 
the most famous and most revered of the images 
of the Virgin among the Poles. One sees it every- 
where, in Galicia and in Russian Poland. It is 
the figure of a mild-faced woman and child, of 
the Polish type, generally brown in colour and 
surrounded by rays, stars, and spangles of gold. 
It is believed to have special miraculous power. 
The Poles claim that it first appeared in Jerusa- 
lem in the early Christian centuries. Thence it 
was taken to Constantinople. Thence to Kiev 
and finally to Poland. The original image, which 
is in the chapel of the old church, was disfigured 
by the Tartars, who cut great gashes by shooting 
arrows across the cheek of the Virgin. Several 
attempts were made to paint out these gashes, 
but they always reappeared again, says the tra- 
dition. So a miracle was pronounced and the 

200 




"MATKA BOSKA CZENSTOCHOWSKA." 

(The famous image of the Virgin at Jasna Gfira, showing arrow marks 
on the cheek. Reproduced from one of the colored image pictures sold be- 
fore the church.) 



THE MECCA OF THE POLES 

scars left untouched. They can be seen to-day. 
The picture is set up at frequent intervals on the 
church walls, and wherever there is a picture 
there you are sure to find a group of kneeling wor- 
shippers. This mild-eyed, brown-faced woman, 
who has heard the fervent, frantic prayers of 
generations, nay, centuries, and has never 
changed expression, seems to look down sadly, 
one might say pityingly, on it all. 

Before this picture in the courtyard every one 
kneels and murmurs a prayer. The stones in this 
courtyard are, in places, literally worn into ba- 
sins by the genuflections of the faithful. This is 
the first station; and here, the strange, wonder- 
ful, picturesque panorama of Middle-Ages devo- 
tion begins. At the entrance to the church itself 
sits a priest, gathering money. He asks, begs, 
pleads, expostulates, argues, commands, threat- 
ens, suggests, hints, intimates, demands, suiting 
his method of address to the worldly station and 
character of the pilgrim. It is a true democracy 
of religion here. The kid-gloved aristocrat (a 
few of these come to Czenstochowa) walks by the 
side of the brown, dirty, barefooted peasant 

The new church is a great building of grey 
stone, with a black iron tower that can be seen 
for miles around. This tower was destroyed by 
fire two or three days after my visit to the church, 
but is being rapidly rebuilt and restored to ita 
former grandeur. The new church is erected 

soil 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

over and around the old edifice, which is in a 
fair state of preservation. 

Through a massive stone portal one enters a 
spacious vestibule, with a groined roof, adorned 
with paintings. To the right, on a black marble 
cross, is a half life-size brass figure of the Christ. 
Dust and cobwebs cling to the cross and to the 
head and shoulders of the image, but the brass 
toe sparkles and glitters like the sun. Osculation 
for generations has proved an admirable polish. 
Every one, old and young, pauses to kiss the 
foot of the Saviour's image. The first altar is but 
a few steps farther on — a figure of the Virgin 
and child in silver, surrounded by many candles 
and flowers. 

A sharp turn to the right, carefully picking 
one's way through the prostrate worshippers, who 
keep coming till there is literally not a free square 
foot on the floor of the room and entering corri- 
dor, and the great nave comes into view. It is 
a cathedral in size, with splendid groined roof, 
frescoed with paintings. As one enters the 
church itself and gets beyond the current of fresh 
air from the outside, the atmosphere of the in- 
terior becomes stifling. Growing more accus- 
tomed to it, however, he notices a sea of kneel i Dg 
and prostrate forms in various stages of religious 
hysteria, depression, and that peculiar exaltation 
so common among Slavonic peasants. A wail or 
groan from an old woman who lies " in the form 

202 



THE MECCA OF THE POLES 

of a cross " beating her aged head, with its white 
locks, against the stone floor, comes from one side. 
From the floor arises a triumphant cry, as an 
equally aged, venerable man rocks himself to and 
fro in an ecstasy, his prayer-book gripped con- 
vulsively, his eyes rolling in almost a frenzy. 

There is an order of procession — a series of 
stations — and every one follows this order as he 
enters, so that there is a continuous stream of 
worshippers passing through the different halls 
and chapels. Mothers, with little brown naked 
children, stretch them out pleadingly to the image 
on some favourite altar. Old men kneel and 
lean their feeble heads on sticks, while they tell 
their beads mumblingly, with toothless gums. 

One has to be careful in moving among the 
recumbent forms. He may tread on some wor- 
shipper who has humbled himself so far as to 
touch with his lips the stone pavement, dusty 
and soiled with the passage of five or six thou- 
sand feet. I ail but stepped on the form of a 
young peasant girl. By the dim light that filters 
through the stained-glass windows I saw a 
girl's form, slightly more slender than the usual 
peasant build, clad in the most vivid of colouring 
— blue bodice, red skirt, flaming yellow and green 
headkerchief, dotted with red roses. She was 
lying prone on her face, in the form of a cross. 
Her breast was heaving, and sobs shook her entire 
frame. Again and again the quivering lips 

208 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

touched the stones of the floor, and slowly as the 
prayers were recited, one by one, a little pool of 
tears collected on the marble. She was calling 
frantically on the Virgin of Czenstochowa for a 
boon. 

Through all the susurration of prayer and 
groan the great organ pealed out its thunderous, 
vibrant tones, and a fine choir chanted the serv- 
ice. The music was Eastern, with a strange 
blend of harp, blare, and bell effect. Away up 
in front beneath the great altar, with its crowns, 
golden rays, and mass of ornamentation, a gor- 
geously attired priest was saying mass. But no 
one — or not one in fifty of the congregation — 
heard him. When he reached the point for re- 
sponse, those near him began the chant, and then 
it vibrated and shuddered in mighty crescendo 
and diminuendo through the entire company. 

It was too much to grasp at once — too severe 
a strain on the body and nerves. So, literally 
fighting my way out into the fresh air, I sat down 
on one of the old grass-grown mounds, within 
hearing of the triumphant organ peals, and looked 
off to where the Swedes came up and drew their 
cordon of bullet and fire about the devoted 
church. To the right the bronze figure of the 
priest Kordecki lifts a hand in benison. In 
front is a statue of John the Baptist. To the 
left is the entrance to the old church — the chapel 
of the famous Virgin of Czenstochowa. 

204 



THE MECCA OF THE POLES 

It is a comparatively small room, but on that 
day it was crowded so that it was almost impos- 
sible for the worshippers to prostrate themselves. 
They could barely find space to stand upright. 
There was less light than in the main chapel, and 
the congregation was quieter, apparently awed by 
the proximity of the revered altar. Here and 
there a confession box loomed up above the mass 
of heads. A peasant whispered his confession. 
Then he seized the priest's hands, kissed them 
passionately, crossed himself, and made his way, 
by slow stages, with infinite toil and patience, 
through the densely packed mass, up to the altar, 
which is railed off from the main room by heavy 
iron bars extending from floor to ceiling. 

At the farther end, only dimly seen in the soft, 
mellow radiance of hanging silver lamps, is the 
famous image itself. The features are scarcely 
distinguishable, but the surroundings are so 
decked, covered, loaded with gold and silver, that 
it tires the eye to look at them, even in the twi- 
light of the altar. The image scintillates and 
coruscates — diamonds, emeralds, rubies, sap- 
phires, garnets, amethysts, topazes, pearls, blink- 
ing like eyes as the light from the swinging lamps 
spreads in glistening, glistering waves over the 
picture. On the walls gold and silver orna- 
ments, casts of sacred relics, mirrors, rosaries of 
coral and pearl, flash and glitter and gleam. A 
massive golden crown above the picture stands 

205 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

out prominently, with golden figures, hearts, 
swords, and pens flanking it. 

Every conceivable device, material, mental, 
and moral, to impress and completely subjugate 
the simple mind of the peasant, is here employed. 
Every sound that can attract the ear, every ma- 
terial that draws the eye, is made to lend religious 
aid. It is the most powerful religious sense-life 
in the world — and lived by a people whose tem- 
perament and moral bent respond as the thirsty 
soil soaks up the rain. Such complete, absolute 
self-abnegation in this age makes one marvel. 
The peasant is no longer his own. He belongs, 
body, soul, mind, every part of him, to the 
Church, to the Virgin. If ever devotion became 
concrete, crystallised, appreciable to the senses, 
it is here, like an aura, playing over the groan- 
ing, agonising, self-immolating throng. 

Jasna G6*ra is the Mecca of the Poles, and it is 
difficult for a foreigner to appreciate how much 
this means to them until he understands how 
closely welded and, indeed, identified are pa- 
triotism and religion in Poland. " A visit to 
Jasna G6*ra means more, much more, to a pa- 
triotic Polish Catholic than would a pilgrimage 
to St. Peters at Rome, or to our Savour's tomb 
at Jerusalem." 



206 



XI 
A VOYAGE OVER THE STEPPES 

IN the first decade of the 17th century a Po- 
lish gentleman, of noble lineage, living in 
Podolia, one Jan Stefanowicz Mazepa, was 
serving as a page to the King of Poland. Having 
been discovered in a liaison with the wife of an- 
other courtier, Pan Mazepa was seized by the 
wronged husband and tied to the back of a wild 
horse. The animal was then sent, with many 
blows, off to its home in the Ukraine. Nearly 
dead with hunger, exposure, and suffering, 
Mazepa was rescued by some peasants, persuaded 
to remain among them, and finally became their 
chief. This is the incident which the poet Byron 
has so vigorously recounted in his poem. 
Mazepa afterward led a revolt against the Tzar 
and joined the Swedish King Charles XII. A 
few years later, when Peter the Great was flying 
from the victorious Charles, he took refuge in 
the " Ukraine country of the Cossacks, which is 
between Little Tartary, Poland, and Muscovy, 
and separated into nearly equal parts by the 
Beresthene River." The words are Voltaire's, 
and this is the first definite statement on record 

207 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

as to the location of the Ukraine. Voltaire goes 
on to say that, " in general, the Ukraine is the 
most fertile land in the world, and the most de- 
serted because of bad government." It was con- 
tinually striving for independence, but was 
always subject to Poland, or to the Grand Seign- 
eur of Moscow. At one time it had the right to 
name its own prince, a right afterward revoked 
and given to the court at Moscow. Almost a 
century of changing fortunes after Peter's vic- 
tory over the Swedes brought the Ukraine and 
Podolia, in 1795, into final subjection to the Rus- 
sian Empire. 

It is of this country, this Ukraine, that the last 
work of the Sienkiewicz Trilogy treats. " Pan 
Michael " is almost exclusively a story of the 
steppes. Its theatre of action is the Ukraine 
and Podolia, those immense plains of southern 
and western Russia that, at the time of which 
the novel treats, were a portion of the Polish 
Commonwealth, extending southward even to the 
Crimea. 

When summoned to his forlorn-hope task at 
Kamieniec, the little knight, " Pan Michael," was 
doing frontier guard duty in the Ukraine, at a 
place called Hreptyov, near the country of the 
Zaporogian Cossacks. Voltaire tells us that 
these Zaporogians were " the most strange people 
on earth," a mixture of Russian, Pole, and Tar- 
tar — "brigands and filibusters, always drunk." 

208 



A VOYAGE OVER THE STEPPES 

They elected their chiefs, and when unpopular, 
choked them to death. " They admitted no 
women into their community life, but increased 
their numbers by stealing children from sur- 
rounding peoples." Their Oriental, southern 
origin is emphasised by the fact that (so Sien- 
kiewicz tells us) Pan Michael took his herds and 
camels with him to Kamieniec. This was the 
country where " the little Knight with the 
wheaten moustaches " dwelt, and in which the re- 
doubtable Basia slew the Tartars in battle. 

At the time of which the story " Pan Michael " 
deals these plains were the theatre of stirring 
events. The Turks had invaded Poland, and So- 
bieski was sent to guard the southern and eastern 
frontiers. He defeated the invaders at all points 
in such short order that the rest of Europe called 
his exploit " the miraculous campaign." The 
little knight Wolodyjowski fought valiantly at 
his side in this campaign. But another Turkish 
army — 300,000 splendid troops under the ter- 
rible leader, Mohammed IV. — was advancing. 
Sobieski had but 6,000 men, and could obtain 
no reinforcements. Realising, however, the im- 
portance of delaying Mohammed's progress, he 
decided to make a stand at Kamieniec, the 
chief town of the Podolia. Accordingly he 
ordered Michael Wolodyjowski to march from 
his outpost position in the Ukraine and defend 
Kamieniec. 

209 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

The Hetman knew that he was sending the 
valiant Pan Michael, " the first soldier of the 
Commonwealth," to certain death, but he felt 
that the sacrifice was necessary. Kamieniec fell, 
despite prodigies of valour by the Poles. 

My Polish friends strongly urged me not to 
visit Kamieniec. " There is no railroad connec- 
tion, and you may find difficulty in crossing the 
frontier, as this is a point seldom visited by 
travellers." But I persisted, leaving Cracow one 
evening at ten o'clock, by what the Austrians call 
a Schnellzug (fast train), although it made only 
twenty miles an hour. Early next morning I 
reached Lemberg, or LwoV, as the Poles speak 
of it. Lemberg is a busy, progressive city of 
nearly 200,000 inhabitants, the chief city and 
capital of Galicia. It still shows traces of 
its siege by the Turks. In the old Jesuit 
church are preserved cannon balls thrown from 
Turkish guns, as well as several from the 
later Swedish bombardments. From Lemberg 
it is but three hours to Tarnopol, the next point 
of historic interest. Between these two cities. 
at Podhorce, is a splendid museum, containing 
many rare and beautiful relics, particularly of 
Sobieski. 

Tarnopol has 30,000 inhabitants and is v< «y 
old. It has a Place Sobieski, and a statue of 
Mickiewicz. Tarnopol has been in the hands of 
the Tartars and Cossacks many times. The old 

210 



A VOYAGE OVER THE STEPPES 

Ruthenian church, one of its best preserved an- 
cient monuments, was three times taken by the 
Moslems. Indeed, on its domes the crescents 
may still be seen, but surmounted by crosses. 
Tartar influence is visible even in the faces of the 
peasants, the flat Kalmuck visage being not at all 
infrequent. 

While tramping the streets that hot July day 
my attention was attracted by a wheezy, some- 
what dismal sound, which I soon perceived came 
from the centre of a small group of peasants. 
Closer inspection showed that it was a blind beg- 
gar performing on a lyra, the very instrument 
with which Zagloba entertained Helena during 
their flight from Bohun, as is recounted in " With 
Fire and Sword." This lyra is a curious mixture 
of strings and rods, turned at one end with a 
crank. It is very far from being musical. 

The next point of interest after Tarnopol is 
TremboVla. This little town has a very old 
castle, which, says the legend, was defended 
against the Turks by a woman until Sobieski 
came and rescued her. From Trembdwla to 
Husiatyn, at the terminus of the railroad, and on 
the frontier between Austria and Russia, our 
progress was provokingly slow. It was all up 
grade, and the engine burned only wood. We 
reached Austrian Husiatyn at half-past eleven. 
From that hour until half-past two I was crossing 
the frontier, showing my passport seven times, 

211 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

warding off would-be Jew interpreters (Russian 
and Polish only being spoken here), and gener- 
ally looking after my luggage. 

It was a blazing hot day. On the bridge over 
the little stream, the middle of which is the divid- 
ing line between the domains of Kaiser and Tzar, 
stood a long line of vehicles — lumber teams, mar- 
ket waggons, nacres. After a half-hour's delay at 
the custom-house, during which the inspector 
calmly opened and spoiled a box of exposed but 
undeveloped photographic negatives, I was per- 
mitted to go on my way. Seated in a very dirty, 
very rickety waggon, driven by a very unsavoury, 
unkempt Hebrew, I started — at three o'clock in 
the afternoon — for Kamieniec, twenty-seven Eng- 
lish miles' distant. 

I shall never forget that ride of eight hours. 
Once across the line and into the great 
plains region, everything — nature and mankind 
— seemed quite different from anything I had 
ever seen before. As far as the eye could reach 
— and far beyond — the vast prairies stretched, 
undulating now and again, in gentle waves, but 
immense, treeless, depressing. A feeling of sad- 
ness involuntarily creeps over one when he travels 
across these plains, especially for the first time. 
There is a vast, mysterious, half-hidden sense of 
power about the landscape that impresses one 
with a sort of elemental fear of nature. This 
influence has soaked into and through the Sla- 

212 



A VOYAGE OVER THE STEPPES 

vonic nature and made the Slav a poet, a relig- 
ious devotee, a musician. 

We drove over tremendously wide roads — three 
hundred feet wide in places. Great herds of 
beasts — cows, sheep, pigs, goats, chickens, geese, 
and ducks — all in one company — passed slowly 
by, driven sometimes by a boy with a long whip 
or by a stout, bare-legged peasant woman astride 
of a lithe little Cossack pony. 

The fields on the steppes are cultivated to the 
highest possible extent — vegetables and grains of 
all kinds, not merely by the acre, but by the hun- 
dred, by the thousand acres. The soil is won- 
derfully rich and productive. It is claimed by 
Eussian statisticians that so rich is this land 
that, were there only one successful year in ten 
(supposing nine years' crops to have failed to- 
tally), the yield of that one year would return a 
profit on the entire period. And yet, except in 
a very few cases, the peasants do not profit by 
this. These sad-eyed, hard-working folk, their 
Eastern blood showing in the slightly slanted 
eyes and the turban headdress, are only labour- 
ers. They own bits of land here and there, it is 
true, but by no means so generally as in Galicia. 
Their villages also, a number of which we passed 
through on the way, are very squalid, in striking 
contrast to the huts of the Galician peasants. 
Poverty, bitter poverty, shows everywhere in 
these villages, especially in those inhabited by 

213 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

the Jews. The huts are generally of mud and 
thatched with straw, and are destitute of the least 
semblance of comfort. 

Twilight came on as we still crawled over the 
face of the landscape, like a tiny boat on the great 
ocean. Many things contributed to strengthen 
this impression of a voyage. Now we would pass 
a waggonload of tired peasants returning from 
their labours, now four or five soldiers coming 
back from some manoeuvre, their white uniforms 
fairly glistening in the fading light. Now, by 
the roadside we would discern the gaping ribs of 
a skeleton — of a cow or a horse — with the ghoul- 
ish crows sidling in and out of its nude anatomy, 
stranded there like a marine derelict. On the 
horizon a speck would appear. Over the gentle 
rise it would come, a waggon, driven Russian 
fashion, the three horses abreast, the little bells 
tinkling musically from the high-arched collar. 
Its occupant, likely an imposing government 
official, would lean forward and bow gravely. 
We would salute like ships speaking each other 
at sea — two passing specks on the ocean plain. 
Then, like ships that pass in the night, a silence, 
and that sweeping-apart sensation as when two 
swift vessels pass. The red sun dipped below the 
horizon and a greyness settled over the landscape. 
From its depths, centuries gone seemed to speak. 
The shades of Chmielnicki and his Cossacks, of 
Tugai Bey and his Tartars, all those wild spirits 

214 




H d 

3 - 

fe t 

J g 

O J75 



E S 



A VOYAGE OVER THE STEPPES 

of bygone ages, seemed to gather again in the 
gloaming and again sweep over the plain. The 
stars came out and fairly burned in the sky, like 
the points of brilliantly burnished lances levelled 
at the earth. 

Eleven o'clock brought us to the city, a 
strangely, weirdly beautiful sight by night. 
Through a massive stone gate, five centuries old, 
we lumbered up a steep hill, then down an incline 
and over a bridge, to the new city. Below us 
flowed the Smotrycz, a little stream that empties 
into the Dniester, and divides the city into two 
parts. From far beneath, at the river's bank, to 
the heights above, the town arose, tier upon tier, 
its lights gleaming fitfully, the walls like a black 
belt at the base. 

After some difficulty, owing to the fact that I 
spoke no Russian, and no one in Kamieniec 
seemed to speak anything else, I secured a room 
at a fairly comfortable hotel. Then, having sat- 
isfactorily passed the examination usually im- 
posed upon guests at hotels in eastern Europe, as 
to my purpose in coming to Kamieniec, how long 
I intended to stay, the personal habits of all my 
ancestors and the rest of the questions, being very 
much fatigued, I was about to retire, when the 
beautiful moon tempted me to the window. 

The view was almost like a scene out of the 
Arabian Nights. It was the moon of the Orient 
— large, full, of mellow light. A fine white build- 

215 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

ing on the opposite height — a seminary for Ortho- 
dox priests — loomed up like a mass of silver. 
In the street below, lit by the fitful glare of 
petroleum lamps, a motley, picturesque throng 
passed and repassed, slowly, languidly, revelling 
in the slight coolness which the night brought. 
Kamieniec is only about fifty miles from the Rou- 
manian border, and less than two hundred miles 
from the Black Sea. It comes rightfully, there- 
fore, by its Oriental characteristics. 

Long-cloaked, long-bearded Jews; bare-footed, 
bare-headed girls with Egyptian faces, filleted 
hair and great pendent earrings of brass; Ru- 
thenian peasants; gigantic Kirghiz with Astra- 
chan caps ; beautiful Jewesses of the demi-monde, 
in costumes a la mode de Paris; Russian soldiers 
in the white tunic, black trousers, high boots, and 
the cap that is known from Warsaw to Vladivos- 
tock; Cossacks on horseback; gorgeously uni- 
formed, pompous generals in white, with red and 
gold facings to their splendid attire, in ba- 
rouches, fiacres, landaus, or the ubiquitous 
droschky, driven by barbarous Mongolian-looking 
cochers; long-gowned, long-haired Schismat 
priests ; gypsies, Turks, and many other perfectly 
nondescript types, gathered from the four corners 
of the globe, slowly defiled before me. It was 
such a sight as stamps itself photographically on 
the memory for all time. 

The next morning I made a tour of the town. 
216 



A VOYAGE OVER THE STEPPES 

With the aid of an Israelite who spoke a little 
German I succeeded in identifying the chief 
points of historic and present-day interest. The 
old castle which Pan Michael partially blew up 
still stands, now doing duty as a Russian bar- 
racks. It was built in 1585, by the great Polish 
king, Stefan Batory. Here it was that the 
Turks, triumphing over all the heroism of the 
Polish artillery, entered Kamieniec. Bits of the 
old fortifications, particularly towers and wall, 
with embrasures for cannon, may be seen scat- 
tered about, thickest on the river front. The 
convent in which Basia was imprisoned during 
the siege still stands on the old square. It has 
been somewhat restored, although much dilapi- 
dated at the present time. The cathedral of the 
Armenians, which Sienkiewicz tells us was on 
fire during the siege, is in a fair state of preser- 
vation. 

The Kamieniec Jew, who is a large element in 
the population of the town to-day, is omnipresent. 
He sits on the street and smokes his thin little 
cigarette, while his half-naked wife and children 
sprawl in the roadway. It may be said that, in 
general, abject, grinding poverty is his lot. He 
sits before his little booth, selling his onions, 
stale eggs, potatoes, small bread, peas, parsley, 
hard little pears, and other fruits unknown to 
the Anglo-Saxon palate. His countenance bears 
the stamp of listless despair. What is there to 

217 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

live for? Like the worldly Jew in Kingsley's 
"Hypatia," he has carefully weighed life in the 
balance of pro and con, and is facing the terrible 
conviction that it is not worth the living. Yet, 
he dare not end it. Despite all his woes, he re- 
mains uncompromisingly orthodox. By impe- 
rial ukase he is forbidden to wear the corkscrew 
side curls that are the darling of his brother in 
the Kazimierz of Cracow. But he retains his 
long cloak and his long beard, and his children 
learn to recite the prayers according to the rit- 
ual, rocking to and fro as they drone out the 
words with seemingly endless repetition. 

Kamieniec-Podolsk (to distinguish it from the 
other Kamieniec, which is in Lithuania) has a 
population of 40,000, and is a " government " 
town. That is, it is the centre of the Russian 
" government," or province of Podolia. Modern 
material progress is very backward in Kamien- 
iec. The rapid but uneven development of the 
Empire makes possible the anomaly of a city 
of this size with no railroad nearer than 
twenty-seven miles, and that in another country. 
The first railroad station in Russia is a very 
small one, thirty-five miles distant on the line 
between Odessa and Kiev. When I visited it 
Kamieniec had no street-cars, no electric lights, 
and all the transportation is by waggon, a costly 
method, resulting in extremely high hotel rates. 
The modern city covers a very large territory, 

218 



A VOYAGE OVER THE STEPPES 

and the new part of the town shows some signs 
of progress. There has recently been completed 
a large, handsome theatre. There is also a fine 
park, with a boulevard running through it, and 
here every Sunday military music is rendered. 
Along the river front there is a pleasant, popu- 
lar sylvan promenade. 

Kamieniec, being a " government town," is full 
of soldiers. At all hours of the day and night 
all sorts of representatives of the motley army 
of the Tzar may be seen on the streets, from the 
common soldier who tramps on foot to the re- 
splendent general who rides in his elegant ba- 
rouche. It was my fortune to see there 3,000 
Cossacks of the Don on horseback. With their 
long robes, small swords slung across the breasts, 
and their round fur caps pulled down over their 
burned visages, these superb riders made a very 
picturesque spectacle. 

The wall that Pan Michael and his knights 
defended against the Turks can still be seen, 
although almost entirely dismantled. I ap- 
proached the entrance to the tower, now a bar- 
racks. No one objecting, much to my surprise, 
I entered. So I crossed the courtyard and peered 
out of a cannon embrasure, out upon the river 
flowing far below. It was at this point that the 
Turkish envoys, having seen the white flags which 
had been raised over the Ruska gate (the bulk of 
this gate remains to-day) by the faint-hearted 

219 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

among the besieged, stood and demanded the sur- 
render of the garrison. 

"And what of Kamieniec?" asked the little 
knight. 

" It shall go to the Sultan for ages and ages." 
Wolodyjowski's reply was to blow up the tower. 

" Nic to " — it is nothing — this was the message 
he sent to poor Basia, praying in the old convent 
in the square. " Nic to." This had been the con- 
certed signal to her of his death. She was to say 
to herself, " Nic to." (It is nothing.) 

The Turks brought the body of the little knight 
to Sobieski, and it was buried in the church at 
Stanislaw. " Thus died Wolodyjowski, the Hec- 
tor of Kamieniec, the first soldier of the Com- 
monwealth." 



220 



XII 

WHAT POLAND OWES TO HER WOMEN 

IF the Polish eagle has never yet been tamed ; 
if it bears its captivity and its wounds, but 
refuses to become domesticated, it is because 
the Polish women have nursed it and kept before 
it the scent of the upper air and the love of 
liberty. If no prescription has as yet been dis- 
covered for making a Russian or a German out 
of a Pole, it is because the Polish women have 
kept the fountain head of the national life pure 
and incorruptible. If Polish soldiers of all ages 
have fought in the ranks of all the armies of the 
world against the hosts of tyranny, it has not 
been because they were bred soldiers, but because 
with their mothers' milk they drank in patriot- 
ism; because the Polish mothers sang into their 
very lullabies the love of liberty and fatherland, 
that will never die out of the Polish heart. No 
people can ever be lost when its women place 
patriotism above their own comfort and pleas- 
ure, above everything else they hold dear. While 
there is a single Polish woman living, it is truly 
u Jeszcze Polska nie zginela " — " Poland is not 
yet lost." 

221 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

In all civilised countries it is the women who 
give the tone to society. This is especially true 
in Poland, where social gatherings are very fre- 
quent. From politics the Pole has been largely 
debarred. He has, therefore, much more time 
and energy for social life. What is more, no 
social assembly in Poland, no festivity of any 
kind, is complete without the presence of women. 
This is, perhaps, one reason for their immense 
influence in every phase of Polish life. If the 
Polish men are a strong, courteous, patriotic 
race, they owe it principally to the inspiration of 
their women and constant association with them. 
If the Polish language is still a living, growing 
force, despite all attempts to crush it out, this is 
due, in a large measure, to the patriotism of 
Polish mothers, who undo in the home, even be- 
fore it is done, all that " Germanisation " and 
" Russification " can devise. 

Polish women have been called frivolous and 
changeable, but they have certainly been con- 
stant enough to Poland. Eussia has often tried 
to draw them off from their patriotic allegiance 
by playing on their well-known love of the dance 
and pleasure, but the Polish women have always 
placed patriotism above enjoyment. Such small 
matters as going into mourning all over the Com- 
monwealth when Warsaw was under the reign 
of terror, and giving up dancing, of which they 
are so passionately fond, are of too frequent oc- 

222 



WHAT POLAND OWES TO HER WOMEN 

currence to mention. And it is not a negative 
patriotism, either. Frederick the Great once 
said, " In Poland the women attend to politics 
while the men get drank." This was an unin- 
tentional compliment to the mentality of the 
Polish women, for is it not only an inferior 
woman who despises politics? 

Polish women have always charmed foreigners, 
as well as their own countryman. Madame 
Harfska captivated Balzac; Marya Leszczynska 
won the crown of France because she fascinated 
Louis XV., and it was a Polish woman, the he- 
roic Madame Walewska, of whom Napoleon is 
reported to have said : " She was the only woman 
I ever really loved." Even the Teutonic tribute 
is not lacking. Bismarck once admitted that he 
would rather have two regiments of hussars op- 
posed to him than one Polish woman ; the latter 
would cause him more trouble by her fascina- 
tions. 

- It is a fact that the most persistent scof- 
fer at the cause of Poland becomes an advo- 
cate of Polish independence after he has come 
under the charm of the Polish women. Russian 
officers stationed in " the Kingdom " are forbid- 
den, I have been told, to participate to any great 
extent in the social life of Warsaw. The charm 
of Polish drawing-rooms and the magnetism of 
Poland's daughters might weaken their alle- 
giance. Moreover, it is always a Polish family 

223 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

that follows upon the marriage of a Russian or a 
German with a woman of Poland. 

Heroism and self-sacrifice is the verdict of 
history on the Polish woman for a thousand 
years. The first one of her race to shine out of 
the mists of myth and legend is Wanda, daugh- 
ter of Krakus, who drowned herself in the Vis- 
tula rather than cause her country misery be- 
cause of her beauty. A Bohemian princess mar- 
ried King Mieczyslaw in order to convert him 
and his people to Christianity. Kunegunda, a 
Hungarian princess, gave her immense dowry to 
her husband, Boleslaw II., to help save the coun- 
try from the Tartars. 

Queen Jadwiga is one of the saintly characters 
of all history. This granddaughter of Kazimierz 
the Great was crowned queen at the tender age 
of thirteen. She had been engaged in marriage 
by her mother to William, Prince of Austria, 
whom she loved with all the strength of her 
young heart. As queen, however, she was sup- 
posed to sacrifice everything to the welfare of 
her country, and, at the price of her life's hap- 
piness, she married Jagiello, a Lithuanian prince, 
to convert him to the Christian faith and to join 
Lithuania and Poland. Jagiello was old enough 
to be her father. He was illiterate, rough, of 
suspicious nature, and he made her life a burden, 
constantly accusing her of infidelity. Several 
times she was obliged to publicly clear herself 

224 



WHAT POLAND OWES TO HER WOMEN 

of these charges. She was the patroness of learn- 
ing and literature, and, with the money obtained 
by selling her jewels, she liberally endowed the 
Academy of Cracow. The Pope called her the 
chosen daughter of the Church, and foreign 
princes often came many miles to see one re- 
puted so holy. 

Then there was Chrzanowska, who defended 
Trembdwla against the Turks. With her own 
hand she loaded and aimed the cannon and 
threatened to kill her husband and herself if he 
yielded, until, finally, Sobieski came to her res- 
cue. Claudia Potocka and Emilia Szczaniecka, 
during the revolution of 1831, gave up their im- 
mense fortunes to the Polish cause, nursed the 
sick and wounded on field and in hospital, and 
sealed their patriotic devotion by exile to Siberia. 
Other women, like Emilia Plater and Antonina 
Tomaszewska, fought on the field as soldiers, led 
regiments, and died in battle for their country. 
Indeed, the Polish women, while remaining in- 
tensely feminine, have always done their duty 
like men, joining conspiracies and following their 
husbands into exile without a murmur. 

One of the inalienable privileges of the Polish 
man is that of losing his head. His enthusiasm 
has a way of running away with him. This, of 
course, is apt to be dangerous. It is always safe, 
however, and may be pardoned when he loses it 
to the Polish woman. In that case, the heart 

225 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

usually goes with it She will keep the head well 
balanced and well braked-in for him. 

The masculine Pole believes himself an auto- 
crat, and, to all appearances, he is one. But, 
like all womanly women, the whole world over, 
the Polish woman steers the Polish man. Not as 
the American woman steers the American man, 
mind you. The masculine Pole is not, by any 
means, so meek as his American brother. He 
stands on his manly rights and persists in losing 
his head frequently, despite all his women folk 
can do to prevent it. He is always the real, the 
acknowledged head of the family, and nothing 
pleases him so much as to see his family, espe- 
cially his wife and daughters, happy. He will 
spare himself no pains, no toil, no risk, to accom- 
plish this; but generally they must be happy in 
the way he prescribes — in which he is not, it must 
be confessed, as indulgent a husband as the 
American man. It is the Slav temperament, in 
which is deeply grounded the patriarchal idea ol 
masculine authority. 

This masculine authority is still a sacred thing 
with the Poles, although there are " new women " 
among them who are beginning to rebel just a 
little. " How is it," I asked a young married 
lady of Warsaw, " the Polish women have ex- 
erted a splendid and powerful influence on the 
history of the nation — perhaps a more powerful 
one than the women of any other nation can 

226 



WHAT POLAND OWES TO HER WOMEN 

boast — and yet they certainly do seem to be sub- 
missive enough to their lords and masters? How 
do you account for it? " She smiled signifi- 
cantly. " Oh, our men are, in that respect, like 
the whole masculine tribe. We make of them 
pretty much what w T e will, only, of course, they 
don't always realise it in the process. And then, 
you know," she added, " we have more chances 
at them, perhaps, than the women of most other 
nationalities have at their men. We see them 
oftener." 

The Polish woman is almost always a good 
housekeeper. No, a larger word is needed. She 
is a splendid presider over a household. Things 
are done in such a large way in Poland. It is a 
large-hearted race, and the life on the large es- 
tates, which finds ready at hand and in such large 
quantities what the French woman, the German 
hausfrau, even the American housewife, must 
needs go out to purchase in bits, besides the 
multitude of widely differing duties, with many 
servants to manage — all these have given the 
Polish woman a firm grasp on not only the fun- 
damentals of household economics, but also on 
their minutiae. She has perfected housekeeping 
into homekeeping, and made of it an exquisite 
art. 

Although she loves the social joys, the Polish 
woman is a tireless worker — particularly on the 
estates. Yet she has almost always mastered 

227! 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

the accomplishments, as well as the ordinary 
equipment, of life. She generally speaks two or 
three languages, and is a good conversationalist. 
Did I say mastered? I should have said mis- 
tressed. One of the chief charms of the Polish 
woman is her intense womanliness. This, no 
doubt, is the real secret of her influence over her 
mankind. In social gatherings she does not ex- 
actly scintillate as the American girl does, but 
her presence has a quiet, all-pervading charm 
from which none can escape. Always a musical 
voice, graceful carriage, magnetic, sympathetic, 
womanly intuition, a quick response to ideal- 
istic thought, she seems to possess that indefin- 
able charm that awakes the chivalry in men 
and inspires them to noble, patriotic deeds. But 
this is only another way of saying that she has a 
very large measure of the eternal feminine, which 
forever draws mankind onward. 

The Polish woman is, however, still a Euro- 
pean. This means that she has not yet quite at- 
tained to the stature of social freedom which has 
been reached by her American sister. The chap- 
eron has not yet become a quantity negligible in 
Poland. The chaperon is primarily a European 
institution, having its origin in the general as- 
sumption that mankind is a sort of ravening 
wolf, whose principal object in life is to prey 
upon womankind. Of course, if you put it in 
this way to a European man, he will shrug his 

228 



WHAT POLAND OWES TO HER WOMEN 

shoulders, and, perhaps, make some reference to 
the boldness he has heard is the result of the free- 
dom allowed la jeune Americaine. Or, perhaps, 
he will admit that it is, after all, merely a matter 
of convention and custom. The possibility of a 
young man escorting a young woman to a theatre 
in the evening without attempting, or at least 
contemplating, undue familiarity, is — well, it 
does not occur to the European. The close asso- 
ciation, frank friendship, and, at the same time, 
chivalrous respect of the American man for the 
American girl the European cannot understand. 
This, however, is European, and not characteris- 
tically Polish. 

The chaperon is still necessary in Poland, how- 
ever, or, at least, the presence of a third party. 
I remember that one afternoon a young lady 
called at the estate in Galicia where I was a 
guest. She had walked quite alone from a neigh- 
bouring estate, about two miles away, and noth- 
ing was thought of it. The afternoon passed 
pleasantly, and darkness came on before we real- 
ised it. It so happened that the horses of the 
estate were all out, and, as the young lady could 
not be driven home, as strict etiquette demanded, 
I offered to escort her, as I would have done in 
America. After some hesitation on the part of 
my hostess and consultation with the young lady 
herself, I was permitted to do so. A young peas- 
ant lad, however, was sent to chaperon us. He 

229 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

could not understand me, nor I him ; in fact, he 
would not have presumed to address either of us. 
But he was a third party, and that was sufficient. 
Custom was satisfied. 

A rather amusing illustration of the chaperon 
idea and the tenacity with which the Galician 
Poles cling to the old social traditions, came to 
my notice one day in Cracow. A fine old landed 
proprietor had come in from his estate, accom- 
panied by his two daughters, unmarried ladies, 
each of them having seen more than half a cen- 
tury of summers. The maidens desired to leave 
their hotel one morning to attend church service. 
The church was less than a block off, but, as the 
father, for some reason or other, could not ac- 
company them, and there was no one else present 
who was known to the family, the virgins were 
not permitted to attend service. "Why, Be- 
buska [Baby]," exclaimed the careful parent to 
the one who pouted at such restraint, " surely 
you, a maiden lady, would not be seen on the 
street without a chaperon! Some rude man 
might look at you." This, of course, was an ex- 
treme case, but an actual one. The Polish 
woman, however, is gradually emancipating her- 
self from the chaperon. Many evidences of this 
can be seen in Warsaw, where admiration is 
openly expressed for the American idea of greater 
freedom of association between the sexes. 

It would be difficult to exaggerate the beauty 
230 



WHAT POLAND OWES TO HER WOMEN 

of many of the Polish women, from the peasant 
to the society lady. Many of the lower class 
women are, of course, of the ordinary type, but 
some are of a dark, olive complexion, with full, 
rich features and abundant hair, and there is 
often a fire in the eyes that reminds one of the 
Italian face. Much of the great influence ex- 
erted by the Polish women is, no doubt, due to 
their charm of face and form. Many are slender 
and delicate, with pale complexion and bright 
dark eyes, but the majority are of the true Slav, 
with soft blond hair and eyes of blue. But really 
a pencil, not a pen, is required to sketch the type, 
which is a refined and intellectual one. Art 
lovers will remember the painting of the famous 
Countess Potocka, which is such a favourite in 
our galleries and parlours. 



231 






XIII 

THE POLISH PEASANT AND THE 
FUTUKE OF POLAND 

WHEN one of the emperors of the later 
" Holy Roman Empire " ascended the 
imperial throne, he quickly realised 
that the thin, feeble life of his line needed im- 
mediate invigoration, or it would be extin- 
guished. He then braved the opposition of his 
court and married a peasant woman. In her he 
saw the strong red blood, the vigour of the rude, 
clean stock, near to nature, the infusion of which 
into the royal family was its only hope of re- 
demption. He had realised one of the great 
truths of biology. And what is true of a family 
is true of a nation. 

Polish leaders are beginning to recognise that 
law of social and political, as well as of physical, 
evolution which ordains that progress proceeds 
from the simple to the complex ; that social and 
national regeneration comes upward from the 
lower orders, and never downward from the aris- 
tocrat to the peasant. It is now believed in Po- 
land that the progress of the race and its political 
regeneration — if that ever comes — will probably, 

232 



THE POLISH PEASANT 

if not certainly, come from the peasant. The 
Polish aristocrat, subtle, refined, and sympa- 
thetic as he is, is probably already too effete to 
bring about national transformation. He is cer- 
tainly not practical enough, and really, if the 
truth must be told, he often lacks the patriotism ! 
The peasant, however, is patriotism personi- 
fied. He has responded nobly to every call of 
his country in her hour of need. In the insur- 
rection of Kosciuszko he cheerfully left his field, 
and, armed only with his scythe, he went forth 
to battle. He has been as responsive ever since. 
He is the most common-sense, practical peasant 
in the world. " The common sense of the peas- 
ant " has become a national proverb. He is self- 
respecting, independent, strong, and usually 
moral, temperate, and cheerful. It must be con- 
fessed that when he emigrates he loses some of 
these good qualities. He is also apt to be unruly, 
but unruliness is in the Polish blood. His coun- 
try recognises his potential worth, and loses no 
opportunity to show that it likes him. When- 
ever he appears on a public occasion, as each 
year in the procession of Corpus Christi, or at 
special events, such as the University celebra- 
tions of 1900, in Cracow, he always wins most of 
the applause. He is the hope of his race. Polish 
aspirations for a redeemed national existence, 
it is come to be believed, must proceed from the 
marriage, in council and life, of the intellect of 

233 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

the nation with the rude but sturdy, healthy 
peasant stock. 

The Polish peasant is, first of all, a tiller of 
the soil. He lives by agriculture, and all his 
measures are those of the wheat field. Poland 
itself is primarily a land of plains, and its three 
grand divisions are essentially agricultural in 
their interests. 

A Polish peasant village is a sight to make an 
artist's heart rejoice with exceeding great joy. A 
more picturesque scene than one of these villages 
on a Sunday or holiday evening it would be diffi- 
cult to find the world over. What is it that gives 
the rich artistic quality to the atmosphere in Po- 
land, toning down all contrasts, and subduing ex- 
tremes, so that colours which would be absolutely 
" impossible " in the fierce sunlight of America 
seem perfectly natural in Galicia and Warsaw — 
even necessary to fully round out the landscape? 
The only neutral tints are those of the thatched 
huts. The garments of the men and women, par- 
ticularly those of the women, fairly blossom with 
vivid colour. The peasant hut is, in itself and 
alone, very picturesque. Put twenty or thirty 
of these in close proximity, separated only by 
the little kitchen or flower-garden, add a few trees 
and a group or two of peasants in their many- 
coloured raiment, and you forget all about the 
mud in the road, the grunting of the pigs, and 
the strongly unpleasant odour that assails your 

234 




a 

B 



w -° 

H bp 

? a 

2 2 






THE POLISH PEASANT 

nostrils. The houses themselves are of stone or 
boards plastered over with mud, which after- 
ward receives a coat of whitewash, sometimes 
taking on a bluish tinge. The slant roof is 
thatched and mud-covered, and over the mud is 
laid straw, upon which often grows moss, so that 
a peasant's hut, crowned with green-growing 
moss, is a frequent picturesque addition to the 
landscape. In Russia the peasants' houses have 
scarcely any decoration. In Galicia there is an 
attempt at art. The painting is generally crude, 
but occasionally there is some decoration evi- 
dently intended, though its meaning is very dif- 
ficult to decipher. In one instance, however, this 
decoration has a special, deliberate significance. 
When there is a marriageable daughter in the 
house, the lintel of the door and the window sur- 
roundings are ornamented with little irregular 
bands and rude, conventionalised designs of 
colour, which is a sign to the marriageable young 
man that inside, if he will, he may find a wife. 

The interior of the house is usually divided 
into two rooms, in most cases separated by the 
main entrance. In one room the whole family 
live, eat, and sleep ; in the other, dwelling in more 
or less noisy contentment, are the cows, pigs, 
geese, and chickens. The great brick or stone 
stove is the most conspicuous feature of the in- 
terior. It frequently serves as a bed during the 
cold winter nights. 

235 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

The peasant lives simply. The vegetables 
that he raises in his garden furnish all his food, 
except on holidays and at weddings, when he 
permits himself a bit of meat. Potatoes are his 
great staple, but he is also fond of cabbage, beets, 
and beans, and he occasionally grows some corn. 
Of the cabbage he makes soups and pressed 
cakes. He has also a thick grain porridge, known 
as kaszia, and he likes especially a soup made of 
red beets and known as barszcz. This is really 
excellent. Most of his produce he uses himself, 
but some he sells in the city markets. 

In summer he usually dresses in a thin linen 
shirt and trousers, home-made, and to this, in 
winter, he adds a sheepskin coat or serdak, with 
the fleece turned inside. He goes barefooted most 
of the time, and frequently bareheaded, also, al- 
though he likes to wear an old battered felt hat. 

And the women! What a medley of colour! 
Red, yellow, blue, green, silver, and gold, with 
laces and coral about the neck or in the hair. 
The patterns and styles defy description. Some 
of the girls are handsome enough for a painting. 
The gorali, or mountain peasants of the Carpa- 
thians, have a particularly picturesque dress, and 
the simple yet impressive dignity of their car- 
riage adds greatly to their picturesqueness. 
These grfrali are straight, tall, and lithe, with 
swarthy complexions and straight hair, which 
makes them strongly resemble the North Ameri- 

286 




H S 

O a 

W o 

w 

< 



o 

i— ( gj 

o a 

g 0> 

w to 

s a 



CO «S 

Oh d 

©■§ 

oa 3 

a « 

>* <1) 
P 



THE POLISH PEASANT 

can Indian type. Such costumes! You will no- 
tice many a handsome fellow tramping along the 
road, his long white cloak partly drawn together 
over his shoulders and held by a coloured ribbon 
across the chest. He knows he is good-looking, 
but his is such a clean, clear-eyed, manly, and 
contented type that you quite forgive him for the 
touch of vanity. 

Many of the women have the dark, rich Slav 
type of beauty. But they age very quickly, and 
soon become withered old crones. One of these 
young women, clad in her tight-fitting black velvet 
bodice, richly ornamented, with her headkerchief 
of brilliant parti-coloured silk, is a sight for a 
Titian. She is accustomed to go barefooted, even 
on the way to church. But on this occasion she 
carries over her shoulder her heavy black top- 
boots, with their curious*, small, high French 
heels, and, on entering the church, she puts them 
on. Why should she wear them out unnecessa- 
rily, when her feet are used to the stones of the 
mountain road? She frequently wears a red 
coral necklace that costs up in the hundreds of 
dollars, and she has been known to have her 
whole dowry in this neck ornament. 

There is an inborn courtesy and poetic sensi- 
bility about these children of nature that is 
very beautiful. When a peasant meets you he 
always removes his hat and says : " Nech bendie 
pochwalony Jezus Cforystus." (" Blessed be the 

237 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

Lord Jesus Christ") The reply is: " Na wiek i 
wiek6w." . ("For ages and ages.") 

Since the middle of the past century the cor- 
vee, or task work, has been abolished in Poland, 
and from that time the work of the peasants on 
the estates has been the result of a free contract. 
Their relations to the nobility and estate pro- 
prietors are generally good and helpful. In gen- 
eral, the peasants are well treated, and they know 
it. Some of the proprietors complain that they 
are losing their old-time respectful manners, and, 
with the modern ideas of democracy, are acquir- 
ing an offensive manner of independence. This 
is, perhaps, more noticeable in Galicia than 
elsewhere. 

Peasant village life is simple and regular. The 
head man, known as the wo*jt, is a sort of justice 
of the peace and president of the council com- 
bined. He is selected by the peasants themselves, 
and is looked to by the higher authorities as the 
responsible man in the community. Each peas- 
ant owns a bit of land. The holdings are divided 
up among the children of the household, and this 
tends to make them smaller with each succeed- 
ing generation. Some holdings, however, are 
still comparatively large — twelve morg, or about 
twenty-four acres, being not uncommon. The 
few who are without their own piece of 
ground are called kormorniki (from komora — 
room). They have to room with strangers, and 

238 



THE POLISH PEASANT 

are looked down upon by the other peasants. 
Their greatest wish is to have their own bit of 
land, and nothing can make up for the lack of 
it — not even money. 

The lot of the women is hard. As among all 
original Slav races, the Polish woman of the 
lower classes has not yet emerged from the physi- 
cal and mental slavery of former ages. Among 
the Polish peasants, as among the Russians, she 
is valued chiefly for the work she can do and for 
the number of children she can bear. What little 
freedom and happiness she has ceases after mar- 
riage, and a peasant woman, old, stooped, and 
haggard at twenty, with a heavy, stupid child in 
her arms, wearily tramping the muddy road of 
some village, or driving the cows afield in the 
pelting rain, is a sight to personify " dull care," 
a typical " woman with the hoe." There are a 
few bright spots in her life; at least one bright 
spot, and that is the day upon which she marries. 
She is wooed with much the same ardour as is 
her more favoured sister. Perhaps her husband 
really does love her, but, if he does, he certainly 
shows it in a queer way. 

A wedding among the Krakowiaks — peasants 
of the vicinity of Cracow — is a very picturesque 
ceremony. I remember one very pretty occasion 
which is worth describing. Early one morning 
there was a great ringing of bells and clatter 
of horsehoofs in front of the manor house. 

239 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

Investigation revealed four tall, handsome peas- 
ant boys, mounted on spirited chargers, dressed 
in gorgeous costumes of red and black, with hats 
decorated fantastically with peacock plumes. 
These were the best men, or " druzboVie," who 
had come to invite the young ladies of the manor 
to the wedding. It was decided that we should 
all go, as this is customary among the Poles. 

On our way to the country church where the 
ceremony was to be performed we passed the 
thatched home of the bride-to-be, around which 
was gathered the whole village, in gala attire, 
some on horseback, some standing in groups on 
the road, others in doorways, while laughter, 
singing, and bell-ringing were heard on every 
side. The sister of the bride, in her rainbow- 
coloured costume, came running out, her face all 
wreathed in smiles, holding a bottle of wine in 
one hand and a glass in the other. We must 
drink the bride's health. It seemed like a scene 
out of a play. By the side of the carriage the 
peasant band played its merriest tunes, while 
the bride and her whole family knelt and kissed 
the hands of the party from the manor. One 
young peasant boy begged for the honour of 
climbing up by the coachman, and once installed 
there, enlivened the rest of the drive by singing 
at the top of his fresh young voice all the songs 
he could think of. The old custom of bearing 
away the bride still persists. This one was 

240 



THE POLISH PEASANT 

seized by the groom's people and bundled into 
her carriage (a rough basket affair), all the 
while bathed in tears — that is, she pretended to 
be. It is, of course, one of the forms of etiquette 
for a bride to cry. The whole cavalcade then 
moved on with two of the " best men " preceding 
and two bringing up the rear. What a clatter 
we made! 

After the church ceremony, which was very 
simple, and during which we sat in the one pew 
while the peasants knelt with bowed heads on 
the floor, we drove again to the bride's home. 
She would have it that we enter for a few mo- 
ments. In the scrupulously clean living-rooms 
we again drank the health of the newly-married 
pair, and then adjourned to the next room, where 
the band was playing, and the space cleared for 
dancing. Everything seemed perfectly natural 
to the Poles present, but my surprise may be im- 
agined when four gaily-dressed peasant youths 
came up and bowed to the young ladies of the 
estate, asking for the honour of a dance. It was 
impossible to refuse, as the peasant knights were 
models of grace and respect. This is an accepted 
custom. When a peasant marriage takes place 
the master of the village and the young ladies of 
the manor are invited to attend the dance. The 
gentleman of the house always dances with the 
bride, and the ladies with the peasant men. 

After the dance our carriage was escorted 

241 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

home, and in the afternoon the newly-married 
pair, with the best men and the bridegroom, came 
to receive the best wishes of the estate and to 
have their photographs taken. 

These peasants are never really common, and, 
even when brought in close touch with them, 
there is no coarseness or vulgarity to be noticed. 
They have no slang in their language — until they 
come to America — and they are even poetical in 
some of their expressions. 

Harvest is the gala time of the year. There is 
fulness and plenty and happiness everywhere, 
and this is shown even in the customs of the 
fields. In Ruthenia they have a very pretty and 
picturesque way of celebrating " harvest home." 
After the wheat or rye has been gathered in, the 
reapers, by vote, pick out the prettiest girl among 
them. They all twine a wreath of flowers and 
put it on her head. She is given two brides- 
maids, who are also decked with flowers, and the 
whole company marches to the manor, singing 
and merrymaking. There the lady of the house 
takes the wreath from the girl's head, gives her 
a piece of money, and all go off, singing, to the 
village inn, where, by the munificence of the gen- 
tleman, they partake of liquid refreshments to 
their hearts' content. 

The Polish peasant is not exactly bright intel- 
lectually. What peasant is? He is slow in 
thought, but far from being a clod like his Rus- 

242 



THE POLISH PEASANT 

sian brother. The Polish peasant gets a little 
schooling, and the upper classes are now bend- 
ing their energies to give him more, recognising 
the fact that, if the peasant is the nation's hope, 
it is a better investment for the future to make 
him worthy of the great task and opportunity 
before him than to give large and indiscriminate 
gifts to charity. In Kussia it has been a penal 
offence to teach a Polish peasant anything in 
Polish, and many difficulties have been put in the 
way of teaching him anything at all, in any 
language. In Prussia he may be taught, but, as 
the instruction must be in German, the poor 
peasant, who has scarcely enough natural capac- 
ity to grasp the elements of his own tongue, learns 
but very little when abstruse subjects are pre- 
sented to him in a language of which he is en- 
tirely ignorant. 

In Galicia attempts are made to give him 
systematic instruction. Of religious training 
and drill he receives a great deal. While in 
Zbaraz I visited a school for peasant children. 
Its sessions were held in a rustic little one-room 
building with the conventional thatched roof. 
The walls of this room, instead of being hung 
with geographical maps, charts, and other educa- 
tional paraphernalia, were almost literally 
covered with portraits of Kaiser Franz Joseph, 
the late Kaiserin Elizabeth and Prince Rudolph, 
and many different varieties of Catholic religious 

243 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

pictures. Sprigs of evergreen and little bunches 
of field flowers gave a natural country air to the 
place. The room, which was, perhaps, fifty by 
fifty feet, contained one hundred and fifty-one 
scholars, boys and girls, Polish and Ruthenian, 
crowded so closely that one benchful in front 
had to sit down all together, else all could not 
have found room. 

The youngsters were from three to twelve years 
of age, all barefoot and bareheaded, the boys in 
long, baggy, mud-colored linen shirt and trou- 
sers, the girls in the most brilliant of colours. 
The best pupils were called up to stand in the 
front row for examination. The village priest, 
who was the teacher, made them recite the cate- 
chism for my benefit, which they did in the most 
sing-song and unintelligible fashion. Each one 
joined in the responses, in his native tongue, re- 
gardless of the effect of the chorus. They re- 
cited verses from the saints, and then had some 
practice in mental arithmetic. Finally, for my 
especial benefit, the prize scholar was asked 
where was America. He hesitated a moment, 
then said he did not know, except that it was far 
off, and that it was the country to which good 
Polish boys went when they died. A number 
of small religious pictures and prayer-books 
were distributed to the bright boys as prizes, and 
coral wreaths and rosaries to the girls, and the 
session was over. 

244 



THE POLISH PEASANT 

The vital, characteristic fact of the peasant's 
life is his religion. He is perhaps the most de- 
vout peasant in the world, and, beyond a doubt, 
is the most faithful of all the adherents of the 
Church of Rome. Once or twice during his life- 
time he makes a pilgrimage to some sacred shrine, 
such as Czenstochowa or Kalwarya. 

Most of the legends and general folklore of the 
peasant are religious in character. Almost all 
of these quaint and beautiful stories have their 
origin in his love and reverence for the Blessed 
Virgin, around whose personality cluster hun- 
dreds of parables and stories full of a poetic 
fancy and devotional beauty, gathering up in 
them all the ideals of goodness, love, mercy, and 
womanly tenderness to which the peasant mind 
could rise. Matka Boska, the Mother of God, 
as the peasants affectionately call her, is the 
refuge, the protector, the ideal of all that is 
beautiful and holy. Once, in the far-off ages, 
say the peasants, God was lonesome in heaven. 
There was no one with whom the great Creator 
could speak, and so, out of the lily, he created 
something more beautiful even than that flower, 
and called it Matka Boska. 

A few of these legends of the Virgin have been 
collected and published in book form. " The 
Last Blades of Wheat " is one of the most beauti- 
ful and typical of these. It is the peasant's story 
of the flood. The Golden Age, he holds, was 

245 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

when grain sowed itself and brought forth a hun- 
dredfold. In that age everything that grew 
was larger and more beautiful than anything 
to-day. But mankind was very wicked! God's 
blessing made them proud. They grew worse 
and worse, until God determined to destroy them 
He swore that all alive should be swept from the 
earth and no grain should remain, not even one 
kernel for seed. Then He smote a great cloud, 
and it burst and descended in a flood upon the 
earth, and for forty days no land appeared. But 
the Blessed Virgin looked with pity on suffering 
humankind, and interceded for man. She de- 
scended to earth, to the flooded fields, hovered 
over the waste of waters, and gathered here and 
there stray blades of wheat, looking to heaven 
all the while, and pleading, " Only this, Lord 
God, spare only this." The Almighty Father, 
the peasants say, could never refuse anything to 
the mother of His Son. So He waved His al- 
mighty hand, and the sky became clear, the floods 
abated, and the grain that the Blessed Virgin had 
saved from the flood remained as seed for man- 
kind. 

In winter, also, the Virgin is the protector and 
hope of the poor peasant. On the bleak Lithua- 
nian plains the wolves would quite destroy the 
little peasant villages were it not that Saint 
Michael scatters them so that they never attack 
in large numbers. Yet even his aid is not al- 

246 




a 



H 


► 


as 


S-i 

0) 


3 


CO 


DO 

< 


fcX) 
| 


w 


9 


H. 


(h 




Q 


H 


i 


a 


>> 


H 


crt 




■d 


In 


a 


n 


p 




BD 


2 


rt 


o 




3 


3 




M 


_i 


a 


a 


3 


a 


9 


H 


a 


X 


» 


H 


o 




L 




o 




► 




o 




a 




< 



THE POLISH PEASANT 

ways sufficient Sometimes, in the biting winter, 
these hungry beasts come upon a sleeping village 
with horrible growlings. But when Saint 
Michael fails, then Panienka Swienta (the Holy 
Maiden) comes to the rescue. Holding a candle 
with its flame downward toward the angry 
beasts, she frightens them until they slink away 
to their forest dens. When the peasant awakes, 
during the bleak winter nights, and hears near 
his village the howling of the wolves, he fears 
not, but nestles deeper in his sheepskin, murmur- 
ing the prayer, " In Thy care, O Mary." Every 
February he celebrates Gromnice, or the Feast 
of Candles, in honor of this deliverance. 



247 



XIV 

THE PATHETIC OUTCAST OF THE 
AGES 

WHEN some literary historian of the fu- 
ture writes the story of decisive loves 
that have influenced the history of 
nations, he will find material for at least one 
strong and picturesque chapter in Poland. 

Half a thousand years ago the Polish King 
Kazimierz the Great fell in love with a beautiful 
Jewess. About all that we know of her is that 
she was very beautiful, and that, for love of her, 
the King permitted the Jews — then hated and 
despised nomads in all Europe — to enter and 
make their home in Poland. One can imagine 
the love of this king when viewing the once splen- 
did building in Cracow erected by him as a pal- 
ace for Esther. From this palace, however, it is 
but a step to the " Kazimierz " of the city (which 
perpetuates the name of this same monarch), the 
section where the Jews congregate, and which is 
a typical ghetto. There you have the whole Jew- 
ish question before you. 

The Jew is such a large factor in Polish na- 
tional life that in speaking of Poland one must, 

248 



THE PATHETIC OUTCAST OF THE AGES 

perforce, consider him rather at length. I saw 
him in almost every condition and occupation, 
excepting only his private family life. It is ex- 
tremely difficult for a stranger to enter into this 
life. Therefore, it is with much regret that I am 
unable to speak, from first-hand knowledge, of 
that phase of Jewish life which is, beyond a 
doubt, most attractive and exemplary. The tes- 
timony to the temperance, restraint, frugality, 
and family pride of the Jew is universal. 

There are three millions of Polish Jews, more 
than half of that number being in Kussian Po- 
land. It is a mistake to look upon these as in- 
truders into the Slav Empire. The Jew really 
counts among its earliest inhabitants. Soon 
after the Asiatic conquests of Alexander the 
Great many Jews emigrated to the principal 
Greek communities of the Crimea and shared in 
their commercial prosperity. This first immi- 
gration probably brought the Jews into what is 
now Slavonic country. 

Historians do not agree upon the date of the 
first Jewish immigration into Poland. It is cer- 
tain, however, that, in the middle of the 11th 
century, when Mieczyslaw III. was king, great 
numbers of Hebrews, driven from Germany by 
the Crusades, came to Poland. An earlier im- 
migration from South Russia is sometimes cited, 
even as early as the 9th century. Since the 11th 
century, however, Poland has been looked upon 

249 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

by the Jews as their temporary home during the 
days of their exile. The best indication of their 
influence and prosperity in Poland during the 
12th century is the fact that almost all Polish 
coins of that period bear inscriptions in Hebrew 
characters. Moreover, one of the earliest figures 
of Polish history was a Jew — Abraham Prochow- 
nik — who minted these coins and who picked out 
the first Piast as Polish king. 

During the Middle Ages the Jews formed the 
commercial or bourgeois class in all Slav coun- 
tries. Then it was that they — with Germans and 
a few other foreigners — began to monopolise the 
business of the country, a monopoly they held till 
quite recent times. Among people who are ex- 
treme in temperament and racial constitution 
like the Slavs, who, up to within the memory of 
those now living, were either nobles or peasants, 
and who scorned trade, the Jews constituted that 
middle class which is the backbone of all nations. 
Not realising the value of this element in their 
national life, the Poles and Russians hated the 
Jew, and even to-day it is his commercial suc- 
cess, his shrewdness in finance, which is the prin- 
cipal count against him. 

The Polish Jew has not been without patriot- 
ism. In his famous poem, " Pan Tadeusz," the 
Polish poet Mickiewicz heartily praises the pa- 
triotic Jew Jankel. The Jew indeed has rendered 
splendid service in Poland in many critical mo- 

250 



THE PATHETIC OUTCAST OF THE AGES 

ments in her history. A whole cavalry regiment 
of Jews fought under Kosciuszko in 1794, and, 
after distinguishing themselves, were killed al- 
most to a man by Suwarow at Praga in defence 
of Warsaw. It was only later, when, largely be- 
cause of persecution, or because other avenues of 
usefulness had been closed to him, that the Jew 
became a money-changer, a " factor " on the large 
estates, with the demoralisation which such a 
calling inevitably entailed. The intelligent Polish 
Jews, to-day, mainly class themselves with the 
liberals, who are indifferent in religious matters, 
or anti-clerical. " We have come to consider our- 
selves Poles rather than Jews, and many of us 
would become Catholics — for Catholicism and 
the national spirit are in many ways identical — 
only that we think that by remaining Jews we 
can exercise an influence on the uncultivated 
masses and guide them into Polish national chan- 
nels. All the Jew wants is to profit by modern 
progress in his own way, and not to give up his 
national individuality — at least not immedi- 
ately — in order to benefit by the progress made 
by civilisation. As an ideal, we hope for the final 
absorption of the Jews of Poland into the Polish 
nationality." 

And yet, when everything possible has been said 
in his favour, the Jew remains one of the great 
problems of Poland. Of course, when he abjures 
the customs and traditions of his people, he be- 

251 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

comes, to all intents and purposes, a Pole, and 
is, in that case, quite able to take care of himself 
intellectually and in other lines of life's activi- 
ties. He goes into the learned professions and 
distinguishes himself. He masters politics, and, 
where anti-Semitism is not too rabid, he proves 
that he can hold his own in any office. How rap- 
idly, under other skies and when given " half a 
chance," he becomes a different being, Americans 
can see in all their great cities every day. 

In America, the Polish Jew, as we see him in 
the ghettos of our great cities, a new importation, 
is the most unsavoury, most repellent of his kind, 
but he is infinitely dirtier and more repellent 
in Europe, particularly in his home in Poland, 
in the squalid, wretched villages on the Russian 
plains, in the " Kazimierz " of Cracow, or hud- 
dled in the Jewish quarter of Warsaw. No one 
wants his company. He separates himself from 
the world and the world widens the separation. 

" The Jew is really not to blame for this sep- 
aratism. Accidents of history, fatal to him, have 
caused it The feudal system of the Middle Ages 
surrounded him with a wall of contempt and 
isolation. On the one hand, the social conditions 
and theories of the period made him a caste apart, 
a caste of merchants and middlemen; on the 
other, religious hatred persecuted and tortured 
him with all the cruelties that human inventive- 
ness could conceive. He was obliged to engage 

252 



THE PATHETIC OUTCAST OF THE AGES 

in commerce and usury, and, as the theories of 
the times, most clearly expressed in the doctrines 
of the Fathers of the Church, held all commerce 
in contempt, he bore the odium of a calling which 
he was forced to adopt. In western Europe fa- 
naticism and ignorance pursued him until the 
end of the 18th century. In Poland he was more 
fortunate for some time, because he was not, as 
in other countries, the property of the kings, but 
formed a separate people, enjoying a liberal 
autonomy." 

The Polish Jew, thanks to the inhuman laws of 
Russia closing most of the honourable careers 
and vocations to him, has lost nearly all the pas- 
toral, agricultural instincts of his race. You 
rarely see him working in the fields. You may 
find him (or, more properly, her) in a cotton 
factory in L6dz ; you may find him a painter or a 
low-class mechanic. But he is essentially and 
almost always a middleman. It is not so much 
the business he does himself ; it is the vast amount 
that is done through him. He sells everything 
to everybody. In countries where a number of 
languages are spoken he is the only one who 
takes the trouble to learn several; consequently 
he is the necessary interpreter, although his 
services are always rendered under difficulties 
and are usually expensive. 

My first real experience with the Slavonic Jew 
was during my trip to Kamieniec, from Austria, 

253 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

over the steppes of Podolia. A Russian Jew, a 
bent, sallow, long-bearded, beady-eyed old fellow, 
volunteered to help me. As I knew no Russian 
and the border officials knew no English, French, 
or German, I was reluctantly compelled to ac- 
cept his assistance. He spoke a vile German, a 
jargon full of so many uncouth " foreignised " 
words that I had to tell him three times, in my 
best Viennese, what I wanted before he under- 
stood me. His Russian was evidently as bad, or 
worse, for he had to repeat my message three or 
four times before the frontier official could com- 
prehend him. But, in return, I gave him enough, 
I doubt not, to keep him for a month. For the 
Jew is generally wretchedly poor. This tattered, 
venerable Israelite who drove me to Kamieniec 
had a wife and five children to support, he told 
me, and yet he received only a ruble and a half 
(75 cents) a week for driving. 

I saw the Polish Jew at home first in Cracow. 
The street known as the " Kazimierz " is one of 
the extraordinary sights of the world. Quite late 
in the morning — for in Poland the Jew is not an 
early riser — down come the shutters and open 
come the doors and windows, and the stooped, 
sallow brood come forth. The Polish Jew is not 
a healthy individual ; he even looks consumptive, 
in striking contrast to the red-cheeked, vigorous 
peasant. Dirt, poverty, and the physical and 
moral degradation of his life in the ghetto have 

254 







>» 




cS 




s- 




ft 


GO 


-/. 


W 


.d 





-t-> 


< 


as 




CO 


H 


— ' 


a 




H 


Q) 


O 


0> 

-t-> 


H 


O 


in 




3 


U 


u 


3 


C 


bO 


P 


tn 


o 


a> 


o 


e 






H 




H 


i* 


a 


»-5 


H 




< 


— 


PL, 






o 


w 


0. 


K 


a> 


rn 


J3 

-t-> 




<w 




O 




03 




a; 




a 




>> 




H 



THE PATHETIC OUTCAST OF THE AGES 

made him a very pitiable object. He keeps him- 
self peculiar by his dress. He wears his Israel- 
itish gaberdine, or long, black coat, which he 
calls halat, reaching nearly to the ground, tightly 
buttoned even in the days of July. What he 
wears underneath, if anything, is not known! 
His boots are high and generally carefully 
blacked. In Russia they are well greased. He 
wears a felt hat underneath which, covering his 
shaven head, is a black skull-cap. He always 
has a long beard and, when permitted, side curls. 
If Moses and Abraham were not Polish Jews, 
there is a remarkable coincidence between the 
old Bible pictures and the modern type. In Ga- 
licia the side curls reach their climax in two, 
which are his special pride, one at each side of 
his temple. These pendants (tire-buchons, cork- 
screws, the French call them) he treasures as 
the apple of his eye. Watch him as he saunters 
along the streets of Cracow in the evening, lightly 
brandishing his little stick. He winds these curls 
lovingly about his finger, anointing them fre- 
quently with copious applications of saliva. In 
Russia an imperial ukase forbids these cork- 
screws. The women wear a turban, formed of a 
handkerchief, and many of them would be beau- 
tiful if they were not ragged and dirty. If you 
walk through the " Kazimierz," you will find that 
the denizen of this section of the city is very in- 
quisitive, and will even address you, uninvited, 

255 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

with some inquiry as to your destination, some 
remark as to your wishes, your person, or your 
general well-being. If you speak in reply, he 
drops at once his ear of curiosity and puts on a 
cunning servility which scents Geschaft. This 
servile air has become part of him. I have seen 
him when summoned by an impecunious aristo- 
crat who wished to borrow money, stand outside 
the manor house, hat in hand, humbly begging 
the master for permission to kiss his hand. 

In Galicia he is not kept down as severely as 
in Kussia, yet even here his hand is against every 
man and every man's hand against him. He is 
jostled and hooted at in the streets, and his life 
is made miserable by peasant and aristocrat 
alike. 

The Jew of Lemberg is as neglected, but, per- 
haps, a bit more enterprising than his brother of 
Cracow. Almost half of the population (35,000) 
of Tarnopol are Jews, and the Jew market in this 
city is the most unsavoury place I ever saw. The 
poor Tarnopol Hebrew is the sport of the town. 
The young gymnasium student considers it great 
fun to raise a riot by " running amuck " in the 
Jewish quarter. With a large stick he will beat 
every Hebrew head he can see, and then get out 
of the way as rapidly as his legs can carry him. 
Cries of "Ai vai, ai vai," the Hebrew wail, 
and maledictions in mongrel Polish, and then 
patient servility again. Always a sport and a 

250 



THE PATHETIC OUTCAST OF THE AGES 

jest, always a thing to be hunted, always an 
Isaac of York ! 

It must also be said that the Jew is almost al- 
ways law-abiding and peaceable, and asks only to 
be let alone. It is probably true that wealthy 
Jews provide the active revolutionists in Eussia 
with money, particularly during the late crisis. 
The Jewish revolutionary organisation, the 
Bund, undoubtedly does so. That is not suf- 
ficient reason, however, why the soldiers should 
invade the shops of the ghetto of Warsaw, and, 
under the excuse of searching for firearms and 
prohibited literature, toss everything about in 
wanton destruction and destroy most of the 
stock, while the Jew crouches on one side, dumb 
with terror. Many of these cowering old He- 
brews have no other politics than to be left in 
quiet to make a scanty livelihood by barter. Dur- 
ing a riot young Jews are rounded up by the sol- 
diers as ranchmen round up cattle. Despite 
centuries of opposition, the Jew remains uncom- 
promisingly orthodox, and this, perhaps, is one 
of the reasons for the hatred against him. He is 
certainly religious, according to the letter of the 
law. His family life is usually morally pure and 
founded on filial duty, respect for women, and 
the observance of religious traditions. In these 
matters he has stood as an exemplar even to the 
Poles. 

On the border between Austria and Russia, 

257 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

particularly in the South, the Jew is very much 
in evidence, and is really indispensable to trav- 
ellers in crossing the frontier, because of his 
knowledge of several languages, and also because 
he controls the means of local transportation. 
Many kinds and great numbers of him are always 
on the border. The Austrian Jew is not permit- 
ted to drive you into Russia (that is, to any dis- 
tance), nor is the Russian Jew allowed to come 
over the border to get you — for more than a short 
space. 

At Husiatyn, the last railroad station at the 
point I crossed in Austria, I had to hire one Jew 
just to take me over the border. Immediately 
on entering Russia he consigned me to another. 
The first man, with the ineradicable racial eye to 
business, contrived to be so long about matters 
that it was well into the afternoon before I could 
start. Of course, therefore, I must stop at his 
hotel, u fur Mittagessen und Schlafen." 

It was a fairly decent room, and the walls wore 
covered with Catholic religious pictures, out of a 
businesslike deference, I presume, to the prob- 
able faith of the bulk of the patrons. I also no- 
ticed a seductive advertisement of a steamship 
company, setting forth, in several languages, the 
claims of America as " the promised land." The 
agents of steamship companies will have a great 
deal to answer for some day, and neither the 
poor Jew whom they have deceived nor the Amer- 

258 



THE PATHETIC OUTCAST OF THE AGES 

ican upon whom has been thrust a most puzzling 
factor in his social problem, will, if consulted, 
make it any easier for them. 

From this hotel a Jewish cocher, in the employ 
of the first man, drove me across the border at 
Husiatyn. The dividing line between the do- 
mains of Austrian Kaiser and Russian Tzar at 
this point is a small stream, spanned by a rather 
rickety wooden bridge, with a white line drawn 
in the centre. As I waited patiently, seated in 
the droshky on the bridge, for the seemingly end- 
less formalities before entering Russia, I noted 
the long line of vehicles — lumber teams, landaus, 
fiacres, droshkies — all driven by Jews, who 
sighed and swore and smoked their long, thin 
cigarettes, while the imperturbable, white-uni- 
formed Russian officials examined the passports. 
Contemptuous is the only adjective to apply to 
the treatment accorded to the Jew all over Rus- 
sia. He exists only by sufferance, and even that 
sufferance he does not obtain in all sections of 
the Empire. 

Once across the border and in the customhouse 
at Husiatyn, this contempt became unmistak- 
able. A tall, thin Jew, his passport book in his 
hand, stalked into the room where I was opening 
my baggage. A gendarme grabbed him at once, 
tore open his long coat, ran his hands roughly, 
even insultingly, through the clothes, boots, and 
hair of his victim. He found nothing contra- 

259 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

band, and the Jew was permitted to leave, which 
he did, with a look of such patient servility, min- 
gled with so much, only ill-concealed, hatred on 
his face that I positively shuddered. I saw this 
same Jew afterward at a little distance from the 
village when I had started for my long drive in- 
land. He told me in his uncouth tongue, partly 
German, partly Hebrew, that the Jews who did 
business across the border by transporting mer- 
chandise or conducting travellers were regularly 
submitted to this insulting examination, and bled 
for a large proportion of their slender income by 
the officials. Sometimes they are forced to give 
up business entirely, owing to interference on 
the part of the police, who accuse them of smug- 
gling. Taciturn and patient, the venerable Jew 
who drove me from the border to Kamieniec was 
the very embodiment of suffering and oppression. 
Whenever I addressed him he started fearfully, 
as though detected in a crime, and replied with 
such a mournful resignation of tone that it was 
uncanny and pitiful. 

There was some trouble in Kussian Husiatyn 
as I drove out. Some Jews were objecting to 
being driven somewhere by a gendarme. A mes- 
sage was sent to the Kaserne (barracks), and 
presently a squad of Cossacks rode up, and soon 
" persuaded " the poor wretches with their whips. 
One of them — I afterward learned — died of the 
beating received. Four or five hundred Cossacks, 

260 



THE PATHETIC OUTCAST OF THE AGES 

in full war equipment, filed out of the town soon 
afterward, mounted on wiry little ponies. 
" Where are they going? " I asked my conductor. 
He shuddered and looked fearfully behind him. 
" Don't ask me," he trembled. 

Squalid and wretched beyond description are 
the villages — Jewish and Russian alike — along 
that road across the plains. They are all alike — 
one street — just one — one wooden or mud house 
leaning against the other, and a great mud- 
puddle in the centre, in which geese, pigs, and 
babies swim, and horses are watered. Put in an 
ox-team or two, clouds of dust, or a sea of mud, 
according to the season, a dozen or so slatternly 
women gossiping — and you have a typical Rus- 
sian village of the plains. Most of these are full 
of Jews. They act as innkeepers, and will stable 
your horses and attend to your own gastronomic 
wants, all for, perhaps, thirty kopecks, that is, 
fifteen cents. 

The Jew literally swarms all along the border 
between Russia and her western neighbours. 
This makes Austria, in particular, very nervous. 
Despite the fifty-verst law * Russia has been 
gradually pushing her Hebrew population toward 
the Austrian frontier, till to-day the Jew forms 
the bulk of the inhabitants of border towns, espe- 
cially the great railroad centres. What is to 

* Jews are forbidden, by Russian law, to live within fifty 
versts (about thirty-three miles) of the border. 

261 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

prevent this " pushing " being carried farther, 
indeed quite across the frontier, where there are 
already many more of this despised nationality 
than the unhappy Austrian government knows 
how to manage? There are other causes than 
pure philanthropy for the Baron de Hirsch, 
South American, and Holy Land colonisation 
schemes. They would provide a much-needed 
outlet for Russia's and Austria's unwelcome 
Hebrew population. 

The Jew is permitted by imperial law to live in 
certain sections of the Russian Empire — the 
" Pale," as it is called — but he may not, under 
pain of exile and imprisonment, live in any other. 
This " Pale of Jewish Settlement " comprises the 
ten ancient provinces of Poland and fifteen of the 
fifty " governments " constituting Russia proper. 
All these districts are located in the west of the 
Empire, and with the exception of the southeast- 
ern section, are not very fertile, so that the Jew 
has but little chance to cultivate the soil. He is 
crowded into the cities. The Pale, in fact, is one 
vast ghetto. 

The government of Warsaw is one of the sec- 
tions in which the Jew may live. While I was in 
the Polish metropolis, 10,000 Jews, not wanted 
in Moscow, were unceremoniously chased — so 
report said — to Warsaw. At any rate, I saw 
hordes of them entering the city, in small compa- 
nies, on foot, with great packs on their backs, and 

262 



THE PATHETIC OUTCAST OF THE AGES 

accompanied by an army of children, all dirty, 
weary, and fearful, like hunted animals. The 
Warsaw Jew has a large section of the city ex- 
clusively to himself, a city within a city, a city 
of rabbit-warrens, in which the transaction of a 
vast amount of business with his own kind and 
with the Gentiles often makes him rich. He 
rises frequently to commercial and intellectual 
eminence in the city, and sometimes to social dis- 
tinction. One of the cleverest, most personally 
beautiful and attractive women I met in War- 
saw, one of the editors of a leading newspaper, 
was a Jewess. Many of the editors and leaders 
of political thought are Jews. 

To the unprejudiced student and observer, it 
seems plain that the Polish Jew, with all his 
actual evil and his potential good, is just what 
centuries of persecution and oppression have 
made him. Where he has not had isolation forced 
on him, he has proven his marvellous adaptabil- 
ity to almost every kind of surroundings. Yet 
it is his racial solidarity which is opposed, and 
his isolation is often self-sought. His position 
in the world is a tremendous problem, and the 
centuries have furnished no real clue to its solu- 
tion. One thing is certain : the campaign of anti- 
Semitism as waged in Europe to-day will never 
solve it. 

" That silent, defenceless army, though always 
defeated, never loses, never flinches, nor turns 

263 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

back, no matter how strong the fortress or how 
large the garrison arrayed against it. Always 
suffering, it is ever victorious; physically cow- 
ardly, it never flinches; but, gathering up its 
scattered forces, stands shoulder to shoulder and 
man to man, vanquished by all, yet seeing all its 
conquerors, proud kingdoms and mighty empires 
though they be, crumble into forgotten dust, 
whilst it rises once more with eternal suffering 
and untiring patience, with a mixture of fear and 
valour, humility and arrogance, to confront 
younger nations with its insoluble problem." 



264 



XV 

POLISH MUSIC AND THE SLAV 
TEMPERAMENT 

WHY has all history shown that music, 
the finest, most exquisite of the arts, is 
so often the sweetness distilled from 
suffering? Why has its most subtle development 
always come from the races that have suffered, 
from the peoples that have been oppressed even 
until they have lost their national existence? 
Why is despair the dominant note of the Slav 
temperament, as it is bodied forth in art? We 
must go far back to even attempt an answer. 

Nature and history have combined to draw the 
Slav soul tense. Happiness and variety of life 
are very desirable, but they seldom breed artists, 
or exquisite temperaments of any kind. Monot- 
ony was on the face of nature when she turned 
it to the Slav. Severity was the mood in which 
history has always regarded him. And he has 
responded by tuning all his art, and particularly 
his music, to the "heights and depths of a di- 
vine despair." 

• As-tu reflechi combien nous sommes organists 
pour le malheur? " wrote Flaubert to George 

265 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

Sand. " Beauty in its highest form invariably 
moves the sensitive soul to tears," said Edgar 
Poe. " Virtue, like sweet odours," declared d'ls- 
raeli, " is most fragrant when crushed." These 
thoughts were uttered at about the same time, 
and, together, they furnish a vignette picture of 
the Slav temperament 

Melancholy and sadness have ever been the 
portion of the Slav. Even when he is gay the 
effort is often evident. The country in which 
he lived originally, and in which so many of his 
race still live, is not cheerful. There is much 
snow in winter, and even in summer most of the 
colouring is dull. Dun, neutral tints cover the 
face of the landscape on the plains, the home of 
the race. Where there is colour, it is not varied. 
A pine forest in Lithuania, the neutral reds and 
browns stretching unbroken for many miles, is 
one of the most beautiful but maddeningly monot- 
onous of sights. The whole landscape in Russia 
and in the greater part of ancient Poland (ex- 
cepting always the border mountains) is lacking 
in relief and character. The only vivid colouring 
is on the dress of the peasants, who seem to try 
to supply by art and handicraft what nature has 
withheld. The vast, treeless, gently undulating 
plains involuntarily make one sad. The eye 
glides over seemingly infinite spaces like the 
wastes of the ocean, which lose themselves on the 
horizon. Where does the earth end and the sky 

266 



MUSIC AND THE SLAV TEMPERAMENT 

begin? No landmark rests the eye; no hill, and, 
for many miles, no tree. The mind is overcome 
by a vague feeling of unrest. Involuntarily, it 
seemed, my companion, on part of the journey 
over the steppes to Kamieniec, turned and said : 
" Wie traurig! " " How sad ! " I echoed. 

History has been even more severe than nature 
on the Slav. His biography is a tragedy, and he 
himself has generally been the victim. For cen- 
turies he was the prey of the savage nomads from 
Asia. Bloody, fierce conflict, battle constant and 
to the death, for his home and family, has been 
his lot. The sense of insecurity and apprehen- 
sion never left him. As regularly as the winter 
rolled around, Sienkiewicz tells us, the Pole3 
said : " In the spring the horde will come." 

This geographical position has been one of the 
most powerful factors in the development of the 
Slav. Constant, close contact with Eastern peo- 
ples has inoculated him with some of the Eastern 
mysticism and fatalism. This is noticeable even 
in the Pole of to-day, though he does so strenu- 
ously insist upon his pure Occidentalism. The 
influence exerted by the repeated onslaught of 
the Turk and Tartar can be traced in Polish 
custom and costume, art and architecture, poetry 
and politics. The national costume itself has a 
strongly Oriental cast about it. The Polish aris- 
tocrat and the Polish peasant walking almost side 
by side in the procession of Corpus Christi, show 

267 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

the flaming reds and yellows, the turban effects, 
the gorgeous Eastern combinations of feather, 
sash, girdle, boot. This is seen also in the peas- 
ants, with their long white cloaks, with flaming 
skirts, often slashed and spangled with colour. 
Many a Cracovian costume might easily be mis- 
taken for that of a Kurd or an East Indian, ex- 
cept that the colours are rather more artistically 
blended. The most casual observer will note the 
dash of the Orient in Polish architecture. The 
dome, even occasionally the minaret, the ara- 
besque tracery, the rich kaleidoscopic, Byzantine 
effect of the decorations in the churches — all par- 
take of the symbolism of the Orient, and one of 
the greatest of all Polish poets — Slowacki — 
sings like a mystic bard of Teheran. Added to 
the melancholy and volcanic resignation burned 
into his soul during centuries of struggle with 
nature and man, all the mysticism, fatalism, 
sensuousness, of the Orient surged up against the 
Pole, broke, and when it ebbed, the impress, the 
savour of the East remained. The restless intel- 
lectual vigour and military genius of the Occi- 
dent nerved his breast and arm as he struggled, 
but it could not quite turn back the undercurrent 
from Asia. 

These influences and many more must be un- 
derstood and reckoned with before one can begin 
to grasp what has burned in the soul of a Chopin, 
a Slowacki, a Malczewski. 

268 



MUSIC AND THE SLAV TEMPERAMENT 

To write of Polish art adequately would be to 
write the whole history of probably the most 
wonderfully artistic people of modern times. To 
write of it at all is to begin with music — music of 
a sad sweetness which is the very emotional soul 
of the race. All Polish music is not Jeremiac. 
Near Cracow it is often gay, even fiercely gay. 
But the wail is rarely too deep for the easy find- 
ing. While at Tarnopol, in Austrian Ruthenia, 
I heard some of the real native Slav music, ren- 
dered under very characteristic circumstances. 
One evening a young Ruthenian priest (of the 
Russian ritual) known to the family at whose 
home I was staying, drove up to the door in his 
peasant vehicle, bringing with him his zither. 
He played well, and sang delightfully, with that 
rich, round, full voice of beautiful, sympathetic 
quality so often found among the Russians. 
Many of the melodies were richly beautiful, at 
times almost fiercely gay, but always undershot 
with that inevitable sad, minor tone that affects 
one like a blend of the Oriental and the Highland 
Scotch. Weirdly beautiful — hauntingly beauti- 
ful — yet inexpressibly sad are these Slavonic 
folksongs, permeated with the breath of the 
plains. Underneath the dare-devil mirth of the 
Mazur always lurks what the Poles call the Zal. 
There is no English equivalent for this word. It 
is the very emotional soul of the Slav race, and 
it means mingled reproach and sorrow, the vol- 

269 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 



canic resignation that comes only after ages of 
suffering and wrong. 

The real breath of the plains, the life of suf- 
fering and woe, rings all through that typical 
dirge of the steppes, known as " Kozak." A young 
trooper of the Ukraine lies dying in the forest. 
He sings a death wail, in which he recounts how 
he fought, and bemoans the disobedience which 
led him far from his home. The mother comes 
at his call, and he begs her not to permit the 
(Russian) priest to bury him, but to let his own 
wild, freebooter companions lead him to the 
tomb. The theme is sad enough, but the music! 
One phrase will suffice to show its minor, haunt- 
ing character: 



jfg/.J»/J|;.J»JJ | J , .yj , l j r 



The love and aptitude for music has its springs 
deep down in the Slav nature. Karol Namy- 
slawski's peasant orchestra, of Warsaw, has 
shown that even the lowest type of Polish peas- 
ant has a soul and nature responsive to music 
such as is quite lacking in peasants of other 
races — oddly enough, in the Russian peasant as 
well. 

One can see that these Polish children of 
the soil feel the music they render. The Mus- 
covite, Norwegian, Bohemian, and Finnish peas- 

270 



MUSIC AND THE SLAV TEMPERAMENT 

ant themes have all the vitality of the peasants, 
and generally, also, their coarseness and clumsi- 
ness. Moniuszko's opera " Halka," however, 
which is based wholly on Polish peasant themes, 
has all the native grace, simplicity, and strength 
of the soil, but none of the clod. The themes are 
original and rich, and the Italian composer, Mas- 
cagni, has declared that in this one work alone 
he found themes enough for twenty operas. 

The musical soul of Poland lies buried in Pere 
la Chaise, the revered old cemetery of Paris. 
Frederic Francois Chopin, son of a French father 
by a Polish mother, Slav by birth, Parisian by 
adoption, who sang the tragedy of his country in 
sweet sounds, who poured into the ear of Europe 
for the first time all the musical ideas, tonalities, 
and rhythms of the East — who can add a word to 
what has already been said of this wonderful, 
sad soul? George Sand, the woman with a man's 
nature, who became his idol, once told him: 
" Your playing makes me live over again every 
pain that has ever wrung my heart; and every 
joy, too, that I have ever known is mine again." 
Chopin was sick with the malady of the age — 
revolt. Rebellion rings through all his work, and 
none but Richard Wagner disputes with him the 
rule of the past century in the highest musical 
emotion. Chopin loved Poland madly, with the 
abandon of a fanatic. Yet he was so feminine 
that he never laid down his art for a sword in her 

271 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

defence. He rang his dreams and his despair into 
his music and put his fiery patriotism into his 
polonaises. This he could do without fear of the 
censor. The most terrible, iconoclastic ideas 
are in his music, but the police knew it not. His 
countrymen, however, know full well that it is 
their heartstrings upon which he plays. They 
have yearned to bring back his remains to his 
native soil. It was a strange feeling — it seemed 
of personal loss — that was evident in the very air 
of Warsaw several years ago when it was an- 
nounced that, although the French government 
had consented to the removal of the remains, St. 
Petersburg, knowing the love of the Poles for 
Chopin, had withheld its permission, fearing " a 
demonstration." And St. Petersburg was wise. 

What niche in the century's temple of fame 
will Paderewski occupy? It may be as yet too 
early to predict, but German critics, the most se- 
vere and exacting (and especially so in the case 
of a Pole), declare that his opera " Manru " is 
the work of an epoch, a flawless composition, 
worked out upon themes of the same nature 
as those of " Halka." Paderewski is an ardent 
patriot. One of his latest manifestations of pa- 
triotism is the colony of Polish aristocrats, 
broken in fortune by the Russian revolution, 
which he maintains at his Swiss chateau near 
Lausanne. 

The names of many other composers, singers, 
and virtuosi are veritable household words with 

272 







< 








V^^Br 






^(k' 








PIVrL 


■ ••-., 








Marcella Sembrlch, 

prano. 
Frederic Chopin, composer. 

an iiniileiitiftcd portrait 



POLISH ART AND ARTISTS. 
operatic «o- 
From 



Ignace Jan Paderewski, rirtuoso. 

Helena Modjeska, dramatic artist, 
uti J. mil/ Mmbcth. 



MUSIC AND THE SLAV TEMPERAMENT 

this people to whom music is such a vital fact, 
but, except those of the Reszkes, Sembrich, Mo- 
niuszko, and Moszkowski, the English-speaking 
world knows nothing of them. And yet, is there 
any modern composer of waltzes, with the pos- 
sible exception of Johann Strauss, who can com- 
pare with Moszkowski? Though Warsaw is the 
home of the Reszkes, it is not often that the fa- 
mous brothers are seen on the streets of the Po- 
lish metropolis. When not en tour all over the 
civilised world, their country estate near War- 
saw absorbs their attention, and, of late years, 
a visit to their hotel, the elegant Saski, in War- 
saw, has been a thing of rare occurrence. Mar- 
cella Sembrich Kochanska, who possesses, per- 
haps, as perfect a voice, used with as perfect an 
art, as has ever been heard on earth, and is, more- 
over, pianist and violinist as well, is a patriotic 
Pole. But she, in common with the other great 
opera singers, belongs to the world. Sembrich 
spends much of her time, when not singing, in 
her Dresden home. 

To attempt to write of Polish music and mu- 
sicians is at once a bewilderment, a fascination, 
a despair. There is no beginning and no end. 
After all, just as the Polish artists themselves are 
citizens of the world and belong to the inter- 
national community of music, so their work is 
part of the world's great store. It is to-day per- 
haps better known than the musical contributions 
of any other nationality. 

273 



XVI 
A RACE OF ARTISTS BY BIRTH 

IF music is the Polish art par excellence, emi- 
nence in painting, literature, and the drama 
indicates that the Poles are true artists in 
every sense of the word. 

A conception of Polish painting must of neces- 
sity begin with Jan Matejko, although the pres- 
ent-day school has not followed the old master of 
historical realism. Matejko was the painter of 
Polish history. 

On a small side street in Cracow is a quiet, 
unobtrusive house, its rooms lined and littered 
with curious implements, trappings, and para- 
phernalia of centuries gone. Knights and ladies, 
men of church and chargers of war, could rise to 
mass and feast and battle in these rooms if there 
were only some angel of Ezekiel to make the dry 
bones of vestment and weapon instinct with life. 
The very bones themselves are all but present. 
From a glass case on the wall, surrounded by 
half -finished sketches, grins a plaster cast of the 
skull of the great Kazimierz, King of Poland. 

A dozen or more years ago the master hand 
that could make these worthies of generations 

274 



A RACE OF ARTISTS BY BIRTH 

past glow on the canvas as with life itself laid 
down its brush. Before Jan Matejko exhibited 
his masterpiece, " The Sermon of Skarga," in 
Paris, in 1864, none but Frenchmen had taken 
the Versailles prize for painting. Poland's his- 
torical painter, who established the Academy of 
Painting in Cracow, and was really the dean of 
the Polish school of art, began, in 1864, to paint 
the "critical moments in Polish history." His 
fidelity to detail is marvellous. History itself 
is not more accurate. When his canvases contain 
two hundred figures (as they sometimes do), this 
means that two hundred different individuals or 
types have been studied and followed with such 
laborious, scrupulous care that the painter occa- 
sionally forgot his perspective, and, in the end, 
quite ruined his eyesight. Historic faces can 
often be recognised in his work, and sometimes 
he uses himself as a type. When the tombs of 
the kings in the Wawel were opened Matejko 
took a cast of the skull of King Kazimierz the 
Great Several months of study of the whitened 
bone, the cast, and the trappings on the wall re- 
sulted in a splendid canvas of the monarch, as 
near to the man himself as a photograph. 

Scenes of battle, covering four centuries of his 
country's history, make up Matejko's work. " So- 
bieski before Vienna," " The Prussians Bringing 
Tribute," and " The Battle of Gninwald " are, 
perhaps, the most famous, but " Kazanie Skargi " 

275 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

("The Sermon of Skarga") is the most impres- 
sive. It represents the priest Skarga prophesying 
the downfall of Poland if the Poles do not mend 
their ways. There is something majestic, like 
the prophets of old, in the face of the brave 
priest as he stands before the Diet preaching and 
warning the proud, fractious nobles of the woes 
that will come upon their country through their 
lawlessness. Pride, power, and dissoluteness 
stand out on some of the faces before him, while 
on others can be plainly seen remorse, and on 
others, fear. There is no blur of heads as the 
figures fade into the background. Each face has 
its own clear-cut individuality. For this paint- 
ing the artist was decorated at the Paris Salon. 

Matejko's was a beautiful, patriotic character. 
He gave away his best paintings as free gifts, and 
would not accept any return for his marvellous 
restoration of the church of Panna Marya in 
Cracow. 

The paintings of Artur Grottger are almost 
as popular with patriotic Poles as those of Ma- 
tejko. His crayon drawings, "Warsaw," "Po- 
land," and " Lithuania," representations of the 
three divisions of the ancient Commonwealth, 
are especially fine in their bold, artistic insight. 
Grottger's working years were, unfortunately, so 
short — they were only six — that ln>, contributions 
to Polish art are not very numerous. 

The present-day school of Polish painting has 
276 



A RACE OF ARTISTS BY BIRTH 

not followed Matejko. Symbolism and melan- 
choly were persistent, and, although we find the 
realism of the two Cossacks with their splendid 
horses and battle scenes, and the landscapes of 
Brandt and Chelmonski, the tendency is toward 
the allegorical groups of Siemiradzki, the neu- 
rotic, often obscure, symbolism of Malczewski, 
and the idealised types of Stachiewicz, the last 
representing strongly the new school of illus- 
trators. Malczewski's canvases remind one of 
de Quincey's " Confessions of an Opium Eater." 
He would have made splendid presentations of 
scenes from Slowacki's " Kordjan." His first 
well-known paintings — a series on Siberia, de- 
picting the horrors of the mines and the suffer- 
ings of the Polish exiles — were masterly in the 
way they caught the stern reality but beautiful 
heroism of the martyrs. They were not, how- 
ever, the Malczewski milieu. His most famous 
painting, finished five or six years ago, is en- 
titled " Melancholy," and it is thoroughly char- 
acteristic of the creative brain of the artist. In 
subject, it is mystical and more — it is fantastical. 
What Malczewski means by his fantasies, perhaps 
no one except himself really knows. But the 
technique and the colouring are wonderful. En- 
tering the Austrian building at the Paris Exposi- 
tion, this great painting, with its mad rush of 
figures, struck the eye with a bewildering force. 
Looking at it as a whole, the impression one re- 

277 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

ceived was overwhelming, and even without 
thoroughly understanding the thought, the spec- 
tator felt that the painting was a masterpiece. 

Siemiradzki was the acknowledged king of 
theatre curtain painters. His curtains in the 
theatres of Cracow and Lemberg satisfy every 
demand of the artistic taste. The allegorical 
groups are so well balanced, so subtly conceived, 
and yet so plainly just the right combination. 
His " Torches of Nero " and " Phryne " are 
world-famous. And the chiaroscuro! There is 
a scene in the Roman arbour in the gallery in 
Warsaw which is worth a journey to Europe to 
see. I entered the room on a cloudy afternoon, 
and wondered how it was that the sun seemed to 
have come out just enough to shine full on this 
painting, mottling the foliage of the vine over the 
arbour and checkering the stones with patches of 
vivid, living sunlight and shade — the warm light 
and cool shade of sunny Italy. But there was no 
rift in the clouds. Then I looked for some con- 
cealed electric lights, cunningly placed to illu- 
minate the canvas. But it was the painter's 
brush, unaided, which had suffused the scene and 
made it glow as with life. 

The names of Falat, Wyczolkowski, and 
Mehoffer are in the lists of every art exhibition. 
Joseph Krzesz is a constant exhibitor at Vienna, 
Berlin, and St. Petersburg. His seven panels il- 
lustrating the Lord's Prayer are famous. Falat 

278 




"DELIVER US FROM EVIL." 

(One of the seven panels to illustrate the Lord's Prayer, as 
painted by Josef M. Krzesz.) 



A RACE OF ARTISTS BY BIRTH 

is at present the head of the art academy in Cra- 
cow, and is especially noted for his snow scenes. 
His figures are delightful. Mehoffer was deco- 
rated at the last Paris Exposition. Stachiewicz's 
illustrations of peasant legends, a number of 
which were exhibited at Paris in 1900, were pro- 
nounced the best subjects for " half-tone " work 
shown in many years. The crayon work of 
Wlodzimierz Tetmajer has a fine, rich softness. 
Tetmajer has made a specialty of peasant types. 
He has studied the peasants for many years, and 
must certainly have the courage of his convic- 
tions, for he has married a peasant woman and 
is the father of quite a family by her. 

The modern spirit of symbolism run riot that 
is known as " Impressionism " — in Polish, Seces- 
sya — " Secession " — has found some favour 
among Polish artists. Purple cows, green roses, 
impossible mermaid ladies, with mysterious dra- 
peries, which begin nowhere and apparently have 
no end, and vegetation conventionalised and 
etherealised, till it needs a map and a dictionary 
to explain it — the superfluity of idea, or lack of 
idea, is the same, whether one sees it in the studio 
of the late Aubrey Beardsley, in the pages of 
the Munich Jugend, or on the walls and windows 
of the church of the Franciscans in Cracow. 

The noble monument to Mickiewicz in Warsaw 
is also a monument to the art of its creator, Cyp- 
rian Godebski, the most eminent living Polish 

279 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

sculptor, who is also well known in Paris. His 
friends are fond of telling a story at his expense. 
Some years ago the citizens of a French pro- 
vincial town ordered from Godebski a monument 
in honour of their good mayor. When it arrived 
they were horrified to see the green tinge that, 
alas for their unappreciative eyes! the sculptor 
had spent so much labour in bestowing. So they 
straightway polished it to a beautiful bronze 
" shine." 

The Polish Longfellow (Mickiewicz) has a 
monument on the market place of Cracow. The 
inscription on the base declares that the whole 
nation gave it to Adam Mickiewicz. The monu- 
ment to him in Warsaw was unveiled under most 
dramatic circumstances, several years ago. Per- 
mission had been received from the Tzar, but the 
police were ordered to be present. By their 
order every street was lined with Cossacks, ready 
to shoot or cut down the multitudes who came to 
see it unveiled, should any demonstration take 
place. After a short speech, the ceremony was 
performed in the presence of more than twenty 
thousand people. Not a cry of any sort was 
uttered; the whole assembly was hushed into 
deathlike stillness. Mickiewicz, who was pott, 
religious philosopher, militant democrat, critic, 
historical professor of languages, and patriot — 
and eminent in all — was one of the most learned 
men of his time, yet he aspired only, he often 

280 



A RACE OF ARTISTS BY BIRTH 

said, to write poetry that the peasants could 
understand and love. His was a strange career. 
Exiled from the University of Wilna, he joined 
the Polish emigration to France, and afterward 
became professor of Slavonic literature in Paris, 
in the College de France. 

The three great names in Polish poetry of the 
past century are Mickiewicz, Krasinski, and 
Slowacki, and each is associated with a wild, 
weird, and mystic dramatic poem. Both the 
" Dzyady " of Mickiewicz and the " Infernal 
Comedy" of Krasinski are splendid allegories, 
showing in strong, passionate lines, of occasion- 
ally Ibsenesque morbidness, the role of martyr 
which Poland has played through all her history. 
Slowacki's " Kordjan," as presented on the stage 
of Cracow, can be compared to nothing but 
Goethe's " Faust " or Byron's " Manfred." 
Slowacki, indeed, is said to have been inspired 
by Byron, and to have modelled his " Mazeppa " 
after the English poet's famous poem. After the 
name of Mickiewicz, you will perhaps hear that 
of Wincenty Pol most frequently mentioned by 
the Poles, as that of a simple, popular poet. 
Sienkiewicz declares that the Poles love Pol 
better than any other of their poets. 

Polish history has had its Macaulay and its 
Scott in the century just passed. Joachim Lel- 
lewel was the logical, philosophical, brilliant 
stylist, Kraszewski, probably the greatest histor- 

281 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

ical romance writer the Poles have produced — up 
to the time of Sienkiewicz. Kraszewski is so ac- 
curate that his works — there is nearly a library 
full — are consulted as books of reference. It was 
from one of his works — " The Hut behind the 
Village" — that Paderewski chose the theme for 
his opera " Manru." Kraszewski has been called 
the Polish Scott. 

The giant Sienkiewicz towers so above his con- 
temporaries that to foreigners he is the sum of 
Polish novelists. The Germans, however, are 
enthusiastic over the classical romances of Alex- 
ander Glowacki, who writes under the name of 
Boleslaw Prus, and during the past few years a 
number of writers have become famous, among 
them the poet Adam Asnyk and the novelists 
Wladyslaw Keymont and Eliza Orzeszko. This 
novelist's works are now being translated into 
English. Marya Rodziewicz is another writer 
of popular fiction that is making her famous 
abroad as well as at home. Stanislaw Przyby- 
szewski is an essayist and dramatic w r riter of the 
" Secession " school, as is also Stanislaw Wis- 
pianski. Waclaw Gansiorowski, Marya Konop- 
nicka and Stanislaw Zeromski are writers of 
strong verse and fascinating fiction. 

Americans will probably always feel that Mod- 
jeska is really as much American as Pole. Her 
colony venture in California, and the way she 
has endeared herself to American audiences dur- 

282 



A RACE OF ARTISTS BY BIRTH 

ing all the years of her great dramatic career, 
will always make her seem a real part of the 
history of the American stage. But Modjeska is 
patriotically Polish enough to satisfy the most 
ardent. She may not act even to-day in Warsaw, 
and not even her admitted primacy in her art — 
a primacy which is not disputed and only shared 
by Bernhardt and Duse — can make up for exclu- 
sion from her beloved Warsaw. 

Madame Helena Modjeska, whose maiden name 
was Opid, was born in the city of Cracow, Aus- 
trian Poland, and married at an early age an 
actor named Modrzejewski, who soon afterward 
died, leaving her with a baby son. This boy 
(Ralph) came to the United States with his 
mother, and is at present a well-known civil engi- 
neer in Chicago. Later, Madame Modjeska (by 
common consent the difficult Polish form of the 
name has been abandoned for the simpler English 
one) married her present husband, Charles Chla- 
powski, a Polish journalist of wide reputation 
for patriotism. He is known in this country as 
Count Bozenta, from his ancestral estate. 

Madame Modjeska's career has been a varied 
and active one. Beginning with a " benefit " or- 
ganised by amateurs for some unfortunate miners 
in Poland, her progress was steady and sure. 
After conquering her countrymen by her art, 
and, unfortunately, giving offence to the Russian 
government by her patriotic attitude, she and 

283 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

her husband, in 1876, left Warsaw for the United 
States. 

Modjeska's intention was to establish, near Los 
Angeles, a Utopian colony in which they and 
their Polish compatriots in the United States 
might enjoy the blessings of liberty. Henryk 
Sienkiewicz was with Modjeska in this enterprise, 
and his book " Letters from America " is full of 
his impressions and experiences of this experi- 
ment. The Arcadian idyl was not a success, and, 
with almost all her resources exhausted, Mod- 
jeska conceived the bold idea of going to San 
Francisco to study English for the American 
stage. This was in 1877. By diligent applica- 
tion she so soon mastered the English language 
that in six months she was able to perform in- 
telligibly before American audiences. 

In 1880, desiring to secure an English indorse- 
ment of her American success, Modjeska went to 
London, and soon achieved triumph at the Court 
Theatre, in the British capital. Two years later 
she returned to the United States, where she has 
since lived. Once every two years she has been 
accustomed to journey to her native country to 
play in the theatres of Cracow, Austrian Poland ; 
Posen, German Poland, and (until forbidden) 
Warsaw, Russian Poland. Her art, character- 
ised as it has ever been by tragic power, purity 
of aim, grace and delicacy, has placed her in the 
same class with Rachel and Ristori; but beyond 

184 



A RACE OF ARTISTS BY BIRTH 

her art is her fine, interesting personality, and 
the great capacity for work which has enabled 
her to win the highest triumph in a tongue not 
her own. 

Madame Modjeska lives on a fine country 
estate known as Arden, near Los Angeles, in Cali- 
fornia, with Mexican rough riders and cowboys 
for her neighbours. There she enjoys complete 
freedom and quietude, and, in the midst of her 
great library, she is preparing her autobiography. 
Her husband is deeply interested in agricultural 
matters, and is a successful farmer, according 
to the most exacting American standards 

The stage in Warsaw and Cracow is remark- 
able for its native dramatic power. These cities 
are the schools in which future Modjeskas are 
being trained. The theatres at Cracow and Lem- 
berg are almost as well equipped with strong, 
original dramatic talent as that of Warsaw, and 
the fire and artistic insight, always characteristic 
of these stages, is also characteristic of the art- 
loving, high-strung people that supports them 
so loyally. 

The Poles are by nature's gift an artistic peo- 
ple, and it is a significant fact that they are 
to-day achieving artistic triumphs over the peo- 
ples that conquered them by brute force and now 
hold them down only by sheer weight of the 
gunstock. German and Russian critics are en- 
thusiastic in praise of Polish musicians. Despite 

285 



V 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

the fact that the plots of many of Sienkiewicz's 
novels revolve around a humiliation of Germans 
by Poles, and while the imperial German gov- 
ernment is imprisoning Polish children for refus- 
ing to say their catechism in German, the author 
of the Trilogy is even a greater favourite in Ger- 
many than he is in Russia, where he is read by 
more people than Tolstoi himself. It is a nobler 
conquest than that of the sword. 



286 



XVII 
THE, GEOGRAPHER OP THE HEAVENS 

NOT only in mnsic, art, and literature has 
Poland produced great men. One of her 
scientists ranks with Galileo and New- 
ton. 

It is rarely given to one man to alter the entire 
view of the world for all mankind, to make the 
race face in a new direction. But this honour 
belongs to Nicholas Copernicus. Before he an- 
nounced his discoveries, every one held to the 
Ptolemaic theory that the earth was the centre 
of the universe. It was a tremendously complex 
and cumbrous system, and made man consider 
himself more highly than he ought. 

The age was one of discovery. While the 
young student of astronomy was pouring over his 
books in Cracow, Columbus and the other ven- 
turesome Spanish, Portuguese, and Dutch navi- 
gators were spanning the oceans and continents 
of the earth. Galileo had begun to shake the 
faith of mankind in the old-established doctrine 
that " the sun do move." Copernicus elaborated 
the Galilean thesis to a system, and man, for the 

287 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

first time, began to realise that he was not, as 
he had fondly believed, the centre around which 
the universe revolved, but merely "a speck of 
cosmic dust." The Copernican method, more 
than the mere discovery, made man more humble 
and modest The old way of propounding a 
theory and making the facts fit it, received its 
death-blow from the labours of the Polish astron- 
omer. He began the modern method of searching 
for a theory that would fit the facts. This had 
an almost incalculable influence on the thought 
of the world. Man no longer believed that the 
universe was created solely for his benefit. The 
world came out of its scholastic, college-boy 
stage and learned to regard itself with the sense 
of humility that comes to every young man 
when he goes out among his fellows and realises 
that he knows so little. Man had found himself, 
and modern progress became possible. 

It is a tribute to Poland as well as to the man 
himself that Prussia should have claimed Coper- 
nicus as one of her sons. It is true that Thorn, 
where he was born and where he lived for many 
years, became Prussian after the first partition 
of Poland. The astronomer, however, wrote 
" Polonos " after his name long before Prussia 
had any existence except as a fief of the Polish 
crown. 

A fair strain of Jewish blood ran in the veins 
of the Koppernigs, but, for generations before 

288 



THE GEOGRAPHER OF THE HEAVENS 

the birth of Nicholas, the family was Polish and 
Christian. The future astronomer was born in 
the quaint old town of Thorn, February 19, 1473. 
It was the ambition of his mother that he should 
be a preacher, like her own brother, the eloquent 
bishop. The father, however, opposed this idea, 
intending to make his son a man of business. 
The parental disagreement resulted, while the 
young Nicholas was a student at the University 
of Cracow, in his latinising his name, and turn- 
ing to medicine as a profession. Upon receiving 
license to practice, however, he at once discarded 
medicine for his absorbing delight, mathematics. 
At twenty-one he was teaching mathematics in 
the University. He soon began to show his 
grasp of the higher conceptions by developing 
a system that has since become trigonometry. 
At this period of his life he also invented a quad- 
rant with which to measure the height of trees, 
steeples, or mountains. His fame spread abroad, 
and he was invited to lecture at Bologna. There 
he met the famous astronomer, Novarra. The 
Italian scientist believed and taught the old 
Ptolemaic theory of astronomy. Copernicus 
watched the heavens with him, but soon decided 
that mathematics, not theology, was the basis of 
the movements in the heavens. 

From Bologna he went to Padua and thence to 
Rome, all the while slowly elaborating and ex- 
pounding his theory of stellar and planetary 

289 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

movement. But the old theory was part of the 
teaching of the Church. And Copernicus was a 
good Catholic. He soon perceived that alchemy, 
astrology, even orthodoxy itself, were being ar- 
raigned at the bar of intellect by his ideas. This 
was heresy. But, he asked, is it sinful to attempt 
to understand God's works? " No. To know the 
mighty works of God; to comprehend His wis- 
dom and majesty and power; to appreciate, in 
degree, the wonderful working of His laws, 
surely all this must be a pleasing and acceptable 
mode of worship to the Most High, to whom ig- 
norance cannot be more grateful than knowl- 
edge." 

Yet Copernicus loved the Church, and, in his 
fear lest he interfere with the work of the clergy, 
he ceased lecturing. Then, with the benediction 
of the Pope, he took to preaching himself. After- 
ward he practised medicine gratis for the poor. 
He instructed the people in the science of sani- 
tation. He devised a system of sewerage and 
utilised the belfry of his church as a water-tower, 
all to aid his fellow-townsmen and to convince 
them that he wished them well. He helped King 
Zygmunt, of Poland, to establish a scientific, 
honest system of coinage, and then wrote a book 
on the coining of money which is valuable even 
to-day. 

Year by year he worked at his great problem 
of the earth, the sun, and the stars. In the upper 

290 



THE GEOGRAPHER OF THE HEAVENS 

floor of the barn, back of the old dilapidated 
farmhouse where he lived for forty years, he cut 
holes in the roof, and also in the sides of the 
building through which he watched the move- 
ments of the stars. He lived in practical isola- 
tion and exile. The Church had forbidden him 
to speak in public except upon themes that the 
Holy Fathers in their wisdom had authorised. 
No one dared invite him to speak, none could 
read his writings or hold converse with him, ex- 
cept on strictly church matters. But he cared 
not 

"The stars do me honour," he said. "I am 
forbidden to converse with great men, but God 
has ordered for me a procession of the stars." 
Ostracism and exile gave him the opportunity he 
needed, for digesting all that had been written 
on astronomy and for testing, very laboriously 
with his rude instruments, every one of the hy- 
potheses of his brain. 

And so the years passed. The vigorous, ag- 
gressive man had become old, feeble, bowed, 
and almost blind from constantly watching the 
stars and from writing at night. At last his 
great book, "The Revolution of the Heavenly 
Bodies," written in Latin, was completed. It 
had been nearly forty years in the making. For 
twenty-seven of these, as he himself tells us, not 
a single day or night passed without his having 
added something to it. What should he do with 

291 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

these pages of truth that he had written five 
times? 

The Censor at Rome, he knew, would not per- 
mit the book to be published. Did it not contra- 
dict and refute all that the priests had taught of 
astronomy? To bring it out in his own town 
without ecclesiastical authority would be equally 
dangerous. So the great soul sent the manu- 
script, with a bag of gold to pay the cost of pub- 
lication, to Nuremberg, the free city, of free 
science, free art, and free speech. But he was 
still full of tender reverence for Mother Church. 
So he wrote a preface, dedicating the volume to 
His Holiness Pope Paul. 

Months passed, months of weary waiting. 
Would they burn the book? The old man, 
stricken with fever, was within a few days of his 
death, when a messenger arrived from Nurem- 
berg. It was May 23, 1543. He bought a printed 
copy of the book. With the sight of the blessed 
volume before him the great soul passed. 

In the old Jagiellonian Library of Cracow, one 
summer day, in the year of Grace 1900, the at- 
tendant pointed out a small brass instrument, of 
globe, rings, and circles, curiously worked with 
astronomical symbols long since out of date. It 
was the original planisphere of the great cosmog- 
rapher. Outside, in the picturesque stone court- 
yard, the floral tributes of its dedication still 
unfaded, stood the bronze statue of Nicholas 

292 



THE GEOGRAPHER OF THE HEAVENS 

Copernicus, holding in his hand a fac-simile of 
this brass instrument. The sun seemed to have 
special interest in this man as its rays lovingly 
fell on him. He had re-established its supremacy 
in the universe. 



293 



XVIII 
POLISH COUNTRY LIFE AND CUSTOMS 

FOR the delight of existence near to Na- 
ture's heart and the pleasures of a social 
intercourse, natural, simple, unaffected, 
yet marked by a sympathetic responsiveness, and 
a refined subtility of intellectual interchange, 
one should go to the Poles and enjoy their social 
and home life. Whole-hearted, sympathetic hos- 
pitality and refinement is characteristic of the 
educated Poles at all times and in all places, but 
while in the cities it is apt to be a bit vitiated by 
the artificialities inevitable to urban wealth and 
" over-ripeness," in the country districts, among 
the families of the obywatel, or landed aristoc- 
racy, it is generally healthy, unaffected, and in- 
spiring. 

The Poles have always been an agrarian people. 
They love their mother soil passionately, and 
cleave to it — with a tenacity that has caused un- 
told woe to the Prussian government, when it 
wants to buy up Polish estates. In all its his- 
tory only one other pursuit has claimed equal 
attention and devotion from the Pole, and that is 

294 



POLISH COUNTRY LIFE AND CUSTOMS 

war. As farmers and fighters, this people has 
excelled for over a thousand years. 

The Polish estate is generally very large, as 
estates go. But it varies in size. In the vicin- 
ity of the cities the proprietor may boast of fifty 
acres. Count Zamoyski, the greatest Polish land- 
owner, has 400,000 acres. The estate is usually 
almost self-supporting, an empire in itself, and 
frequently governed as autocratically. The soil 
supports the manor family in almost all its 
wants. Grain, fruit and vegetables, meat (fish 
and fowl) and liquors, for the table, wool and 
leather for the body — in Ruthenia one owner 
boasted to me his place produced everything he 
used, except pepper, salt, and oyster crackers. 
Woodland, meadow, tilled field, by the hundreds 
of acres, fish ponds, hundreds of head of cattle, 
horses, pigs, poultry, from fifteen to three hun- 
dred servants, sometimes forming a village of 
their own — the management of a Polish estate is 
a task worthy of a man's full powers. 

Hospitality in Poland is hearty and sincere. 
When you visit a Polish family you know at 
once that you have a place with them. They en- 
joy your enjoyment so much that you feel you 
really ought to have a good time if for no other 
reason than to please them. The Pole, indeed, 
has a good many qualities in common with the 
Celt. Added to his own time-honoured magnifi- 
cence and munificence as a dispenser, he has the 

295 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

urbanity and delightful manners of the French- 
man, and the warm-hearted, winning ways of the 
Irishman. The Pole and the Irishman have 
many traits in common — including the unruli- 
ness. 

Somehow, the Poles have always impressed me 
as being more alive than the neighbouring peo- 
ples; indeed, than any other European people. 
Life, strong, bounding physical life, is, and al- 
ways has been, characteristic of them. What a 
laughable failure little Pan Michael made of 
his temporary immuring in a monastery! The 
memento mori seemed ridiculous, coming from 
the lips that had taken in so much of the good 
things of physical life, so much red liquor, so 
many dishes of hot, generous viands. Fancy Zag- 
loba as a monk ! It is impossible. All through 
that marvellous picture gallery of Sienkiewicz 
how much life there is — abounding life, fulness 
and power and colour ! The Pole was always a 
fighter, a big man. It is a big race to-day, and 
likes good living, good eating. Nature was good 
to the Pole physically. She made him big and 
hearty, and to-day he is fond of a good cuisine, 
and knows how to have it. 

The typical Polish dtoSr, or country house, 
is generally situated on a hillock above the peas- 
ant village which nestles at its feet. It is often 
hidden in a mass of trees, many of them centuries 
old. After entering the "brama," or gateway, 

296 



POLISH COUNTRY LIFE AND CUSTOMS 

which is likely to be a ponderous affair, the visi- 
tor approaches the manor by a long driveway 
bordered with trees, in most cases lindens, which, 
in Poland, attain a great height and size, and are 
the owner's special pride. At the end of the 
driveway, among the trees, is seen a low, ram- 
bling, red-tiled dwelling of one story, with its 
white stucco walls glistening in the sunlight. 
The porch is large and its roof is supported by 
Doric columns, and there are benches on either 
side. In the typical manor this porch leads into 
an ante-room decorated with the hunting trophies 
of the master. Then, to the right, is the office in 
which he receives his business callers — the factor 
of the estate who comes to report on the day's 
work, the peasant from the village to ask a fa- 
vour, the Jew to bargain for the gentleman's 
grain. The walls of the office are generally deco- 
rated with fragrant wreaths from the harvest 
fields. 

The dining-room and the parlour are much like 
those in any other country. In the bedroom, 
however, there is generally an altar to St. Mary. 
Every Saturday and during the whole month of 
May there is a light burning on this altar, and 
also offerings of fresh flowers. The tiled stoves, 
most elaborate affairs, frequently wrought on 
artistic patterns, reach almost to the ceiling, for 
the rooms are low, and give a distinct character 
to them. The kitchen stove is a large plaster 

297 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

affair, with a cavernous oven. This is heated by 
filling the interior with burning wood and then 
raking out the embers, after which the bread is 
pushed in with a long-handled wooden ladle. The 
result of this rather primitive method is excel- 
lent, especially the rye bread. 

The house is usually surrounded by a large 
garden, and there is generally a pond, which sup- 
plies fish to the manor house, and an old orchard, 
from which is derived a comfortable yearly in- 
come. Then, no typical estate is without a nest 
of storks. This bird is treated almost reverently 
in Poland, and permitted to go where he will 
without interference. His coming is awaited 
longingly, as he is a harbinger of spring. 

The horses and carriages and waggons are the 
dwtfr's special pride. They are the means of 
communication with the rest of the world. Two, 
three, five, fifteen miles from town, the estate 
people, busy all summer, depend on the winter 
season for their social intercourse. It is then 
that they pay most of the calls of the year and 
relax from their toil. The carnival week, before 
the soberness of Lent, is the great season for 
gaiety and amusement. The estate drives into 
town occasionally for its balls and parties, but 
usually contents itself with giving " affairs " and 
attending them among its immediate neighbours 
— which may involve a two hours' drive. Hunt- 
ing parties are a favourite amusement These 

298 



POLISH COUNTRY LIFE AND CUSTOMS 

are arranged, in turn, by the proprietors of the 
different estates. Early in the morning the 
hunters collect at the home of their host, where 
the hunting breakfast, consisting of smoked meats 
of different kinds, sausage, cheese, wines and 
beer, awaits them. They start off in peasant 
waggons, or, if there is snow, in sleighs, taking 
with them the famous bigos, which is reheated 
for them over a bonfire by the peasant boys. 
These boys also chase the game within range of 
the hunters, who are looking for sport only, as 
it is the custom to leave all the game at the home 
of the host. 

The innate love of the picturesque and poetic, 
which is so characteristic of the race, comes out 
in the great wealth of customs and traditions 
among the Poles. There are innumerable holi- 
days, and with each is associated some poetic 
legend or odd custom originating in a pictur- 
esque conception of the meaning of some relig- 
ious or social observances. Christmas and Easter 
are the great days of the year, and each is full 
of religious significance. 

The approach of Christmas is always heralded 
a few weeks beforehand by the frequent visits of 
the members of the brotherhood of monks, who 
bring small packages of wafers made of flour and 
water, blessed by the priest, and on which are 
stamped symbolic religious figures. No Polish 
family, at home or abroad, is without these 

299 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

oplatki, which play such an important r6le in the 
Christmas-Eve festivities. The Poles send these 
wafers in letters to all relatives and friends, as 
Christmas cards are sent in other countries. 

Christmas-Eve feast is, perhaps, the greatest 
occasion of the year, and preparations are made 
for it with much solemnity. Before the cloth is 
laid the table is covered with a layer of hay or 
straw, and a sheaf of the straw stands in a cor- 
ner. Years ago, straw was also spread on the 
floor — all this symbolic of Christ's lowly birth. 

The menu of the feast is a most elaborate af- 
fair, although not so much so as formerly. As 
the day is a fast day, fish forms the main feature 
of the bill, which should consist of thirteen 
courses. First, there are soups: broth of al- 
mond, fish soup, or barszcz. The last is a sour 
soup of fermented beet juice, very popular. Then 
comes the fish, often beginning with an enormous 
pike, served in a variety of ways with fifty differ- 
ent kinds of sauce. Then comes tench, with cab- 
bages and mushrooms. Then more carp, and 
kutia, a Lithuanian national dish, consisting of 
husked oats, served with honey and poppy seeds. 
After the fish come conserved fruits, and then 
delicious little pirogi, a little cake or dumpling 
that looks like a tiny loaf of rye bread, stuffed 
with layers of almond paste, poppy seeds, meal or 
cheese. Besides, there are numerous other small 
cakes and preserved fruits. In the proportion 

300 



POLISH COUNTRY LIFE AND CUSTOMS 

that a thirteen-course dinner exceeds an ordinary 
repast, by so much does the drink list expand. 
If you accept all the liquors that a Pole offers, 
you will have to be a very strong man not to suc- 
cumb. They have all the liquors known to the 
Anglo-Saxon palate and many others, which 
should be approached with caution. 

Christmas Eve belongs to the family exclu- 
sively. Rarely are there any guests present, but 
all the relatives gather from far and near at the 
home of the eldest member, sometimes travel- 
ling several days to reach their destination. 

When the first star appears the entire family, 
beginning with the eldest member, breaks the 
wafer, each with the other, at the same time ex- 
changing best wishes. The master and mistress 
then go to the servants' quarters to divide the 
wafer there. They wish good husbands to the 
bonny peasant girls, and excellent housewives to 
the men folk. The servants have the rest of the 
evening to themselves, and they spend it singing 
characteristic Christmas carols, known as " Ko- 
lendy." Sometimes the peasants will come to 
gather the hay and straw from under the cloth 
and distribute it among the cattle, as there is a 
popular belief that this straw possesses a charm 
against evil. It is also used to tie up fruit trees, 
which are then supposed to yield plentifully the 
following season. Returning from " Pasterka," 
the midnight mass, it is another custom to accost 

801 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

the first passer-by and ask his or her name, which 
is supposed to be the name of the questioner's 
future husband or wife. 

On Christmas morning, early, the peasants 
dress themselves up to represent Herod and other 
Biblical characters, as well as many different 
birds and animals, and go from house to house, 
the leader carrying an immense glittering star, 
to represent the Star of Bethlehem. They sing 
Christmas carols beneath the windows of every 
hut and manor house, receiving either money or 
a portion of the Christmas feast. This custom 
is known as Gwiazda, the star. 

The children wait for the observance of one 
custom with breathless impatience. This is the 
Jaselki — the manger — the observance of which 
lasts during the whole week between Christmas 
and New Year's. It is really a travelling series 
of scenes from the life of Christ, and also from 
the lives of the modern peasants. These Jaselki 
are gorgeous affairs, somewhat on the model of 
the English Punch and Judy show. They are 
really small travelling theatres, ablaze with can- 
dles and tinsel, and so bulky that it frequently 
requires three or four strong men to manipulate 
one of them. During the performance all the 
characteristic melodies or folksongs are sung, 
such as the Krakowiak, the Mazur, and others. 
The market-place of Cracow, especially at night, 
is a very pretty spectacle, its sidewalks all lined 

802 



POLISH COUNTRY LIFE AND CUSTOMS 

with these glittering Jaselki, each of which tries 
to outshine the other in splendour. The proprie- 
tors generally reap a goodly harvest, as these 
shows are very popular with the children, and 
have really taken a strong hold, when it is re- 
membered that the Christmas tree was not intro- 
duced into Poland until the beginning of the 
last century. The making of presents on Christ- 
mas is not so general in Poland. Gifts are re- 
served for " name " days. 

Carnival begins after New Year's, and it is as 
great a season for gaiety among the Poles as 
with the Italians and French. All the country 
estates and the smaller towns flock to the larger 
cities, and the journey becomes a sort of annual 
pilgrimage for pleasure, and not at all a pen- 
ance. Mothers, with marriageable daughters, 
and an army of young men in search of wives, 
form the larger part of these pilgrims, and one 
of the most certain outcomes of each carnival is 
the large number of betrothals that supply 
the gossip to enliven the monotony of Lent. Sev- 
eral generations ago the country people of a few 
estates would gather together at Carnival time, 
and, taking with them their servants and 
trunks, would fall upon their neighbours with- 
out invitation, as a sort of surprise party. They 
would remain many days at a time, dancing and 
feasting, until they had emptied the pantry and 
the cellar. Then, taking their host and his fam- 

803 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

ily with them, they would go to the next estate, 
the company constantly increasing in numbers, 
until every estate had been visited in turn. By 
this time the Carnival had come to an end, and 
every family returned to its respective home. 
Since this was an accepted custom, no one was 
caught unawares, and there was always an abun- 
dance of good things to offer the welcome guests. 

At Carnival the Poles seem to go dance mad. 
A Polish gentleman of Cracow observed to me, 
" We used to begin early in the evening, and 
dance till five o'clock in the morning. Then 
probably the musicians could play no longer, and 
we would all pretend to go. After most of us 
were ready to leave, it generally happened that 
some one would strike up a mazurka, and we 
would begin all over again, sometimes dancing 
till twelve noon, when we usually stopped, though 
not always willingly." 

On the last day of Carnival there are gener- 
ally masquerades given, which come to an ab- 
rupt end as the bells toll midnight. Even to this 
day, in Cracow, a huge fish, made of tin or card- 
board, is lowered into the ballroom as the clock 
strikes twelve, as a sign that Lent has com- 
menced, and the herring, milk, and eggs passed 
round in country homes have the same signifi- 
cance. 

Matka Boska Gromniczna, or Candlemas Day, 
occurs early in February, and is one of the most 

304 



POLISH COUNTRY LIFE AND CUSTOMS 

ceremonious days of the year in the Polish 
Catholic Church. On that day the candles, 
which are symbolic of purity, are blessed. It is 
a curious sight to see the kneeling masses on the 
stone floor holding immense lighted candles in 
their hands, and it is supposed to be a bad omen 
if, during the procession that follows, one of the 
candles goes out without apparent cause. The 
candles are taken home and lighted during storms 
and on occasions that could, in any way, bring 
disaster. 

Holy Week is full of symbolism. In some 
parts of Galicia, on Holy Thursday, the boys, 
dressed up as soldiers, make a dummy figure, en- 
veloped in rags, to represent Judas. This figure 
they take to the cemetery, where they beat it 
with wooden swords, amid the laughter and deri- 
sion of the onlookers. Judas is taken in a wheel- 
barrow to the nearest pond, where he is drowned, 
or, at nightfall, he is tied to a stake and burned. 

Easter is a greater holiday than Christmas 
with the Poles, and it is also a day on which 
all the family gather together. Preparations for 
it are begun weeks beforehand. The table is set 
on Saturday morning, the setting being quite an 
event, in which the whole household take part. 
As there is no telling how many guests will be 
present, the plates, knives, and forks are placed 
on a sideboard and taken as they are needed. 
The centre table, as well as long, narrow tables 

305 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

at the side, are covered with snowy cloths, some- 
times decorated with a border of evergreen, which 
has been artistically sewed on. In the centre, on 
a pedestal, sometimes made with moss, with col- 
oured eggs and fruit at the base, is the symbolic 
lamb, made of butter or sugar. The rest of the 
table is laid out with whole hams, veal and mut- 
ton, etc., and cakes of all descriptions, the for- 
mer prettily decorated with evergreen and box- 
wood. A small sucking pig, holding a coloured 
egg in its mouth, always occupies a place of hon- 
our. The food is all blessed by the priest, who 
also, at this time, blesses the water to be used in 
sprinkling the huts. No Polish peasant would 
live in a house that had not been blessed by the 
priest, as such a dwelling, he believes, must cer- 
tainly be haunted by ghosts, if not by the devil 
himself. When a factory is built the proprietor 
could get no workmen unless the building had 
been blessed. Even the theatres are blessed. 

Another pretty custom is that of the gentle- 
man inviting to the house a few of the more dig- 
nified peasants, with whom he eats the symbolic 
egg. This custom goes a long way toward insur- 
ing good feelings between the manor house and 
the peasant hut. 

The Easter dinner, which is begun by dividing 
the egg and exchanging good wishes, is the only 
regular meal of the day. Other meals are eaten 
where and when one chooses. The servants have 

306 



POLISH COUNTRY LIFE AND CUSTOMS 

no duties, and the fires in the kitchen are al- 
lowed to die out. On Easter Monday the visit- 
ing begins, and the house is filled with guests 
from morning till night. The meals are served 
in the same manner as on Easter Day, so that 
practically the eating continues all day. 

An extraordinary custom, known as Smigus, 
is observed on Easter Monday, to the huge en- 
joyment of the peasants. They douse one another 
with pails of water. The men hide behind bushes 
and trees, waiting for the peasant girls to draw 
water. Catching them unawares, they give the 
girls a thorough drenching. Of course, the poor 
Jew suffers from this. He is up early, as usual, 
intent on business, to be greeted with the con- 
tents of a bucket of dishwater from the top of 
some roof. Among the landed proprietors this 
custom takes a more genteel form, the young gen- 
tlemen spraying the ladies with cologne. 

Renkawka (the word means the sleeve) comes 
as a sort of clear-up after Easter, and the 
custom has an historical explanation. The mound 
of Krakus was erected by the people, who brought 
the earth in their wide, old-fashioned sleeves, in 
token of homage to the founder of their city, 
Cracow. This is the holiday of the servants and 
the peasants, who dress up in their finest and 
flock to the Krakus mound, where, according to 
the old Polish custom, the remains of the Easter 
feast were distributed to the poor. To-day, the 

307 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

observance of the custom becomes a celebration 
of public games, the proceeds of which are de- 
voted to amusements and benefits for the people. 

From time immemorial the Poles have greeted 
the spring with open arms. Its advent is cele- 
brated in a holiday season known as Zielone 
Swiantki (Green Holiday). Every palace, 
house, and hut is decorated with " green things," 
and the churches look like a beautiful grove. 
The peasants give their huts a new coat of white- 
wash, which makes the green decorations partic- 
ularly effective. 

Among the many picturesque customs of har- 
vest time none is, perhaps, so beautiful as that 
of the annual visit of the master and mistress to 
the fields. They are immediately waylaid by the 
peasants, who tie their hands with bands of 
straw, the lady and gentleman only regaining 
their liberty after paying a fine. If the fields are 
near the road, any one who passes can be treated 
in the same manner, and the peasants reap quite 
a little harvest of money. Swiento Matki Boski 
Zielonej (Feast of the Divine Mother of the 
Herbs) is a holiday in August. For a few days 
before this, bevies of peasant girls may be seen 
gathering flowers and herbs of all kinds. These 
are made into bouquets, often of intricate design, 
with fruit and nuts as decorations, and are taken 
to church to be blessed. These blessed herbs are 
supposed to ward off diseases from the cattle. 

S08 



POLISH COUNTRY LIFE AND CUSTOMS 

It is quite a picturesque sight, this mass of kneel- 
ing peasant women, each with her immense 
bouquet. 

Dzien Zaduszny is All Souls' Day, on which 
there is a pilgrimage to all the cemeteries. 
The graves are decorated lavishly with flowers 
and wreaths, and in the night lit up with candles 
and lamps of different colours — a weird and pic- 
turesque sight. In Lithuania the peasants be- 
lieve that at midnight the souls leave their 
graves and return to their former homes. So 
food and drink are placed on window-sill and 
thresholds, that they need not go away hungry. 
The disappearance of the food only strengthens 
the belief of the peasants in the midnight visita- 
tion. Sometimes food is also placed on the 
graves. The smack of paganism in this, how- 
ever, has caused it to be forbidden by the Church. 

The musical culture of the Poles and their pas- 
sionate fondness for that art is one of the finest 
facts of their social life. It is a musical appre- 
ciation that is inbred and inherited from na- 
ture's original gift to the race, refined and devel- 
oped by generations of practice. 

In an intellectual way, the Poles are demo- 
crats. The most gifted author or the most fa- 
mous artist will " drop in " for an evening's call, 
and chat, without ostentation or heralding, ex- 
pecting to be received as simply as though he 
were the family doctor. 

809 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

The patriarchal form of government, however, 
still survives in the Slavonic family. The chil- 
dren are brought up to most respectful, filial 
conduct, and it is delightful to see their rever- 
ence for their elders, a reverence that is genu- 
ine and inbred. No young person would dream 
of occupying a sofa or an easy chair while there 
are older people in the room, no matter how many 
other vacant chairs there might be. The boy and 
girl salute their parents by kissing, not on the 
mouth, but on the hand, the shoulder, the coat- 
sleeve. 

In the matter of social customs the Poles are 
exceedingly conservative. The old prejudice 
against trade and business is, indeed, dying out, 
under pressure of modern conditions, but trades- 
men and mechanics are still rated as lower in 
the social scale than the landed proprietor, even 
though the latter may be much poorer and be 
compelled to work much harder. Tradition 
seems to have a stronger hold in Galicia than in 
the other sections of the former commonwealth. 
The stamp of a new order is visible over all the 
kingdom (Russia), and German progress will 
not let Posen lag behind. But in Galicia, old 
ideas, old customs, old forms, old titles, stili 
hold. 

It is very difficult for a non-Pole to understand 
the social caste system in Poland. There are 
really five orders, the aristocracy, the titled no- 

310 



POLISH COUNTRY LIFE AND CUSTOMS 

bility, the landed proprietors (or szlachta), the 
bourgeoisie, and the peasants. The Jews, of 
course, form still another and wholly distinct 
class. The aristocracy consists, it would seem, 
of about a dozen families, whose names have 
been famous through generations. They are in- 
tensely conservative in social matters, and rec- 
ognition by them, or connection, even distant, 
with them, is the hall-mark of social standing. 
The family genealogical tree and coat of arms 
are a most complicated matter, and quite beyond 
a stranger's comprehension. The Pole can tell 
his family history back to a little after the time 
of the flood. He also knows the history of all his 
neighbours, and when a stranger arrives in town 
he soon places him, after consulting the book of 
heraldry. The Polish aristocrat, in short, is as 
proud and stately as the Spanish grandee. 

The only profession fit for a gentleman, ac- 
cording to the idea quite generally prevalent 
in Galicia, is that of obywatelstwo — that is, 
gentleman farmer — whose ideas and standing are 
somewhat similar to those of our old Southern 
squires before the war. This is the szlachta, or 
landed nobility, which still forms a small part of 
the nation. This class looks down on trade such 
as that on which the bourgeoisie of the towns is 
beginning to thrive. But the old prejudice is fast 
dying out, and now there are even hrabias (counts 
or barons) who own and operate large dairies. 

six 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

Perhaps, however, this is also considered a part 
of gentleman farming. 

The bourgeoisie, or town-folk, are generally 
the tradespeople. This class is composed of a 
large proportion of foreigners, Germans particu- 
larly (even in Russia), Poles of Teutonic or Rus- 
sian extraction, and an increasing number of 
Poles, pure Poles, constantly recruited from the 
peasantry, and occasionally from the aristocracy. 
The peasants, either through discontent with 
their own hard lot, or drawn by the allurements 
of city life, are deserting their fields and going 
into the centres of population, where they often 
enter trade and become prosperous. Service in 
the army is likely to give the peasant lad a dis- 
taste for the monotonous, rather animal life of 
his parent. And so the transformation of the 
people from a nation of almost exclusive agricul- 
turists into one of manufacturers goes on slowly, 
but none the less surely. 



S12 



XIX 
POLAND'S MODEKN INTERPRETER 

A RARE honour it certainly is for any one 
man to be able to introduce his country 
and countrymen to the world; to recall to 
the memory of mankind an oppressed and almost 
forgotten people, and to so revivify its past that 
the whole civilised world pauses to look and lis- 
ten as though a new protagonist had stepped 
upon the stage of the century. Such is, indeed, 
a rare honour, but it belongs to Henryk Sien- 
kiewicz, incomparably the greatest prophet of 
Polish nationality. 

Sienkiewicz has introduced his countrymen to 
the American people. It is not as " the author 
of l Quo Vadis? ' " that his name will be longest 
and best remembered, although such is the popu- 
lar way (at least in this country) of referring to 
him. It is as the man who made his country 
known to the world, as the author of the Trilogy 
of Polish novels, that he claims the affection and 
homage of his countrymen. 

To the American, the Englishman, the Ger- 
man, Henryk Sienkiewicz is a masterly weaver 
of fascinating, powerful, realistic romances. To 

818 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

the Pole he is all this, and much more. He is his 
country's first adequate interpreter to the world, 
and his works are the mirror in which " Sarma- 
tia sees her strenuous, beautiful self." To an 
audience larger, more widely distributed, and 
more generally intelligent than that of any other 
living author — with the possible exception of 
Tolstoi — he says : " Gentlemen, permit me to pre- 
sent Poland. This is not mere story-telling, lit- 
erary portraiture, romance-building. This is a 
great people; Poland, with all her magnificent 
virtues, all her lamentable shortcomings. Per- 
mit me, ladies and gentlemen, to present to you 
Poland." 

All his historical novels on Poland, but partic- 
ularly the incomparable Trilogy, present, in bold, 
clear-cut, beautiful lines, that unfortunate land 
and people that is to-day without a place on 
the map of nations. In the Trilogy the novelist 
has gathered up all the threads of the national 
life and character of his countrymen and woven 
them deftly into one shining cord : the series of 
three realistic, historical romances, " With Fire 
and Sword," " The Deluge," and " Pan Michael." 

A man in the prime of life, and in the pleni- 
tude of his powers, hearty, cordial, and courte- 
ous, slightly reserved at times, always modest 
and unassuming; a man of the middle height, 
with a kindly, honest face and quiet manners, 
with now and then the almost hunted look of one 

S14 




HENRYK SIENKIEWICZ, POLAND'S MODERN 
INTERPRETER. 

(From the painting by Kazimierz Pochwalski.) 



POLAND'S MODERN INTERPRETER 

who fears the " lioniser " — such is, in brief, the 
impression made by Henryk Sienkiewicz. His is 
a most winning personality, with simple, natural 
dignity, and an utter lack of pose. 

The novelist had just returned from a walk 
with his daughter when I presented myself at 
his cottage at Zakopane in the Carpathian Moun- 
tains. His naturally olive complexion was 
flushed with the exercise, and he flourished a 
ciupaga (or hatchet-headed mountain-stick) 
gleefully as he stepped buoyantly into the room. 

Delightful and unique is this Zakopailski or 
Carpathian style of building and carving. It 
looks like a clever amalgamation of the Norwe- 
gian and Swiss, but yet with a new stamp, cast 
in a new mould, peculiarly its own. The wood- 
carving of these gdrale, or peasant mountaineers, 
is really wonderful. From the massive newel- 
post at the foot of the stairs to the delicate fili- 
gree leaf-tracery of the paper-knife on Mr. Sien- 
kiewicz's desk, it is all done by hand, and — Oh, 
rare temperance and restraint! — left quite un- 
smirched by the vandal, vulgar paint. Fresh, 
clean, white wood, wrought into beautiful, artis- 
tic forms, with the ozone and tang of the forest 
still clinging to it, makes grateful, appropriate 
surroundings for a study. A few books and a 
couple of fur rugs — the spoil of the mountains — 
complete the den of the novelist. 

A most modest man is this world-famous au- 
815 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

thor. You cannot extract personalities, except 
the meagerest, from him by any means known to 
the diplomat's art or the journalist's craft. " I 
toiled at short stories until I could write a good 
one before I attempted longer productions." 
This is the terse way he sums up his early liter- 
ary struggles. A search among the " biography 
pigeon-holes" of certain Warsaw newspapers 
supplies the information that, like most eminent 
literary men, his beginnings were arduous and 
discouraging. From his mother, Stefania Cie- 
ciszewska, who was a poetess of culture, he in- 
herited a taste for literature. He wrote a series 
of critical articles in 1869, in his 25th year, but 
they attracted no attention. The next year he 
tried a novel, but that met a fate strangely ap- 
propriate to its title — " In Vain." No one cred- 
ited him with talent, and he lost heart. In the 
year of our Centennial he came to this country 
and joined Madame Modjeska's famous colony 
of expatriated Poles in California. Then came 
his sketches of travel in America. " I know the 
great West of America as a traveller only," he 
said. Here I fancied I could detect the faintest 
apologetic touch to the voice. Perhaps the nov- 
elist has had an inkling of the sensitiveness of 
Americans to the opinions of distinguished for- 
eigners, like Dickens and himself, who have 
seemed hasty in their generalisations of Amer- 
ica "as seen from a car window." Mr. Sien- 

816 



POLAND'S MODERN INTERPRETER 

kiewicz's reference to pigs in the streets of New 
York somehow lingers unpleasantly in the 
memory. 

"How do I write a novel?" He laughed. 
" What a question that is, and how can I possi- 
bly answer it? I prepare to write a novel by 
reading every book and document referring to it 
in all languages that I can lay hold of. Then I 
let it all soak for a while." (The novelist did 
not use the word " soak," but explained more in 
detail that he meant that process.) "Then I 
write. That is all. l Quo Vadis? ' was compara- 
tively easy. There was a great wealth of books 
and documents to draw from. Tacitus was a 
gold-mine. It took about eighteen months to 
complete ' Quo Vadis? ' which was my first seri- 
ous effort in the classical field. The Trilogy was 
more difficult, requiring very careful research, 
and the study of old and generally obscure 
authorities." 

An amusing incident is told in connection with 
the serial publication of " Quo Vadis? " in a Po- 
lish journal. When the installment describing 
the captivity of Lygia appeared, a deputation of 
sensitive young girls called upon the author — 
at least so the story runs — to beg him not to let 
his heroine die in prison. " It is a simple matter, 
this letting her escape," naively declared one of 
these young ladies. " Lygia has only to write a 
letter to her fiance^ and he will see to it." Sien- 

317 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

kiewicz smiled and requested his fair petitioner 
to compose such a letter to him. A few days 
later, therefore, he received the following mis- 
sive: 

"My dear Lygia: 

" It seems that you ought to write to Vinicius, but illness 
has probably enfeebled your epistolary powers. Address, 
instead, the simplest, most unpretentious letter to a certain 
M. Henryk Sienkiewicz, who lives in Warsaw/ several cen- 
turies hence. I have every reason to believe that, if you 
ask him prettily, he will arrange the matter without the 
useless complications of further correspondence. 

"I embrace you affectionately." 

The novelist prefers to be known as the author 
of the Trilogy : " With Fire and Sword," " The 
Deluge," and " Pan Michael." No Pole ever re- 
fers to him as the author of " Quo Vadis? " It is 
in the Trilogy that he " mirrors his native land." 
The other novels are not essentially typical. 
" Quo Vadis? " is a powerful romance, but it is 
not the Sienkiewicz milieu. " Without Dogma " 
is a fascinating psychological study, but a study 
that is human-broad. " The Family of Polan- 
iecki " is also psychological and human, not ex- 
clusively Polish. " The Knights of the Cross " 
is the history of an obscure, seething period, set 
in an absorbing romance. "On the Field of 
Glory " is typical, but not comprehensive. The 
Trilogy is Poland. Podbipienta, large-limbed, 
large-hearted, chivalrous, taciturn, patient, re- 
lentless, " so tall that his head nearly struck the 

318 



POLAND'S MODERN INTERPRETER 

ceiling, . . . but with an honest, open ex- 
pression like that of a child," represents Lithua- 
nia, the vast, savage northeast domain that came 
to the Commonwealth with the marriage of the 
Christian Jadwiga to the barbarian Jagiello. 
Zagloba is the type of the petite noblesse. Wo- 
lodyjowski is the thorough-going soldier, the 
splendid swordsman, a conqueror in war and 
love, a very typical Polish character. Bohun, in 
" With Fire and Sword," represents the Cossack, 
and Azya, in " Pan Michael," the Tartar, those 
fierce, untamed races, human birds of prey, that 
surrounded the Polish Commonwealth, and but 
for the swords of the Poles would have overrun 
western Europe. Prince Boguslaw, of " The 
Deluge," is the type of the " foreignised " Polish 
aristocrat. French in manners, in dress, in hab- 
its, French in the faultless punctiliousness and 
pomp of his chivalry, he was Gallic also in his 
hollow pretensions, in his cynicism, in his 
amours. Boguslaw brought his French servants, 
his French dress, and his French manners into 
the Commonwealth, treating the Poles with 
whom he came in contact as inferior beings, and 
lauding foreign ways, foreign military service, 
foreign everything. He is the prototype of the 
Polish noble of to-day who so often lives abroad 
— in France, in England, in Italy — who spends 
his money lavishly at the English Derby, the 
French Grand Prix, at Monte Carlo, on the Ri- 

319 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

viera — but who, when he comes to Warsaw or 
Cracow, the most Polish of cities, pulls tight his 
purse-strings and haggles over the amount of 
his hotel bill. A true, an unfortunately true, 
type, this Boguslaw. 

Pleasanter to contemplate are the wholly noble 
creations of the Trilogy, especially so far as the 
novelist could find real, actual, historic charac- 
ters to stand as types. These types can be found 
to-day among the Poles. Skrzetuski, the mirror 
of chivalry; Wolodyjowski, the simple-minded, 
ideal soldier; Kmicic, the dashing, devoted cava- 
lier ; Kordecki, the patriot-priest ; Czarniecki, the 
splendid, terrible leader of armies; Sapieha, the 
large-souled, pleasure-loving marshal; Wis'nio- 
wiecki, the peerless leader — what a splendid 
array ! And all were actual, living men, as were 
also the terrible Chmielnicki and the equally ter- 
rible Janusz Radziwill. 

His countrymen call the Trilogy the Polish 
national epic, and some English critic has de- 
clared that it has shown Sienkiewicz to be 
" Scott and Dumas rolled into one, with the 
added humour of Cervantes, and at times the 
force of Shakespeare." With the tragic, tense, 
bloody history of his country as a Cyclopean 
background, he has swept with bold, beautiful 
lines, and his brush has limned a marvellous pic- 
ture. Battle, adventure, heroism, virile conflict, 
are the strokes that stand out, but the eurythmy 

320 



POLAND'S MODERN INTERPRETER 

that dominates the entire picture, the light that 
suffuses the canvas, is that of love. Sienkiewicz 
knows, with an exquisite knowledge that finds 
at once the vital point of every situation, that 
love is and should be the mainspring, the soul, 
of the novel. He is not afraid of his theme. His 
characters are not " goody-goodies." They are 
far from being carpet-knights or shepherdesses 
of Arcady. Occasionally, for one shuddering 
second, we get a glimpse of the most brutal 
depths in his men. They are always strong and 
virile. He never shrinks from physical love, but 
when he touches it, he does so incidentally, 
lightly, and then passes. The reader's imagina- 
tion is never soiled by his scenes or characters. 

"Aside from the historical characters in the 
Trilogy, you have given us a number of types, 
have you not? If Skrzetuski, Chmielnicki, 
Wisniowiecki, Kmicic, and Radziwill were actual 
figures of history, what of Zagloba, of Podbi- 
pienta, of Wolodyjowski? " 

" Michael Wolodyjowski was an actual charac- 
ter. There was a knight of that name, known far 
and wide as i the best soldier of the Common- 
wealth.' The manner of his death, including the 
dramatic visit of Sobieski at his funeral, are his- 
toric verities. The siege of the stronghold of 
Kamieniec in Podolia happened just as I have 
pictured it." 

"And Zagloba?" 

321] 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

" Zagloba is a type particularly common at the 
time of which I have written, although I know 
many Zaglobas to-day in Lithuania, and even 
here in Galicia." 

Boastful, yet brave, crafty in council, sharp 
and witty of tongue, drinking by the bucket 
rather than by the glass, with an appetite like 
that of the boars of his native forests, cheerful 
in the face of adverse fortune, with a humour 
and kindliness quite unique, the old noble has no 
analogue in any literature, with, perhaps, the ex- 
ception of Shakespeare's Falstaff. I suggested 
the similarity. 

" If I may be permitted to make a compari- 
son," he said, " I think that Zagloba is a better 
character than Falstaff. At heart the old noble 
was a good fellow. He would fight bravely when 
it became necessary, whereas Shakespeare makes 
Falstaff a coward and a poltroon." 

A happier comparison, perhaps, is that of a 
German critic, who calls Zagloba a second Ulys- 
ses. Indeed, the old noble gloried in the resem- 
blance he bore to the wily Greek. In stratagems 
and deceptions, in outwitting or placating the 
enemy, in making foes love each other by false 
yet plausible honeyed speeches, for withering 
sarcasm, Zagloba is certainly to be compared 
with Homer's vir incomparabilis — having the 
advantage of kindliness and humour, which the 
Greek did not have. 

322 



POLAND'S MODERN INTERPRETER 

" And what of simple, chivalrous Podbipienta, 
the long Lithuanian knight? " 

" Podbipienta is a fantasy, but a true type. In 
him we see Lithuania." To those who know the 
Lithuanians, the fidelity of the artist in depict- 
ing Podbipienta is masterly. 

It was the study of Homer, the novelist de- 
clares, that gave him his first conceptions of 
massive moving armies, of magnificent cam- 
paigns of whole nations, which he has utilised in 
his epic — the Trilogy. 

" The Knights of the Cross " was the most dif- 
ficult of all his novels to write. It deals with 
characters and conditions of a time antecedent 
to that of the Trilogy, and there was little or no 
literature to draw from. " I had to dig out my 
facts from the most obscure sources," he said. 
The story is also written in old Polish, a harsher, 
rougher tongue than the speech of to-day, and 
more difficult to translate. 

It was shortly after returning to Poland from 
California that the young author met in Lithua- 
nia a young lady of rare grace and spirit, who 
soon won his heart and became his wife. Repro- 
ductions of a painting of her which hang in the 
Sienkiewicz house in Warsaw show her to have 
been of distinguished appearance, with an ex- 
quisitely delicate neck and an oval, aristocratic 
face framed in blond hair — the type of Lithua- 
nian beauty. Marya Szetkiewicz was for him the 

323 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

embodiment of all beauty and idealistic love. She 
taught him his true calling — to be interpreter of 
the life and longings of his country. Under the 
inspiration of her companionship and aid he 
planned the Trilogy, and " With Fire and 
Sword " was completed just before her death. 

On my leaving, Mr. Sienkiewicz presented to 
me a large, handsome bronze medal. "A sou- 
venir of our great charm now," he said, with a 
quiet smile — " our antiquity." It was struck in 
commemoration of the five hundredth anniver- 
sary of the University of Cracow. 

" Old Giewont is very beautiful to-day," I re- 
marked, as we looked toward the great peak of 
the Tatry towering back of the cottage. 

" Yes," he said. " I love these mountains, and 
the mountaineers, also, with their picturesque 
ways and beautiful, poetic language. One can 
get many an inspiration from their simple live3 
and delightful old legends." 

In Cracow, in Warsaw, in Posen, in the three 
divisions of the ancient Polish Commonwealth, 
it is the same story one hears everywhere — Hen- 
ryk Sienkiewicz is master of the hearts of his 
countrymen. He looms up as the most precious, 
the most representative, national figure. In nil 
his Polish works it is the same. The Poles find 
in them their patriotic credo. They are Poland 
crystallised into literature. They are more. 



3vtt 



POLAND'S MODERN INTERPRETER 

They contain the promise of a future, the germ 
of the national regeneration. 

On the twenty-fifth anniversary (in 1902) of 
his entrance into literature the whole nation 
joined in honouring him. It was a national fes- 
tival. A beautiful estate of three hundred acres 
at Oblengorek, in Russian Poland, with a man- 
sion, all the work upon which was contributed 
as a free gift by Polish artisans, was presented to 
him. Many other rare and beautiful presents, 
books, addresses, memorials, were also given. 

I like to think of Henryk Sienkiewicz as I last 
saw him — in mountain costume, stick in hand, 
looking off toward Mount Giewont in that beau- 
tiful Carpathian sunset. An old legend has it 
that one of the brave Polish kings of ancient 
times, with all his knights, sleeps in the fast- 
nesses of this mountain. When the time comes, 
and the Polish people are found worthy and 
united, the legend says that the knights will 
awake, and rush, in full armour, to the national 
defence. The land will then be restored to its 
ancient splendour. One can almost believe that 
the word-master's beautiful pictures of Polish 
love, chivalry, and patriotism have made the na- 
tion's fabled deliverers stir in their sleep. 



325 



XX 

THE POLES IN AMEEICA 

IT was eminently fitting that, when exiled 
from their native land for their devotion to 
liberty, Poles of all walks in life and of every 
social grade should turn their steps to the land 
of Washington and Lincoln. The emigrations 
that, in the latter half of the 18th century, 
spread the Polish blood over widely separated 
lands, naturally brought many of Poland's sons 
to the United States, which were just then 
fighting for their own independence. The names 
of Kosciuszko and Pulaski stand out boldly on 
the list of our Revolutionary heroes. The story 
of Kazimierz Pulaski is of as deep interest to 
Americans as that of Kosciuszko. Pulaski was 
a full-blooded aristocrat, who, like Kosciuszko, 
left Poland to fight for liberty. But he ac- 
tually gave up his life in the cause of American 
independence. There are monuments to Kosci- 
uszko at West Point, in Chicago, Milwaukee, and 
Cleveland, and Congress itself (in 1904) ap- 
propriated $50,000 to erect an equestrian statue 
of Pulaski in Washington. In 1905 the Poles in 
this country offered to the American people a 

326 



THE POLES IN AMERICA 

monument to Kosciuszko, to be erected on La- 
fayette Square, in Washington. The memory of 
these two heroic souls is also perpetuated in the 
names of many counties, cities, and streets 
throughout the country. 

Other eminent Poles came in the early years 
of our history. Niemcewicz, poet and friend of 
Kosciuszko, came with the patriot leader to this 
country in 1796. He married an American lady, 
Mrs. Livingstone Keane, of New Jersey. Tys- 
sowski, the " Dictator of Cracow," came here 
after the revolution of 1846. His descendants 
soon became good Americans. 

The learned Adam Gurowski, one time trans- 
lator to the State Department, entered so fully 
into the American spirit and life that his " Diary 
of 1861-65 " shows the keenest insight into the 
politics and general conditions of our civil war 
period. 

The Polish peasants soon began to come in 
large numbers to the promised land beyond the 
sea. To-day there are about two and a quarter 
million Poles in this country, and the number is 
constantly increasing. Many thousands also are 
in South America, chiefly in Brazil and Argen- 
tina. The Pole and the Slovak are the most rep- 
resentative of the Slav races that immigrate in 
large numbers to this country. They make ex- 
cellent raw material for our future American 
citizens. They take kindly to American educa- 

327 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

tional methods, particularly the Poles. The lat- 
ter are more assertive than the other members 
of the Slav stock that come here. They are not 
so submissive to the Church, and have a greater 
national consciousness. However, that does not 
prevent them from becoming quickly identified 
with American life, of which they become an im- 
portant part, while a large proportion of the 
other Slavic peoples return to the countries 
whence they came. 

The Poles grow up and become good Ameri- 
cans. Around the centralising power, which is 
usually the Church, the Polish town grows and 
expands, and under the influence of the Ameri- 
can public school soon becomes an American 
municipality. Very soon the entire family joins 
the father. As soon as the rude immigrant has 
saved enough he sends for Kasia, Hanka, and the 
little ones, who await with impatience the word 
that Jan has prospered in the new world. The 
Polish immigrants spread over our great West, 
and the cities of Buffalo, Chicago, Milwaukee, 
Pittsburg, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Detroit, and 
Toledo are the main centres in which they con- 
gregate. In Chicago alone there are more than 
250,000 of them, forming the largest Polish city 
in the world after Warsaw and L6dz. They 
come from all sections of the former Common- 
wealth, but principally from Galicia. They are, 
in general, industrious, frugal, and soon amass 

328 



THE POLES IN AMERICA 

a competency. Comparatively few professional 
men or members of the upper social classes have 
came to this country except for political reasons, 
as the love for the fatherland is so strong in the 
Polish heart, although a few such spirits as Mod- 
jeska and her husband have lived here. Mr. 
Ralph Modrzejewski (Modjeski), of Chicago, 
the son of the famous Polish-American trage- 
dienne, is an eminent engineer. He was, for 
some years, bridge engineer for the Union Pa- 
cific Railroad Company. He has been called the 
leading consulting bridge engineer in the coun- 
try. An eminent Polish priest, Father Kruszka, 
of Ripon, Wisconsin, in his "History of the 
Poles in America," gives the following statistical 
information as to the present (1907) Polish 
population in the United States (I quote even 
thousands) : 

Pennsylvania 423,000. 

Illinois 389,000 

New York 356,000 

Wisconsin 198,000 

Michigan 161,000 

Massachusetts 129,000 

Ohio 96,000 

New Jersey 93,000 

Minnesota 89,000 

Connecticut 61,000 

Indiana 41,000 

Missouri 21,000 

Maryland 19,000 

Nebraska 19,000 

Texas 18,000 

329 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

Rhode Island 10,000 

Delaware 9,000 

California 7,000 

North Dakota 6,000 

Kansas 5,000 

New Hampshire 5,000 

Washington 4,000 

Colorado 4,000 

Iowa 4,000 

South Dakota 3,000 

Kentucky 3,000 

Maine 3,000 

Oklahoma 3,000 

Oregon 3,000 

Tennessee 3,000 

Arkansas 3,000 

Montana 2,000 

Indian Territory 2,000 

Vermont 2,000 

Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana, South Carolina, 
Mississippi, North Carolina, and Florida have 
about 1,000 each, making a total of somewhat 
over 2,000,000. 

Since the census figures for natives of Poland 
include Polish Jews, they are of little use for our 
purpose, so that it is particularly fortunate that 
we have so devoted a student of Polish conditions 
in America as Father Kruszka to fall back upon. 
These figures refer, of course, to all those who, 
whether themselves born of Polish parents or 
not, count in the community as Poles. As re- 
gards the urban population it is impossible to 
tell what proportion of the Poles are city dwel- 
lers, but following are approximate figures : Chi- 

830 



THE POLES IN AMERICA 

cago, 250,000; Buffalo and immediate suburbs, 
about 75,000; Milwaukee, 65,000; Detroit and 
immediate suburbs, 65,000; Pittsburg and im- 
mediate suburbs, upwards of 50,000; Cleveland 
and immediate suburbs, 30,000; New York, 
Brooklyn, and Jersey City, 210,000; Toledo, 
14,000. 

The Polish peasant rapidly learns the English 
language and American ways. Indeed, a rather 
significant commentary on the proper way to 
make an alien people learn the language of the 
country in which they live is furnished by the 
way the Poles are learning English in this coun- 
try. In common with the other foreign immi- 
grants, the Poles soon come to understand that, 
if they wish to succeed in business, in politics, in 
life generally, they must learn the language of 
the country in which they live. They send their 
children at once to school — public or parochial. 
In 1905 there were in American universities and 
colleges 535 sons of Polish mine workers. These 
go home and not only accustom their parents 
to the sound of the English speech, but are even 
introducing English words and idioms into the 
Polish spoken at home. The next stage is to use 
English almost exclusively. Listen for a few 
minutes to the conversation of a Pole in one of 
our large cities and you will be almost certain 
to hear a number of words that sound like Eng- 
lish. They turn out to be really such, only 

331 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

slightly modified to suit the Slav palate and ear. 
For example, a Pole will use the phrase " na 
kornerze," " at the corner," or he will say " mu- 
fowac" " to move," " sztrita," " the street" This, 
after all, is the natural method of learning a 
language, and therefore more effective than the 
method of compulsion by sabre and cannon. 

In this matter of the Americanisation of the 
Poles, I quote the following extract from an ar- 
ticle on " The Polish Community in the United 
States" in the weekly My si Polska (Polish 
Thought) , of Warsaw, of April 20, 1907, by Louis 
Wlodek, who recently made a tour of the Polish 
colonies in the United States. Mr. Wlodek 
writes : 

" The degree of denationalisation is defined by 
two factors : the affection for the old fatherland 
that they have left, and the relation to the new 
fatherland, America. The affection for the na- 
tive land, as a feeling based on a real substruc- 
ture, on the love of the land, exists very vividly 
in the first generation of the immigrants, but it 
cannot exist in the second generation, which has 
been born in America. The affection of the first 
is expressed most strongly in the sending of all 
their savings to the old country (Galicia, and in 
a smaller part, the Kingdom) for the buying of 
land there, less frequently in a return to the 
fatherland. The patriotism of the second is 

332 



THE POLES IN AMERICA 

more platonic, is based on the love of the his- 
torical traditions, especially the tradition of the 
struggles for independence, and also on hatred 
to the foes of Poland, the three spoliatory 
powers. These feelings must be called platonic, 
for they are expressed in resolutions adopted at 
mass-meetings, in addresses at such meetings; 
never, however, can they impel to action. There 
is, however, one exception : the idea of an armed 
insurrection enjoys great popularity among the 
Poles in America. 

"Obviously Americanisation proceeds first of 
all along lingual paths. The immigrant whose 
first steps in this land were made enormously 
difficult, and whose whole life is still made diffi- 
cult by his ignorance of the English language, 
wishes to save his children from this obstacle, 
and he therefore willingly sends them to the 
English school, willingly sees the adoption by 
them of the local customs, and their growing into 
the American relations. The less cultured the 
peasants, the more distinctly do these charac- 
teristics appear; and the children's knowledge 
of the Polish language and their Polish feelings 
are in direct relation to the home surroundings 
and home education, to the degree of the affection 
of the parents for Polonism. The children in 
the majority of cases become accustomed to 
speak and to think in English ; this language be- 
comes their daily language, while the Polish lan- 

88$ 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

guage and Polonism are the synonyms of the 
festal celebration of the Polish holidays. Hence, 
we see children that on the platform have just 
sung Polish songs or declaimed Polish verses, 
speaking familiarly with one another in English 
as they are descending from the platform. These 
children later, when they grow up, will speak 
familiarly with one another likewise in English, 
carrying on at the same time a conversation with 
guests in Polish. Many of them will remain in 
the mob, but many of them will be graduated 
from the universities — in this way there arises 
the Polish-American intelligent class." 

Hitherto the only intelligent Polish class in 
America were the priests, who thus possessed 
" an absolute influence," and men that, with few 
exceptions, had had in the old country " differ- 
ences" with the penal code. To quote Mr. 
Wlodek again: 

" There now arises a new intelligent class, 
born on American soil, by feeling and tradition 
Polish, by disposition and habits American, by 
language belonging to Poland and to America, 
with a certain predominance in favour of the lat- 
ter. There are even types of undoubted Poles 
who do not understand a word of Polish and who 
send their articles, written in English, to Polish 
periodicals. 

88* 



THE POLES IN AMERICA 

" These types are in general sympathetic. 
Educated in America, adapted to the self-help 
of the life there, more reasonable and more highly 
educated than their parents, the immigrants 
of the first generation, they constitute un- 
doubtedly a positive element in the Polish com- 
munity of America. Not only feeling, but also 
interest ties them to Polonism; every one of 
them is too much of an American not to cherish 
political ambitions, and Polonism facilitates the 
realisation of these ambitions, assuring them the 
Polish votes at the elections. The same applies 
to the occupations that they have chosen. Po- 
lonism gives them a Polish clientele, which is 
undoubtedly the easiest, and by no means the 
worst. This same interest binds to Polonism 
perhaps still more the priests born and educated 
in America, for it guarantees them Polish par- 
ishes, which are easier to govern and are very 
profitable. When we speak of the future of the 
Polish-American intelligent class, we must not 
lose sight of this factor of interest which is very 
characteristic of America. 

" The only effectual dikes against the wave of 
Americanisation are built by the Church, together 
with the Polish school, which is wholly in its 
hands, the powerful alliances and associations, 
and last, but not least, the Polish periodical 
press. All these factors taken together cannot 
save the American Poles from partial denation- 

835 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

alisation. They must not, however, be slighted, 
for without them we should not have any Poles in 
America to-day. It is obviously impossible to 
form close statistics of how many of them we are 
losing annually, but we can say with entire cer- 
tainty that the eventual losses are covered with 
interest by the annual influx of fresh Polish im- 
migrants from Europe. We must add, however, 
that we are losing the most intelligent, the more 
civilised, the socially more valuable individuals, 
while we are gaining a pretty ignorant mob, 
which is not qualified for American conditions, 
although in this respect, too, there is visible a 
great progress: in the measure of the develop- 
ment of education in all parts of the old Repub- 
lic, the emigration wave is casting on the 
American shores elements constantly less igno- 
rant." 

It will be interesting to refer, briefly, to some 
of the best-known American Poles. One of the 
most eminent of this race, most of whose career 
was passed in this country, was Dr. Henry Kor- 
win Kalussowski, who died in 1894, at the age of 
eighty-eight Dr. Kalussowski's father was cham- 
berlain to Stanislaw Poniatowski, the last of the 
Polish kings. The younger Kalussowski fought 
in the Polish insurrection of 1830. In 1838 he 
came to the United States. Speaking fluently 
fourteen languages, he soon secured lucrative 

886 



THE POLES IN AMERICA 

employment as a teacher of French and Latin in 
New York. In 1848 he returned to Europe and 
participated in the revolutionary movement of 
that year. Later he served as a Polish member 
of the German Parliament from the grand duchy 
of Posen. He was afterward, however, expelled 
by the Prussian government, and returned to the 
United States to live permanently. During our 
own Civil War he raised the 31st New York Regi- 
ment. He also served the government in various 
capacities, occupying several positions in the 
Treasury Department, and translating from the 
Russian all the official documents relating to the 
purchase of Alaska. Dr. Kalussowski was chief 
organiser of the "Association of the Poles in 
America," founded in 1842 by those patriots who 
had participated in the revolution of 1830. 

Another patriot, warrior, and statesman who 
contributed to our national life was Professor 
Leopold Julian Boeck. This patriot served in 
the Hungarian revolution under Louis Kossuth. 
It was through the intervention of the United 
States Minister at Constantinople that the Ot- 
toman government refused to give up Dr. Boeck, 
then a prisoner of state at the Turkish capital, 
to the Russian and Austrian authorities. After 
a few years, as professor of higher mathematics 
in the Sorbonne at Paris, Professor Boeck, un- 
able to breathe freely in the empire of Louis 
Napoleon, came to New York. Here he founded 

837 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

the Polytechnic Institute, said to be the first in 
the United States. After the Civil War Profes- 
sor Boeck was called to the chair of mathematics 
and engineering in the University of Virginia. 
In 1873 President Grant appointed him Ameri- 
can Educational Commissioner at the Universal 
Exposition in Vienna. Three years later, Pro- 
fessor Boeck represented the National Govern- 
ment at the Philadelphia Exposition in the same 
capacity. When he died he was professor of 
languages at the University of Pennsylvania. 

The science of war in its modern aspect owes 
much to Edmund Louis Gray Zalinski, soldier, 
patriot, and inventor of the pneumatic torpedo 
gun. Captain Zalinski was born in Prussian 
Poland in 1849, coming with his parents to New 
York State when only four years of age. He 
received an American education, entered the 
United States army as volunteer, served on the 
staff of General Miles until the close of the War 
of the Eebellion, was promoted for gallantry, 
mustered out of service in 1865, and reached the 
rank of captain in December, 1887. Captain 
Zalinski became professor of military science 
in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 
and occupied chairs of a similar nature in other 
institutions. He also studied at the United 
States Artillery School at Fortress Monroe, and 
the School of Submarine Mining at Willets' 
Point, New York. He devoted six or seven years 

338 



THE POLES IN AMERICA 

to the development and perfecting of the pneu- 
matic dynamite torpedo gun. In 1889 he was 
sent abroad to study military science in Europe. 
Among his inventions are an intrenching tool, a 
telescopic sight for artillery, and a system of 
range and position finding for sea coast and artil- 
lery firing. He retired in 1892 and at present 
lives in New York City. 

Besides Kalussowski and Zalinski, a number 
of other Poles served in our Civil War, among 
them Colonel Krzyzanowski, Louis Zychlinski, 
and Colonel Joseph Smolinski, the last named 
being only sixteen years of age at his commission, 
the youngest cavalry officer who served during 
the war. Colonel Smolinski is a veteran news- 
paper correspondent. He is also prominent in 
G. A. R. work, and interested in bibliographical 
work in the War Department. He was the prime 
mover in the idea that finally culminated in the 
erection of the Pulaski monument in Washing- 
ton, to the fund for which the National Govern- 
ment contributed $50,000. 

One of the most famous women of Polish na- 
tionality, whose career is bound up with Ameri- 
can life, was I}r. Mary Elizabeth Zakrzewska. 
When only eighteen years of age this lady began 
the study of medicine in the Royal Hospital of 
Berlin, afterward becoming a member of the 
staff of that institution. Hearing that in the 
United States women could become full doctors 

339 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

of medicine, Dr. Zakrzewska resigned her posi- 
tion and emigrated in 1853. Three years later 
she graduated from the Western Reserve College 
of Medicine at Cleveland. She was associated 
with Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell in establishing the 
New York Infirmary for Indigent Women and 
Children. She also founded the New England 
Hospital for Women and Children in 1861, of 
which she was director and adviser until her 
death in 1902. 

An eminent Polish-American sculptor, some of 
whose works, including two busts of Kosciuszko 
and Pulaski, are now in the Capitol at Washing- 
ton, was Henry Dmochowski. This patriot was 
killed in the Revolution of '63. Another sculp- 
tor of eminence, and the creator of the Kos- 
ciuszko monument in Chicago, is Casimir 
Chodzinski. 

Among poets, novelists, and musicians of 
Polish nativity who distinguished themselves in 
this country were Edward Sobolewski, Mrs. Sa- 
molinska, Julian Horain, and Helena Stas, who 
has written some interesting stories of Polish 
life in America. 

Noteworthy among physicians who have a 
reputation extending beyond their own State is 
Dr. Francis E. Pronczak, who has been for many 
years a member of the Buffalo Board of Health. 

Prince Andrew Poniatowski, a direct descend- 
ant of the celebrated Joseph Poniatowski, one of 

840 



THE POLES IN AMERICA 

Napoleon's marshals, has had an eminent ca- 
reer as a capitalist. He now resides in Cali- 
fornia. 

Among the many devoted and industrious Po- 
lish clergy in this country, one of the particularly 
patriotic is the Rev. Waclaw Kruszka of Ripon, 
Wisconsin, whom I have already mentioned. He 
is prominently identified with the movement for 
the creation of Polish bishops in this country. 
He has written a ten-volume " History of the 
Poles in America." 

An editorial political writer of note, at pres- 
ent editor of the journal Dziennik Narodowy, of 
Chicago, is Stanislaw Osada, who has recently 
completed a " History of the Polish National Al- 
liance and of the Development of the Polish 
Movement in America." 

The Poles in the United States are proud also 
of Felix S. Zahajkiewicz, former editor of the 
Nar6d Polski, of Chicago, now an instructor 
in one of the schools of that city. Mr. Zahajkie- 
wicz is a fiction writer, a poet, and a playwright, 
whose poems and songs are rendered at na- 
tional celebrations. His historical tragedy, 
" Kr6lowa Jadwiga," was first produced in Chi- 
cago in 1895. Mr. Waclaw Perkowski is a 
journalist who contributes regularly to the met- 
ropolitan press and some of the best American 
magazines. Zygmunt Ivanowski and Wladyslaw 
Benda are two Polish painters living in this 

341 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

country with whose work the readers of the lead- 
ing American fiction magazines are familiar. 

The violent death (April 1, 1903) in the auto- 
mobile hill-climbing race between Nice and La 
Turbie, France, of the New York society leader 
and famous polo player and horseman, Count 
William Elliott Zborowski, recalled the fact that 
Zborowski is the original Polish form of the 
name Zabriskie, which is so well known in Amer- 
ica on account of the social prominence of so 
many members of the family. The Zabriskie is 
an interesting family which has had much to do 
with social and business affairs in and about 
New York for 250 years. Indeed the Zabriskies 
are perhaps the oldest family of Polish origin in 
the United States. There are several branches, 
the best-known residing in New York City. The 
original Zborowskis settled near Hackensack, N. 
J., and were agriculturists for several genera- 
tions. Martin, one of the original three brothers, 
studied law in New York, devoting himself par- 
ticularly to the real estate branch of that pro- 
fession, soon building up an immense and lucra- 
tive practice. Martin Zborowski later married 
Anna E. Morris, a member of the Gouverneur 
Morris family. At the outbreak of the Civil War 
he had already acquired a great deal of valuable 
real estate in New York City. By shrewd in- 
vestments this estate has been vastly increased in 
value. Occupying as it does many holdings on 

842 



THE POLES IN AMERICA 

Upper Broadway, the estate now exerts a power- 
ful interest in New York business life. At the 
death of Elliott Zborowski his fortune was esti- 
mated at over $10,000,000. It is a very large 
family with many widely separated branches. 
At the fourteenth anniversary of the Polish in- 
surrection of 1830 there were present Zborowski 
descendants of Poles who had settled in the 
United States one hundred and eighty years 
before. 

Poles have been eminent in other countries of 
the Western Hemisphere besides our own. In 
Chile, the eminent geologist, Ignatius Domeyko, 
was rector of the University of Santiago for a 
quarter of a century. General Carlos Roloff, the 
Treasurer of Cuba, who died during the year 
1907, was a Pole, and aided the Cubans in their 
revolution under Gomez. Marrying a sister of 
President Palma, he settled down on a sugar 
plantation. He commanded a division in the 
last war against Spain, also spending much time 
in New York, working with the Junta. When 
Palma became president, General Roloff was ap- 
pointed treasurer, continuing in that office under 
Governor Magoon's administration. 

To Polish editors in this country, indeed, who 
are among the brightest of their race here, is due 
much credit for the general education of their 
countrymen. Together with the parochial 
schools, and the many benevolent and fraternal 

343 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

organisations of Poles, the Polish-American 
press has done and is doing a very considerable 
educational work. Polish-American journalism 
is represented by some fifty newspapers, most of 
them published in the Central or Western Sta 
Among these, the most prominent, perhaps, are 
Zgoda {Harmony, weekly), Dziennik Chicagosbi 
(Chicago Daily), Dziennik Narodoicy (National 
Daily), the Gazeta Polska (Polish Gazette), the 
Gazeta Katolicka (Catholic Gazette), all in 
Chicago; the Kuryer Polski (Polish Courier), 
(Milwaukee), and the Dziennik Polski (Polish 
Daily), (Detroit). During 1907 there first ap- 
peared the Prasa Polska (Polish Press) in Mil- 
waukee, a monthly printed one-half in English 
and one-half in Polish, which makes a specialty 
of statistics. 

With all their national love for ceremony and 
social intercourse, the American Poles have 
many organisations through which they satisfy 
their social and military instincts. The Polish 
National Alliance, educational and benevolent, 
with a membership of over 50,000, is the strong- 
est of these organisations, but there are many 
others with more limited fields. In the United 
States the Polish national movement is con- 
ducted under the auspices of this Polish National 
Alliance (Zwianzek Narodowy Polski). The 
membership of this organisation is increasing at 
the rate of from six thousand to seven thousand 

544 



THE POLES IN AMERICA 

a year. The Alliance has nothing to do with 
party politics, but aims primarily to make the 
Polish residents of the United States good citi- 
zens of the land of their adoption without for- 
getting their Polish tongue and traditions. It 
endeavours to perpetuate the knowledge of the 
Polish language, literature, and history, and to 
lend organised assistance to the cause of Polish 
independence in Europe. In the Alliance build- 
ing in Chicago is published the Zgoda, the of- 
ficial organ of the Alliance, a well-edited weekly 
magazine with a circulation of fifty thousand. 
The Alliance library, in the same building, has 
the largest collection of Polish books in the 
United States. There are about five thousand 
volumes in the Polish language, and about two 
thousand in the Lithuanian, Latin, and English 
languages. Here also are located the insurance 
offices of the organisation, every active member 
of the organisation being required to carry a 
policy. The National Alliance has a Board of 
Education which is active in organising educa- 
tional circles and libraries in the various Polish 
colonies. Besides this the Board publishes edu- 
cational and political pamphlets and extends 
financial aid to the sons and daughters of the 
Alliance attending higher schools. The Alli- 
ance also supports a Commission of Schools, the 
object of which is to erect other institutions and 
collect funds for the erection of a Polish univer- 

345 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

sity in this country; a Commission of Immigra- 
tion; a Commission of Trade and Industry 
(which watches for work and business opportuni- 
ties for Poles, publishing the results of its re- 
search in the Zgoda) ; a Commission of Agricul- 
ture and Colonisation, and an Aid Department, 
the last named for indigent members of the Al- 
liance. The strongest Polish institution of 
learning in the United States is the Seminaryum 
Polskie (Polish Seminary), situated at Detroit, 
and receiving the support of the National Alli- 
ance. It has about three hundred students, all 
but forty being in the academy, and a faculty of 
nineteen professors and instructors. Several 
men of distinguished scholarship and ability have 
served on this faculty. There is Professor 
Thomas Siemiradzki, now editor of the Zgoda, 
whose " Post-Partition History of Poland " was 
recently issued by the Alliance. This vigorous 
narrative has not yet been translated. Profes- 
sor Siemiradzki was born in Lithuania in 1859, 
and was educated in the universities of Leipzig 
and Berlin. He was professor of Greek and 
Latin four years at Kielce, near Warsaw, and 
afterward at Lomza and Odessa. He was ap- 
pointed professor of law in the University of 
Kazan, Russia, but was arrested before reach- 
ing his post. In 1890 he was arrested in War- 
saw for complicity in the patriotic work of the 
National League, and confined for three months 

546 



THE POLES IN AMERICA 

in the citadel at Warsaw, and then for six months 
in the Cross prison at St. Petersburg. After this 
he was forbidden to live in the Kingdom of Po- 
land, which was the chief cause of his emigration 
to America. He came to the United States in 
1896, on the invitation of the Polish National 
Alliance. In 1901 he was elected editor of the 
Zgoda. 

The Poles in the United States have always 
maintained their race's reputation for idealistic 
conduct. They have fought in our wars. Nor 
have they failed to show the idealistic qual- 
ities in civil life. It was reserved for a Pole, the 
late Peter Kiolbassa, for many years treasurer 
of the second city in America, to be the first 
municipal official that refused to accept for him- 
self the interest on city money (invested) during 
his term of office. Mr. John P. Smulski, a Pole, 
who was one of the most respected city attorneys 
in the history of Chicago, is at this writing 
(July, 1907) State Treasurer of Illinois. 



847 



NOTE ON THE PRONUNCIATION OF 
POLISH 

IT has been asserted that the Polish conso- 
nants are hard to pronounce. Why only the 
consonants? The Polish vowels also are 
hard to pronounce. Both consonants and vow- 
els are hard if you do not know how to pronounce 
them; both the vowels and those terrible conso- 
nants are easy if you do know how to pronounce 
them. And this is where the beauty of the Polish 
pronunciation comes in, for each letter (with the 
exception of w) has one sound, and only that 
sound. Take the English language : what vowel 
has but one sound? And the consonants: are 
there not many that vary in pronunciation? Of 
course, if the reader persists in giving English 
values to Polish letters, the combination will be 
agreeable neither to his jaw nor to the Polish 
word, but, pronouncing them in the right way 
(which, by the way, is the easiest way), he will 
not find any difficulty. Following is a list of 
those Polish letters that require explanation. 
Armed with the information contained in this 
list, the Anglo-Saxon reader can safely venture 

348 



PRONUNCIATION OF POLISH 

to meet those formidable Polish words, as the 
pronunciation is always uniform for the same 
letter : 

a — as a in father, 

a — as ong in song, 

c — as t s in Tsar, 

cz — as ch in church, 

6 — as a very soft ch, 

e — as e in met. 

e — as eng in strength, 

g— as g in good, 

i — as e in mete, 

j — as y in yet and in boy, 

\ — as w in will, 

6 — as n in canon, 

o — as u in but, 

<5 — as oo in hood, 

rz is a combination of r and the French ; in 
jour ; occurring in the body of a word, it may for 
all practical purposes be pronounced as sh, 

s — as s in sit, 

sz — as sh in bush, 

s — as a very soft sh, 

u — as u in put, 

w (at beginning of a syllable) — as v in vine, 

w (at end of syllable) — as ff in cuff, 

y — as * in it, 

z — as English z, 

z — as French / in jour, 

z" — as a very soft French /. 
349 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 



The accent, except in foreign words and in 
compounds, is constantly on the penultimate syl- 
lable, as P6*lak, a Pole; Polaka, genitive; Po- 
lakoVi, dative. 

That is the whole scheme, and the whole secret 
of the matter. Here are a few of the most diffi- 
cult Polish words appearing in this volume : 



Chlopicki 

Chmielnicki 

Chocim 

Czestochowa 

Dabrowski 

Jasna G6*ra 

Kamieniec 

Kosciuszko 

L<5dz 

Lw6w 

Matejko 

Miod 

Podbipieta 

Potocki 

Przybyszewski 

Pufaski 

Sejm 

Bienkiewicz 

Skrzetuski 

Wis'niowiecki 

Wotodyjowski 

Wrocfaw 



PRONOUNCED 

Hwupp-eets-kee 

Hmyell-neets-kee 

Hotsim 

Chens-to-hoh-vah 

Dong-bruff-skee 

Yas-nah Goo-rah 

Kam-yehn-yets 

Kosh-tsyoosh-ko 

Woodzh 

Lvoof 

Mah-tay-ko 

Mute 

Pudd-bee-pyeng-tah 

Po-tutts-kee 

Pshih-bee-shev-skee 

Poo-wah-skee 

Same 

Syenn-kyeh-veech 

Skshe-toos-kee 

Veesh-nyo-vyetts-kee 

Vo-wo-dee-yufif-skee 

Vrots-wahv 

850 



PRONUNCIATION OF POLISH 

Following is a list of the principal Polish 
Christian names used in this volume (except in 
the chapter on " Poles in America," where 
English forms are used), with their English 
equivalents : 



Boteslaw 


Boleslaus 


Henryk 


Henry 


Ignacy 


Ignatius 


Jadwiga 


Hedwig 


Jan 


John 


Jeremi 


Jeremiah 


Karol 


Charles 


Kazimierz 


Casimir 


Ludwik 


Louis 


Ludwika 


Louise 


Marya 


Mary 


Stanislaw 


Stanislaus 


Stefan 


Stephen 


Tadeusz 


Thaddeus 


Wincenty 


Vincent 


Wojciech 


Adalbert 


Wladyslaw 


Ladislaus 


Wfodzimierz 


Vladimir 


Zygmunt 


Sigismund 



Translators of Polish novels have recently 
adopted the rule of spelling Polish names accord- 
ing to their idea of how English readers can best 
grasp the pronunciation, and the reading public 

351 



POLAND: THE KNIGHT AMONG NATIONS 

meets with the names of the greatest characters 
in Polish history spelled in every imaginable way 
but that of the encyclopedias. Believing that 
this must be as distasteful to the Poles as a like 
treatment of American names would be to Ameri- 
cans, the author of this volume has spelled in the 
preceding pages Polish names as they are spelled 
by the Poles. There are but few exceptions to 
this. The a and e with a -cedilla, thus, a, §, giving 
the nasa.1 sound, has not been used. An n or an 
m has been inserted after the simple English let- 
ter in these cases. Nor have Polish crossed 
Z's been used. The writer has also used the Polish 
forms of the names of places, except in a few 
cases in which the names have become so well 
known in their English form as to render the 
Polish form unrecognisable, e.g., Warsaw, not 
Warszawa; Cracow, not KrakoV; Posen, not 
Poznati. 

Waclaw Peekowski. 



M2 



INDEX 



Adalbert, St., see Wojciech, Catholicism, in Russia, 106, 

St. 107; and nationality in 

America, Poles in, 326-347 Poland, 192 

Aristocracy, in Warsaw, 133 Chelmonski, 277 

Art, see also Painting, chap- Cnmielnicki, begins war 

ter on Polish, 274-286 against Poland, 182, 183 

Asnyk, Adam, 282 Chodzinski, Casimir, 340 

Austria, Polish autonomy Chopin, significance of ma- 
under, 30-43 ; diverse sic of, 271, 272 
races of, 37-40 ; Catholi- Colonisation Comm i s s i o n 
cism in, 39-40; foreign (Prussian), 89, 90 
politics of, 41 ; Poles in, Conde, Prince of, candidate 
42, 43 for the Polish throne, 141 

Copernicus, the geogra- 

Balzac, see Madame Hanska pher of the heavens, 287- 

Benda, Wladyslaw, 341 293; studies at the Uni- 

Berlin, the dominating Eu- versity of Cracow, 287, 

ropean capital, 79, 80 289 ; claimed by Prussia, 

Bismarck, on Germany's 288 ; born in Thorn, 289 ; 

foreign policies, 77, and lectures at Bologna, 289 ; 

the Poles, 87; tribute of, goes to Rome, 289; toils 

to Polish women, 223 at his book, 291 ; book 

Boeck, Professor Leopold printed in Nuremburg, 

Julian, 337, 338 291; dies, 292 

Boguslaw, of " The Deluge," Corpus Christi, see Boz6 

319, 320 Cialo 

Bohemians, see Czechs Cossacks, in Warsaw, 128; 

Boleslaw the Great, rec- kill an aged Jew, 260 

ognised king of Poland, Cracow, the Heart of Po- 

75, 76 land, 44-69; University of, 

Boz6 Cialo, celebration in 44-46 ; second Polish capi- 

Cracow, 61-65 tal, 49 ; insurrection of 

Brandes, Georg, on Poland, 1846, 51 ; churches of, 60 ; 

12 theatre of, 65; Jews of, 

Brandt, 277 248, 254, 255 

Bureaucracy, see Russiflca- Customs, Polish country life 

tion and, 294-312; hospitality 

in Poland, 295 ; the Polish 

Campbell (English poet), dw6r, 296; festivities of 

pn Koscluszko, 174 Carnival, 298, 303, 304; 

853 



INDEX 

Christmas in Poland, 299, and the Slav, 80; and 

303; Candlemas Day. 304, Scandinavia, 82, 83 

305 ; Renkawka, 3 7; Glowacki, Bartos, exploit at 

Smigus, 307 ; Gromniczna, Raclawice, 172 

304 ; Zielone swiantki, Godebski, Cyprian, sculptor, 

308; Dzien zaduszny (All 279, 280 

Souls' Day), 309; family Gnesen, history of, 71-75 

life, 309, 310; social caste Greene (Gen.), aided by 

system, 310, 312 Kosciuszko, 1G0 

Czechs, and St Wojciech, Gromnice, feast of. 247 

71, 73 Grottger, Artur, paintings 

Czenstoehowa, siege of, by of, 276 

the Swedes, 192-206 Gurowski, Adam, 327 

rw*™.™.,,^ t»„~„t,„« » Hague Peach Conference 

DET-BRT'ECK, PBOFES80B ,..„ «„ + \ mo .^^^i n \ ^t 

Hans on the "Polish (the first) ' memoriai of 
?«™!'r» oj. American Poles to, 20 

Dmochowsk^ Henry, 340 Haika richness of themes 

DO T^rr 8 So and the P ° Ii8h Han'ska (Madame) and Bal- 
ijegion, iiv ooo 

Domeyko, Ignatius, 343 Hpi„oi*'w k± 

Drama, in Warsaw, 132, 133 „*{??'' T«iXr« *m> 

Duma, the Russian, and Po- S?™i n ' J ul ^J£ nf tfW 

innrt 111 11<* Hungary, attitude of, to- 
iana, m, ua wflrd AustrIan Imp erial- 

Falat 278 279 ism, 40 

"Finis Poionuer Kosciuszko ^.^j^* £%£%£"' 

denies saying, 174, 175 ra » Jews at ' Jo8 * zm 

France, and America " rec- T „ t „ nT „ a „, *„„„„„„ oai 

conciled" by Kosciuszko, Ivanowski, Ztqmunt, 341 

Franklfn, 2 Benjamin, on Jad ™A <*™ N ' 8aIntly llfe 

Kosciuszko 159 ' 

Fronczak, Dr. Francis E., 3 %f°^ ke ° f Lithuanla ' 

Japan, Russia's war with. 
112 

Gansiobowski, Waclaw, Jasna G6ra. 192-206 

282 Jefferson, Thomas, entrusted 
Galicia, general condition with will of Kosciuszko, 

of, 31-36 162 

Gates, Gen., aided by Kos- Jew, Herman Rosenthal in 

ciuszko, 160 Jewish Encyclopedia on, 

Germanisation, failure of, in 12 ; of Kamleniec. 217. 

Poland, 85 218: enters Poland, 249; 

Germany, world dream of, in Poland, 248-204; mint- 

and the Poles, 79-98; for- ing Polish coins, HO; 

eign policies of, 77, 78; valour of, 250; killed by 

854 



INDEX 

Cossacks, 260; praised by will to Jefferson, 162; 
Mickiewicz, 250 ; 50-verst " reconciles " France and 
law in Russia, 261 ; in the America, 161, 162 ; founds 
pale, 262 ; in Warsaw, school in Newark, New 
262; in America, 252, 258, Jersey, 163; friendship 
259; in Cracow, 254, 255; with Thomas Jefferson, 
degradation of, 254-256; 163; made a major gen- 
home life of, 257 eral in the Polish army, 

Jewish Encyclopedia, article 164; receives contribu- 
on Polish Jew in, 12 tions from coal-heavers of 

Cracow, 169; defeated at 

Kalussowski, Db. Henby Szczekocin, 173, at Macie- 
K., 336, 337 jowice, 174; denies say- 

Kamieniec, siege of, by the ing " Finis Polonice" 174, 
Turks, 207-220; Jew of, 175; relations with Na- 
253 poleon, 178; monument 

Kazimierz the Great, founds to, in Cracow, 180 

University of Cracow, 45; Kosciuszko, Ludwik, death 
and his love for the Jew- of, 155; wife of and 
ish Esther, 248 mother of Tadeusz, 155 

Kazimierz of Cracow, the Kossak, 277 

Jew in the, 254, 255 Kosyniery, in army of Kos- 

Kingdom of Poland, see ciuszko at Raclawice, 171, 
Warsaw 172 

Kiolbassa, Peter, 347 Kozak, dirge of the steppes, 

Konopnicka, Marya, 282 270 

Kordecki, statue of, 198, Krakau, see Cracow 

204 Krak6w, see Cracow 

Kordjan, performed in the Krakus, builds the Wawel, 
Cracow theatre, 66, 69; 49 

compared to " Faust," 281 Krasinski, 281 

Kosciuszko, Tadeusz, not Kraszewski, writings of 
hero of "Thaddeus of 281, 282 

Warsaw," 8; wreaths laid Kr61estwo Polskie, see War- 
on tomb of, 46, 47; oath- saw 

tablet in Cracow, 52, 53; Kruszka, Rev. Waclaw, 341 
the "Real Thaddeus of Krzesz, Joseph, 278 
Warsaw," 153-180; patri- Krzyzanowski, Col., 339 
otism of, 154; genealogy Kulczycki, and Vienna rolls, 
of, 154; travels and 150, 151 
studies in France, 157 ; Kunegunda, gives her dowry 
enlists under Washington, to Poland, 224 
159, 160 ; teaches fort con- 
struction to the American Land, how the Poles cling 
army under Gates and at to the, 88 
West Point, 160; statue Language (Polish), and 
in Chicago, 160 ; writes on Prussian schools, 90, 91 ; 
artillery, 162 ; leaves his and Russian law, 105, 106, 

855 



INDEX 



108; preserved by the 
Polish women, 222 ; note 
on pronunciation of, 348- 
353 

Lelewel, historical writings 
of, 281 

Lemberg, in history, 210 

Leopol, see Lemberg 

Leopold of Austria, besieged 
in Vienna, 145 

Leszczynska, Mv.rya, and 
Louis XIV., of France, 
223 

Literature, in Warsaw, 133 ; 
of present-day Poland, 
281, 282 

Lodz, growth of, 125 

Louis XIV, of France, ri- 
valry of, with Austria, 
145, 146; and Marya 
Leszczynska, 223 
Lw6w, see Lemberg 



Maciejowice, battle of, 174 

Mahan, Captain, on Russia's 
vulnerability, 100 

Malczewski, 277, 278 

Mary, the Virgin, see Panna 
Marya 

Marysienka (Queen Marya 
Kazimiera), 144, 145 

Matejko, Jan, restores the 
church of Panna Marya, 
60; decorates the Cracow 
theatre, 65 ; historical 
paintings of, 70; house 
preserved in Cracow, 274; 
methods and qualities of, 
274, 276 

Matka Boska, legends of, 
245-247 

May 3, 1791, Constitution of, 
24, 160 

Mazcppa. story of, 207 

Melioffer, 278, 'JT'.» 

Miekiewiez, praises the Po- 
lish Jew, 200; monuments 



to, in Cracow and War- 
saw, 279, 281 
Modjeska, Helena, introduc- 
tion to this volume by, 7; 
artistic career of, 282-285 
Modjeski, Ralph, 329 
Moniuszko, see Halka 
Morfill. W. K., on Poland, 12 
Moszkowski. waltzes of, 273 
Music, and the Slav temper- 
ament, 265-273 
" Mysl Polska," quoted on 
Poles in America, 332-336 

Napoleon, on Warsaw, 129 ; 

and Ko8Ciuszko, 178, 179; 

and Madame Walewska, 

223 
National Alliance (Polish), 

in the United States, 344, 

345, 346 
Niemcewicz, with Kosci- 

uszko in the United 

States, 327 

Obzeszko, Eliza, 282 
Osada, Stanislaw, 341 

Padebewski, an estimate of, 

272 
Painting, a race of artists 

by birth. 274--JSfi 
Pale, the Jew in, 2«;*_ > 
Pan Michael, the country of, 

207-220 
Pan-Slavism, failure of, 123 
Panna Marya, church of, 

c,i i. 61 
Paul (Tzar) to Kosciuszko, 

IT.".- 177 

nits, and the future of 

Poland, 282-247; life of. 
wedding among, 

289 in Gall- 

eia. 243, -J« ( : Xainyslaw- 

ski's orchestra, 270; in 

America, 827-882 



3i>6 



INDEX 

Perkowski, Waclaw, 341 ; statement, 30 ; in Prussia, 
note on pronunciation of 84; in Russia, 100 

Polish, 348-353 Polonism, see Polish ques- 

Peter the Great, policy of. tion 

toward Europe, 115, 117 Poniatowski, Prince An- 

Plant£, circular boulevard drew, 340, 341 

of Cracow, 55 Poniatowski, Stanislaw, the 

Plater, Emilia, fights as a last Polish king, 158; and 
man in the Polish armies, Suwarrow, 127, 128 

225 Posen, importance of mod- 

Podbipienta, errand to King era, 73 

Jan Kazimierz, 184 Potocka, Countess of (paint- 
Poland, best book on, by a ingh 231 

foreigner, 8; reconstruc- Poznafi, see Posen 

tion of, 10 ; compared with Praga, Sunday park in, 135, 
the United States, 11; 137 

r61e of, in history, 17-29; Press, the Polish, in Amer- 
Victor Hugo on, 18; Mor- ica, 344 

fill, Brandes, and Rosen- Prochownik, Abraham, in 
thai on, 12; champion of Polish history, 250 

West against East, 19; Prus Boleslaw (Alexander 
peasant of, 231-247; at Glowacki), novels of, 282 

greatest extent, 21 ; politi- Prussia, see also Germany ; 
cal constitution of, 22, 23 ; a fief of the Polish crown, 
characteristics of Russian, 70; and the Teutonic 
100, 103 ; labour laws in Knights, 74 ; and economic 
Russian, 107; political progress in Polish prov- 
parties in, 107-110; wo- inces, 91, 92 

men of, 221-231 ; history Przybyszewski, Stanislaw, 
of Jews in 248-264 282 

Poles, temperament of, 22, Pulaski, Kazimierz, in Anier- 
23, 25, 26, 27; and Ger- ica, 326 
many's world dream, 70- 

98; grateful to Austria, Quo YADisf How Sienkie- 
31 ; relation to land in wicz wrote, 317, 318 
Germany, 88; increase of, 

in Prussia, 88, 89 ; and the Racxawice, battle of, 166, 
language question in Ger- 170-173 

man schools, 91, 92; Religion, devotion of the 
economic position of, in Poles, 192-206 

Prussia, 91, 92; in Russia Reszkes, Polish homes of 
and Germany, 95; future the, 273 

relations with Russia, 121, Reymont, Wladyslaw, 282 

122 ; religion among, 192- Rodziewicz, Marya, 282 

206; traces of Orient in, Roloff, General Carlos, 343 

267, 268; in America, 326- Rosenthal, Herman, on the 
347 Polish Jew, 12 

Polish question, general Russia, see also Warsaw; 

357 



INDEX 

European door of, 99-122; Vienna"), 70; relations 

reached via Poland, 99, to Warsaw, 130, 131 ; 

100; and the Polish prob- elected King of Poland, 

lem, 100; expansion of, 140-144; speech at elect- 

114, 122 ; an agricultural Ing convention, 143 ; sends 

state, 118, 119; and a Pan Michael to Kami- 

Paciflc water-front, 120, eniec, 209, 210; saves 

121, future of Poland and, Tremb6wla, 211 

121, 122 ; a Polish king of, Sobolewski, Edward, 340 

128, 129; and the Jew, Sosnowska, Ludwika, court- 

249, 250, 253, 258-263 ed by Kosciuszko, 157, 159 

Russiflcation, 104, 105, 106, Sosnowski, Joseph, befriends 

111, 112 Kosciuszko, 156 

South America, Poles in, 
327, 343 

Samolinski, Mrs., 340 Stachiewicz, Piotr, 279 

Scandinavia, and Germany, Stas, Helena, 340 

82, 83 Steppes, a voyage over the, 

Schools, Poles in Prussian, 207-220; sadness of the, 

91; for peasants in Gall- 265-268 

cia, 243, 244 Sukiennice, 53 

Sembrich, Marcella, art of, Suwarrow, and the Polish 

273 constitution, 109; kills 

Shrines, wayside, in Galicia, Poles at Warsaw, 127, 

185 128; executes Jews at 

Siemiradzkl, painting of, Praga, 251 

277, 278 Sweden, wars with Poland, 

Siemiradzki, Professor 195 ; armies of, besiege 

Thomas, 346, 347 Czenstochowa, 196; King 

Slenkiewicz, Henryk, on Charles Gustavus of, and 

Slav characteristics, 25; Poland, 195, 196 

an inspiration to Prussian Szczekocin, battle of, 173 
Poles, 96 ; on " German- 
Ism," 96, 97; Trilogy of, 

181, 182; read by more Tabnopol, In history, 210, 

Russians than Tolstoi, 211 

286; Poland's modern In- Teutonic Knights, foundn- 
terpreter, 313-325 tion of the order of, 73, 74 
Skrzetuski, heroism of, 190 Tremb6wla, rescued by So- 
Slav, characteristics, Sien- bieski, 211 
kiewicz on, 25; tempera- Trilogy, of Sienkiewicz's 
ment of the, 193; music novels, 181, 182 
and, 265-273 Turkey, Sultan of, invades 
Slowacki, 281 Hungary, and besieges 
Smolinski, Col. Joseph, 339 Vienna, 145; general of, 
Smulski, John F., 347 besieges Kamienlec, 207- 
Sobieskl, King John (paint- 220 
lng, " Sobieski before Tyssowski, 327 

358 



INDEX 

Ukraine, first mention of, Wianki, celebration of, in 
207, 208 Cracow, 59 

Wlodek, Louis, on the Poles 
in America, 332-336 

Veto, Sobieski threatens to Wojciech, St, holy deeds of, 
exercise the right of, 142 71, 73 

Vienna, what V. owes to Women, of Poland, 221-231; 
John Sobieski, 43; Con- among the peasants, 239- 
gress of, 94, 100, 101, 109 ; 242 ; " Poland is not yet 
how V. escaped the Turk, lost," 221 

138-152 Wyczolkowski, 278, 279 

Virgin Mary, see Matka 

Boska Yebmak, founder of Russia's 

Voltaire, on Polish trade in Asiatic empire, 114 
the Middle Ages, 35 

" Vyedomosti " ( St. Peters- Zagloba, at Zbaraz, 191 ; 
burg), on autonomy for character of, 319, 321, 322 

Poland, 112 Zahajkiewicz, Felix S., 341 

Zakopane, visit to Sienkie- 
wicz at, 315; style of 

Walewska (Madame), and architecture and decora- 
Napoleon, 223 tion, 315 

Wanda, daughter of Krakus, Zakrzewska, Dr. Mary Eliz- 
49 224 abeth 339 340 

Warsaw, " Thaddeus of," 8 ; Zal, meaning of, 269, 270 

the geographical centre of Zalinski, Captain Edmund 
Europe, 123-137 ; a western Louis Gray, 338, 339 

European city, 124; trade Zaporagian Cossacks, 208, 
of, 124, 125; history of, 209 

125 ; " order " in, 128 ; Zbaraz, siege of, 181-191 

literature in, 132, 133; Zborowski (Zabriskie), the 
drama in, 133; aristocracy family in America, 342, 
in, 133 ; popular theatre of, 343 

134 " Z Dymem Pozar6w," musi- 

Wawel, the Westminster cal score of, 67, 68 

Abbey of Poland, 46, 48, Zeromski, Stanislaw, 282 

49 ; riches and decorations " Zgoda," 345 

of, 56-59 Zwianzek Narodowy Polski, 

West Point, Kosciuszko the see National Alliance, 
engineer in constructing, Polish 

160 Zychlinski, Louis, 339 



859 



CO 

o 
o 



CV2 



M 

a 
o 

•H 
-P 

cd 
a 

hi) 

o 



-p 



66 

•H 

1 5 

O <D 
-P 

2 tT 

£§ 

a ^ 
3 

t> 

Q, 

to 

p CO 

gS! 



University of Toronto 
Library 



DO NOT 

REMOVE 

THE 

CARD 

FROM 

THIS 

POCKET 



A cm* Library Card Pocket 
LOWE-MARTIN CO. limited