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Title: An Englishwoman in Angora

Author: Grace Ellison

Illustrator: L. Raven-Hill

Release date: July 3, 2021 [eBook #65749]

Language: English

Credits: Turgut Dincer,, Barry Abrahamsen, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at (This file was produced from images generously made available by The Internet Archive)



The first British woman to visit Angora since the beginning of the Nationalist Movement. She has always stood for Anglo-Turkish friendship.

IN  ANGORA   ::   ::   By
GRACE ELLISON   ::   ::   ::
With 34 illustrations, reproduced from the Author’s
own sketches and photographs, and with a cartoon by
L. Raven Hill





At the time of writing I am the only Englishwoman who has been in Angora since the Nationalist movement began.

Others, moved by curiosity, have sought permission to visit the country under its new régime, but Nationalist Turkey has bidden them wait—until she is sure that her guests will write, or speak, the truth about what they may see, and can be trusted to forget the prejudices with which they would almost certainly arrive.

For myself, I have three times been welcomed to Turkey with open arms on account of my nationality. On this occasion I was still welcome, but in spite of my nationality—an ugly truth that my mind almost refuses to accept.

To compare impressions from these visits one must first ask: “How could such a change of attitude come to pass?”

Formerly Great Britain was the country of all countries that “counted” in Turkey. To be a “gentleman”—(they used the English word)—was the Turks’ highest ambition. British stuffs were chosen in preference to French, not because they were finer or of greater value, but simply because they were British. Our ideals, our policy, and, I must add, our governesses, were almost regarded as sacred in Turkish eyes.

And now I am advised, for greater safety, to travel as an American! God forbid! I stand by the old flag.

I would smile, could the tears be hidden, when I xrecall the police officer who so solemnly enquired if I was sure I was not an American.

“Perfectly sure,” I replied.

“How then,” said he, “has that impossibility—an Englishwoman in Angora—become possible?”

“Your Government,” I answered, “has made it possible. As you have no one else here from my country, I have given myself this mission.... An old friend of the Turks, a woman who loves her own country! Can she not do something for that peace between us, which is a supreme necessity to both? That is why I am here.”

I do not forget that Turks were our “enemies” in the war. But they came back, beaten to the dust—and penitent. Then was the moment for us to have made our own terms. In that mood Turkey would have accepted—anything, but the one thing we imposed on her—the Greeks at Smyrna! That policy of sheer folly has transformed the veneration of her people into fear and distrust, if not hate.

Unjustly and unreasonably as we have behaved towards our old ally, we were not, indeed, alone in this mischievous exalting of Greek aggressions. Dare we not now own our mistake? We are great enough, and strong enough, to be generous, to mend our ways!

To-day, surely, it is the duty of English patriots to pour oil on the troubled waters, to explain to Turkey what can be explained, and to paint our countrymen, at least, less “black” than they have been made to seem by our rivals’ pen!

Lausanne Palace Hotel,


January, 1923.



An Englishwoman in Angora ix
List of Illustrations xv
On Board the Pierre Loti—Turkey’s Debt to Loti’s Magic Pen 17
Turkey and Tolerance—A Friendship Wasted 22
Malta: the Name I was to Hear Throughout Anatolia 29
Athens—“We Have Loved Helen; Must We Divorce Her?” 36
Smyrna: a Picture of Desolation 43
British Chivalry!—Brave Women a Nuisance! 54
Smyrna—God’s Work—The Exquisite Sunset—Man’s Work—War 60
Emotions and Impressions—“On the Way”—Nowhere to House the Poor People 71
More Impressions-“Sitting Amidst an Army of Supposed Savage Fanatics, Debating the Greatness of God” 79
A Journey on Foot—A Country Made by God, untouched by Man 85
A Public Meeting at Ouchak—Hospitality—A Sacred Rite 94
A Luggage Train—The Worst Stage of My Whole Journey 104
A Third-Class Compartment—A Frenchman Amongst the Ruins 114
In the “Train de Luxe”—The Supreme Good Fellowship of English Laughter—Journeying Towards the Cradle of New Turkey 122
Angora I.—Entering a “Brotherhood”—An Atmosphere of Camaraderie 132
Angora II.—At the Home of My Kind and Courteous Host 141
Angora III.—The Marvellous Atmosphere of a Great Birth 147
The Ghazi Mustapha Kemal Pasha—The Greatest Man in Turkey To-day 159
An Interview with the Ghazi Mustapha Kemal Pasha 174
Mustapha Kemal Pasha—The Man Who is Master of His Fate 179
A Turkish Cabinet—The Three Best-Known Ministers—A Cabinet of Young Men 192
Turkish Cabinet—The Less-known Ministers of the Sovereign State 198
The Foreign Colony in Angora—A Group of Foreign Personalities 202
Halidé Edib Hanoum, Author and Patriot—A Woman Dowered with the All-Conquering Gifts of the Truly Brave 205
Hospitals—Schools—Education and the Nationalist Writers—The Days Pass, but There is Still Much to Be Done and Seen 215
Last Days in Angora: Excursions, Conversations, Picnics—HAÏDAR Bey’s Party 226
Rome, the Eternal City—A Visit to the Catholics in Angora 239
Three Diplomats at Rome—The Guardianship of the Holy Tomb 249
En Route for Constantinople—A Night at Bilidjik Under the Frost-Laden Skies 254
From Bilidjik to Broussa by Yaili—After the day’s Roughening Experiences one can Sleep whatever the Accommodation 259
A Few Days in Broussa—The True Islam Atmosphere 273
Constantinople No Longer the Capital—The Heart and Spirit of Turkey are in Angora 285
Lausanne Palace Hotel—The Home of Turkey, France, and Japan—“Every Possible Phase of Complete Internationalism” 298
Turkey and the League of Nations—The Parliament of Nations Must Be Truly Impartial and International 313
The Future—Above All, a Lasting Peace 318
Index 321



Miss Grace Ellison Frontispiece
Burnt Quarter in the French Part of Smyrna near the Quay 48
Lord Curzon: “Turkey for the Turks, indeed!” 64
In an Ox Wagon 89
From a Turk’s Back 104
H.M. The Kaliph of Islam 112
A Battle Royal with my Tangled, Dusty Hair 122
A Bottle of Evian—Under the Table 123
General Moueddine Pasha, Military Instructor of Mustapha Kemal Pasha 128
The Market-place at Angora 136
“The carriages swing from angle to angle” 137
Grand National Assembly at Angora 144
“There is so much to sketch from our front door” 145
The Ghazi Mustapha Kemal Pasha, President of the Grand National Assembly, Angora 160
On the wall of Mustapha Kemal Pasha’s study the Sultan Osman looks down on Mustapha Kemal Pasha 164
The Ante-room at Tchan-Kaya 165
Mustapha Kemal Pasha’s Sitting-room 168
Mustapha Kemal Pasha Walking in the Grounds of Tchan-Kaya 171
General Ismet Pasha, Minister for Foreign Affairs 176
Rauf Bey, Prime Minister 192
Halidé Hanoum, the well-known writer, patriot, and feminist leader 208
Dr. Adnan Bey, High Commissioner for Constantinople 208
Agha Aglou Ahmed Bey, Director of the Angora Press 224
A Luncheon Party at the Ottoman Bank, Angora 240
The Yaili with Drawn Curtains 255
Broussa 256
“He has the right to say, ‘Look at me’” 261
The Tomb of the Sultan Osman at Broussa 272
General Refet Pasha and Colonel Mougin in Constantinople 288
Lausanne Palace Hotel 304

17An Englishwoman in Angora



Over a sea as smooth as ice, the sun shining brightly most of the way, the Messageries Maritimes steamer Pierre Loti is carrying us to Smyrna. Ten years ago, to a beaten Turkey (unable, it was supposed, to face an enemy for years to come), I had taken the same trip. And now, despite the prophets, I am returning to a victorious people; doubly victorious, since all the odds were against them.

“That is the kind of story I love,” I remarked to the sympathetic captain and his daughter, with whom I generally lunched as guest in their own cabin. They, indeed, were particularly interested in my adventure, for they knew the Near East well, and this was to be their last visit. Because he had just reached the age limit of those who ‘go down to the sea in ships,’ though it was only when you caught the word ‘papa’ upon his daughter’s lips that anyone would suspect the fact.

So they are blessed who marry young!

“It seems strange,” I told him one morning, “to be here—on board the Pierre Loti, and surely a presage of good luck, since his books have done so much to increase and widen my inborn sympathies with the East.”

Still more strange it proved; since the captain himself had named the ship for his admiration of the great French writer and in memory of personal friendship between them. A rare literary association for 18a steamer once in the service of the Czars. Wherefore, also, I found the master’s works in the ship’s library, and could renew acquaintance with many an old favourite: “Ramuntcho,” “Matelot,” “Ispahan,” “Les Pêcheurs d’Islande” and the “Désenchantées.”

The captain told me of his visit to Rochefort, and I told him how Antoine went to the same house for final instructions upon the staging of “Ramuntcho,” which, however, did not prove a success. How, indeed, could anyone think of dramatising Pierre Loti, whether in prose or verse? He gives us neither psychology nor dramatic incident. I can only suppose that Antoine permitted them to be produced—to show once for all that the thing could not be done; a hard lesson for the master!

“Among Loti’s collection of priceless treasures, rifled from every corner of the East, Antoine sought in vain for somewhere to place his hat! Finally, he hooked it on to an Eastern idol, and their talk began. In a few moments, however, there was a pause, for the astonished dramatist caught sight of the offending headgear suspended, as he supposed, in mid-air. However, a closer look revealed that it was resting upon a thin stream of water. The Eastern idol was a fountain!”

The captain expressed his surprise that I should not only be so familiar with Loti’s work, but that I could really know anything intimately of his private life, “seeing how the Frenchman disliked my own country.”

“My dear sir,” I replied, “if we are to find our friends to-day only among those who love England, we should be limited indeed. You and your charming daughter, par exemple, are you precisely admirers of the British Government?...

“To me, Art is first, and the rest—nowhere! I care not whether the genius first saw daylight in Paris, in New York, or in Timbuctoo. I have more friends out of England than in England. Like Kipling’s cat, ‘all places are alike to me.’ I only ask that your land be warm; and with all peoples who do not rob me I am ready and eager to be good friends. To 19‘guard the frontiers’ in Art would be to bring back the Dark Ages. The most sincere love of one’s own country should never teach one to be disdainful of les autres.”

“You are going to Nationalist Turkey,” he replied, “you will find yourself right up against Chauvinism all the time.”

“I don’t believe it. Forgive me, I really think you exaggerate. And besides—with my strong sympathies for the Turks!—I have always found Orientals the most broad-minded men.”

Then I brought back the talk to Pierre Loti. “Why do you say that he dislikes England so much?” I asked. “He does object to golf near the Pyramids; he is a little sarcastic about ‘Messrs. Thos. Cook & Co., Egypt, Ltd.,’ forgetting what it means to travel without them; he dislikes our Government for its pro-Greek policy and its injustice towards the Turks. As an Englishwoman I agree. And, like him, too, I regard New York as the nearest earthly approach to hell! We certainly do not hate America; only its noise, its materialism, and its advertising.

“I knew Pierre Loti best, perhaps, at his charming Basque home in Hendaye—thanks to my friendship with his heroines, Melek and Zeyneb. I know, at one time, he resented what seemed to him our Edward VII.’s ‘interference’ in French affairs. But that master of diplomats never gave his advice unasked; and, when he was told of the great Frenchman’s hostility, Pierre Loti was promptly invited to Windsor, and they became the best of friends. Would he were with us now, that he might but talk with the Ministers of both nations!

“After Windsor, Loti, I’m sure, would have spared his sarcasm. ‘There is one thing left now,’ he once declared. ‘We must appeal to H.M. Edward VII. He only can do what he likes in France!’ The French Admiralty had just refused him permission to carry away from one of their ships the table on which he had written the ‘Désenchantées.’”

The captain, it seemed, was ready to waive this point.

20“But I do not consider,” he resumed, “that Loti’s books are a true picture of Turkey as she is.”

“They would not, indeed, suit his arch-enemy Messrs. Cook,” I replied; “as Turner painted, he wrote, for those who have eyes to see. Tell him you never saw his Turkey, and he would reply: ‘Don’t you wish you could?’...

“Had Loti himself been English, he would, naturally, have reached a larger public among us. The warmth of his colouring is too often lost in translation. As a schoolgirl I learnt by heart the wonderful Preface to his “Ispahan”: ‘Qui vent venir avec moi voir les roses d’Ispahan,’ and I have dreamt of those roses ever since.”

The captain then spoke of the avenue at Constantinople which bears his name.

“A charming remembrance,” I replied, “but he needs no such ‘rosemary.’ Do we realise, I wonder, what French influence in the Near East owes to his supreme art. In England, except for a small minority, the word Turkey only means a vision of fair houris, veiled in the mysteries of the past, the great ‘Red’ Sultan, and massacres in Armenia. To France it means Aziadé, the Green Mosque at Brousse, Djénane, and the Fantômes d’Orient. Public opinion, to-day, can be ‘manufactured’ as easily as butter and cheese; but the imaginations once stirred by the magician’s pen will not yield so easily to the last Brew of Hate. France is not going to lose her dream of the East woven from Loti’s pen. A debt of gratitude neither she, nor Turkey itself, can ever pay.”

To travel by this steamer, bearing the name of a writer one loves so well, brings unceasing delight. Your menu-card, the life-belts on deck, even the towels, all bear a name to fill the mind with memory of beautiful things. As my eyes fell on the Pierre Loti’s lifeboat, swinging on its davits, I recalled the “Pêcheurs d’Islande,” with its tragic close: “and he never returned!” All the sorrow, the suffering, and the heart-ache; the useless watching, waiting, and longing—this, for the women, is War!

21Are we, indeed, to begin that all over again? For a “Greater Greece” than the Greeks themselves can sustain?

If all women who have suffered (and who has not?) would march to Westminster to protest, would any hear and pause? Can we fight a Press in the service of profiteers, bolstering up the Government, blocking the public view?

Are we not, after all, mere “pawns” of a Destiny that none can avert?

Pierre Loti’s long and interesting life is now very quickly drawing to its close. He has written his last words—a defence of his beloved Turks.




My supreme interest in Turkey among the Moslem nations, arose from influences, or instincts, I cannot now with any certainty determine. I suspect, however, it was in part reaction against the injustice of Gladstone—the idol of my father’s youth, until the betrayal of his hero Gordon—and in part indignation with those who called the Koran an “accursed book.” My religion is the universal tolerance I expect for my own, and I can feel only the most profound admiration for the Great Prophet of Islam, whose fine personality has left so benign an influence throughout the East, and for his “Bible,” with its noble study of our own Christ. Carlyle, you will remember, pays glowing tribute to this “Prophet Hero!”

So I devoured every book that I could lay hands on about these interesting peoples; fought for introductions to anyone who could talk of them, from book-knowledge or personal acquaintance; studied medicine—that their women might suffer less.

It was in 1906 that I first met Pierre Loti’s “disenchanted” heroines, Zeyneb and Melek; and we soon became the closest friends. The tale of their daring, but unpractical, flight had stirred my imagination. Their father was one of Abdul Hamid’s Ministers, and two or three times during my visit they were almost kidnapped by order of the Sultan. On one occasion it was, indeed, only a miracle which disclosed the plot that was to have carried them off (by motor from Nice to Marseilles, thence back by boat to Constantinople) to the punishment awaiting them.

23For hours they held me spellbound by their vivid descriptions of harem life, particularly the Sultan’s, and of the “Terror” under Abdul Hamid. With this clever monster at the helm, the Turks suffered a hundred times more than the Christians. Whole regiments of Albanians ceased to exist; whole companies went off to Yemen and were forgotten; Ministers died suddenly, and private families disappeared wholesale. Yet they must be thrown out of Europe, “bag and baggage,” because, in a minor degree, Christian Armenians, too, bled under Abdul Hamid!

After the departure of the two Hanoums (Turkish ladies), their father died suddenly. And though, when in Constantinople, I did my best to see and console their widowed mother, she persisted in regarding me as one of those giaours who had stolen away her daughters! And would listen to no defence or explanation.

It was then that I heard much of the coming Revolution: when and where “meetings” had taken place, who were members of the “secret societies,” which of their friends in prison would be liberated. In 1908, the Day of Deliverance suddenly came, to the astonishment of the whole world, and I, too, rejoiced, as though my own country were now set free!

I was, luckily, again in Constantinople for those great days. I saw the hideous tyrant of a few years ago driven through the streets of Pera; I was present at the opening of Parliament; introduced to the Sultan Abdul Hamid and his Grand Vizier Kiamil Pasha.

It was the Vizier’s charming daughter who soon became my dearest friend, and hostess for two subsequent visits. Once she spoke of me to Abdul Hamid’s successor, Mohammed V., as her “English sister” (her favourite term of endearment), and the Sultan replied: “I did not know Kiamil Pasha had any English children.” Poor man, he had a Turkish family of a score!

It was Hamid’s fall that first revealed to me how much Turkey loved England, what she was ready to 24give for British friendship. I had witnessed the arrival of our Ambassador, the late Sir G. Lowther, and his triumphant entry to Constantinople, when the horses were taken out of his carriage and he was drawn by Turks to the Embassy. As Abdul Hamid had compromised the nation by friendship with Germans, young Turkey threw herself at the feet of Great Britain.

Why could we not respond? Alas, our Ambassador and his French colleague, M. Constant, would openly express their preference for the despotic Abdul Hamid. And what was said, no doubt with no serious thought of offence, reached the ears of the young Turks and stung their pride: “People who visit Constantinople may be divided into two classes: those who like dirt and squalor” (of whom I was one), “and those who do not!”

It was inevitable that the Germans should make their profit from our discourtesy and blind contempt. We ought, from the first, to have known that she would send, as indeed she did, one of her finest diplomats to Constantinople. Marshall von Bieberstein, and his “retriever,” Dr. W—— of the Frankfurter Zeitung lost no opportunity of conciliating the young Turks, to what end we might, surely, have foreseen!

After the Balkan war, I paid a visit to vanquished Turkey; this time as a guest of my “Turkish sister” in Stamboul, whose father had been, meanwhile, banished to Cyprus, where he died. Under the circumstances I could not (for fear of further compromising my friends with the Government) see much of our Ambassador, Sir Louis Mallet, though I met him twice, and found him a charming man.

To all my appeals, at the Embassy and elsewhere, for British friendship and help to put Turkey on her feet again, I met the same foolish, “parrot” reply: “We cannot sacrifice Russia!” Nevertheless, when I returned to London, and published “An Englishwoman in a Turkish Harem” (the diary record of private friendships, widely circulated in the East), we, the friends of Turkey, determined to defy the Government, and formed an Ottoman Society for that purpose.

25When the war broke out I had just reached Berlin, once more en route for Turkey, Asia Minor, and afterwards Persia and India.

It is obvious that the world-tragedy had even a sharper sting for those of us who were bidden to hate our life-long “best friends” among the enemy peoples. Often enough, moreover, the individual “foe” (as was the case with my Turkish “sister”) could not throw off the heart’s allegiance to England merely because “it was war.”

Can we, indeed, honestly blame the young Turks? In the first place, they did not choose their own path. One man, Enver Pasha, joined Germany against the wishes of a whole nation. As one man, Mr. Lloyd George, would once have drawn the most constitutional of all peoples to fight the Turks, had not General Harington, luckily for them and us, disobeyed his command!

Besides, we did nothing to preserve our friendship with Turkey. Years of indifference, and most impolitic scoffings at real reforming enthusiasm, were followed, at the eleventh hour, by total neglect of any conciliating diplomacy, which could even then have kept Turkey out of the war, and shortened it by two years.

For instance, on the outbreak of war with Germany, “without notice, without the most banal of the forms of courtesy, on the very day when the Turkish flag should have been hoisted over the ships handed over to the Ottoman Commission, which had come to England to take charge of them, the dreadnoughts were seized by Great Britain and no offer was made by the British Government to refund, at least, the price of the two ships....” So wrote the late Grand Vizier Hakki Pasha; and one could mention many other, similar, senseless pin-pricks, which may inflame such people almost more than insults of greater import.

During the war my friendship for Turkey proved a serious handicap in hospital work. Anyone jealous of what privileges were by chance accorded to me would hand over a few choice tit-bits—that grew in passing—to the secret police. The French, unless in a fit of 26really inevitable war-depression, paid scant heed to such reports. The Americans, however, easily took alarm. One, I remember, actually spoke to me about the matter with a terror only equalled, in my experience, by that of the Cabinet Minister’s brother who once asked me: “How I could do anything so foolish as to live in a harem?”

It was a poor compliment to one of Turkey’s greatest statesmen, and to my hostess, his distinguished daughter.

But when I found that Roget’s “Thesaurus” gives as synonym for a harem, “a house of ill fame,” I understood!

Turkey, however, was crushed, defeated and, at Sèvres, humiliated. Were we not courting disaster by such unjust terms? If we remove the foot holding them down—but ever so slightly—will they rebound and strike?

“I cannot understand,” I said to one of their delegates, “how a Turk could be found to sign such a Treaty.” For always, with all their faults, I had known them proud.

“Had we not signed,” he answered, “the Greeks would have entered Constantinople, and God knows when we could have driven them out. What does it matter, the Treaty will not be ratified.”

To keep out the Greeks, to save bloodshed! Maybe he was right.

“At least, we are set free from Germany,” they said; and there is little we could not have asked then for such security.

They would have allowed Great Britain any privileges, any concessions, all sovereign rights, if only we had not permitted the occupation of Smyrna! When the Dutch pasteur, M. Lebouvier, sent the Times a full description of all the hideous bloodshed, the saturnalian orgies, and the riot with which the Greeks celebrated their triumphal entry, it was suppressed—and Englishmen do not know!

Consternation, despair, and anger were the order 27of the day. Those hitherto most apologetic for the part played by Turkey in the war, were now ready to glory in what they had done. A million and a half Turks enslaved by 300,000 “servant” Greeks! Can such things be?

In Constantinople a mass meeting of 250,000 people was held at the Byzantine Hippodrome, flags and banners were draped in black, women sobbed as at a funeral. They were mourning, indeed, for the city they were afterwards accused of having burned!

By what deplorable influence were we thus moved to attempt what would practically have meant the extermination of Turkey? The magic name of Venizelos is not enough! Again and again, the friends of Turkey have asked why? But we do not know whether British action was deliberate or the result of an incredibly big blunder!

M. Kemal Pasha’s great victory changed the face of affairs. Few in England had seemed to care what happened to this band of “rebels”; only a month before his victory, even our Intelligence Officers thought he would easily be beaten by the Greeks. Few had even heard of his three and a half years exile in the mountains!

Meanwhile, at home, we paid little heed, and scant courtesy, to the three Ambassadors from Angora, who came to negotiate peace. Békir Sami Bey’s confidential conversations with the ex-Prime Minister about the Soviet Government were handed on to M. Krassine. Youssouf Kemal Bey, indeed, obtained a hearing, but nothing was done. Fethi Bey (the Minister of the Interior, sent as a last resource) was told, and that was true, that Lord Curzon was seriously ill, but that no one “counted” in England except Mr. Lloyd George. Naturally, he asked the Premier for an audience, which was “promised,” but never given!

Incivility does not pay. It is too expensive a luxury for the greatest of nations. This level-headed Turk, accepting such treatment with all the dignity of his race, found many other things to praise in this country. “The English,” he said, “understand only 28one form of propaganda—the sword!” But of our institutions, our Parliament, our clubs, and the marvellous acting of Miss Sybil Thorndike in “Jane Clegg,” he said much, and nothing but praise, in Angora!

As a woman who has received the greatest kindness and courtesy from the Turks, my resentment, on behalf of Fethi Bey, was expressed with unmeasured indignation. His mission was not taken seriously; the Government dared to show him the cold shoulder!

For his part, most graciously he suggested that I should come over to Angora myself, to the cradle of the Nationalist movement, and see the hero of the Nationalists.

But for his ever-ready assistance it would have been useless to have made the attempt. When, in Angora, he renewed his apologies for all the discomfort I had endured, but I told him the journey itself had been a privilege, for it enabled me to see with my own eyes what his people had been driven to endure.

No, I could never have forgiven myself if, in a moment of weakness, I had been discouraged by the chivalry of the British officials and allowed them to persuade me to stay at home.




Our first stopping-place was Malta, the name I was destined to hear from one end of Anatolia to the other.

Was it not of Malta that Angora was born; and since “the trouble” in the East, Malta has been turned into a universal dumping-ground for officers’ wives and refugees. Whenever M. Kemal Pasha lifts his little finger, or Rauf Bey opens his mouth, the women and children are bundled off to Malta. They return, indeed, on any excuse, at the first opportunity (as why should they not?), until a panic-stricken Government again sends them to exile. One lady with us had done the trip in this way four times!

Constantinople, without our women, makes one wonder if it were so wise as it appears, thus to play for safety! After all, cannot the Englishwoman endure what the Russian, Greek and Armenian are left to put up with? If the husband is in danger, should not his wife be with him? “We want to ‘protect’ our women,” I had been told, and there is no finer ideal than chivalry. But, after Constantinople, I would suggest that we women also “want to protect our men!”

Softening, perhaps, the frankness for which my “French” education has been so often held responsible, I would only say: “There are alluring distractions!”

And in marriage I pin my faith upon the Italian proverb: “Keep to the women and cows of your own country.”

30The utter destitution of so many members of the old Russian aristocracy, has not deprived its women of their temperamental charm. It has provided them with an occasion (genuine enough, God knows) for tears no British youth can resist, unmoved as he will remain under the fiercest shell-fire.

Yet one Englishman told me his Russian wife had taken every penny he possessed, and vanished—he knew not where. Another “fears it is only a matter of time. His ‘noble’ wife cannot be expected to put up with Clapham, and when something better turns up, he will be discarded.” One married “a sweet, soft voice” out of sheer loneliness; and another, foolish and rich, clothed in priceless ermine the lady he met “at a bar!” There is no need to dwell on other, less honourable, “consequences” of such “casual” meetings.

At every corner in Constantinople the “bar” invites the busy and the brave to cocktails or a whisky, an example we have given the “despised” Turk, who had the wisdom to make Angora “dry.” Here, too, is the best of chances for pro-Greek propaganda, as our men meet no “Turkish” women, who are “really” safe in the bosom of their families. One is tempted, almost, to hope that for them the day of “freedom” may be postponed.

Facing this ugly side of what an “Army of Occupation” must always entail, does the Englishwoman who absolutely refused to “leave” need to stand on her defence? “Vanity Fair,” moreover, may serve to remind us that there were English women near Waterloo; and do our present generation require such careful wrapping in cotton-wool, while they are, nevertheless, too often left unprotected in the drab, hum-drum life of a modern “business” world.

It is remarkable, again, to reflect that every Turk one meets, who really “counts for something” in Angora, is a “Malta” man. If M. Kemal Pasha believed in decorations, surely a special medal would have been devised for those who had “visited” Malta.

31As a prison, it is agreeable enough, though the climate strikes one as enervating. The sun shines, even brightly, for the greater part of the year, and sunshine softens the captive’s lot! Had I never visited the island I should have soon learnt to know “the sights,” for in so many homes of Angora, Maltese picture postcards are displayed, almost like holy relics: Valetta, the “Chapel of Bones” (a barbaric idea), the Mahommedan cemetery, the cathedral, and the landing-stage. Everywhere, too, are the fair ladies of Malta, whose head-dresses closely resemble the Turkish tcharchaff.

The Angelus had sounded as I first entered the cathedral, to find myself amidst long rows of black-veiled women, reverently kneeling on the cold inlaid-marble floor, their heads bent in prayer, their fingers counting the beads as they recited their rosaries. The native type is dark-skinned, almost Mongolian, but they all speak English. For are they not British subjects, paid in British money, and entitled to our protection? There was talk, indeed, of extending the cover of “Nationalism” to them also; but, personally, I still felt everywhere, and all the time, that calming atmosphere of order, happiness, and prosperity that is brought by the British flag.

How is it, then, that we have so consistently failed to quiet the Turkish storms? Of course, every one of the “powers” has been involved, each playing for its own hand, striving to end or prolong the war in its own interests.

It is well known that the Turk himself has above all committed one crime—he has kept Constantinople!

Bent on a policy of peace (!) we undertook to disarm Turkey; but the mission despatched to Anatolia for this purpose could, or would, not accomplish its task. Then in May, 1919, despite the Mudros Armistice, we allowed the Greeks to occupy Smyrna! In March of the following year, came the English coup d’état!

The highest personalities—generals, important officials, anyone suspected of sympathy with the Nationalists—were arrested, placed in the hold of a 32man-of-war, for internment at Malta. All were taken on mere suspicion, thrust into prison without trial!

Yet the naïveté of the whole proceeding is almost more puzzling than its high-handed injustice! These dangerous men (!), supposed to be plotting against Great Britain, are all huddled together, and left to their own devices, for two years—and then released! Were we afraid? Did we repent? Will Government never pursue one policy to its logical conclusion?

I could but “wonder about” these things as I knelt in prayer. Clouds of incense have filled the cathedral, the Blessed Sacrament is safely returned to the tabernacle, the huge candles are extinguished, and the veiled ladies are reverently leaving the dimly-lighted church. Cannot faith bring peace?

“There must be peace.” I, who have faith in the spoken word, will declare it, everywhere and all the time, and will count him traitor who utters a word to the contrary. But I will tell them in Angora that “I am sorry for” Malta!

Fethi Bey, Minister of the Interior, carries his comfortable Turkish philosophy to the last extreme. Whatever happens, he will say that “It might have been worse.” In Malta, he acknowledged that he would have preferred greater comfort, but, then, “he might have been much more uncomfortable!” In any case, he seized upon the chance to learn English, and learnt it remarkably well. It is best, he believes, to understand an enemy; and, to that end, you must learn his language. Of Mr. Lloyd George, he declared that “Turkey owes him a debt of gratitude we can never repay.... But for the occupation of Smyrna, and the Malta coup d’état, there would have been no Nationalists. But for your Prime Minister we might all of us have been vassals. Indeed, we owe him a great deal.”

When I asked him what to expect in Angora, he warned me that “I must not look for the luxuries of the Savoy.”

33“Well, I can leave our jazz bands without one pang,” I replied.

“But you may find worse things in Angora than Jazz bands.”

Men like Fethi Bey, ready to meet all emergencies without complaint, make the right material to face the problem of Reconstruction, in a country ruined from end to end; and what a comfort it is to meet a man without a grievance!

When I attempted to sympathise with him for having to ride, because no motor could take these snow-blocked roads, he declared that “exercise would do him good.” When his horse stumbled, “it might have been worse.”

Yet, on my account, he apologised again and again for the condition of Angora; and I could only compare his humorous comparison with the Savoy, to Dr. Réchad’s strange attempt at consolation: “You certainly won’t need any evening dresses.”

It is, no doubt, the gift for always making the best of a bad bargain, that works for peace in the Turkish home. Your husband is not perfect, but “he might be worse”; the food is bad, but there might not be any; if the rooms are not clean, “we have known dirtier.” It is an “accommodating” point of view!

There is a story by Nasreddin Hodja, the great Turkish wit, which happily illustrates this racial characteristic. The Anatolian lived in constant terror of a vociferous wife, though no doubt he often reflected that there were worse women in the world. One day, however, someone told him that she had fallen into the river, and was being carried away by the tide. “Don’t worry,” said he, with a stoic’s calm, “she will go against it. She always does.”

On another occasion, this man of wit had carried a basket of figs to the lame Timur, on an official visit of respect. Timur amused himself by throwing the fruit in the Hodja’s face; but at each blow he cried out: “Allah is Great.” When asked why he so often praised God, he answered: “My wife wanted me to bring you apples.” Since Timur was privileged, if it pleased 34him, to strike the guest, he “thanked God” that he had chosen the smaller and lighter fruit.

As for my own mission in Malta, I had really come to buy a British flag!, as Messrs. Cook’s manager at Naples had supplied “everything” but just that.

For years I have never travelled without a Union Jack. The idea of undertaking so long and dangerous a journey without it, filled me with strange foreboding. Everywhere on the Front I had my “flag.” In a state of coma at the military hospital, the nuns were in great distress because I had expressed a wish to be buried in the flag, which, being under my pillow, was nowhere to be found! Naturally, in Paris I had foreseen my need. But the registered trunk, booked to Rome, had fallen on evil days, and there will be no luck for the “thief,” who is probably polishing his boots with my sacred relic!

At first, I seemed unable to escape the lace-makers of Malta; and when, following the direction of a naval officer, I found myself at last in a real “Harrod’s Store,” my luck, also, was still out. At the Army and Navy, the managing director declared they had “no sale for Union Jacks.”... Each man possessed his own. He dared not sell me the firm’s flag, for an order to hoist it might be given at any moment; and, if he failed to obey, he would very likely be driven out of the island!

As a last resource, I drove to a man said to have “flags for hire.” By this time I was too frenzied with disappointment to conceal my eagerness, and they promised me one for £7! Luckily enough, excitement prompted me to unfurl my treasure then and there, to find myself gazing, in mute astonishment, upon the Stars and Stripes! “Isn’t it the same thing?” cried the impostor, as I flung myself out of the shop.

But time and tide wait for no woman, and I must silence my superstitions, to join the Pierre Loti once more. Taking a last look on the fortifications of Malta, my thoughts turned to the imprisoned Turks, and my heart was filled with shame.

One day, perhaps, the Turks may hold Malta sacred, for assuredly the cream of her people were 35gathered there. One might almost have thought that such men as Prince Said Halim (late Grand Vizier), Rauf Bey, Fethi Bey, Hussein Djahid, and my admirable Angora guide,) Vely-Nedjdat, had been carefully selected to keep each other company.

Mrs. Stan-Harding once said of her eight and a half months in a Soviet prison: “At least I had this advantage, I met the best people in Russia.” As her hearers seemed puzzled by such a statement, she added, “They were all, naturally, in prison!”

I must tell them, in Angora, that England, at least, has always honestly tried to put right her own wrong-doings, and one day (may it be soon!) she will “redeem” herself to them also.

Mr. H. G. Wells somewhere describes the strange, great love we often feel for those we have deeply wronged—the wife, the friend, the enemy. May it not, at the long last, be so “after the war?”

Who knows if, indeed, this be not the dark hour before the dawn, of our nation’s friendships—with those we have been led to hate?




If only it were always calm, how delightful it would be to travel by sea!

From Malta to Athens, indeed, is not a long run; but when every moment you are tossed from side to side, at the mercy of all the winds in heaven, most things have a disagreeable look. As we approached the brown and arid coast of this historic peninsula, I thought how unjust it seems to have driven the Ottoman Greeks out of fertile Turkey to a fatherland that cannot feed them. You cannot obtain blood from a stone, nor fruitful crops from an unfertile soil. What is Greece to do for these poor people, who cannot all turn merchants or moneylenders?

Before landing at Piræus, with my Italian escort, I took the precaution to investigate the rate of exchange—250 drachmas to the £1 sterling.

“It is strange,” said I, “that we have none of this inconvenience in Turkey. There one always gets a fair ‘exchange,’ and no worry.”

The steamer slows down to anchor, and on all sides we are hustled by modern Shylocks. “Two hundred and fifty drachmas for a pound,” I asked, “how many for five shillings?” And the Greek answered: “Fifteen.” “Come and listen to this Greek arithmetic,” I called in Italian; but the man understood me, and let out a hearty laugh. Though I turned from him, without malice, he promptly raised his price from fifteen to forty-five (!), and in the end I 37bought drachmas enough to take us ashore, hoping for better terms on land.

I shall never forget that day at Piræus—heat and dust, flies and refugees. Could a more terrible combination be imagined? All along the quays lay these wretched folk, many of them fast asleep, with armies of flies crawling over them. If by chance one stumbled over a dusky body, which it was not easy to distinguish from the soil, a cloud of flies rose to smite you in the face—the most fatal of disease-carriers! The brown-faced women, dirtier even than the Neopolitans, now crowded round us, offering cakes and sweets from which they were every moment obliged to brush off thick coatings of flies, that once more struck one in the face or settled over my shoulders.

My Italian escort had, meanwhile, kindly procured a newspaper to act as fan, and now, hurriedly brushing away these horrible pests, he took a silk handkerchief out of his pocket to cover my neck. “What a magnificent husband you will make for someone,” I said, smiling with gratitude; and he blushed with all the charm of his twenty-one years.

In another moment my eye fell on the hard brown faces and big “Jewish” noses of the moneylenders, forcing a smile as they call on you to “buy.” They have very much the same expression as Southern Italians; keeping one eye, it would almost seem, to make a pleasant impression on possible purchasers, while the other betrays the keen and swift reckoning of profits to the uttermost farthing.

Seated behind little tables topped with boxes of glass, they are eagerly displaying their filthy paper money; haggling, arguing, smiling, and cheating you in one breath! Surely no type of humanity could carry us further from the heroes of our schoolday imaginings!

Wearied with fly-dodging, in fact, I had scant energy left for a “good bargain,” over this “paper filth” for honest English sterling.

Sympathy now prompted me to ask the Italian Whether his eyes were not in pain; and, by the power 38of auto-suggestion, the inquiry caused my own to ache as they had never ached before. Before we landed the captain had given me a solemn warning on no account to rub my eyes, however tormented by the continual glare of a bright sun on white houses, or I should be certain to “catch an incurable eye-disease and go on ‘weeping’ to the end of my days.”

“Never, never speak of disease again,” I had answered. “Misfortunes come quickly enough, without our going to fetch them.”

Fortunately even the flies could not make it a long journey from Piræus to Athens; and we could glance in passing at the quaint and not unattractive bookstalls, now showing large photographs of modern “Heroes”—the Greek generals! After all, they had done their best. They were no more responsible for the mistakes of their Government, than we are for ours.

Taking train for the last part of our route, we were packed like sardines among the ugliest possible types of human beings one could imagine; but, luckily, soon alighted at a station whose magic name should thrill the dullest heart.

We were in Athens! But the Italian could only exclaim: “What women!” I reminded him that they were, after all, descended from Helen of Troy, for whose beauty the world in its youth made war. Yet it seemed almost a heresy to name that name in such surroundings.

If only one could show all men what a tragedy is here.

“There is something I long to do,” I told my companion. “I would summon crowds of my countrymen and my countrywomen to the Albert Hall and borrow the magic tongue of Mr. Lloyd George, to draw their tears for our dear Christian brethren at the mercy of the brutal Turk! And then a deputation of these money-changing Greeks should be brought in to stand at the Welshman’s right hand and his left!”

How many, even then, would read, mark, and digest the grim comment?

But the Italian laughed again and again at the 39picture my words suggested. I could only murmur: “What is it, to be twenty-one!”

I believe we went into every church in Athens; for ever since I left home I have never passed a church or a mosque without sparing a moment to enter and pray for peace. “It will do no good,” said my companion, and I replied: “It will do no harm.”

We saw many women also at prayer, kneeling before their Ikons—not for victory, but in sad thoughts of their own dead, and for help and strength to bear their own terrible sorrows.

Once the Greek Pope came up and spoke to us, supposing, to my young Italian’s honest confusion, that we were man and wife. The spirit moved him to denounce, in very broken French, the treachery of England; and, whether or no it was from heat and fatigue, or from the sight of those broken-hearted women, something seemed to burst in my throat and bitter tears streamed from my tired eyes. I could not tell him I was English. I could not find words or strength, such as came to me later in Anatolia, to plead a little for England by putting some of the blame on M. Venizelos.

While the Italian discreetly left me—to kneel before an Ikon in silent prayer to the Man of Sorrows—I could but stand and suffer the attack upon my beloved country, choking with tears of humiliation.

Alas, the incident does not stand alone. When taking tea in an hotel, I asked my companion to make inquiries about the best place to buy a Union Jack, and the proprietor seized the opportunity to give us his opinion of British honour.

Now I never heard, throughout the whole of Anatolia, a single Turk speak of Britain or Mr. Lloyd George as these Greeks both spoke. It is a pity that some of our pro-Greek politicians were not with me—to learn the real value of all they have undertaken for their Christian brethren.

In that church, maybe, I was so cruelly overcome because the broken-hearted women had stirred in me a glowing vision of the great Pericles. “For me,” was 40his proud boast, “shall no man wear mourning. I have not shed one drop of human blood.” Could any ruler leave this earth with a nobler record? Could any conceive for himself so fine an epitaph?

Our rulers, and Venizelos, have wasted the precious blood of Europe to flatter their personal vanity and nurse an idle imperialism for Greece; and when everything goes wrong they have only to resign!

I had determined to ascend the Acropolis, whatever the effort to reach the top, and refused even to be discouraged when at the very entrance our driver pulled up and informed us that “it was forbidden” to drive within.

It did not occur to me to protest; but we had scarcely walked twenty yards up the steep ascent when a carriage (containing the captain and his daughter) and then another carriage (!) drove by. Naturally indignant, we returned to ask the man what he meant. To evade argument, he disingenuously explained: “It would need two horses to get up there, and I have only one.” The subterfuge only infuriated me the more, and when he had six times sturdily refused to obey orders, I simply seized the miserable little being by the shoulders and shook him like a rat. Violence proved the only way, and we had no more trouble with him!

It is horrible, in such hallowed surroundings, to be haggling about money; but, of course, we were cheated over our change!

“Never mind,” said the Italian, “let the creatures rob us. Gentlemen cannot fight with grooms.” And as I looked at the exquisite profile of this young Venetian against the Athenian skies, I could fancy myself accompanied by one of the old Patricians, amidst his degenerate, money-changing descendants.

Almost in silence we wandered over the ruins of a civilisation whence came the highest culture of the world. I felt, indeed, as if I had been born too late; for what have I in common with the century in which I live?

To-day nations are not judged by their lyrics that are the measure of their imagination, and without 41imagination the race must die. Our standards are skill in commerce!

Had I the art, whether of pen or brush, to pay fit homage to this immortal rock, who would look or listen? Could I invent yet one more machine to “save time”—for making more money—the world would be at my feet.

Where shall we look for a Pericles, who hand our laurels to the presiding genius of a “cash and carry” store?

There is no finer view of Athens than one can gain from the Acropolis, as the city lies at its feet, like some plain of brown paper dotted with green palms and the little white houses drawn in chalk.

“Here,” said I, “is the Greece of Oxford—of Homer and Plato, of Æschylus and of Sophocles! The magnificent traditions of an immortal past.

“It was in Oxford of classic memories, that I first heard the Tales of Greece, first listened to her great scholars telling of Andromache and Antigone in the exquisite language of the finest literature in the world.

“Here, too, is the Greece of Byron—of Childe Harold, and of the Maid of Athens!”

How the voice carries in this clear atmosphere! No wonder these ancient people would crowd under the blue skies to every play, tragic or comic, that their great dramatists could produce.

And now, as the sunset colours—gold, scarlet, violet, and purple—are glowing upon the immortal rock, over the marble ruins, I marvel at “tiny” Athens and her “vast” name.

Alas, for Hellas and modern Greece!

Had her own people been as faithful as Oxford to the traditions of ancient Greece, what would have been the Eastern Question to-day? And for some, no doubt, it is this very honouring of Hellas that has been responsible for our fatal pro-Greek enthusiasms. If we recognise the superiority of the modern Turk, loyalty to Plato, to Aristotle, and to Socrates must forbid speech; gratitude to the lyrcis of Hellas must tie the tongue. Orators and poets, artists and thinkers 42cannot forget. Hellas still lives and rules in the Republic of Letters and Art.

We understand Oxford; but for those who have been on the spot, facts tell another tale and speak with another voice. Where, in Greece to-day, are her men of intellect or imagination, even her aristocrats or her warriors? The millions spent in propaganda may serve to prolong the legend, they cannot alter facts. To visit, with glowing anticipations, this land of our dreams, means the awakening to bitter disillusion. Those only are still blind who will not see.

In Angora I could but plead for England: “We have loved Helen; must we divorce her?”

More than the eloquence of Venizelos, more than the gold of Zakaroff, more than any pity for Christian martyrs; it is our age-old loyalty to the civilisation to which we owe our visions and our ideals—that has led us so woefully and so wilfully astray. Is there not, after all, some “merit” in British “fair play” to a “lost cause?”




For Orientals, the sky is no less variable and uncertain than the political horizon. In the space of an hour the sea, calm as a lake, has been transformed to a roaring torrent.

Smyrna in the distance, and we are battling forward through one of the worst storms of the season. The steamer dances like a cork on the foam, while long sheets of rain drench the decks, huge waves washing into staterooms soak the carpet, thunder and lightning rage overhead; as in the grim battle of life, we can but hold on till the clouds pass.

Soon, indeed, are the waters about us again at rest, and the town rises to our view. A city burnt to the ground? Where are the ruins of which we have heard so much? Of a sudden the heavens answer.

As the lightning begins to play over the land, the “shells” of houses and their hollow interiors stand out clear before us—a picture of horror and desolation it would be hard to match. As we draw nearer it is no longer necessary for us to gaze upon the devastation; the blind could catch a strong smell of burning (not in itself disagreeable) and, in a few moments, we see that even the rains have not entirely quenched the clouds of smoke still rising from the tobacco factories.

Turkey considers herself at war, and red tape still prevails. But now one does not find many Turks who can speak English, though, strange to relate, there are quite a few English here still. We are not issuing passports to Turks!

Seeing my Turkish letters (better these than a 44British passport), the passport officer sent his secretary with me and my luggage to the Vali’s (i.e. governor’s) house. The Angora Ambassador in Rome, Djelalledine Arif Bey, had also telegraphed to the Vali that I was on my way, and requested that, as some acknowledgment of what I had done for Turkey, I should be given all possible facilities and a right royal welcome! The Vali, without doubt, did all he could.

I inquired of the officer what kind of man was the Vali, sure that the measure of his enthusiasm or his indifference would clearly reveal whether the master was liked by his men and thus provide me with a peep into the unknown. The man’s eyes positively lit up as he replied. It was clear that I should be well received by a good man. “He was sent to Malta, you know,” concluded the officer, as if that were enough. And, though I was English, I understood. I believe that the word “Malta” may soon be safely translated “patriot.”

I suppose it needed some courage to come to Turkey, braving the Custom house and passport officers even with special “protection”; but I met with no difficulties whatever. My companion only seemed puzzled by my name being the same as my father’s! A Turkish woman, of course, would be, e.g., Aïché Hanoun, wife of Rechid Pasha, or daughter of Zia Pasha. But have no foreign women, bearing their father’s name, been through the Smyrna customs, or am I not only the first British woman to visit Angora, but the first British spinster to enter Turkey?

Something of all I owed to the Vali for his “speeding up” of the customary formalities was forcibly impressed on me when I went back for my Turkish papers, to find one of my fellow-passengers, a Frenchman, still struggling with his passport and the custom duties.

The Vali’s konak (or palace) which I had long known from pictures, looks on to public gardens where the band plays every afternoon a strange mixture of Oriental and European music. It was delightful to 45hear Oriental tunes again, if indeed one can call Oriental music a tune. Anything in the major key seems out of focus with Turkey, its atmosphere, its scenery, and surroundings. The more one hears and understands the piercing melancholy of these refrains the more one loves them; and I am particularly grateful to all those Turks (M. Kemal Pasha included) who entertained me with the true native work.

In front of the marble steps of the palace Greek flags are used as mats—dishonoured and trampled with Turkish mud! Such a symbol of conquest struck me as neither generous nor happy; but I soon found that it had been adopted without the knowledge of the chivalrous Vali, who immediately put a stop to the custom.

His palace is lavishly supplied with fine carpets, always the chief item of furniture in the East, while there are many chairs and a handsome desk in the waiting room.

“Welcome to our shores, dear miss,” said the Vali.

And that he might at once disassociate me from English policy, I replied: “That is certainly a charming welcome from a Malta man.”

“Malta to me,” said my host, as he took my hand like an old friend, “is still incomprehensible. What can have happened to England?”

“I understand it, dear Excellency, no better than you can. The more I hear of what has taken place in Turkey during the last few years, the more often I repeat your own words. What, indeed? To an Englishwoman who loves her country, it means great sorrow; but this unreasoning hostility towards your people must stop. That is why I am going to Angora. After my visit, at any rate, the Turks shall see that one Englishwoman can stand out against injustice.”

“Thank you a thousand times, dear miss,” was his reply, as the attendant brought in coffee and cigarettes.

Like all the Nationalist leaders, the Vali is a young man. He looks, in fact, about forty, and comes from an Albanian family. Of medium height, slight and 46dark, good-looking despite his glasses, and intelligent; he is, above all, an honest and kindly gentleman. If all the “fanatics” of Angora are of this description, I shall have nothing to fear. Abdul Halik Bey is a great admirer of England.

Begging I should not hesitate to ask for anything, assuring me that no service possible to render will be neglected, he called up the head of the police and three of his officers to make my acquaintance. The Vali explains that as Smyrna is in ruins, I must go to the only existing hotel—a temporary establishment under the care of Naim Bey, who had been the proprietor of the two best hotels in Smyrna, now burnt to the ground. This “temporary establishment” was the town residence of the Spartallis and a very fine mansion indeed!

When I had said au revoir to the Vali, I paid my return visit to the chief of the police, Zia Bey—a handsome and very energetic young man of about thirty-two, who speaks only Turkish.

Again we drank coffee. He pointed to the picture of M. Kemal Pasha above his desk, and made a little speech about him, which, alas, I could not understand. As comment, however, I clapped my hands, adding: “M. Kemal Pasha Chok Guzel” (i.e., very beautiful), which evidently pleased him. He could see at least that my spirit was willing to pay tribute to his national hero although the Turkish words failed me. Throughout Anatolia, whenever at a loss for words, I adopted this phrase; never once did it fail to convey the meaning I intended—congratulations for his magnificent victory.

Zia Bey has published some detective novels—from his own personal experiences. Like the man himself, they seem to have secured wide applause.

He, too, like the Vali, is a stern enemy to delay, and often receives several people at once. He will listen to all you have to say, while the business of an earlier caller is still to be executed. Practical and courteous though such a custom may be, it obviously has its drawbacks. I wonder what would happen had 47I any advice to ask, or any suggestion to make, on what to me at least might seem private and confidential matters. Thanks to this system, however, it has been my privilege to meet at the Vali’s, or at Zia Bey’s, many notables of Smyrna, whom I might not have found time or occasion to visit.

One day when drinking my daily coffee with Zia Bey, he handed 20,000 Turkish pounds to a French merchant. A policeman, he explained, “found this in your rifled safe.” The merchant was so astonished that he spoke to me about it, adding: “Would they have been returned to me in any other land?”

Every day, after calling upon the Vali, I used to visit Zia Bey. To the Vali, of course, I could speak in French, but to Zia Bey I seldom went further than a repetition of praise for M. Kemal Pasha. It is not words that count when the heart is following the dictates of truth.

At the hotel I could only be accommodated by the dismissal of another guest. Men were sleeping everywhere—in the drawing-room, sitting-rooms, bedrooms, three, four, and six in a room, grateful to find anywhere to lay their heads. To my lot fell one of the best rooms in the house, containing a sofa as well as a bed large enough for four. I felt very guilty, but what could I do? I was the only woman!

To this improvised hotel everyone in Smyrna comes sooner or later, if not for accommodation, at least for meals and “light” refreshment. The country, of course, is dry, but the guests walk round the laws as cleverly as they do in the U.S.A. Americans are, perhaps, the chief offenders, and seem always able to bring in with them whatever they require. If they are caught Naim has to pay the damages! “Poor things,” he remarked by way of comment, “they are so far from their homes.”

Most unfortunately, the Turk’s kindness and consideration for his customers is not withheld from the flies. The Nationalist motto, “A free and independent Turkey,” has certainly been granted them—they go wherever they like, do whatever they like. 48They sit in thick layers on the table-cloth, they drown themselves in your glasses, you swallow them with your food; “and to think,” said a Danish merchant, “these creatures have been fattening on corpses!”

Whatever their nationality, all my neighbours made the most chivalrous endeavours to shield me from these pests. I was advised to sacrifice my bread as a cover to my glass when not drinking. I always refused water, and Naim Bey defied the law to give me German wine.

One day, exasperated beyond endurance, I procured what the French call a “guillotine,” and successfully slaughtered every fly that came within my reach. The “Italian” gently inquired whether the corpses were not more awful than the living insects.

“At least,” I said, “they cannot bite or carry microbes,” and I pursued the slaughter with a zeal that astonished even myself. I even aimed at those I saw walking over the South American’s arm, and hit his nose! Without a smile, he courteously declared that he did not mind what I might do to his nose, “but you will be careful of my glasses, won’t you?”

“Can’t you do something?” I asked Naim one day.

“They will go away when it is cold,” he replied with the philosophy of the true Turk.

“Cure or endure is also my motto,” I told him, smiling, “but I never endure before I’ve made a fine attempt to cure.”

On another occasion, my energies were not rewarded with true Christian gratitude or tact. I was busy as usual, when an orthodox lady who had given her nationality as “Catholic,” and was staying in Smyrna by special dispensation of the Turks, said to a Greek neighbour: “Look at this lady slaughtering flies, as her friends the Turks slaughter Christians.”

“Madame,” said I, “I have passed this morning among the ruins to which your ‘Christians’ have reduced this city.” I had yet to see the hideous devastation in Anatolia!

There were about two or three hundred business 49men in the hotel, waiting to learn their fate. They divided themselves into three distinct groups, in three different mess rooms. First, the silent, water-drinking, go-to-bed-at-nine Turks, in the library. Secondly, Americans, in the smoking-room, who left their allegiance to prohibition on the other side of the Atlantic; singing and dancing to the accompaniment of a banjo till the small hours of the morning. Thirdly, at a long table in the dining-room, sat the rest of us—principally business men—Italian, Spanish, Dutch, South American, Frenchmen, or Danes. My only fellow-countryman informed me that among other complications he had come to Smyrna to arrange, he has somehow to explain away the disappearance of 50,000 gallons of pure alcohol, sent from Cuba to Smyrna via New York. The officials in New York had helped themselves to the precious nectar, and sent the cargo on to Smyrna, refilled with water! Such are the trials of prohibition!

One and all, these men have but three topics of conversation: (1) the senseless policy of Mr. Lloyd George in sending the Greeks to Smyrna; (2) the criminal desire of the Turks to abolish capitulations; (3) the “probabilities” of likely successors to the deported Greeks and Armenians in the business world. It is assumed that Turkey cannot survive without the assistance of some European power. The Turk is a producer, not a merchant. The Italians affirm that trade would flourish in a happier world if they were given the vacancy. The Americans, however, dispute this honour, whilst the Dutchman, supported by a Dutch clergyman (born of French parents, but a British subject, in the service of Holland, speaking all three languages without an accent), declares the only power that is “going to count” in Turkey is Great Britain.

“In spite of her deplorable and ill-advised policy, her inexplicable treatment of the Turks, her protection of the Greeks (which has made them more arrogant and destestable than ever), there is something in the British national character which still commands respect and 50admiration. In six or eight months we shall see England back in Turkey, stronger than ever. England is not her government.”

I believe he is right. There was a more practical reason for his convictions than his deep affection for his English wife.

Holding no brief for Mr. Lloyd George, I still scorn these men of finance as cowards for their unmeasured abuse of the Premier.

“If you foresaw disaster so plainly,” I asked, “why did you not protest?”

“Every Chamber of Commerce sent a petition to Mr. Lloyd George,” was the reply, “which he put into his waste-basket.”

“Naturally. As practical men, is that your idea of a protest?”

“One of our biggest men, Mr. Patterson, went to the Paris Conference on our behalf.”

“Did he make himself heard? I assure you, if I had one hundred pounds invested in this country, instead of the hundreds of thousands your Scotsman holds, the world would have heard something of my visit to Paris!

“You saw financial disaster and ruin ahead, yet allowed yourselves to be talked into silence by M. Venizelos!”

Somehow, these men could not excite my pity. They were themselves more to blame than Mr. Lloyd George. With their huge financial backing, and vast interests in Smyrna, it was actually in their power, and theirs alone, to have kept out the Greeks.

It is a quaint result of my sense of justice that, in the French Secret Service, I am known as “a niece of Mr. Lloyd George.” When the brilliant one-time chef de Cabinet of Monsieur Briand published his violent attacks on Lord Robert Cecil and our late Premier, he also printed my replies. “He did not,” he kindly explained, “consider there was a word of truth in what I said, but he was unwilling to thwart an Englishwoman!”

Shortly after the appearance of my “defence,” the 51correspondent of a big newspaper in Chicago spoke of “my uncle,” Mr. Lloyd George. I protested, “not because I should not be proud of the relationship, but because I happen to have no such claim.”

“Dear lady,” he replied, “don’t think I shall ever want to spoil your little game.”

Such a remark did not merit a serious answer, and I allowed the matter to slide. I knew very well Mr. Lloyd George would never lift a finger to help “his niece,” for have I not four times appealed to him in vain on matters of the greatest national importance? Yet “his niece” will continue to defend him against “unjust” attacks, and criticise him also.

The Smyrna capitalists also did not love me because I wrote: “The day is past when financiers can obtain ‘concessions’ for 500 Turkish pounds backshish and then complain of the Turks for being amenable to bribes. The happy day will never return when the foreigner lived in Turkey without taxation, with next to nothing to pay in rent, was charged one and sixpence for a shooting licence, and had full control of money and trade.”

“Turkey is now for the Turks, and the Capitalists will have to recognise this or leave.

“Never again will Smyrna become the Aliens’ Paradise it once was. Would anyone, for example, have dared to offer the trams provided for Smyrna to any other nation but Turkey? Why were there not electric trams, instead of these wretched horse-boxes drawn by underfed ponies? And the compartment reserved for Turkish women was not even separated by a partition, but by a sheet that once perhaps was white!

“There are men in this town,” I wrote, “who would plunge Europe into war, to bring back the dear old lazy-going Turk who made so charming a background for our novels and plays. They would restore him for no higher purpose than to fill their purses at his expense.” At least, I said to these merchants: “If you cannot ‘love’ my whip, you know, in your heart of hearts, that I have spoken the truth. You should 52have a mighty respect for me, and I ask for nothing more.” The South American answered: “Every word you say is true, and we all admire you for it.”

Towards nightfall, however, my mind was occupied by certain more personal anxieties. The Italian had not yet even come to the hotel, and I could hear nothing of him. I began to reproach myself with not having attempted to extend the protection of my papers to him, although, like the gentleman he is, he had already refused my suggestion to that effect.

I could only apply, as a last resource, to the Vali’s secretary, who at once took me to the Caracol (i.e., the “lock-up”), where we found my friend in company with the Frenchman we had already been pitying for his struggles with passports. Neither of these young men were known in Smyrna; neither of them had secured permission from Angora to land; neither of them were personally known to their Consuls; neither of them were able to speak a word of Turkish. They could not explain themselves, and were, therefore, to be kept under arrest till further inquiries could be made.

“After all, in war-time did we not do worse things than this?” I asked the enraged Frenchman, who was declaring such treatment would make a casus belli.

“When I was serving your country and travelling to San Remo with a special letter of recommendation from the French Minister of War, I was detained for forty-eight hours at Mentone, because they considered my ‘Plato’s Republic’ a proof of sympathy with the Bolshevists.” I was able, however, with the secretary’s willing assistance, to liberate both my fellow-passengers without further delay.

Naim Bey gave me many special privileges, no doubt as the result of prompting from the same quarter. He sent me up breakfast in the mornings, though his servants were all “Catholics” (i.e., Armenians, under the Papal protection), and did not know their job. I never could understand how he contrived to supply me with milk, as the Greeks had killed most of the 53cows; but I was no less heartily grateful for his permission to use the Spartelli library, and for the reading-lamp which he borrowed for me from an American.

All these acts of kindness, however, were done with such an appearance of ease that I even ventured upon one more request.

“Could I use the piano to accompany my Italian friend?”

He did not hesitate to banish the six occupants of “mattresses” in the drawing-room from their domain until we finished “La Tosca” and “Madame Butterfly.” Then an American begged me to play the “Swannee River,” and nearly broke down before he had even got to the chorus.

“Did I not tell you,” said the sympathetic Naim, “Poor things, they are so far away from home!”

I suppose I should not be too severe upon these merchants among the ruins of their past glory, and, to do them justice, they are accepting defeat like good sportsmen. The Dutchman is as merry as a cricket, despite his £80,000 “gone west,” his thirty years’ work undone for ever, his fine farm burnt to cinders.

I wish he would make a book out of all he has seen and done in this land of romance. No one knows it better, and, if my own sympathies are apt to be with the brigands from whom he has twice suffered capture (because they only rob the rich), I have enjoyed few men’s tales of adventure more than his. Good and strong men are rare enough, and I know this one would never forget a friend. If danger threatened, it would only reach you over his dead body.




“Women are so absurdly brave,” said a charming British official, “that is why they are such a nuisance.”

He was seated at a small, improvised and over-crowded bureau in one of the few remaining houses on the Smyrna Quay. He had just sufficient of a Scotch accent to make one see that he would stand no nonsense—an asset, surely, in his position. Yet the obvious and zealous concern for his own countrywoman proved that, however carefully the calm exterior of the Scot may hide his feelings, his heart beats strong and true. He is no less proud, too, of his “women” than any citizen of the States!

But this able and active young man, master of any emergency at a crisis, could not accept my point of view about the Nationalist Turk. That, certainly, was not his fault, for who is there to interpret this “new” people to him? He only knows that, for the first time, Turks have dared to express themselves, and—like brave women—are becoming a great nuisance! Under the good Hamid, these lazy people were easy enough to manage. “Turkey for the Turks!” What a monstrous notion! Yet one feels, nay knows, that he has plenty of intelligence, will face facts, and learn to accept the inevitable.

Meanwhile, I, for my part, am throwing a most unwelcome additional weight upon his already over-burdened shoulders. He is clearly annoyed at my having come so far, and, in his place, who would not have felt the same?

But, unfortunately for him, he knows very well 55that a woman who, despite difficulties well-nigh insurmountable, has been able to reach Smyrna without a British viza, means to get her way and will not be lightly driven back.

If only the man had adopted the bullying and supercilious tone that becomes a uniform! One can so easily meet the “correct” officialism, counter its attacks, stand up to its incivility, and go one’s own way with a clear conscience. But it was not to be with my Scotch friend.

“I admire your courage immensely,” he said with a courteous grace, “but, pardon my asking, what is the sense of it all?”

“I want to study ‘the movement’ at Angora, and to see the national hero, M. Kemal Pasha.”

“Is it worth risking your life for that? Forgive me, it does seem rather a wicked waste.”

Outside his windows, on the calm waters of the bay, rode warships of many nations. The bright sun looked down, unkindly it almost seemed, upon the ruin and desolation around us. The arms of England, France and America were all there. Holland, he told me, had begged in terror for the protection of a warship.

“Terror of what?” I asked.

“Have you not heard, can you not see, we are on the brink of war? To-morrow you will be going home with the others. Our Government has given orders for the immediate evacuation of all our people. Later you will receive final instructions, and be told the meeting-place. This time it is war. There is no help for it. It has to come.”

He showed me a flashlight, well hidden in a corner of that dilapidated office, which would send out its news of “safety” when every Englishman had left the town, and he, my friend, had followed them in a boat with its oars muffled—if he were able to get away. If not, well, he had done his duty!

But I remained unmoved. “Do not worry about me. I have made all my plans, and shall start to-morrow for Angora. I know the risks, and I know, too, that all will be well for me.”

56At first, evidently, his official mind suspected that I was playing with his nerves, idly boasting of what no one would seriously attempt. When convinced, however, that I really meant what I said, he banged his fist on the table and just shouted:

“By Jove, if you belonged to me, you should not go.”

How I hoped he had lost his temper! But no, in another moment he was again all quiet concern, courteously persuasive.

“But,” said I, “I have reached here against long odds. I have come entirely on my own responsibility, and at my own expense. The Turks who met me here will take care of me, not my family nor my Government. Even war will not stop me.”

“And when there is war,” he replied, with a note of almost despairing entreaty, “for as there is a God above, it will come this time. Think of it! A woman absolutely alone among the Turks; not a European to help her. Six months, at least, in a concentration camp, illness, perhaps torture. God knows what will happen to you!”

“I shall not be put into a concentration camp, for there will be no war. I am going to stop it!”

I was smiling now, which only added to his distress.

“My dear young lady,” he cried, “keep your courage for some wiser, finer cause. Britain needs you.... Seriously, you are not going, are you?—And the war!”

“I shall nurse the British soldiers, or else return——”

“You speak of the Turks as if you trusted them. Is this wise?”

“Indeed, yes. I know them. The only way to treat a Turk is to trust him. He has never yet let me down. Why should he now? Even at this crisis you will find there is no other way but trust with the Moslem.”

Of course he was not convinced.

“Charming theories, but dangerous in practice; above all, dangerous for you. Go home. You can see your friends again when things are more settled. 57Don’t think I don’t admire your pluck; I do. In all my experience I never met a woman ready for greater risk; but we value you too much to let you go.”

It was a wearisome line of attack. I could so much more easily have dealt with violence from a would-be dictator. I tried again, hoping to silence a busy man.

“Please imagine you are an American,” I suggested, “and that time is money.”

“Time is not money when a woman’s life is at stake. Forgive me, your courage—which I shall never forget—is immense, but you are not a sportsman!”

“What do you mean?”

“It is not fair to us—Englishmen! What will the Turks think of us, allowing it? They will have a mighty poor opinion of British chivalry. And we do not deserve it! Would they let one of their women do such a thing? We, too, protect our women!”

I was losing ground, at least that appeal hurt; but I could not yield.

“You need not worry,” I replied, with more unconcern than I could really feel at the moment. “I will see that they understand. They do know how England cares for her women; but they know me, what a determined customer I am. They will not blame you.”

He played his last card, bashfully indeed, but with a grim resolve that won my respect.

“Dear lady, I have no wish to be personal, but you have driven me to it. You are not—ugly enough to undertake this journey.... Go and see the British Navy you love so much. We will look after the Turks, and you too. Come and see them when we have finished with them.”

I saw that I must not only be firm, but I must speak, and speak plainly. “If any harm comes of it,” I said, seriously enough, God knows, “it will be my own fault. The Turk respects women who respect themselves. Ten years ago I went to Asia Minor, with a military escort, the only woman; but I was absolutely safe all the time, everywhere.”

58There was no more to be said. Discomfited, indeed, by so much chivalry, I left him, intending, after all, to wait and see if war were declared. But, fortunately, I had given no promise, for to the Scotchman I knew truth and honour were sacred things.

In justice to the official attitude, it should be clearly said that no one could be expected to understand what I should have given up had I returned to England, under orders, with the rest of my compatriots.

What, after all, were the difficulties that I had overcome in comparison with my real object—to reach Angora? What matter if the family coffers, the purses of my friends, and even editorial generosity, were one and all closed against me? None should have on their conscience that they had sent me to my death!

My contract with the newspaper! It was “deliver the goods and your reward shall be handsome.” The goods, indeed, are delivered and, in a fashion, made public. They have not, however, been acknowledged as “woman’s work,” and the reward seems still far to seek!

I had not supposed that in journalism “the sex” must suffer the double loss of justice and credit. The articles were certainly not stamped with any plain mark of a feminine special correspondent.

Unfortunately, we are not in Turkey! where women’s achievements have still the “novelty” that can command a fine flourish of trumpets, where no cry has been needed of “equal work—equal pay!”

Had I foreseen, should I then have returned to punish ingratitude? I think not. At such a moment I could not forego the most thrilling chapter of the story that has held me for so many years; ever since, indeed, I used to climb on the knee of the dear being whose name I bear, to hear him tell of his journeyings to those Eastern lands—Japan and China, India and Moslem Turkey.

Many curious interpretations have been put upon my interest in these peoples. The Turks themselves have wondered how it came about.

It is because they had been my friends long years 59before I ever set foot on their now familiar land. Its colours, its beauty, its glorious summers and sunsets, the fine thought and philosophy of its high-minded, sober people, were known to me in the nursery, as only a child can live in the imaginations stirred by those it loves. They were always brothers to me, the Orientals of India and Persia, Egypt, Arabia, and Turkey. I would give much, indeed, to secure for them the happiness they deserve for what they have given to the culture and to the civilisation of the world.

The stupidity of treating the Asiatic as an “inferior” I could never understand. It is no less impolitic than unjust. What a delight, in our century of semi-tones and of commercialism, to talk with men like Tagore!




I take daily walks in Smyrna, with one of the Vali’s officers, chiefly among the ruins. The European part of the town (save for a few houses on the quay and a few hospitals, schools, and churches) has simply ceased to exist. The empty “shells” of what were once fine streets are a great danger to passers-by and must all be blasted.

When I told my guide that from the deck of the Pierre Loti the town showed scarcely a sign of fire, he promptly led me—for eight hours—through the most horrible débris! Instructed to treat me with great respect, he marched steadily ahead with all the gravity of a funeral mute. He had been told, moreover, to reconstruct, as it were, the whole city for my information, and he was obviously determined to overlook no detail. He pointed out exactly how the fire had been planned, and why it had broken out too soon. Passing the Stores, he laid a finger upon the very spots marked by grenades that Greeks and Armenians had thrown. There was a grim disgust and disdain in his last comment: “And all this funniness is supposed to have been done by us!”—a strange use of the word funniness.

On another occasion, resting a moment among the ruins of what had once been an altar, watching the poor Turkish natives as they raked the débris for firewood, we were suddenly surrounded by a most dismal procession of limping cats and dogs, thin as boards, crying with hunger and pain, homeless, maimed, and with none to claim them or cherish their shrunken limbs. 61I suggested that we should buy a little ether and send them to their long sleep. My companion was shocked beyond words.

“Poor beasts,” he exclaimed, “have not they as much right to be on God’s earth as we? Who are we that we should dare to cut short their existence?”

Naturally I did what I could to express all the sympathy his words aroused; determining, nevertheless, in my own mind, that I would beg the Englishman or the Italian to accomplish this errand of mercy.

At the same time, the incident only further excited my deep interest in the strange mentality of a people who claim the full rights of existence even for maimed cats and dogs, and are yet held guilty by the whole world of massacring millions of Christians for mere sport.

Later that day I was for the moment extremely puzzled by the strange behaviour of all the inhabitants within sight, which certainly seemed most un-Turkish. “I have known your people for fifteen years,” I said (only intending a mild joke), “and this is the first time I have ever seen a Turk hurry! What is the matter?”

“They are going to blast the ruins,” was my companion’s calm reply.

To my thinking it was, indeed, time to be off; and I hopped away like the others, in and out among the charred ruins, at one moment catching my heel, at another tearing my skirt and coat. When, panting and breathless, we at last reached comparative safety, I laughingly asked my guide why he had given me no warning. “You could have no idea whether I could run like this at the last moment.”

“His Excellency told me that you were to be treated with the utmost respect,” was the solemn reply!

It was true that the day before I had been informed that it was forbidden to take photographs among the ruins, and I at once closed my Kodak. But in the evening an apology arrived from the Chief of Police.:—“I might photograph, when and where I pleased.”

I can only suppose my guide believed that “Allah 62would guard me” when the blasting began; at least, whatever was to be my fate, he was ready to share it!

We have been wandering about the muddy streets of the bazaar, immortalised by Pierre Loti. It is here, in these little Turkish booths—the tinker’s, tailor’s, and shoemaker’s, the meat-man’s, the baker’s, and the sweet-seller’s—that the inhabitants of Smyrna must do their shopping to-day. How can we think of Frank Street and its vast European “emporium,” now no more than a smouldering heap of crumbling ruins?

Town-planning is as yet unknown in Turkey. Here, as elsewhere, the houses seem to be straggling upon the hillside, forming an architectural patchwork far more picturesque than the most correct symmetry.

We are now to ascend Mont Pegasus, and though I hate climbing, the sunset panorama of an Eastern city will reward a greater effort than this. To look on the fading sunlight in all its glorious magnificence of purple and scarlet and mauve, is to know we are in the presence of God; and if ever the world needed His guidance, it surely must seek Him now.

“That,” I murmured, “is how God meant us to find His world—a life of sunshine, a death of beauty. No fear, no shrinking before what must come to all; but His glory reflected about us, as the sun’s beauty is reborn for us in the infinite, waiting sea.

“Look up, and then turn your eyes down to man’s work below our feet—black war, grey ruin and desolation!”

An English lady, Mrs. de C——, the widow of a distinguished British Minister in Teheran and Bucharest, has just given me a more level-headed and fair description of the Smyrna fire than I have yet heard from any other eye-witness. Her husband was manager of the Aidin Railway, and had the luck to unearth a unique collection of priceless antiques along the route. 63Tea was served in the entrance hall of their house in the European quarter, one of the few still erect, which reminded me of the British Museum. One could fancy oneself among the treasures of the Parthenon, which it has fallen to British hands to preserve.

She told me she owed her home to the wind’s kindness. “We were on the roof all night, watching its varying directions, although it did not come our way until about 2.30 A.M. As the abandoned Greek ammunition was all stored behind us, we could no longer risk staying in the face of the wind. At the same moment a flashlight from H.M.S. Iron Duke began to play on the pier, and we realised that Admiral de Brock was signalling for us to leave the town. Pushing our way through a howling mob of men and animals, we at last reached the waiting boat; but no sooner were we on board than, to our relief, the wind once more veered. There was a chance for one side of the Smyrna Quay, on which stood the Aidin station.”

In her judgment, the Turks acted throughout with the greatest moderation. Everywhere in Anatolia I found clear evidence that Greeks had indulged in the worst type of barbarianism, amply sufficient to justify any slight Turkish excesses that may have occurred in Smyrna.

Since her Greek household had all departed, Mrs. de C—— was very busy “about many things”—dusting, sweeping, and cooking. Nor were her sympathies very keen with the Greek refugees, to many of whom she had extended hospitality. They had accepted a night’s lodging, and then decamped with sheets, blankets, pillows, towels, and clothes!

Lunch, however, had been served for her by a “Catholic,” who cooked Turkish dishes to perfection. “Catholic” is now the last word in “Nationality,” covering a multitude of “pasts,” and saving the “Christian” from having to answer awkward questions.

The “Catholic” who waits on me at the hotel was an upholsterer in quite a large way of business. The sewing-woman, whom I have occasionally employed 64for odd jobs, though a Greek, is also “Catholic.” In Angora these derelicts are self-styled “Catholic Turks.”

I have boarded the warship, despite the captain’s fear of a woman’s pen. What would he find to say about my real intentions? Most of us, happily, can look on sailors of all nations, as I do, absolutely without prejudice. For here, at least, none can capture our laurels, and all the world loves a British sailor.

Amidst the beautiful fittings of his luxurious cabin, I was received by the captain with every mark of the courtesy that is second nature to the real English gentleman. He was a naval man to his finger-tips, stamped all over with Nelson’s magic call to “Duty.” For his magnificent achievements in the war, his V.C. was indeed richly deserved; and yet, I wondered, is it the wisest policy to expose this real “personage” to the kind of actually trivial irregularities which in a town like Smyrna a too formal officialism may so easily mistake for grave affronts to our national prestige?

While in Smyrna I saw an example of such real dangers—a mere nothing that might suddenly have developed into a casus belli, though in this case any serious disaster was, luckily, averted.

The Turks had given the sailors from different warships special permission to land on the quay without the formality of going through the Custom House. Unfortunately, certain Armenian girls saw their chance to coax the sailormen into helping them to escape. I am told that the British were adamant to tales of woe that turned Americans, French, and Italians to putty; but I will not believe it, for I prefer to think our men had their share in defying the law to help women.

The Turkish authorities, however, were, naturally and properly, indignant at the deception, and gave orders that in future everyone should land at the Custom House. Most unfortunately, the order was immediately carried out, without a warning to the 65captain. When that personage came ashore next morning, therefore, he found himself confronted by an Anatolian peasant, rifle in hand, who actually slipped in an extra cartridge under the great man’s eye.

Our consul, of course, intervened, and the captain, with his sword drawn, was permitted to land, ample apologies being tendered in due course by a repentant Vali.

No more was heard of this incident; but with some “big” men it would not have been allowed to end there.

I admit that a warning should have reached the captain; but Turks are proverbially careless about official details. It was just bad luck, too, that some petty officer was not the first to land, who could have borne the indignity without loss of prestige, and “arranged” matters for his chief; but if we must appoint our “best” men to such a post, someone smaller should be sent in advance to spy out the land. Friction is bound to occur between our experienced officers, statesmen, or diplomats (above all, if their sense of humour is not very keen) and the primitive Anatolians of young Turkey. We should, surely, have been well advised in this matter to follow the French way of employing “middle men” for a time.

I love the casual freedom of Turkish customs, which will suffer a train to be kept waiting for my private comfort; but the characteristic may be extremely trying on another occasion. Every virtue has its pet vice!

When I visited Turkey after the Balkan war our steamer somehow “missed” the mouth of the bay, and no one remembered the exact position of the mines! As a matter of fact, the Senegal was blown to atoms only a few days ahead, and our own escape was pure luck. There was considerable alarm on board, and I was once more filled with gratitude for my own small share of the fatalism of the Turk!

On this occasion, for my own private benefit, I could also have wished that our captain had been a “smaller” man, or one less scrupulously compact of duty. When I admitted that I had really come on 66board in search of a British flag, no matter how torn and tattered, he only looked at me as though I were mad.

“You don’t seem to know much about the inner workings of the navy,” was all he said.

“One does not bother about the ‘inner workings’ of anything one loves,” I answered.

So with the gravest courtesy he explained to me that a new flag could not possibly be obtained until the “tattered” one had been handed over to H.Q. Nevertheless I believe that a French, Italian, or even an American, captain would have contrived some means of acceding to my request.

As it happens, I once saw the man off his guard. He was playing the host to a beautiful Englishwoman and her French husband, his neighbours on their own yacht, and no one could have seemed more naturally genial and light-hearted, with his really delightful sense of humour. Is it necessary for a uniform to conceal all traces of humanity? Why could not the world see the man’s best side in the officer? The strictest sense of “fair play,” combined with great patience, will work even better with the Turks when added to a generous supply of smiles and wit.

When the Vali sent word that all was ready for me to proceed on my way to Angora, I could not hesitate. Whatever my compatriots may have said, and would, no doubt, have now repeated with greater emphasis, I could not think of having allowed him to take so much trouble on my account for nothing!

Above all, particularly towards a Moslem, the last thing that any lady could think of doing would be to betray the slightest lack of trust. What matter if we were on the brink of war? It simply never entered my head that I could really come to any harm from the Turks!

It is of interest, nevertheless, to put on record the various, not altogether unreasonable, warnings that I received at the hotel in Smyrna from my fellow-guests. 67One and all were quite convinced that I had taken leave of my senses. Only a mad woman would think of going to Angora at this season and on the brink of war!

The Spaniard had spent his life in the Near East and knew the Turks! “Your own friends,” he said, “the Ministers who know you, may show you the greatest respect; but you are English and cannot speak the language. The people are mere fanatics!” However, he gave me a box of insect powder, a bottle of iodine, and—most welcome of all to me—a yard of flannel to make an abdominal belt!

One Italian implored me to “come back and enjoy the Italian skies.... You will freeze in Angora.” He gave me a packet of chocolate and half a bottle of cognac.

A Second Italian could only endeavour to “face the fact” that I was determined to have my way. As he knew something of where I was going, he brought me quinine, asperin, mosquito-cream, and calomel.

The Dane was horrified to learn that I had no gold. “Gold is essential in war-time. Gold saved my life in Russia;” and he handed me in exchange for paper fifty gold Turkish pounds, which, however, proved more weighty than useful.

The Dutch Parson gave me his blessing. Though generally optimistic and pro-Turk, he admitted that things looked unusually black at the moment, and advised me to “wait and see.”

A British Naval Officer would not admit the sarcasm of his comment that it was “very interesting” of me to “go to Angora!” He considered “the Turks the finest race on the face of the earth.... My God, they know what I mean!” And, personally, I believe they knew very well.

One American could only repeat that “it was a mad idea.... We are not safe even here. There is plenty of oil there, certainly, but—heroics is heroics!”

A Second American wanted to know “what they were giving me for this stunt,” and guessed “it was a pretty high figure.” That I was going on my own 68responsibility and paying my own way he “simply would not believe.”

The South American was the first of them all to express any confidence that the Turks would be kind. What he dreaded for me was the discomfort. “Above all,” he said, “avoid the Red Army.”

The Englishman characteristically pinned his faith on the courage of our race. “It has brought you here,” said he, “and I believe it will bring you back.... Here is my woollen jacket, a tin of milk, and this letter to an American friend of mine. Promise me, if ever you are in difficulty, you will seek his help.”

I afterwards made inquiries about this invaluable ally, though I was, fortunately, in no danger. I found that, after all, he never reached Angora, though he had applied to go there last March!

A Third Italian told me that he had just found a little silver St. Antoine de Padou among the ruins.... “My prayers for you will go with it always. After the snows of Angora, our Italian sunshine, its songs and its laughter, will await you.” Besides the St. Anthony, he gave me a book of Italian proverbs, a box of insect-powder, cough-drops, and chocolate.

The Frenchman only exclaimed: “No Angora for me, merci! I am counting the hours until the boat arrives to take me away from all this.”

The Englishwoman (Mrs. de C——) felt proud to think of the “feather in a woman’s cap,” that such an adventure would surely prove.

The Dutchman declared that he would trust even his own daughter on such a journey, if “the Vali had pledged his word for her safe conduct.... I know this country inside out—its language, its dangers, its possibilities, its virtues and faults.... You may trust the Vali.... If war breaks out, they will take you, with all possible politeness, to the nearest frontier.”

He gave me all kinds of useful information, and much-needed boxes of matches and cigarettes.

Truly a wonderful budget of advice and a most original collection of gifts! Did ever a woman thus start such a quest?

69Yet they had made me sad! Some were born here, others had lived in the country all their lives, and how few of them would trust the Turk, to whom, after all, they owed, at least, their material existence.

“I will show you,” I said, as we were all assembled for farewell, “that I am right, and you are all wrong. Though my country may turn on Turkey, she will be good to me.”

It was nearly seven o’clock next morning before the officer came for me. It was so late that our horses had to be whipped up to a smart pace over the bumpy road to the station. My conductor had been so anxious about all arrangements, that he had packed the food for our five or seven days’ trip, and entrusted it to a chauffeur, who was perverse enough not to wake up in time.

This certainly might be regarded as an omen of ill-luck, and even as I got into the train, between the officer and a cheik (who had been professor of Arabic at Oxford), the South American stepped forward to ask whether, after all, I had not better return with him.

“And show the Turks I do not trust them.... Never. Besides, this gentleman has lived in Oxford, and is therefore almost a compatriot. Tell my friends in Smyrna that I am perfectly well and happy, and that I am going to have a lovely time.”

I saw that both my conductors were greatly pleased by my expressions of trust, which they well knew how to appreciate.

Nevertheless, when we had been driving along the quay and my eyes had fallen on our own man-of-war flying the Union Jack without which, for the first time in my life, I was embarking upon my perilous way, I was not far from tears.

My thoughts were crowded with all that England has ever meant to me, from the quiet corner in the churchyard where my father is sleeping, to the little face, seldom innocent of jam, that looks up so 70eagerly to tell his “Auntie” he has been a naughty boy.

Shall I, indeed, soon find myself in an “enemy” country, which surely should be, as I have always known it, the land of my England’s dearest friends?




It was, indeed, a kindly Providence that led the cheik to accompany us upon this stage of my tour. No one could have been more polite and thoughtful, more ready to gratify my every wish at great personal sacrifice, than the officer from Smyrna. But he had not been at Oxford; he could not speak our language with the distinguished accent of that University; above all, he had not the vast culture of this man of God. His information would have been conveyed in German, a language I speak with no pleasure.

The cheik has large brown eyes, a dusky skin, and a face which, though stamped with suffering, is kindness itself. He wore a long grey coat and turban, and appeared to me at that moment years older than his actual age. Maybe my inborn veneration for Oxford professors misled me; and no doubt I was also influenced by the obvious respect of the many hoary-headed disciples who came to the station to bid their “Master” farewell, bending to kiss his hand and receive his blessing. Great erudition, again, must always add to a man’s appearance of age, and his allusions to varied experiences in many a Moslem land did certainly suggest the passing of years.

Like myself, however, he was going to Angora for the first time, venturing behind the long line of bayonets which still separates that troubled land from the rest of the world.

In complete sympathy with my admiration for these men who had suffered and been victorious, he was 72eager to learn a little of the tribulation through which they had fought their way to liberty and freedom.

“It seems to me,” I began, “that were I the British High Commissioner, I should have found some means of, at least, paying a visit to Angora. What do our legislators yet know about this land under their charge, for which they have been made responsible? They can have no idea of the people’s aims, their faults and their virtues. You might as well take charge of some province in heaven of which you only know that it exists.”

“There is not a Turk to-day who would not welcome you as British High Commissioner,” was the gallant reply. “We are, indeed, deeply grateful for your trust. You have found the key to unlock Moslem hearts—to trust us.”

“Surely it is with nations as with individuals, the man who trusts and is deceived will yet prevail over his deceiver, whatever temporary profits that traitor may grasp. There can be no final conquest over truth. That was my late father’s teaching, and if it has sometimes left me an easy prey to liars and thieves, it has not killed my faith in human nature or hurt my pride. Self-respect will always compel me to treat every man as my friend.”

As we proceeded on our journey, one felt hourly more conscious of the barrier that has been so unwisely set up between the Allies and Angora. As railway and telegraphic communications had been cut off, news was not only delayed, but distorted beyond recognition. One only marvels that some grave disaster has not arisen from such confused reports, apparent contradictions, stern threats, and frequent misunderstandings. It would seem as if the Allied Commissioners had no desire to keep in touch with this “little Republic of the Mountains.”

In all my wanderings I have never experienced such an overpowering sense of isolation. For me there have been no “personal” communications from Europe since October. That “English letters are not accepted in Anatolia,” that all my friends’ news will be returned 73to them marked “Service suspended” or “cannot be reached,” may explain the facts but does not make them easier to bear. When homeless dogs howl and whine outside my bedroom window, superstitions will intrude—dread of disaster to distant friends.

There is, however, another and far more cheering side to our experiences on the road. The “stranger within the gates” is still a sacred person to these peasants, even although from an “enemy” land. There was absolutely no sign of hostility all along the line, but everywhere the greatest kindness. One and all gave me the gracious Eastern welcome, in picturesque phrases, commending me to the care of Allah; these “fanatics” from whom mere murder was the smallest evil I had been told to expect!

Though we had started, through no fault of our own, without any provision for food, I did not anticipate any serious inconvenience on this account. In these hospitable countries I knew we had only to name our need. The cheik, indeed, had been presented with two large baskets of food by his disciples, and also carried a picturesque terra-cotta water-pot, which he could refill whenever we stopped to alight.

“Eat, my children,” said he, “and when all is finished, the Lord will provide.”

“What a feast from the Song of Solomon,” I exclaimed, as the contents of his basket were disclosed—pomegranates, spices, nuts, helva (i.e., honey and nut-cheese), raisins, and bread!

One is grateful for these slow trains that afford such ample opportunity for seeing the country, with its fig-trees, olives, and palms, and the bright sun bringing a climate that recalls the South of France. Yet everywhere, long before we reached the actual devastations, one felt that despair and sadness were hovering over the land. At first, we sought in vain for the reason of our impressions. Then suddenly I knew: There were no cattle.

Of course, Mrs. de. C—— had told me, they had all been brought into Smyrna by the Greeks. Outside her house mules were being sold for fourpence or sixpence 74apiece, and if no purchaser could be found even at that figure, the wretched creatures were left mutilated on the wayside, their eyes burnt out, their legs broken by hatchets!

Our first halt was at Manissa, once a flourishing town of about ninety thousand inhabitants, standing some sixty-five kilometres above sea-level. The Governor and all the “notables” were on the platform to welcome the travellers, and had arranged that the “train should wait,” for us to be shown round.

Some kind of most primitive carriage had been produced from somewhere, and we were driven through more “ruins” to the “temporary” town hall for the inevitable coffee and cigarettes. In the best English, the governor told us of Greek atrocities and the victory of M. Kemal Pasha, introducing us also to his whole staff.

I asked whether it would be possible for me to obtain precise figures of the devastations, and he promised they should be prepared for my use at once. When I reminded him of the “waiting” train, he merely waived such difficulties aside as a “secondary consideration,” begging me “not to mention it.”

Naturally, I found one ruined town very like another. There was, in a sense, little to see beyond “parts of” the mosques, badly scorched or half-burnt minarets, and, at Manissa, no more than one thousand houses standing out of fourteen! Also, the statistics reveal a heartrending loss of life!

The women and children, I learnt, had been driven into the mosques, which were surrounded by machine-guns to ensure against any possibility of escape, and then set on fire. As the full realisation of such hideous barbarity took hold of my imagination, it was as if all my senses were paralysed. That cold perspiration which so often precedes a faint, seized my limbs. I was powerless either to speak or move. How would our twentieth century appear to the old cave-dwellers it has pleased us to call savage? Mrs. de C—— was right, indeed, to say that the Turks 75were “moderate.” Such scenes must compel revenge and let loose the worst passions of men.

On our return the cheik tactfully endeavoured to distract our thoughts by hospitable preparations for lunch. However little one felt disposed to eat, he could have devised no kinder or more wise expression of sympathy and understanding. Unfortunately, we had not yet escaped the company of swarming flies, which afterwards vanished, however, with startling completeness, when the train climbed into colder altitudes.

Our next halt was at Kassaba, where the “notables” again paid us a visit, offering both coffee and tea, one after the other. When the cheik mentioned the loss of our food, and my partiality for fruit, a messenger was at once sent into the town for bread and the most luscious melons, which reach to the highest possible perfection in Anatolia. I have always been grateful for Turkish fruit!

The Governor told me “he had simply nowhere to house the poor people.” He “dare not think” of how they could pass the winter! I saw them, sitting in holes among the ruins, cooking whatever they had been able to scrape together for a meal; the women huddled together in the “beds” of fountains which were covered with straw and carpets, after the water had been drained out. This arrangement permitted the slight protection of an awning, only too badly needed for their threadbare clothes!

There seems no way of coping with the emergency, since they had no tools for even the most primitive building. Except for those lucky enough to secure one of the few booths in the town, the shopkeepers had to set out their stock upon the cobblestones!

I dare not ask how many babies had died of cold. Anatolia has been bled white through twelve years of war! Whatever the nation’s quarrel, it was from hence were taken father, or brother, or son. Yet still, beside these shivering women, you see long train-loads of more soldiers, cattle-trucks full of human beings, called to some new “front.”

76How is it these women can, even now, tenderly hush “the cry of the children,” and give their men? Theirs is a “willing” sacrifice for an ideal, the freedom and independence of the Fatherland.

I had been “protected” in advance, I found, by the authorities, who had announced by telegram the arrival of “an American lady.” It was, perhaps, perverse, even ungrateful, but I persisted in contradicting the news at every stage. I would far sooner take all risks under my own flag than falsely accept shelter beneath the “Stars and Stripes.” “I have no dislike for America,” I assured those who assumed that explanation of my obstinacy, “it simply does not happen to be my country, any more than India is yours.... I have nothing but good to say of individual Americans; the most charming people on the face of the earth.”

Nevertheless “I keenly resent the clamour of Mr. Morgenthau for ‘an ideal republic of his own making on the banks of the Bosphorus, to be backed by all that “Tammany” means in the U.S.A.’ I am for asking him, then, to start by making an ‘ideal’ republic on the banks of the Hudson.”

American oil-hunters are always boasting that they never declared war on Turkey. “You did not,” I have admitted, “but you urged, nay begged and almost ordered, us to do it for you.... Your Literary Digest printed at least one eloquent appeal to Great Britain for a ‘holy’ war against the ‘unspeakable Turk’!” And if they resent my protest at being called “an American,” I am convinced they would have done the same in my place. They, too, have the virtue of national pride.

The train was held up once more for a little excursion to what had been the prosperous town of Alaşehir, a well-wooded district with abundance of fresh water. Here out of four thousand eight hundred 77houses only one hundred remain, and the women and children have been simply wiped out! Unfortunately, we had not time to visit the Hodja, who had found a quite comfortable lodging in the trunk of an oak tree—a philosopher and a man of letters. “I cannot live in a tub, like Diogenes, because I do not possess a tub; but there is nothing wrong with this oak, which I suspect will prove even warmer.”

Everywhere, at Manissa and Kassaba—even at Salihli, with its houses reduced to four!—we were invited to stay and “put up for the night!” Here were about two hundred inhabitants surviving from two thousand five hundred, and from fifteen to twenty families sleeping in the mosque. Yet, they would “certainly arrange something,” and it needed all my tact to refuse any more extended hospitality than tea and coffee, served on the roof of one of their four houses, from which we could look down upon the skeleton town. Apparently, these stricken people found some sort of comfort in the mere idea of my having seen their suffering, though often enough I could not even find words for the sympathy no one could fail to feel.

Once more lunch in the train. Pomegranate seeds should be eaten one by one, a slow process, but as the cheik says “it passes the hours!”

He apologised for the number of times I had been reminded of what in Turkey they call “the work of the British ex-Premier.”

“I had to expect that,” I replied, “when I came to Anatolia; and it gives me the chance of reminding the Turks what part was played by M. Venizelos!”

He tactfully turned the conversation to Oxford, paying a very high tribute to Mr. Asquith’s brilliant son: “A noble character, highly intelligent and broad-minded. A victim of war we could ill afford to lose!”

Association inevitably led to the question I must have been asked a hundred times during my journey, “Why does Lloyd George hate us so bitterly? How can he admire the Greeks?”

78“He knows little of either,” I replied, “nothing, at any rate, from personal observation of them in their own lands. We have first-class Near-East specialists, no doubt; but his chief informants have been nonconformist preachers, even more biassed than he. Nonconformity is the traditional foe of the Turks. Their boasted ‘freedom of thought and conscience’ does not extend to the Servants of the Prophet, and as they once echoed Gladstone, to-day they echo Lloyd George.”

“And in America?” asked the cheik.

“Their church is an advertising agency. They have transformed ‘dissent’ to a ‘trust.’ Go to the States with an idea, and, if it pleases them, they will ‘put it across’ like any other commodity, as a ‘cute’ business proposition. With a colony of two million Greeks, and, maybe, as many Armenians (whose exaggerated and unchecked ‘lamentations’ have full Free-Church support), America will never give Turkey even a fair hearing. You have read their ‘Press’?”

“Alas,” he answered, “I fear the East is losing its faith in the West.”

“Do not say that,” I answered. “Men like you, who have known us at our best, must declare that to-day’s madness is but a phase. Tell us these things should never have been and shall not continue. Write as you can write, and teach the people of Europe to be once more themselves.

“When East and West shake hands again, there will be peace, and peace we must have!




The train is slowly crawling up the heights, the air grows colder and colder, we put on wrap after wrap, and, all of a sudden, not a fly to be seen!

The scenery, meanwhile, seems more desolate at every mile we pass. The horribly systematic destruction has overlooked nothing, and every village is in ruins. The corn, so carefully hidden in pits, has been burned; the water, on which life itself depends, has been polluted; the peasants are vainly digging in search of the hard-earned paper money, savings which they had buried beneath the soil, only to turn up a few black cinders! Even the trees have been nearly all razed to the ground.

There is nothing you can tell me about the “devastated areas” in France, for I have visited every inch of the ground; but there the people could move on to the next villages, and were not imprisoned among the ruins. I would not minimise German atrocities, but they did not fill the churches with women and children before firing them! The wholesale destruction of villages and of cattle is not “legitimate warfare,” but this butchering of women has put the Greek outside the pale of civilisation.

“They have left us the sunset,” I could only murmur, “this marvellous panorama of which one never tires.” The desolation, indeed, lends it a double wonder. Why cannot men, too, die in glory?

The railway line has been cut at Gunhani. Here, 80no doubt, the Governor has been instructed not only to welcome us with every comfort—tea, coffee, and statistics—but to find us beds which do not exist!

We are travelling in the dark, since the sun has deserted us. Every now and again the officer flashes out his little electric lamp to see that all is well. The feelings of my fellow-passengers must be murderous, for have I not kept the train waiting all along the line, so that we are even later than normal Turkish management would have made us? But I can detect no black looks.

In the pitchy darkness, as the train slows down for the last time, before its immediate “return” journey, ragged figures are seen crowding the station. Their turbans are brightly coloured, despite the dirt and rain to which they have been exposed; their clothes are mere “shreds and patches”; they have fashioned themselves picturesque slippers of straw. Like the grotesque figures of some stage chorus from no man’s land, they dart about us on every side, each man seizing upon some one article of luggage. If I express anxiety about my possessions, the cheik bids me “fear not. God is with us. All is well, and in a short while we shall remember this discomfort but as a page of history.” It was a lesson against worry I never forgot—the secret of Islam’s suffering in silence!

Stumbling over a stony and dangerous roadway, we at last reach a tent on the side of the mountains, which has been prepared for us by the reserve officers. We must sit on the cheik’s trunks and prayer-carpets, for the ground is damp and mists enfold us. My chivalrous friend insists on wrapping about me his shawl, his scarf, finally his long coat. “I do not feel the cold as you do,” he declares as I try to protest; but the touch of his hand contradicts the kind words.

In the distance we could see a few hill-fires and the torches of night-wanderers as we enjoyed our evening meal. But no sooner had I begun to wonder how many hours must pass before our experience became history, than, behold, a gust of wind tore up the prop of our tent and buried us in confused débris.

81There was nothing for it but to extract ourselves and sit upon instead of beneath the shelter that had been found for us. The cheik bravely proceeded to delight me with all the wisdom of his religious philosophy while the officer went in search of help. I have done strange things in strange lands, but I wonder what would British “authority” say to this? An unarmed, but fearless, Englishwoman in the damp, cold mists, waiting through the dark night for her “discomfort to become history,” amidst an army of supposed savage fanatics, and debating the greatness of God! Truly, the Unknown bears strange offspring.

Little darts of light, no bigger than glowworms, are now everywhere moving up and down the steep paths through the black mist.

It is not easy for the swiftest of native messengers to track the “hidden” official of the mountains. Yet they seem to slip over the dark ways like birds, carrying their message and returning while you are wondering if they have yet started upon the road. Men have been despatched, like carrier-pigeons, in all directions, and we soon hear that the commandant, two hours away, has set out to find us, and we are to walk as far as we can to meet him.

Once more the long procession, carrying its shawls and cushions, bags and water-pots, is marching in hope of a night’s repose. In a little, however, from somewhere, “orders” come in to “halt, and prepare the lady a bed.”

Behold, it is done. Two boxes are found to support a wooden plank, beneath which the cheik will find some measure of rest for his weary limbs, though he has given me his prayer-mat for mattress, his attaché-case for a pillow and, against my express command, nearly all the wraps in his possession. Under such conditions one does not “undress” for the night; but rather contrives every possible addition to the number of thick woollen garments normally required in these climes. The officer has not even a rug to protect him from the damp earth, and I find words strong enough to resist the loan of his coat.

82Alas! I am not, after all, a true Eastern. My philosophy will not bring sleep. Never since the days when the awful stream of gassed men were being carried into the hospital, have I listened to such a terrible chorus of coughs. There is little enough “quiet in sleep” on these saturated clay mounds, although I no longer hear the Nationalist Anthem and other patriotic strains, to the accompaniment of a piping flute, which had been rising about me in the evening air.

Probably the cold that seemed almost beyond endurance, did not really master me for long, as all these numbing horrors were lost in unconsciousness before the dawn.

I am awakened at last by the officer who ventures to “shake the sleeper,” being seriously alarmed, he tells me, by my pale looks. There is a most welcome glass of hot tea, and a fire! A mingling of German and Turkish assail my ears, while from the distance I hear a silver voice calling the “faithful” to prayer. Here is a free translation from the cheik, of the muezzin’s words: “Get up, you lazy fellows, rise, make your ablutions, and praise God for His goodness.”

I can only repeat “praise God,” though in face of what we have seen even these words seem almost mockery.

“God is great,” said the holy man, “but man will not understand His greatness. God loves the East, whence came thought, philosophy, and faith. The Christ we, too, venerate, came from the East. Yet the West has given us nought but injustice. You who love the East, pray for tolerance and understanding between all peoples.”

The muezzin has awakened all the soldiers in the mountains. One could fancy a scurry of rabbits from the hidden tents. They are fetching water for the ablutions, and I, too, must wash me—in eau de Cologne. The blood flowing into my numbed limbs forces a cry I cannot stifle. “That is what happens when a woman goes out to war,” I said with a laugh, for the officer confessed that I had given him some anxious moments.

83Yet another cup of tea outside the now stifling tent, over the exquisite violet-tinted fumes of a charcoal fire—deadly poison, maybe, but harmless so long as you do not know.

The ablutions, a religious rite, are performed here in couples—one pouring the water into the other’s hands, that he may wash his face three times, carefully going over the ears, eyes, nose, and mouth. When he, in his turn, pours the water for his companion.

The cheik tells me Moslem custom demands the body must be clean, though the clothes may not be free from dirt. If only the morning “ablutions” were part of our Christian creed, what a difference they would make to the comfort, par exemple, of Naples!

All now lay down their “carpets,” and proceed to prayer. To-day, indeed, many must manage with the bare earth. What an inspiring picture it is—the absolutely unselfconscious absorption of the humble and prostrate Turk before his God! There is, surely, a sense of shame to the true Christian for some of his own brethren in the sight of reverence so natural and so devout.

My enthusiasm, unfortunately, does not extend to the steaming dish of most sustaining breakfast-soup, compounded of flour and vinegar and egg. One or two sips of the tonic are enough a send me to dry bread and a glass of tea—about my tenth since dawn!

All around us, though not yet in their uniforms, are scattered the future soldiers of the new Citizen State, ready and eager, poor fellows, for their fifty miles march a day, on coffee and bread, or even on bread and water!

By what right do we ask such things from the sons of women? That, cut off from every pleasure, all joy in God’s world, they should spend their days in war and prayer! They seem happier, somehow, than those of us who have travelled and seen the world, who must think and judge for ourselves, wondering 84at last what is Truth or Justice, where are the profits of self-sacrifice? Love and joy are, after all, but the “negatives” of grief and hate. Abolish the dark couple, and you will gain the light.

For the moment, however, the soldiers of to-morrow are content. They have never tasted alcohol; miserably clad, without proper clothing or shelter, they sit about us expressionless and resigned—singing hymns of joy that sound far more like a funeral dirge. There is no need for thought, since they are ready to die for their fatherland, their leader, their faith.

Yet, though they know I come from an “enemy” country, there is no kindness and consideration they will not extend to a woman who trusts them. Where is the Bolshevism of those who have lifted me over every step of mud, and are even now girding their loins to carry me onwards for forty miles? Will they massacre, who, at my bidding, would lay them down for me to walk over were I to make such an idle request? Fear belongs to those responsible for England’s injustice. They, indeed, among these people, would be torn limb from limb and trampled on unto death.

We have no horses or anything on four legs to draw the loaded wagonette, that must now carry the cheik and myself, in addition to its usual cargo of food and varied wrappings. I have, certainly, had “smarter” escorts than the men now drawing our “equipage,” but never any with kinder hearts.

There is no thought here of payment for service. Money is firmly refused; and from those who have, and seek, absolutely nothing for themselves, such a welcome could not fail to touch the most callous of human beings. How is it that all Europe declares no one can “manage” these simple folk? My own receipt for life with the Moslem—of mere courteous consideration and unquestioning trust—has been repaid with compound interest a thousand times!




It is not given to many in this enlightened twentieth century to travel in a country as God made it, almost untouched by man. Upon the road from Gunhani I saw no signs of man’s handiwork, save a few miles of Deacoville, a tunnel, and the primitive carts of Anatolia. These are made from a few logs nailed together, and fastened to two wheels, cut solidly out of a block of wood. Their continuous squeak does not seem out of keeping with the primitive surroundings, and may be regarded as an “accompaniment” to the peasant’s songs.

The story is told of a “benevolent” American whose imagination was fired by the project of turning this land into a “new America.” He would subject the fertile soil to “intensive” cultivation and smother it with sky-scrapers. So he persuaded a Turk to come over to “God’s own country” (as man has made it) and study the United States.

His guest, however, refused to admire, took passage for home at the earliest possible opportunity, and informed his friends that, “having now seen man’s ‘best’ country, he would never again leave God’s.”

Nevertheless, in the Western mind these wide stretches of waste land among the beautiful mountains, beneath a cloudless sky, cannot fail to rouse a longing to break the silence by a “little emptying of our crowded towns.” The women and old men are digging, sowing, and cultivating, with but slight return for their heavy labour; now that the young are all “wanted” for defence.

86“One day we shall have peace,” said I to our carriers, and they murmured “Inch Allah!” Turning my wish to prayer, I could only repeat, “We shall have peace.”

As often as I can persuade them to rest, I seize the chance of telling them about England. When I mention our great Moslem King George they naturally confuse him with Lloyd George. And, later, “if your King loves his Moslem subjects, as you say he does, why does he permit his Minister to remain?” I assure them that he will not, and their faces brighten as they cry: “There will be peace, then.”

As we plunge into the tunnel, about a kilometre long, our men raise strange howls which echo around us with the most weird effect; but we are in darkness that can be felt, and anyone coming unwarned in an opposite direction, which is downhill, could scarcely avoid a crash. As it happens, there is an engineer on the line. Our men lift off his wagonette and replace it, further down, than ours.

I marvelled that they had sufficient strength for the job, living on coffee and bread. Meanwhile, our flashlight revealed Turkish ladies walking along the tunnel without a glimmer of light to guide them, who made their way by a continuous beating of sticks upon the wall.

In this strange land, one is not afraid! I think of all the alarm my journey excited in Smyrna, and am more than ever convinced that I only need an interpreter. If I knew the language, I would go alone and without fear! Primitive people in Turkey have a high code of honour. They would not steal a penny, they will not even accept what I offer to pay. Though he would tear to pieces an enemy of his country, the Turk would stand between me and danger, for he knows I am a friend.

At last we are out of the tunnel, stretching our legs with relief in the open air. Suddenly a strange sound breaks on our ears from the mountains. As we stop to listen, we hear someone calling upon us to “Halt! You must go no further!” I remember—this day, they had told me, there would be “war”! A strange 87figure seems to be hopping down the mountains, about 800 metres in height, which proves to be the Commandant de la Place. He had arrived at our tent very late the night before, and left me a “message of welcome.” Is he now bringing the terrible news the war has begun? No. Only offering us hospitality.

He had not expected us to start so early, and apologised for “calling in his nightgown”—the only alternative to letting us pass his “inhospitable doors.” I begged that I might take a photograph, and, leaving all our belongings upon the wayside, we readily set out to climb the mountain, while he shouted the news of our approach to hasten the preparations of his wife. As a matter of fact, the difficulties of the ascent were quite sufficient to give her ample time; and when we reached the house at last, the pure, fresh air (that struck cold in spite of the brilliant sunshine) inspired a hearty welcome to “rest” after so stiff a climb!

The commandant (who is richly bronzed by outdoor life in the sun) seemed quite content with his two-roomed cabin among the hills, though one could sense the tragic experiences he would never obtrude. Three of his children had perished from cold and hardship, and I caught anxious glances towards the two remaining, fine, sturdy-looking little creatures as they were. His mother-in-law, busily intent on grinding the corn, bore further witness to their hidden struggles.

I was immediately given a chair; a mattress was found for the cheik, and once more we learned that in this country you are expected to have some coffee before a glass of tea, and then roasted almonds and melon-seeds. I like to think it was the children who decorated their little cat’s ears with pink tassels in our honour, much to the animal’s annoyance. While the pig had been also “decorated,” to his intense delight!

Madame retired immediately on our arrival; but when “tea” was finished, I begged that she might join us. Though veiled and shy, she came. Then she and her husband brought their outes (a Turkish guitar played with a feather) and sang to us without any restraint.

88We stayed with them so many hours that, at last, I began to fear I was expected to make the first move. At three o’clock I asked the cheik when we were going to continue our journey, and he quickly answered: “When you please”—confirming my suspicions.

I was now informed that we should probably be too late for the one train in the day, and have to face a journey of many hours in bullock-wagons, drawn perhaps by mules. No one even hinted that I was to blame; yet no one would have dreamt of being so rude as to tell me that it was my place to break up the party!

The line from Smyrna to Angora had been cut at Gunhani, as had the line from Haïdar Pasha at Bilidjik and Kara-Keuy.

From Gunhani we had to reach Afioun-Karahissar as we best could, partly by Deacoville, then by ox-wagon and luggage trains to Ouchak and on to Afioun. The railway bridge destroyed at Gunhani was a fine example of French engineering, which went right over the mountains, from eight hundred to a thousand feet high. It will take years to rebuild. The Turks do not complain, and have cheerfully accepted the terrible discomfort to passengers and goods traffic, with their usual philosophy. “The destruction of an important railway,” as they calmly remark, “is legitimate warfare and first-class strategy.”

We could realise, however, what the disaster really meant, as we climbed down, without the help of any kind of pathway, from the commandant’s little house on the steep hills. Once on the road we took an ox-wagon, drawn by mules, for what was still little better than a mountain track, to the nearest point of the railway that was in order, in the direction of Afioun-Karahissar. Unable, like the cheik or any Oriental, to sit on my legs, I had to let them hang over the side of our wagon.

This scurrying down from the commandant’s house was not “a picnic!” Our fearless drivers and their marvellously sure-footed beasts, could not prevent our being flung from side to side of the springless cart, holding on for dear life. Sometimes the officer had 89to spring out and push from behind to save us from falling backwards.

The telegraph wires, of course, were also cut; but the rapidity with which messengers are able to run and leap over these ragged mountain ways enabled them to bring news back to us, of the quickest way to find a train, in an incredibly short time.

In an Ox Wagon.
“Unable to sit on my legs, I have to let them hang over the side of our wagon.”

I had found it a herculean task to reach, and return, from our resting place on the hill-top. The bullock-cart seemed to find it scarcely less difficult to manipulate the narrow and broken roadway. Yet the Turkish soldiers had somehow found means and strength to heave their heavy artillery over these awe-inspiring passes, from which one slip of the foot meant instant death.

There was, naturally, “nothing doing” at the station till very late that night, when we should have to pass the dark hours in a luggage train. Just before 90it was due to start, however, the Governor arrived with sardines, fruit, and bread, of which we managed to make a good dinner “on board,” actually our first meal that day, except for the commandant’s almonds.

A chair was found for me in the empty carriage, but others had to sit on the floor. We had candles and, by some means, word was sent in advance of our approach. They tell me it is quite a short journey, but I cannot help wishing that we had been able to stay in the bullock-carts.

Through that strange night—not so cold, indeed, as yesterday—we seemed to crawl on one mile and then shunt back two, to an awful accompaniment of clanging metal that made it impossible to sleep. I had only to close my eyes for a moment and our train was certain to be violently thrown back. Really, I thought my head would be shaken off my body.

As always, the cheik made heroic efforts to wile away the dark hours and distract my mind. There was no question I could ask him about Islam in vain. Here is the best I can reproduce of that fascinating lesson in faith and philosophy delivered in a luggage train by night:

“The very word Obedience (i.e. Islam) is contrary to all Bolshevist ideas, just as Bolshevism itself is contradicted by the Reign of Terror in Russia. Islam teaches the ‘preservation of property,’ Bolshevism destroys it. Verily, the Turks must have passed through sorrow and tribulation before they could ever have felt any temptation to ally themselves with the Russia of to-day. Yet the Soviet has helped us in our time of need, and we owe our fidelity to the alliance.”

I spoke of the vast sums paid out by Russia to Abdul Hamid to maintain enmity between the Turks and Great Britain.... “That you have made friends with your hereditary enemy surely means grave peril to India.”

“So we all feel,” answered the cheik. “But we can never forget the shock to the Moslem world of the ‘rumour’ that Constantinople (the seat of Caliphat) would be handed over to Russia. England had 91gone back on her word and lost our respect for ever. Henceforth we could be deceived no longer. We were cyphers, mere pawns, on the political chess-board of the Powers. The principles of Islam were distorted without hesitation to prove that no Christian peoples could live unmolested under Turkish rule. How could Great Britain be so blind to the unbounded respect she had earned from Islam by her fine tolerance of all religions in India? Now she has ‘changed all that,’ and the war in the Near East was a religious war.”

When I attempted to frame some excuses for the pro-Greek attitude of the British Government, he reminded me of our “old pride in Moslem allegiance. You have more Moslem than Christian subjects.... Is not your Prime Minister, Mr. Lloyd George, a democrat? Where can he find more perfect democracies than in the East, under Moslem rule? It is a ‘new’ ideal in the West. When President Wilson began to preach it, he was derided as a Utopian, because he was three centuries ahead of his time! Every Moslem has always been equal before the law—the Sultan stands with his subjects.”

“That does not quite ‘explain’ Abdul Hamid,” I said.

“He was the exception we shall never repeat. You cannot argue from exceptions.... It is the English who have ceased to value the precepts of Islam. The Koran bids us obey those in authority. Rather than rebel, we leave the country.”

“And M. Kemal Pasha? Has he not rebelled?”

“No, indeed. He simply defended his country, deposed the vassal-traitor-Sultan.... M. Kemal Pasha rules direct from the Koran. He will have strength to set aside the heresies of the Byzantines that have been grafted on to our Government. It is nonsense to say that the Koran has been found unfitted for the requirements of the twentieth century.”

“There, I fear, I must plead guilty.”

“You will see, when you have stayed among us a little longer, that it can be honestly interpreted to meet man’s present needs.”

92“The freedom of women——?”

“The ‘seclusion’ comes from Byzantium. M. Kemal will change that, if only he does not himself make a foolish marriage.”

“How do you mean—foolish?”

“A princess. We attribute Enver’s downfall to his having married a princess. He then required money to maintain his ‘royal’ position; we do not inquire from whence it came! If M. Kemal Pasha follows his example we shall lose faith in his democracy.”

“And a foreigner?”

“That is almost as bad. The helpmeet of our choice for him should be one who would help the country to progress along Eastern lines, not Western. Rather a peasant than a foreigner or a princess.”

“I hope he may find one with the intelligence of Halidé Hanoum, and with her womanly charm. To me she seems wholly delightful. She can advance, and remain a woman, as our Anglo-Saxon reformers have seldom done.”

“We shall see; but you must make no mistake. You imagine that women ‘do not count’ in the East, yet I assure you a foolish marriage for M. Kemal Pasha would be a national disaster.”

“I wish you were not so much against British rule.”

“I must face facts. You have been doing strange things here for the last twenty-three years. We do not object to you because you are rulers, but to the way in which you now rule. In Islam all the faiths co-operate. Israel has its place, and we venerate Christ no less than our Prophet. It is the same in England itself, yet the very men whom you receive in your London drawing-rooms are spoken of in Egypt and India as ‘natives.’”

“Neither can I understand that.” I agreed.

“No, you would not; but, if you really want to know the truth, we are discouraged and hurt. How can your Empire accept your ex-Premier’s pro-Greek campaign after his glorious speeches in support of democracy?”

93“The more I think about it,” said I, “the less I understand.”

“Well, the consequences for us are black. We were so long content to pass our days in confidence that all was well with British at the helm. Now we are watching with anxious eyes; only we pray that the ‘to-morrow’ which all good Moslems desire, may yet come with M. Kemal Pasha. I have sons, who must all be soldiers, since we no longer trust the West.”

“Will they be educated in England, at Oxford?”

“No, alas! They are in Germany. They must learn to put the responsibilities of citizenship before sport. They must not associate with men who might afterwards settle in Egypt and call them ‘niggers.’”

These were bitter truths for my pride in England.

The cheik, by the way, was born in Egypt, and regarded as a dangerous Moslem foe! I wonder if that can in any sense justify his exile from his native land?

As he tells me: The victory of M. Kemal is the direct result of an attempt to express the spirit of nationalism, which will not be kept down. For the first time Moslems have adopted the Nationalist appeal. If that fail, you will be confronted by a Pan-Islam uprising. The eyes of all Moslem are on Turkey. Strike her, who is Islam’s head, and every limb will rise in protest against the blow.

“As a man of God,” I protested, “you have no right to speak of war. There must not be war.”

“When responsible British Ministers refer to Salonika as the Gate of Christendom, we can no longer stand aside.”

The Governor and all the “notables” of Ouchak were on the platform as our luggage train arrived “in state.” When they invited us to stay the night, I accepted at once, without giving anyone else the chance to refuse. After three days and two nights on the road, I could not forego the luxury of a wash and a change of clothes, or the chance to brush and comb out my hair!




At Ouchak, I frankly declined to spend another night in a luggage train. I admired the Turks’ resourcefulness in coping with the extremely limited service of trains—the women inside a luggage-van and the men on the roof. I do not regret the fact that I have probably endured even more discomfort than other European visitors to Angora, since I have attempted and achieved more. But for the moment it seemed really essential to pause and rest.

We were told they had only one private train car on this side of the break in the line, which had been reserved for the Minister of Finance, whom we should probably soon meet. Engines were terribly “short,” and most of the trains had been burnt by Greeks.

The Governor drove us to the house of one of the wealthiest men in the town, once the headquarters of King Constantine. Our host proved to be a mere lad of twenty, who was nevertheless directing a large carpet factory which had partially escaped destruction, with considerable efficiency and skill.

Thanking us with graceful dignity for the honour of our visit, he gave immediate direction for our reception in his noble guest-chamber. He apologised for the bareness of rooms, rifled by Greeks; but, in my judgment, the rich and wonderful carpets were furniture enough.

As M. Kemal Pasha had taken over the house from King Constantine, our host asked me, in joke, whose “bed” I would choose! I naturally at once replied 95M. Kemal’s. “Ah no,” said he, “you must not decide without seeing both.”

Being always afraid of air-raids, the Greek sovereign had taken an underground suite, certainly arranged with great taste and every attention to creature comfort. Lit and heated by electricity, the arrangements closely resembled a German trench. M. Kemal Pasha had slept on the first, or top, floor, and as I like to think, under my white satin covering, worked with irises. It was a proud moment for our host—that I should occupy a bed already honoured by M. Kemal!

I told him how at Gerbervilliers Sœur Julie once let me sleep in a bed previously occupied by Cardinal X., and even conferred on me the supreme honour of using his Eminence’s sheet! That “last touch,” said my host, he, “unfortunately, could not repeat. The Pasha’s sheets!—well, they were not here.”

We soon sat down with the Governor, the Mayor, and other “notables,” to a well-cooked meal of Turkish delicacies, supervised by our host himself. My only criticism of Turkish dishes is based on their “fattening” qualities, and the pleasure in flavours which tempt one to over-eat.

More “notables” appeared for an afternoon reception, in strange and picturesque costumes: Deputies, hodjas, and judges. How I longed to borrow that judge’s saxe-blue silk robe for a dressing-gown; but, knowing that he would “give” me anything for which I expressed a fancy, my honour sternly forbade the request! Everyone had left their shoes on the mat, and sat in their stockinged feet. My muddy boots were a disgrace.

They all talked Nationalism, overjoyed by the recent victories and, I cannot deny, bitter against Great Britain.

I was invited to a big “Nationalist” meeting, to be held that night at the Young Men’s Club, and was only too glad to have the chance of answering the questions I knew they would want to put. It is always wise to encourage our critics to air their grievances.

We were conducted up a rickety staircase to a 96large room thick with smoke. The men were all wearing kalpaks, and evidently puzzled at first by the “Englishwoman in their midst.” Some of them smiled, others plainly showed their surprise, and others just stared.

After the cheik had opened the meeting in a very few words, our host rose to explain my presence. He told them that I had come to Angora entirely on my own responsibility, because, though our authorities called it “brink of war,” I wanted to convince the Turks that we should not have war.

Then, with the Governor as my interpreter, I begged them “to believe that Mr. Lloyd George’s policy was not the policy of the English people. He had only followed Gladstone in this matter, and he had been led astray by M. Venizelos. No other Englishman would make war on Turkey, and we, the people, were therefore determined upon his fall.”

Inch Allah,” cried the people.

Then I said that “whether our Conservatives or Labour men followed Mr. Lloyd George, it would make no difference to them. Both parties are all for peace. I was not Turkey’s only friend in Great Britain. We who knew were all hard at work for peace.”

It was a strange meeting! Did the Governor really translate what the men actually said? Some were obviously filled with anger, though “saura-saura and Mr. Lloyd George” was all I could catch. The Governor interpreted, “The speaker does not approve of Mr. Lloyd George’s policy.”

“Nor do I,” I replied, which made them all laugh heartily.

“In any case,” I concluded, “there is not going to be war. It is contrary to all reason, and we have been enemies long enough! We are going to be great friends now.”

I answered a host of questions, which, however, the Governor had softened in his interpretation to avoid hurting my feelings.

Finally my host invited the audience to express their appreciation of the visit from an Englishwoman, who had persisted, against such terrible odds, in coming 97to give them so much “news” from Great Britain; and the old wooden roofs echoed to their cheers and clapping.

Maybe the British Government would scarcely have approved our meeting; but there are many people in England who take a different view; and as I told the people, “I had been seven years on the French front (a real slice out of one’s life) and I knew what war meant. I will not believe our men are going to be led to war again. However our politicians may talk, whatever hysteria may be printed in the Press, we have sound, practical reasons for friendship. There is nothing in the Nationalist Pact to which Great Britain can seriously object; nothing, certainly, to justify the shedding of blood on either side.”

After the meeting we drove back to our comfortable quarters, and talked long into the night over tea and cigarettes. Too tired to sleep, I told my host if once I dozed off there would be no waking me “this side of anytime,” so I “let myself go” upon the glories of old England and the fine traditions of our race—a subject my present companions were still perfectly ready to applaud.

We passed on to America and her big Press. To their taste, British journalism is “just dry bones—without a breath of life.” They must have something picturesque, unrestrained by any considerations of taste or possible hurt to the feelings of those concerned.

I told them of the strange pride with which an American dared to boast of an “interview” with King Constantine. “His Majesty,” as the reporter had written, “without asking me even to sit down, drew from his pocket a handsome case and helped himself to a cigarette. He naturally did not offer one to me.”

Constantine was, naturally, infuriated by the sarcastic implication, and denied the “interview” altogether. The “man from the States” promptly started an “action” against him, and withdrew it, once he had thus secured far more publicity (which means dollars) than all the “interviews” he might have 98secured with deposed royalties, would ever have brought his way.

A lady compatriot of his, in the same spirit, once claimed to have secured an “interview” with M. Kemal Pasha, and wrote that “he smoked Player’s cigarettes.” When I told her friend that this was certainly untrue, he said: “What matters! It was good copy.”

I was not, however, altogether surprised to learn that this “impression” of Constantine was, most probably, quite true. All kinds of similar stories were in circulation about the dead monarch, but the Turkish officers were of opinion that, though as commander-in-chief he certainly appeared to live underground, there was little he could be expected to achieve with the army at his command. To be fearless is a commandant’s first duty, and for that quality they were as ready to praise the fallen Djémal and Enver as M. Kemal Pasha himself. With all his faults and mistakes, none could accuse Enver of fear.

My “lady’s maid” on this occasion proved to be a picturesque young woman, dressed in very bright colours, wearing her hair in two long plaits enclosed in a gay scarf. With the pleasant zeal of her race, she squandered the whole contents of a beautiful Eastern water-jug in “pouring them over my hands,” a process which used up all the water long before I felt clean! And not even grease and eau-de-Cologne would drive off half the effects of these terrible days from my face. It was a case for Turkish baths. And Nazafer, my little maid, proved so timid and gentle a hairdresser that I had to use some English “force” in this direction when she had left me for the night.

Yet words cannot express the delight of this welcome change to all the luxuries of civilisation. A blazing wood fire, a hot bottle, and the generous supply of white satin cushions worked in a lovely iris design on my vast, picturesque bed!

If the dogs outside could only accept their grievances with the silent dignity of the East! As I peep through my lattice windows over the half-ruined city, now bathed in the silver light of the new moon, I can only marvel 99again that we hear scarcely a murmur from these suffering people in their terrible distress. What do we want with this mutilated country for which they are ready to die?

Here is the tale of a patriot that outstrips the wildest imagination to have conceived. A certain woman, so poor that she had but one miserable garment to protect her starving babe, catches sight of some “munitions” that are lying near her, exposed to the cold! She does not hesitate a moment, but lifting her poor child’s only covering, carefully wraps it round the “instruments of war.” Maybe the good God will send me another child,” she whispered; “at all costs, my country must be saved!”

How dare we attempt to hamper these people’s freedom, bought at so dear a price? Surely the future is theirs to shape as they will.

When the morning is well advanced, and the sun is streaming upon me through scarlet lace curtains, I am at last awakened from dreams of burning cities to the alarms of war. Downstairs, sad and bewildered faces almost convince me that actual hostilities have begun. But I am now fully awake, and still refuse to believe.

“It is absolute nonsense,” I insist on telling them. “My country is your friend.”

But even the optimism of our host had been shaken by the pessimist newspaper reports. They all knew, however, that, if it was war, I should stay with them, and they would allow me to nurse our own “men.”... It was not the “men” who would make war; and I gladly repeated their high tributes to the fine soldierly qualities of the Turk, in startling contrast to most Germans!

Our host himself superintended the preparation of my breakfast tray—eggs and butter, honey and jam, fruits and cheese.

“You have sent me a grocer’s shop,” I exclaimed to him later, but he waived aside my gratitude with a casual, “Don’t mention it.”

100I reminded him that he had promised I should see “madame” and the baby. “Could not she share our meal?” He said she was tired and really preferred to rest. Was the excuse diplomatic?

He told me that almost immediately after their marriage (about a year and a half ago, when she was only seventeen), they had “escaped” to Rhodes, and it was only too likely their brief experience of home—such as war had left them—would be once more cruelly interrupted. She, unfortunately, did not speak French, but I could easily read in her large, pathetic, dark eyes the excuses she strove to offer for what would never have struck me as “inadequate” hospitality.

I tried to convey my deep sympathy to her husband. “You seem like a couple of dear children,” I said, “just eager to make us all happy.”

“Every Turk,” he replied gravely, “must marry young. The country needs children.”

M. Kemal Pasha entirely confirmed the curious impressions that this household could not fail to produce on any visitor from Europe. It almost made one think of Turkey as the social Antipodes. In England so many women are now doing men’s work, in addition to their own. Here we see men working for both sexes. I have no doubt the sweet little lady had “prepared” everything in advance, but when we arrived, she felt it becoming to disappear! It was our host, again, whom I had surprised in the midst of his ministrations for a most excellent lunch!

The afternoon was spent in driving about the pillaged city, visiting our host’s carpet-factory and a number of weaving-looms in private houses. It is a privilege, indeed, to see all these treasures of beauty shaping before one’s eyes. It must, I think, be a great relief for the “tired in mind” to “get busy” about mechanical work. One’s fingers soon turn into machines, weaving the wool in and out of the frame, cutting the pile, the whole process of creating those wonderful Eastern “floorings” we all admire. The making of even “high art” goods must rest the 101nerves, like the “perpetual motion” of my Scotch mother’s knitting needles!

In the distance the cemetery looked like a large field, glaring with poppies and cornflowers that it was puzzling to find so late in this cold climate. As we approached, however, the picturesque scene proved to come from dyed wool left to dry on the tombstones, which were, themselves, of a turban-like shape.

In the market we were astonished to find how quickly trade had recovered, almost to pre-war activity, since my last visit. Somehow they have discovered tools and wood to patch up booths for the old business.

I told my companions I “hoped the people would soon be given material to rebuild the whole town, that Europe would send money in admiring recognition of their ‘already proven’ ability to help themselves.”

It seemed almost a “confessional” for me, as the officers and municipal authorities, the deputies and the hodjas, plied me with question after question, because they knew I would tell them all I could, and speak the truth!

They brought me photographs—of cities in ruins, of mutilated and disfigured human beings!—unfortunately too primitive for reproduction, but no less invaluable as documentary evidence, almost too ghastly for man to “look on and live”!

We drove also to the aviation ground and were shown what the officer in charge had contrived to make of the cannon left by Greeks. Though everything was systematically hacked to pieces, it had been all “put together again” by the Turks with astonishing patience and perseverance.

Naturally proud of his work, and delighted to tell us how it had all been managed, the officer, fortunately, quite forgot I was English. He was telling us that he found a few French 75’s, but that most of the guns were howitzers. Suddenly realising the need for caution, or rather courtesy, he burst out: “Cannon, Lloyd George,” and won from us all the most grateful and laughing applause.

I was further especially pleased with his outspoken 102pride in the Turkish women aviators, of whom his own wife had been one. All honour to them—from that Jeanne d’Arc of Turkey, Halidé Hanoum, to every woman who had unloaded munitions from the boats and “done her bit” in the factories!

He told us how women had watched for ships bringing munitions as for angels of deliverance. How they toiled at the unloading and bore their burdens with uncomplaining zeal. No man must lift a finger for work that could possibly be undertaken by women. As M. Kemal Pasha says: “The women have done their part in saving the country, they must have their share in governing it.”

It has always been supposed that France supplied most of these munitions. But the Turks paid us £5,000 sterling (at the present rate of exchange) for a load of their own munitions that we had “picked up,” and they bought arms from the English officers in Constantinople. Further supplies, of course, were obtained from Frenchmen, Italians, Russians, and, incredible as it may seem, from the Greeks themselves. Turkey bought arms wherever she could, and set herself the grim task of readjustment.

Meanwhile, the Governor had been telegraphing for us in all directions all day, for news of a train to take us on our way. All the services, of course, were disorganised, and the line cut—a message from Smyrna to Kassaba might take twelve days! We would not worry, or hope!

At about 9.30, we hear of another luggage train! It is not a long journey from Ouchak to Afioun-Karahissar. We are now well supplied with food and candles, a dilapidated deck-chair has been dug out for me, and the cheik’s brilliant conversation will “make history” of the night.

I had managed to have a few words with our host’s wife before we left the house. Her husband translating, she thanked me again and again for my visit, and then, asking me to excuse her going to see an ailing 103brother, she sailed away with her little babe in her arms. As she turned smiling on us from the big gateway, I could not resist blowing a kiss to the child-like and pathetic figure she made—for all the world like a schoolgirl and her doll!

Towards evening, as we were preparing to leave our host, I caught sight of a few tears rolling down his cheeks. Like an Englishman, he quickly brushed them aside, and turned to me with a smile.

What had I said, or done? We had been skating on thin ice all the time. I would never deliberately hurt anyone’s feelings, but I cannot resist a joke, and, in a foreign language, there is danger of misunderstanding.

I found a chance of asking the cheik to tell me frankly if I had unwittingly given any offence, for which I would be only too eager to tender my sincere regret and apology. But he explained: Our host’s brother-in-law had died during the night, and, not wishing to disturb our entertainment, his wife had bravely set out alone to attend the funeral.

So even the most intimate domestic sorrow was not permitted to interrupt our enjoyment; the intrusion, as it must be felt, of an unknown woman from an enemy land!

I have never met, even in Turkey, such a fine spirit of hospitality. My tears could not be kept back. Here was a mere lad heaping coals of fire on my head. Again and again the words sternly echoed in my brain: “These things should never have been.”




We are an hour late, the rain is pouring in torrents as I mount from a Turk’s back to my now familiar “van”; the station is full of friends crowding to witness our start and say farewell.

From a Turk’s Back.

After no more than an hour of what proved to be much the worst stage of my whole journey, I was determined against any further dependence upon “goods 105traffic.” I should infinitely prefer to walk. Our compartment, I know, had not been chosen for comfort—there was no other to be had. But the roof leaked, the doors would not shut, it was impossible to keep our candles alight.

At every few kilometres there is a halt. After an hour and a half the cheik and the officer are beyond words. Wrapped in rugs on the cold, hard floor, they are soon fast asleep, and now peacefully snoring. I should have thought myself that our continual joltings were enough to wake the dead, but my friends, fortunately, seem able to sleep on, pitched as they are every moment from side to side like long, shapeless bundles of woollen stuff. I put my umbrella up and donned a mackintosh, while our fellow-traveller, the Inspector of Forests, is no more able to sleep than I, but does his best to relieve the monotony by smiling at me (since we have no common language) whenever a candle is blown out and he patiently relights it.

It was, perhaps, no more than subdued hysteria which suddenly drove me to break the long silence with strange sounds of laughter that awakened and clearly startled the cheik. After a little, I managed, somehow, to explain my unseemly outburst.

The day before leaving Paris I had written to Lord Robert Cecil in earnest endeavour to persuade that fine enthusiast for the League of Nations that an international “Mother of Parliaments” could never maintain its authority under suspicion of antagonism to Islam. Therefore, I begged him to remove the stigma once and for all by going to Angora himself. And now the picture had flashed into my mind of Lord Robert, having responded to my suggestion, only to find himself being rattled about beside me, under an open umbrella, on the floor of a crawling luggage train in the black darkness of a wet night.

It was a relief just then for all of us to join in a good laugh; but the policy of the League has not been helpful to Islam, and, in this matter, its unnecessary mistakes—as I have again and again pointed out—will prove a serious hamper to its otherwise splendid activities.

106Meanwhile, our merriment is soon checked. Sudden shrieks from the engine and an exceptionally generous supply of jolts and bangs conjure up to my mind awful visions of a collision in the gruesome loneliness of the night. The cheik, however, does not share my alarm, but calmly answers: “Methinks we do but unrail!” To me, however, the prospect suggested of ending my days in an Anatolian ditch, without even the covering of my Union Jack, offers but poor consolation.

“Come, wake up,” I almost shouted, “it is too terrible! Someone must talk to me about Islam.” And when I realised my own selfishness in not leaving the poor man to sleep, I could only put forth the plea: “I am so interested in your religion.”

“I am flattered indeed,” was the immediate response. “Religion in the East is truly a real and living force.” At his grave words I saw again that long line of weary soldiers among the mountains at their prayers.

“I shall wound your feelings,” I went on, “if I persist in questioning you about the grievances of your people, though God knows my curiosity is not idle.”

“It is far better to wound my feelings and publish the truth than to suffer the slightest risk of your misjudging us. You may help to see us righted, for Great Britain may have indeed ‘sinned in ignorance.’”

But my allusion to Lord Robert Cecil had raised the problem of Christianity in the East. I had to admit that he was accused of working for “union” between the Anglican and the Greek Churches. “He is a devout, loyal and energetic Anglican, but I refuse to believe that he would ever encourage such criminal folly.”

“He is, indeed, too honourable,” replied the cheik. “That is only another example of bringing politics into religion, which must kill faith.”

“But does not Islam teach us that politics and religion are one?”

“No, indeed; that is a false, Western, interpretation 107of the Koran. It is our work to-day to set free religion from the canker of all statecraft.”

I could not resist interposing at this point with my conviction that no established Church can pursue wisdom; while the insecurity of our Free Churches to-day must always “put brakes” on their power against the Government, and “muzzle” the real freedom of thought or truth.

When we got back to Greece, the cheik gave me chapter and verse for his conviction that “if the Turks should allow the Greek Patriarch to remain in Constantinople, their tolerance would have degenerated to mere weakness.

“It was a golden dream for the Greeks, nearly realised; but it is not for us to substantiate it.

“They were to drive us back into the depths of Asia Minor, to rule over the peoples who had been their masters for five centuries, to recapture the great ‘Bible’ towns for the Cross; to settle on the shores of Marmora and Constantinople, that they might drive on to Rome!

“Their vision, assuredly, did not lack grandeur.

“It even seemed for a little that realisation might be achieved by zeal and ardour, until King Constantine’s return provoked M. Briand’s famous ‘Note’ of November, 1920, and put an end to the dream.”

Here I uttered a word of regret that we had not then followed the policy of the French “surely a course that might have saved us from all the jealousy and suspicion we have so perversely incurred.”

The cheik replied indirectly by reminding me that M. Venizelos was not to be quite so easily, or immediately, defeated: “A great, some say a subtle and profound, personality, who had the entrée to all the Courts of Europe. He formed in himself a strong link between the Greek Colonies and all the Powers, particularly England and America. He made British friendship the pivot of ‘Greek Expansion.’ He was not a man to bow before any discouragement or difficulty.

“Now he conceived the idea, attributed to Lord 108Robert Cecil, of union between the two Churches, which at once enlisted the strong support of another Cretan, Monseigneur Metaxatis, no longer Metropolitan of Athens after King Constantine’s return.

“Metaxatis was received with open arms in America, where he devised the formation of an ‘American Orthodox Church.’ Your Archbishop of Canterbury was his next convert, and, thus supported, he was able to flout Ottoman protests and to appoint himself (or see that he was appointed) a ‘Patriarch’ at Constantinople, under the title of Metelios IV.

“I scarcely see how any real union could be established between the Protestant-Anglican—or is it Catholic?—Church and the Greek, if we realise the superstitions that Greece has never thrown off. The Greeks, whatever their faults, have always been faithful to their old, classic religion. The superstitions, if not the glories, of Hellas are, one and all, upheld to-day.”

I said that I thought the hand of Providence could be seen in M. Kemal’s victory, which had saved us from this preposterous idea.

When I learned later, in Angora, of the Patriarch’s criminal disloyalty on behalf of the Greeks, I almost wondered if Turkish religious tolerance had not been carried too far. This wily Churchman actually dared to make collections, in Turkey, for the Greek army designed for the capture of Constantinople; openly preached treason and rebellion. Yet he was sheltered behind his sacred office from the captivity of General Trécroupis at Eski-Chéir!

What can we say of this Cretan, who thus dared to tamper with our national Church? What shall we say of his spiritual fathers who approved the plan? What can we say for Greece?

Surely the Churches, whatever their creed, should uphold honour between all men. If the power a priest inevitably exerts over the penitent is once abused for political ends, religion becomes no better than treason. We look up to those in positions of trust and responsibility: priests, lawyers, or doctors. When 109they betray their trust our sentence is doubly severe.

The train now seems to have “put up for the night,” but it is shaking like an earthquake; and as the rain lashes upon us in torrents, its engine shrieks in unison with others in the dark distance. Every moment I expected the whole construction to collapse. It was the old impression of the “cellars” during an air-raid, the horrible suffocation of claustro-mania, or the terror of being buried alive.

“I must get out.”

“You cannot. Where will you go?”

“I shall walk.”

“You will be blown away or killed on the line.”

“I cannot help it. I must get out. The train is choking me.”

“But it may start off again any moment, and you would be left stranded on the line.”

The officer, poor man, said nothing. He knew his duty. Whatever I might choose to do, he must accompany me and share my fate.

The inspector at last jumps out, and the cheik, exclaiming, “If you must go, you must,” throws me down into the arms of that sturdy and solid being, as you might fling a cat out into the rain. Now fully exposed to the “four winds of heaven,” the drenching storm seemed to be tearing my hair off my head, and I was soon ankle-deep in the thick mud; but the air was good, and merely to be out of the train banished all fear of being crushed to death in the darkness by some passing steam monster.

I ought to have braced my nerves with the thought that Turkish women have to endure these things; but for some reason the train terrified me. As I can justly boast, I was terrified by nothing else in this country.

Three times they coaxed me back into that choking van (as now and again the train shifted along for a few miles), and three times I insisted on being tossed into 110the storm. It was about two o’clock in the morning when, to the intense relief of all, we actually arrived at our destination.

We disembark for “positively the last” time at Afioun-Karahissar, where the deluge adds its gloom to the now familiar woefulness of a town in ruins. Yet many of the inhabitants are actually sleeping in the mud of that awful night.

We are driven some way beyond the town, to the one primitive and tumble-down roof that can possibly offer us shelter. Like most Eastern hans (i.e., inns), it is built round a courtyard, the living-rooms next to the stable; but horses are warm and agreeable neighbours. Once at the front, on a particularly cold and bitter day, the French, who shrugged their shoulders and refused none of my mad requests, politely allowed me to travel with the horses!

We climb rickety stairs and cross a wooden veranda to examine the rooms—one with three beds, the other with two. Alas, the former is too much for even the cheik’s philosophy, and he decides for the courtyard. Neither of the beds in the double room is clean, certainly, but a marked advance on the alternative; and, after placing the cheik’s quilt and prayer-mat between myself and the “men in possession,” and wrapping myself up in two thick rugs, I am glad enough to “go to bed in my boots,” with at least the prospect of “keeping still” for a few hours. If a fire has brought out more “visitors” than were obvious at our first inspection, it is still better than traffic “by goods.”

The officer is compelled literally to “sit up” all night, as there is no room for him to stretch his limbs.

On such a night I could have wished for a “smaller” hole in the floor, and that the “mud” walls had not been quite so badly in need of repair; yet the shabby and threadbare costume of the “man with our morning tea,” was not sordid, but only picturesque.

The cheik, like so many men, is an excellent housewife, and when he laid a clean handkerchief upon a 111large volume for tray, our breakfast of bread and helva, nuts and fruit, looked quite appetising.

It is not the “indolence of the East” that is leaving these people in destitution among the ruins. One day, what remains standing will have to be pulled or burnt down, and a complete rebuilding undertaken. But nothing can be done under a threat of war.

At every inn on our return journey the whole of the “service” was entrusted to men. This, no doubt, largely explains the usual discomfort. Women must not remain entirely anonymous.

The cheik told me he hoped the new generation, largely educated in Europe, might welcome such innovations, but “it would be difficult for the old. My wife, for instance, complained at having to ‘receive’ men visitors in Berlin. She considered it ‘cheap’ and ‘lowering’ to her prestige.”

I can only hope the women of Turkey, when they achieve progress, will advance on the right lines—more determined on tact than pace.

One must, of course, discard conventions at need, as I was doing all the time on this journey, but one can, at the same time, respect the feelings of others.

I could not, for convention, allow my present companions to keep up the full Eastern “separation of the sexes”; and, as the cheik remarked, London ballrooms would be no less offensive to Turkish ladies of the old school than the comparatively “close quarters” which common humanity forbade us to avoid.

There are often, of course, directly opposed conventions in different climates. In the Eastern mosques men keep on hats and take off boots; Europeans reverse the custom. Eastern women object to “low” frocks and “strange” partners “for the dance”; and, as one who had joined in them once told me, it is better to dance alone; for, if the music suddenly stops, a “couple” feel so embarrassed!

We were driven to the station for a train due to leave 112at 10 in the morning, which actually started about 5 P.M.! We had first attempted to find room in a third-class compartment with a French colonel, a Turkish officer, and two servants. But Europeans, even in Asia Minor, are seldom inclined to be accommodating, and my “ally” (!) diplomatically expressed his desire to be left alone in his glory. “You will be much more comfortable, my dear madam, in a less crowded carriage. I fear you could not even find a seat among all these officers, and, at least, fifty boxes.” We were not slow to take the hint.

However, there is no sign of being able to leave the station for some hours, and the sun is shining for a change. Everyone, naturally, prefers the platform; and having learnt, it appears, that I am not married to either the cheik or the Turkish officer, the colonel approaches me with renewed curiosity. When I explain that I am English, he simply answers: “You mean American?”

“The one Frenchman and the one Englishwoman in Anatolia,” was my retort, “have met by chance at a wayside railway station, and you will not even allow me to enter your carriage. Are you really French?”

“I should be delighted and honoured if you will come and talk to me,” was the would-be gallant reply, “but I have twenty boxes” (he has quickly disposed of thirty). “I thought at first you were a lady of sixty.”

“And numbered your boxes to match my years! I see; after all, you must be French!”

A charming gentleman and a distinguished artist.
p. 112

The cheik told me that Afioun means “opium,” and Karahissar is the centre of that trade, completely paralysed for the moment. When I had tea with Dame Rachel Crowday at the League of Nations in Geneva, I heard that Turkey desired to join the Opium Convention, a striking instance of public spirit in a country that needs all the money it can possibly lay hands on; but the moral welfare of her people counts for more than “profit” to the State. M. Kemal Pasha, indeed, 113has shown equal wisdom by prohibiting the sale of alcohol. In Constantinople it was said, with a truly “Western” hauteur: “How can the Turks imagine that they will succeed where the United States have made such a failure?”

“Is that a sound argument” I replied, “for giving them a chance of becoming what the States were before prohibition? Americans do not know ‘how to drink’; and I am afraid the Turks also might learn to use alcohol, not as a beverage or a pick-me-up, but just to get drunk.”

The strength and endurance of Turkish children, nourished on bread and water, must prove of the strongest possible support to prohibition. “And remember how quickly the Arab’s wounds were healed at the front, while alcohol was so effective an antidote for septic-poisoning, because it had never before even entered their systems.”

Constantinople had proved a sore affront to my national pride; but there was an occasion in Naples when its humiliation was even more complete.

I was passing a crowd of happy children on the quay, rolling and tumbling about in some strangely ridiculous fashion. Always keenly interested in children’s games (and prayers), I went up to them and asked what they were doing.

It was a game entitled “The drunken Englishman”!




After a few miles of such travelling as had now become familiar, I determined that I would change my carriage and pay a visit to the French colonel—which proved far more lengthy than I had intended.

When I had manipulated the climb, I found plenty of room in spite of boxes.

“What on earth are you doing here?” was his first question, to which I gave him a tu quoque.

“I am looking after the French interests in Syria,” he replied, an answer that could not fail to provoke a laugh.

“That is well worth noting,” I said, “a parallel to my journey from London to Edinburgh, via Paris! It will make ‘good news’ for the British Foreign Office.”

“And in what way can it concern them?” was the stiff reply. “Their own record in these parts is not entirely sans reproche.”

“Don’t forget I am an Englishwoman and not, as you insist on saying, an American.”

“Is it not practically the same? You speak one language.”

I started up, almost in anger. “Never dare to say such a thing again. I might as well ask whether you were a Senegali. The language is the same. Individual Americans, some parts of their country, I consider, are magnificent, but their Government!”

“Will any Government bear close inspection?”

“Perhaps not.”

115“You regard the States precisely as I should expect from an Englishwoman. But, after all, what has Great Britain done in Turkey, after ‘letting us down’ over ‘reparations’—perfidious Albion!”

“I may be dense,” I returned (somewhat evasively, I admit), “but what exactly is the connection between Syria and M. Kemal Pasha?”

“Everything and nothing,” was the characteristically enigmatic reply.

“I take that as courteous French for ‘mind your business,’ as charming a phrase as your Pourquoi-parceque.”

He supposed that “I had been sent to Angora by the British Government,” and I promised to send him notes on my conversation with “the authorities” at Smyrna.

“Naturally,” the colonel persisted, “they would pretend they had nothing to do with your undertaking; but do they not pay your expenses?”

“I never heard of our Government having paid a woman; I never heard of their even consulting a woman—except Miss Bell—and, according to Colonel Laurence, her great charm is that everyone takes her for a man!”

The colonel laughed.

“I am absolutely independent; nor shall I send a word to the Press unless I want to do so.... The Government may exile me or send me to prison; so may the Turks. But I shall describe what I see as I see it; and if anyone can prove me in error, I will correct my statements and apologise.

“So few of us have the courage to write either articles or books in the spirit of true independence that truth demands. We writers should not be at the beck and call of newspaper editors. We ought not to respect their policy if it offend our conscience or the truth. They should follow our lead. Had we only had more esprit de corps this terribly false position of Great Britain in Anatolia to-day could never have come about.

“If the articles in which I have told the truth 116are not published you will know the reason. The editor has his opinions, and I refuse to change mine.”

“What about the British propaganda?”

“There is no British propaganda.”

The colonel laughed, loud and long. “No country,” he said, “has spent so much on ‘intelligence’ as Great Britain. Gold has been poured from her coffers. That is why she has been so badly served.”

“I entirely agree. We have squandered millions in the Near East—in Palestine, Mesopotamia, and everywhere else. But towards women no Government has been so mean. It is our own fault; ‘cheap labour’ is considered patriotic; and, after all, the Government could not find the money to squander unless someone was willing to take their pittance.”

“My dear young lady, the British are rolling in money.”

“M. Briand told the same tale till I cornered him one day, and then he said: ‘Your country is so rich that she can even afford to give ‘golden’ hair to her women!’”

“Well,” he replied, “I can but admire you—to have undertaken such a journey, at such a time, without the backing of your Government or the Press—and all for no purpose!”

“You are frank,” I said with a smile. “Do you think I could have accomplished more with the financial backing that your women can always command from your Government?”

“I cannot understand your Government.”

“Neither can I.... That’s why I am here.... Do you remember the Bible story of a city offered salvation if but one righteous and upright man could be found within her gates? So, God willing, may I, as one Englishwoman and a friend, preserve for my country some last shred of respect and faith in our honour among the Moslems of Turkey and India, Egypt, Persia, and Palestine.”

Courtesy, I suppose, kept him silent, and we were soon busy with preparations for dinner. He produced a towel for serviette, a piece of newspaper for table-cloth, 117and—luxury of luxuries—a knife, a fork, and a mug in which to enjoy some good French wine! The menu, too, was a change: foie gras and sardines, almonds and figs, apples and jam.

“I shall come and dine with you again,” said I, lest he should be too shy to invite me.

I found that the colonel and his staff could fully sympathise, from their own experience, with my anathemas upon luggage traffic. I told him “no doubt it was he and his friends who were making those awful ‘night noises’ that so alarmed me”; and though, of course, he denied it, my story received the tribute of a polite and good-natured laugh.

“I admire your courage,” he said again.

“Reserve your judgment. You will have time enough to see later what a combative person I can be.”

Nous verrons.

We reached Eski-Chéir at about nine o’clock, and a telegram announced to the colonel that a special private car was on its way to meet him.

“Now,” said he, “I can offer hospitality, not only to you, but to your friends as well.”

We went to a café for tea, where numbers of Turks, wearing kalpaks, were singing patriotic songs. Directly they had finished, I clapped my hands, crying: “M. Kemal Pasha, Chok Guzel,” and their delight was obvious.

“Poor fellows,” said the colonel, whom I began to find sympathetic, “it needs such a tiny effort; they will respond to the least hint of real sympathy.”

There is nothing sordid about this little tumble-down café, though its floors are thick with mud and the attendants are charmingly shabby. “At least,” I said, “this dirt and discomfort is artistic.... What artist would dream of painting an American sky-scraper, luxurious and comfortable though it be? Yet here one could cover the walls of an exhibition from one day’s experience. The picturesque water-pots, the quaint trays, the artistic tea-glasses and coffee-cups, the colouring of the costumes.

118“If Mr. Chester of the U.S. has come here to sweep away all this he is an enemy of Art.

“I love creature comforts—warmth, baths, and perfumes, but I sincerely trust no fever of reform will ever induce the Turks to spoil their surroundings; and, above all, that they will never call in American specialists to teach them building achievements. By all means let them adopt American hygiene; but American architecture, God forbid!

“I will pay honour where honour is due. To all who have so nobly perpetuated the work of Florence Nightingale I bow the knee. But what will American innovations do for Turkey?

“In the East End of New York, America’s melting-pot, I once saw a picturesque old Jew reading Spinoza in the original, as he sat absorbed on the sidewalk. His velvet cap was old and shabby, the long grizzly beard maybe none too clean; but in the primitive robes of his ancient race he looked a true Oriental.

“Then appeared his ‘American son’—a ‘Bowery’ accent, many smart rings, a costly gold watchchain across his brightly-coloured waistcoat, spats and patents, and a ‘time is money’ expression on his alert face. Which of the generations would you prefer?

“If the Turk ever asks our advice, I sincerely hope no ‘counsels from Europe’ will ever replace the artistic traditions of the East.... Europeanised Turks are not the ‘best’ Turks.

“You have already, alas, in the Hippodrome at Constantinople, that cheap, ‘made in Germany’ monstrosity of a fountain, which the once-mighty Emperor William bequeathed to you as the ‘souvenir’ of a visit to ‘his brother,’ Abdul Hamid! Why has war left it untouched?”

It was a strange comfort to compare the happy faces of these men with those one knew under the late Sultans. In those days, two or three meeting together in a café were always in fear of arrest as “suspects.” 119I remember what songs broke forth on the Night of the Constitution—funereal, indeed, they sounded to our thinking, but such are their songs of joy.

Then they sang for joy, since “freedom” was too new a thing for serious contentment; oppression had only just been lifted, the sense of security had not arrived. Now, in the sure knowledge of freedom from the Greeks and from Imperial rule, they sit, calm and confident and well satisfied, no longer an Emperor’s slaves, but citizens of a Free State. Can one wonder that every one of them would die rather than lose one inch of the liberty so bravely won?

“Please tell them,” I asked the officer, “that I have been in Turkey for every crisis of progress in recent history, and that none has filled me with such proud delight as the victory of M. Kemal Pasha. I am here to-day to offer him my congratulations.”

The colonel politely remarked that it would have been only “prudent” speculation for the British Government to have despatched me upon the mission I had undertaken for myself.

I thought how well it would be for many of my compatriots to do similar work in other lands. It may be against all our traditions, but “propaganda” could now do much for England. Here, on the brink of war, where all men were filled with righteous indignation against us, I have at least been able to leave a “better impression” of my country in wayside cafés and many Turkish homes.

Yet, as official language would express it, I have not “licked the boots of the Turks,” and everywhere I have been treated with the true courtesy of the chivalrous. May the experience not prove to have laid the foundation of a new and interesting career for women? To explain in all lands, and to all envious or hostile peoples, the true greatness of the British Empire, will not be work in vain.

Since my return I have been frequently asked to explain the rôle of the French colonel in Angora. I cannot feel that his presence implied any disloyalty to Great Britain. Again and again we have been asked 120by France to modify our policy in the Near East. But as neither threats nor coaxing has availed to save us from being the tools of designing Greece, France was driven to “make her own arrangements.”

I do not say that she abandoned Cilicia simply for conscience’ sake, or that she gave back that rich cotton district to Turkey from a pure love of justice. But I am ready to congratulate her on the wisdom of retiring before she was driven out. We must obviously own that Angora is not on the direct road back to Syria, and that the colonel has lingered some months by the way. That, however, is really his own business; and I do not forget that I, too, once went to Turkey for six weeks and stayed six months! No doubt he is no less welcome to M. Kemal Pasha than I was to the Grand Vizier’s daughter.

He certainly proved an invaluable source of information. As I told him, “he must have telegraphed to his Government every time he heard the Pasha sneeze”; and, emphatically, he has done good work. Honest, upright, and sincere, he can “explain many things” to the Turks, and assist them with tactful advice. At the worst, he has harmed no one, which cannot be said of all diplomatists in Constantinople!

I, personally, can respect those with whom I do not agree, even those who, on behalf of their own country, dislike mine. It would surely have been more prudent to follow the French example, by having a representative in Angora, than to criticise them. Suspicion leads nowhere, and such a man as General Harington “on the spot” could have done a great deal to hasten peace.

France has no desire, or, at least, no considered campaign, to undermine our influence in the East; and the colonel, at any rate, was quite aware that, whatever the gratitude Turkey may owe and feel to her, it is England who will soon (once more) hold the first place in Turkey’s affections. The terrible and tragic bunglings of these last years will then be forgotten.

They have told me themselves that M. Franklin-Bouillon 121did all he could to advise them to preserve good relations with England.

The car arrived about eleven o’clock, and though we were driven to spend the night in the station (a junction between HAÏDAR Pasha, Angora and Smyrna); though the wind howled over the beating rain, and the train shrieked in the distance, the contrast of so much comfort (on the luxurious couch of a roomy car) with the experience of the previous night, made one feel that the discomfort itself had been worth while.

As the colonel, the cheik and the officers in turn brought me a glass of tea by way of nightcap, I said to each: “How good it is to be here!”




It was well past ten when I woke next morning. Though the sun was blazing through the uncurtained windows, I had slept undisturbed.

A Battle Royal with my Tangled, Dusty Hair.

There had, of course, been no chance of “undressing for the night.” But I had been able to take off my boots, and having a whole compartment to myself, I was only too glad to take out my wire brush for the 123luxury of a “battle royal” with my tangled and dusty hair.

I was still only half awake and far too tired to think of les convenances, when a smiling crowd of excited and gesticulating Turks suddenly appeared on the platform. Truth to tell, the six-days-and-five-nights’ journey seemed like an eternity. I had forgotten Smyrna—almost forgotten the war. Were these happy children the “enemies” of my country?

A tactful little bird now reminded me that Turks are not used to the vision of ladies “at the toilette,” and it was, perhaps, a somewhat perverse form of gratitude that tempted me to fill my rubber basin from my host’s bottle of Evian in order to wash my hands “under the table.”

A Bottle of Evian—Under the Table.

Despite haste and discretion, however, I experienced an unusual sense of being dressed and clean, as I eventually stepped out into the daylight to make the acquaintance of Eski-Chéir.

I found the colonel on the platform talking with 124animation to a nice-looking Turkish general, who also, it appeared, had a saloon, to which we all three soon adjourned for coffee and talk. He, too, will scarcely believe that I am English.... “I did not think Englishwomen could laugh so heartily,” was his excuse for scepticism.

“My dear sir,” I replied, “I was born laughing, and shall keep it up to the bitter end. God has given me a few gifts—not many—and that for which I give most thanks is a keen sense of humour.”

So I trotted out all the experiences of my journey one by one, not forgetting the Greek I had to “shake” at Athens, and the Frenchman in the “Caracole.” Convulsed with laughter, they one and all shouted: “She is not English!”

This strange impression of our race prevails, I know, also in France and America. They forget Shakespeare’s Falstaff and the supreme “good fellowship of English laughter.” French wit, no doubt, reveals the swift play of a keener and more subtle intellect; ours is a “midsummer madness” of warm hearts in the Forests of Arden.

For my part, when the “literature” mistress challenged her class to “hunt for humour” in “Julius Cæsar,” I put my finger upon the Stage Direction—“Enter Cæsar in his nightgown!” I could not then, nor can I now, agree that Brutus’s wife’s distracted hurrying away, and then recalling, the page for news of his master is anything but tragic pathos.

Few nations, again, will enjoy as we do a joke against themselves. When I published a “Turkish Woman’s Impressions of Europe,” about ten years ago, in which she so happily hit off the weakness of our Western civilisations, the Continent was up in arms. It was an English critic who gaily expressed his “most sincere thanks” for so “thorough a dressing-down.” No publisher in the States would take the following book, with Americans as “victims,” for fear of his “sensitive” and “patriotic” (!) readers.

At a half-ruined restaurant near the station, over 125the most excellent meal I ever tasted in such miserable surroundings, we had a long talk with General Mouedine Pasha and his two sons about politics and some curious stories they had heard somewhere about England. It is natural that these men should not be interested in any other subject. The general, he told us, had been in and out of prison for the last fifteen years—exiled by Abdul Hamid, escaping, and caught again. After the Armistice he left Constantinople, at great personal risk, to join M. Kemal Pasha; was, for a time, Governor of Adana, and is now taking up his post as Ambassador at Teheran. Most of the leading soldier Nationalists—M. Kemal Pasha and Fethi Bey among the rest—seem to have been his grateful pupils, and, naturally, he is a proud man to-day.

If only the authorities at Lausanne had known or could imagine anything about life in Angora during the last three years! All the best men exiled, persecuted, and imprisoned. What wonder that Nationalism had grown into a religion!

He was indignant at the suggestion that French officers, or a British strategist, were “wanted” in the Turkish Army. “My pupils,” he said, “are more fitted to give instruction than to receive it....

“The buying and selling of munitions, the haggling and bargaining introduced in the army—all that ought not to be—came from Germany.”

He was not the only “big man” in Turkey to lose faith in their war-ally, or to recognise some compensation for their terrible defeat in the freedom from Teuton rule that it involved; but they are not, therefore, any more kindly disposed to the yoke of “the Allies.”

Eski-Chéir had been one of the most flourishing towns in Anatolia, and was destined from its position as a junction between two big railway lines—Angora and Baghdad—to become more prosperous year by year. Every town, of course, has its own story of looting, “violation of women,” and fire; but to the spectator all now seem very much alike, and what 126chiefly impressed one here was the amazing rapidity with which it had started to recover.

If the produce be only lifted from the backs of patient and sure-footed donkeys on to the Mother Earth, it is, after all, extraordinary that there should yet be any produce left. Peasants ready to walk miles along muddy roads to sell their goods in such small quantities for so little profit will scarcely welcome the cost of transport by modern methods. For them, time is not money, and four weeks’ tramp beside a donkey is far cheaper than a few hours by train.

It surprised me to find the curio-merchants already again supplied with their tempting wares: mother-o’-pearl ikons and other relics, old coffee-mills, coral seals, cameos, etc. Trade was fairly brisk, being run on the sound basis of quick profits and small returns, fair prices and honest dealing.

The attractions, of course, come nowhere near those of the famous bazaar at Constantinople; but I was grateful to find so little haggling over the price. I remember two types of merchants at Constantinople. One kindly-looking old man with a long white beard was sitting cross-legged over his charcoal fire, making himself a cup of coffee. When I inquired about a fine Persian dressing-gown that took my fancy, he simply answered: “Much too dear for you,” and so dismissed me. The other always asked for three times what he was prepared to accept—a most irritating habit. When I visited the bazaar in Turkish dress, my Turkish sister, of course a real Turk, asked if he really found he could rob people in this way. “I never rob Turks,” was the naïve reply, “only the English and the Americans.” The temptation to disclose my nationality was strong, but in those less liberal days it might have meant “trouble” for my friend.

Here I soon saw it would be waste of time to visit any bazaar after the French colonel. He counts it a day wasted if he has not found some treasures, which are all sent for him to Paris.... “Poor man,” as my friend the innkeeper would have remarked, “he is so far from home!”

127In Eski-Chéir before the fire, however, art had been altogether put away for munitions. The factories worked day and night, cannons and lorries in readiness all the time. One day we shall learn something at least of the ceaseless efforts by which victory was snatched out of nothing.

We left the town at about ten o’clock in the evening. At last we are actually en route for Angora. “I cannot even yet quite believe,” said I, “that I am really starting, that I shall really arrive.” I heard that some American women (more enterprising, or less expensive, than their confrères) have reached Ismidt, but can get no further.

It was, indeed, “hard-going,” and I believe that the colonel’s “salon” only just came in time. I was told, four years ago, by the eminent Jean Louis Faure, that if I survived at all it would be as a permanent and complete invalid. Yet I have faced more since then than most “strong” people would care to attempt.

The Turks, remember, who could not obtain or afford a yaili (the native carriage) were driven to “walk” the eight hundred miles to Angora in a climate that more than doubles the strain on one’s physique.

As soon as we meet new faces, the questions about Lloyd George all begin over again.

I told the story of Les Misérables. How the ambitious Welsh lad and his uncle, the village cobbler, “worked at the French” together in the old days, one looking out “what a word meant” in the dictionary, the other discovering how to pronounce it. Mr. Lloyd George had often declared that the policy of his whole career came straight from his first study of that immortal classic—“to devote his life to helping the ‘under dog.’”

Perhaps he has lost the copy of Les Misérables he used always to carry with him, and so missed the road to that magnificent goal; so, at least, it seemed to my Turkish audience. “That is the man, a democrat 128who could understand and appreciate our fight for freedom; what has driven him to hate us?”

I could only repeat such “explanation” as I had been able to offer before to their compatriots of the mountains.

The colonel was kind enough to suggest how much I might have saved England had I been here a year ago.

“It is very doubtful,” I answered, “whether I could have done much, even then. Our Government makes up its own mind without listening to outside information. As a matter of fact, Colonel Aubrey Herbert, a recognised authority on the Near East, called twice at 10, Downing Street, to urge that very scheme upon the Premier’s private secretary, Mr. Philip Kerr, but they preferred to keep me in England.”

“But why is your ‘intelligence’ so badly managed?” he asked.

“What evidence can you produce for such an assumption?” was my retort.

“There could surely be no other explanation of your leaving the Greeks without support ... unless, indeed, they are right who whisper that Mr. Lloyd George actually wanted the opposing armies to exterminate each other. His conduct, certainly, lent colour to the charge.”

But I refused to be drawn.... “‘Intelligence’ is not my province,” I answered, “although I can say that the Turks were not served much better in that respect.... They won by ‘faith’; what we of the West call ‘superstition.’”

I was able to more or less look after the son of an eminent Turkish lady writer during his studies in Paris, just after the Treaty of Sèvres. His father, one of the leading Governors under the last administration, had given up all to follow M. Kemal Pasha. When I asked the boy whether they had any hope of success, he just flashed out: “They must succeed. His stars are ‘right.’ He could not fail!”

On the other hand, Turkish diplomats, one and all, declared he would fail.


Military Instructor of Mustapha Kemal Pasha.
Turkish Ambassador at Teheran (Persia).

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130“Must such splendid efforts be thrown away?” I sadly answered; “are there no circumstances that might arise to justify at least some hope?”

“My dear lady,” was the courteous and grave reply, “we wish him success, as you do; but you have too much good sense to believe in fairy tales. The Pasha has neither money nor munitions. He has the Greeks (well supported by the Allies and the Sultan) against him on the north, the Armenians on the east, the French on the south. He will put up a brave fight and perish in the attempt. The days of miracles are past.” But the miracle happened!

And now, as the train followed the line of the victorious army, our young men took out their maps and eagerly pointed out to us these, now almost sacred, landmarks. Their father, at the same time, explained many technical details—why such and such a position could not be maintained, where the Greek strategy had failed, how General Trécoupis (now thankful, no doubt, to be in the Turks’ hands at Eski-Chéir) had surrendered to a mere lieutenant.

By way of return for all this interesting information, I told a few simple stories about the Royal Family of Great Britain, which I have always found interest these people far more than my “grander,” or more romantic, reminiscences from the Courts of Europe.

They are never tired of hearing that our Edward VII. only required one “gentleman in waiting” at a time at Marienbad; whereas the Czar (Ferdinand) of Bulgaria was always accompanied by a suite of eight or nine. Sir Edward Goschen was instructed to dress, like his royal master, in a green Tyrolese hat with its little shooting feather. He was sent to sit on “the king’s bench” until the crowd had satisfied their natural desires for “a good view,” and gone home to breakfast. Then Edward VII. himself arrived.

I went on to tell of a Wagner concert, so crowded that a certain little American lady of about seventy quietly settled into the only empty seat that the King’s 131attendant just happened to have vacated. She simply “refused to believe” the scandalised authorities when they told her that she was sitting beside the King of England. Edward enjoyed the joke, would not allow “his friend,” to be disturbed, and chattered merrily to her between the music to the end of the programme.

Her countrywomen, in Ascot gowns, driving their four-horse carriages up to the golf-course at Marienbad, in search of an introduction, did not find His Majesty so easy to approach. The most determined of them all (up against something that “money” could not buy) was driven to use her scissors to cut off a few hairs from his dog’s tail. “At least,” she said, “if I have no souvenir of the King of England, I have a bit of his dog,” and she mounted the hairs in a locket and wore it until she died.

“You see,” I concluded, “how much these ‘democrats’ admire a king. Will the fever, I wonder, ever take root in the East?”

When we reached the Sakharia, the eyes of the general were filled with tears, and it was some time before he managed to speak of what had been. It seemed, indeed, too good to be true. The Greeks had penetrated to Sakharia; and now they were driven out of the whole country!

“Without our Pasha,” said he, “we should still be slaves. To-day, none dare fail in duty to our Fatherland!”

They were all this man’s pupils, these Nationalist leaders. To his fine, upright character they owe an example they are proud to acknowledge. His sons told me that he was in exile for six years, and they had no idea where he was! It was easy to see how they admired him and how devoted he was to them; and now his work at Teheran will not be easy; such men give their whole lives to service!

We have travelled quickly and comfortably over this desolate country; the little engine, stoked with 132wood, is tugging its long burden up the long heights.

“Look,” said the colonel, “there is Angora.”

“That little village perched on a hill?”

“It is not a village,” he corrected, “it is a town.”

Yet somehow I felt this was not what I had expected ... “such a tiny speck of a place to bear so great a name!”

Well, I had my first peep at that which I had come so far to see—the cradle of the New Turkey. Soon I shall meet the hero of the Nationalists!




“Well, what did you expect to see?” asked the colonel.

“Really, I don’t know exactly,” said I, “but something different.... I suppose I am foolish enough to look for some sort of likeness to our Western towns.... There is a certain resemblance in parts to a town in the Rhondda Valley, except that the Welsh mining districts are sordid and this is picturesque.”

“Why not leave it as it is,” said the colonel—“unique and impossible to classify? Begin your explorations at my house, where you can enjoy another glass of warm tea.”

This, in fact, was the first house I entered, and the last I left, in Angora.

On a crowded platform—for the arrival of a train is an event—stood a Chef de Cabinet of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other officials. The Prime Minister embraced his old friend the cheik, and carried him off to his simple two-roomed dwelling.

When I met Fethi Bey in London, it seemed incredible that he should have been treated as an enemy and exiled to Malta. Now that I came to know Rauf Bey, it was impossible not to feel the same. Away in these distant mountains, he speaks the most excellent English, without even an accent.

I remember a merchant of Smyrna, who complained to me that “these horrible people expect us to learn their language, to speak and write it.”

134“And why not?” I answered. “They learn ours.”

“Oh, that’s quite different. Besides, Turkish is much too difficult.”

I reminded him of Mrs. John Burns. When her husband became a Cabinet Minister, a certain fine lady decided to amuse herself by inviting “the man’s wife” to tea. Her note ran: “Do excuse my not having called on you. It is so far for me to come from Mayfair to Battersea.” Mrs. Burns replied: “It is exactly the same distance from Battersea to Mayfair.”

“That is a charming story, but it will not persuade me to learn Turkish.”

The Prime Minister, for some reason wearing a fez in place of the picturesque kalpak, brought me apologies for Fethi Bey’s absence. “It is Friday, and he has not been to the office all day.” We had all forgotten that it was the Moslem Sunday.

“Now we are going to be friends,” I said later to Rauf Bey, “we must arrange ‘the same day’ for our prayers of thanksgiving for peace.”

“It is you who will have to change,” he replied, smiling; “you must learn to go our ways now.”

Here, indeed, at this far-away little station, one seemed to be entering some kindly “brotherhood.” Everyone was wringing the colonel’s hand, embracing the general and the cheik. I felt, too, that my fellow-passengers were telling them about “a new member” they wanted to introduce, saying heartily: “She will soon know all about the rules of our club.” Everyone here plainly “stood for” the same ideals. We are talking like friends already, without the formality of an introduction. We are all working for a definite and well-defined goal. Houses are scarcely needed for hospitality in a town with this atmosphere of camaraderie.

I found myself chatting with the Prime Minister as though we were old members of the same club. When, a few minutes later, I described the unconscious influence to the colonel, he only said to his friends: “See how quickly she catches the atmosphere of this delightful place!”

135Here it is sympathy with Turkey in her bid for freedom that gives one the entré to the society, as in London one gains admission to the club, in my case for example, as a writer of books. There is no sense of suspicion. You feel you have a right to be here all the time. If you were not trusted you would not be allowed over the threshold.

Soldiers and refugees, officers and deputies, they are all on the platform. Everybody has seen us, everybody has greeted us; next morning the kindest little paragraph of welcome appears in the newspapers. I have completely forgotten the war!

The colonel lives on the first floor of what was in the “beginning of days” the Station Hotel. M. Kemal Pasha himself lived there for a time, and now it is the “French Embassy.” Fortunately, the colonel has schooled himself into imagining a house is warm, whatever the temperature; and I found him very comfortably installed, with plenty of fresh air and a fine open view. Within, however, there were, except in the bureau, no rugs or carpets on the bare boards.

To secure the luxury of a European wash, I decided to spend the night in the station, where the young secretary gladly gave up his room to me, making a bedroom of the bureau for himself and the colonel’s aide-de-camp, Captain Hikmet Bey, after we had all enjoyed a very appetising little meal.

The “Catholic” servant, however, was frankly annoyed at having to wait on an Englishwoman—“that hateful intriguing race that killed my husband!” He was killed, as a matter of fact, by the Greeks, but we are, not unnaturally, held responsible, and once more I realised how little “brotherhood” there exists between Christians. I confess it is always with an effort that I remember Armenians are Christians. In the end, however, Marie decided that I was not really English, and we became the best of friends. When I left Angora she shed many tears, kissing my hand, placing it against her forehead in the picturesque custom of her race, and begging me to come back soon.

When I handed her my rubber hot-bottle, she 136apparently supposed I did not care to use the jug which already stood on the table, and filled it with cold water! When she understood that the water must be hot, she brought it back to me to wait and watch what I would do with it. The idea of putting it in my bed made her laugh heartily; and then she decided to sit down and see whatever would happen next!

But I was tired, and, with none to interpret, began to wonder how I could send her away. My phrase-book, as usual, did not provide the clue, so I merely pointed to the door, saying kapou (a door), which luckily had the desired effect. But she was back again as soon as she dared in the morning, to enjoy more laughter at the sight of the hot-bottle by my side.

The principal road from the station to “Holy Angora” is wide enough for three or four carts to pass.

Here are two-horse carriages, their primitive harness decorated with turquoise beads, driven by picturesque, shabby Arabaje (i.e., coachmen) in turbans of many colours. Also the yaili, so called from their springs, and the famous Anatolian log-carriages, drawn by bullocks. By the side of the road, sunk in the snow or mud, are the heavy carts drawn by buffaloes and driven by women, who wear the large, baggy, Anatolian trousers, and conceal their hair beneath a scarf. Their clothes, poor souls, are so nearly covered with patches that some of them seem “all patch.” The men all wear kalpaks, and we see the peasants (men and women) riding their laden donkeys or trudging along beside beasts as patient as themselves. They look as though they had walked straight out of the Bible.

The main road passes the Grand National Assembly on the way to the few shops. The restaurants make a fair show of Turkish delicacies, like your ekmek-kadaïf, and kébab. We pass two hans (i.e., inns) as primitive in comfort as appearance, built of mud in which large holes can be seen, and full of danger to the unwary on their rickety staircases. The “commercials” in their yailis, on camels or donkeys, however, can find no other or better accommodation. There are pictures of Ghazi Pasha all over the town, 137and in one or two bookshops you can also buy his principal colleagues, patriotic postcards, and other “Nationalist” pictures in gaudy colours.

At quaint little booths in the market-place we find a tempting array of fruit, vegetables, and meat, bread and cheese, raisins, nuts, and boots!

And, finally, we reach a few dwelling-houses of wood, stone, or mud that do not seem to have been built on any plan, and now look more irregular than ever because of the huge “gap” on the hillside caused, of course, by the usual fire!

The Market-place at Angora.

The weatherbeaten mud and thatch dwellings are whitewashed inside, and have plain wooden doors with handsome knockers and quaint, huge locks. They are mostly heated by mangals of burning charcoal that give out poisonous fumes. However, the wood-stoves are not much better, as they quickly produce an intense heat and then die down as quickly, besides the danger of setting the whole place on fire.

It is difficult to find one’s way in Angora, but the coachmen are wonderful. They “take” anything in 138their headlong course, so that one is constantly jolted out of one’s seat as the carriages swing from angle to angle, up and down the steep slopes. To start from the Ottoman Bank on a wet day requires a double dose of fatalism.

“The carriages swing from angle to angle.”

Ismet Pasha was much amused when I told him that I always said my prayers before starting out for a drive, and uttered some “holy ejaculation” every five minutes of the way. Even a handsome car like M. Kemal Pasha’s can be seen dancing about like Shakespeare’s elf—“over hill, over dale, through bush, through briar!” A chauffeur who can pilot you through Angora could negotiate any country under the sun.

It was as well, perhaps, that my host, Feszi Bey, had arranged for me to be driven to his house under the cover of darkness, when pitfalls were not so obvious. He is Minister of Public Works, and was at the moment attending the debate on the dethronement of the Sultan. As none of his family speak French, Osman Noury Bey, of the Ottoman Bank, had been instructed 139to act as my escort, and we found them all in the sitting-room, with its lattice windows at each end, round as large a fire as it was safe to have. The heat was almost overpowering after our brisk drive in the night air.

Osman Noury Bey was obliged to leave me on the threshold, as he could not enter the women’s apartments. While the harīm and sex-separation are not now rigidly enforced by the most educated Turks, they have not by any means yet disappeared. I found that the whole “woman” question was really on much the same footing in Anatolia as in other countries; that is, “liberty” varies with education, upbringing, and surroundings. In this house the women were closely veiled and dependent upon their own sex for all their pleasures and companionships. Osman Bey himself is thoroughly liberal-minded and would have allowed his wife full freedom, provided only her hair was covered, but she goes out very little and clearly prefers the old ways.

On the other hand, the wife of Djavid Bey, ex-Minister of Finance, goes to private dances; while Halidé Hanoum goes everywhere and has mixed freely with men for many years. Yet I, a woman, have never seen her hair unveiled.

While we were waiting for my host’s return, I did my best to “make conversation” by signs and gestures, and was really surprised at my success. You can convey far more than one would suppose when you seriously endeavour to make your company understand. I had my book, too, of “conversations in Turkish,” and so managed to remark: “The house is large—the fire is warm—I like a warm fire.” Had I depended upon the women in Turkey, I might soon have learned something of their language.

Our host arrives, and he is kindness and courtesy itself.

At about half-past nine, his Excellency asked me when I would like to dine.

“Whenever you are ready,” I replied.

“Oh, no,” was the courteous reply, “it is when you 140are ready. Vous maître maison, moi votre service.” Too charming a thought for one to examine the accuracy of the language!

He was always amused to see me “hunting” in the dictionary; and as I could never get used to “beginning at the end and reading backwards,” my most painstaking researches often produced strange results.

Like most of the Nationalist ministers, Feszi Bey is a man of about forty, tall, well-built, dark, with large dark eyes. He is one of the richest men in Asia Minor, owning about eighteen villages in Diarbékir, and is immensely proud of his sons. His house in Constantinople was “requisitioned” for English officers and left almost in ruins; but he has large estates and many houses in his native land. Here, in Angora, he was paying what seemed to be a heavy rent for somewhere to live, considering the scanty furniture and lack of comforts in this house.

The ground-floor was occupied by kitchens and another room which the merciful man had given up to his horses, leaving his carriage outside in the rain and snow. Though not in any way like a stable, the animals were clearly well-cared-for here. A very steep wooden staircase, certainly not built for ladies’ high heels, leads to a central room—almost a “lounge”—which opens into four others. It was dimly lit by candles, a survival from war-days when petrol was worth its weight in gold—literally two hundred francs a litre.

Feszi Bey has been in Angora ever since the movement began, and has acquired that striking expression of a set, firm resolve which I notice on the faces of all his colleagues. I asked him whether he did not “sometimes tire of living in this bare and rough Asiatic fortress, so far from all means of culture or distraction.”

“We have our work,” he replied; “too absorbing and too important to leave us time for complaint. We do not even ‘miss’ our comforts, or need more than an hour or two’s sleep. There is so much to plan for our new country, the day, and most of the night, are not long enough.”

Here one naturally feels far more in “New Turkey” 141than at Smyrna; the impression grows on one day by day. At Lausanne I tried to make them understand that they were still busying themselves over a Turkey that is dead.... “You can’t talk to these people as you were accustomed to speak under the Sultans, they would not understand you.”

They only smiled at a woman carried away by her emotions. But they were wrong; this is no question of sex. The very ramparts, clear-cut in the distance like gigantic razor-blades, the very remains of the Roman, even the Seldjoucide and Osman, civilisations which halted among these hills, will bear witness to the birth of a new nation!

As I gaze out over the mountain-tomb of Timourlin a voice seems to cut through the chill air: “Here is a glory that will not perish. Here, where the civilisations of the world’s childhood have flourished; here, on the ruins of the great Empire of the Ancients; here beginneth a new Turkey, the democrat of democracies!”




The next morning we breakfast, “when I am ready,” which is 8.30. My host’s face beams with delight, and the generous menu could hardly fail to put “the guest” in good spirits—toast and boiled eggs (my allowance being half a dozen a day), biscuits and cheese, olives, and glasses of tea.

In Nationalist houses “reading the papers” and discussing foreign telegrams have become almost a religious rite. This morning, clearly, there is “good news”! The very air we breathe seems lighter, faces look less anxious, men are greeting each other in hopeful tones! What can it be?

Of course, I am not kept long in suspense—“Mr. Lloyd George is a fallen angel!” Well, certainly, I shall not go into mourning; but, at the same time, the animosity thus so sharply revealed makes one sad for one’s own country.

With their inborn tact, my friends suggest that we all go to the Pasha’s to celebrate, not the fall of a “Lost Leader,” but the prospect of the Conservatives’ return to power.

To them, as in England, the change is welcome for the long vista of possibilities it opens up. Shall we resume the Beaconsfield traditions without Gladstone’s sentimentality? Will Mr. Bonar Law find means to justify our faith? It is obviously early days yet for any assurance in prophecy.

Yet, if the exit of Mr. Lloyd George delighted the Continent and the Near East—as if a modern Nero had 143been assassinated—I, for one, could only think with sorrow upon the “splendour of opportunity” which he has missed and lost. No man, since the world began, ever held in his hands such a power for good in England and among all nations. He could have raised the prestige of Empire to even greater heights and led the councils for peace.

Almost the contrary has come to pass. To-day, certainly, our faith, our good word, our justice, and our fair play (without which England is not England) are almost everywhere subjected to suspicion and distrust.

When Turks tell me it is as easy “to buy” one of our officers as those of other nations, that they have done so over and over again in Constantinople, I try to say that it cannot be. When my host tells me they paid £6,000 sterling for our men’s assistance to charter a boat and escape from Malta, I can only admit, in silence, that they did—somehow—escape. When I learn that at least one correspondent in Constantinople is subsidised by the Greeks, I can bear no more. Whence have bribery and corruption invaded our country against the traditions of centuries? I told them I used to feel that “I was sitting on a rock amidst howling and roaring seas; now even the rock itself is sinking.”

To pay honour where honour is due, I compliment the Minister on the splendid “foreign” news of both his papers—the Tanine and the Vakit. I wish to-day that I knew the language and could read the articles by Hussein Djahid and Ahmet Emine. Even translated, I find them full of sound commonsense and beautifully written. If at times they are bitter, there is none of that sensationalism which our Press has lately borrowed from the States.

My host is due at his office at 9.30, but, though he has ventured to glance at his watch, the talk continues. At about 10.30, I casually ask: “Are you not going to your office to-day?”

“When you allow it,” was the startling answer.

Now, surely, time is of importance at least to a responsible Minister? Yet he will cheerfully give up 144an hour of his sleep (for that is what it will mean) to my entertainment, because I have forgotten my duty.

“Do not hesitate,” he went on, “to tell me of anyone you would specially like to meet, man or woman. It shall be arranged.... Fethi Bey will lunch with you to-day. Whom else shall I invite?”

I said that I should, one day, like to see Younous Nadi Bey, the editor of Yeni Gun and President of Commission for Foreign Affairs in the Grand National Assembly. “He must be interesting, since our Press describe him as a ‘man who ought to be shot’!”

I found this gentleman, as I expected, well worth going out of one’s way to meet. Without the exquisite manners of Hussein Djahid Bey, he is one of those men who, having made up his own mind about right and wrong, never hesitates to act.

At any rate, until he is shot, he will not allow the Government to sleep, nor to trust Europe without sufficient guarantees. He graciously wrote in Yeni Gun that I had given him some very valuable information about our policy. I certainly did my best to explain Lord Curzon’s position. Neither he nor Fethi Bey, however, could understand how he could stay in the new Cabinet. I scarcely expected that they, or any foreigner, could realise the full measure of England’s folly in putting the whole machinery of government into one man’s undisputed control. Like everyone else nominally in power, the Foreign Minister became a mere cypher.

“Why did he stand it?” they asked.

“For the moment, no protests would have had any effect. His resignation might easily have brought in a far more complete collapse, and, meanwhile, he probably felt that the interests of Conservatism were, to a large extent, in his hands. Lord Curzon knows the East, and he knows what ought to be done. As Goethe says: ‘Between the knave and the fool, one should always choose the knave.’... Gegen die Dumheit, kämpfen die Götte selbst vergebens. (Even the gods fight in vain against stupidity.)”

Again and again I try to assure them that our 145policy in Turkey is going to “come right.” When they politely retorted that we “did not seem in any great hurry to start turning,” I could only suggest that “Empires, like whales, could not quickly change their direction.”

Younous Nadi Bey is a most interesting talker. Like so many of the Nationalists, he “comes from” Malta; like them all, he loves his country sincerely, and is eager to protect her. Can we expect these men to trust the Power that, only three months ago, was doing its best to destroy them? For myself, I could only hope that we should soon give them sound reason to change their opinions.

I afterwards paid a visit to Younous Nadi at the offices of the Yeni Gun. After coffee in his primitive “editorial sanctum,” I was shown over all the “works.”

The illustrations are prepared with a hand machine, which reminded me of our school magazine activities; but the “results” are, if anything, rather better than our own “dailies” achieve.

The operator had built his bed over the solitary press, in part, no doubt, to save time, but possibly also with the idea of protecting his “treasure.” The editor apologised for the lack of all our modern processes of production. I was the more inclined to compliment him upon his conquest of difficulties.

It is surely a tour de force to “get the news” from this Anatolian machinery, and there are sixty papers in Anatolia!

We were staying in the Hadji Baïram quarter of Angora, so called from the mosque and turbé erected in memory of that sainted man. My host’s house stands on the edge of a hillock, exposed on all sides to the rain or wind or snow. No carriage can drive up to the doors, and, too often, that last hundred yards’ walk means being soaked to the skin. Any number of stray dogs and cats find shelter in its many doorways, howling and whining all through the night.

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My guide is supposed to call for me at ten o’clock 146in the morning, but I have often enough rejoiced at his indifference to the clock. There is so much to sketch from our front door: an unused cemetery, with moss-covered stèles (tombstones) lying in picturesque confusion; a tumble-down shepherd’s hut; a crumbling mosque; mud houses in need of repair; and for background, a steep hill crowned by Timourlin’s tomb.

“There is so much to sketch from our front door.”

While painting, I have counted just four passers-by—two men leading their fruit-laden donkeys, and two women taking their asses to drink. No artist can resist Oriental landscapes; and genius, I suppose, would hardly remember to share my longing for nice warm “Western” baths in an atmosphere that means “microbes” in summer and in winter all kinds of discomfort.

The “sights” for tourists do not delay one many days. There are excellent “Red Cross” hospitals, a military hospital, an école normale for girls, a military school, the Ministries, town gardens, the Armenian 147Orphanage, the “Embassies,” and the Ottoman Bank. One can also enjoy long drives through miles of uncultivated land.

These various “institutions,” particularly the educational, are full of interest if one had time to thoroughly investigate the whole system, since probably no civilisation in the world differs so radically from our own.

Explorations, however extensive, must all be over before five o’clock. For as the eastern sun sets in its glory, we all go home—ministers and deputies to plan and work, the rest of the population to talk and wonder what the “great folk” are doing.

I never understood how all the people managed to hide themselves in so few houses. Turks, we all know, can perform miracles with mattresses and divans; but even their ingenuity can seldom have overcome so “tough a problem” as the inhabitants, official and civil, of Angora.

There is, admittedly, a housing “problem,” and building has not yet begun. As Angora is to be the permanent seat of Government, they cannot much longer delay the important consideration of providing for Foreign Embassies.

I have already driven many times past the Assembly (which closely resembles one of our county clubs); I have seen the admirably-arranged flower-gardens and heard the band. To-morrow, for the first time, I am to enter the Nationalist Parliament!




In all my wanderings, East and West, over Europe and America, I have nowhere been so much thrilled by a dominating sense of “real effort” as at Angora. Against a background of prehistoric civilisations, the human bees swarm in and out of their Parliament, buzzing away night and day, a free and independent Turkey.

What will their “delegation” accomplish at Lausanne? Is the war only postponed, or will there be peace? “At one moment our spirits rise to the most daring hopes; we see ourselves marching into Constantinople. At the next, Younous Nadi Bey reports ‘grave news’ from abroad, and preparations for war are resumed.”

The colonel persists in “doubt” towards England. “Do you know,” said I, “I am astonished at my own superiority?”

He was not convinced, but demanded chapter and verse.

“We both love Turkey; but I also love your country and you dislike mine. Therefore, am I not immensely your superior?”

In a sense, no doubt, we exaggerate things away here in Angora. If Europe could ever realise what “a free and independent Turkey” really means to her own people, the miracle would still seem no more than one tiny step forward in the interests of the world. 149Yet sometimes I wonder over the words of Cardinal Gasparri: “Turkey has not only dictated to England, but to France and Italy as well.”

And now, here in Angora, I see them coming along their one wide road. All mingled without a thought of social distinctions; all intent upon the same goal—their country’s freedom; all alike proud of the price they have paid—officers and deputies, ministers and civil servants, soldiers, peasants, and caravan-drivers. Are not these, then, the one true democracy of the world?

“If I resent being called American,” I told my friends here, “it certainly is not because I dislike democracy. In Western practice, alas, it has been like ‘freedom for women’—so imperfectly carried out.”

From its original bungalow design, the building of the Grand Nationalist Assembly still retains a certain resemblance to the club-pavilion. But considerable extensions are being put forward as rapidly as a climate that only varies from ten to fifteen degrees below zero will permit; while its commanding position, and the care bestowed upon the entrance and grounds, are admirably calculated to uphold the honour and dignity of the Nationalist flag overhead.

There is a large ante-room on the left as you enter, where I generally spent a good part of the day, after my first visit to the Assembly, occasionally finding my way into the actual Debate. There were always coffee and cigarettes in the ante-room; and it was there I met practically all the ministers and deputies, who must, at last, have grown weary of my endless questions on every conceivable aspect of their ideals and their activities. “You must accept me,” I said, in half-serious apology, “as a self-constituted Father Confessor” to the new nation he loves and admires so much.

Across the corridor, too, I was allowed sometimes to say “good afternoon” over a cup of coffee to “the 150Pasha” (as M. Kemal is here known to all) in his Presidential Bureau.

Honestly, I believe the men “understood” all my questions, however indiscreet, and did not take offence. They seemed so eager for me to meet everyone and learn everything.

It was, indeed, a very pleasant and most human pursuit of knowledge—a continual succession of brilliant and zealous men, interpreting themselves and their dreams to an eager listener.

Among other matters, I was particularly anxious to know whether Constantinople or Angora was to be the permanent capital of the new State, and to understand all the reasons that would determine their choice.

I love every inch of Constantinople. There are obvious and important religious-historical associations with its mosques and its public buildings; comfort and dignity, space and beauty, are, as it were, already at hand. Yet, paradoxical as it may seem, to me it lacks, and will always lack, the marvellous atmosphere of a Great Birth that so impresses one in Angora.

The Turks, I found, were unanimous in having a similar preference and, naturally, put forward more precise and practical reasons for their choice. There may be occasion for a temporary sojourn in Constantinople.

But they want an “Asiatic” capital; they want to govern their own country beyond the reach of possible interference from dreadnoughts; they want to maintain an intimate continuity of association with the cradle of the movement that begot the State.

There is, moreover, a primitive and Asiatic charm in Angora, which should serve, as it were, to “keep them holy” from the materialisms and the intrigues of Western commerce-Empires.

Here we are all brothers, fellow-labourers in a common cause. All have suffered—at Malta, in Egypt, or from corrupt Ottoman Imperial Government. Could such union and natural intimacy exist elsewhere?

The “Brotherhood” of the East does not mean 151anything like our various forms of socialism. The “democracy” or almost complete ignoring of class distinctions, does not destroy, or even modify, the inherited respectful submission of illiterate peasants to their “superiors” in intellect, authority, or military power. Their religion teaches them to obey.

It does mean a universal recognition of identity of interest; that the “good of all” is every man’s good and every man’s responsibility; that all have equal rights to know what can be done for them by the State, to give their opinions, to express their wishes or their complaints, and to be heard with courteous attention. You feel that literally the whole nation is being busy about its welfare and its hopes.

With us, of course, the submerged proletariat could not practise (and would not be allowed to practise) such real equality without perpetual self-assertion and loud outcries against the “slavery” of the past.

Every Turk, in his degree, has always been content with so little. His personal nature is uncomplaining, from a combination of fine feeling and what in us would mean lack of courage. Herein lies at once their great weakness and their great strength.

Even the “new,” soi-disant “arrogant” Turk does not complain. He may intend to, he may assure us that he will. Western friends, no doubt, are often tempted to wish him the master of a little more push and noise. Longer intimacy and a more sympathetic understanding, however, will cure us of this mistake. Were he not so supersensitive all the time, did he attempt our rush methods of progress, he would soon cease to be himself and lose the fine mystic idealism for which no sacrifice has been too great, no passion of waiting and working too prolonged.

They will not yet set up a Republic, as we understand the word. No nation on earth has less capacity or inclination for Bolshevism. There could never be any common chord between their faith and the principles of Lenin and Trotsky. One hears so much of the Red influence behind Nationalist demands that it is well to meet these men in their own houses 152(truly “in labour” for a Nation’s birth) to see and know that such accusations are absolutely false. Soviet Russia has been a “friend in need” to the Turks, and may befriend them again; but—nothing more.

The overpowering magnificence of the Bolshevik Embassy may be a measure of their designs, but carries no proof of achievement. When personages like Fethi Bey and Rauf Bey are working in tiny offices no better than glorified barns, one does not, of course, like to see the Soviets in possession of the only large and well-appointed building in the town. There is a staff of seventy, including an army of typists. The attachés are well supplied with cars, carriages, and other Western luxuries, paying their bills with gold Russian roubles.

They are allowed to distribute Red literature, though no one in Turkey thinks of reading it. When the Russians once sent a few Turks to Angora to preach Bolshevism, they were promptly shot by the Nationalist Government, pour encourager les autres! That was the end of Bolshevist propaganda!

I asked one of the deputies what Turkey thought she had gained from the Bolshevists. “When any foreign representative visits a country as friendless as Turkey,” he replied, “and says: ‘We thoroughly approve of all your ideas and principles; we want to show the world that we believe in the doctrines of freedom and independence that you are preaching,’ should we turn away from the only sympathy we received?

“Besides, we had many frontiers to defend; at least by shaking hands with the Soviet we secured one frontier. I know that this simple act of grateful friendship has been much discussed and severely criticised in Europe. It may have done us great harm; but beggars cannot be choosers. Who else stretched out a hand of friendship?”

“And gold and arms?” I inquired. “Forgive my indiscretion.”

“A very little gold,” he replied, “not a penny more 153than two million Turkish pounds. We had arms from all nations, no more from Russia than from Czecho-Slovakia. It will surprise you to know that most of them were bought from England and Greece.”

“But where could you get the money?” I next inquired.

“From our Anatolian population. In no other country, would the people have accepted such heavy taxation upon their lands, their cattle, and their corn. No other country has been driven to resist the whole world in defence of her very existence. Our taxes must have reached 75 per cent. So you see that if Europe does not care to help us, we can manage for ourselves, and waste no tears over her in difference.”

Certain European papers have published a report that Camerad Areloff has been admitted to the Cabinet Councils of New Turkey. When an Ambassador from Angora was asked why her Government did not contradict the obvious falsehood, he retorted: “If any paper, in any country, announced that your British Ambassador was taking part in the Councils of the French Cabinet, would your Government protest?” It was readily acknowledged that we should consider such a statement to be entirely beneath our notice.

“Of course you would,” said the Turk; “and we take precisely the same view.”

When I arrived at the Assembly one afternoon the band was playing in the gardens—a strange accompaniment, I thought, to the serious business of Parliament. I asked one of the deputies whether this was a national holiday, or a day of thanksgiving for the arrival of the ex-Khalif at Malta? It was lucky for me that the rather dangerous little joke only raised a smile, while he explained that, as the Imperial Band had fled from Constantinople with the Nationalists, its loyalty must be acknowledged and its services utilised. It did, in fact, play here for a short time 154every day. Now I remembered that I had heard bands also in Smyrna and Constantinople.

It was graciously suggested that I should choose something myself for the band to play, and I asked that we might have some Turkish music. One of the deputies, it appeared, had written an opera; and after listening with great pleasure to some selections from his work, I was introduced to the composer. The opera, naturally written round the cause, is full of a pathos that brings tears to the eyes of an understanding audience. They also gave me a patriotic love song—the reunion of two lovers (Anatolia and Roumelia) after long years of separation—which I should like to have heard again and brought away with me. Its beauty was haunting, though not quite easy to follow at a first hearing.

For Roumelia, we know, her share in the horrors of war is over. Now it is Anatolia who must suffer. Trouble was even fomented among the tribes. First, the rebellion of the Roums, who were encouraged to stand for private independence; then the hostility of the Alewites, and the rebellion of Armenians in Cilicia; finally a rising of Circassian tribes—Durdje, Khandeke, Adabazar. Naturally again, the men to whom Abdul Medjid had given the villayet of Sivas, after the horrible massacres of 1864, were loyal to the Khalif’s successor and furious at any idea of Nationalist interference.

The course of true love between these two nations had not run smoothly. No wonder their reunion should be celebrated with such appealing remorse!

The President of the Assembly, Mustapha Kemal Pasha, was talking to me one day of the French Revolution, and compared what he called his own “very elegant” beginning with the poor little Assembly in which Michelet had to work, with its single table and just a couple of chairs!

Here, in addition to the large ante-room and M. Kemal’s bureau, the Vice-President, Adnan Bey, husband of Halidé Edib Hanoum—has his bureau; 155and the actual Assembly Hall (built for concerts) is a fine room, with its Strangers’ and Press Galleries, its platform, and Speaker’s desk.

The Speaker (in this case the Vice-President) appeared to me to be ringing his bell for order all the time; but the whole scene recalls the French Chamber of Deputies, and here, too, they all talk at once and interrupt each other without ceremony.

When I mentioned to “the Pasha” how strange it seemed to me that a Parliament should be so noisy, Fethi Bey explained by describing to his chief the dignity of our proceedings at Westminster.[1] He proved, once more, to be a keen observer, quick to decide and act, though a man of few words. His cold reception in London did not diminish his keen interest in our civilisation, which appeals to him immensely, and which he was always ready to praise. He told me he wanted to go back to England, this time incognito, and really master all the institutions, activities, and policies of the country, in order to explain us to his own people.

1.  Fortunately he saw us on our best behaviour at Westminster.

I only wish that he could make time for such a mission. The interfering propaganda of Europe has made Turkish nationalism very touchy. One certainly cannot blame them for any suspicion or readiness to take offence, nor wonder at the reception they might accord to offers of help from even the best foreign specialists whom they had not themselves elected to invite or consult. The fight for freedom has been single-handed, and the price too heavy for them to endure a thought of taking the slightest risk.

I noticed one more evidence of Democracy in this Hall of Assembly. There is absolutely no formal division, either by rank or office, in the seating accommodation. The deputies sit anywhere, each at a sort of school-desk, and when the President comes in to hear 156a debate, he simply looks round for the first vacant seat.

There is, however, a tribune for speeches in front of the Speaker’s table, from which I enjoyed much fluent and animated oratory. The Turks speak mostly without notes and their constant gestures recall the French. Others, however, no doubt partly from my not knowing the language, produced a similar impression to that of prayers in a Jewish synagogue.

The Assembly is never closed, each member, however, being entitled to three months’ holiday. At this time about two hundred were in attendance and crowded the hall to overflowing. The total membership is three hundred and forty.

I am not allowed to forget that it was England who really created the Nationalist Assembly—May 16, 1920, is the historic date—when we took possession of the Turkish Parliament in Constantinople, and the patriots (a hundred and fifty of the most enlightened Turks) were imprisoned at Malta. Then it was that Nationalism demanded, and set up, its own Assembly.

Men from Malta and the other deputies who escaped from Constantinople form two-thirds of the present Parliament; the remaining third have been elected in the country itself.

Its composition is, indeed, unique, representing all sorts and conditions of men, as varied in age, social position, and dress as they are in ideas.

As I looked down from the gallery on this strange, eager group, my eye was caught by the picturesque figure of that “ancient of days,” the Deputy for Dersim. Diab is a Kurd, ninety years old, who speaks Turkish with difficulty. A tall, erect old man, with a long white beard and large piercing blue eyes that need no aid from glasses; he wears the tribal head-dress and robes, carrying an amber chaplet. Though the only deputy who can neither read nor write, he is a great personage in his own country, the chief of an important tribe. As, however, he has only twice spoken in the Assembly, we may suppose that the mountain population are generally able to settle their own grievances 157outside Angora. He tells me that, like most of his constituents, he lives almost entirely upon goats’ milk and bread, and that, as many of them have reached their hundred and twentieth year, he himself is reckoned a young man!

Curiously enough, however, it is the Dancing Dervishes who have sent up one of the most progressive spirits to the Assembly. The “Grand Tchelebi,” too, is a picturesque figure in his long brown cylinder felt hat and ecclesiastical robes. Descended from an even older family than Osman’s, he yet voted with the Hodjas for the dethronement of the ex-Khalif.

The hostility of many deputies towards the Hodjas is rather puzzling; but the journalist who said, “These men cannot think as we think,” may be right. He added: “Every big nation except the English has recognised the wisdom of separating Church and State. Yet when we advocate the same policy we are severely censured.” It is also stated that the Hodjas themselves cannot keep pace with the most progressive among the leaders, and are, therefore, quite willing to stand outside the Councils of the State. The Assembly no doubt would not suffer any religious element to hamper progress or interfere with its newly acquired freedom and independence.

The predominance of military uniforms will strike any Western observer; but one should remember the country is still at war. A few still wear the fez; but the very great majority have adopted the more picturesque kalpak, that varies in colour from grey and brown to black, and must be comfortable and warm in winter.

There are, naturally, many of the special difficulties in this Assembly that are inseparable from all beginnings of progress, in a country with no experience of self-government. The more illiterate deputies, for example, know nothing of Europe, and regard everything Western with bitter hostility and distrust. On the other hand, I met one day a brilliant Socialist munition-worker who, having studied Karl Marx and Arthur Henderson, wants to establish a 158precise replica of English trade unionism in Turkey—which God forbid!

There are some simple farm labourers, shopkeepers, lawyers, doctors who have studied in Paris, newspaper editors, University professors, and Valis.

The most enlightened speak practically every language in Europe, and are thoroughly well acquainted with public life on the Continent. They stand for the Freedom of Women, and did their best to make Halidé Hanoum a member of the Assembly. They would be perfectly at home in our most exclusive drawing-rooms; yet they work well, in the Cabinet itself, with men absolutely ignorant of any country except their own. “Social, or class, differences,” I am told, “have no place in any Parliament. They are created by Society women outside!”

During the Conference at Lausanne, the papers published a scandalous statement that “a deputy could purchase a seat in the Assembly for ten gold Turkish pounds!” As a matter of fact, all Turkish elections are very carefully controlled by inspectors and the municipal authorities. No one who knows anything of M. Kemal and his colleagues would dream of imagining that this form of bribery or purchase could be allowed.

Smarting under the policy of Malta (not unlike that of Daudet’s hero, who locked his goat in a room but forgot to close the window), the Grand “National” Assembly lives up to its name, and is, above all, anti-everything that could interfere with real freedom. For three and a half years of untold hardship and self-sacrifice the gospel of Nationalism has schooled the people. It is their religion to-day, from the “Pasha” himself to the humblest shepherd of the hills.

At Angora we read the papers and talk politics all day; at night we dream of the National Pact. Everyone watches for foreign telegrams; we all 159attend the Assembly; the statesmen work without ceasing through the twenty-four hours. The genius of M. Kemal as military chief and civil organiser is unequalled.

Why, then, do the nations doubt? Turks to-day are fully determined to run their own country; they will find the necessary ability and will suffer no interference. Europe has so far condemned them unheard and refused them a square deal. We must change all that and see to it that the East may have her chance!

The more closely I have studied the National Assembly the greater confidence I feel.




Now that I know Angora, I must know also its Nationalist hero.

Fethi Bey has invited me this afternoon to meet the President at the Assembly. The Lausanne Conference is beginning—perhaps he will give me his impressions.

From the window of the antechamber I saw the Pasha arrive, attended only by one aide-de-camp. There is, of course, absolutely no foundation for the stories that he is even more strictly guarded than Lenin, among a people who trust and love him!

It is not necessary to see M. Kemal Pasha to realise that he is the greatest man in Turkey to-day, quite apart from his actual achievements. He has, indeed, accomplished miracles; but it is rather the universal attitude of the people by which one measures the man. I feel that my host’s regard for me was definitely increased when I had had lunch with Mustapha Kemal. The servants announce the “Pasha, Pasha”—no need for a more precise name.

Should one hold him greater as statesman, soldier, or orator? since he is past-master in all three aspects. Personally, I am more grateful to him who prevents war than to the conqueror. It is as a statesman that I met him, and I will therefore first consider his political ideals and work.

Great events create great men, and it is but once in the life of a nation that situations so grave as that which found Mustapha Kemal are ever likely to arise. 161He rose out of the terror of the Hamidian régime, the years that followed, and the humiliation of occupied Smyrna. It needed, however, the suffering and sorrow to which all reformers must serve their apprenticeship to mould his character and to bring him where he now stands. It was the long-suffering martyrdom one saw in the face of his late mother that forced him to realise what he must do, and he has never faltered from the goal.

Only here, beside them, can one understand all the Government has had to do in Angora, and see for oneself how the whole flock still look to this one man for courage and inspiration. Had he lost faith in the goal or in his capacity to reach it, all would have been lost. “Freedom for Turkey or death for the Turks” has been his motto throughout the years.

I suppose that, however often one may proclaim it, they will not believe who have not seen, a new Turkey is born into the world. It is, indeed, idle to weep over the days that are dead and gone, when the Turk counted for nothing in his own land; when the foreigner ruled the roost, and ambassadors were princes! The new Turk has arrived; the member of a new nation. No important demand was made at Lausanne by Turkey that any self-respecting people could be asked to forgo.

And yet the Powers are still attempting to treat with “old” Turkey! We have no longer to maintain our officious, if well-meant, interference on behalf of disloyal minorities; to insist, par exemple, that Christians shall be exempted from military service, as America never exempted her negro population.

President of the Grand National Assembly, Angora.
(Signed portrait presented to the Author).
p. 160

No wonder, again, M. Kemal has been more than tempted to wish (what, for no other reason, he could desire) to abolish religion altogether, after the imposition upon Constantinople of that arch-intriguer the Greek Patriarch! When France and Italy recognised the “State” Church for the parasite that may, at any moment, suck up its life-blood, they cast the Church aside. Confronted at the very outset by 162a precisely similar danger, Mustapha Kemal at once cut off the Khalifat from the Assembly and considerably limited the power of the Hodjas, a far more difficult operation than French disestablishment. Yet we expect him a second time to expose himself to the intrigues of a Greek Patriarch!

He is, as a fact, far more leniently inclined towards the Greeks and Armenians than any other Turkish statesman. He sees even their wanton destruction of Anatolia as no more than the outburst of a misguided people, the victims of bigger, intriguing Powers. He would rather welcome their return to loyalty than give their place in commerce to the Jews, from the humane conviction that they have no homes outside Turkey.

The home life of Mustapha Kemal, literally given to his country, involves severe daily self-sacrifice. From month to month he allows himself no recreation, no change of scene, no intercourse with the world’s culture. Among these lonely mountains he cannot break the monotony by going to a play or to a concert; he does not hunt or follow any kind of sport; and even Nature, at least in winter, is scarcely kind.

His life is one of continual mental and physical effort: reading, studying, and planning, seeing everyone, for they all want to see “The Pasha” and not the second in command. To me he seems like a professor, who must be forever explaining to his people what their Nationalism really means. Perhaps the nearest historical parallel to his abounding personality is that of Julius Cæsar; and one is tempted to hope that he, too, may find time to leave us the “Commentaries.” The world would know how to value what the Turks need put on record, the thought of this keen and alert mind which is able to interpret, if not supplement, the Koran for modern conditions and aspirations. They have, as it were, many centuries of progress to catch up; and, fortunately, he is no blind respecter of tyrannical religious or historic traditions that hamper 163advance to freedom. A commentary of great value could be compiled from his thoughtful and stirring speeches.

It may be that, as in art the highest form is simplest, we shall, after all, see the perfect Democracy in the East. The ideals of President Wilson have been discarded as impossible; Russia has signally failed to carry out the teachings of Karl Marx. Mustapha Kemal Pasha, at least, has put his doctrine in practice to the acknowledged advantage of a country in the “Slough of Despond.”

Turkish statesmen maintain to-day that any form of a Second Chamber remains only the unfit survival of decadent Monarchies and Empires, that the Single Chamber is the most perfect machine for Government, avoiding friction and delay.

Time alone can prove!

At my first interview with “The Pasha” he was wearing a big astrakhan kalpak, pushed well down over his forehead, and smoking cigarette after cigarette. Though busy receiving ministers and deputies in the Presidential Bureau, he was at the same time waiting, as it were, for the right moment to sum up the whole situation in one final and decisive reply that could not fail to end all discussion. This power to drive right through a subject, to find the way out and take it, is one of the chief sources of his unique authority.

He was ready, however, for a sociable cup of coffee, and immediately asked for news of England. Fethi Bey reminded him of a few scenes from life to which I had introduced him in London, including dinner at a Ladies’ Club. Most women would admire the picturesquely weatherbeaten tint of the Pasha’s complexion, though the piercing, almost stern, glance of the eye should remind you that you will do well to say clearly and quietly what you have to say—and go! Though so businesslike and energetic, he has a beautifully modulated voice. His French is well-chosen; in 164Turkish he is an orator. Here, then, are the face and the expression of a conqueror, but the voice is the voice of a cultured man of the world.

Next morning Mustapha Kemal sent his car (a present from the people of Smyrna) that I might be driven to his villa at Tchan-Kaya, almost twenty minutes’ ride from Angora. This is the best road in the district; the others are just rows of holes and bumps on which someone has thrown some cobbles and, incidentally, some houses! Though Tchan-Kaya was given to him by the people, he has handed over this property to the army, and lives there as their guest—surely an unusual, but charming, example of brotherly love. I wonder whether the Pasha will do the same in the house I saw, also presented to him, at Broussa, which an historian and architect came over from Constantinople to redecorate.

From Tchan-Kaya one obtains an excellent bird’s-eye view of Angora; whether at midday or at sunset, sprinkled with, or buried in, snow, always picturesque. We get a few hours of sunshine every morning until quite late in the year; enough to welcome the beautiful white minarets, so marked a feature in every Eastern scene, whence the muezzin calls the faithful to prayer five times a day. Dotted over the hills of Tchan-Kaya we see the Pasha’s special guard—the Lasz—wearing a uniform our ladies would be delighted, I think, to copy in velvet or satin. The fashion, however, would only suit those who, like these soldiers from Trébizonde, are tall, slight, and well-built.

At the door one gladly accepts the vociferous greeting of a fine brown retriever. Then comes the aide-de-camp, Mahmoud Bey, always ready with a gay smile for his chief’s guests, who leads one straight into the house.

The kiosk is large and well-built. In the combination of hall and ante-room a white marble fountain is always playing. One of the two pianos in Angora stands in a corner; these are both, alas, more ornamental than useful, made, one could guess, 165somewhere about 55 B.C.! A large desk, some fine plants, and the usual Turkish or Persian rugs complete the furniture. One door leads into the Pasha’s mother’s apartments, the other to his own sitting-room.

On the wall of Mustapha Kemal Pasha’s study the Sultan Osman, first of the House of Osman, looks down on Mustapha Kemal Pasha, who has ended the dynasty.

I could scarcely believe that I was speaking to the legislator, as my host rose to greet me from his Western red-leather sofa. Without his kalpak, his fair hair, well brushed back, his close-cropped moustache, his well-tailored clothes with the correct crease, would surely carry him through a London drawing-room without a guess that he was not English, or, at any rate, not from the North. Again, his keen sense of humour is not common among the Turks, and it was a delight to find how heartily he joined in the laugh which his delightful stories provoked.

I am told that the Pasha’s type and colouring are not uncommon in his native Roumelia—as ever, the North is fair!

166Noticing some “Napoleon” literature on one of the writing-tables, I regretted that “I had not thought of bringing a book about the ‘little Corsican,’ instead of merely offering my congratulations on a magnificent victory.”

“Please never think of such a thing,” he replied. “He interests me as a great general, but——”

“I understood your interest amounted almost to veneration, or so it is said.”

“What a strange rumour! I naturally study all the great strategists; but to compare the Sakharia with Austerlitz is surely no great compliment.”

The Ante-room at Tchan-Kaya.

Though I confess to being considerably startled by this emphatic declaration, it reminded me of a conversation with Monsieur Clemenceau some years before the war.

“He told me,” I said, “that he considered Lord Rosebery’s enthusiastic admiration of Napoleon had been almost a blot on his own political career.... 167‘Where is the greatness of that vain egoist?’ asked the outspoken Frenchman. ‘I consider myself a hundred times greater, for this simple reason: When Napoleon came down he fell for ever. When I, or my country, are down, then I am at my greatest and best.’”

Though M. Kemal could smile at the Gallic boasting, while honouring the boaster, his own criticism was more quietly expressed:

“Napoleon put ambition first. He fought for himself, not for ‘the Cause’—with the inevitable débâcle.”

As I listen to Mustapha Kemal, taking advantage the while of his gracious invitation to thaw my frozen toes and hands at the wood fire, I wonder what a “keen soldier” would not have given to be in my place, with the chance of hearing a private lecture from one of the world’s great generals, a man not more than forty.

“Were you ever in doubt of success?” I asked.

“No, never,” he replied. “I saw the whole scheme from the first (even when we had no munitions), just as it finally worked out. We delayed—to save bloodshed and devastation. Fethi Bey went to London as a last resource, because we wanted a treaty—in ink, not in blood.”

Is not that last effort for peace, perhaps, this great man’s finest gesture to a war-ridden generation? Knowing the glory he could win for himself, in the certainty of strength for conquest, he yet made three separate attempts to persuade the Powers to enforce a peaceful retirement upon the Greeks. Preparation is not relaxed; no detail has been forgotten; the peasant armies are ready in Anatolia, wondering why, since peace lingers, the Great Chief does not fight!

One of his generals told me later: “You cannot judge “The Pasha” until you have seen him commanding his army. No man could be more fearless, more hard on himself, or kinder to his men. He simply ignores pain, though a rib be driven into his lungs; and when 168he leads them, the soldiers know all is well. ‘His star is good,’ they say, and they have no use for generals in the East for whom the stars are known to predict ill. His mind works rapidly to clear decisions. Above all, he never loses his head, and his judgment is sound.”

Without this universal, unstinting affection and esteem from both officers and men, Mustapha Kemal could never have established the Assembly and created a new Turkey. When he had thus realised the vision of his ardent youth, that never left him through years of exile, revolt, and disgrace; when, at any moment now, he could declare himself Dictator, he will not steal responsibility from the people’s representatives. “The Assembly,” he says, “is not one man; I am only its President.”

He dislikes hearing the word “Kemalist.” “It does not carry with it the spirit of the movement, which will go on, whether I am dead or alive.”

If one speaks to him about his own work, he either answers: “I did my duty,” or refers all honour to the Assembly.

I have talked with many of Europe’s great statesmen, but found none more modest than he. Yet who among them has snatched such triumph from odds as opposing?

The furniture of this little room is, of course, all “native.” The dinner-service comes from Kutahia, the carpets and rugs are Anatolian. On the walls hang jewelled swords and other trophies or souvenirs, sent in homage from Moslem rulers to the conqueror they all acknowledge. He may endeavour to efface himself, to glory in his simplicity and set up a real democracy; but the stamp of his personality is on the whole Moslem world; he holds in his hand the keys of Islam. Nationalism has now acquired a deep religious significance; the Pact is a “decalogue” none may deny.

A well-known Turkish writer has boldly compared 169the movement with Christianity; humbly born, bringing suffering to all, death and martyrdom to many—for an Ideal of the Spirit no human enemy can crush.

Who touches Turkey, with Right behind her, will set all Islam on fire to put down Might.

Mustapha Kemal Pasha’s Sitting-room.

In Egypt they speak of “Holy Angora,” and, wherever future assemblies may meet, she will be always sacred. An Egyptian princess, I notice, uses capitals when referring to the Ghazi Pasha as “He” or “Him.” If only the delegates at Lausanne could have managed to peep behind the scenes at Angora! If they still considered the Nationalist demands unreasonable, they could scarcely have failed to pause before the deep-rooted fanaticism they have inspired.

The Pasha is nothing if not frank. He has no time for bluff, though his pride was stung by the 170idle boasting of our ex-Premier: “You’ve got to speak to these people with guns.”

No charge could be more ridiculous or untrue than to say that Mustapha Kemal is ever influenced by Camerad Areloff. Bolshevism and Nationalism are poles apart. Yet the Pasha could scarcely refuse invitations to conversation with any credited representative from a country like Russia; though no words of his are likely to change M. Kemal’s invariable habit of using his own judgment and making up his own mind.

Though he seldom speaks without a practical purpose, I was honoured by an intimacy that nearly approached that of an old school friend. There were changes, however, to rather puzzling reserve, almost frigid politeness, in his case probably not caused by any reminder of my nationality. He knows not only whom, but when, to trust, and I suppose I had unwittingly opened some dangerous topic.

One almost wishes at times that he need not live so perpetually in the heat of the fray. Driven, perhaps, by greater intelligence or stricter integrity, to some unpopular action, he might lose his halo, or at least dim its lustre, while the new country was still too unstable for any weakening of his guiding hand. There are fanatical members of the Assembly who, bien entendu, are far more extreme than he, whose unchecked counsels might spell disaster. I sought, indeed, for the opposition within of which we have heard so much, and found only a very small group of rather small-minded men, at present with little power.

Nevertheless, foolish measures, that might prove a real menace, and were certainly false to true freedom, have been put forward and discussed. The schemes for excluding Albanians and Arabs from the Assembly, and for requiring five years’ residence in one place, hit “The Pasha” himself. Telegrams of angry protest came in from all quarters, and he soon stopped the mischief. 171Others, however, may prove more difficult. The opposition seem to me seeking in Nationalism—“midi à 14 heures,” as the French say.

At present he is not only adored by those who trust him and gave up all to follow him, but respected and admired by those recently serving the Sultan, who had not the courage to believe that right must triumph and truth prevail.

I believe that his personality could always dominate the Assembly at Angora, and there is unquestionably no possible foundation for the reported rivalry of Kiazim Kara Békir. They are the best of friends, each conspicuously loyal to the other, and Kiazim Kara Békir is far too proud of his leader to want his place.

I foresee, however, that even his clearest instructions may sometimes be badly interpreted, and thus bring blame for what he has not done and never intended. There will be difficulties again in certain foreign relations, because the most loyal Nationalists, for whom justice and gratitude alike demand reward, will not all be so well fitted as the existing diplomats for the embassies of Europe.

Though no one could have suspected it from his manner, I learnt that my Angora host had been seriously alarmed at the prospect of receiving an Englishwoman into his household. His first impressions, however, were unexpectedly in my favour. And the ladies agreed: “You are just like our Pasha—fair hair and blue eyes. You might be his sister.” It was the highest possible compliment, the best possible passport.

Mustapha Kemal found time to be no less hospitable, and often treated me to a concert of Anatolian songs with the oute (or stringed guitar) accompaniment. It was at his house I first tasted the most delicious of Turkish confections, “poulet à la Circassienne,” that is chicken with nut sauce. It was frequently offered to me after that; but, alas, like all things Turkish, even 172their “light” pastry Bereks, it is as fattening as it is appetising.

One afternoon “the Pasha” joined us to pay visits to the houses surrounding his kiosk. We made a strange party: the Ghazi Pasha and his aide-de-camp, the Englishwoman, and a big white ram! The magnificent goats of Anatolia follow one about and welcome caresses such as we lavish on a pet dog. The Armenians weave handsome shawls from their silky hair. Angora is also famous for its cats and its rabbits.

Mustapha Kemal Pasha Walking in the Grounds of Tchan-Kaya.

Naturally, the “veiled” tenants stood in too great awe of their Pasha to say much, so we first walked on to inspect the new family of a favourite dog, then visited another happy family of geese and chickens and the horses! Like many Orientals, M. Kemal is over-merciful to his beasts, who are apt to grow fat and lazy from insufficient exercise.

173Mustapha Kemal always says, and means, that everyone has a right to come and see him. He enjoys talking with peasants, and pays a generous tribute to their sterling worth. But in Turkey, some mysterious inborn tact prevents the uncultured from awkward attempts at intrusion upon his superior, however brotherly the hand of friendship between them. It is, however, almost impossible to compare the two countries, for, despite the Moslem’s respect for authority in every shape or form, rank and family do not count with him as with us, and the feudal habits, of which no so-called democracy can cure us, must appear strange indeed to these simple folk.

I have been privileged to hear “the Pasha” explaining the new Turkey he has created, expressing all his ideas, hopes, fears and anxieties; and this, at what is perhaps the very summit of his career, when his nation has just entered upon her existence of freedom and independence.

Yet I hesitate before the attempt to analyse or to describe the character and political achievement of this man; to convey all the subtlety and the strength of his mind. The complexities, and the apparent contradictions, of the Oriental are always baffling to the West; while, though far superior to vanity, the Pasha knows his own value and takes himself, as it were, too much for granted, to encourage or assist others in the dissection of his character. I can but rest on the tolerance all great men extend to our judgments, if prompted by sincerity and justice and a love of truth. As it is written in the proverbs of old Japan: “If your judgments are tempered by the dictates of truth, the gods will protect you, even though you offer no prayers to them.”

We are naturally enthusiastic before a New Turkey, built out of nothing. Surely these people are 174capable of carrying on? If some ask: “Will this man lose his head?” we answer: “He has not done so under the strongest temptation. Why should we fear?... He has not made himself Dictator; he has refused wealth and honour; he has abolished ‘decorations!’”

When the work of reconstruction begins in real earnest, when the country, so rich in minerals and with so fertile a soil, can be developed in peace to the best advantage; then I, for one—now I know him—believe “The Pasha” will prove to us that he can unite his people no less wisely in the building up of their fatherland than in saving it from tyranny and interference.

The Nationalists have had their warning from mistakes made by the Committee of Union and Progress, against the only real danger one can reasonably foresee, that of teaching the people to run before they have learnt to walk.

To all who would see the vision realised of an established, strong, and well-governed new Turkey, I only say: “Take care of your Pasha, for ‘his value is above rubies.’”




The Ghazi M. Kemal Pasha granted me the following interview just after the conference at Lausanne had assembled.

“To what extent, if any, has the attitude of the Grand National Assembly been responsible for setting public opinion against the Turks?” I asked.

“Our attitude has never changed. All reports of inconsistency are false, and circulated by the clever propaganda of our enemies. The Government has to render account of itself not only to a Chamber of Deputies, but to History; and no responsible or self-respecting Ministry could act with such disloyalty to its own principles, the very spirit of its being, as the Press has accused it of revealing. All these false reports come from those Englishmen, some of them official, who are working to prolong the war, a crime no one can lay on our shoulders. You know of the untiring efforts we made for peace, and you know the result. In any case, though personally accused, I am not responsible. I am only President of the Assembly. The Assembly is not one man.”

“Do you think that a really sincere entente can be established between Turkey and Great Britain?”

“I do not think, I am certain, that we shall eventually return to the old traditional friendship. There are no reasons against, and so many in favour of, that course. We make no demands beyond respect and honour for our independence. We have sent away our Sultan to secure greater freedom, and to prevent all risk of danger to our independence.”

176“Do you think that the Conference will produce good results?”

“Eventually there can be no doubt that, however heated and however prolonged the discussions, it will bring peace. Unfortunately, we cannot wait for ever: The Powers should recognise now, what they must ultimately admit, that we could not accept terms which would deny us that liberty for which we have sacrificed so much and fought with such stern resolve.

“For every reason, we desire peace; a settlement that will enable us to get on with the vital work of reconstruction. Details must take time, but the essential question should have been arranged before this.”

“The papers accuse Angora of arrogance and zenophobia,” I reminded him.

“The charge is invented for propaganda. Is it arrogant to stand out for our just and logical rights ? Of ‘zenophobia’ I know nothing! My whole life, in every action, is proof that I do not hate Europe. I never fought for hate, but to save the truth. The same inspiration guides and controls our politics.

“I could never myself keep on hating a nation for the mistakes of its Government. I fought against the Bulgarians, who are my greatest friends to-day.

“And towards the Greeks I feel the same. I am confident that we shall soon be great friends, friends as we were before the Powers intervened. As they were led away by false flatterers, they will be the first to see their mistake and repent.”

“Have you banished the Christians, or are they leaving Anatolia in mere panic?”

“We have taken no steps in this matter, but left them absolutely free, to go or stay. They have been terrified by propaganda, largely American, directed by religious animosities. While they followed the Greek army in thousands, and are still flying, many others are coming back. To-day you can see two long streams of refugees among us, one leaving, the other returning. They know that all Christians, whether 177our own subjects or foreigners, will always enjoy, as they have always enjoyed, the full liberties accorded them in every civilised country.”

“Are you satisfied with the situation in Constantinople?”

“We shall keep faith to the promise we made at Moudania. Meanwhile it is unnatural to see foreign troops in Constantinople, and they should be taken away as soon as possible. Their presence involves abnormal conditions, which have made it necessary for us to administer that villayet from the Assembly at Angora—an indignity which should not be prolonged.

“While conversations are maintained in Lausanne, and since everyone knows we must keep Constantinople, the Powers should not insist on the armed guarantee.”

“Do you congratulate us on having secured a Conservative Government?”

“It is early days, surely, to speak! If they will help us to friendly relations with England and the other Powers, that is all we ask. Your parties are not our business. We are, generally speaking, against all policies of expansion, because they lead nations into the abyss; and, in our judgment, such policies are impolitic.”

“What are your views on the Freedom of the Straits?”

“Like the delegates at Lausanne, we want real freedom, not freedom in the hands of one Power. We are ready to discuss the problem with all who have any interests in that quarter. There can be no freedom till Constantinople and the Sea of Marmora are secure.

“We must have national frontiers; that is, all territories peopled by Turks. We accept for boundaries or limit the enemy-lines as they were when the Armistice was signed. Is that an unreasonable claim in return for all we have given up from the old Ottoman Empire?

Minister for Foreign Affairs.
First Turkish Delegate at the Lausanne Peace Conference.
p. 176

“Towards ‘minorities’ we stand by the National 178Pact, confirmed by the recent Treaty with France, signed at Angora. We are fully prepared, nay anxious, to recognise all such rights as have been given to minorities in the different treaties between the Powers—since the war. It must, however, be clearly understood that foreign control, inconsistent with the absolute independence we demand, is impossible.

“Nor can we grant any special privileges for Capitulations to the subjects of foreign nations who may choose to live in Turkey. They are welcome to precisely the same rights as our own subjects enjoy, but we will never recognise any such privileges to foreigners as are unknown, for instance, in France, England, or America. Those who would still challenge our claim to the complete independence that we are determined to secure will have to find means to exterminate all Turks now inspired by that ideal. But I am confident that such a slaughter would not be permitted by the civilised world. Civilisation, on the contrary, will soon learn that our Turkey has her place in the future. She will help, and not hinder, civilisation. Civilisation must, therefore, be interested in, and support, her independence.”

On December 22nd, the Morning Post printed the following leading article about this interview:

The interview which Mustapha Kemal Pasha has given our Correspondent emphasises the one supreme result so far reached at Lausanne, namely, that the new rulers of Turkey are willing and indeed anxious to resume friendly relations with this country. The compromise which is apparently on the point of being reached at Lausanne concerning the Straits and the demilitarised zones may not survive the touch of reality and the sharp breath of war. But that is no reason why we should deplore or despise such a settlement, for it is at least a sign of goodwill, an offer on the part of Turkey to come to an agreement with the Western Powers, who, by the strange irony of fate, are the real friends of Turkey and yet were forced in the Great War to call themselves her enemies. The Lausanne Conference has dealt with and perhaps settled the Thracian boundaries, the protection of minorities, and the guardianship of the Straits, and there remains for it now to secure an agreement regarding the capitulations, the Patriarchate, and the future of Mosul. But the real importance of 179Lausanne lies in the fact that the world now realises that Kemalist Turkey is not the cat’s-paw of Bolshevist Russia, that the Turkish Nationalists did not defeat one invader in order to put themselves at the mercy of another, and that the ambitious plan of Moscow for using Turkey as a pawn in the great game of destroying British dominion in the East is in all probability doomed to failure. It is too early yet to say that the Bolshevicks have been outwitted, but both in their silences and their speeches there are evidences of chagrin. They have found out that Lausanne is not Genoa and that, if we may thus describe him, Curzon libre is a very different person from Curzon enchaîné. Chicherin had his Rapallo. Perhaps it was his final triumph.

Kemal, in his interview, said: “I am certain we shall eventually return to the traditional friendship between Turkey and Britain. I can see no obstacle thereto.” With the fall of the Coalition Government, the last obstacle has gone. Lord Curzon has been firm with the Turks, but not venomous, frank but not insulting. He can afford to leave rude harangues and offensive imprecations to the congress of fallen angels now assembling at Algeciras. Indeed, all the declarations of the Foreign Secretary go to show that he is sincerely anxious to reach a durable and friendly settlement with the emissaries of Angora, and that if he is determined to uphold the rights of the British, he is equally ready to acknowledge the independence of the Turkish Empire. We are glad to see that Kemal is anxious to reciprocate, and therein he shows himself to be not only a soldier but a statesman. For his task is not yet ended; indeed it is only beginning. He has saved his country from the Greek; he must now save it from the moth and rust of economic decay. In that great task he will find Great Britain his best friend. Fethi Bey has doubtless made it clear to him how much Europe can contribute to the economic reconstruction of Turkey, and a recent statement of Mr. Morgenthau should convince him that the United States will be a reluctant and difficult lender. In the long run he has to choose between free co-operation with Great Britain and an enslavement at the mercy of Bolshevist Russia. He seems already to have chosen the better course; for the sake of his country, and ours, we hope and believe that he will persist in it.




My eye fell on the portrait of a handsome Turkish lady, which was hanging over the Pasha’s writing-desk.

“What a lovely face!” I exclaimed.

“My mother,” said the Pasha, with obvious pride.

“Would it be very indiscreet,” said I, “to ask if I might have the great pleasure of seeing her?”

“She is very ill. The doctors are with her day and night. Alas, I fear she can never recover.”

We afterwards went up the staircase to the invalid’s apartments. To my surprise, we found her seated on a wide divan, supported by cushions. It was difficult at first to believe that she was so near the end.

“Alas!” said Mustapha Kemal, “her suffering has come through me. She is paying back now the tears and anguish she spent for me in exile.” There was sorrow in his voice, too heart-broken for many words.

“Now you can take part in his victory,” I said. “How proud you must be of your son. His is a wonderful story. I am proud only to have spoken with him and seen his work.”

She thanked me with great feeling, and said she believed “God had sent her this son to save the Fatherland—but my son is always kind to me.”

Whilst giving me a beautiful silk handkerchief, scented with her favourite perfume, she asked whether she had not seen me before, ten years ago, in Constantinople.

“She has a marvellous memory,” the Pasha murmured.

181In a few days there were to be no more opportunities for any of us to see this dear lady!

When, later, in Constantinople, I ventured upon some allusion to the great devotion he always evinced to his mother, a Turk said: “That is only natural—Oriental, if you will. The man whose hands are steeped in blood, whose soul is black with crime, yet bows in respect to his mother. You might as well be surprised that the sun shines.”

The story of M. Kemal’s youth and of his brilliant career is, of course, well known in Anatolia. He was born in Salonica in 1880, and there are legends that many who saw the boy, “fair as the corn,” at his games, would say: “Look well at that little fellow. He will one day be the saviour of his country.”

St. Jeanne d’Arc’s “Life,” you remember, begins with a description of the countryside on the night of her birth—“all the animals seemed strangely excited. There was a chorus of approval from the chickens, the geese, and the pigs.” “Very possibly,” as a friend once commented on this passage, “it all happened again on the night each of us was born, but no one noticed it.”

So I will speak only of facts. A year ago, how few had even heard his name! How often the Unknown Personality has appeared, just when hope seemed dead, to save his country!

M. Kemal’s father died when he was quite a child, though already attending the school of Chemsi Effendi. Then, for a few years, his mother took him to stay with an uncle in the country, and life became one glorious game in the sunny fields, shooting at rooks, stealing Nature’s secrets, and flourishing on all the delights of being naughty with no one to interfere.

Although his mother seems to have felt, however, that young minds cannot safely be left long undisciplined, and, therefore, brought him back to school at Salonica, the experiment did not prove a success. Like other unusual boys, he was always in hot water 182and, in the end, was allowed to come home and play at soldiers.

It was Edison’s unsympathetic schoolmistress who told his mother: “This boy’s brain is addled, we can do nothing with him.” He had given one of his companions a seidlitz powder to find out whether the gas would lift up his patient into the air! Mrs. Edison was wise enough to take the boy’s education into her own hands, proving herself “the loveliest and most wonderful teacher on God’s earth,” as he afterwards declared.

As the Pasha’s mother did not approve of soldiering, the boy simply took himself off to a military college, passed the examinations with distinction, and then proudly confronted her with all his certificates! He was both hard-working and intelligent, devoted to French and mathematics.

But even as a schoolboy his country’s suffering must have eaten into his ardent imagination. I was told that he would spend hours of recreation in making speeches and organising a committee, to protest against the tyranny of Abdul Hamid. Already he felt that an army was not enough to save his country, and persuaded some of his schoolfellows to study politics, sowing the seed of all he has since given to the world.

From the beginning he determined, above all, to make himself master of every detail concerning the French Revolution; to understand, by understanding “the people,” why it happened and how it happened, what mistakes were made, the real ideals that inspired its passion of sacrifice, and the permanent gains it brought to France and to mankind.

Long after all his companions were fast asleep, the young Mustapha dived into every possible book he could lay hands on, to clear up this fascinating subject. Next morning he would hold forth to all and sundry upon his discoveries, and finally issued a paper with exemplary regularity, which was widely circulated in manuscript.

Meanwhile military studies had not been neglected; 183He was promoted Staff Captain, and—through under-hand channels—“recommended” to the notice of Abdul Hamid, who promptly exiled him to Syria.

In Damascus, Beyrout, and Jaffa, his more revolutionary plans matured. At last the Constitution was proclaimed, and he was able to join his mother in Salonica!—not yet, however, for the quiet of a restored home life.

At the time when the troops marched to deliver Constantinople from the reactionaries, he was appointed Chief of Staff to Mahmoud Chefket Pasha. During the Tripolitain War he was first at Syrenaique, and afterwards at Benghazi.

When the Great War broke out, he was military attaché at Sofia, but was immediately despatched to the command of a Division in the Dardanelles, and, when this had been formed and organised, marched to Gallipoli. It was he who defeated the English forces, not only in Gallipoli, but at Anafarta.

After we had been driven out of the Dardanelles, he went to the Caucasus in command of the 15th Army Corps, and recovered Bitlis and Mouche from the Russians. For a time he led the 6th Army Corps, under the German General Falkenhayn; but nothing could reconcile him to his chief’s methods and the reckless loss of life they involved. He therefore resigned and went back to Constantinople.

After accompanying the present Khalif on a visit to Hindenberg and Ludendorff, he tells me that, when he thus first clearly saw into the real issue of the war; he also saw, even more clearly, the need for making his own plans in Turkey.

He was in Syria when the Armistice was signed; and returning with high hopes to Constantinople, sank broken-hearted before the treachery of Mudros! But not for long.

Never the man to nurse despair, he quickly rose again to his country’s call. Offered the post of Inspector of the East (that is, High Functionary of the Eastern Villayets), he accepted at once, and hurried into Anatolia to prepare for resistance.

184From the moment he stepped out at Samsoun, the movement began.

What shall we say of the “Man at the Helm—the Hero and the Genius?” Were his “Destinies,” indeed, “written on the tablets of heaven”; or may he not rather claim:

“I am Master of my Fate
I am Captain of my Soul”

Every detail of the work had to be built up, as it were, stone by stone, entirely afresh—an army to be found anywhere and everywhere from nothing. Yet it was trained and organised to become, what Colonel Mougin tells me, is “the best-disciplined and best-officered army in the world.”

Perhaps the Battle of the Sakharia, lasting fifteen days without interruption, may be quoted as the Great Victory. It was certainly one of the battles of this century. When one of the majors asked for instructions about “the line provided for retreat,” he was told: “There will be no retreat. Advance, or die in your trenches!”

On the anniversary of the Battle of the In-Enus, Ismet Pasha told me a little about his victory, and what it meant. What victory must mean when you have nothing with which to conquer.

Already the military experts have written pages about the advance and the victory. One day, we hope, “The Pasha” will give us his own version.

How, again, shall we tell the endurance of the people, suffering through long years in silence and alone? To us who could but look on them, pitying and admiring from a distance, it seemed as if someone must get through somehow to offer the hand of friendship and give, at least, heartfelt sympathy. I tried, but it could not be done. Even now, I cannot say all it has cost me to reach Angora!

Mustapha Kemal must put on record “The Birth of 185a Nation”; and from Halidé Hanoum we want the thousand and one pictures of the agony of simple folk—desolate village homes, women who weep and work, the little ones crying, “What is it, mother?”; all that war means to men, all that men can endure for liberty and the right.

“What does it matter,” she has written, “though the world call us pariah? We will die with honour. What does it matter if food be denied us by all our neighbours? Our own soil will keep us alive, sheltered in sackcloth!”

At Lausanne the patriot-passion is taunted for its arrogance. It is forgotten that self-made nations, like men, if made with honour, have certain rights and duties, which the most illustrious and ancient lineage cannot bestow. Moreover, we carry with ease what has come down to us through the centuries; what we have suffered and fought for, we grasp, crying maybe somewhat loudly: “Hands off!” To be in Turkey, and to learn of the heroism of her people, is to understand her moderation.

I was naturally keenly interested in the Pasha’s views on women; I have been still more interested to hear that, since I was at Angora, he has put his theories into practice.

I have never spoken in England or the United States without having to answer the most absurd questions on life in a harem. This time, in London, the old nonsense was trotted out, and my replies either invented or distorted.

I was interviewed during our own Suffrage agitation, and expressed my conviction that “women must either have full liberty to earn their livelihoods in any profession, or be sheltered and protected as Turkish women are sheltered and protected.” Next morning a large poster appeared with the legend, under my portrait, “English writer urges polygamy!”

The paper inserted my prompt denial, but, of course, that never was read by thousands who had 186swallowed the poster. A Glasgow paper, indeed, was considerate enough to remark that, “knowing my people were Presbyterians, the kindest interpretation was—insanity!”

American pressmen were particularly furious with me for asserting that polygamy does not exist in Turkey, and that no Turkish women would put up with the European system of “establishments.” When they persisted that “Turks had more than one wife,” I asked, “why many men, who lacked the means or courage to ever marry, yet supposed the men of the East could each have four?”

In my judgment, “Progress for Women” has begun on far sounder lines in Turkey than elsewhere. The occasion has come to help them, and I believe they are ready to meet it. There is to-day so much to be done for their country that few, surely, will hesitate to come forward and stand beside the men in the great work. Temptations to rivalry or competition scarcely exist.

Ten years ago, that eloquent and graceful speaker, Hamdoullah Soubhi, was urging the women to freedom, bidding them cast off their veils and help to govern the country. To-day it is Mustapha Kemal himself who, in season and out of season, is calling on them to break for ever with the harem, and learn to be helpmates to their husbands.

I have said and written, over and over again, that women should not, and need not, compete with men. That is not the real road to freedom. Liberty dwelleth among comrades, and shuns a rival.

“This time next year,” said Mustapha Kemal, “woman must be free. She must uncover her face and mix with men.”

“How will the men like it?” I asked.

“It matters little what they like or dislike. Freedom must come.”

He has no more patience with tradition in men’s dress. “When summer comes and our kalpaks are too hot, we shall wear hats with ‘brims,’ to protect us from the sun. The time is past for 187‘dress’ to reveal the ‘race’. We should dress for comfort.”

Hamid Bey and other delegates at Lausanne are of the same opinion. They say the old conventional way of dressing “stamps the Turk in Europe as a member of an inferior race.”

Taking my courage in both hands, I ventured to mention the fear his friends had expressed to me, of his marrying a princess.

“That will never happen,” he replied. “I have already chosen an educated woman of my own people, with character enough to be ‘equal partner’ in all my work. There can be no happiness in union for only half one’s character and one’s life. But I stand for democracy, and was never attracted by rank.”

Everyone now is talking of Mustapha Kemal’s future wife. The ring was bought for him at Lausanne by the delegates, who were as excited about the business as any school-children. His neighbours, sweet little Mme. Ruchène Echref and her talented husband are beside themselves with delighted anticipation of having so charming a châtelaine at Tchan-Kaya.

Mme. Ruchène told me that the Pasha was staying with his future father-in-law during the Moudania Conference, and that Latifée Hanoum proved herself most helpful over all his despatches, as she speaks and writes excellent English and French.

The wife to be could have no better sponsor than Mme. Echref! She and her husband, like Adnan Bey and Halidé Hanoum, gave up everything to follow the Pasha. They would not, however, allow me ever to speak of their sacrifices, or tell the tale of their many tragic sufferings in all parts of Turkey. Now, indeed, their dear little two-roomed cabin, so tastefully furnished with its beautiful pictures, may well stand for “love in a cottage.” She does a great deal of Red Crescent work among the women who are still so active in helping the refugees of Anatolia.

188One only wishes that the other social reforms, splendidly started in Constantinople, had not been so long interrupted. But like education, and all other real progress, they cannot survive long wars. What criminal waste that means for mankind!

I have talked with many Turkish brides, received many confidences, and the whole question of marriage in Turkey has always interested me immensely.

The first Turkish bride I ever met, long years ago, had never seen her husband before marriage, and detested him from the first. “There is nothing the matter with him,” she admitted, “except that I don’t like him.” Ultimately she managed to escape, married a man of her own choice, and was twenty times more unhappy.

Another bride told me that, as a great favour, she was allowed to see her future husband, and has regretted it ever since. “The dreadful imprudence seems to have robbed life of all its romance!”

Yet one more confession! “I peeped through the lattice-window to look at him as he walked past. Quite an uninteresting little man, but he was ‘my fate’ and I might have ‘been given’ something worse.” But, at her wedding, I found a tall and handsome bridegroom. “What does this mean?” I asked. “What has happened?” And she answered quite calmly: “I must have looked out at the wrong man.”

Tewfik Rushdi Bey declares that it is “easy divorce” in Turkey which makes their marriages so happy and lasting. I gladly pass on the paradox to all English advocates for “marriage reform”; only bidding them remember that Turkish husbands accept big risks at the start. They never hesitate about trusting their mothers to “pick a winner in life’s handicap”; and, since young Western people, one and all, prefer their own way to their parents’, all the “wisdom of the East” may leave them cold.

189European bridegrooms must always experience a sense of being “outsiders” at their own weddings; but at least we expect them to be there! In Turkey, the signatures of bride and bridegroom are not affixed to the contract in each other’s presence, and often not even on the same day. It is scarcely necessary to add that the guests belong to the bride’s party, and are entertained at her house. To us it certainly is strange to hear the solemn questions addressed to the bride by the Imam that pledge her life to an “absentee” partner, whom she has never set eyes on. I can still remember a beautiful wedding-dress of white satin brocade, embroidered with silver stars, over which sparkled a large diadem of diamonds. All brides, too, wear a shower of silver threads round the neck, from which they pull out threads to give their friends for “good luck.”

“Good luck” at a wedding naturally means a good husband, and from the number of threads I have received, there should be at least fifty “eligible partners” somewhere in waiting for me.

We, in our turn, wish happiness to the bride on her bridal throne, as we pass before her in solemn procession. Last of all comes the feast, for women only, after which the happy couple are, at last, “introduced.”

At this charming and strange ceremony I also witnessed a fine example of true democracy as practised in the East. Among the guests in their elaborate ball-dresses, trimmed with orange blossom, I noticed the Grand Vizier’s wife; and then, catching sight of a very differently attired group of women, wearing faded and worn tcharchaffs and feradjés, I realised that the “bath-women” of the family had come uninvited to the feast! And the door of the harem was wide open, that all might enter in to see the presents, admire the dresses, and all the other delightful feminine intimacies of such an occasion.

As a matter of fact, I was told by Zeyneb, any woman can go to a Turkish wedding without having been invited. “You, in England, only ask your 190intimate friends, and yet you have to employ detectives to watch the presents.”

When my attendant, Cadem Haïr (whose colour led me to call her Miss Chocolate) became engaged to a coffee-coloured railway official, she was treated like one of the family by the Pasha’s household. Fatma and I bought her trousseau, we arranged for her to be photographed, and secured a Kara Kheuz (or Punch and Judy show) for the wedding festivities.

So many confidences, so many romances and love-stories inside the Imperial harem, and outside! They would fill a volume.

I have never met an “old maid” in Turkey, and I doubt whether one could be found. I well remember the distress and anxieties of a certain matron whose daughter was still unmarried at twenty-eight. The girl had resolutely refused all offers, and her poor mother could only suppose she had been bewitched. Then one day he appeared, and that story had a happy ending.

Whether the reforms Mustapha Kemal is so determined to promote will substantially diminish the number of early marriages, one cannot, of course, foresee. At present, fortunately, the most brilliant, practical, and advanced Turkish women have found their own sphere, and do not enter into open competition with men. If they are tempted to follow our Western feminists, to steal, not only men’s prestige, but their bread and butter, domestic chaos and anarchy may spread to the East.

For the moment, one does not expect advance beyond “The Pasha’s” own striking example. He has not only chosen his own bride, but dispensed with the Imam—a parallel to the first Englishman who dared to marry in a registry office!

I always said this man would scatter many coupés d’état, once peace was signed; but he has not waited for the signature!

The originality of his gifts to the bride recalls the Prophet of Islam. Mahomet gave his daughter a Koran, a prayer-carpet, and a coffee-mill; Mustapha 191Kemal has given his wife-to-be General Trécoupis’ revolver and an Arab horse! She is an excellent rider, sitting astride, with the veil only confining her hair.

I much regret that I was never able to find an opportunity of meeting this lady, partly because she was educated at Chislehurst, almost next door to my own school—Rochester.

Inevitably the Pasha’s liberal attitude towards marriage has been criticised, and described as “in direct opposition to the principles of Islam.” He, however, will not admit the charge.

It is true that, at the very door of Europe, women have been content to live through the centuries in a comfortable material security, that means being cut out of all the realities of life, and all the serious joys or sorrows of existence. It is not unnatural that isolation should have kept them down so long.

But the harem was not invented by the Turks, and has nothing in common with the nomad existence of the Great Preacher of the Deserts. Polygamy and the harem were first introduced when the Turks entered Byzantium as conquerors. They served, in those troublous times, as the best means available for the protection of women, and proved a fine school of instruction for Georgian Circassian slaves.

It is false to say that Eastern women have blamed their religion for the evils, so many now recognise, of seclusion. The most ignorant are quite familiar with the great names of women who have been the glory of Islam. Mahomet’s own daughter, the “Lady of Paradise,” spoke to large audiences of dusky-skinned Arabs, her face unveiled. Neither did Zeyneb, the famous and beautiful professor at the University of Bagdad, wear the veil. Khadidja sang in public, her own beautiful songs, still known and admired all over the East. Rhadyah, one of the first great travellers among these lands, was also an eloquent lecturer, applauded by the most learned men of Islam.

Therefore are not the women themselves to blame 192for their prolonged isolation? or was it the régime of Abdul Hamed?

Mustapha Kemal has not only offered his wife the privileges Mahomet accorded to his daughter, but he has swept from the path of Islam the retrograde heresies that Byzantium grafted on to the Faith.




Unlike the European type to which we are accustomed, the Cabinet of the Assembly is almost exclusively composed of very young men, possessed, however, of the strong determination to serve their country.

Mustapha Kemal Pasha has great faith in youth, and his oldest minister is probably no more than forty-two. “Youth,” he said, “makes mistakes that can be corrected; age and experience make the mistakes of routine.” Fethi Bey, who is the chief’s right hand, also believes in youth, and was himself a minister at thirty-two.

Ex-Naval Officer.
He speaks perfect English and knows England better than any other Turk.
p. 192

Here, again, the Prime Minister and his Cabinet are independent, the one of the other. One may fall, while the other remains. I am inclined to think, on closer examination, that the Ministers are seldom entrusted with the initiative and responsibility which our Ministers, in theory at least, enjoy; although for them all criticism and supervision comes, as it were, from below. They might, perhaps, be best described as Heads of Departments, whose every action is open to all eyes in the Assembly, submitted to the keenest scrutiny, and freely discussed. Sometimes they seem able to keep their position after heated discussions and interpolations, but, on the other hand, they may fall in consequence of some detail which, with us, would pass unnoticed—such as the nomination of an unsatisfactory functionary. They are all, certainly, very able men; with extraordinary energy, enthusiasm, and devotion. Although not constituted as a formal Cabinet, 194they meet to consider the most important questions that will come before the Assembly. Mustapha Kemal Pasha is entitled to preside at these meetings whenever he desires to be present; but, as a rule, the Chair is taken by Rauf Bey, Prime Minister without a Portfolio. They are not appointed by the President or the Prime Minister, but elected by the whole Assembly.

I have discussed this system with many of our European statesmen, who, one and all—including Lord Curzon—do not consider that it could permanently work well or be successfully applied to any stable, important State.

The Turks, however, maintain that a Minister should only be elected to watch, as it were, the special interests and concerns of his Department, and that the People themselves should be responsible, through their representatives in Parliament, for all legislation. The Assembly controls both law-making and administration.

For them, of course, we of the West cannot decide, or, perhaps, judge. We have scarcely of late years earned the right to criticise!

Rauf Bey is a man of about forty, a gentleman as we understand the word, who has travelled among the best intellects of Europe, and had the courage and energy to adapt many ideals thus acquired to the needs of his own country. His brilliance and his devotion are universally acknowledged.

Formerly a Naval officer, he distinguished himself in all the wars of the last twenty-five years; and his command of the Hamidieh in the Balkan War, against the whole of the Greek Fleet, is not yet forgotten. As Marine Minister in Izzet Pasha’s Cabinet he accompanied General Townshend and Admiral Calthorpe to Mudros, and signed the Armistice with the Allies. In the Chamber of Deputies at Constantinople he did not hesitate to avow his allegiance to Mustapha Kemal, and was consequently one of the first to be arrested by the English and sent to Malta. Handsome, intelligent, a hard worker, subtle and liberal-minded, he very soon came to the front. He was the first Vice-President of the Assembly, and became Prime Minister last 195May. During the absence of Ismet Pasha at Lausanne, he also acted as Minister of Foreign Affairs.

I heard him several times during my stay in Angora, and his fearless speeches were not only a political event, but always caused something of a sensation outside the capital.

He has never disguised his love for England, nor what he owes to her education. The disillusion after Mudros and at Malta was hard to bear. He had not only to mourn for a shattered idol, but to suffer abuse from his fellow-countrymen for a trust of which he had been so proud.

He is, however, far too intelligent to quarrel with a whole nation for the errors of its Government. “The future depends on England,” he said; “we can do nothing to improve relations until peace is signed; but there will be abundant opportunities in the future, and, if England is willing, she can come to us then.”

“In six months,” I replied, “we shall be as great friends as ever we were.”

“That, again, depends entirely upon you.”

I asked him whether large concessions had been made to France in return for her political support.

“As the first to understand the Nationalist movement,” he replied, “we owe her a great moral debt; which I have myself acknowledged and called on the world to witness. But for concessions, the field is open to all. We shall, naturally, accept the most advantageous offer.”

Rauf Bey has strong theories about education; and has determined that it shall be made to develop the new Ideal. He closed a school at Adalia because the children had been taught that Smyrna is Greek and the Eastern villayets are Armenian. “Every Turk should learn that Smyrna has never been Greek; an alien minority, protected by foreign powers, has been the cause of all our troubles.”

It is, obviously, of the first importance that Turkish children should be inspired, from the beginning, with 196loyalty to the Fatherland by knowing the fine story of its growth. “We need schools, and good foreign schools,” said Rauf Bey, “but until they will work under our supervision and control we show no favour to any offender, French, American or Italian—we close all.”

I hear that in the American College at Broussa a Turkish woman has been appointed to teach geography and history, a concession one hopes will soon be generally adopted.

Rauf Bey had told me, on board the Agamemnon, what had been said to Admiral Calthorpe when the Armistice was signed: “We are here to end the terrible bloodshed of so many years. We accept these terms because we know that the great English nation and the Allies will keep their words.” Then, to his own officers: “Is it not true, gentlemen, England always keeps her word?” and they all answered, “Yes.”

But we know what happened!

So much has been written about his unfortunate reception in London in 1922, that Fethi Bey, the Minister of the Interior, is well known to us. Seeing that everyone is given a courteous hearing in Turkish Ministries, one feels this unnecessary discourtesy the more. And Fethi Bey, like Mustapha Kemal Pasha and Rauf Bey, was an ardent admirer of England, cured for ever by the war of any affection for Germany.

As an Army officer, for two years military attaché in Paris, secretary to the Committee of Union and Progress in Sofia, and Minister of the Interior in Izzet Pasha’s Cabinet, Fethi Bey has had a varied and useful career. During his stay in Sofia, Mustapha Kemal was his military attaché, and they were both staff captains at Salonika. It was as a prisoner in Malta that he learnt the fluent English he had so little occasion to speak in London.


Fethi Bey, Minister of the Interior of New Turkey.

No picture of Angora could be complete without a photo of Fethi Bey. As this has not arrived in time, we leave his place empty, as one leaves the place of the absent friend at the festive board—unfilled.

He is very observant and far-seeing, undemonstrative, and, despite his charming smile, bitingly sarcastic; 197not, perhaps, quite so daring as Rauf Bey, but more level-headed. In a country devastated from end to end, and lacking in every necessity, he has shown marvellous skill as an organiser. Very early each morning he leaves his simple villa at Tchan-Kaya for the tiny primitive office in which he “handles” a constant stream of callers, busy about every variety of concerns, with an almost American speed. After a hasty lunch he goes to the Assembly, and finally rides home, often through many inches of snow, in which no car or carriage could make its way.

The last of the “three great men” of the Assembly, Ismet Pasha, is well known and respected in Europe for his titanic duel with Lord Curzon.

Though now only thirty-eight, it was he who created, out of nothing, the fine army which chased the Greeks out of Asia Minor. Victor at the two In Eunus, it was he who won back all the enemy-occupied territory as far as the Mediterranean. As victor also at Moudania, it was he who, with a dignified courtesy that astonished the whole Conference, defended the “Nationalist” interests at Lausanne.

Of the other personalities in the Cabinet one could write much. To understand, and sum up, the strength and importance of the Assembly, one must meet and know them all.




In judging the members of the Cabinet one must realise that some of them do not speak any European languages, and know little, or nothing, of Western ways. In some cases, for example that of Hassan Fehmi Bey, the Minister of Finance, this is due no doubt to their humble origin. They tell me, however, he “knows the requirements of New Turkey.”

The Minister of Education, Sefa Bey, represents Adana and is somewhat the same type of man, reserved and timid to exaggeration.

There are many Deputies in the Assembly of wider knowledge and better understanding outside their own country who would seem, at least to us, more suitable men for these important Ministries. But we cannot expect to understand all the influences which determine the election of a Turkish Cabinet; only hoping that, as the years pass and the Assembly becomes concerned with wider issues, it may be led by men, assuredly no less loyal to their own nation, who yet desire rather to understand our civilisation, to live in closer contact with Europe, than merely to turn away from us as the object of their eternal hate.

The host who has so graciously welcomed me to his home in Angora is Feszi Bey, Minister of Public Works. He learnt something of Europe, and a little of the French language, when exiled to Malta. I have already recorded evidence of his kindness and generosity, 199which is certainly not confined to the horses he shelters with so much care in preference to any thought of damage his carriage must suffer by exposure. Simple in tastes and manner, he yet gives one the impression of great power and activity; while the remarkable agricultural schemes inaugurated on his vast estates have been carried out with prudence and success.

Kiazim Pasha, the Minister of National Defence, is a young man on fire with energy. He was in command of an army and corps at Sakharia and largely responsible for the supplies and the organisations which led the army of Ismet Pasha to victory. Like many impulsive natures, he is subject to frequent attacks of pessimism, from which I have striven to rouse him by the assurance that we will not have war.

The Minister of Economics, Mahmoud Essad Bey, is, of course, responsible for agriculture, commerce, and industry. Having studied these subjects in Switzerland, his practical activities are guided by sound theoretical knowledge.

Ali Fouad Pasha was the distinguished general who fought against the Greeks in September, 1921, and has succeeded M. Kemal as President of the group formed to uphold the “Rights of Roumelia and Anatolia.” The Assembly itself developed, or grew out of, this little band of patriots, who are still its leading spirits, the chief inspirers of its policy. At present, the opposition which does exist has very little power or influence; a drawback, as we know to our cost, in any Parliament; which, however, may very well be of temporary advantage to the Assembly until the Turks are really secure from external interference.

I was again impressed, almost startled, by the change that is in progress in the conditions of life in Turkey, as I looked down upon the present Cheik-ul-Islam, called in, “as a mere form,” to depose the Khalif, with no more ceremony than one directs the dentist to extract a tooth.

In the old days I well remember the odour of incense and sandalwood in the sanctuary of Abdul 200Hamid’s Cheik-ul-Islam, as the great man sat cross-legged under his enormous pumpkin-hat, amidst the picturesque surroundings of historic, ancient, religious ceremony. To him it seemed that for a cheik to dethrone a Sultan, as he foresaw must soon be the command, would be a solemn and awful thing. I could not imagine him modestly waiting for orders, as his successor is waiting to-day. How are the mighty fallen!

Though propaganda has busied itself already, in the attempt to find flaws in the power and popularity of Mustapha Kemal Pasha, his supremacy remains unquestioned. So far, when his party says go, the Assembly goeth, and when he says come, it cometh.

It is certain, nevertheless, that, as the new order settles in its stride, the Government will be confronted with many difficulties of which we cannot as yet foresee the precise nature. M. Kemal is at least two centuries ahead of some of his own Ministers, four hundred years in advance of the peasants, now suddenly, without preparation, made citizens of a Republic—a sovereign people. I have seen the peasants in their homes—those charming little pictures out of the sixteenth century. Without the least knowledge of, or interest in, what we have come to call civilisation, these simple folk have been vegetating through the centuries, free from the noise of great cities and the anxieties of progress. Though always ready to fight and die, as we say “for King and Country,” the symbol of their faith and inherited traditions, they had, and still have, no idea whatever of any government system, or who makes the laws. Naturally sober and religious—not poor, since they had always enough bread—these children of the soil have known no ambition to improve their quiet and happy lives.

It may be Kemal Pasha could do more with 201only his big Ministers and no Assembly. On the other hand, quicker progress might prove unsettling, and the founders of New Turkey need no advice from us. They have chosen what seems to them the better way; we can but pray for their success. No doubt, as France floundered through revolution, they will be driven to face a thousand bitter disappointments and delays. In times that have well-nigh submerged the land of the Mother of Parliaments, the Assembly must face rocks ahead.

Now that New and Independent Turkey has her chance, she should take it. Rome was not built in a day; and when difficulties come, as come they must, let none scoff with a cheap “I told you so.” Only leave Turkey to the Turks, and, like other nations, they will try and try again, until, at last, they succeed.




We cannot complete our record of “Personalities” in Angora without some mention of the foreigners in residence. Whatever has been asserted, there are no Germans there.

Quite apart from the Turkish officers’ personal antipathy, the Germans have no money for concessions; their educational methods would never take root in Anatolia; they have lost the legend of military superiority which was the only raison d’être of their influence in the past. Before the military genius of the Turks, their great generals have been compelled to baisser pavillon. Even during the war Turkey saw through German bluff, and the taste of army arrogance was amply efficient to kill the unnatural alliance for ever. I can definitely assert, by way of checking the prominence given to false statements of Teuton influence, that there are no Germans in Angora.

On the other hand, it is true that a subtle form of propaganda is still at work in Germany itself. There a Turk can obtain, by merely showing a passport, a document that entitles him to all the “special” terms given to “natives” at hotels, theatres, and shops.

I have already described the glories of the Soviet Embassy, and that distinguished economist, Camarade Areloff.

The Azerbaijan Ambassador, M. Abiloff, represents the four states of the Caucasian Confederation; whose rather commercial policy is not very popular.

Sultan Ahmed Khan has been representing 203Afghanistan in Angora for two years. He tells me that any communications with his Government seem almost as difficult as with Persia, whose Ambassador has now returned to his own country.

The personality of Colonel Mougin has done much for the important commercial interests of his country, but he is far too wise to imagine that France is the Power on whom M. Kemal ultimately counts to save Constantinople from the Russians.

Mr. Imbrie, the American commercial attaché, has been entrusted with the double duty of protecting concession-hunters from the States and organising the “American Near East Relief Workers in Anatolia,” administered in Angora by Mr. Compton and his charming wife, who must have stepped out of the frame of a dainty miniature. Mr. Imbrie, by the way, lives in a railway salon, and when his wife arrives we hope that her rugs and cushions and curtains may be as pretty as Mrs. Compton’s.

It is very unfortunate that all relief work has been so wickedly hampered by friends of Armenia in the States. Their ridiculously unjust, anti-Turkish, propaganda must have been inspired by the American version of Ally Sloper’s Half-Holiday!

Moreover, Americans never give relief which they cannot themselves administer. Maybe the implied affront to Turkish competency is unintentional, but Kiazim Kara Békir Pasha (who looks after five hundred orphans without a penny from the State, and has established many “professional” schools) has a right to resent it. His compatriots are often tempted to exclaim, “Keep your dollars,” for American charities are always administered with a business manner that scarcely conciliates the recipient; and one must wonder, for example, how the Armenian priest can provide for his flock of seventy on four hundred liras (3,000 francs) a month. They do not evangelise with much tact, and Turkey can hardly be expected not to sense the Armenian behind the missionary.

Nevertheless, America has done a great deal for education, and one sincerely hopes that her colleges 204will keep out of propaganda. Every Turk will acknowledge the supreme value of the institutions that have produced brilliant pupils like Halidé Edib Hanoum, and they will know very well how much the women of Turkey can gain from them, not to be gained from their own system of education. I admire Turkish women very much, and have enjoyed their company in their own homes, but I am none the less ready to honour the work of their American teachers that has already given them so splendid a start towards real progress and complete freedom.

One must not forget the Imperial Ottoman Bank, now destined, by decree of the Assembly, to become the Bank of Turkey. The fact will, I hope, be freely advertised, so that all over Anatolia its origin may not be forgotten, whilst its increased power becomes well known, and the people may learn to regard it as what the French call a real Maison du bon Dieu.

Already to-day, even in remote places like Angora, you can “inquire within for everything” at its well-organised branches. Whether with or without directions from headquarters, the Bank of Angora is always ready to supplement one’s stores, and supply extra beds or special information, and any traveller in the heart of Asia Minor will know the value of such little courtesies! Of course, its financial backing of Anglo-French capital forms the surest possible passport for universal confidence.

We may hope, too, that its official position in the State may soon have the indirect result of diminishing our foolish jealousies of French influence. France asks, and deserves, some gratitude for her courage in admitting the error of her ways at Sèvres, but she has no ambition to undermine British interests.

Turkey needs capital, and American help involves interference from men too far away for understanding. Anglo-French capital, the more the better, means good terms in the East between us, and real friendship towards Turkey, for “where their treasure is, there is the heart also.”




There can scarcely be a worse misinterpretation of the Turks to-day than the common assumption that they do not value their women. As an example to prove this we turn to the charming writer and patriot, Halidé Edib Hanoum. Not only well known for her work in England and America, she is respected and honoured throughout the length and breadth of her own country, trusted with positions of responsibility, consulted and, above all, listened to, by those at the helm of affairs.

As one of their brilliant journalists once said in the ante-room of the Assembly: “We gave her a place in the army. She would have gone with the delegates to Lausanne had her health permitted. She was elected a Member of the Assembly, and now we realise the Constitution does not yet admit women, we shall remove all such restrictions.”

Strong evidence of eager homage to a brilliant woman emphatically expressed! I had met this famous lady in the old days, when we were friends with Turkey, and am naturally anxious to renew the acquaintance, if only to talk over the terrible happenings that have transformed her, alas! into one of the bitterest of England’s enemies. I am sure that, like Mustapha Kemal, she will be rejoiced to come back to us when we both change.

Her little farmhouse, most charming of rustic homes, stands on a rough road, at this time of year inches deep in mud, about an hour’s drive from Angora. 206A clear stream runs by the way, and all around is silent and calm, save for the very occasional noise of a passing carriage. In summer, with the sun shining on the grazing cows, it would seem an ideal spot for this untiring worker.

A voracious reader of the Continental Press, Halidé Hanoum has told me of her great amusement at the report that her flight into Anatolia had been “promoted by a desire to flee from harems and veils.” It is, of course, in Constantinople that the women have so largely cast off the old customs, whereas in far-away Anatolia most are still rigorously kept in seclusion. “People in Europe simply cannot grasp what our civilisation means,” she said; “that is what makes it so difficult for us to come to an understanding.”

She and her husband, Dr. Adnan Bey, now Angora High Commissioner in Constantinople, would have been imprisoned with the other Nationalists three years ago had they not managed to escape to these mountains. Clad in the picturesque costumes of the villagers, with clogs on their feet, and a few possessions crowded into a bullock-wagon, they made their way slowly into Angora, dependent for food and shelter upon the picturesque, but uncomfortable, little inns on the way.

Since the victory of the Nationalists, she is free, of course, to seek her equally picturesque home in the heart of Stamboul; but, “How I love my Angora farmstead!” she cried, as her quaint peasant waiting-woman brought in coffee and cigarettes. There was proof, at least, in the countless books, papers and souvenirs from England around us that she has not forgotten her education in the American College; and, whatever her judgment of us to-day, she speaks our language without a fault.

As the eye travels over the delicately-cut features of Halidé Hanoum, the expression of sensitiveness stands out as the greatest charm of her beauty. Yet the quiet reserved manner cannot hide the force of her mind and her compelling personality. Charm, intelligence, great talent and courage, are all in her 207dower. What is it one admires the most? For me, certainly, the all-conquering gift of the truly brave.

As my father used to say of General Gordon: “In the service of God and humanity, he was the bravest of men; and in his sorest need or his greatest loneliness, his courage rose all the time. To have known Gordon is to say with certainty, ‘God is courage!’”

This fragile and thoroughly feminine little lady was first in the field against Abdul Hamid, one of the first to understand Angora, to leave all for the Pasha, to work without ceasing for Nationalism and the new Turkey. She tells me that a true account of the Greek atrocities, as she saw them, will be an important feature of her memoirs, though I shall be, personally, more eager to read the story of her own courageous achievements.

There is only one of her judgments upon things as they are which I regret, and believe to be mistaken. Trained in an American college, and honoured as she is all over the States, it is but natural that she should blame England for leading America astray on the subject of Christian minorities. Here neither nation assuredly can plead not guilty; but the exaggeration and the fervour of the false appeal have come, I honestly believe, from across the Atlantic, and not to them from us.

Halidé’s first literary achievement, for which she was decorated by the Sultan, was to translate “The Mother in the Home,” by an American pedagogue of the sixties; just the kind of book one would expect an intelligent young girl to choose!

I first met Halidé Hanoum just after she had succeeded in ending her first marriage. The union was not a happy one—she was then only seventeen—but it brought her two fine sons, who are naturally very proud of their mother. Education and training among American-taught students had made it impossible for her to lead the old harem existence, but she was able to give herself up to deep study, absorbing from her husband’s extensive library the many original ideas she is now giving to the world. 208My friends have told me, and I can well believe, how much one loses of beauty in her exquisite style of writing from ignorance of the language. One envies her the rare combination of a first-class Eastern and Western culture.

During the reign of Abdul Hamid she was condemned to death, and her “Memoirs” will, one day, reveal to us the terrible suffering of those years. Now, however, the pendulum has swung back, and she is reaping the reward of her courageous work for young Turkey by the high esteem and consideration she universally receives. She was frequently consulted by the late Talaat Pasha and the late Djémal Pasha, owing to her exceptional knowledge of Western institutions. It was at her house, too, I met the able and charming editor of the Tanine, Hussein Djahid, afterwards with us at Lausanne. All Turkey’s great men have visited her, and visit her still; and, without doubt, much of the destiny of her country has come to birth, if not maturity, in her home.

Under the shadow of renewed war, this citizen in the Great Republic of Letters could not refrain from the sad topics of Greek atrocities and Lausanne, but soon turned our talk to more congenial thoughts.

She asked after John Masefield, and I told her that he had been a stretcher-bearer during the war, and recently I sent him a laurel leaf from Rome with an enclosed note: “Coming events cast their shadows before!”

I believe in frankly telling an author how much one enjoys his work, and have myself often appreciated the pleasures of such spontaneous flattery. Was I not myself grateful to receive from Australian mothers letters thanking me for “having written the truth about the Turks.” Their sons were prisoners in Turkey.

General view of this charming Asiatic city.
p. 256

The Well-known Writer, Patriot, and Feminist Leader.
She has ridden all over Anatolia, making official reports for the Turkish Government concerning Greek atrocities.

High Commissioner for Constantinople.
Husband of Halidé Hanoum.
p. 208

Sarojini Naidu, also a friend of Halidé Hanoum, sent me an exquisite poem during the world’s despair. As the words went perfectly to the tune of “Rose in the Bud,” I have sung them again and again for conquest in sorrow, and rejoiced in their magic power. To 209those yearning for higher things, to whom words of faith bring comfort amidst the cold angles of life, the little poem may have its message:

Nay, do not weep tho’ life be full of sadness;
Dawn will not veil her splendour for your grief,
Nor spring withhold that bright appointed beauty
From lily’s blossom or Ashaka leaf.
Nay, do not pine tho’ life be full of trouble;
Time will not pause nor tarry on his way.
To-day that seems so long, so strange, so bitter,
Will soon be some forgotten yesterday.
Nay, do not weep—new hopes—new dreams—new faces,
The unspent joy of all the unborn years,
Will prove your heart a traitor to its sorrow
And make your eyes unfaithful to their tears.
Sarojini Naidu.

After the Constitution of 1918 had been proclaimed, “Freedom for Women” became one of the burning questions of the day. Here, Halidé Hanoum was almost immediately the acknowledged leader, and has ever since been urging her sisters, with noble eloquence, to take the position so long denied them in the life of the country. With her solid backing from Talaat and Djémal, Djavid and H. Djahid, she achieved wonders of awakening. In those old days I had myself contributed to some of the excellent women’s papers, which were brought out for the discussion of educational and social problems, among which I regret to have seen no more of that most promising sheet, the Kadinlar Dunyassi. At the request of the Department of Public Instruction, Halidé Hanoum drew up a programme of Education for Women and was herself appointed Chief Inspector of Schools.

By the letter of the law at least, Turkish women are in a much better position than women have yet secured among us—to the disgrace of Western liberty. They have always administered their own property, signed all documents relating to their own affairs, have the full privileges of a witness in the courts, and are allowed to plead their own cases—we have not.

210They were, unfortunately, kept back socially during the retrograde régime of the ruthless Hamid; but their fine work on the battle-fields of the Balkan wars, side by side in the ranks with their men, and their able organisation of the Red Crescent Society, carried them forward a hundred years.

There has been a certain amount of agitation for the abolition of the veil, but the tradition withstands reform, though it is now no more than a sort of toque, or turban, such as we also frequently wear. However, Halidé Hanoum—most advanced of feminists—has never herself abandoned the veil, probably seeing in it a Nationalist, if not a religious, symbolic significance.

I wish I could reproduce at least some of the finest passages from some of her lectures. The noble spirit of her inspiration yet speaks, even to those unable to follow her words. No one can marvel that she set her hearers on fire to save “all that remained of the Turkish Empire—Anatolia.” As she has written, “It is the love of race which first made the Turks a mighty people. Whatever may come, rest assured our race cannot die. It hath immortal life. Though we stand alone against the world, our love of race will give us courage. Till we can once more stand proudly beside the nations, we will fear no obstacle and shrink from no self-sacrifice!”

She gave to Mustapha Kemal Pasha, before his full powers were proven to all, the words found on the stone of an old Turkish Padishah:

“God appointed me ruler, that the name and fame of the Turkish race might not be extinguished. I was not appointed to rule over a rich, but over a poor, people, scantily supplied with food and clothing. For the Turkish race I slept not at night, I rested not by day, I worked for my people till death.”

Her work in Syria, interrupted, alas! by the war, has established her remarkable powers of organisation; and though she denies that she was ever actually in the Cabinet, no one can doubt that she would make a splendid Minister of Education. The deputies themselves are so eager for her admission to the Assembly, 211that we may easily soon hear that the department has been placed in her able hands.

At Beyrout she converted the big building of the Dames de Nazareth into a fine school, where, faithful to her Western training, she gave special prominence to Swedish drill, and where, as in the American colleges, Moslem and Christian sit side by side. When the English advanced in Syria she handed over her schools, and her Armenian and Turkish orphans, to the Americans, with the womanly entreaty that they would “care for them and, above all, make them good boys and girls.”

The Turkey of her dreams and ambitions stands for peace and territorial integrity, for progress in education and equal rights to Moslems and Christians. She knows when peace comes that England, with no thoughts of intrusion, will yet be only too glad to help. England is generous and hospitable. Turkish students, in medicine and other faculties, have long been with us (at Bedford College and elsewhere), conquering all difficulties of language, climate, and social customs, taking their degrees, etc, beside British women. Our schools, our hospitals and clubs will always welcome all who wish to come to us: as Halidé Hanoum knew well, before I reminded her.

Despite their limited heritage, often from mothers who cannot read or write, Turkish women are brilliant students. I well remember trying to interest the public in a friend of mine who, after specialising in Gynæcology at Dublin, secured a London M.D. But the paper which could not find space for this interesting achievement gaily printed long columns of “Arabian Nights” nonsense about the strange ways of Turkey which belonged, in fact, to the period of the woad-stained ancient Britons. If the public really must have cheap romance, they would not complain of an approximately correct date!

It is fortunate, indeed, for Turkey that their leading feminist will work for progress on sound lines, and is far too wise to see no farther for women than a junior partnership with men.

212There are, at present, but few feminine stars in the Turkish firmament. But all are loyally united in one common cause—to gain their freedom and save the Fatherland. It is too soon for us to indulge in prophecy on what their final self-organisation may achieve.

Halidé Hanoum, like so many others, is trying to regain the health she spent so generously during the war. Attached to the army as a sergeant, she followed the troops without a thought of danger and fatigue; and since the recent hostilities she has ridden from town to town throughout Anatolia, collecting and arranging her report of the Greek destruction and atrocities. This report, controlled by experts and neutral commissions, was sent to the Lausanne Conference. Halidé Hanoum’s expression is sad. “How can I help loving my Anatolian home?” she said. “It has cost us such a terrible price in lives and suffering to save our land, we naturally would all die now rather than live in slavery again.

“I am horrified to hear,” she went on, “that anyone can still attribute the fire in Smyrna to the Turks. Why do they not accuse them, too, of burning Asia Minor? Will it always have to be so? Although the Greek atrocities committed in our land are too horrible even to talk or write about, excuses are always found for the Greeks, while anything done by the Turks is grossly, unjustly exaggerated. If one Christian dies, the whole Christian world is concerned, as it should be. But, on the other hand, when a whole community of Moslems is wiped out, no one cares.... It is this spirit of injustice that exasperates Moslems. Now, however, our recent victory gives us the right to demand equal consideration with Europeans, no more, no less.” But, “speaking of Greek atrocities,” she continues, “the world has simply got to know what they were during this war. Dr. Nansen, of the League of Nations, is busy lecturing on the Greeks’ suffering, but what of the Turks’? All the terrible devastation to which you can testify, all the number of women and children burnt and violated; the world must have 213these figures to pass judgment on the Greeks. This eternal and unjust fault-finding with the Turk not only breaks his spirit (remember he is an Asiatic), but incites him to do things he never otherwise would think of doing. It is a most dangerous policy.”

With regard to the Conference, Halidé Hanoum seems to have lost her usual optimism. “Are we right to have faith?” she asked. “We all of us welcomed a change in the British Government, and hoped that our interests would be impartially discussed at Lausanne, but what is happening?”

The two actions which Halidé Hanoum considers most unjust to Turkey are the endeavours to exempt Christians from military service and the retention of the Greek Patriarch. “After the effort we have made to be free, we must have our country to ourselves, and if the Greeks expect equal rights with the Moslems, they must fight for those citizen rights. As to the Patriarch, imagine asking us to keep a man who had taken advantage of his sacred calling to turn his flock against us.... Will the Western Powers always interfere? All our history goes to prove that Turks and Christians have lived together in perfect harmony. When the Powers began to interfere, however, the Christians showed the basest ingratitude. They invented the most wicked stories, knowing there was no justice for us, and that whatever they said would be believed. Now the Powers who turned the Christians against us cannot keep their promises. The Christians want to come back to us. But we will have no more interference.

“If the Conference is only to be an excuse to wear the Turks out, why should we wait, only to fight in the end? A policy of slow death is intolerable. We do not seek war, though we are ready to fight, because we want to build up our country, take care of and educate our people, and give them a little of the comfort and happiness they deserve. Rather than have an unjust vassal-peace,” she concluded, “let us perish altogether.”

214The picture of Halidé Hanoum confronts us on all sides throughout Anatolia. Among the heroes of the revolutions, the Turks reverence her as their Joan of Arc. No history of the Nationalist movement can ever be attempted or thought of without a full record of her courageous loyalty and untiring patriotism.

I was once asked to suggest the best way of helping forward the cause of women in Turkey. I naturally answered that I would give them England’s best: her social and nursing service, but, above all, her literature. M. Henri Taine wrote of us: “The English are a horrible race, but they have done all there is to be done in literature.” It has always made me ashamed to find so few English books in Turkish schools. Of course, at present, our language is not widely known among these people; but, as the nations of the world grow closer in thought and faith, one hopes that they, too, may share the inspiration and moral uplifting so many have found in our best classics.

We should surely endeavour to remove the reproach implied by the words of Professor E. J. Browne: “French influence has played too large a part, both in the political and literary field, in the evolution of New Turkey, and French ideas have too long dominated Turkish reformers.”

The life of Florence Nightingale and her precepts, our science and the writings of George Eliot, these few names and ideas may serve to indicate the treasure we have for all men. Our literature is a gold mine, which I, for one, long to see given its full honour and pre-eminence in the education and development of the women of Turkey.




One’s first impression of Angora would lead one to imagine that everything could be seen in a very short time; but the days pass, and there is still much to be done. I have visited the Governor, and congratulated him on the progress of the town’s development, which has advanced steadily, even since my arrival. If there were only peace, one could soon hope for completion.

My guide, Vely Nedjdat Bey, understands what will interest me most; and the efforts of the Red Crescent, disclosed on our round of the hospitals, have given me a most agreeable surprise. The sanitation leaves much to be desired from our Western standards, but progressive Turks have now learnt the importance of such matters, and are determined to change their old ways, after the peace. It would be a formidable undertaking, at the moment impossible, to carry out the drastic alterations that are essential in these primitive buildings, with no modern heating apparatus, and so few well-trained professional nurses. Under such conditions they have done marvels with serum, and have actually kept down cholera, typhus, typhoid, and small-pox with extraordinary success. It is only unfortunate that they have adopted the French method of typhoid-inoculation right into the breast, which, though often effective, is certainly dangerous for women.

The military hospital at Broussa—formerly the 216Splendid Hotel, overlooking a magnificent stretch of landscape—is excellently organised; and though asked for criticism by Dr. Nazoum, head of the Army Medical Service, I could not think of any improvement to suggest.

We spent a morning at the Lycée for Girls, which was interesting, though I could not, of course, follow any of the classes in detail. Here, again, one can obtain the most charming views of the town of Angora, and I told the headmistress how I longed to carry away their wonderful front door. She was, evidently, pleased by the sincerity of my compliment, and had no fear lest I should follow the example of the Ambassador at Constantinople. His wife had so greatly admired a superb Byzantine fountain in our garden, that my host promptly gave orders for it to be dug up and sent to the Embassy, where it still remains!

Young as she seemed, the headmistress clearly recognised the responsibilities of her position, which were—at once so hampered and so increased—in a state of war. At many of the Lycées in Anatolia there was a man as headmaster, his wife being the headmistress; during the war the men, of course, had all gone! Education, after all, can do nothing if there is no Fatherland—no one to educate!

One class was being instructed by a hodja on the meaning of their prayers and the general principles of the Faith; and I also heard classes in history and geography, literature and hygiene. I was told that, in hygiene, the subject that morning was the evils of alcohol as a beverage. They were taught, however, in what ways alcohol can be used actually to benefit mankind. All honour to those who teach their children, from the first, the terrible curse of drink!

The girls recited patriotic poems for my benefit which sounded very beautiful to the foreign ear. It is, I suppose, the sequence of even and uneven syllables which produce this musical effect. They were taught, apparently, in all subjects to stand up and answer questions in a short speech: surely an admirable 217training, likely to ensure their knowing how to use the language in writing and speaking with far more correctness, elegance, and effect than most of our young people ever attempt.

I peeped into the dormitories, which, like the class-rooms, seemed in excellent order. Coffee and tea were laid out for us in the recreation-room; and before we left the head-girl expressed their pleasure and thanks in what was—evidently—a neat and charming little speech.

I felt, however, that, like the headmistress of Broussa College, my hostess no doubt regretted that there were now neither Greeks nor Armenians at the school. There had been no more difficulty in the class-rooms than elsewhere through life, as to maintaining perfect harmony between Moslem and Christian. I was told that, though the latter were generally supposed to be the cleverer, Turkish girls were, in a way, more keen and quick to learn. They had, at any rate, a quite friendly desire not to be beaten, and now they miss the valuable competition.

In olden days, though women even attained to fame in politics and literature, the general standard for education was elementary, and no public provision for it had been made.

Primary schools were started about sixty years ago; secondary and professional schools soon followed. There are now girls’ schools wherever one for boys has been established; in most towns also a Lycée for Girls, and Normal Colleges in many counties of Asia Minor. There is a Training College at Constantinople, from which the senior students also attend lectures at the Women’s University, which shares laboratories and lectures—in science and medicine—with the University for men. I suspect, sometimes, Mustapha Kemal Pasha may introduce co-education throughout!

So much interesting literature has been produced by the Nationalist movement, that one must hope Professor E. G. Browne may, one day, pursue his splendid 218defence of Turkey by giving us extensive extracts from these writers in English. The greatest of all our living scholars in Turkish, Persian, and Arabic, he has devoted his whole life to the fascinating subject; and Prince Samad Khan has told me that he lectures in Persian without the trace of an accent.

Graciously writing a Preface to my “Englishwoman in a Turkish Harem,” he said that as “a friend and admirer of the Turks, as well as a student of their language and literature, it is always a satisfaction to me to find a fresh opportunity of testifying to my belief in the virtues of this much-maligned and ill-used race.”

Recent events, however, seem to have paralysed his enthusiasm, bringing depression that killed his zeal for the task he now felt it would be of no avail to pursue.

The Nationalist victory, let us hope, will encourage him to resume work with a revived, and ever greater, enthusiasm. I had intended, indeed, to ask him for a summary of the “Nationalist Literary Revival,” by way of a chapter in this book. But there was not time to presume so far on the kindness he has never refused to show.

I have, therefore, reproduced, to the best of my ability, a few notes put together for me by that distinguished Professor, Hussein Raghib Bey, formerly Director of the Angora Press, and now Charge d’Affaires at the Paris Embassy. He is an exceptionally well-informed critic in the education, literature and politics of his own country, which travel also enables him to compare with the educational systems of Europe. He told me that, while he admired the thoroughness of German methods, he could not tolerate their unjust administration of corporal punishment, which, in his judgment, vitiated the whole system. Turkish schools have all adopted French methods; and, myself a proud pupil of the École Normale Supérieure de Sèvres, I do not believe there is any finer instruction in the world. But in the fullest sense of real and complete education, the best work is being done in 219England. The ideal would seem to be a combination of the two.

Hussein Raghib took me right back to the “Divans,” a collection, or portfolio, of more or less national poems, celebrating the virtues of God and the Prophet. Love-poetry does not begin before Fouzouli, in the reign of Suliman the Magnificent. Any ghazals (i.e., love songs) that I have heard sung here do not seem to express our conception of love. The music sounds more tender and mournful than passionate, and the song itself is often addressed to the Unknown, to Love in the Abstract, and not to the individual Beloved. Again and again I caught the word “pity,” suggesting ideas and moods we should not expect to find.

After the “Divans,” we notice the strong influence of Persian literature in Turkey, even the introduction of Persian words—a consequence, no doubt, of wars in Persia and Arabia. Moreover, the Koran was then a predominating influence in all literature, as well as in science; and Arabic was the language of religion.

It was Selim, to whom the King of Egypt handed over the Holy Relics—the standard, the coat, and the wooden sculptured shoes—with the solemn injunction, “They are yours—to hold; for you are qualified to be Khalife.” From that day and for ever, any Khalife who shall desert his guardianship of the Relics is, by that sin, self-deposed. And Great Britain, the largest Moslem Power in the whole world, revealed her ignorance, or her indifference, by calling Wahid-Eddin, “The Khalife,” long after his escape to Malta!

We see, then, that in the days of Sultan Mahmoud (that is, in our eighteenth century), the Turkish language was largely composed of Arabic and Persian, through the influence of religion. Then, precisely as our people in the old days could not read or speak the scholar’s Latin of our great literature, the people of Turkey could not understand their own writers.

220It was about 1339 (in our nineteenth century) that the cultured and intelligent Schinassi Effendi was sent to France. As other scholars and men of letters began to study Western culture in England, in her turn, Turkey was following European progress, towards desertion of any scholastic influences and academic style. Windows, that looked Westwards, were opening at last, to religion and literature alike.

Schinassi Effendi was inspired by a fine, broad-minded enthusiasm. He secured introductions to Lamartine and other great French writers; and, when he returned to Constantinople, immediately set to work upon a complete revolution of style and outlook in Turkish literature. With an ideal of most admirable and direct simplicity, he succeeded in modelling the language upon the best French, clear and logical way of construction.

Perhaps the most distinguished of his pupils were Namik Kemal Bey and Adbul Hak-Hamid; but there were many who helped to extend, and establish, his literary revolution. They did not, of course, cut away the whole traditional influence of the Arabs and the Persians; but, with orderly methods that were Western, produced almost a new Turkish language (which their own people could read and appreciate) that was perfectly adapted for the artistic and imaginative expression of modern thought and contemporary life. The European style and intellect, in its purely native setting, was, naturally, most apparent in their fiction.

Namik Kemal Bey was among those who died in exile for their ideals, leaving behind him some most touching pages in honour of the English character and constitution. When Zeyneb came to England she read some of his work to me, just at the time when some of our Liberal statesmen, to their eternal shame, had begun to declare their admiration for the Russia of the Czars. We arranged open-air meetings outside Sloane Square Station and at a big Opera House—to 221protest against the British M.P.’s visit to Russia. Zeyneb’s comment was simple: “What would our great Kemal say?” Constitutional England allied to Czarist Russia!

The acknowledged leader of the New literature was Abdul Hak-Hamid, for some time a member of the Turkish Embassy in London. Schinassi and Kemal stood half-way between the past and this great modern writer, representing, also, patriotism in literature, as it dominated prose, at the declaration of the Constitution.

At this time, of course, “patriotism” meant “the Revolution of 1908,” a united attack on the tyranny of Abdul Hamid, who had persecuted Turks, Greeks, and Armenians alike.

Once the Constitution had been proclaimed, however, the Armenians turned to Russia for help to establish their own independence; the Greeks sought to revive an “Empire” from Athens.

The Turks, who had never hesitated to appoint a Greek or an Armenian among their Viziers and Foreign Ministers, who always sent Christian Ambassadors to England, and who had chosen the Armenian, Gabriel Effendi Nouradunghian, for their Minister of Foreign Affairs, were now driven to concentrate their betrayed enthusiasm upon building up a Turkish nation of their own—for themselves alone.

Their scholars, therefore, devoted themselves to scientific research; social institutions were founded; they studied philosophy, national economy, and sociology; they prepared their own ethnography, history, and geography, and the reformed Turkish language.

They had, as it were, to build up a complete learning; almost a universal knowledge; a true world-culture for Eastern peoples; that, by its “National” inspiration, should create for Turkey a spirit and a soul.

That great savant, Zia Gueuk Alp, one of the Malta victims, and afterwards Professor of Sociology at 222Constantinople, has done more for the New literature than any other one writer; as Mehmet Emin Bey, who lives at Adalia, is their leading poet. They have others, of course, who produced fine work; among whom Yahia Kemal would probably prove the outstanding genius, had he the energy to maintain his highest gifts. The pangs of a Nation’s Birth, out of Sacrifice, have found voice.

There are two women of genius in this group. To Halidé Hanoum we have already devoted a chapter, in honour of a wise and passionate personality that has impressed itself on the whole history of a generation. We in England, I hope, are shortly to have a translation of her remarkable “Nouveau Touran.”

Mufidé Hanoum (Mme. Ferid Bey) also approaches, though she has not reached, the outstanding genius of Halidé Hanoum. She is a younger woman, a less experienced writer, and, maybe, she lacks the inspiration that comes from long strain and suffering.

“There are others,” concluded Hussein Raghib, “whom you ought to know, though they are not equally great.”

“But I’ve stayed too long already,” I replied, “interrupting your work.”

And busy men, even in the East, must not neglect the State for courtesies too prolonged.

Hussein Raghib himself has published a very delightful “Story of Nationalism,” dating from the Closing of the Turkish Parliament. “As a matter of fact,” he writes, “the Turc Odjagui was the beginning of Nationalism.” This was a club founded by Hamdoullah Soubhi Bey as a protest against “Union and Progress,” and to place the movement on a national, as opposed to a party, basis. Halidé Hanoum and other prominent women were admitted; and its three thousand members included professional men like officers, lawyers, doctors, professors and writers; and men of all nationalities—Greeks and Armenians, Persians and Arabs. It was closed by the English, but has recently been re-assembled.

Mustapha Kemal Pasha contributed handsomely 223to the funds, and Hamdoullah Soubhi came from Angora for the re-opening. “As our territory has become smaller, our intellectual empire must become wider,” said Hussein Raghib. “That is the spirit behind the club.” I had, unfortunately, to leave for Lausanne before the opening ceremony.

I have just been to the famous Hadgi Bairam Mosque, and found its chief charm, as I expected, in the exquisite colouring of the carpets and antique faïences. These glowing scarlets and blues, mauves and terra-cottas, surely compensate, in some measure, for all the grey that overshadows life. Europe would not seem so sordid if we imported more bright colours from the East—for our East Ends! Nothing fascinates me so much as the atmosphere of a mosque; the un-selfconsciousness and natural reverence of the men at prayers; out of the world, in Allah’s home.

Surely faith is the same for all men, making all men equal!

“The gods,” said my guide, “are three—Goodness, Beauty, and Truth.”

“To which I would add Courage,” was my response.

“As you please,” he answered.

He told me that “The Pasha” and the first Deputies all came to visit the Mosque before the opening of the Grand National Assembly, joined by everyone in Angora—even sceptics—“to lift our hands to Heaven in prayer, confident that victory must be ours.”

We went on to the tomb of the Sainted Man, robed in shawl and turban, after the picturesque Eastern manner. The guardian of the tomb was seated before it on his crossed legs, reading the Koran; and around him were many women, weeping over their prayers.... “Is it for peace, or for their dead?” I wondered!

That afternoon I determined to try and find out 224all I could about the army from some of my friends at the Assembly.

“You are very indiscreet,” said the officer, whose attention I had managed to secure.

“I know that,” was my reply; “it is a little like asking St. Peter for just a peep into Heaven. But you can tell me something?”

“What do you wish to know? Our normal military service is for three years. We naturally have to adopt conscription for an indefinite period in times of war.”

“What was the meaning of the large crowd at the Town Hall to-day?”

“They were enlisting. We cannot let go now. The sovereign rights of the people must be maintained.”

“You were beaten to the dust in the Great War,” I suggested.

“We were defeated in Palestine. But most of our troops went to Cilicia; we were victorious in the Dardanelles and the Caucasus. Few of the Powers were forced to scatter their forces along so many frontiers.

“The English were nowhere near Mosul,” he went on, “and they never really broke up our army; they just took possession of Constantinople and, through the Greeks, of Smyrna. They taught us the fait accompli.

“It was necessary for us, of course, after the rupture with Constantinople, to reorganise the whole army. The Pasha was forced to call in officers to train companies, even irregulars. Ali Fuad commanded in the North; Refet Pasha in the South. At the first battle we had two big guns only!

Director of the Angora Press.
He sent a charming message to the author of this book complimenting her on her courage.
p. 224

“The work went on day and night: collecting and training men, making or repairing arms and munitions, gathering metal—often from railway lines. No one thought of rest till all was ready in numbers and construction. We had ten thousand men in July, 1920, we are four hundred thousand to-day! We obtained four hundred and fifty big guns, and a fleet 225of aeroplanes from the Greeks; a thousand machine-guns, besides clothing, tents, horses and mules, from the English.

“Now we have no grounds for fear, though you in England will not attempt to realise our Mosul figures: Turks, 150,000; Kurds, 450,000; Arabs, 30,000; Nestorians, 30,000. The Kurds wish to unite with us. The Nestorians will fight, either as independent allies or under Turkish officers.”

“Colonel Mougin says that your army is the best officered in the world,” I said.

“Our Staff is composed of picked men with great experience and knowledge; the officers have been chosen with great care. We are young, energetic, well-trained, and, above all, fired with enthusiasm for the cause.

“There is no calling more honoured than that of the army. None may marry without the consent of his superior officer.”

“Can he marry a Christian?” I asked.

He hesitated a moment, and then replied: “It isn’t done.”

“Ah!” I smiled, “you have stolen our English credo.”




Angora, certainly, carries one back to the centuries before Christ; although we now realise that life was by no means without its luxury in those bygone days. As the houses of Pompeii were warmed by hot air behind the walls, and the baths were not only hygienic but luxurious, it would puzzle one to find what now remains in Angora from the comfortable period of Augustus. There is also a prehistoric atmosphere about Smyrna, or as it was once wittily expressed: “Since its deliverance from Greeks and Armenians, it has the charm of Sodom and Gomorrah after the fire.”

But every day I am more at a loss to imagine where the thirty thousand inhabitants of Angora are living to-day. I have seen some of them in their charmingly improvised houses, made homelike by the marvellous carpets of the East; but, as one always goes back to one’s first love, I give up the problem, and return to talk with the “élite” at the Assembly.

One day I found the Director of the Angora Press, Aga Aglou Ahmed Bey, in his tasteful little ante-room, and learnt that he, too, found it hard to forgive the recent policy of Great Britain. He repeated, also, the note of despair I hear so often: “Whatever we do is wrong.”

“Yet,” he added, “had our movement originated in America, we should have had the whole world at our feet. All growing nations have been allowed to separate Church and State. We have, indeed, 227troubles within and without, but they have only strengthened the spirit of Nationalism, which the Pasha himself could not now destroy.

“Alas, poor Turkey! Abdul Hamid disposed of Turks with amazing dexterity: he lost them, killed them, or forgot them; and who cared? They were not Christians!

“Look what it cost us to depose the ‘Red’ Sultan, and then we had the ‘Black’ Sultan. When we got rid of him, Europe was not pleased. See how the English are defending him; though one of your charming countrymen told me they would not give him ‘house-room’ in your own country.”

I suggested, and Halidé Hanoum agreed, we could not refuse to find a safe home for our vassal; although, certainly, his visit to Mecca could not be justified by our refusal to go on paying his board in Malta.

Ahmed Bey expressed his enthusiasm for Lord Curzon’s books on the East. As a young student, he told me, he had written glowing appreciations of this brilliant statesman, in whom all the Moslems had once put their trust. From Malta, he wrote to Lord Curzon: “One of your greatest admirers, who has often expressed his eulogies in public, is now in prison, a prisoner of peace, taken out of his bed....”

The names of Calthorpe and Milne will go down through the history of Turkey; but not to the credit of England.

Here is the charming message sent to me by Aga Aglou Ahmed Bey, Director of the Press of Angora:—

“I am, indeed, sorry that illness prevents my coming to tell you personally what your visit means to us, and the feelings of gratitude and respect that you inspire in the hearts of all the Turks by your courage and love of the truth....”

I was particularly glad to hear that although, like most of his compatriots, Ahmed Bey holds that all propaganda is foreign to the character of the Turks, he has determined to open a “Bureau of Information” as soon as Peace is signed. I cannot doubt that this will be a great benefit to all Islam.

228My propaganda,” I told him, “would be inspired by the determination to blazon abroad the marvellous kindness of all your race. Few people have any idea how hospitable and generous the Turks have been.”

“Dear Mademoiselle,” he replied, “you are right. We have not the sky-scrapers of New York; but we have big hearts. Yet we have given you so little comfort....”

“You have given me your best, and I appreciate it. Hygiene and luxury are not everything; though I have a pet theory of my own as to the holding of hands between East and West in the realm of hygiene: ‘First, I wash myself à la West, or, as you call it, in dirty water; then I perfect the ceremony à la East, that is, in running water. On the other hand, for a bath, I like to start with the Turkish and end with the English. You see I am already half-Oriental.’”

Though rather exceptionally sympathetic and broad-minded, I gathered from the Director that he, and others, were not quite so enthusiastic about the French, as they, certainly, had been quite recently. Much was expected of France at Lausanne, and they were disappointed in proportion.

The Athenaeum published a strange comment on my last book about Turkey, from a writer who claimed to know the East: “When a race becomes disciplined and energetic, the number of blonde women becomes greater!” I should not myself call many Turkish men I met blonde; but I have a certain impression of noticing a number of surprisingly fair men in Angora; and, maybe, the energy of the Nationalists is thus evidenced in the lighter colouring of their hair. If there be even a grain of truth in the theory, it seems a pity that women of all nations should resort to peroxide and henna, when a little hard work would have a better, and more lasting, effect.

To-day, one feels the Grand National Assembly has achieved success, and is permanently established. 229This sense of security is, no doubt, partly derived from remembering what earlier parliaments, with scarcely less loyal enthusiasm, attempted, and failed to achieve. I remember my first visit to Adbul Hamid’s Parliament, and the big hopes by which we were all then inspired. It had been no easy matter to overthrow that hideous tyrant, and we have no reason to blame that Government for not realising our full expectations. Other governments in other countries have failed again and again on their road to ultimate success. On that opening day, too, I remember seeing, with pity and respect, a pale and lonely figure, seated silent among the general rejoicings, unnoticed and forgotten. It was the son of the great Midhat, who had established a still earlier parliament. All honour to the pioneers.

On another occasion Djellal Noury Bey, deputy for Gallipoli and editor of the Constantinople Illeri (or “Forwards”), gave me some further impressions of the “Pasha” and of many interesting Anatolian problems. However closely the leaders agree on general principles, it is always helpful to compare as many individual points of view as one can obtain. Djellal Noury has been to England and the States, and speaks perfect English and French. We have mutual friends in London.

I asked whether I might go over the National Pact with him, clause by clause; as although, or rather because, I am so keen a friend to Nationalism, I want to be sure whether there are any points in their scheme, or their aims and attitude, that I do find fault with, or should like to criticise.

He seemed only too delighted that anyone should care so much for a full discussion of their important work, and put everything before me as clearly and thoroughly as I could possibly wish.

But I could find nothing unreasonable in a single clause, if the Turkish nation is to achieve real nationality.

As business men, for example, can the foreigners 230justly wish to maintain exemption from taxes? As Djellal Noury explained it: “The European and the Turk buy goods, say at five francs. The European pays no taxes and can sell for six francs. As the Turk pays a tax, he has to charge seven francs, and, being cut out in price, is naturally left with a large stock in hand. These are conditions which, obviously, cannot be maintained. Capitulations have strangled the commerce of the country and its progress.

“It may happen that one Power takes out a Concession for the railways, but cannot, or will not, fulfil ifs contract. We have to go without railways. We cannot go elsewhere when a Concession has been granted.”

I complimented Djellal Noury upon the excellence of his French. “I used to edit a French paper,” he replied, as he looked round the ante-room in search of anyone to whom I might especially like to be introduced. For my part, my attention had just been caught by one of the hodjas.

“These people do not think as we do,” he said, catching the direction of my glance.

“Then you are anti-Islam?”

“Not at all; I am strongly pro-Islam. The broad-minded dogmas of our religion can meet all modern requirements, moral or spiritual. But the Koran is not properly interpreted by the hodjas. The will of the people is our religion; service is worship!”

I remember a story of Mahomet I heard in Turkey. “The prophet was one day walking with his disciples, and passed a group of workmen on the river’s bank who did not stop their task, even to salute him. When his disciples inquired whether these men should not be called to order, he replied: ‘Work and service are the greatest homage that the faithful can pay to their prophet.’”

I had already conceived the idea that Nationalism is a religion. One sees the National Pact beside the bedside, as we have our prayer-books. Colonel Tewfik has a copy, bound like a small almanac, in 231his waistcoat pocket. The principles of Angora are their “Holy Gospel.” To be a Nationalist is to stand for your country’s most vital interests.

We spoke of the Press—Turkish as well as British. The whole Turkish Press stands for Nationalism, irrespective of any opposed local opinions or interests. With us, the fine independence of other days has departed—one hopes not for ever. In the hands of a few party-peers one could, perhaps, expect nothing better. Were it not anti-Islam, one would name the Manchester Guardian as the most honest newspaper to-day.

Djellal Noury had given up so many afternoons to explaining to me the whole policy of Nationalism, that I was grieved to hear of his having called to see me one afternoon when a party had been arranged for me by the colonel to join one of their shooting expeditions. I wish he could have been persuaded to join us.

A special carriage and two of the finest horses in Angora had been requisitioned for the occasion; and though the colonel was prevented, at the last moment, from being with us, we made up four guns, and every man had two rows of cartridges round his waist.

I had visions of our coming Sunday lunch; but, alas! it was bitterly cold (in spite of rugs and shawls) on these lovely and picturesque roads, white with frost; and when we had waited a whole afternoon for the shooters to shoot, someone at last bagged a magpie.

Passing a flock of geese, by which the old woman of a tiny roadside farm was standing sentinel, I asked one of the party to hand me a gun with which to shoot one of the geese by mistake. I remembered in time, however, that the only time I had ever aimed at a rabbit, I killed a fox; and I was afraid that by aiming at the goose I should probably shoot the lady.

So they toiled on for another hour with no better result, and we began to hesitate about facing the colonel and the director of the Ottoman Bank, where we had all been invited to Sunday lunch. But on the way back we were lucky enough to buy a fine, plump hare from two peasant women we passed on the road; and the colonel 232was boldly informed that it had fallen to Osman Noury. “Madame Noury must cook him,” cried the colonel, with a laugh that struck one as rather suspicious. The colonel supplied champagne; Mme. Noury superintended the hare and the pilaw; Boghetti brought some fruit; Oeillet was responsible for the cigarettes.

When behold, to the manifest discomfort of Osman Noury, the colonel began asking awkward questions about the “where’s and when’s.” “Be careful,” I said, “the colonel is going to wire to his Government about it.” When the laughter subsided, Osman Noury blushingly explained that it had cost him two Turkish pounds! I am sure neither the fact nor the confession diminished our enjoyment of the merry feast.

I have been very ill to-day, on the point of slipping out of this world altogether. Not realising the danger of close proximity to a mangal, I carried the precious warmth into my bedroom, to feast on its exquisite purple flames, which I just remember comparing to a sunset. Fortunately, my faithful maid was in the room when I lost consciousness, and I was carried out of the poisonous air.

The colonel told me afterwards that before they knew whether I should recover, he was possessed of a horrible panic that he could never persuade his Government I had died by accident.... Everyone will say “the Turks poisoned you and the Frenchman let them do it.” Well, I am still here, and the papers have lost an excellent opportunity for lying copy. M. Louis Steeg declares: “You surely will never die!”

The Pasha has graciously lent me his car for a visit to Halidé Hanoum. It is a pretty little machine, lined with blue velvet, which hops and bumps and plunges along the roads like a kangaroo, swimming across the river for more miles of twisting acrobatics. I have always admired the carriage-drivers: before (or rather behind) M. Kemal’s chauffeur I am dumb. But, apparently, the cars “don’t mind”!

I was imprudent enough to dismiss my conductor 233at the nearest point to my host’s house, which even he could not reach, and walked on to find the servants had all disappeared, no doubt to the Mosque, and the family were not at home! Being in Turkey I did not hesitate to step down the road and knock at the first door I came to, which was of plain deal, with the usual huge lock (quite a foot long) and picturesque knocker. A thin-faced woman appeared to welcome me, and, without thinking, I fell back on my stock greeting: “Mustapha Kemal Pasha, Chok Guzel!” Accepting my muddy boots without demur, she smilingly led me into her little two-roomed cabin: on one side, the sleeping-room with its bed and well-cushioned divan; on the other, her simple kitchen. When she had tucked me up on the Divan, and given me coffee and cigarettes, I did my best at conversation, and by friendly signs tried to convey my gratitude. “England is a big country ... M. Kemal’s victory splendid ... cold weather outside,” my eyes and hands said.

If she did not exactly understand what was in my mind, she was polite enough to seem thoroughly interested. I sat on till I could hear the servants arriving at my host’s house, and with another supply of coffee, she smiled me farewell, without the slightest appearance of having resented my lengthy intrusion. They are hospitable in Anatolia!

Another person I met with pleasure at the Assembly was Hamdoullah Soubhi Bey. He is a distinguished writer and orator of about thirty-five, whose white hair offers a striking contrast to the alert youthfulness of his face and expression. He has spoken “cultured” French from the cradle; as, indeed, so many women of the upper classes know that language far better than Turkish. Zeyneb uses French in writing to Halidé Hanoum, being, no doubt, unwilling to trust her Turkish to so brilliant a writer.

It must have been Hamdoullah Soubhi whom I heard, about ten years ago, plead so eloquently for 234the abolition of the harem. When he showed us what polygamy so often meant to the children, few of his large audience could keep back their tears. The colonel had introduced him, and said that he had been the Minister of Education. “Why did he give up the post?” I asked. “Ah, pourquoi!” shrugged my friend, “it is a delight to talk with him. You, who love French, will indeed enjoy the exquisite language in which he clothes his thoughtful opinions. Such men are an ornament to any parliament.”

Hamdoullah Soubhi does not seem to feel so leniently towards the Greeks as M. Kemal, and is less optimistic about their return. It had been supposed, he told me, that the marked differences between the two races would balance each other; but it has not proved so, and, in his judgment, they would always clash. “Our Anatolians, so long neglected and forgotten, are as they were three thousand years ago: honourable, firmly resisting all tempest, faithful to the traditions of their race, loyal to their chosen leader in the hour of danger.”

I told him it should be a lesson for us in Europe, to find a map of Asia Minor in all the humble homes; while my host, the Minister of Public Works, always brings his map on to our breakfast table, to familiarise me with all the geography of these wide lands. We are now studying Diarbékir and Kurdistan, not only the wonderful old towns, but the character of their cultured inhabitants. No wonder our Lausanne delegates have so affronted Turkey by their lofty allusions to the “illiterate” Kurd!

“How can our younger civilisations, however advanced in science and commerce, ever have been so self-satisfied as to suppose that we could keep down such people for ever?”

“Our forty millions,” answered Hamdoullah Soubhi, “will not be so easily suppressed. Remember, our language is spoken beyond the borders of China, and our civilisation can be traced all over the world.”

When I afterwards met Hamdoullah Soubhi, in a little restaurant adjoining the Assembly buildings, 235he was accompanied by a brother of the late Djémal Pasha. I was glad of the opportunity to tell him that, “whatever the political mistakes of their former leader, I felt that the Turks had lost a great man.”

The proprietor of this little restaurant is also a professor. He determined that, while cooks, and indeed all servants, were almost impossible to obtain, the deputies should suffer no inconvenience. Now they all either drop in at the professor’s, or ask him to send them a snack to one of the rooms of the Assembly. The ready courtesy with which he offered to contrive a meal à l’anglaise, for my special benefit, clearly showed he is always willing to do his best.

H. Soubhi Bey’s tastes are very simple, and he detests show or bluff. “We discard superstitions, alike in life and religion,” he said; “only the solid foundations of truth can resist the storm. Our National Pact, like our faith, is solid, positive, and true.”

On one occasion I met Haïdar Bey, député for Vannes, the colonel’s adviser on rugs and carpets, whom he calls “the old brigand.” He told me, however, “the fellow was not dangerous;” and I surprised him by declaring that I had fallen in love, at the age of eight, with Hadji Stavros, Edmund About’s “King of the Mountains,” and, in consequence, was perfectly at home with brigands.

HAÏDAR Bey does not carry the chaplet, which so many Orientals are always counting, in order to check the temptation to smoke, but I noticed he was clenching a piece of wax. “He’s training his muscles,” laughed the colonel. “Brigands, you know, have to keep themselves very fit!”

He seemed to me, as a matter of fact, to have suffered more, physically, from the allied occupation than anyone else I met, except Essad Pasha, the celebrated oculist, obviously destined for constant pain to the end of his days.

236HAÏDAR Bey had sworn he would never again speak to an Englishman on account of our officers’ treatment of his mother. I could only assure him, with all the earnestness at my command, that the people of England abominated every form of personal cruelty; and that one day, when the facts were known, we should officially apologise, as I now privately expressed my horror and shame.

His response was characteristic of these generous people! He arranged for me a really charming little supper-party; making graceful allusions to England as she was before the war; and as, since my visit, he had decided to think of her ... “I will only remember the occupation as a hideous nightmare!”

I could sincerely say I had enjoyed every minute of the evening, from the Circassian chicken specially prepared for me, to the Oriental music and Abdul Hamid’s own cigarettes.

Our host himself had graciously come for us an hour before the appointed time; a prudent gallantry, to ensure the arrival of his guests in the crowded quarter described as “near the pump, which is perhaps near the Mosque”! with neither street-name nor number to assist the traveller.

Aided by sticks and lanterns, we accordingly prepared to face the dangers of the way. It was impossible to hear oneself speak in the biting wind; and our host, with his “lantern under thy feet,” as the Bible calls it, was fully occupied in guiding us away from big stones and wide holes.

We were glad to reach his dimly-lighted room; over-heated, indeed, to Western ideas; and sink into the cushioned divans covered with his priceless rugs. The mézé, or meal of hors d’œuvres, was served the moment we arrived, with dainty dishes of fruit, cheese and olives.

The choirmaster of the Christian church had been specially invited to bring his band for our benefit. I found that, like so many of the Christians, even the priests, he had scarcely any Armenian. Indeed, they all wear the fez and speak of “our” 237country, “our” victories, and “our” ghazi Pasha! It was in a Christian church that I once heard the following prayer: “May the all powerful God bless our beloved nation Turkey, and all the heroic sons and children of this nation to which we are so proud to belong. Give grace and health to our commander, Mustapha Kemal Pasha the ghazi, and to all the Ministers of the National Assembly, and all those who have sacrificed their life and comfort for our welfare.” The priest assured me that no one had “asked” him to offer up any such prayer, which was the spontaneous expression of his own feelings!

All Armenians consider themselves “at home” in Turkey; as the Welsh are “at home” in England. About the same proportion know the language, the national songs, history and literature, as we find in Wales. The priest preaches in Turkish because he desires the congregation to understand him; though, if he knows Armenian, part of the Mass is said in that language, for the sake of sentiment.

In these days, of course, the races have been provoked to mutual jealousies and suspicions. I overheard greetings that certainly sounded like the happy reunion of long-parted friends, and were, indeed, accompanied by all the outward and visible signs of affection, which the dignity of the European must always suppress.

“We have missed you,” cried the affectionate Turk; “life is not what it used to be. None of us can take your place.”

And the Armenian replied at once: “It was cruel to turn us against you. Those horrible English—that Lloyd George!”

They spoke of the happy days when the Armenians took care of Turkish children, whose parents had gone on pilgrimage to Mecca. Now they have come back the best of friends; and I believe, as they do, that not even the English could ever separate them again.

One of the guests, the Italian director of the Ottoman Bank, was very anxious that Colonel Mougin and I should not miss these signs of a permanent 238reconciliation. “You see,” he said, “it is only the Turks themselves who can protect ‘minorities.’ It is easy enough for any Armenian to get on with them. The supposed antipathies are made in the States.”

The Governor-General of the Ottoman Bank, M. Louis Steeg, also begged me to do all in my power to stop this useless propaganda. The Armenians are begging to be ‘left alone.’”

It is manifest again that Mustapha Kemal includes Christian minorities in the “New Turkey” he has determined to save from veils, harems, and lattices; the crumbling remains of Byzantium, anti-progressive Hodjas, and the Byzantian Patriarch imposed on Constantinople!

Certainly these Christian musicians gave us only Turkish music and songs: love songs, military airs, the Moslem ‘Hymn of Independence’ (known to every child in the land), Anatolian folk-songs, and, most interesting and incomprehensible of all, the weird, piping solo that accompanies the dancing dervishes, a combination of sacred mystery, sentiment and melancholy.

Unfortunately, no European can expect to enter fully into Turkish music without a good deal of study.

And yet, deeply as I feel the charm of Eastern landscapes, the glorious sunsets or brilliant sunshine revealing white minarets against the black cypress, I still hold dearer memories of the old talks with my Turkish sister, beside the roseate mangal, as she revealed to me the fascinating mysteries of the life of the sons and daughters of her land.

It is the same to-day in the more strenuous and, in some respects, more Western atmosphere of the proud National Assembly. Even if I have done but little to convey the admiration their splendid resistance demands, which I so strongly feel, the effort to understand has brought me the greatest pleasure. And whether or not I have earned, or merited, the joy, none can take it from me.




There is so often compensation for disappointment. Had I been able to reach Angora through Constantinople, had I not been held up six weeks by strikes on sea, I should have missed the chance of another visit to Rome—above all, of having an audience with Pope Pius XI.

His Holiness could not know, for I did not myself then imagine, the precious gift he thus entrusted to me for his children in Anatolia. He certainly would not feel the time wasted, could I convey to him the heartfelt joy and reverence with which they listened for my answers to their eager questions. “What is he like, our Holy Father? Is it true that he always prays for us?”

No one could fail, indeed, to have been impressed by the deep sincerity with which the Pope takes man’s sorrows to heart; the great anxiety that overwhelms him, not only for his own flock but for all humanity; and his great desire for peace.

Towards Turkey, I believe the Christian world will follow the lead of Great Britain; as in their attitude towards the Christian Powers, Islam will follow the lead of Turkey. Now that Mustapha Kemal Pasha has raised Turkey again to be the true head of Islam, should not our whole policy in the East rest on her friendship?

As in politics, so in religion. Dare we listen to the appeal of American Nonconformity for a “Holy War” against Islam; dare we follow the Anglican into 240union with the Greek Church against the followers of the Prophet? Only the Roman Church has lived in perfect harmony in Turkey? The only Christians to praise and honour the Moslem faith!

One must come from an audience in the Vatican with sealed lips.

But when humanity is waiting for understanding and kindness; when, above all, the East is asking: “Can we trust the West?” it is impossible to remain altogether silent concerning the Holy Father of Rome.

Turkey has been insulted, despised, and deceived by Christendom. Despite her utmost tolerance to every faith, she has been betrayed by those to whom she was most indulgent. Missionaries she welcomed in Christ’s name, as messengers of His love to all men, have used their sacred privileges to organise enemy propaganda.

Therefore will I bear witness: there is a father’s heart on Peter’s throne; a father anxious for all his children, suffering; and with no crusade to urge against Islam, also sons of God and brothers of Christ! For him there is one “enemy,” and only one: the “Materialism” that is poisoning our civilisations; nourishing our pride, our jealousy, and our hate; threatening our faith.

Is this “indiscretion”? Yet how is it possible to express one’s personal impressions of an audience with the Sovereign Pontif! All the literatures of the world have dedicated immortal pages to the Father of Christendom. They have paid homage to him, if not as spiritual head, at least as a great and picturesque personality; and, above all, a personality backed by the traditions of ages.

p. 48

Dumas, in his beautifully written interview with Pope Gregory XVI., describes his terror at the thought of meeting the Pope. To-day such a sentiment is no longer possible. Awe and reverence have taken the place of terror. Excommunication has lost all the meaning it had in the Middle Ages. And yet, deprived 241as he is of all temporal power, the Pope is expected, by virtue of the age of his sacred office, to express himself in all moments of crisis. As spiritual head of the Christian Church, he is to-day in a difficult position. The Greeks and Armenians, it is true, are not for the most part his children. They belong, however, to branches of the Christian Church; and no Pope, however much the poor misguided peoples are responsible for their own misfortunes, can look with indifference on what is happening to them, and may still happen.


(Director of the Ottoman Bank.)

(Secretary to Colonel Mougin.)

Miss Grace Ellison.

(Deputé for Vannes.)

Colonel Mougin.
p. 240

On the other hand, no Pope can forget what the Vatican owes to Turkey. In that hospitable land, the Roman Catholic orders, expelled from France, sought refuge. Throughout the length and breadth of the country, Catholic missions thrive and prosper. Though they rarely, if ever, make converts, they give care in sickness; comforts, education, and instruction to the Turks. And who is responsible for the cultural French language spoken in the Near East, if not the Jesuit Fathers?

This extraordinary religious tolerance on the part of the Turks has always been incomprehensible. Disraeli’s protection of the Turk was born of his gratitude for the religious tolerance they extended to the Jew. Jews, who could escape massacre in Russia, found then, as they find now, a comfortable home where they are free to practice their religion and make money. What more can they want?

Naturally, then, seeing what the Vatican owes to Turkey, and Turkey to the Vatican, the Pope is interested in the personality of M. Kemal Pasha, and proved very willing to hear what a Western woman, with opportunities in the past of studying Turkish home life, knows of this great Nationalist hero.

Anyone who has seen the ceremonies at the Vatican must be impressed by their great spectacular beauty. The Church of Rome has given the world some of its finest art, literature and music. And at the Vatican itself, wherever the eye wanders, there is beauty—beauty of architecture, beauty of colouring. On the one side there is the gaudy costume of the Swiss Guard, 242with their scarlet and gold, in striking contrast to the grey courtyard and the black dresses or mantillas of the lady visitors; there are the frescoes, the statues: and over all a veil of mystery and the charm of history.

From the time one’s carriage rumbles over the stones of the great unshaded courtyard to the side where the Pope’s apartments are situated, one has the sensation of walking over a book of sacred history. It is true all Rome is history. The Vatican, however, is the history of the Catholic Church from the beginning, and as you go up the marble steps you instinctively lower your voice, walking slowly and silently. For have not all the greatest figures in the world’s history passed up that staircase?

There is everywhere a delightful odour of books; but where are the books? Uniformed diplomatists, high officials, generals, cardinals in their scarlet splendour, priests in black and scarlet and purple, attendants in red damask court breeches, walk noiselessly in and out. All the chairs seem so big, and the consoles and vases so huge and so valuable, that a portrait of the kindly face of Pope Pius X. is a welcome change. Seeing me looking at the peaceful, saintly face, my neighbour whispers: “C’était un vrai père.” One notices also a beautiful bust of Pope Benedict XV. Why do the photographers never do justice to his fine intelligent face?

Monsignor X. has come to fetch me. He, too, is keenly interested in Angora. Now I am taken to the Throne Room; the Holy Father comes forward to greet me. He stands whilst talking to me, with one hand resting on a large piece of antique furniture. Beginning to speak in English, he continues in French.

The Pope speaks most modern languages; and, as he receives every day, keeps himself in personal touch not only with the best-known Catholics, but with all the important personalities who come to Rome. He has travelled extensively, is well-read in many languages, and has written books of the highest value. As a younger man, Monsignor Ceretti—the Paris Papal Nonce—has told us, the Pope used often to read and 243write the whole night through, and he has an inexhaustible fund of most valuable information. And what does he not know of Islam? He has studied it in all its phases; hence his great tolerance.

Clad in a white cloth soutane, with a wide white cape over his broad shoulders, a white cloth sash hanging in wide ends on the left side, white buttons and a white calotte and red shoes, the Holy Father stands out as a contrast in simplicity to his surroundings. His thick gold chain and handsomely chiselled cross, with its large diamonds, are his only ornaments besides the pastoral ring.

Of medium height and pale, his powerful face is young for his years, and his large wide forehead quite unlined. His features are clear cut; his eyes seem small, perhaps because of the thick glass of the spectacles, which he frequently adjusts.

One is particularly struck, however, by the power of his features and his frank expression. It is a face of much intelligence, but, above all, one of the greatest human kindness. This can be seen more from the mouth than the eyes.

I told the Pope why I was going to Angora, where, as the people knew me and trusted me, I hoped, at any rate, to achieve some good. An expression of infinite sadness passed over his face as I continued: “All this awful bloodshed, this useless suffering. Surely these things should never have come upon us.”

There was, indeed, little his Holiness could say. He knows how useless it is now, to question on whose shoulders History will place the responsibility for the diplomatic bungling in the Near East.

It should be remembered, however, that he had written to M. Kemal, begging him to do all in his power to prevent bloodshed as the army advanced. The Pasha’s reply was dignified, wise, and sympathetic: surely a key to his fine personality, as all can recognise it to-day.

I said to the Pope: “Mustapha Kemal appears to me a man of great understanding, who would be capable of a beau geste towards Christianity. His 244speeches are democratic, full of kindness and consideration for his people, revealing a real desire and determination to lead them along the road to that prosperity which should be the heritage of a people dowered with a soil so fertile in precious minerals.... Yet, of course, other men in other countries have made great speeches and done nothing!”

In paying tribute to the personality of M. Kemal Pasha, so far as I could then judge it, I said that he seemed to me a man of moderation, who would always use his great influence to prevent bloodshed. Yet one trembles at the thought of the moment when the army goes into Constantinople! The slightest friction, through no fault of the great general himself, might have appalling results. Yet I have sufficient confidence in the Turks to know they would not willingly harm one religious order. It could only be by accident ... yet it would be terrible, and must not happen....

“Nothing will happen, your Holiness,” I went on, “unless the Greeks begin it. In their tragic and hasty exodus from Thrace were they not reminded, in terror of what might be, of their own conduct in Asia Minor?” Yet the Pope’s face was very anxious. There was great pathos in his voice.

In what almost tragic situations a Pope thus often finds himself! The spiritual father of both sides; nevertheless neutral, or, if not neutral, criticised by both ... always expected to dispense generosity and mercy—and receiving none; no wonder the strain of the war killed both Benedict XV. and Pius X.

In Angora I told M. Kemal Pasha of the Pope’s great desire for peace. What was to be the Pasha’s beau geste towards Christianity. I suggested he might, as S. Sophia was a Christian Church, give it back to the Pope, as spiritual head of Christendom.

M. Kemal Pasha replied: “Had there been only one branch of the Christian Church, although S. Sophia has now become part of our Moslem traditions, it might have been possible. As the Christian Church is so much divided, it is impossible. We should only 245excite the Russians, the Greeks, and the Anglicans, to come and fight each other on our soil for S. Sophia; and the beau geste you suggest for peace would lead to eternal conflict and strife. Nevertheless, we are so anxious to do all in our power to honour Christianity in the eyes of the world that if, by our retaining S. Sophia as a mosque, we are really giving offence to the Catholic Church, we would either turn it into a museum, or close it forever. None must ever be able to say that we have intentionally injured the Christian Church.”

I complimented the Pasha on his fine sentiments toward the Christian religion.

“It is natural,” he replied. “I am only carrying on our traditional tolerance to all religions. The Roman Catholics and all Christians, as well as the Jews, have always had full religious freedom in our country.

As to the beau geste, what can I say? You are free to go anywhere you like in Anatolia; talk to the Greeks, talk to the Armenians. If there is any cause of complaint, we will see that it is removed at once. We want the Christians to be happy in our country. We have given them full religious liberty, and equal rights with Moslems: can we do more? I feel sure that, in spite of all the devastation and atrocities committed by the Greeks in our country, in a very short time they will be back amongst us: the great friends they were before the Powers interfered.”

Rauf Bey, the Prime Minister, echoed the sentiments of the Pasha. “Tell the Pope,” he said, “to rest assured we are doing all in our power to make his people happy and contented. Can there be a finer beau geste than this?”

As the Pasha had suggested, I went everywhere, saw and questioned everyone. The Greek prisoners were bitter in their criticism of England, who betrayed them and left them unaided to fight the Turkish army. Surely the least intelligent of our military attachés would have seen the cruelty of such a move.

246Contrary to what most people suppose, there is a Christian colony left in Angora. It is mostly Armenian, though there are still many Greeks. The community nevertheless calls itself, and always gives as its legal nationality, “Catholic”; a delicate way of avoiding difficult questions.

Mass is said on Sunday three times, partly in Armenian, which many of the Armenians do not understand, and the rest in Turkish. All the Armenians wear fezes, and prayers are said for Turkey. The little chapel is primitive and picturesque; never, however, has one heard such strange Ave Marias or Glorias or Agnus Deis as those sung in their Turkish setting.

During my Christmas visit to the head of the Armenian Church at Angora, I asked him what message he wished me to give the Pope on his behalf. I told him the Pope was anxious about the Christians; and he might tell me, in confidence, if he was not happy in Turkey.

For my visit the Armenian orphans had put their home in festere altere. They had made cakes and sweets to be served with coffee and tea.

Then it was that I had the pleasure of speaking to them about the wonderful personality of the Pope as I had seen him in Rome; and of telling them that, above all, their Father in Christ stood for loyalty to their State. The Turks had never hampered their loyalty to their Church, and the Pope would never hamper the loyalty and obedience they owed to the Sovereign State.

Then the dusky-skinned orphans, boys and girls together, were marched before me, each taking my hand, kissing it and raising it to their forehead.

As I said afterwards to Colonel Mougin: “I wish it were possible to supplement the meagre funds with which Father Babadjanian is maintaining this little colony of poor children.”

“Tell the Holy Father,” said Father Babadjanian, “that we are perfectly happy with the Turks. They are trying to send us away from Angora for economical 247reasons, but we do not want to go. We have been told by the Grand National Assembly that we shall have exactly the same rights as the Moslems—no more, no less. What more can we expect or desire?

“Tell His Holiness to inform Europe and America,” he concluded, “that it is useless to try and protect disloyal Christian minorities here. It cannot be done by any Church, or any League of Nations. We know very well, and events have proved it, that so long as we remain loyal to the Turkish Government, all will be well. All the trouble that has come to us has arisen from the disloyalty and political intrigues of the Orthodox Armenians and Greeks, and, above all, from outside propaganda. So much has been said and written about an “Armenian Home”; let America offer Armenians that national home. Let the Powers, since it is they who are the cause of all the trouble, only recognise that they must provide homes elsewhere for every Christian who wants to go, or else leave us alone....

“If you only knew how we tremble before this useless propaganda, how we pray to be delivered from our European friends. Turkey is our home. We have to live with the Turks on friendly terms; and will gladly do so, if only this political propaganda can cease.”

Colonel Mougin, who accompanied me on this visit, can vouch for these statements, which he considered so important that he communicated them to his Government.

I have delivered the message of M. Kemal Pasha and Father Babadjanian to the Holy Father. He will receive, also, fuller impressions of my interesting trip through Anatolia; and fuller descriptions of this country and those people who have made so splendid a fight for freedom and independence.

Throughout the length and breadth of Anatolia, prayers for peace have been echoed and re-echoed. There must be peace; but not at the expense of the sovereign rights of the people.

248It is a comfort to the Turks, nevertheless, to know that the head of the Catholic Church stretches out the hand of friendship towards them, and prays for their peace and prosperity through the brotherhood of Moslems and Christians in the East.




In Rome I met three diplomats; as different from each other as night from day, as the Pope of Rome from the Khalif of Islam—a false comparison often made in New Turkey to-day.

We have described the Pope; the sanctity of his office, the odour of piety in which he dwells. The Pope is not of the world; he is above the world-elected, not born. The Khalif, like an hereditary king, inherits his position as Head of Islam; which means that he owes his position to the hazard of fortune, not to personality or virtue.

I have met all the Khalifs from Abdul Hamid to his present descendant, who was, when I saw him, the third in succession. He appeared to me a kindly, cultured gentleman and a talented artist. My host at that time, Prince Youssouff Zeddine, heir to the then Sultan, had frequently invited me to the Palace, and always spoke highly of his younger brother. The Prince had a touching affection for England, and, with Djémal Pasha (then Minister of Marine) for interpreter, would gladly listen to endless stories of olden and modern days. Passing from Alfred and the cakes; through Drake, Gordon, and Princess Mary; to his favourite tale of the Suffragettes chained to the grille at Westminster, I sought to inspire this unhappy man with memories of the greatness of the England he loved so well.

If, by any chance, I varied a phrase or omitted the slightest detail, he would beg Djémal “to respectfully 250remind Mademoiselle that she is going too fast!” It is difficult, indeed, to believe that the man who laughed so heartily at the words “Votes for Women,” could have ended his own existence. He dared to say to the Turkish Parliament, “On no account must we be on the wrong side with England”; and the next day he was dead!

Not only in Turkey, but throughout Islam, which includes India, there is no institution so sacred as the Khalifate, yet the term is meaningless if the Khalif loses Arabia. Next in sanctity to Mecca, in Moslem eyes, comes Jerusalem, for all the prophets of that Holy City are sacred to Islam, though her prophets have no honour in Judea or among Christians. Should we not tremble when Christian Powers attempt to tamper with lands of pilgrimage like Hedjaz, and when they trample upon the traditions of the Khalifate?

At Rome, Osman Nyzami Pasha represented Constantinople, while Djelaleddine Arif Bey was Minister for Angora. The former did not, indeed, go into exile with the Nationalists; but his varied experience as soldier, statesman, and ambassador has given him a rare knowledge of Europe that makes him popular and useful in diplomacy. Alas, now, however, his career ends.

Ten years ago in Constantinople he greeted me with, “Dear child, what for did you do this dreadful thing,” as I was returning from the Persian Mouharrem, the anniversary of the assassination of Hussein, son of the Prophet. The Spanish Minister, who was with us, had fainted outright, although familiar with bull-fights. His wife, Mme. M., a Swede, had more courage than either of us; but I almost fell into the Ambassador’s arms as I reached my hotel.

In a ring formed round a centre of blazing torches, white-robed men wail and mourn for the holy martyr, slashing their heads with swords. They dip their hands in the flowing blood, and sprinkle it all over their faces. I was haunted for weeks by the ghastly 251spectacle, which I shall never be able to forget, of those stained robes and faces, amidst the wild fanatical shrieks. When, as often happens, a man thus kills himself in the fury of exaltation, he is acclaimed a martyr, and his family are pensioned for life.

When I asked why such awful ceremonies were permitted, I was reminded of Turkey’s “non-interference” with every creed and all the “pieties” of all peoples.

At Rome, I lodged in a quiet convent, which closed at 7.30. But the Ambassador called at eight and was followed by a succession of Turkish friends, until Mihrinour and her husband arrived at 10.30. I apologised next morning to the Mother Superior for such unseemly interruptions of her ordered life; explaining, in a fifteen minutes’ lecture, how anxious a Turk would always feel for the comfort of any friend. “You are perfectly right,” she said, “I know them well. I lived eighteen years on the shores of the Bosphorus!”

Djelaleddine Arif Bey gave me a right royal welcome to Rome, and allowed me to trouble him with all sorts of questions. In Constantinople he had been what we call Dean of the Faculty of Law, and one day, on an official visit to the Sultan, wearing a frock-coat and patent-leather shoes, he had just time to escape to Angora, dressed as he was. His knowledge of both the Cheriat and European Laws was invaluable to the Assembly, and it is a delight to hear from his own lips that Turkey is going to establish her own Constitution, not a poor imitation of ours.

“Our justice has been paralysed by capitulations,” he said; and told me of an Italian murderer who had found sanctuary in his Consulate, because the Kavass would not give him up. “We have been bound and fettered all these years, but it cannot go on.”

His admirable organisation of Justice in Angora developed from one colleague to twenty-five assistants, for work which occupied three hundred men in 252Constantinople! Yet he very soon established complete order, though after the peace he hopes for still greater perfection.

He was interested in the personality of Cardinal Gasparri, whom I had met for the first time. I found him a great contrast to Cardinal Merry de Val, with whom I had long discussions about Islam ten years ago.

Shrewdest of diplomats, keenest of observers, is there one move of the world’s political chess-board he has not penetrated? Seeing, knowing, judging everything, could he make a mistake? In a State Church he would be a grave danger; but the days of State Churches are almost no more. As the Turkish minister remarked: “A Church needs more than anything a level-headed diplomatist having no connection with politics.” The Cardinal, then, is far too clever a man to undervalue Islam.

He has studied the greatest living authorities, in translations when he cannot read the originals, upon all the wonderful books of the East, and listens to men learned in the Koran. In theology, as in politics, none could catch him napping. One may, perhaps, guess something of his opinions by listening carefully to such questions as he may put to you; for he tells you nothing and seems to gather up all you know almost before you are conscious of having spoken. I do remember, however, that he asked me what the Turks proposed to do about the Holy Tomb?

To this I answered that Djelaleddini Arif Bey had said: “There could be no decision taken about Palestine without consulting the Turks. This astute lawyer had always bidden the Catholic authorities to remember that Christ, according to the Koran, is of miraculous birth, is one of Islam’s most venerated prophets. For the Moslem to blaspheme the Virgin Mary would be a heinous offence. To hand over the guardianship of the Holy Tomb to the Israelites is, therefore, a direct insult to Islam.”

Fethi Bey also said: “We have all our work cut out looking after our own frontiers, yet we have always faithfully guarded the tomb of Christ, our prophet. 253What can we think, if the Powers now prefer to entrust it to the Jews who crucified Him and still deny Him?”

Even as Mecca is to the Moslem, should Calvary be to us. Shall we who are called Christians suffer the Tomb we do not guard ourselves, to be taken from those who have faith in Christ?




One does not expect comfort in an unheated railway carriage, with snow a foot and a half deep, and the temperature 15° below zero. As we left Angora we also noticed that one of the carriage windows was missing, and a courteous official kept back the train to insert one from another compartment! We were grateful, indeed, for even then the cold was hard to bear.

The little engine is now ploughing its way downhill but still slowly, since halts are needed to renew its strength for the double task of “traction” and sweeping away the snow.

We are well supplied with food for a five-days’ journey, so that over a cheerful meal we can almost forget to feel frozen, and soon find we have covered the thirty-five hours to Eski-Chéir.

From Eski-Chéir to Kada-Keuy, where the lines have been cut, is a short distance; but, mercifully, it is not so cold as in the mountains. From there we travel in a yaili (native carriage) which has evidently seen better days and, let us hope, better springs. They have been removed altogether from one side, and we should have been easier without the worn remnants on the other! As there are no seats, one has to be propped up by any available rugs or cushions, unless you prefer lying down at full length. But the little cart is lined with red-cotton brocade, while green curtains, looking-glasses, and tassels complete the “decoration”! It must be delightful to 255saunter along on a summer’s day; and draw your curtains for a night in the open; but even the straw, the mattress, and many rugs cannot transform the yaili to a train de luxe in winter.

To catch “the express” at Bilidjik we have to drive in two and a half hours a distance that requires a much longer time. So, with good horses and a fearless driver, we rattle away, up hill and down, over bumps and stones. The luggage is thrown out, my thermos is shaken to pieces, and we are flung violently against the roof! Bruised and bleeding, we hold on in grim silence; since time, too, flies.

The Yaili, or Native Carriage, with Drawn Curtains.

Even at this pace we cannot escape the oppression of desolation. On every side lie smashed engines, burnt railway carriages, and villages in cinders. As dusk falls, only a fatalist, in a country of fatalists, could venture the rush down sharp descents cut through a precipice of 800 feet!

Fate, indeed, preserved us, only to prove its irony; for when we reached the once prosperous Bilidjik, 256still beautiful in its ruins, we hear that a landslip on the line has made traffic impossible for some days to come. In Anatolia, one must be ready to do as the Anatolians; and we are faced with the prospect of a night under the frost-laden skies. There is not even a chair to be found, though “kindness” quickly contrives a seat for me from a pile of logs. Here I can rest awhile; and by brisk walks at short intervals probably keep up my circulation until the welcome dawn....

Someone, however, suggested that we should beg for shelter in one of the luggage-vans already crowded with men and women—naturally, in separate compartments. One thought of the poor villagers we had seen huddled together in their holes on the mountains; and realised that even the floor of a luggage-van may be a “luxury.”

Here turban-headed men are sitting on their prayer-carpets, some sound asleep in that uncomfortable attitude, others eating, and others praying, but none uttering a word of complaint.

Looking around for a seat amidst the wilderness of food and bed-clothes, I suddenly hear a few cheery words in English, to my amazement and delight. Here is one of the American Relief Workers, prepared and thankful to spend the night among the strange crowd. With the resourcefulness of his nation, he is provided with a large hat-box that will serve as seat or table, and contains both food and bed-clothes. From his “seat,” therefore, he quickly extracts some sandwiches of most delicious pea-nut butter, making a cup of tea for me on his “table.”

All eyes are drawn to the neat dispatch of these preparations and the marvellous ingenuity of his packing. From that veritable box of Pandora came solid alcohol, tins, kettles, goblets and card-board plates. The food itself was kept in clean, little linen bags.

It was, indeed, a strange lesson in efficiency and practical hygiene, delivered in the wilderness! His unpractical, Eastern neighbour is meanwhile struggling 257with a bit of old newspaper, from which a most unappetising collection of honey and eggs and nuts and bread are tumbling in dirty confusion, as the broken eggs and printer’s ink trickle in a discoloured stream on the floor.

“If only you would send out a good company of missionaries in hygiene,” I cried out, in my excitement, “the other gospels would follow as a matter of course. The world will be a far better place when America comes to the East and preaches the need for exterminating the house-fly and other insects with the fine zeal she is now devoting to the extermination of the Turk.”

My new friend—I had almost said compatriot—laughs good-naturedly at my enthusiasm; and in a few moments, despite my sympathy with Anatolia, I am again compelled to recognise that I am, after all, a woman of the West.

When someone brought in a blazing mangal and carefully closed every door of the crowded luggage-van, the American soon found a polite excuse to jump out. Five minutes later I, too, ventured to open the door and call out to ask him for a helping hand. Both of us knew it was far better for us to die of cold in the fresh air than to choke in those thick charcoal fumes. I will hold a light while he digs out a hole, for sleep on the bosom of Mother Earth.

But now two charming Turkish boys, the sons of Moueddine Pasha, in our party, are telling me that they are terribly distressed at my discomfort. It is in vain for me to assure them that no one could blame them. Somehow, they find the Commandant de la place; and, at his direction, gallantly tramp back for two and a half hours, to bring me a mattress from the Governor’s house which, placed on three standard oil-boxes, forms my bed. Meanwhile, the Commandant, who is familiar with Europe and speaks fluent German, earnestly begs me to excuse this terrible reception. “It is the work of Lloyd George,” he adds, as for every disaster in Anatolia the same cause is proclaimed. Ask a peasant who killed his sons, and he will reply without 258hesitation, “Lloyd George.” Our late Premier has now become super-bogeyman of the Near East for Moslems and Christians alike.

All through the night strains break on my ears of the Anatolian folk-songs; the expression of that strangely resigned happiness of a long-suffering people which we of the West must half-envy and, at the same time, half-despise. Average human nature is only too apt to neglect those who never complain; and if others appeal for them, to say—as even America has said—“It is too big a problem for us to tackle.”

With so much goodwill around me, the night passed far more quickly than even my natural optimism could have foretold. And before stepping into the yaili that will carry us on to Broussa, I try to express to the kindly peasants a little of the gratitude and admiration in my heart.

“We do not lack anything,” they assure me. “All we want is to save our Fatherland. It would be wrong of us to use up the wood and material for building houses that may be required in the war.”

Then, for farewell, the old Bible-greeting of “God be with you.”... “And bring us peace,” is all I can find voice to reply.




Our adieux to Bilidjik did not delay us long. As there were no trains to Constantinople, we had to take the road to Broussa and Moudania, whence the boat runs to Constantinople. I now joined the American in one carriage, the two Turkish boys following in a second. Although yaili means “a carriage with springs,” neither of ours justified their name, for they had none. An American, however, is nothing if not resourceful, and my companion performed wonders with straw, rugs, and boxes.

It was about nine o’clock when we started along the muddy roadway, in charge of one of the most happy-go-lucky coachmen it has ever been my good fortune to employ. He had ten animals of his own before the war, and, now the Greeks have taken them all, he is making a fresh start with the best he can hire from others. He said that these were steady and sound, but I could not believe we should have known the difference, over these ploughed fields on the edge of the mountains, so caked with mud that our carriages frequently stuck fast. It was a wearisome business enough, the constant alighting to be dug out for fresh starts; but I was altogether beyond sharing the American’s alarm lest we should sink for ever in a bog! I was far more concerned about the difficulty of getting really comfortable, among my disordered rugs and shawls.

As our coachman provides us with many evidences 260of Greek barbarity from the ruins of every village we pass, my companion’s indignation shows rapid signs of approach to fever heat. “We’ve not played ‘straight,’” he cried, “I am not pro-Greek nor pro-Turk, and, at the moment, I haven’t much use for Christians; but I don’t see myself keeping quiet about all this. You and I have to get quick and publish a little truth for a change.”

I told him that I had been trying in vain to get something done, or at least known, about Angora; but that if ever an article of mine included a word about Greek atrocities, the editorial scissors promptly got busy, and the truth remained untold.

Obviously the American belonged to that fine type, which abounds in young countries, who put all their dollars into the acquisition of knowledge, and who delight in using the knowledge they have acquired, backed by their own wealth, in the service of mankind. His keen inquiries about my impressions of the sad people he had come so far to understand, were proof enough that no kind of vanity, or pursuit of self-glorification, lay behind his insatiable curiosity.

I was much interested to find that he agreed with me in having noticed how strongly the “personal” element enters into all one’s relations with any Turk. If they do not like one, you might as well stay in England. If your personality attracts them, it will make no difference where you happen to have been born.

“They are called ignorant and fanatical; but I find that even the most illiterate understand enough of our civilisation to make any honest Englishwoman heartily ashamed of our ignorance and insularity.”

“Remember,” he said, “how little we Americans really know of you, or you of us.”

“I do remember how I shocked one of your compatriots by confessing that I had the most shaky idea of the occasion for your ‘Thanksgiving,’ but he afterwards admitted he had imagined till quite recently, that ‘Boxing Day’ was the annual event of our national sport!”

261There was little to break the monotony of our lonely journey except a large number of caravans, and, every now and again, one of those tiny little donkeys, used to lead a troop of from nine to fifteen camels!

“Now you see,” said the ‘man from the States,’ “why we sometimes speak of a ‘conceited ass!’”

“Only,” I answered, “this little fellow has something to be conceited about. He has the right to say ‘look at me,’ as he trots along with the double row of turquoise beads round his neck, leading these great big chaps behind him. When he chooses to push ahead, they must hurry after him; and when he condescends to turn round and ‘look over’ them, for all the world as an officer might ‘eye’ his men, you could not discover a more striking example of personality in the East. I declare I have fallen in love with that charming ass!”

“He has the right to say, ‘Look at me.’”

“Very well,” he replied with a laugh, “the next time anyone calls me an ‘ass,’ I shall be proud to accept the compliment.”

262“But, seriously,” I replied, “asses are seldom as black as they’re painted. After all, to be stubborn is one form of personality. I remember staying in a French chateau during the war, where one donkey had taken over the duties and responsibilities of the eighteen horses, which had been requisitioned by the State. On Sundays, tied up to a tree in the churchyard, while the family was inside the church, he always waited to hear the Sanctus bell, and then brayed his loudest. He must take part in the Mass!”

One rarely sees any driver astride his camel. He may be “considering his beast,” but, on the other hand, he may not. For of every variety of sickness (of the sea, the home, or love itself) is not camel-sickness the worst?

My companion agreed that he had not found the Turks either stubborn or unreasonable. “Everyone I met in Anatolia made an honest attempt to understand my point of view, even when I endeavoured to explain or at least to excuse, English policy.

“Turks are ‘stubborn,’ if you insist on the phrase, about the future of their country; but they have given a great deal of thought to the subject, and they speak from experience that has been bought at a big price. I have never encountered that uncomfortable type of mind we know so well among ourselves, and in a more aggressive, if less dangerous, form in the States, which nothing will move from its ‘pet’ hatred or chosen love, in spite of great culture and general understanding.

“I will not quote President Wilson, because we have an even better illustration in the late Lord Bryce. Few men could claim wider culture, few have been so universally acknowledged a great statesman, yet the Turk to him was no better than a red rag to a bull! And when he said that these people were ‘unspeakable,’ the world believed it.

“I once attended a debate on whether ‘the Turks should, or should not, be forced to abandon Constantinople.’ A judge from Constantinople had been called to open the discussion, who said, among other 263things, that ‘this eternal reference to India as an excuse for backing Turkey was mere nonsense; because Lord Bryce had said that India was indifferent to Turkey’s fate!’

“Seyed Hossain, a member of the Khaliphat Delegation, then rose to contradict this assertion. He said that he had come all the way from India with the Khaliphat Delegation, for the express purpose of protesting against the attitude of the Allies towards his Khaliph (the Sultan of Turkey).”

“‘My dear Sir,’ answered the judge, ‘I have absolutely full confidence in any statement made by Lord Bryce.’

“The poor Indian was staggered for a moment, but soon found courage to reply: ‘Has a man like Lord Bryce the right to defy commonsense, statistics, and accurate, official information. My presence here is a clear proof that my statement is correct.’

“‘Your presence means nothing to me,’ was the ‘polite’ retort, which concluded the debate!

“There is, of course, a very stupid kind of loyalty in such an attitude, but it tempts one to almost despair of ever hoping to fight against its criminal injustice to Turkey.

“It is a heavy responsibility for great men if they give rein to an obstinate and unreasonable prejudice. It is so hard to resist those we respect.”

“What do you really think about the Americans in Turkey? I am so anxious to do my utmost for these poor people, asked my friend.”

“I, who love them, will honestly say I fear that the influence of your people is very dangerous. For one who does good, as I am sure you have done, there are fifty who only make mischief, even undoing much of what you have achieved.”

“The supreme merit of the Nationalist movement comes from the fact that Turks are beginning to be themselves. All must be well in the end if they are content to ‘swallow’ Europe in small doses. Already we have with us that dangerous anomaly the European 264Turk. The big capitals kill his sincerity and capture his affections by their vices. His mysterious dark eyes (an everyday commonplace in his own country) too often prove ‘false lights’ leading him on to the rocks. It is a test of character to ask the European Turk if he is not ‘longing to get back to Turkey?’ When I put the question to Hussein Raghib, he said ‘if I must stay here for my country, I will stay, but I am never happy for long so far away from Angora and all it means to me.’ Certainly a healthy view!

“It is surely better to let the Turks work out their own salvation, only helping when they ask for help; and even then we should be careful to give them what they desire and not what we may think best for them. It is really cruel to tamper with other people’s ideas, particularly their religion, and it does no good in Turkey. The gospel of Islam has made them the fine race they will always remain at heart.

“You can do good in practical, material affairs and for the diminution of physical suffering. I wish every American would preach the gospel of the Rockefeller Institute all over the world: the creed of the open window, a crusade against vermin and microbes. That would bring us a ‘new’ world.

“I would like to see a closer union between the Red Cross and the Red Crescent. The Turks have not your organising ability; but they have many sound ideas already operating in their hospitals.

“We must be quite sure that our civilisation is perfect before we force it on others. It is ‘mine,’ and I owe much to it; but I, for one, can see much to criticise.”

“I, too, believe we have no right to offer more than material assistance, and such an example as our own efforts, towards the best we know, may afford.”

“It is a great deal, if given in the right spirit. My own idea of ‘service’ is to try and understand the East, to prevent such terrible blunders as our ignorance of them have brought about, which may even involve us in the horrors of another war.

“Why should we ask Orientals to accept our 265civilisation and ‘look at life’ through our eyes. It is no wiser or juster than asking a woman to see nothing except through a man’s eyes; and to work in his way. She cannot do that, and has suffered in the attempt. Your work is even a great peril. It is only too probable that you will be ‘starting’ them on the wrong road, and you must soon leave them to find their own way.

“If I am wrong, at least I speak in all sincerity; and I have studied the question for many years. As I see it, our Western civilisations have much to learn from the East in pity and humanity.”

“Osman Nyzami Pasha said to me once, in Rome, ‘you must not judge a nation by its Government but by the gods it creates for itself in its own image.’ The ancient Greeks peopled Olympus with gods of revolting immorality; but you in Oxford forget that chapter of the story. The God of the North——”

He paused, and I took up the challenge.

“The cold, harsh, and unforgiving Deity; the bogeyman of my childhood, always ready with some awful punishment for the least shortcoming.

“Why are our Puritan countries, whose God is love, so unjust to women, keeping them down under cruel and illogical laws. It is idle for men to say that no laws can diminish the deep respect they accord to women, which, in fact, is seldom shown to any of us except their wives, certainly not to woman as a woman.

“I certainly hold no brief for ‘irregularity,’ but there is something wrong with a conception of God which has produced the immeasurable gulf between the married and the unmarried mother. Humanity is not of our making; the ‘imperfect’ man has no right to demand ‘perfection’ from all women. Has he not made and tolerated War that has overthrown every standard of morality, changed all our ‘values,’ shattered every ideal, leaving religion nowhere, and two million women without a mate?

“Such is the civilisation that dares to point a finger of scorn at the unmarried mother; and, by 266dismissing her, characterless and unpensioned, from every respectable avenue of support, dares to brand a child as unwanted, and push the innocent young life into secret and shameful surroundings. Those who should help, with all the power of their sheltered purity, prefer to keep themselves ‘too respectable for any knowledge of these uncomfortable problems,’ since they are good and faithful servants of One who said, ‘Let him who is without sin amongst you cast the first stone!’

“All maternity is sacred to the Turk, and every child enjoys full legal status. The super-cowardice of declaring a child as born of ‘parents unknown’ (as you may in France) could never be allowed. If marriage be not the high sacrament it is, theoretically, regarded in Europe, the life of every babe whom God sends us is held to be a sacred charge. Do our missionaries in Turkey really preach the Gospel of Christ?”

“Do you approve, or admire, the resignation of the East, the Turk’s ideal of being content with so little?” asked the energetic American.

“We are both wrong. Their resignation too often leaves life stagnant, our race for dollars drenches the world in blood.

“Is it not horrible for us to have to confess that all this appalling Battle of the Cross against the Crescent, sprang out of greed for oil.

“One cannot realise what the world would be like were all nations governed by your and my ideals. Would there ever have been a British Empire? We can scarcely justify, on grounds of high morality, the conquest of America; and, surely, the States could by such ruling have, indeed, become ‘God’s own country.’”

When the road became rather more European, our Turkish boy friends sought to relieve the monotony 267by a furious race between the two yailis, and we were tossed about beyond all possibility of further talk. When, however, the boys had won the first heat, I begged to be excused from trying to secure our revenge, as the carriages did not seem solid enough for racing.

Then behold, at the word, one of our wheels flew off! And, though we were mercifully taking a saunter “between rounds” at the moment, we had to follow our belongings into the mud and do what we could to help the wheelwright.

The American, I found, had been teaching himself the language, and claims to have read Nasreddin Hodja in the original. Now he hastened to improve the occasion by the most voluble congratulations to our unmoved drivers. “This wheel evidently knew how to choose the ‘psychological moment’ for its detachment,” he exclaimed. “On the edge of a mountain, we should all have been pitched into the depths; crossing a river, our lady passenger, who cannot swim, would have been drowned; during the race, we could not have avoided a fatal collision. If it had to happen, it could not have happened more wisely!”

The job is finished at last; maybe hastened by such lively chatter; but I confess we did not feel really secure. In fact, the prudent suggestion that one of us should hold the reins while our driver “kept an eye on” the wheel was soon justified by a second flying away of that “offending member.” It was this time discovered that something must be found to enlarge the circumference of the axle to keep it fixed, and I immediately offered my pocket-handkerchief. Our driver, however, would not hear of “depriving me” and so I begged the American “not to disturb him, but to see how he would contrive.” Though obviously puzzled for a few minutes, he soon justified my confidence by cutting off a good handful of hair from the horse’s mane, and thus “fixing” the wheel once more.

“That’s all very ingenious,” laughed my companion, “but ‘hair’ won’t ‘wear.’”

268“Then he’ll find something just as original,” was my triumphant retort.

Nevertheless it was growing dark, and there were rivers ahead that would seem to demand rather better security than we possessed. My anxieties, however, were soon scattered to the four winds by the most astonishing tirade of unjust contempt for all things English, in which my companion now proceeded to indulge. My anger lasted just long enough for us to cross the river; for once we were over, the good man explained that he’d done it to make me furious, the only way he knew to cure a brave woman’s fit of nerves.

At last the welcome smoke, rising from peat cottage-fires, brings the comforting knowledge that we have almost reached Enichéir; and we are soon happily searching for some sort of a resting place that may call itself “an inn.” We are offered the choice of four beds in a room with five others already occupied, or an empty, partially wrecked, sleeping apartment containing two!—one for me, one for the boys, and the American on the floor.

We naturally accept the latter, and immediately get busy about some cooking and a wash. After the day’s roughening experiences one can sleep whatever the details of the accommodation!

At about 9.30 that evening we are awakened by the police, who, however, explain that I am only “wanted” by the Commandant, who has called to wish me bon voyage, and inquire if there is anything he can do for my comfort or to speed me on the way.

“It is not now the Pasha and four wives,” said I, as our visitor soon discreetly left us, “but the Englishwoman and three husbands!”

Next morning after a pleasant hour of mutual assistance in heating the water and holding a looking-glass for each other, with, as I told them, “the most courtly assistants any woman could desire,” the American goes out in order to fix that wheel 269to his own satisfaction and, by inference, to mine. We have two more days in the yailis and cannot afford to lose time.

Our next halting-place is still more primitive, with its four houses, the tiny inn, a large stable, and a poultry yard. Here, however, the Mayor is ready to join us, in his long Persian shawl, robe, and turban, his documents wrapped in a case of flannel. Like the driver, I notice that, as he steps into his seat, he is careful to take off his muddy shoes. Indeed, the godly cleanliness of Islam, if it does not quite follow our Western traditions, is a very real and honest ideal. The body, as the cheik had assured me, is clean if the clothes be dirty; and I am beginning to think that those “little visitors” in the hotel beds must really be “suffered in kindness.”

I well remember the shock with which one of my friends met the suggestion that he might drown some of the kittens who were arriving, just then, with most alarming rapidity. He said, “the Koran would not permit it!”

Another weary day, amidst so much mud and so many ruins, naturally stirs my companion to thoughts of what might be done by a few dollars.

“I do not mind your having any concessions,” I said, “if you will keep your hands off the architecture. I was hearing the other day about a scheme for building a railway in co-operation with the Turks: one rail to be laid by them and the other by the Americans! I should feel far more safe in a yaili with one wheel!

It is a delightful pastime to work out big schemes for smashing up Europe, Asia, and America; in order to rebuild the world tastefully and according to hygiene, like a couple of happy children with their bricks; but we have at last reached the conclusion of the whole matter. East is East and West is West. If they attempt to “take turns” building railways, the trains will certainly “go off the line.”

I have never been able to understand why anyone should be so afraid of the Cheriat Laws. With all 270respect for my present company, I say, what I afterwards repeated to Sir William Tyrell, “I would rather trust myself in a Turkish court than appeal to American justice.” In the first case, you may find yourself in the hands of a kind-hearted judge; the second adventure depends entirely on cash. English justice has no equal; but our laws for women are themselves unjust, and the best workman can do little with poor material. Trials, like marriages in foreign countries, should be illegal unless the Consul, or someone equally expert, is present to “watch for” his fellow-countryman. What crimes have not we committed in the name of Justice through ignorance of foreign customs!

“Those who face the choice of trusting themselves to the Cheriat or keeping away from Turkey, may find that these laws are not so terrible after all,” answered the American.

Zeyneb once said that the great merit of Moslem “Commandments” was the absence of mystery. “The i’s are all carefully dotted. We are not told, for instance, that we should give to the poor; we are told the precise percentage of income that must be allotted to charity. Though our laws come from the great Prophet of Allah they are not ecclesiastical.”

In Moslem countries the Head of the State must be elected by the people; he has full executive and legislative power, but he is also personally responsible to the nation. We cannot deny that Mustapha Kemal Pasha has rigidly adhered to this theory of government in his daily practice.

This is the true Democracy. Born without any advantages of caste or family, Fethi Bey laughs at all my allusions to “old ancestors.” The attitude does seem peculiar to Western minds, and may often lead to confusion between us, but it is not without charm.

“How do these very intelligent, modern Turks attempt to reconcile their zeal for liberal reform with their firm loyalty to Islam? How do they account for the decline in prestige and power that none can deny has been their fate?”

271“My friends at the Assembly attribute the temporary fall of Turkey to the strong, non-progressive, influence of the hodjas, who have converted themselves into a powerful priestly class, as forbidden by the Prophet. Others attribute it to ignorance of economics; others to Western remoulding of Islam, and foreign oppression; others still, to a perpetual state of war.”

“What is the Pasha’s personal opinion?”

“No man,” he says, “can live without complete liberty and full freedom; nor can any nation. So long as the interests of my own country permit it, I will be the friend of all nations and all humanity; but when any nation begins to tamper with our freedom and our independence, as Germany did in the war, then we can only resist and fight to the bitter end. I sought to discover my people’s will, and I found they were ready for any sacrifice to defend their country. I had faith in the sons of Turkey, and my faith has justified itself to the utmost.”

“There has, indeed, been no finer movement among the ‘despised and rejected’ since the world began.”

“Here comes my friend the sun,” I exclaimed; “a snow-capped Olympus, the cypress beneath the azure! Why is our driver using his whip with such unusual success, just when we want to linger and admire—— Do you know, my friend, should I paint this soil, in all its varied tones from ruby to terra-cotta, all men would cry out, ‘that woman always sees her Turkey en coleur de rose!’”

“I will bear witness,” laughed my friend.

“But, seriously,” I went on, “does it not mean iron; rich veins of iron that it would pay someone to produce?”

In this district of lonely marshland, one can at least rejoice in the cold for one reason. It has driven away the flies and mosquitoes.

“Why does not your country find the capital 272and send over our unemployed ex-service men to help the Turks drain and cultivate these waste lands?”

When I afterwards spoke of the possibility at Lausanne, I was told that “something might be done!”

Now we have reached Broussa, and our young Turks hurry forward to announce our arrival to the Governor.

It is more trying than ever to lack springs, as we jolt over the loose cobbles of these primitive and neglected town streets. But I could cheerfully have put up with far greater discomfort to reach, at last, the “luxurious” (in comparison) Hotel Brotte, its glowing fire, can after can of water, clean sheets, and the blessed chance of changing one’s clothes and really brushing one’s hair.

p. 272

This is not the Savoy, but, surely, something better!




The Governor who, once more, “comes from Malta,” has detailed a police officer to look after me during the five-days’ visit unexpectedly imposed upon us, since there is no boat leaving before then. My journey from Angora to Constantinople will, therefore, occupy ten days instead of the regulation two or three.

We start out the first thing in the morning and do not return till dusk. I have never visited so many mosques, and their colouring seems even more exquisite than I have found it elsewhere.

Naturally, however, we first went to pay our respects to the Governor, who promised to give me certain special information next day. His konak, however, happened to catch fire soon after we left, and in less than an hour it was reduced to cinders. There was, fortunately, little wind, though, as we watched the flames from our hotel, one could feel no security that it might not spread all over the town and render us, too, homeless.

It was, as it happens, a brigand, descending by chance from the mountains, who had saved the whole town from destruction when the Greeks left it in flames, after demolishing their church and setting fire to their houses. Fifteen surrounding villages were, actually, burnt to the ground. The French proprietress of the hotel told me the town was not ravaged by Ottoman Greeks, but by the Hellenes. Their own Greeks cried bitterly at being compelled to leave, but were terrified into flight, many of them dying at Moudania or on the road.

274I heard an amusing story from my Dutch friend in Smyrna which illustrates in what “great respect” the Turkish army has always been held by Greeks. One of their officers, reconnoitring on the hillside, was seen to run back to his men, shouting: “They are coming! They are coming! There are fezes everywhere!” He had caught sight of a field of poppies!

Madame herself is “desolated” by the departure of her Greek servants, and puts no real reliance on the Jews by whom she has been obliged to replace them. Although getting on in years, she is eighty-six, she never dare go to bed before any of her guests, lest someone should ring and obtain no answer. I enjoyed examining, in her visiting book, the signatures and humorous comments of English prisoners, who were with her during hostilities.

Everywhere the Jews are stirring themselves, in and out of their quarters, eager to take on anything abandoned by the Greeks, as shoemakers, plumbers, tradesmen, and labourers of all kinds. Nowhere else, I imagine, could one hear them boasting “I am an Israelite.” Our guests include many Jews, and they are quickly finding their way more than ever into the good graces of the Turks.

I hope they will soon organise the splendid “bathing” one could enjoy at Broussa if only some comfortable rest-place were set up for recovery from the bracing effects of such strong waters. Surely the Baths of Broussa might be promoted into a gold mine!

I wonder if the town is really as old as Angora? In parts it is more dilapidated, as one can see from walking about its deserted streets, so sorely in need of repair, and glancing up at the broken windows on every side. Nevertheless I, personally, delight in the delicate charm of this famous Asiatic city, free from a “Levantine” population and the relics of Byzantium that rather spoil Constantinople.

The celebrated silk factories are not, of course, so picturesque; and the depressing mixture of steam 275heat, and smell is certainly calculated to make one long for the very latest kind of progressive machinery to replace such unhealthy “human” labour. Here, again, we find Jews and the so-called “Catholics,” have replaced the Greeks; and the proprietors (who are so often Jews) only complain that there are not more hands available.

This means, of course, not enough competition; and wages have risen from thirty to sixty piastres a day. For this reason they miss the Greeks and Armenians, although the new men are equally good workers.

“We have also to employ Turkish women,” they say.

“Are they good?”

“No, very bad. They can work, but have never done so, and have no experience. Yet we must pay sixty piastres for their unskilled labour.”

“Then you are running the factories at a loss, with these high wages?” I asked.

“Oh, no! We ‘make up’ for that by paying the peasants half their old price for the raw silk.”

“Do they complain?”

“No. We tell them that times are bad; which they understand, and accept.”

It is an excellent example of the ease with which almost anyone can make his profit out of the Turk. He is satisfied with so little, and seldom, or never, protests. For years Greeks and Armenians have filled their pockets at his expense. Now we have driven them out of their homes and Jews are quickly filling their place. No wonder they turn on their Christian “protectors,” and resent our “interference.” To them money is the breath of life, and money is more easily made in Turkey than anywhere else in the world.

Whatever prosperity these districts have managed to retain largely depends on the silk-making and the tobacco factories. All the Europeans are, naturally, against any attempts to abolish capitulations. “They are not likely to leave us,” say the Turks, “where else would they be granted ‘capitulations’?”

276The bazaar at Broussa has lost none of its Eastern charm, but prices have gone up by leaps and bounds since I was here ten years ago. They will, probably, soon rise still higher when hand-embroidery dies out before the machine-made imitations.

The Central Mosque has been rather disfigured by the over-zealous multiplication of mural texts; but the beautiful fountain preserves the most marked characteristic of all mosques, on which their “appeal” so largely depends. It also contains some very fine specimens of the curious old clocks, which only show Turkish hours.

In the courtyard there are more fountains and many pigeons, and the public letter-writer. Just now he is hard at work for a profitable customer who, one might think, surely knew how to conduct his own correspondence. From my experience as an amateur, doing my best for the Poilus, I should never imagine that letter-writing could be an easy profession.

How well I remember the poor boy (a particularly serious “case”) who asked me to “tell Jeanne” that ... “he was well and happy and enjoying himself. But that some friends had written and told him she had not been faithful, and ‘he didn’t care.’ All the girls were running after him, and the grand ladies, too. He hadn’t any time to think about her.”

He afterwards gave me careful instructions about a P.S. “But I do think of her sometimes.” In another few minutes it was, “I often think of her.” And, finally, “you can tell her that I forgive her, and love her as much as ever.”

Every corner of Broussa reveals the true “Islam” atmosphere; whether you look down on it from the surrounding heights, or wander along its quaint streets and alleys. Everywhere you see latticed windows, mosques, and dervishes’ Tekké. It stands on a wide stretch of marshland, seemingly going on for ever, with its countless rows of skeleton-poplars, that stand out in the blue-grey mist like ghostly sentinels.

277I decided there could be no better opportunity to indulge in an adventure I had often contemplated: climb up the highest of all the minarets to reach “the top of the top!” The narrow and winding staircase was sadly in need of repair; but at the long last I found myself on the tiny balcony from which the muezzin daily summons “the faithful” to prayer.

“Do you think I might sing?” I asked. “It would be interesting to know how far the voice carries at this height.”

“As you please,” he answered; but as it was clear that he was decidedly embarrassed, if not shocked, I contented myself with quietly humming Gloria in Excelsis. When I told him the words—“On earth peace, to men of goodwill,” he answered, reverently, “Inch Allah.”

“You see,” I explained, “the muezzin calls the faithful to prayer, I call them to peace.”

As, perhaps, I ought to have foreseen, it proved a far more difficult business to get down those steps than it had been to climb up. Somehow the walls seemed closing in upon me, and the mere idea of starting upon the descent brought on a fit of unmanageable giddiness. My guide promptly offered to carry me, but I did not believe it could be done; and, in any case, I should not wish him to make the attempt. When I have plucked up courage to trust my own feet, they are constantly slipping over the worn stones, and often we find three or four missing altogether; still it would not be possible to jump.

“I am only just in front of you,” said my guide, “if you fall, you will fall on me.”

I ought to have been thoroughly ashamed of myself, but I could only say, “You must let me manage my own way and slide down as best I can.”

I am perfectly comfortable in an aeroplane at an altitude of 10,000 feet; and to this day I have never been able to understand why that minaret made me so giddy.

278We visited the tombs of Osman and many of the other Sultans buried in Broussa, the ancient capital of Turkey. The idea of the continual watching of the tomb, and, indeed, the whole attitude of Islam towards death, is full of beauty. One does not wish to believe that the Greeks marched up to this Holy Place with drawn swords, cursing the founder of the Osman Dynasty.

We also drove to the famous Green Mosque, immortalised by Pierre Loti. The actual colour of this fine building is a most wonderful turquoise blue; but, like those jewels, it may, indeed, one day grow green with age. Here Pierre Loti used to write his books, reclining on the magnificent carpets, of which the quality and beauty have defied time itself. On one side stands the large door (replacing the altar) of exquisitely blended green porcelain and delicate gold lettering; on the other, the cool and sparkling fountain. All day long he worked in this hallowed atmosphere; where the invisible mouths of the fountain send out a gorgeous mass of rainbow-hued spray into the sun’s white rays.

The guardian of the mosque, who used to serve coffee and bring Loti’s narghili and arrange the cushions, has been laid to rest near by; and now Loti’s long life is drawing to its close. His best work was done in the mosque at Broussa, as his countless admirers should not forget—the shrine of one of Turkey’s truest friends.

Here, in the East, all may enter God’s House; and it is here that every day, all day long, you see (as, indeed, you may in France) men and women of every sort and condition, unburdening their hearts of joys or sorrows, some carrying a homely parcel, a loaf of bread, or their goods to market; others carrying their little children. No doubt, the mosque—or the church—offers warmth and shelter; but its quiet solemnity must turn our thoughts from all the pettiness of existence, the false pride, and the ugly sin. Nor do those who are, as it were, so thoroughly “at home” in God’s House, pray with any less earnestness or sincerity.

279What a contrast to the cathedral at Geneva I visited with a French ex-Ambassadress. We had to send for the caretaker, who unlocked the door for us and locked it up again as we left. Yet this was once a church; holy men had dedicated their genius to make it beautiful, because it was the House of God. It is not God’s House now; only a building where men meet and speak. “Have we, indeed, lost faith in anything,” said my companion, as the door was closed behind us “which of us would God Himself lock out? Are there none left who would pray to Him? To what vain and untrusting materialism will mankind yet lower drift?”

One morning, unable to hold in the interest awakened by a handsome, young Turkish woman with veiled hair, who was sitting near me in the hotel, I, at last, ventured to ask her if she would “excuse my staring,” but “she so much reminds me” of an old friend, Dr. Nihat Réchad.

“He is my brother,” she replied in excellent English, obviously delighted. It appears she had lost touch with him for many years; only knowing that he had been in prison and escaped to join Mustapha Kemal. Now she hoped he must be coming into his own again.

I was glad to tell her how greatly we appreciated Dr. Réchad in London.

Our acquaintance brought me many new pleasures in Broussa, in addition to her own delightful society and her most friendly baby. She introduced me to many of the nicest people in the hotel, and arranged for us to visit the admirable hospitals of Dr. Nazoum, head of the Army Medical Service, who was a friend of her husband’s.

There were two Turkish gentlemen, however (General Kemallidine Pasha and Nourredine Pasha), whom I had been warned not to see, because they were “such bears and hated England”; naturally, having thus had my combative curiosity excited, I eagerly sought for introductions to them. And I could not admit the justice of their condemnation.

280General Kemallidine Pasha is about thirty-five, with an honest, open face and merry eyes, that strongly reminded me of my brother; who—though not wounded eighteen times like the Pasha—has been so frequently sewn up as to present to the world, so I tell him, no more than a figure of “threads and patches.” He apologised for offering his left hand, obviously pleased when I said, “it did not matter which of a hero’s hands one is privileged to shake.” When I said that I was sorry to hear he disliked my country, he gave the only explanation I ever obtained from a Turk: “It is because I once loved her so well!”

And for that I have only one answer, provided for me by Mr. D——, who was in Constantinople all through the war, and is convinced that the English were, throughout, entirely misled by Greek and Armenian dragomen. He, himself, would never trust these men to translate any newspaper article for him. “Their work may be, and frequently is, quite correct, but they are clever enough to impart an entirely different meaning from one language to the other; for example, with the word “iltehoc,” how can that word be translated with all its shades of meaning?

“The most dangerous Englishmen,” he said, “were irresponsible young colonels of twenty-five, the familiar “temporary gentlemen,” whose sudden access to power and responsibility has, on other occasions, led Great Britain into adventures she cannot, afterwards, disown. One must regret, but can scarcely in fairness condemn, some of these brave boys from the “edge of beyond” in Canada or Australia, who, of course, are absolutely ignorant of Moslem customs, and, by training, rather aggressively impatient of the slow ways of old England herself.

There were Turks of a very inferior type to be found to help them, as it would be dishonest to deny. Those who made themselves personna grata to the Allies, and enemies to the Nationalists, because they would sink to any calumny or blackmail to secure a “job,” or to keep one.

It is, indeed, high testimony to the personality of 281General Harington that, despite all the crimes committed “in his name,” General Kemallidine, Ismet Pasha and Nourredine Pasha are unanimous in their high tribute.

Our empire is built on confidence in the “Man on the Spot.” It has given us our unrivalled position and a reputation for justice and generosity none can rival. But, with the wrong men, it may have most disastrous results; and, in Turkey, we still want to know who sent Turkey’s élite to Malta?

Kemallidine Pasha gallantly summed up his acceptance of my explanations.... “Now I see the difference between an English lady and an English ‘temporary gentleman’!”

Dr. Nazoum has taken us to his office and showed us his delightful sketches. He also removed some ordinary picture postcards from their frame to show us his wife’s picture hidden behind them.... “Twelve years of a life that might have been given to one’s family stolen from me for the rough and wandering life of war. Only a photograph. That is my married life.”

We also visited Nourredine Pasha’s father-in-law, a dervish living in a Tekké, and revived all my enthusiasm for their wonderful dancing to the weird piping flute; although these dervishes are, I believe, “contemplative.”

I was invited, when at the Assembly, by the Grand Tchelebi to visit Konia, the chief city of the dancing dervishes, and was much tempted to accept. I have never fully understood the “mystic dancing,” derived, as I was told, from our Psalmist’s command to “praise the Lord with dance and song”; but no one could fail to recognise the fascination of the weird rhythm to which the outspread skirts move with a haunting grace that is all their own; like gigantic mauve and brown poppies over the polished oak floor.

282We were unfortunately too late to see much of Nourredine Pasha—the General was starting on his Inspection. My guide had been too polite to tell me my watch was slow. The General, however, found time to entrust me with greetings to General Harington, and to express more hopeful confidence in the future relations of our two countries. I am certainly glad I did not accept anyone else’s judgment of this kind and distinguished man. He is, however, a good ten years older than the other generals of the Pasha’s new army whom I have met. I am now quite accustomed to statesmen and generals of forty.

I think I must really have seen everything in Broussa, including the burnt hamlets of the countryside. I remember a school-house in this district, where the master had been paid in corn, and in which four generations of women, who gave us sweet goat’s milk, were now all living in one room, tastefully arranged with cushions. They had been swept off the face of the earth with the village in which they dwelt, by the Greeks.

But I must not forget the hospital, full of poor women—victims of the Greeks. If there were such sights at the French Front, I mercifully escaped seeing them; and here, for the first time, I realised what some of my sisters have had to endure since the spirit of war has come over us. Greek hatchets had been at work on Mme. Roufy Bey’s patients; and, whether in face or hip, back or leg, too many of these terrible wounds were festering, because it had been impossible to attend to them in time.

I remember the mother who once answered her little girl’s natural questions by telling her: “You just grew on my heart.” “How lovely,” cried the child, “is that why mothers all carry the babies so near their hearts?” “Yes, it is where we keep them.” Here was a poor Turkish mother whose little one had been shot as it lay in her arms!

Through this devastated area, and having seen the utter destitution of these people, I should have expected to find far greater bitterness towards the Greeks. But they are well treated in all the prison-camps, 283and never handled with brutality as they work on the roads. Yet they look rough and desperate, showing none of the resignation with which the Turk faces captivity, however ragged and tattered. These Greeks even seem afraid if a Christian woman speaks to them, although they own that their alarm does not come from either a guilty conscience or from terror of their enemies, but only reveals the broken spirit of men betrayed and alone. I feel, however, that to be always surrounded by the useless and horrible devastation you have yourself inflicted, must unnerve the most callous of human beings.

At about six o’clock on our last morning, an officer arrives to conduct us to the station. The train starts at 7-30, reaching Moudania at nine o’clock, where the boat may leave at 9-30, or any time it likes. It is a short and uneventful train journey, only relieved by a brisk trade in tea at our two stopping-places.

We find a high wind and rough seas at Moudania, and the boat has not yet arrived! There is plenty of time to drive to a unit of headquarters, where the officer’s mother (whom he had “smuggled” through from Constantinople) gives me coffee and cigarettes beside a welcome fire. We pass the historic house in which Peace was signed; one of the many examples in Anatolia of great achievements from small beginnings.

Moudania is, on the whole, more depressing than any of the miserable towns I have been over; and the officer is, certainly, to be congratulated on having secured the company of his mother.

It was about half-past six in the evening when we were summoned to embark; and there was no sign of the “special cabin” that had been promised me in this little cockle-shell of a boat, on which passengers, nevertheless, are divided according to class. For my part, I chose to travel second, as there was far more air; and, as we opened the door, the “poultry yard” gave us a hearty welcome! The women had 284taken their chickens and rabbits into their berths; the floor was strewn with corn and lettuce-leaves! As I disliked sharing my bed with poultry, I should be happier in the cold outside.

However, the first officer graciously gives up his cabin. It is tiny, by no means immaculate, and papered with cheerful postcards. But, in the place of honour, Queen of Beauty among the ladies of the Levant, hangs Gladys Cooper! I have never so much admired that lovely actress as when now she seemed smiling down at my mighty efforts to sleep in this tiniest of bunks that had been built for someone of half my length and width.

The little tub ultimately started at midnight, dancing over the waves to Constantinople, where Turkish passports are no protection, and I must now learn to depend on my credentials from England.

What is going to happen to me? Very possibly my passport will be taken from me, or endorsed with the grim words “not to return to England.”

My mission, indeed, was harmless, if not sanctioned. I have, honestly, endeavoured to see that England may be “a little better” understood by the Nationalists in Anatolia. But in fighting Prussianism, we have been slightly infected by that disease. It has crept into our legislation and our administration. In free England, Cæsar reigns. We can say, as the Turks say, “We have Prussia to thank for our distress.”




As our little cockle-shell reaches the busy quay at Constantinople, the veiled women collect their animals and carry them through the Custom house. I am the only Britisher, yet the tall, well-built official rapidly scans my passport and signs it without moving a muscle, or showing the faintest surprise at my arrival by that boat, not even opening his lips in reply to my good-morning. Is this army etiquette? His kind face has been taught not to unbend. It seems a foolish way of encouraging foreigners to understand us. “You are not English,” everyone declares, “dear lady, you have too much heart to be English.”

“We English have hearts,” is my reply, “but, for some reason, we must pretend we have none.”

Someone wearing a fez, perhaps a Moslem, insists on taking me to the hotel, though I assure him that I am quite capable of carrying my little bag, and a few rugs over my arm. But he has seen Fethi Bey’s letter, and nothing, clearly, will prevent him from mounting beside the driver and burdening himself with my belongings.

At Tokatlians’ Hotel, however, the Armenian porter handed him the truly magnificent tip of two Turkish pounds. He assured me that others pay double that sum for the little trip from the boat to the hotel!

I see, at once, that there is a difference between Angora and Constantinople. In Anatolia no one would dream of thrusting his services upon his country’s friend, or of accepting a two pound tip for so short a 286ride. My Angora host’s servants could not even be induced to accept a tip when I left. At Angora there was none of the Levantine haggling over the price of a cab. In Constantinople I decided always to leave such matters to the porter, who was a kindly man and did his best. Nevertheless, I should seriously advise the Nationalists, when they are back here, to fix a tariff for luggage and cabs, as the traveller is now intolerably imposed on.

There is compensation, of course, in the return to Western comforts, if not luxuries; above all, of the hot bath. I have already taken three; and they tell me that, if I still don’t feel clean, it is only because the water is always brown. One can, further, obtain the services of a manicurist, a hairdresser, and a chiropodist, all worthy men; and how I enjoy these hot-house sitting-rooms, and sheets like satin on the bed! A touch of fever and full permission to stay tired, are quite enough to make me perfectly content with my one “weary” hat—until my luggage condescends to get un-lost.

General Harington invited me to the Harbié (British Headquarters); chiefly, no doubt, to hear about the big men I have seen in Angora. There are few Englishmen more keenly interested than he in the personalities of the Nationalist leaders, particularly, of course, “the Pasha.” He speaks affectionately of “that nice, honest, fine soldier,” Ismet Pasha; and describes Refet Pasha as “a very clever man, one from whom I have never had an unkind or discourteous word. We are the best of friends.”

I asked him whether “he was altogether in sympathy with the Turks.”

“You must remember,” he answered, “that I was with General Wilson. No one could have had a finer chief; and no man, I dare to say, could have followed more closely in his chief’s footsteps than I.”

“Could not our troops be withdrawn, while such an act might still seem le beau geste?”

287“We ought never to have been here,” he replied.

“It hurts my national pride to see you fine men doing police work.”

I told him all I had learned about “the Pasha’s” opinion of the situation, and asked him when he intended to retire.

“As soon as I feel really confident that Peace will be ratified.”

“And Lausanne?”

“We shall have storms, but the result must be peace.”


“As soon as we dare hope....”

I congratulated him on the rôle he had played at Moudania.

“I am glad,” he said, “to have rendered service to my country.”

“Can you see any motive for this disastrous policy in Constantinople?”

“I can only suppose that, for some reason, Mr. Lloyd George simply refused to listen to the advice of everyone who knew Turkey, in favour of friends entirely ignorant of the whole subject. I am almost disposed to think he did not even consult his own Foreign Minister.”

“Why did you not go to Lausanne?” I asked.

“Well, I was not invited. Lord Curzon and Ismet Pasha appear to understand each other; and they have clever experts at the Conference.”

“Do you not feel, however, that a “prejudiced” expert may do even more harm than the Premier’s ‘men,’ who knew nothing?”

“If you can prove they are prejudiced, yes.”

“In my view, when the Turks mistrust them, it is enough.”

“That, surely, is not for me to say.”

I much fear it was “mistaken” modesty, which led General Harington to think that his presence would “make no difference” at Lausanne.

On the other hand, his praise of Refet Pasha is well-deserved. 288It would, indeed, require an exceedingly smart diplomatist to get over a man no one can bluff, for all his courtesy and kindness. The “wonderful little general” is always busy, but never too busy to see the friends of his country, who all delight in his wit.

“There is nothing he would not dare,” said Colonel Mougin. “I can imagine him smoking a cigarette on the edge of Vesuvius! With a mere handful of men he held his own against regiments of Allies all along the line.”

When I first met Refet Pasha we spoke of Colonel Mougin, with whom he had been photographed. I told him that I had been fighting the colonel ever since we met.

“Fighting with that charming man?” he exclaimed.

“The charm of friendship is to fight in peace,” I replied, “or Discuter sans disputer, as the French say.”

He laughed heartily, and then spoke with the deepest respect of General Harington.

“You have yourself given me an example,” said I. “‘Love your enemies’, as it is written.”

Colonel Mougin used to say that Refet Pasha had the glorious spirit of a pioneer, and that his country made good use of the quality. When he had cut his way through the wilderness of Anatolia, they sent him to take possession of Constantinople, though the Allies were still there! At the same time, he was to prepare the way for the axe that was once more to chop with severity, speaking metaphorically, of course, in the departure of the Sultan. When the Government machine at Constantinople was running smoothly, he was sent off to tackle Thrace!

Refet Pasha spoke warmly of Colonel and Mrs. Samson, not forgetting their charming little girl.

“He rendered great service to Turkey during the Siege of Adrianople. He likes the Turks.”

“Like all British gentlemen,” I interposed, to his amusement.

p. 288

“Enemies, or not enemies,” he said, “in spite of 289all the terrible things your compatriots have done, they are fine and intelligent men. I ventured to say to them: ‘Perhaps, by bringing every man you can obtain from the four corners of the earth, you may crush our forces, but never our spirit. And remember, in crushing us you will mutilate yourselves for ever!’ General Harington knows that. He perfectly understands.”

The General spoke of his twenty-eight years’ service: the terrible hardship of these last years, when they had to fight, not only the enemy without, but those Turks who had thrown in their lot with the Allies.

“They say,” he went on, “soldiers love war. It is not true. They hate it, because they know what it means. Politicians want war and make war; we only have to obey.”

He has a very high opinion of the present Khalif, whom I myself met ten years ago, in the days of Mahmoud II.

“Everybody has the greatest respect for him,” he went on, “and rightly; a fine gentleman and a great artist.”

“How does he like not being a Sultan?”

“He is the Khalif,” he replied. “In his place, however, I might prefer the lesser honour and the smaller responsibilities.”

“Do you approve of my going to Lausanne?” I asked.

“You have worked hard, and honestly, at studying the country and striven very sincerely to understand my people. It will be well for your delegates to be told the truth. Nevertheless, Lord Curzon himself knows the subject inside out. He has made up his mind, and knows exactly what he intends to do. Above all, he thoroughly understands what effect his policy will produce.”

I believe every word. This time the Prime Minister will have nothing to say; Lord Curzon has full powers. His responsibilities are heavy indeed. With the terrible heritage of “ugly debts” incurred in the name of England, of which he will personally be held guilty for 290years to come! For him, the right way is not the easy way.

The British officials of Constantinople have been most kind to me; as the only Englishwoman who knows the story of Angora, and has been near to the “heart” of the Turks; they hope I shall go to Lausanne.

But who will listen? From the beginning of time, has an Englishman ever asked a woman for her opinion, or listened to her if she expressed one, even after being consulted! Often, of course, a personality like Lady Hamilton’s, may exert great influence; but men do not come to us for information or advice on policy however much we may know, however deeply and clearly we may think. I am still uncertain of how much our women may ever be allowed to effect in politics and diplomacy.

I once heard a story from a witty Frenchman, which “hits off” our men to a miracle! Their stubborn tenacity, which has never conceded an inch to women that was not dragged out of them by main force! A celebrated French Minister once came to London in hopes of securing a certain concession. When he had spent an hour explaining his case, our great personages briefly replied: “You might as well have asked us for a part of Hyde Park!” He tried again, for another hour, with precisely the same result. His reasons, any mutual advantages that might, or might not, accrue, were absolutely ignored. They only answered, “You might as well have asked us for Hyde Park!”

At Lausanne, unfortunately, there is every reason to fear that the English and the Turks are both adopting the method of not listening. It works, of course (so far as getting your own way), if one party is firmly in possession; but when the claim to control is in dispute, and neither can be induced to yield, one must feel that a little conciliation might be prudent.

Thinking it most unlikely that I shall have another 291opportunity of talking so freely to any British officials, I have spoken with great frankness of what has been in my heart for years, but what I now see can never be changed.

Lord Curzon spoke courteously of my self-imposed mission “to serve my country abroad,” but England will never entrust such tasks to women, or even lend them any official sanction.

This, then, is my swan song of the work which I have proved that a woman can do. Before leaving the stage, I may say what I think.

“If you suppose that we are going to let any Tom, Dick or Harry run our Embassies, as they do in America, you are very much mistaken.” I was once “officially” informed: “We may be accused of being socially exclusive, but everyone knows to which Embassy they should appeal when anything has to be done.”

“That does not touch my complaint,” I answered. “I shall continue to resent the fact that we are not allowed the same footing as women in other countries. We have at last secured the vote, and, theoretically, the right of entry to all professions; but, proud as we are of Lady Astor and Mrs. Wintringham, their presence in Parliament has, rather unfortunately, produced an impression of far more ‘freedom’ and ‘equality’ than we have actually achieved. Some are indeed safely on the heights, but most women have not yet even planted their feet on the lowest rung of the ladder.

“Everyone knows that the Englishman is chivalrous to women, and is their surest anchor in distress. He will willingly die for them, but he maintains his rooted objection to being asked to help them to live.

“The French Government sent a woman to Angora with the fullest official backing in finance and prestige. Their Ambassador provided a plan for her journey, and has made public acknowledgment of her service to France.”

“We do not require women for this work,” was the dogmatic reply; which also, of course, ignored the principle involved in such official rigidity.

292But with the unfailing courtesy which the best Englishman never denies to the women whose “interference” he most resents, “I hope you made our position clear to your friends the Turks. Those who serve our Government have always done so of their own free-will. That is why we are served so well!

I approached this question from another angle at Lausanne. As I have already pointed out, and illustrated from experience in an earlier chapter, it is most advisable, if not essential, that the Ambassador, like other great “Personages,” should employ agents to “try out” the petty “first steps” of any change in policy.

I was told by way of reply, that “the first qualification for ‘entering diplomacy’ is to be twenty-one!” This, of course, excludes a woman over thirty; a fact that may serve for answer to many bitter attacks upon my “Disadvantage of Being a Woman.” A man of threescore is seldom considered too old for diplomacy; a woman of thirty-five is fourteen years beyond the limit.

“What would you do with the old men?” I was asked.

“Teach them golf,” was my prompt retort.

At the Front in a French uniform, speaking French to my own compatriots, I was always unwilling to confess my nationality. So long as they thought I was French, they forgot the lady, and made a friend of the woman! Shedding their “own” uniform, as it were, they “let go” in homage and devotion; giving, being, and appealing for themselves. But the moment it came out that I was English, the open oyster closed down and hid its pearl. From these spruce, upright, and tightly-buttoned uniforms I could never get through the politeness.

As an interpreter in the Guards once explained it: “When one of your Generals asks me to buy him a 293Vie Parisienne, he never forgets to add, ‘but don’t give it to me in front of my officers.’” It must be the same with women. The Englishman will allow a French woman to “have a peep” at his soul. To his compatriot he offers his dignity and his prestige—which are no better than a bag of bones!

What I have always known, has been brought home more forcibly than ever during this trip. In matrimony, at his office, and in the home, the Englishman must be master. We can, if we must, accept a good master. Who will help us against the bad? Do the Laws of England?

It sometimes seems indiscreet for an Englishwoman to visit the British Embassies in foreign capitals, but I rarely omit to call on the French; and there are, of course, certain advantages, under some circumstances, in a twin-nationality. I have been invited to their Christmas lunch by General and Madame Pellé.

Mr. Neville Henderson, the British chargé d’affaires at Constantinople, though certainly not pro-Turk, does not hesitate to criticise the Greeks. An ideal sense of balance for a diplomat.

The Turks like Mr. Henderson; and when I remarked on the apparent anomaly that “one can be popular in Turkey without being pro-Turk,” I was met by the astounding retort that “he succeeds because he knows how to talk”—a strong argument against “silent” diplomacy!

I can only hope that he may long remain at his post. Although he may not like to hear his beloved Foreign Office called a “mausoleum,” or the burial-ground for twentieth-century ideals. Of him, one can repeat what a Cabinet Minister once said of France: that “he is one of the few ready to give a criminal, or a genius, his chance.” Though not an enthusiast for any “Asiatic Revival,” he will accept the inevitable, and cheer the winner. May he stay at his post at least till danger is past.

I have just made my first, and I hope my last, stay 294in Pera. The sister-in-law of my little Turkish sister is dying, so I cannot accept her hospitality, though she has begged me to come to her.

What a terrible warning one can take from Pera! I had not realised the danger of losing oneself in the ambition to be truly cosmopolitan. These people belong to all nations and have the souls of none. Their faces have only one common feature—the lack of the spirit behind all racial types, the entire absence of any ideal. In Anatolia I found two forms of inborn honour: the “nationalist” and the “primitive peasant.” In Pera I stepped from Tokatlian’s Hotel to the Embassy with the feeling that someone is going to stab me in the back.

This is the fourth Christmas I have spent in Turkey. On the first occasion the Germans invited me to their Christmas Tree; outside some Armenians sang their exquisite native carols; which, like their folk-songs, make one wish their characters were equally fine. The concert, however, was interrupted by the master-scavengers of Constantinople, the innumerable dogs, against whose furious barking the Christians at first bravely held on. But the “enemy” trotted away to collect his forces from every quarter of the city and, in the end, I won a wager for the dogs versus the Christians. Our entertainers went home, amidst a never-to-be-forgotten chorus of canine howling.

In Constantinople the dogs certainly had their own nationality. Divided against each other by street feuds, the biggest troop coming from the “station beat,” where cans of rubbish are emptied from the Orient express, they yet united to drive out the “alien” Christians from the fatherland of “Dogdom!”

And so it is with the Moslems. If Albania and Syria have left their fatherland, it is not wise for a foreigner to utter a word against Turkey in their presence.

Mustapha Kemal Pasha will find no difficulty about proving his confidence in Nationalism. “If Europe 295deny us justice, we shall obtain justice from Asia The brotherhood of Islam stands solidly for us.”

This Christmas, after a pleasant dinner at the hotel with Mr. D——, I asked him to take me to church. “Can you hold on to Faith after what you have seen?” he asks.

“I have sometimes nearly lost hold. But when I realise that ‘war’ has taken away everything else from us, I just hang on, hard.”

So I go to church alone, leaving the hideous jazz-band and the noisy dancers; who drink and step out like kangaroos by way of enjoyment!

The eternal beauty of the midnight Mass carries one right away from the dreadful tragedy of life, handing us, too, spiritual food for the heart’s strengthening. On the way home I was humming the Christmas hymn, “Come and Adore Him,” when a clash of discord struck at me from the approaching hotel-mob; for their part, humming “j’en ai marre” (“I am fed up”) the most contagious refrain ever uttered.

I, very unreasonably, poured out my wrath on Mr. D—— next morning. “Is it impossible to make them realise what their song means? Nero fiddled while Rome was burning; they are dancing to the tune of a poor woman’s broken heart. Someone will soon find a gay air for “the Song of the Shirt,” and men will be hopping and braying to it.”

At last I am, fortunately, able to drive quietly away from Pera. “You haven’t changed a bit, you always disliked Pera,” my little Turkish sister had said. “I remember that when we used to go to the Ottoman Bank to fetch your letters you would have the horses whipped up so as to ride to Pera and back as quickly as possible.”

Again I am gazing upon the “Sublime Porte.” It is still “sublime” and the sunset has not changed. Yet no longer can it command my love; and woman does not reason!

296The old buildings are as magnificent as ever; the sun is still sparkling on the gold; the picturesque beggars are still there; the blue sky, the Bosphorus, and the cypress trees!

Only the heart and spirit of Turkey have gone to Angora. This is no longer the Turkey of the Turks; and so I am a stranger here, and there are no friendly faces of the Anatolians to give me greeting.

Along the road the same houses are tumbling down, at exactly the same stage of decrepitude. “Nothing has changed, my child,” I say, “except my heart.”

As we pass the old Tekké, however, I miss the kindly face that used to smile on me from behind the green grilled window; and we laugh over the curious souvenirs I managed to obtain from that holy man.

I was walking with Colonel Z., ten years ago, the first day I noticed him at the window; the big, lovely, dark eyes; the green swathed turban; the Persian robe; and on his face the look of the “peace that passeth understanding.” He must be the “Sower that went forth to sow,” I said, “please take me in to him.”

“But I cannot,” said the colonel; and so, before he realised what I was doing, I just walked in myself and told the holy man that “I had come to look at his ‘beautiful face.’” After that I paid him many visits, sharing his coffee, making signs to the women, and watching his strange worship, that had not even any accompaniment of the piping flute.

He told me that no Christian had ever before been admitted into the Tekké.

“Do you consider me a heathen?” I asked.

“No, we are all children of God. How can one of His children be a heathen?”

“What has become of the old man?” I asked my Turkish sister.

“They ordered his son—you remember that fine 297lad—to say Vive la Grèce, Vive Venizelos, and when he refused, they shot him.”

“But what of the old man?”

“It broke his heart. One day he just fell asleep and did not wake again.”

The harem door is still open. The little daughter, now thirteen, still calls me Tezajim (dear Aunt), and we find seats on the marble veranda to wait for the sun to set over the shores of the Marmora.

“How often I think of you,” murmured my little sister, “trying and trying, day after day, to paint our sunset.” And when I repeated that to the late Sir Alfred East he laughed heartily, saying, “Dear child, Turner could not have done it?”

And who has taken the place of my attendant, Miss Chocolate? The slim figure of a coal-black negress appears to answer my question, robed in brown velvet, with a brown velvet toque. I must call her Miss Ink, though her name is Mary.

I lunch with my Turkish sister as often as the poor sick woman can spare her, and she is generous. Yet eighteen of her friends are there already. This time my friend wears a fur coat and a black veil with lace over it. “Fancy calling that a veil, I teased her. Yet I can count the steps taken in the progress of Turkish women by our lunches. The first time I came to Turkey, you wanted to go up in a lift, and though your father said neither ‘yea’ nor ‘nay,’ you did not go. The second time you often used the lift. The third time, we lunched at Tokatlian’s restaurant, ‘for ladies only.’ Now you lunch unveiled (I don’t call that a veil) in a mixed restaurant.

“And yet, now you have won the privilege for which you have been waiting so many years, you prefer to lunch ‘with the ladies.’ How like a woman!”




“Please reserve comfortable room for Englishwoman coming from Angora,” so ran the telegram despatched by an American friend of mine, who had gallantly determined that I should be well looked after. It was both comfortable and warm; and, to complete the welcome, my waking eyes next morning are caught by the two flags I have learnt to love so well, the Turkish and the French—the “standards” of two brave peoples, with the fine spirit that nothing can subdue, who would choose rather to be annihilated than to live in servitude.

Then I notice the flag of Japan! “What has Japan to do with it?” I ask Ismet Pasha.

“Ah, Miss d’Angora,” he answers with a laugh, “it is fine sport to watch the poor little bird as they pluck out his feathers and clip his wings.”

Indeed, Lausanne has been “revolutionised” by this Conference of Peace! It is a golden harvest for the hotels, which have not a room unoccupied. Every day luncheons, dinners, and banquets! Everywhere representatives of the world’s Press! I feel strange, somehow, in a “neutral” country. Ever since 1914 I have been living, or travelling, over “seats of war,” in lands fighting to defend, or attack, an Ideal.

One can respect any sort of an “opinion” from some point of view; but “neutrality” and “anonymity” do not sound to me like attributes in which a free and independent people should feel much pride. 299Yet the “neutrality” of Switzerland means the International Red Cross and the League of Nations; and it has surely earned by its hospitality to the world’s statesmen, a right to play its part in the historical peace, for which “the God who Forgives” is waiting.

The Orient express is bringing the peoples together; Lord Curzon from London, Ismet Pasha from Angora. May their political discussion travel under one company to our home of peace! This Hotel of the Strange Tongues is fast become a very Tower of Babel, for it reveals every possible phase of complete internationalism, from fox-trots and cocktails to the folk-songs of Anatolia, sung by the Pasha’s Guards when off duty. Here, too, are thronging a host of new nationalities—Georgians, Bolsheviks, Syrians, Sons of Palestine, and Armenians; each fired by their own ideals, each proud of their independence; all sighing for the (political) moon.

For the moment, of course, the Conference has resolved itself into a duel between Lord Curzon and Ismet Pasha. Mme. B., indeed, is indignant because, she says, “our English representative has so bullied the French delegate that he has been obliged to take to his bed,” though one can hardly believe that proud and mighty Republic would choose a man whom anyone could really bully to bed!

I tried to imagine the Conferences of the future! “We should appoint a bear for our delegate,” I said, “send him round to all the other delegations in turn, to grunt! When his confrères had all taken to their beds, he could dictate his own term.... After the senile sensitiveness of M. Barrère, the youthful ‘insolence’ of Riza Nour is most refreshing.”

This is the first occasion of big diplomacy in which Turkey has ever dared to assert herself. “A free and independent Turkey” is so unheard of; one sadly fears it may even now be dismissed as “mere bluff.” Do they realise, or will they ever believe, that a vast, well-trained army (who may be called fanatics) are ready and thoroughly prepared (by military experts) to come out at a word from their great leader, and once more 300save their Fatherland? It is sad to feel that the “Hymn of Independence” I heard on all sides at Angora, should sound as much “out of harmony” with the tone of the Conference, as “Anatolian” folk-songs with a Jazz Band!

America has sent “representatives,” whose chief is called An Observer and rejoices in the name of Child—“The Child Observer” or, as it is whispered, “The Boy Scout.” To point the humour of the situation, I naturally expected to meet a hoary-headed old gentleman with a long white beard, like his predecessor at Rome, Ambassador Robert Underwood Johnson. But though I was not aware of it at the time, he is the very young man I reduced to silence, by inquiring the way in what he called voluble French, who simply led me to the place without comment, rang the bell, and went away!

At the Conference one still sees the Powers in turn calling Turkey “to order,” when their own arrogance has reduced her delegate to a condition of what the Press calls his “more than usual insolence.” Then the “Boy Scout” or “Child Observer” would “try a little kindness,” to Ismet Pasha. “Don’t you see the whole world is against you,” to which came the dignified rejoinder, “We have become accustomed to that.”

As it was in Angora, everyone here talks politics all day. But I am told that, while they only enjoyed themselves at Genoa, they do work at Lausanne. I quite believe in this “work”; certainly the Turkish delegates are hard at it till two or three every morning. But they do not forget enjoyment altogether. The younger members from the commissions have treated themselves to a thê dansant. “It warms your feet,” said Hussein Djahid, who takes his dancing very seriously. “Surely Turks don’t suffer from cold feet,” I exclaimed, “and I don’t believe you really like it, you only dance to show us that you can dance.”

The Press is luxuriously installed in a miniature palace of its own, at the Palace Hotel; a bar, of course, a gramophone, a perfect dancing-floor, roulette, and, 301incidentally, “plenty of room to write.” Mr. Ward Price politely regrets that “etiquette” will not permit him to ask me for an interview. Why should newspaper etiquette be allowed to hamper his “duty” as a good sportsman?

To the one journalist who really counts at Lausanne (though his articles were not always printed), I ventured to bring grave charges against the Press. “How is it men of talent and education have allowed themselves to sink to the level of mere machines, that any ‘big’ proprietor can use to manipulate public opinion? The ‘Power of the Press’ is a fraud. You never give us the benefit of your knowledge and judgment; whether we take a ‘pennyworth of news,’ or let ‘bang go saxpence.’ ‘Alas,’ said Shakespeare, ‘to choose love by another’s eyes!’ Is it not a hundred times worse ‘to write by another’s ears?’”

You write only what Mr. MacClure deigns to approve; and, though doubtless honest and unbiassed, he is not himself really “free.” He feeds you daily, like the animals in Regent’s Park, and, after a good night, you may digest the food. It would be far more honest to issue an “official” Report, without the “false” impression of personal judgments formed on the spot, which a “special correspondent” is meant to produce. The public is taught to laugh at Ismet’s pleasantries, via Mr. MacClure! Now I have heard the Pasha rehearsing, and Lord Curzon preparing his “part”; but I still want to witness the duel upon the public platform, for myself.

Could one ever forget the most dramatic moments of the Second Conference at the Hague! Can such incidents be reported unless one has actually seen them! I remember Mr. Choate was down one afternoon to speak on Disarmament. As he rose, Baron Marshall von Bieberstein deliberately closed his ears, and opened a sheet of paper and began to write. Drawing himself up to his commanding height, with a stern air of dignity, Mr. Joseph Choate began—“I have prepared my speech with great care for the express benefit of Baron Marshall. If the noble gentleman is 302too busy to “listen” this afternoon, he would, perhaps, be good enough to make another appointment!” Surely the fine picture of this grand American calling the “noble” Baron to order upon a question of good breeding is one which each correspondent must see, hear, and describe for himself.

It is, no doubt, largely due to the great difficulty of obtaining first hand news, that most people are anti-Turk. We were told, for example, that Riza Nour was “insolent”; whereas he had patiently listened for hours to nonsense about the “National Armenian Home,” before he left the Conference room in despair of being permitted to tell the truth.

And, partly no doubt because they may not comment upon anything of real importance, the papers are always ready to enlarge upon some trivial detail that is calculated to fan the flames of hate, or point the finger of scorn, towards any Turk. Someone asserted that the Turkish military expert had made a little mistake in preparing a map. He himself did not admit that he was wrong; but in any case, no one pretended that the matter was in the least important; and it could, ultimately, be rectified without the slightest effect on policy. Remember, too, that the poor man was working from surveys prepared on different systems, and in a language that describes everything for us backwards. It would not be remarkable if some slight error were made in transposing the details to European measures and methods. Yet the papers all give columns exposing the “little mistake,” which, most probably, was never made. Vital questions, meanwhile, were almost entirely ignored in the Press; and the “insolent” Asiatics are filled with bitter resentment. It is idle for Mr. MacClure to say that “they must expect criticism.” What they complain of is not “criticism,” but the entire “ignoring” of their point of view—a very different thing.

The journalist whom I thus attacked admitted that they deserved all I said. “The public,” he added, “has been misled, one might say ‘cheated.’ I could myself have supplied a good deal of first-class information, 303sufficiently dramatic and interesting to ‘raise circulations’; had I refused my signature to the ‘official’ news so sparingly doled out for me to put into shape. I can promise you that, on me at least, your words have not been wasted.”

Let us hope he may substantiate his pledge. At present the Press is neither a critic, a check on intrigue, nor an inspiration. It echoes the Governments, good or bad. In Constantinople, for instance, the American and English “special correspondents” frankly confessed that they employ a few “scouts” to collect copy, and merely “hash up” what comes in from these “scavengers” of rumour and gossip.

Propaganda in the Turkish Press is under the direction of Kemal Bey (the poet) and Ruchène Echref. Men of such literary distinction, alas, are no better fitted for such work than a watchmaker would be to heave coal. In Turkey they do not understand how heavy are the hands that can mange propaganda: that posts are created for the men who can fill them, and men are not made for any post that may happen to be vacant.

It was always a pleasure, and a surprise, to meet Lord Curzon socially at Lausanne; and if only his traditional respect for British prestige would have allowed him to be “himself” with Ismet Pasha and the Turkish delegates, to approach discussions with all the charm and wit that he knows so well how to exert, I am convinced that the practical gain to both countries would be enormous.

For though in debate his “official” manner is bound to emphasise the impression of a determined man, so clearly knowing his own mind that argument or even discussion is waste of time; I found him sincerely interested in all the personal details of my trip; and his penetrating questions were proof enough that he is quite ready to hear all sides, and really anxious to understand the country, the people, and their point 304of view, from anyone who knows them, irrespective of what “heresies” they may uphold. To me personally, he was not only courteous, but respectfully attentive; the only Englishman whose compliments and praise meant a real gratitude, a serious acknowledgment of my fifteen years’ study and adventure, as “worthy service to my country.”

Ismet Pasha asked me if I had succeeded in making Lord Curzon understand the grave importance of their movement.

“I may have helped a little,” I answered, “I believe I have. But he has always understood nearly the whole truth. What I fear you and your friends must find it almost impossible to understand is the “public opinion” in the West, which he cannot ignore.

“Does he know how foolish it is to talk of a “home” for Armenia?”

“He knows it would be as useless as to tie ‘a swarm of bees under a donkey’s nose.’ But, though—as you justly say—it is not their business, England cannot ignore America and the Powers. It would not bring you peace, or justice, to affront them. I do not wonder that you and Riza Nour grow impatient with the wasteful methods of traditional diplomacy; but that is our way of democracy, to conciliate public opinion by a pose of far greater obstinacy and intolerance than we feel, or intend to act on.”

We in England, however, should realise that, however wise and sincere Lord Curzon’s own sympathy may be, the general attitude—in England and the Continent—is still based on our interpretation of the “old” Turkey. Our experts, for example, in Constantinople, still approach the Nationalists as they were accustomed to order about Abdul Hamid’s Turks. They are, naturally and inevitably, “touchy” in Angora, but we shall not help matters by any offensive allusions to the “Moslem with his tail up, no thank you!”

The Home of Turkey, France, and Japan.
p. 304

It would be not only wiser and fairer, but more 305dignified, to congratulate these people on the achievements of the Grand National Assembly, which the “Mother of Parliaments” should surely welcome with honour and respect.

I found Ismet Pasha often depressed by the immensity of his task; harassed, too, lest his own people should not feel that he had done enough. “They have sent me, a soldier, to fight a Bismarck, one of your greatest statesmen,” he said one day.

I repeated what Lord Curzon had told me, with obvious sincerity, “You know, I like the little man.”

“And I respect him,” was the prompt reply, as his bright eyes lit up with renewed hope and courage.

Another day he was again in despair. “Well, it will just have to be war.”

But I would not hear the word. To all the Turks, Riza Nour, Tewfik, Hikmet, I say the same. “We are both in the wood. We must walk round and round, until we have found a way out.”

It may sound paradoxical, but, while there is absolutely no offence to British prestige in the National Pact that is worth shedding one drop of human blood to remove, it yet stands for such vital ideals, means so much, and has been achieved with such grand courage and self-sacrifice, that the Nationalists must uphold and defend it to the bitter end. That is the “problem” of Lausanne.

There is, however, no reason why, if foreigners are afraid to trust themselves, and the capital, in a Turkey governed by Turks (without “protection,” which means “interference”) they should not leave the people to find their own way towards commercial and political stability.

Lord Curzon, naturally, told me nothing; but his questions enabled me to guess at what he wished and intended to achieve. Perhaps I have guessed wrongly.

306Is he not anxious to keep Mosul, from fear of Russia. We could buy the oil, and the Turks would gladly sell it. Also a promise to Arabs has been broken before now; and if our bungling has led Turkey into a temporary alliance with Russia, no one knows what will come of the German-Jew Soviets. Maybe, we have far more need to protect India from them, than to stand on our dignity with “new” Turkey.

The British Empire was founded, and can only survive, on Trust. It is a poor policy that dare not act for fear of backing “the wrong horse.” It is a criminal policy, when hesitation means war and the loss of millions of lives.

Lord Curzon’s association with the Coalition has sadly shaken his high repute for “good faith”; and unless he can see his way to come forward frankly for a “free and independent” Turkey, the Nationalists will fight in their own defence.

There seem to me too many “Commissions” at Lausanne. Closer contact between Lord Curzon himself and those able men, Djavid and Hamid Bey, as well as Ismet Pasha, would surely not only go far to restore their confidence in his good faith, but enormously “speed up” decisions on the essential problems that need to be promptly settled.

As I listened to the public speeches of Lord Curzon I was haunted by all the fateful memories of the ruin I had seen in Angora. The doubt would come; does he really realise the supreme necessity to wipe out for ever that awful page of history, to establish peace, and to help, with all the tactful sympathy at his command, the new nation to stand on its own feet. Maybe we should even be comforted by hope, if our Government would only take us more fully into its confidence. The people of England are, after all, deeply concerned. They have faith, they would gladly be loyal; but why are they kept in the dark? When I am speaking with the Turkish delegates, I sometimes fancy I catch a look on their faces of “deep anguish” as we name Lord Curzon, and my heart sinks. How am I to convince them, certain as I am he is right, that he is not 307drifting towards the false “sentiment” that has been broadcasted to uphold the Greeks?

On the anniversary of the In-Eunus, I dined with Ismet Pasha. When he refused dates I told him that, “so long as he kept the ‘dates’ of his victories, he needed no others.” “I left Constantinople with nothing,” he answered. “I returned the head of the Army.” Turkey gives every man his chance.

So far as possible, I am dividing my time between British and Turks; and no one can say that either gives more time or “hard labour” to their responsibilities, than the other. It is not possible, certainly, for any visitor to interrupt Lord Curzon, he seems to be working all the time.

There is one figure we all watch carefully at the Conference. I once compared the face of M. Venizelos to an Apostle! Now he hovers round the British Delegation like a bird of ill-omen, for some inexplicable reason still mesmerising our diplomatists, carrying trouble wherever he goes. Djavid Bey laughs to remind me of how proud I had once been to pour out tea for them both!

One naturally feels great interest in Melle Stanciof, as the first woman diplomatist, and her personality repays study. Tall and thin, with the large eyes of the Oriental, she is very able, speaks English without an accent, and loves her work. I repeated to her the dogma that to be twenty-one is an essential qualification for a diplomat; but she is twenty-seven, and only laughed at the idea.

Sir Wm. Tyrell, Permanent Head of the British Foreign Office, with all his Irish charm and wit, is as clever as Machievelli. He delights in calling himself “Chief of the Underlings”; but men like Mr. Forbes Adam and Mr. Harold Nicholson were experienced 308diplomats when their Turkish colleagues were in their cradles; which, as Ismet Pasha sometimes complains, “gives them no chance for a fair fight.” But when I dined with them as his guests, there was no fighting; and our host, I felt, was very well qualified to promote friendly relations, by the cultured ease of his hospitality.

To my thinking, British “underlings” are very able men, and not pro-Russian as the Turks are disposed to fear. They were all anxious for peace, and quite sincerely eager to understand the nationalist point of view.

During the conference both M. Poincaré and M. Mussolini visited Lausanne and dined with Lord Curzon.

I have had many talks about the Patriarch, whom Mustapha Kemal declares must be removed: “He must be got rid of, with the other relics of Byzantium!” The problem is especially hard on Turkey, because it arose from what ought to have been considered the great strength of the nation, though—in this case—it has been exaggerated into weakness, her immense tolerance for other people’s religion.

When the Byzantians conquered the Turkish tribes who had emigrated into Asia Minor, they compelled the tribesmen to be converted, and join the Orthodox Church. The Bible, and all their prayers, were translated into Turkish; whence, without design, the Turkish Orthodox Church came into being. When, later, under the Seldjoucides and Osmanli, Anatolia passed into Moslem hands, no attempt was made to interfere with the Orthodox religion of the people.

It was only when the Ottomans ruled in Constantinople and the Sultans used their growing power to support the Greek Patriarch, that the Anatolians began to see they were being manœuvred into the power of the Helenes. During the war, the Patriarch’s intrigues became more daring and more obvious; until Papas Eftim Effendi proposed in the Assembly that Fanar should be separated from the Orthodox Church, and 309that the Orthodox Church of Anatolia should rule in Thrace and Constantinople.

Yet when Ismet Pasha spoke of the religious “tolerance” of Turkey, Lord Curzon replied: “How can you claim to be tolerant. All your past record will be destroyed if you dismiss the Patriarch.” And rather than risk such a charge against the Nationalists, he gave way.

It seems to me, I confess, that this concession is a grave risk. The interference, thus permitted, may prove to be more disastrous than that of a few foreign judges against which they so resolutely protest. As Mr. Nicholson said he hoped that I had told Lord Curzon how much the Turks were giving up.... “I think,” he said, “their tolerance is very fine.”

Ismet Pasha often worked all night with his hench-men, Colonel Tewfik and Hikmet Kiamil, a grandson of Kiamil Pasha, who has inherited his grandfather’s political talents. They felt that the slightest failure to meet the immense demands made on the delegation would stamp them as an inferior race, and they determined it should not be.

It was actually after one of their most arduous sittings, up to three o’clock in the morning, that I obtained from Ismet Pasha the comprehensive exposition of his point of view, that I have put together in the following pages.

Ismet Pasha, like Mr. Edison, is deaf; and possibly feels with that great inventor that, “though it is uncomfortable when people insist on making a spitoon of your ear, for the rest it is all advantage.” For example, at dinner one can “get on with one’s thinking,” instead of listening to the conversation. Ismet Pasha only “hears what he wants to hear,” often a great advantage in diplomacy.

As to being content with the “working of the Conference,” he said, “we are doing all in our power to make peace, but it is difficult for one nation against all the other powers. Willingly or unwillingly, they 310cannot see what our National Pact means to us; and that, as a proud people, we cannot accept terms of peace which they would not think of offering the Greeks and Bulgars. It is said that the Great Powers must conciliate public opinion which hates and distrusts us as ‘barbarians,’ but we feel certain that the Powers could deal with ‘public opinion’ if they so desired, and convince the whole world that we are now working by civilised methods to become a free and independent nation. Instead of facing the vital question of a ‘right to exist’ as a State, we feel that much time has been wasted over details that do not need any discussion. It is known, for example, that we are offering, what we have always offered, equal rights to Moslems and Christians; yet we are asked to establish inequality by exempting Christians from military service.

“If ever the Powers consent to accept our point of view, it is considered a great concession, and when we point out that our whole demands have been reduced by us to the lowest minimum, they laugh; imagining it is a ‘concession’ to give us back one room in our own house.

“For three years, Turkey has given proof that none can dispute of her organising capacity, her great vitality, and her deep longing to regenerate her country. We came here hoping and believing that the plenipotentiaries would bear this in mind. They do not. They beg us to ‘trust’ them; but they treat us with the same caution, the same distrust, as they have always shown towards the old ‘decayed’ Turkey, towards which, maybe, there used to be some slight justification. Such an attitude cannot produce satisfactory progress.”

“What are the chief obstacles to Peace?”

“Mosul—Finance—Judicial Capitulations—Reparations.

“We are only asking four milliard gold francs for reparations. That is a small figure for a country that has been completely devastated, and it takes no count of loss of life.

311“Mosul was never captured by Great Britain, though they claim the right of conquest. Their troops were a long way from Mosul when ours were demobilised at the end of the war. They ‘captured’ it by ‘violating the terms of the Armistice’; as they did at Constantinople, and as the French did in Cilicia.

“The population of Mosul is Kurd and Turkish, with only a small Arab minority. It must, therefore, belong to Turkey on all the principles by which the Powers have determined the frontiers of Europe. This was recognised, indeed, in the Sykes-Picot agreement, which admitted that Mosul is not a part of Mesopotamia.

“It was finally handed to England by the French Foreign Office; but M. Clemenceau afterwards apologised that he had not previously ‘known of the oil there.’ The Kurds of Mosul have nothing in common with the Arabs; and naturally want to be united with their ‘brothers’ in Anatolia. Why are we the only nation to whom the principle of racial frontiers has been denied? By what kind of justice does an Arab minority, probably smaller than one quarter of the population, give England the right to annex Mosul!

“To insist upon our accepting ‘foreign judges,’ is an humiliating insult to our Government that is altogether incompatible with National Sovereignty. Such interference, and such an affront to the authority of the State would be no less injurious to the interests of foreigners in Turkey than to our own. It could not fail to provoke continual clashing of interests, confusion, and friction between Turkish and foreign administration of law, that would be fatal to commercial security for all alike. Here again the Powers are still ‘building on sand.’

“As to finance, it is a serious difficulty for us; but no question of mere money will ever separate us from England.

“I firmly believe that, when once the Powers can get rid of their old prejudices, the traditional friendship will revive. England and Turkey, surely, need 312each other; we need England and England needs us, if only to pacify those Moslem people whom England’s injustice to us has roused to righteous anger against her.

“A strong Anglo-Turkish alliance would mean not only peace in the Near East and for Islam; it means peace for the whole world.”

People have asked me “Why did Lausanne fail?”

I answer: “It did not fail. It would have been failure had Ismet Pasha signed, at the pistol’s point, a treaty that could not be ratified. He knew that the Assembly would never sign the terms offered by the Powers; and, as I told Lord Curzon, he had to consult his colleagues in Angora. It would hinder peace, not promote it, to sign with no security for ratification.”

As Ismet said, “We have purchased our Anatolia with the blood and money of her peasants. We can die, but we cannot betray them.”




For those of us who pinned their faith on the League of Nations, it is a matter of the deepest regret that Turkey has lost her trust in the great Parliament of All Nations, especially now that it could have played so important a part in settling our differences at the Lausanne Conference. It is not entirely the Turks’ fault; indeed, considering all things, one can scarcely urge them to any other attitude.

To them, at least, the League must seem definitely anti-Islam, and (as founder of the Lyceum Club ‘League of Nations Circle,’ of which Lady Gladstone is president) I have continually endeavoured to impress upon Lord Robert Cecil the danger of allowing such an idea to remain uncontradicted, that it may spread more widely and be more firmly held.

Turkey never interfered with British property during the war, and British merchants continued their business in Smyrna throughout the hostilities. Yet we not only confiscated, but sold enemy property. In one case, for example, the business of a man, brought up in England and a pronounced Anglophil, was sold to a Greek for a quarter of its value, and the money sequestered by the Government. Had the Bey even been a traitor he should have been given the full value of his business, and then expelled, instead of being driven to exist on money borrowed at an exorbitant rate of interest. On the other hand, Ottoman “Christian” property was freed from sequestration; a 314distinction between “neighbours,” hardly consistent with the teaching of our faith.

The “pick-pocketing” habit of confiscating enemy property—Turkish, German, or Austrian—is surely beneath an Empire with our reputation; and the plea from France and Italy’s example does not strike one as a dignified defence. As a matter of fact, France emphatically denies ever having taken a penny from the Turks.

Is not such flagrant injustice an obvious case for the League’s authority to intervene? When visiting the “League of Nations” headquarters in Geneva the other day, Sir Eric Drummond asked me why Turkey should be so suspicious of the League? I could only refer him to the public speeches of our most responsible statesmen. When Mr. Lloyd George hurled insults at Islam, it only meant one more item in the big bill of Moslem grievances against England; when Lord Balfour and Lord Robert Cecil speak in similar strains, Islam listens. While they refuse justice and mercy, Turkey mistrusts the League.

Because the League stood aside, and left the Greeks in Smyrna, as Britain refused discussion with Turkish emissaries, Mustapha Kemal was driven to arms, which gave Turkey, indeed, the victory, but spread ruin throughout Anatolia.

Should not a careful consideration for the feelings of all nations be an outstanding characteristic of the League, which is the expression of the world-brotherhood? Yet it suggested that a man, a Mr. Pitt, should be allowed to search the harems for enslaved Greeks and Armenians! An incomprehensible insult that, if Turkey ever forgives, she cannot forget. The Turks are a proud and aristocratic race, with venerable traditions, which, if we will not understand, we should, at least, respect. To them, home-life is a sealed and sacred book.

Why, again, was the preparation of a full report on “harems” entrusted to a Roumanian poetess, rather than to such a woman as Halidé Hanoum, of tried experience and world-wide reputation for liberal broadmindedness? 315We have depended, in the past, chiefly on nursery governesses whose exaggerations and misconceptions on this subject are invaluable to sensational writers. Hence the sordid colouring for Western eyes thrown on a system of delicate lights and shades and very complicated nuances.

The Greek and Armenian servants in Turkish harems would be themselves the first to resent interference. For they are treated in Moslem homes with an equality, consideration, and leniency no Christian mistress would dream of permitting. They, often, practically control the household, and are, indeed, sometimes given an unwise preference in the Pasha’s affections. They hold the purse-strings, direct, advise, and administer domestic affairs, as they also, so largely, manage the commercial life of the country. In return, naturally, the Turk expects absolute loyalty; and woe to those who refuse, or betray, it.

It is true, of course, that backstairs propaganda—from American Relief Workers, among others—has been at work to misinform the League; and had reliable information been available, those unfortunate mistakes would never have been made.

Indeed, the honestly impartial head of its own Press department now reports: “We have tested the real value of Greek and Armenian propaganda, and sympathise with the Turk in consequence.” Such repentance comes rather late in the day, but may even yet produce a wiser policy.

It was one of the Fethi Bey’s many humiliating experiences, on his visit to London, to see the harem misjudged by an ex-governess, and to read the assertion of a lady from Boston that “beautiful Greek girls had to disfigure themselves to prevent the Turks from stealing them!” Statements that might have been treated with the contempt they deserve, had they not been accorded such prominence by the Press.

On the other hand, one must acknowledge that the Turk’s attitude towards his detractors is more lofty than practical. Pride forbids him to answer accusations, or disseminate the truth; which he, as a fatalist, 316firmly believes “must out”! They will, certainly, never hoist the propagandist “on his own petard,” since, to their thinking, the man who accepts money to defend a cause is no better than a “political prostitute.” They argue that “he who works for me, must believe in me, as a true friend, eager to help.” And for the moment, Europe has made them feel that “facts” would avail them nothing—“whatever we do is wrong.”

In the East news spreads with accurate rapidity without the assistance of newspapers; but the foreigner who needs chapter and verse for every statement may be, to some extent, excused for suspecting their obstinate reticence about statistics and exact figures. I should, myself, have welcomed more information about a story I quite believe, but cannot substantiate, that came from an Italian lady at Broussa. She said that the Greeks burnt a Turkish prison, with all the prisoners in it, and, “to her dying day she would never forget their awful screams,” but no one will give me the least idea of how many prisoners were slaughtered. I called on a Vali whose palace was burned to cinders before I had the information. And I could discover no precise details, despite inquiry at Angora, Constantinople, and Lausanne!

The Norwegian head of the Minorities Committee, a man given to wise and just decisions, has said: “It is no use expecting Asiatics to be Europeans. They have as much right to do things in their Asiatic way, as we have to act like Europeans. There are standards of right and wrong, against which neither may transgress, but for the rest, nothing can be done.” He also agreed that to secure protection from a minority, you must enforce loyalty to the majority. I told him the head of the Armenian community had begged the Pope to see that they “were left to the mercy” of the Turks, which is merciful.

The League can really help Christians in Turkey by putting a stop to pro-Christian propaganda, for which Armenians in Anatolia will have to suffer.

There is so much that the League of one’s dream 317could do for Turkey, as for all the peoples; and we criticise only from hope and desire of some hastening in its approach to perfection, and the establishing of its supreme authority. As Sir Eric Drummond pointed out, the high-handed and retrograde attitude towards Eastern problems would not be possible were Turkey represented on the council: as others have seen, that while the so-called “enemy” peoples are unrepresented, the League cannot be truly either impartial or international.

To secure equal justice for all, it must stand outside, and above, divisions of race, creed or prejudice.

Nevertheless, we hope that Turkey will trust the “imperfect” League. Maybe, after all, in dealing with Mosul, it would grant the plebiscite which Lord Curzon declares is “impossible.”

It is not generally known why Colonel House chose Geneva, in preference to Lausanne, as the seat of the League of Nations.... After long and careful deliberation, which yet produced only indecision, I am told that he asked his valet’s advice.

Joseph replied: “Geneva would be much better for your rheumatism!”

Once installed, however, Colonel House discovered another reason. At Geneva, lived Josephine!




Will the future bring us peace; above all, a lasting peace? Though nothing less is worth having, we cannot have war.

I saw M. Franklin-Bouillon in Paris and, though not perhaps in agreement with all he did in Syria, I maintain that his work in Moudania deserved thanks rather than criticism. He knows the Turks well, and affirms that he would have made peace at Lausanne. He possibly might have done so, but would it have been lasting peace?

On my way back to London we cross the channel in a Handley-Page Aeroplane. There is just time to prepare a conclusive answer to all questions about the harem; for no matter how eager we are to proceed, after six months’ study of the Angora movement, to more important impressions, every newspaper correspondent asks about the harem.

Just as for those who, in the States; held me personally responsible for our policy in Ireland, I stole from Life a witty answer, compressed into this dramatic “tabloid,” that “turned away American wrath”:

Pat: Wouldn’t it be awful if England now gave us all we wanted?”

Mike: Sure, and ’twould be like her to play us the dirty trick.”

In like manner, I prepared two shots to kill “harem” inquiries:—

One: “Why has the Turk only one wife, to-day?

“When four wives meant four tillers of the ground, 319there was ‘sense’ in polygamy. It is ‘folly’ now they buy their dresses in Paris.”

Two: “Why are you always so early at the Mosque?” a pious man was asked.

“As I have two wives, I leave home as soon as possible.”

The result was as I expected.

But what about the peace for which we all wait so anxiously?

What has the future in store for us? We must turn over a new page, and find our way with great care, both sides first uttering their mea culpas, with honest courage to learn the lesson of their mistakes.

Above all, may Lausanne learn the lesson of Versailles.

Which of the Big Four dared face the real problems of Versailles? They decided nothing, but, leading us into the pestilent zone of neutrality, imposed a “Government by Committees” upon the world, which could not work. Nature abhors neutrality, as she abhors a vacuum. And so it is in politics.

On the other hand, however, we ask ourselves what nation was as badly beaten as Turkey? Yet which of our late enemies has dared such open defiance to the Allies? Not, however, in consequence of their victory over the Greeks; but because she knows that, however much we may pretend, none wants to fight; and no one can win the prize of “Constantinople” save by conquest.

We had foolish visions of a new Byzantium, and thought that Greece would reward our support by a “place on the Bosphorus.” But had the Powers accepted this monstrous idea of a Greek Bosphorus, we should have found it necessary to punish the arrogance of our soi-disant fellow-burglars. The timeo Danaos, etc., of ancient Greece has still its place in modern politics.

The Allies, however, knew they could not create a “neutral” Constantinople, and had intended, before the Bolshevik regime, to present the prize to Russia. 320A “committee” government of France, Italy and England would mean English rule; and our blundering had been too patent.

There remained no choice. Constantinople had to be given back to Turkey. Though she was beaten in the Great War, which she has now forgotten, we could not conquer her (single-handed, as we should find ourselves to-day); and, therefore, “she has to have her own way.” The endeavour to curb New Turkey by “neutral zones” would prove as useless as an attempt to check the tides. It is only by an honest peace, carefully thought out in every detail and planned for permanent security, that we can regain our prestige in the Near East.

Perhaps, however, the greatest lesson we have still to learn from Turkey’s victory was spoken in Gœthe’s lines:—

“He who would be just must have consideration for all men.”

Or again, as it is written in the Turkish lines quoted by Professor Browne:—

Kam máta gawm un wa ma mátat makárimee pum
Wa asha gawm un was hum fi ’n—nase amwátu!
Many a people’s virtues survive when themselves are sped,
And many a people linger, who are counted by man as dead!

Turkey is not dead, but born again out of the ruins of a Great Civilisation. May there be peace again between East and West, that shall bring peace to a world so greatly needing what it so little deserves!

My final words are of sincere congratulations to New Turkey, of warmest thanks to all the friends who gave unending interest to my visit, of pious hopes for peace.

At Lausanne, Ismet Pasha always gave the toast of “The British Empire and King George,” and I responded with “Turkey and Mustapha Kemal Pasha”; then we touched glasses, coupling the names. May “coming events cast their shadows before.” Inch Allah! and again, Inch Allah!