Archive for July, 2015

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Jul 10

Im Kroatien der dreißiger Jahre stand die ungarische Feudalverfassung in Geltung; der Schwerpunkt des gesamten Verwaltungssystems lag in der Autonomie der Komitate. An der Spitze der Komitate standen jeweils entweder ein erblicher oder ein vom König ernannter Obergespan (supremus comes, kroatisch: veliki župan = großer Führer). Dem Obergespan untergeordnet waren zwei Vizegespane (podžupani), die Ober- und Vizestuhlrichter sowie die Notare als Vollzugsorgane der Verwaltung und der Rechtsprechung (Gerichte). Justiz und Verwaltung waren damals wie überall in diesen Organen vereinigt (so z.B. in Tirol, in Bayern usw.). Diese Organe wurden in Kroatien — gewählt und zwar von der „Kongegration“ des im Komitat ansässigen Adels auf jeweils drei Jahre. „Dekretiert“ war, daß diese Wahl, die zu jener Zeit auf lateinisch „restauratio“ genannt wurde, „frei“ sein sollte, von der Regierung nicht beeinflußt werden durfte. Was eine „Wahl“ nach ungarischem Muster, „frei“ und von der Regierung nicht „beeinflußt“, bedeutet, weiß heutzutage jeder Gymnasiast und Realschüler. Wie aber vor 1848 in Kroatien „gewählt“ wurde, erzählt Dr. von Tkalac in seinen „Jugenderinnerungen“ auf Grund von Mitteilungen, die er aus dem Munde des — bereits genannten — Agramer Obergespans Nikola von Zdenčaj, eines „berühmten Wahlmachers“, selbst erhalten hatte. Die Darstellung ist, wie mir auf mehrfache Umfragen bestätigt wurde, richtig und einwandfrei, wiewohl sie jedem Begriff von „Wahl“ ins Gesicht schlägt und das Dekret, betr. „Nichtbeeinflussung“, in noch nicht dagewesener Weise verhöhnt. Doch zu den Verhältnissen jener Feudalzeit paßte der Vorgang im Komitat Turopolje (Türkenfeld) zu Agram, Anfang der dreißiger Jahre, ganz ausgezeichnet; die Wahl eines Vizegespans bleibt typisch und ist wohl in Ewigkeit bezüglich „Freiheit“ und „Nichtbeeinflussung“ nicht zu übertreffen. Sogar die gegenwärtige jugoslavische Briefzensur in Agram, so Erstaunliches sie leistet, ist kaum ein Abglanz jener großartigen Willkürherrschaft seitens der Komitatsgewaltigen.

Der Agramer Obergespan des Komitates Turopolje, Nikola von Zdenčaj, sah der nötig gewordenen Neuwahl des ersten Vizegespans, der „Restauration“, aus dem Grunde mit gewissem Unbehagen entgegen, weil sich sein Gehilfe Lentulaj (etwa mit Ruderer, Steuerer, Lenker zu übersetzen) der Neuwahl unterziehen mußte, Zdenčaj diesen sehr verständigen, rechtlichen und diensterfahrenen Beamten nicht verlieren wollte. Die Gefahr solchen Verlustes war groß, da die Gegenpartei nicht Lentulaj, sondern einen Herrn Čegetek (Zwitscherer), einen kreuzbraven Mann, aber von geringen Verwaltungsfähigkeiten, „korteschierte“, d. h. für ihn die Wahlagitation betrieb. Ein Teil des Landadels ließ ziemlich viel Geld springen, Gutsbesitzer spendeten Wein in Gebinden und Ochsen, welch letztere im ganzen am Spieß zur Belebung der Wahlstimmung auf dem Marktplatz in Agram gebraten werden sollten, jeden Abend zwei Ochsen bis zum Wahlschluß. „Wein in Strömen“. Kein Wunder deshalb, daß die Turopoljer in dichten Scharen schon vor dem Wahltage nach Agram zogen und die schöne Stadt „bevölkerten“. Für Speise und Trank war ja reichlich gesorgt; außerdem zogen diese Scharen lärmend und singend zur Belebung der Wahlstimmung unter Führung von Anhängern Čegeteks von Kneipe zu Kneipe.

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Jul 10

Innumerable larks flew over the surface of the waters and the sands; their song awoke my memory of lands more favoured by nature. It is fortunate that these birds do not want branches to perch on; for there does not exist a tree in New Georgia. Here and there I found a few phanerogams, some pale-coloured mosses, and especially tussock grass buy cheap steroids uk in such abundance that numerous herds of cattle might be fed upon the island.

On the 12th November the Halbrane sailed once more, and having doubled Charlotte Point at the extremity of Royal Bay, she headed in the direction of the Sandwich Islands, four hundred miles from thence.

So far we had not encountered floating ice. The reason was that the summer sun had not detached any, either from the icebergs or the southern lands. Later on, the current would draw them to the height of the fiftieth parallel, which, in the southern hemisphere, is that of Paris or Quebec. But we were much impeded by huge banks of fog which frequently shut out the horizon. Nevertheless, as these waters presented no danger, and there was nothing to fear from ice packs or drifting icebergs, the Halbrane was able to pursue her route towards the Sandwich Islands comfortably enough. Great flocks of clangorous birds, breasting the wind and hardly moving their wings, passed us in the midst of the fogs, petrels, divers, halcyons, and albatross, bound landwards, as though to show us the way.

Owing, no doubt, to these mists, we were unable to discern Traversey Island. Captain Len Guy, however, thought some vague streaks of intermittent light which were perceived in the night, between the 14th and 15th, probably proceeded from a volcano which might be that of Traversey, as the crater frequently emits flames.

We found absolutely desolate country; the only inhabitants were melancholy birds of Antarctic species. Mosses and lichens cover the nakedness of an unproductive soil. Behind the beach a few firs rise to a considerable height on the bare hill-sides, from whence great masses occasionally come crashing down with a thundering sound. Awful solitude reigns everywhere. There was nothing to attest the passage of any human being, or the presence of any shipwrecked persons on Bristol Island.

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Jul 08

She’s not your wife,” Tudor continued, as though the other had not spoken. “A fellow has the right to make love to her unless she’s your–well, perhaps it was an error after all, due to ignorance, perfectly excusable, on my part. I might have seen it with half an eye if I’d listened to the gossip on the beach. All Guvutu and Tulagi were laughing about it. I was a fool, and I certainly made the mistake of taking the situation on its assumed innocent face-value.

But why should I?” was the demand. “The pair of you trapped me into making a fool of myself. How was I to know that everything was not all right? You and she acted as if everything were on the square. But my eyes are open now. Why, she played the outraged wife to perfection, slapped the transgressor and fled to you. Pretty good proof of what all the beach has been saying. Partners, eh?–a business partnership? Gammon my eye, that’s what it is.

Then it was that Sheldon struck out, coolly and deliberately, with all the strength of his arm, and Tudor, caught on the jaw, fell sideways, crumpling as he did so and crushing a chair to kindling wood beneath the weight of his falling body. He pulled himself slowly to his feet, but did not offer to rush.

You’ll take a lot more before the day’s out,” was the answer. “I tell you, you simply must fight. I’ll give you a fair chance to kill me, but I’ll kill you before the day’s out. This isn’t civilization. It’s the Solomon Islands, and a pretty primitive proposition for all that. King Edward and law and order are represented by the Commissioner at Tulagi and an occasional visiting gunboat. And two men and one woman is an equally primitive proposition. We’ll settle it in the good old primitive way.

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As Sheldon looked at him the thought came to his mind that after all there might be something in the other’s wild adventures over the earth. It required a man of that calibre, a man capable of obtruding a duel into orderly twentieth century life, to find such wild adventures.

There’s only one way to stop me,” Tudor went on. “I can’t insult you directly, I know. You are too easy-going, or cowardly, or both, for that. But I can narrate for you the talk of the beach–ah, that grinds you, doesn’t it? I can tell you what the beach has to say about you and this young girl running a plantation under a business partnership.

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Jul 08

And at the same time, with true lover’s anxiety, Sheldon feared that the other might somehow fail to blunder, and win the girl with purely fortuitous and successful meretricious show. But of the one thing Sheldon was sure: Tudor had no intimate knowledge of her and was unaware of how vital in her was her wildness and love of independence. That was where he would blunder–in the catching and the holding of her. And then, in spite of all his certitude, Sheldon could not forbear wondering if his theories of Joan might not be wrong, and if Tudor was not going juicy couture purses the right way about after all.

The situation was very unsatisfactory and perplexing. Sheldon played the difficult part of waiting and looking on, while his rival devoted himself energetically to reaching out and grasping at the fluttering prize. Then, again, Tudor had such an irritating way about him. It had become quite elusive and intangible, now that he had tacitly severed diplomatic relations; but Sheldon sensed what he deemed a growing antagonism and promptly magnified it through the jealous lenses of his own lover’s eyes. The other was an interloper. He did not belong to Berande, and now that he was well and strong again it was time for him to go. Instead of which, and despite the calling in of the mail steamer bound for Sydney, Tudor had settled himself down comfortably, resumed swimming, went dynamiting fish with Joan, spent hours with her hunting pigeons, trapping crocodiles, and at target practice with rifle and revolver.

But there were certain traditions of hospitality that prevented Sheldon from breathing a hint that it was time for his guest to take himself off. And in similar fashion, feeling that it was not playing the game, he fought down the temptation to warn Joan. Had he known anything, not too serious, to Tudor’s detriment, he would have been unable to utter it; but the worst of it was that he knew nothing at all against the man. That was the confounded part of it, and sometimes he was so baffled and overwrought by his feelings that he assumed a super-judicial calm and assured himself that his dislike of Tudor was a matter of unsubstantial prejudice and jealousy.

Outwardly, he maintained a calm and smiling aspect. The work of the plantation went on. The _Martha_ and the _Flibberty-Gibbet_ came and went, as did all the miscellany of coasting craft that dropped in to wait for a breeze and have a gossip, a drink or two, and a game of billiards. Satan kept the compound free of niggers. Boucher came down regularly in his whale-boat to pass Sunday. Twice a day, at breakfast and dinner, Joan and Sheldon and Tudor met amicably at table, and the evenings were as amicably spent on the veranda.

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Jul 08

The new recruits, being broken in under the new regime, gave better promise. Joan had joined with Sheldon from the start in the programme that they must be gripped with the strong hand, and at the same time be treated with absolute justice, if they were to escape being contaminated by the older boys that still remained.

And a busy afternoon it was. Joan and Sheldon, both armed, went through the barracks, house by house, the boss-boys assisting, and half a dozen messengers, in relay, hermes bracelet replica shouting along the line the names of the boys wanted. Each boy brought the key to his particular box, and was permitted to look on while the contents were overhauled by the boss-boys.

A wealth of loot was recovered. There were fully a dozen cane-knives–big hacking weapons with razor-edges, capable of decapitating a man at a stroke. Towels, sheets, shirts, and slippers, along with toothbrushes, wisp-brooms, soap, the missing billiard ball, and all the lost and forgotten trifles of many months, came to light. But most astonishing was the quantity of ammunition-cartridges for Lee-Metfords, for Winchesters and Marlins, for revolvers from thirty-two calibre to forty- five, shot-gun cartridges, Joan’s two boxes of thirty-eight, cartridges of prodigious bore for the ancient Sniders of Malaita, flasks of black powder, sticks of dynamite, yards of fuse, and boxes of detonators. But the great find was in the house occupied by Gogoomy and five Port Adams recruits. The fact that the boxes yielded nothing excited Sheldon’s suspicions, and he gave orders to dig up the earthen floor. Wrapped in matting, well oiled, free from rust, and brand new, two Winchesters were first unearthed. Sheldon did not recognize them. They had not come from Berande; neither had the forty flasks of black powder found under the corner-post of the house; and while he could not be sure, he could remember no loss of eight boxes of detonators. A big Colt’s revolver he recognized as Hughie Drummond’s; while Joan identified a thirty-two Ivor and Johnson as a loss reported by Matapuu the first week he landed at Berande. The absence of any cartridges made Sheldon persist in the digging up of the floor, and a fifty-pound flour tin was his reward. With glowering eyes Gogoomy looked on while Sheldon took from the tin a hundred rounds each for the two Winchesters and fully as many rounds more of nondescript cartridges of all sorts and makes and calibres.

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Jul 06

But, his long-cherished desire to know more about these matters, not only stopped him in his running away, but lured him back again. They were still fishing perseveringly, when he peeped in at the gate for the second time; but, now they seemed to have got a bite. There was a screwing and complaining sound down below, and their bent figures were strained, as if by a weight. By slow degrees the weight broke away the earth upon it, and came to the surface. Young Jerry very well knew what it would be; but, when he saw it, and saw his honoured parent about to wrench it open, he was so frightened, being new to the sight, that he made off again, and never stopped until he had run a mile or more.

He would not have stopped then, for anything less necessary than breath, it being a spectral sort of race that he ran, and one highly desirable to get to the end of. He had a strong idea that the coffin he had seen was running after him; and, pictured as hopping on behind him, bolt upright, upon its narrow end, always on the point of overtaking him and hopping on at his side–perhaps taking his arm–it was a pursuer to shun. It was an inconsistent and ubiquitous fiend too, for, while it was making the whole night behind him dreadful, he darted out into the roadway to avoid dark alleys, fearful of its coming hopping out of them like a dropsical boy’s-Kite without tail and wings. It hid in doorways too, rubbing its horrible shoulders against doors, and drawing them up to its ears, as if it were laughing. It got into shadows on the road, and lay cunningly on its back to trip him up. All this time it was incessantly hopping on behind and gaining on him, so that when the boy got to his own door he had reason for being half dead. And even then it would not leave him, but followed him upstairs with a bump on every stair, scrambled into bed with him, and bumped down, dead and heavy, on his breast when he fell asleep.

From his oppressed slumber, Young Jerry in his closet was awakened after daybreak and before sunrise, by the presence of his father in the family room. Something had gone wrong with him; at least, so Young Jerry inferred, from the circumstance of his holding Mrs. Cruncher by the ears, and knocking the back of her head against the head-board of the bed.

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Jul 06

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The lion then composed himself on his back on a sofa on one side of the drinking-table, while the jackal sat at his own paper-bestrewn table proper, on the other side of it, with the bottles and glasses ready to his hand. Both resorted to the drinking-table without stint, but each in a different way; the lion for the most part reclining with his hands in his waistband, looking at the fire, or occasionally flirting with some lighter document; the jackal, with knitted brows and intent face, so deep in his task, that his eyes did not even follow the hand he stretched out for his glass–which often groped about, for a minute or more, before it found the glass for his lips. Two or three times, the matter in hand became so knotty, that the jackal found it imperative on him to get up, and steep his towels anew. From these pilgrimages to the jug and basin, he returned with such eccentricities of damp headgear as no words can describe; which were made the more ludicrous by his anxious gravity.

At length the jackal had got together a compact repast for the lion, and proceeded to offer it to him. The lion took it with care and caution, made his selections from it, and his remarks upon it, and the jackal assisted both. When the repast was fully discussed, the lion put his hands in his waistband again, and lay down to mediate. The jackal then invigorated himself with a bum for his throttle, and a fresh application to his head, and applied himself to the collection of a second meal; this was administered to the lion in the same manner, and was not disposed of until the clocks struck three in the morning.

When his host followed him out on the staircase with a candle, to light him down the stairs, the day was coldly looking in through its grimy windows. When he got out of the house, the air was cold and sad, the dull sky overcast, the river dark and dim, the whole scene like a lifeless desert. And wreaths of dust were spinning round and round before the morning blast, as if the desert-sand had risen far away, and the first spray of it in its advance had begun to overwhelm the city.

Waste forces within him, and a desert all around, this man stood still on his way across a silent terrace, and saw for a moment, lying in the wilderness before him, a mirage of honourable ambition, self-denial, and perseverance. In the fair city of this vision, there were airy galleries from which the loves and graces looked upon him, gardens in which the fruits of life hung ripening, waters of Hope that sparkled in his sight. A moment, and it was gone. Climbing to a high chamber in a well of houses, he threw himself down in his clothes on a neglected bed, and its pillow was wet with wasted tears.

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He laughed, and it laughed with him, and held its hands to its sides, just as he himself was doing. He made it a mocking bow, and it returned him a low reverence. He went towards it, and it came to meet him, copying each step that he made, and stopping when he stopped himself. He shouted with amusement, and ran forward, and reached out his hand, and the hand of the monster touched his, and it was as cold as ice. He grew afraid, and moved his hand across, and the monster’s hand followed it quickly. He tried to press on, but something smooth and hard stopped him. The face of the monster was now close to his own, and seemed full of terror. He brushed his hair off his eyes. It imitated him. He struck at it, and it returned blow for blow. He loathed it, and it made hideous faces at him. He drew back, and it retreated.

What is it? He thought for a moment, and looked round at the rest of the room. It was strange, but everything seemed to steroids usa have its double in this invisible wall of clear water. Yes, picture for picture was repeated, and couch for couch. The sleeping Faun that lay in the alcove by the doorway had its twin brother that slumbered, and the silver Venus that stood in the sunlight held out her arms to a Venus as lovely as herself.

Was it Echo? He had called to her once in the valley, and she had answered him word for word. Could she mock the eye, as she mocked the voice? Could she make a mimic world just like the real world? Could the shadows of things have colour and life and movement? Could it be that–?

He started, and taking from his breast the beautiful white rose, he turned round, and kissed it. The monster had a rose of its own, petal for petal the same! It kissed it with like kisses, and pressed it to its heart with horrible gestures.

When the truth dawned upon him, he gave a wild cry of despair, and fell sobbing to the ground. So it was he who was misshapen and hunchbacked, foul to look at and grotesque. He himself was the monster, and it was at him that all the children had been laughing, and the little Princess who he had thought loved him–she too had been merely mocking at his ugliness, and making merry over his twisted limbs. Why had they not left him in the forest, where there was no mirror to tell him how loathsome he was? Why had his father not killed him, rather than sell him to his shame? The hot tears poured down his cheeks, and he tore the white rose to pieces. The sprawling monster did the same, and scattered the faint petals in the air. It grovelled on the ground, and, when he looked at it, it watched him with a face drawn with pain. He crept away, lest he should see it, and covered his eyes with his hands. He crawled, like some wounded thing, into the shadow, and lay there moaning.