Mór Jókai.

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Produced by Steven desJardins and PG Distributed Proofreaders.

[Illustration: Dr Maurus Jókai]




Translated from the Hungarian
Under the Author's supervision




This is not the first occasion upon which it has been my good fortune to
win appreciation and approval for my works from the reading public of
the United States. Up to the present, however, it has often been under
difficulties; for many of my works which have been published in the
English tongue were not translated from the original Hungarian text,
while others, through want of a final perusal, were introduced to the
public marred by numerous faults.

In the present edition we have striven to give the English reading
public a correct translation, for which an authorized text has been
utilized by the Doubleday & McClure Co., who have sole right for
publishing future English translations of my books.

Between the United States and Hungary we discover many common traits:
the same state-creative energy in the predominant people, which finds
expression in constitutional forms, relying upon the love of freedom,
which unites so many different races in one uniform whole; the same
independent institutions; the same ideas in religion, in ethics; the
same respect for women, the same esteem of labor, the same mental
culture; a striving after progress, yet side by side with this a high
respect for traditions; the same poetry of agriculture, the same prose
of industry; rapid progress of both, and in consequence thereof an
impetuous growth of towns.

Yet, while we find so many common traits between America and Hungary in
the great field of theory, those typical figures which here in Hungary
represent such theories must make a novel and extraordinary _entrée_ in
the New World, that they may deserve to win the interest of the foreign

Hungary still represents a piece and parcel of the Old World; she is not
so much Europe as a modern Asia. My novels centre round those peculiar
figures of Hungarian common life; and in every work of mine a bit of
history of true common life will be found described. I have had a
particular delight, however, in occupying myself with foreign countries,
especially with the East. There have been years when I was compelled to
choose subjects for novel-writing in foreign parts.

In English and in Hungarian literature we find a common trait in that
humor which is discovered also in the tragic; a characteristic of the
nation itself.

It is with perfect confidence and in good hope that I present my present
work (translated so faithfully) before the much-esteemed English reading
public. May God bless that home of freedom, by whose example we have
learnt how to unite the greatness of the state with the welfare of the


BUDAPEST, May 11th, 1898.


A Sketch

To a man who has earned such titles as "The Shakespeare of Hungary" and
"The Glory of Hungarian Literature"; who published in fifty years three
hundred and fifty novels, dramas, and miscellaneous works, not to
mention innumerable articles for the press that owes its freedom chiefly
to him, it seems incredible that there was ever a time of indecision as
to what career he was best fitted to follow. The idle life of the
nobility into which Maurus Jókay was born in 1825 had no attractions for
a strongly intellectual boy, fired with zeal and energy that carried him
easily to the head of each class in school and college; nor did he feel
any attraction for the prosaic practice of law, his father's profession,
to which Austria's despotism drove many a nobleman in those wretched
days for Hungary. It was Pétofi, the poet, who was his dearest friend
during the student-life at Pápa; idealism ever attracted him, and, by
natural gravitation toward the finest minds, he chose the friendship of
young men who quickly rose into eminence during the days of revolution
and invasion that tried men's souls.

For a time Jókay, as he then wrote his name, was undecided whether to
choose literature or art as an outlet for the idealism, imagination, and
devotion that overflowed in two directions from this boy of seventeen.
With some of the inherited artistic talent, which in his relative
Munkacsy amounted to genius, he felt most inclined toward painting and
sculpture, and finally consecrated himself to them. In his library at
Budapest there now stands a small, well-executed bust of his wife in
ivory; and on the walls hang several landscapes and still-life
paintings, which he showed with a smile to an American visitor, who
stood silent before them last winter, hoping for some inspiration of
speech that would reconcile politeness with veracity and her own ideals
of good art. If a "deep love for art and an ardent desire to excel" will
"more than compensate for the want of method," to quote Sir Joshua
Reynolds, then Jókay would have been a great painter indeed. While he
never was that, his chisel and brushes have remained a recreation and
delight to him always.

Apparently he was diverted from art to literature by a trifle; but in
the light of later developments it is simple enough to see which was
really the greater force working within. The Academy of Arts and
Sciences, founded by Szécheni, offered a prize for the best drama, and
Jókay won it. He was then seventeen, for careers began early in olden
times. When twenty-one his first novel, "Work Days," met with great
applause; other romances quickly followed, and, as they dealt with the
social and political tendencies that fanned the revolution into flame
two years later, their success was instantaneous. His true
representations of Hungarian life and character, his passionate love of
liberty, his lofty idealism for his crushed and lethargic country,
aroused a great wave of patriotism like a call to arms, and consecrated
him to work with his pen for the freedom of the common people.
Henceforth paint-brushes were cast aside.

Pétofi and Jókay, teeming with great ideas, quickly attracted other
writers and young men of the university about them, and, each helping
the other, brought about a bloodless revolution that secured, among
other inestimable boons, the freedom of a censored, degraded press. And
yet the only act of violence these young revolutionists committed was in
entering a printing establishment and setting up with their own hands
the type for Pétofi's poem, that afterward became the war-song of the
national movement. At that very establishment was soon to be printed a
proclamation granting twelve of their dearest wishes to the people. From
this time Jókay changed the spelling of his name to Jókai, _y_ being a
badge of nobility hateful to disciples of the doctrine of liberty,
fraternity, equality.

About this time Jókai married the Rachel of the Hungarian stage, Rosa
Laborfalvy. The portrait of her that hangs in her husband's famous
library shows a beautiful woman of intense sensitiveness, into whose
face some of the sadness of her rôles seems to have crept. It was to her
powers of impersonation and disguise that Jókai owed his life many years
later, when, imprisoned and suffering in a dungeon, he was enabled to
escape in her clothes to join Kossuth in the desperate fight against the
allied armies of Austria and Russia. Since her death he has lived in

The bloodless revolution of 1848, which suddenly transformed Hungary
into a modern state, possessing civil and religious liberty for which
the young idealists led by Kossuth had labored with such passionate
zeal, was not effected without antagonizing the old aristocracy, all of
whose cherished institutions were suddenly swept away; or the
semi-barbaric people of the peasant class, who could little appreciate
the beneficent reforms. Into the awful civil war that followed, when the
horrors of an Austrian-Russian invasion were added to the already
desperate situation, Jókai plunged with magnificent heroism. Side by
side with Kossuth, he fought with sword and pen. Those who heard him
deliver an address at the Peace Congress at Brussels two years ago felt
through his impassioned eloquence that the man had himself drained the
bitterest dregs of war.

While Kossuth lived in exile in England and the United States, and many
other compatriots escaped to Turkey and beyond, Jókai, in concealment at
home, writing under an assumed name and with a price on his head,
continued his work for social reform, until a universal pardon was
granted by Austria and the saddened idealists once more dared show their
faces in devastated Hungary.

Ripe with experience and full of splendid intellectual power, Jókai now
turned his whole attention to literature. The pages of his novels glow
with the warmth of the man's intensity of feeling: his pen had been
touched by a living coal. He knew his country as no other man has known
it; and transferred its types, its manners, its life in high degree and
low, to the pages of his romances and dramas with a brilliancy and
mastery of style that captivated the people, whose idol he still
remains. Scenes from Turkish life - in which, next to Hungarian, he is
particularly interested; historical novels, romances of pure
imagination, short tales, dramatic works, essays on literature and
social questions, came pouring from his surcharged brain and heart. The
very virtues of his work, its intensity, and the boundless scope of its
imagination, sometimes produce a lack of unity and an improbability to
which the hypercritical in the West draw attention with a sense of
superior wisdom; but the Hungarians themselves, who know whereof he
writes, can see no faults whatever in his work. It is essentially
idealistic; the true and the beautiful shine through it with radiant
lustre, in sharp distinction from the scenes of famine and carnage that
abound. His Turkish stories have been described as "full of blood and

Of his more mature productions, the best known are: "A Magyar Nabob";
"The Fools of Love"; "The New Landlord"; "Black Diamonds"; "A Romance of
the Coming Century"; "Handsome Michael"; "God is One," in which the
Unitarians play an important part; "The Nameless Castle," that gives an
account of the Hungarian army employed against Napoleon in 1809;
"Captive Ráby," a romance of the times of Joseph II.; and "As We Grow
Old," the latter being the author's own favorite and, strangely enough,
the people's also. Dr. Jókai greatly deplores that what the critics call
his best work should not have been given to the English-speaking people.

In 1896 Hungary celebrated the completion of his fifty years of literary
labor by issuing a beautiful jubilee edition of his works, for which the
people of all grades of society subscribed $100,000. Every county in the
country sent him memorials in the form of albums wrought in gold and
precious stones, two hundred of these souvenirs filling one side of the
author's large library and reception-room. Low bookcases running around
the walls are filled only with his own publications, the various
editions of his three hundred and fifty books making a large library in
themselves. The cabinets hold sketches and paintings sent by the artists
of Hungary as a jubilee gift; there are cases containing carvings,
embroidery, lace, and natural-history specimens sent him by the
peasants, and orders in gold and silver, studded with jewels, with
autograph letters from the kings and queens of Europe. In the midst of
all this inspiring display of loving appreciation, Dr. Jókai has his
desk; a pile of neatly written, even manuscript ever before him, for in
his seventy-fourth year he still feels the old-time passion for work
calling him to it early in the morning and holding him in its spell all
the day long. A small room adjoining his library contains the books of
reference he consults, a narrow bed like a soldier's, and a few window
plants. It might be the room of a monk, so bare is it of what the world
calls comforts. One devoted man-servant attends to Dr. Jókai's simple
wants with abundant leisure to spare.

While in Budapest Dr. Jókai is seldom seen away from home, except in
Parliament, where he has a seat in the Upper House, or at the theatre
where his plays are regularly performed, or at the table of a few dear
relatives and old-time friends. His life is exceedingly simple and well

Just a little way back on the hills that rise beyond Buda, across the
Danube and overlooking wide stretches of beautiful, fertile country,
stands Dr. Jókai's summer-home. His garden is a paradise. Quantities of
roses climb over the unpretentious house, the paths are lined with them;
gay beds of poppies and other familiar favorites in our Western gardens,
but many new to American eyes, crowd the fruit that grows in delightful
abundance everywhere, for Dr. Jókai tends his garden with his own hands,
and his horticultural wisdom is only second to his knowledge of the
Turkish wars. His apples, pears, and roses win prizes at all the shows,
and his little book, "Hints on Gardening," propagates a large crop of
like-minded enthusiasts year after year. Now, as ever, any knowledge he
has he shares with the people. After a long life of bitter stress and
labor, abundant peace has come in the latter days.

Hungary boasts four great men: Liszt, Munkacsy, Kossuth, and Jókai, who
was the intimate friend of the other three.








A snow-storm was raging with such vigor that any one who chanced to be
passing along the silent thoroughfare might well have believed himself
in St. Petersburg instead of in Paris, in the Rue des Ours, a side
street leading into the Avenue St. Martin. The street, never a very busy
one, was now almost deserted, as was also the avenue, as it was yet too
early for vehicles of various sorts to be returning from the theatre.

The street-lamps on the corners had not yet been lighted. In front of
one of those old-fashioned houses which belong to a former Paris a heavy
iron lantern swung, creaking in the wind, and, battling with the
darkness, shed flickering rays of light on the child who, with a faded
red cotton shawl wrapped about her, was cowering in the deep doorway of
the house. From time to time there would emerge from the whirling
snowflakes the dark form of a man clad as a laborer. He would walk
leisurely toward the doorway in which the shivering child was concealed,
but would turn when he came to the circle of light cast on the snowy
pavement by the swinging lantern, and retrace his steps, thus appearing
and disappearing at regular intervals. Surely a singular time and place
for a promenade! The clocks struck ten - the hour which found every
honest dweller within the Quartier St. Martin at home. On this evening,
however, two belated citizens came from somewhere, their hurrying
footsteps noiseless in the deep snow, their approach announced only by
the lantern carried by one of them - an article without which no
respectable citizen at the beginning of the century would have ventured
on the street after nightfall. One of the pedestrians was tall and
broad-shouldered, with a handsome countenance, which bore the impress of
an inflexible determination; a dimple indented his smoothly shaven chin.
His companion, and his senior by several years, was a slender,
undersized man.

When the two men came abreast of the doorway illumined by the swinging
lamp, it was evident that they had arrived at their destination. They
halted and prepared to enter the house.

At this moment the child crouching in the snow began to sob.

"See here!" exclaimed the taller of the two gentlemen. "Here is a little

"Why, so there is!" in turn exclaimed the elder, stooping and letting
the light of his lantern fall on the child's face. "What are you doing
here, little one?" he asked in a kindly tone.

"I want my mama! I want my mama!" wailed the child, with a fresh burst
of sobs.

"Who is your mama?" queried the younger man.

"My mama is the countess."

"And where does she live?"

"In the palace."

"Naturally! In which avenue is the palace?"

"I - don't - know."

"A true child of Paris!" in an undertone exclaimed the elder gentleman.
"She knows that her mother is a countess, and that she lives in a
palace; but she has never been told the name of the street in which is
her home."

"How come you to be here, little countess?" inquired the younger man.

"Diana can tell you," was the reply.

"And who may Diana be?"

"Why, who else but mama's Diana?"

"Allow me to question her," here interposed the elder man. Then, to the
child: "Diana is the person who helps you put on your clothes, is she

"It is just the other way: she took off my clothes - just see; I have
nothing on but this petticoat and this hideous shawl."

As she spoke she flung back the faded shawl and revealed how scantily
she was clad.

"You poor child!" compassionately ejaculated the young man; and when he
saw that her thin morocco slippers were buried in the snow, he lifted
her hastily in his arms. "You are half frozen."

"But why did Diana leave you half clothed in this manner?" pursued the
elder man. "Why did she undress you? Can't you tell us that much?"

"Mama slapped her this morning."

"Ah! then Diana is a servant?"

"Why, of course; what else could she be?"

"Well, she might be a goddess or a hound, you know," smilingly returned
the old gentleman.

"When mama went to the opera, this evening," explained the little one,
"she ordered Diana to take me to the children's ball at the marquis's.
Instead, she brought me to this street, made me get out of the carriage,
took off my silk ball-gown and all my pretty ornaments, and left me here
in this doorway - I am sure I don't know why, for there is n't any music

"It is well she left this old shawl with you, else your mama would not
have a little countess to tell the tale to-morrow," observed the elder
man. Then, turning to his companion, he added in a lower tone: "What are
we to do with her?"

"We can't leave her here; that would be inhuman," was the reply, in the
same cautious tone.

"But we can't take her in; it would be a great risk."

"What is there to fear from an innocent prattler who cannot even
remember her mother's name?"

"We might take her to the conciergerie," suggested the elder gentleman.

"_I_ think we had better not disturb the police when they are asleep,"
in a significant tone responded his companion.

"That is true; but we can't take the child to our apartments. You know
that we - "

"I have an idea!" suddenly interposed the young man. "This innocent
child has been placed in our way by Providence; by aiding her we may
accomplish more easily the task we have undertaken."

"I understand," assented the elder; "we can accomplish two good deeds at
one and the same time. Allow me to go up-stairs first; while you are
locking the door I will arrange matters up there so that you may bring
this poor little half-frozen creature directly with you." Then, to the
child: "Don't be afraid, little countess; nothing shall harm you.
To-morrow morning perhaps you will remember your mama's name, or else
she will send some one in search of you."

He opened the door, and ran hastily up the worn staircase.

When the young man, with the little girl in his arms, reached the door
at the head of the stairs, his companion met him, and, with a meaning
glance, announced that everything was ready for the reception of their
small guest. They entered a dingy anteroom, which led, through heavily
curved antique sliding-doors, into a vaulted saloon hung with faded

Here the child exhibited the first signs of alarm. "Are you going to
kill me?" she cried out in terror.

The old gentleman laughed merrily, and said:

"Why, surely you don't take us to be _croquemitaines_ who devour little
children; do you?"

"Have you got a little girl of your own?" queried the little one,

"No, my dear," replied the old gentleman, visibly affected by the
question. "I have no wife; therefore I cannot have a little girl."

"But my mama has no husband, and she 's got me," prattled the child.

"That is different, my dear. But if I have not got a little girl, I know
very well what to do for one."

As he spoke he drew off the child's wet slippers and stockings, rubbed
her feet with a flannel cloth, then laid her on the bed which stood in
the alcove.

"Why, how warm this bed is!" cried the child; "just as if some one had
been sleeping here."

The old man's face betrayed some confusion as he responded:

"Might I not have warmed it with a warming-pan?"

"But where did you get hot coals?"

"Well, well, what an inquisitive little creature it is!" muttered the
old man. Then, aloud: "My dear, don't you say your prayers before going
to sleep?"

"No, indeed! Mama says we shall have plenty of time for that when we
grow old."

"An enlightened woman, truly! Well, I dare say, my little maid, your
convictions will not prevent you from drinking a cup of egg-punch, and
partaking of a bit of pasty or a small biscuit?"

At mention of these dainties the child's countenance brightened; and
while she was eating the repast with evident relish, the younger man
rummaged from somewhere a large, beautifully dressed doll. All thought
of fear now vanished from the small guest's mind. She clasped the toy in
her arms, and, having finished her light meal, began to sing a lullaby,
to which she very soon fell asleep herself.

"She is sleeping soundly," whispered the elder man, softly drawing
together the faded damask bed-curtains, and walking on tiptoe back to
the fireplace, where his companion had fanned the fire into a fresh

"It is high time," was the low and rather impatient response. "We can't
stop here much longer. Do you know what has happened to the duke?"

"Yes, I know. He has been sentenced to death. To-morrow he will be
executed. What have you discovered?"

"A fox on the trail of a lion!" harshly replied the young man. "He who
aroused so many hopes is, after all, nothing more than an impostor - Leon
Maria Hervagault, the son of a tailor at St. Leu. The true dauphin, the
son of Louis XVI., really died a natural death, after he had served a
three years' apprenticeship as shoemaker under Master Simho; and in
order that a later generation might not be able to secure his ashes, he
was buried in quick-lime in the Chapel of St. Margarethe."

"They were not so scrupulous concerning monsieur,"[1] observed the old
man, restlessly pacing the floor. "I received a letter from my agent
to-day; he writes that monsieur was secretly shot at Dillingen."

[Footnote 1: Count de Provence, afterward Louis XVIII.]

"What! He, too? Then - "

"Hush!" cautiously interposed the elder man. "That child might not be

"And if she were awake, what could she understand?"

"True; but we must be cautious." He ceased his restless promenade, and
came close to the young man's side. "Everything is at an end here," he
added in a lower tone. "We must remove our treasure to a more secure
hiding-place - this very night, indeed, if it be possible."

"It is possible," assented his companion. "The plan of flight was
arranged two days ago. The most difficult part was to get away from this
house. It is watched day and night. Chance, however, has come to our

"I understand," nodded the old gentleman, glancing significantly toward
the bed.

"The most serious question now is, where shall we find a secure
hiding-place? Even England is not safe. The bullets of Dillingen can
reach to that country! Indeed, wherever there are police no secret is

"I 'll tell you something," after a moment's deliberation observed the
elder man. "I know of a country in Europe where order prevails, and
where there are no police spies; and, what is more, the place of which I
speak is beyond the range of a gunshot!"

"I confess I am curious to learn where such a place may be found," with
an incredulous smile returned the young man.

"Fetch the map, and I will point it out to you. Afterward we will

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