“The most conscientious worker I have met during'the nine years of my life passed as a war correspondent.”
Frederic Villiers, the pictorial journalist, is equally facile with the pen and the pencil. He usually refers to himself as one of the world’s most vagrant artists, and upon his pictures his fame is founded, but he has written many pages of “ good stuff,” although he is not a war correspondent in the sense in which the name is applied to men of the type of Forbes and Burleigh.
Wherever he appears he is bound to excite curiosity and command attention. With an army in the field he will keep industriously at work making sketches, but the close observer might alone detect his occupation, for his methods are quite his own. Much of the time he makes his drawings in tiny sketch books, so small that he may hold them in the palm of his hand. Thus he files away multitudes of what the reporters call “notes,” and he uses them for precisely the same purpose for which the news writers use theirs. If he comes absolutely under fire he may produce a somewhat larger sketch book and make drawings on a bigger scale, working in, quite likely, many of the ideas in the diminutive pad. His chief purpose is to get a pictorial record of the stir and excitement of battle. His work is done with great rapidity. His eye is quick and keen, and his pencil almost keeps pace with it. He differs with the artists who believe in elaborating their impressions after the conflict is over. Most of his pictures are made on the actual scene. He prefers even a hasty and imperfect sketch if it conveys the impression of reality and action.
No one knows just how many miles he has covered in his peregrinations about the globe. But in one decade of a professional life which began almost forty years ago he covered 80,000 miles. He has seen more battles than any soldier living and endured more privations. His toughest scrimmage, probably, was in the broken square at Tamai in 1884. Many governments have bestowed decorations upon him, but he has an equal degree of pride in the fact that he introduced the bicycle into the Soudan and that he was the first to use the cinematograph in making records of campaigns. There is much of Yilliers to be found in the characterizations which Kipling put into “The Light that Failed,” and Sir Forbes Robertson came to him when that novel was staged to have the aid of the experience of the veteran in arranging the correspondents’ scene. As an indefatigable traveler, with eyes always quick to note the peculiarities of men and races, Villiers has been used extensively for pictorial reporting of important events of every kind. But essentially he is a war correspondent, and if you can tell just where the war drum will throb next you will know just where you will be likely to find Yilliers whistling cheerfully at his chosen work.
Frederic Villiers was born in London in 1852, and educated in France. As a lad he used to color his Italian skies a deep blue and put brilliant scarlet on the jacket of the Red Rover of the play. When convalescing from measles he would draw regiments of soldiers with fixed bayonets on his school slate, and his physician predicted for him a military career. At seventeen he made up his mind to go in for art in earnest, and he began by growing long hair and cultivating a mustache. His industry secured for him admission to the schools of the Royal Academy. He over-worked and under-ate in his enthusiasm for study. The result was chronic dyspepsia and dyspepsia made him a war artist.
He was so depressed that life seemed a burden. His labors were not productive of cash. Then one day he saw a man mending a telegraph wire on a pole, topping the roof of a house. He made notes, hurried home, induced an accommodating cousin to balance himself on one of the four posts of a bedstead, with arms hanging down one side and legs the other. With the resulting sketch he went to the editors of the Graphic. It was not accepted. But the story had a sequel.
One afternoon he saw a crowd around a newspaper poster. The large black type said that Prince Milan of Servia had declared war against Turkey. Villiers was in gloomy spirits, induced by his dyspepsia. Why not go to the fighting and get killed and have it done with? Why not, indeed? In racy style he has himself told the tale.
“I rushed back,” he says, “and immediately addressed a letter to the editor of the Weekly Graphic, offering my services for the coming campaign. Early next morning I received a telegram: ‘See me private address. Thomas.’ I jumped into a hansom and in a few minutes was ringing loudly at the famous editor’s door. As I entered his study Mr. Thomas at once came to business.
“ ‘Can you speak French or German?’ he asked.“ ‘I can get along fairly well in French,’ I replied.
“ ‘That will do; when can you go?’
“ ‘At once,’ I answered.
“ ‘Then please leave by this evening’s mail. You will find money for your journey and outfit at the office.’ “A short interview but a very sweet one to me. That night I left Charing Cross station by the Continental Express for the seat of war. With a pocket full of money, a brand new kit, and the world before me, I thought, uow I will do great things. ”
The young artist left London with two letters of introduction, addressed respectively to the English ambassador at Vienna and to Archibald Forbes. In the Austrian capital the diplomat provided him in turn with a letter to the English consul at the capital of Servia and sent him by steamer down the Danube. Servians were hurrying from every part of Europe to the aid of the fatherland. When the walls of Belgrade loomed out of the river mists the excitement aboard the boat was intense. Says Villiers: “Even as we landed the clang of war reverberated through the old streets. The ringing noise of the smith’s hammer, the rolling of gun timbers over the rough stones, the tramp, tramp of the troops, the clanking and clatter of the orderlies as they hurried hither and thither, were heard on all sides.”
Villiers hurried away on the trail of Forbes, who was at the headquarters of the army at Paratun. He was provided with riding boots, spurs and a big bulldog revolver, as he says, to stamp himself in the eyes of the veteran as a very determined young fellow. Amid the motley crowd in the market place of Paratun he had no trouble in finding the Daily News man; they very soon became fast friends and agreed to make the campaign together if possible. But at the outset they were separated, Villiers to go with the army of the Ibar and Forbes with that of the river Timok. The eye for color and picturesque detail which Villiers possesses is shown by his records of this early campaign. He says:
“I had to journey in springless country carts for three days through a land sunny with ripening Indian corn, studded with picturesque villages. The porticos of the cottages were strung with pepper pods of variegated hues, and melons and gourds of quaint shapes. The men, with red skull-caps, white frocks bound round the waist with red sashes, were well-built and athletic and toiled in the fields. Their womenkind, sitting spinning on the verandas of their houses, were dressed in pretty national costumes — white gowns embroidered at the breast; from the waist aprons of various colors were worn. . . But there was the shadow to all this sunshine. The men looked stern and the women were sad. For far away over the smiling fields and happy homesteads a long wave of dust was incessantly rolling, which betokened the highway to death. The first shots had been exchanged on the frontier and the bloody war had begun. . . On arriving at the town of Ivanitza I turned out of my wagon, hired a saddle horse, and journeyed up the mountain to the Servian camp, pitched 4000 feet above the town."
This war, by the way, cured his dyspepsia. His first efforts were those of a gloomy man who intended to get himself shot, and his “desperate endeavors” in that direction built up for him a “bogus reputation for bravery.” After some weeks he found himself strong and of good cheer. He has not suffered from dyspepsia since.
His first battle was a revelation in more ways than one. He knew only about a dozen words of Servian. Of the disposition of the troops in action he was even more ignorant than of the language. He was on foot, having been obliged to return his horse to Ivan-itza. A few shots like the letting off of fire-crackers were heard at a distance. On the edge of a pine wood on top of the mountain he found a Servian battery behind an earthwork and began to make a sketch of it. He could not see that they were firing at anything in particular, for the morning was heavy and the smoke long in lifting. Soon he himself was under fire. “Presently the air was filled with a curious rushing sound like that of a low-toned fog-horn, followed by a terrible explosion and a flash of fire,” he wrote. “Then the top of one of the pine trees flew in splinters. The noise from that mutilated tree was as if a huge tuning fork had been struck. The vibration made the ground tremble. It was one of the enemy’s shells.”
For some time the shells continued to splinter the pines. The Servians limbered up and retired, going slowly, then at a trot, and finally galloping furiously down the road. Villiers was mystified. He stared in astonishment, until suddenly there came through the fog of smoke a rush of infantry, making for the pass through the wood down which the battery was going. As they poured into the road they were packed together rather closely and a shell burst amid them. The young artist then had a glimpse of the stern realities of war. Before the report of the exploded shell had passed away “half a dozen poor fellows lay writhing, almost torn to fragments with the splintered segments, drenching the turf with blood.”
He grew faint at the sight and stared fascinated. But not for long. All about him sounded a buzz and a hiss, and right in front of him were little puffs of smoke floating upward like soap-bubbles. Behind the bubbles flashed the red fez of the Turk. He was within a hundred yards of the enemy; there were only a few boulders intervening. Villiers seems, curiously enough, to have forgotten about the dyspepsia and his melancholy longing for death. He bolted.
The retreat was a regular rout. “The way was crowded,” wrote Villiers, “with infantry, baggage wagons, ambulances, cavalry and artillery, all hurrying down the mountain like an angry torrent, arrested a moment here, then surging up, breaking its way, cutting fresh courses, spreading itself down the precipitous sides to the base of the mountain, at least 4,000 feet below.” With the night came a terrific thunderstorm, and hundreds of cattle loosed from the mountain camp raced down the path, trampling the wounded into the mud as they ran. The Turkish cannon bombarded the fugitives and the shells wrecked hundreds of carts and wounded and killed scores of men.
Villiers was “breaking into the game” with a vengeance. He wore an ulster which, drenched with rain, was weighing him down. He clung, dead beat, to a wagon wheel and plodded on. A voice from within the cart asked him to scramble up. An officer, speaking a little English, was lying on the straw in the box, badly wounded. Villiers fell asleep. In the morning down in the plains, the pursuit abandoned, he discovered by his side the kind-hearted Servian cold in death, and over himself the waterproof cloak which the wounded man had taken from his own shoulders for the protection of the stranger.
To his delight, upon his return to Alexinatz, Villiers found Forbes. The schoolhouse near the inn had been transformed into a hospital and a lot of young English surgeons were hard at work there. Day by day the artist and the correspondent observed the advance ofthe enemy upon the town. Through the nights they watched the stretcher-bearers trailing over the bridge and up the streets with their maimed fellow countrymen. Grewsome pictures, indeed, Villiers made of those scenes. Badly wounded men waited hours for their turns from the surgeons, and then crawled out of the stretchers and wriggled along towards the school- house, many dying on the way. The artist helped the doctors when he could, passing instruments from room to room, holding candles, sometimes squeezing the hands of a man under an operation, standing the horror of it all as long as was possible for him, and then seeking the open air for rest and a sight of the stars.
The dawn following the worst of these awful nights brought a force of Russian volunteers and with the sun-rising came Servian reenforcements. Says the artist:
“To blare of bugles, with swinging gait, they tramped down the street. Some of the few remaining wounded of the previous night, still lying in the roadway, aroused themselves for the moment and tried to turn their groans to cheers. Regiment after regiment passed on. Far into the morn the points of the bayonets glistened above the dust as the troops marched through the town, out into the open, into the valley — the valley of the shadow of death, for the smell of powder and blood was everywhere. The desultory shots which had been exchanged in the early morning had gradually ceased, and for a time a universal quietude reigned. ”
At noon, however, the battle began. Forbes restrained the impatience of his inexperienced comrade, who was eager to be off with the first sound of the cannon, and they had a good meal together before they went forward. They watched the action, falling flat on their faces as shells whistled over their heads. On a house in a little near-by village they saw a Red Cross flag, and within, to their astonishment, they found three Russian women, their uniforms bedabbled with blood, standing by their wounded, while shells loosened tiles upon the roof of their quarters. The Servians were retreating. But the nurses scorned the advice of Villiers that they go. One, “ with top-boots of Hessian cut, short skirt and Cossack jacket, with pistol slung across her shoulders,” touched her “little black silk Montenegrin cap” and advised him as a non-combatant to seek a place of safety.
The nurses stayed, and Forbes and Villiers felt obliged also to stay. The Turkish sharpshooters were close in. When finally with their contingent of wounded they left one end of the bridge the Turks entered the other. For about an hour the Servians made a stand. Forbes, Villiers, a surgeon and a wounded soldier got away in an ambulance wagon. As they looked back they saw the Red Cross flag still flying, but over the heads of the Turks. The jaded column of beaten Servians passed over the bridge into Alexinatz, where the horrors of the preceding night were repeated. The news men found a Russian correspondent dead in the town. Two other correspondents were killed in that short campaign and one was wounded, out of twenty who followed the war. Villiers records that “one met death heroically, fighting the enemy, defending the redoubt of which he had been made commandant for his personal bravery.”
The Servians were badly whipped in that brief struggle. The decisive victory was won by the Turks at Djunis. Villiers missed the battle, for his paper had wired him to proceed to Bombay for the proclamation of the English Queen as Empress of India.But after all he did not go to India. He hurried back to Belgrade and Vienna for further orders. When they came they directed him to omit India and instead to try to join the Turkish army. Down the Danube therefore he sailed again, this time for Rustchuk. Here he was given every opportunity to examine the famous fortress. Surprising things happened to him; he inspected the troops, walking down the lines, looking at their appearance and commenting upon the physique of the men. He was received in state by the commandant and his staff and smoked their cigarettes and drank their coffee with great ceremony. This was excellent but puzzling. On the way back Villiers learned that his interpreter had told his hosts that he was an English colonel traveling incognito, a member of Parliament, who “wanted see great Turkish army.” Villiers thought it expedient to get out of Rustchuk early next morning. He went directly to Constantinople.
He was aware that his position was one of considerable danger. Having shared the vicissitudes of the Servian army for months, suddenly to go over to the Turks was a change fraught with peril. He was to forget the Servians and start as a gentleman just out from England who was anxious to see something of the Turkish military man. Luckily in those days sketches were seldom published with the names of their artists and he was little known even to the English in Constantinople.
Luck befriended him. He met a jolly sea-captain who had commanded a vessel in the Black Sea in the Crimean war. The Turks remembered him gratefully. He had conceived the notion of writing a book about Turkey. To write it he must travel. To travel he must have a passport or firman. The authorities provided him with one a foot and a half long. That was a very precious scroll, for the Turks would measure the importance of a visitor by the length of the firman he might bear. Yilliers, sure he could not get a permit on his own account, induced the captain to include him in his firman as secretary, without mentioning his name.
They went hither and thither about Turkey together. Such attentions as were bestowed upon them! “At Adrianople,” says Villiers, “an aide-de-camp of the government met us; we were billetted on the first merchant of the town, who, with usual Oriental politeness, would come in after the evening meal and inquire after our healths, and with a salaam assure us that his house and his servants and his animals were no longer his but ours.”
Much of the miseries of Roumelia they saw. Villages were gone. Houses were in ruins, only chimneys standing. Bodies, thinly interred, lay in the streets. Carrion birds hovered over the country. From time to time they met Bashi-Bazouks and Circassians. They were not molested, for the fiat had gone out from Constantinople that the English were to be respected.
At the frontier town of Nisch, Villiers received a serious warning from an English friend that the governor of Alexinatz had threatened to hang the correspondent of the Graphic on sight should he fall into Turkish hands. To Alexinatz the artist went nevertheless and right into the presence of the governor of the sacked and ruined town, finding him seated on a packing case warming his hands over a charcoal brazier. The firman was as potent as ever. He dined in state with his would-be executioner and received many good wishes from him as he departed with the sea-captain back to Nisch.
Returning to Constantinople the artist fell in with “Val” Baker, the famous British cavalry officer, who was awaiting the outcome of his proposal to reorganize the Turkish gendarmerie. Colonel Valentine Baker, to use the full name and title, assured Villiers, as the artist was leaving to watch the mobilization of the Russian army, that he expected soon to follow, for “nothing was to be done with the Turks.” But when Villiers again met him it was in the same Constantinople club house, and Baker was the hero of the hour, for he had just made for himself a great name by covering the retreat of the remnant of the Turkish army in the spring of 1878.
Villiers went from the capital to Jassy in Roumania, where he planned to cross the Pruth into Russia. It was impossible as an English news artist to advance in that direction, so he annexed himself to a Swedish grocer who was leaving for Odessa on a business trip. Now for once he lost his luck. By taking an unlighted cigarette into the police bureau of a frontier town he betrayed the fact that he was not accustomed to travel in Russia. On the wall hung a crude picture of the Czar. He was reproved for smoking in the august presence, in spite of the absence of smoke, and until he was in the train for Odessa he could feel suspicious eyes always upon him. At Kishinef he left the train and the grocer and began making sketches.
Troops were massing outside the town. The artist wished to be inconspicuous and therefore used no notebook of any kind, actually making minute “notes” on his finger nails, and transferring his drawings to paper under the shelter of his hotel. The cold was severe, and once he nearly lost thumb and “notes” by frost-bite. A Scotchman, serving as a Russian postmaster, detected his nationality and Villiers confided to him his secret. Suspicion allayed by the kind offices of this new friend, the adventurous artist got across the frontier with his pocket full of sketches.
For rest, and to get a kit for the coming campaign, Villiers now returned to England. Within a month came Russia’s declaration of war upon Turkey, on April 24, 1877. It was his birthday and he put in the day traveling to the front. He reached Bucharest barely in time to catch the train for Ibrila, and next morning he saw the first shot fired across the Danube into the town from a Turkish monitor in the river. Villiers, moreover, was one of four correspondents who were in that terrific struggle from beginning to end; he heard the last shots of the war and witnessed the proclamation of peace by the Russians on the plains of San Stefano within sight of the minarets of Constantinople.
Those were the golden days of the war reporters. They were free lances, coming and going almost at will, several scores in number, very keen in competition, clever in strategy for access to the wires over which their news sped to London and the other news centres of the world. So many references are made to this war in this volume and to the adventures of the correspondents who followed it, that but two or three episodes in the experiences of Villiers in the campaign shall be related.
The first fighting he saw was at the crossing of the Danube, and he there did one of his quickest sketches. Forbes told him he would be his postman jf he could have a picture ready in twenty minutes.
It was a rough sketch necessarily but it was ready on the minute, and the Graphic had a quadruple page of the crossing as a result. When Forbes returned from Bucharest the two went with Amoldi’s cavalry brigade on the invasion of Turkey.
Now came one of the most adventurous nights of Villiers’s career. The troop was near Bjela in camp in a gorge which cleft its way through a belt of hills. In the evening Circassian cavalry were seen in numbers along the crests. Next day the enemy were found to be in such force that Arnoldi became very anxious about his position. The troopers stood by their horses all day long, firing from time to time at the enemy, waiting for the relief that ought soon to arrive, and then when the sun was sinking “through the dust, specks of fire sparkled as the red glow glinted on the tips of bayonets. ” Far below the watching artist the tramping infantry marched into the town and the enemy disappeared.
That night Villiers, after dining with Arnoldi, had to make his way back to his quarters at some distance. A score of soldiers, who had broken open several casks of liquor and in consequence were much intoxicated, arrested him, declaring, because of the imperfections of his Russian, that he must be a Turk. They pushed him into a cellar an inch deep in liquor and searched him, taking his sketches and purse and then hustling him out into the road. Two of them would have bayonetted him, but Villiers caught the cold steel with his hands and forced it aside, when the others protested that he should be kept in safety. Ultimately they took him to a bivouac of infantry where an officer recognized him and caused his belongings to be restored.
He got back to his house fagged out and at once fell asleep. But the night was not yet over.
“Presently,” he says, “I was disturbed by a soft velvety touch on my face, then came a gentle pressure of my hands. Thinking I was in the throes of a nightmare I sighed, and still slept. Now came a pinch and then a tweak of my nose. I sat up rubbing my eyes, and there in a ray of soft moonlight were two lovely damsels in picturesque robes-de-nuit, wringing their hands and sadly moaning. On seeing me awake they rushed at me and shook me until I was fully aroused, then they pointed to the window, and, in language utterly unintelligible to me, rapidly began talking. Their faces were full of fear and they seemed in great distress, so I arose, shook myself, and stood by their side. ”
He looked out upon a large number of drunken troopers engaged in the delectable occupation of looting the stores of Bjela. They staggered about, carrying torches made of fragments of doors and windows steeped in pitch. A number of them halted in front of Villiers’s house. Forbes was away with despatches, but his servant, Andreas, was in the next room. Villiers found the husband of one of the women crouching in terror in a comer. Now the looters were hammering at the door. Villiers tried strategy. He caused Andreas to throw open a window and tell the soldiers gruffly that this was the house of a Russian officer. But in an hour the depredators were back. Villiers then directed the cringing husband to blockade the door of the room with furniture, gave the women his revolver, and with Andreas went to the yard. They flung open the door and allowed themselves to be dragged into the roadway, their clothing almost tbm from their bodies.
A sentry saved them. He saw upon the artist’s arm the insignia of his profession bearing the imperial arms of Russia, and he understood the shouts of Andreas: The ruffians stole hurriedly away. As day broke, Villiers went with the story to the colonel in command of the camp above the town, and a rescue party arrived just in time to prevent the smashing of the barricaded door. Two dead bodies were found, both with blackened lips and blistered hands. Villiers looked at his boots; there were dark spots on them; his fingers went through them as if they were paper. They demanded of the landlord what was the wine he kept in his cellars. He replied: “Honored stranger, I am a leather dresser, and in one of my cellars I keep vitriol in bottles, for use in my trade; in another the wine of my country.”
The rioters had not been fortunate in their choice of cellars.
Villiers became good friends with General Amoldi, for the soldier liked to sketch and they did many water colors together. One night the news man got a valuable tip. “If I were a war correspondent,” he was told, “I should not remain here, for you know, Mr. Villiers, there are other means besides fighting for taking a fortress.” This was a puzzle to the artist, but Forbes understood and so they left next day for the Emperor’s headquarters. Count Ignatieff there befriended them and suggested they should go and see the Russians take a place called Plevna!
The general in charge of the left wing of the Russian army they found seated in the verandah of a small Bulgarian hut. On presenting their letter of introduction from the Count the general smiled grimly, and said, “Gentlemen, it is well you brought this note; I feel compelled to allow you to remain; personally I should have requested you to leave the camp, ” and, while they looked wistfully at the servant’s preparations for dinner upon a plank placed across two barrels, he added, “Gentlemen, I am about to take my dinner; good evening.” They could not miss his meaning and bowed themselves away. No food was to be had; in an empty shack they smoked themselves to sleep. It was a Russian count who had been a military attach^ at the Court of St. James who had compassion on them, for late next day he approached and said in English:
“I know you must be without food. If this poor fare will be of service to you take it with pleasure.” He produced a lump of dried meat and an onion from his pockets, and promised them later some bouillon at his tent.
Many adventures did Yilliers experience while waiting for the Russians to take that “place called Plevna.” They took the place after one hundred and forty-two days of tremendous fighting. Odd little incidents stuck in Yilliers’s memory. Years after he recalled the castaway kettle-drum stuck in the mud, rim uppermost. A Russian-Parisian friend, eyeglass in eye, used to begin, “Mon cher Villiers,” and go on with his stories about Paris Grand Opera and pretty dancers, while shells showered him with mud. After some time Villiers fell ill and became very weak. There was nothing he could better do than join the ambulance corps and off he went to aid the wounded. That led to an incident which has been told at length by both Forbes and himself.
All one night he labored, requisitioning straw from bams and thatch from village houses for the wounded to lie upon. Many men were placed on litters and theambulance corps stood on guard round them until sunrise showed them safe for the time. When morning was well advanced Yilliers turned his horse’s head toward the Danube, for he had a valuable packet of sketches to mail.
About midday he came up with the head of the retreating army. The remnant of a force of 30,000 men was crowding over a little bridge, crowding into a little valley beyond, and crowding through the passes still farther on. That was Osman Digna’s opportunity to drive the demoralized Russians into the Danube, but for some reason he stayed at Plevna.
Late at night Villiers arrived at Sistova. He could get no shelter and fell asleep on the flags of the courtyard of the inn, his horse crunching corn and tethered to his wrist. At dawn he crossed the bridge to Simnitza and hurried on to Giurgevo to catch the evening train for Bucharest. Within a mile of the station he found himself in danger. He was riding between the river and a deep trench in which there lurked shadows that frightened his horse. The Turks in Rustchuk used to fire every afternoon at the train as it departed for Bucharest, and today they amused themselves by bringing a gun to bear upon the lone rider struggling with a refractory horse to catch the cars. But while Villiers was in considerable peril of being hit, the shots helped him make the train, for the horse bolted and brought him to the station just in time to leave the animal in charge of a Cossack and leap aboard the last coach.
Bucharest was reached about nine that evening. Unwashed for three days, Villiers was covered with dust. The uppers of his long boots had almost worn through his riding breeches; he was stiff, weary and hungry. He staggered into the pretty little garden of an hotel, where two gentlemen sitting under the trees stared at him long and fixedly.
Now for Forbes’s account of the same episode. The battle over, the correspondent had not been able to find the artist anywhere. No surgeon had seen him; no soldier recalled him. Forbes had a bad night, dodging the marauding bands of the enemy, and with the dawn came the awful tidings that in the darkness the Bashi-Bazouks had worked around the flank of the Russian picket line, had crept into the village, and had butchered the wounded and the surgeons there. Forbes was in an agony of apprehension. Where was Yilliers? He searched until Turkish sharpshooters stopped him. Every one said: “If he was in the village last night he is there now, but not alive. ” At last he had to ride for the wire with his message for the Daily News. That was the ride in which he killed his horse, as is told elsewhere.
His news despatched, the reporter got himself trimmed and cleansed into some semblance of fitness for the little Paris of the East. Friends of Yilliers came seeking tidings of the artist. They held a consultation and agreed to wait a day before putting on the wires the story of his death. Most of the day the fagged-out correspondent slept. In the evening with W. Beatty Kingston of the Daily Telegraph and others he went to the hotel garden for dinner. A bedraggled figure came in and a familiar voice called for food in a hurry. It was Villiers!
That was a glad meeting. Says Villiers:
“Forbes turned around and uttered a short exclamation of surprise, and then, with the others, stared at me with a peculiar look that I shall never forget. I was suddenlyarrested by this curious expression on their faces, and stood transfixed. Forbes rose from the table and walked with an incredulous gait toward me. When he came within a yard he suddenly gave a shout of satisfaction and grasped me by the shoulder, shaking me all the while.”
The Bashi-Bazouks that night had reached the village just after Villiers had left.
At one other time he was supposed to have been slain. That was when Hicks Pasha was annihilated at El Obeid in November, 1883. The London evening papers announced the death of Villiers. And the artist “read the announcement in Fleet Street, while an acquaintance at the Savage Club was standing with his back to the fire holding forth upon the campaigns they had been through together.”
Of MacGahan also Villiers saw much and he talks of him to this day. Typhus was raging in Constantinople; throughout the city the funeral dirge was heard from sunrise to sunset, and in the evening the death boats with their cargoes collected from the mosques, would sail silently across the Hellespont to the old burial ground of Scutari, where in huge trenches, “unwashed and unshriven, the innocent victims of the cruel war were placed to rest.” It was Villiers who notified Skobeleff of MacGahan’s death.
The next station in the itinerary of the “ vagrant artist” was Malta, where he sketched the reviews of the troops from India. As the Indian troops came to the Mediterranean Russia sent what was ostensibly a pacific mission to Cabul. The Ameer refused to allow a British mission to visit him just at the time and England proceeded to force the mountain passes. In that Afghan War, Villiers shared the vicissitudes of the campaign with a native regiment. At Peshawr he again met Forbes, who was on his way to Burmah. Villiers found the fighting desultory and unsatisfactory, but he became fast friends with Sir Louis Cavagnari, whom he regarded as the most distinguished officer of the campaign, and after the peace was signed the officer gave him the pens with which the signatures were written. Australia was next; dinner with the Viceroy at Simla, P. and O. steamer from Bombay, then the exhibition at Sydney and then Tasmania and New Zealand, San Francisco and New York, and across the Atlantic to London — his first girdling of the globe.
He settled down to paint and had a picture on the walls of the Royal Academy. Returning from Scotland, where he had been to visit Forbes, he found that Arabi Pasha was stirring up a revolt in the land of the Nile, and when the massacre in Alexandria took place on June 11, 1882, he started once more on his wandering life. Thus began his long series of campaigns in Egypt and the Soudan, a series which ended only with the victory at Omdurman in 1898.
The exigences of the situation at Alexandria caused Villiers to accept the invitation of Lord Charles Beresford to take quarters aboard the gunboat Condor. In virtue of her short draught the boat was moored in the inner harbor under the shadow of the summer palace of the Khedive. There were all sorts of stories afloat as to the proximity of the ship to the palace; one was that if hostilities began she was to aid in the escape of the ladies of the harem. The only dangerous piece of ordnance possessed by Arabi was two hundred yards away. Beresford had hung every piece of spare iron and chain he had on board over the bulwarks, making a sort of chain armor for the vessel and givingher a rakish list to starboard. Day and night a glass was leveled upon the cover of Arabi’s cannon.
Villiers has said that he always has felt indirectly responsible for the events that followed. Admiral Sir Beauchamp Seymour had sent Arabi an ultimatum that if more guns were mounted in the forts the act would be regarded as a cause for war. It was Villiers who brought the news that Arabi was mounting guns, and thus was precipitated the bombardment of the city. Says the artist:
“One morning on landing on the Marina, I met a contractor for the navy who told me that some mysterious work was going on by Arabi in the direction of the old harbor. He thought that Arabi was mounting guns, and his brother, ‘who lived in a house overlooking the Pharos, had heard strange noises during the night, and in the morning had seen soldiers making gun platforms and mounting cannon.’ I hurried off to my friend’s brother’s house and saw from the balcony that the fort near the lighthouse was being quickly armed, though with the daylight the guns had disappeared. I took a sketch of what I saw, returned to the Condor, informed the commander, gave him my sketches, which he immediately took to the Admiral. Now simply being a correspondent my information could not be recognized officially, so a British officer dressed as an Arab was sent to the fort to confirm my story. He rowed ashore, landed, examined the fort and found my story true.”
The artist was aboard the Condor during the bombardment. There was a dinner on deck the night before that momentous event took place, attended by the captains of French, German and American ships, and many pretty things were said. To be ready for action there remained nothing to be done but to oil the racers of the guns and to sand the decks that the men might have a firmer grip for their feet as they manned the muzzle-loaders.
During the bombardment the Condor's opportunity came and was seized promptly by her commander, for Beresford resolved to divert the fire-of Fort Marabout then annoying the Admiral’s ships. The Condor steamed in and the men eagerly stripped off their jackets. The pen of the artist told what the ship did almost as vividly as did his pencil picture her service. In his long description of the action there are many graphic passages:
“As we neared the fort, and its terraces and embrasures, bristling with Armstrong guns, loomed out of the morning haze, not a man aboard but knew the peril of our audacity — for a little gunboat, one of the smallest in Her Majesty’s service, to dare to attack the second most powerful fortress in Alexandria — but the shout of enthusiasm from the crew when the order was given to ‘Open fire!’ readily showed their confidence in their beloved leader.
“The guns blazed away. The smoke hung heavily about the decks. The flash of the cannonade lit up for a moment the faces of the men, already begrimed with powder, and steaming with exertion, for the morning was hot and sultry. The captain from the bridge with glass in hand watched anxiously the aim of the gunners. . . . Then a shout from the men in the main-mast told us on deck that the shot had made its mark. The little ship quaked again with the blast of her guns. The men were now almost black with powder, and continually dipped their heads in the sponge buckets to keep the grit from their eyes.
“One of our shots had fallen within the enemy’s works, another had taken a yard of a scarp off — for a slight breeze had lifted the cloud of smoke, and all on board could plainly see the enemy working in their embrasures. The Arab gunners now trained one of their Armstrongs in our direction. Our engine bell sounded and the Condor steamed ahead. A puff of smoke from the fort, a dull boom, a rush of shell through the air, and a jet of water shot up astern, followed by a shout from our men. The enemy had missed us. ...
“The fire on the ships attacking Fort Mex slackened and soon ceased altogether. Irritated by the constant fire of the little Condor, the Egyptian gunners now devoted their entire attention to us. They set about slewing their other Armstrongs in our direction. Their long black muzzles slowly turned toward us. We looked at each other, and then some of us looked at the captain, for the situation was becoming critical. ... In an instant he decided and gave the order to run in closer; and we came within 1200 yards. We all saw in a moment the wisdom of the seeming audacity. We were well within their guard; though the Gippies blazed at us, they could only practice at our masts, they could not depress their guns sufficiently to hull us.
“We cheered again and again at their abortive attempts to get us; for a shot below water-mark, with the lurch the Condor was already making with all her guns abroadside, would have sent her down into Davy Jones’s locker in less than ten minutes.
“The Egyptians in their rage opened fire with their smooth bores from the lower parapet. The round shot would whistle through our rigging, making us lie low awhile, but we would scramble to our feet again, dropping another nine-inch shell well within their works. Only once did the enemy touch us. . . .
“All the time the navigating lieutenant, with eyes fixed on the chart, was calmly moving the vessel up and down a narrow torturous passage which we could distinctly see by peering over the side of the vessel, for the reefs on either flank of the narrow channel glistened from out the blue black of the waters.
“After we had silenced two of the enemy’s guns, and were then obliged to retire for want of ammunition, how the Admiral in return signalled ‘Well done, Condor I’ is now a matter of history. ”
At sundown, with John Alexander Cameron of the Standard, Villiers undertook to penetrate the city. They passed the British sentries and found at once how perilous was their enterprise; they stumbled about over debris and dead bodies. The night was lighted by the glare of burning houses; incendiaries and looters were at work. Afraid of attack, the two press men threaded their way cautiously through a labyrinth of narrow passages and at last reached the Place of the Consuls. “It was one vast fiery furnace, a quadrangle of flame,” declares the artist. One amusing experience befell them: as they looked upon the tokens of massacre which would appal the British news readers the following morning, they discovered, to their relief, that the headless bodies were merely dressmakers’ dummies which had been denuded of their finery and left in the square.
At one period in that night of adventures they really got ready for a fight for life; at any time a body of Arabi’s stragglers might attack them. When they heard the steady tramp of a score of men down a side street, Cameron knelt in the shadow of a shop and held his rifle poised for use and Villiers stood by him with cocked revolver, but the challenge, when it came out of the darkness, was in good round English, and the correspondents found themselves in the presence of the American company of Bluejackets whom the Admiral of the United States Navy had landed to assist in the patrolling of the streets and the suppression of the looters and the incendiaries.
There followed a trying time for the war correspondents. The news from Alexandria had worked the British public up to a high pitch of excitement, but after the bombardment things were dull for a while. Rumors were afloat in plenty; canards and “fakes” were printed, and editors were sending out anxious messages asking why other papers had had what purported to be news and insisting upon knowing whether their own men had been beaten or not. While transports were bringing British troops every day the correspondents spent their evenings together at the hotel, in the sort of vigilant intimacy which keeps a very keen eye upon the men for all papers except one’s own, every man almost sick with fear lest some paper should get a scrap of real news that he himself might miss.
In the middle of one night a London news writer routed Villiers out of bed and told him the men were on the march. He had a horse ready and engaged that himself and the artist alone should get off with the column and they rode quietly out of the city between the rails of the railway and into the desert. They did not witness much of an action as it turned out but at any rate there were but two London papers that had any account at all of the first skirmish of the campaign.
Early in 1883 Villiers marched with General Sir Gerald Graham from the Red Sea coast for the relief of Tokar. Wading through liquid mud and sand over ankles and sometimes up to their knees, the men splashed on until they were in touch with the enemy. In the desert they found the rotting remnant of the army of Baker Pasha, the “Val” Baker whom Villiers had seen last in Constantinople. Indeed, in one of the heaps of bodies he found the corpse of a friend with whom he seven years before in Bulgaria had nearly met death from the fumes of a charcoal brazier.
As the square moved on toward El Teb to the weird screech of the bagpipe. Baker, wounded, stood by Villiers and watched, with tears in his eyes, the charge of his old regiment. It was a desperate fight; black, fuzzy heads would pop up from pits in the sand, there would be the gleam of a rifle and the puff and the whiz as the gun was fired, and the head would disappear, having been in sight barely for a second or two. The artist that day had another of his “ close shaves. ” He was sketching a lad who was supposed to be beyond fighting, when suddenly the Arab sprang into the air and attacked him. Villiers ran for it, trying to draw his revolver as he raced over the sand, with the boy so close at his heels that he felt his hot breath and heard the swish of the descending knife as his pursuer struck and missed. Still clenching the knife, the boy fell from the shot of one of the soldiers.
Villiers was in the broken square at Tamai. The night before that battle he slept with his revolver under his head, sprawled out on the sand and looking at the stars, noting how they grew fainter and fainter, how Venus and the Great Bear and Orion and finally the Southern Cross waned, until in the dawn a Scottish corpora] came to him with a “wee drap” to drive the chill from his veins. When “Fuzzy Wuzzy” actually came bounding into the square, he says:
“ How I got out of that fight I hardly know to this day. A great source of anxiety to me was my horse — an animal which was the only one I could procure at Suakin, and which had been condemned by the military authorities as unsound. He could stand on his four legs and move, it was true, so to me he was better than nothing; but in an unlooked-for emergency such as this, he gave me grave anxiety, for, not knowing his points, I was always speculating as to what the brute would do next as I struggled through the human debris of the broken square. Once or twice as I lay flat on his back urging the animal forward with my spurs, Arabs would leap out at me ready to strike with spears poised, but apparently refraining from risking a thrust at one who was moving so swiftly. I fired my revolver at any dusky form I saw emerging from the smoke, but still the figures flittered. Regulation revolvers are not much use against the Fuzzy Wuzzy. He seems to swallow the bullets and come up smiling, like the proverbial conjuror. ... If my horsehad gone lame or played any circus tricks at that moment, a blanket and a narrow trench would have been my shroud and resting place that night. ”
The British and Khedival governments now decided to send a mission to King Johannes of Abyssinia, to solicit his assistance in the evacuation of the Egyptian towns on the Abyssinian frontier by the English garrisons and Christian inhabitants, then threatened by the fanatical followers of the Mahdi. There was a rush of correspondents for the chance to penetrate an almost unknown region where there ought to be found an abundance of good copy and the material for many interesting pictures. Their numbers proved their undoing, for when the British admiral was forced to fix limits he solved the perplexities of a choice by refusing to allow any to accompany the expedition. Villiers diplomatically refrained from making a formal application and argued that he, therefore, had not been denied permission. Hurrying by the first steamer from Suakin to Massowah, he called upon the governor, who happened to be an American who for years had been on good terms with the Khedive, and now was deputed as the Egyptian envoy for Abyssinia. Mason Bey listened to the story of the artist and at once attached Villiers to his staff. As a result of this bit of enterprise the correspondent was made “a sort of under-secretary,” and when on the afternoon of April 7, 1884, the flagships and forts of Massowah thundered their salute as the British admiral landed and was received on the palace stairs by Mason Bey, here was Villiers ready to start as the solitary representative of the press upon the long climb to the capital of King Johannes.
The expedition up the Nile for the relief of Khartoum quickly followed, and the march across the desert with Stewart and the battles of Abu Klea and Gubat. When General Sir Herbert Stewart was organizing the flying column of two thousand to make a dash across the desert at the news of the sore straits of Gordon at Khartoum, Villiers was in his tent. For that whole column the fight at Abu Klea was what the artist called “a narrow shave.” It was there that “Fred” Burnaby, the soldier and correspondent, was killed. That night the force pushed on for the Nile. Villiers tells how Stewart next day received his fatal wound, while “he was standing on a commissariat box, looking through his glasses at the encircling swarm of Dervishes stealing up through the bush from Metemmah.” The artist saw the general fall and was by his side at once, although Frank Rhodes, the brother of Cecil Rhodes, was the first to minister to him before the surgeons came.
Some weeks later when the army commenced to retire under the orders of the Gladstone government, Villiers took steamer from Wady Haifa but was wrecked on his way down the Nile. He was obliged to make his way to Dongola “with nothing but a shirt, a blanket, and a pair of lawn-tennis shoes. ” Wandering about the streets in this sorry plight, he was found at length by a Greek who had formerly been his servant. The Greek took the artist to some of his compatriots who were baking bread for the troops, and in their camp Villiers was clothed and fed for many days, and finally the “merry, careless rogues” got him a camel and escorted him on a journey of twelve days to Haifa.
In 1886 Villiers was back in the Balkans witnessing the Servian-Bulgarian fiasco which culminated at Pirot. King Milan crossed the frontier only to be out-flanked by the Bulgars and compelled to retire. When the final stand was made ait Pirot the Servians were driven back at the point of the bayonet and “Prince Alexander of Battenberg would have carried out his threat of eating King Milan’s breakfast in Nisch the following morning but for Austrian intervention.”
And now came one of the most thrilling dashes half round the world ever undertaken by a correspondent. A despatch from his paper ordered Villiers to Burmah. He left the capital of Servia one morning for Vienna and there caught the express for Venice, where he boarded the P. and O. liner for Alexandria, which in those days took on the mails at Brindisi. In the Egyptian city he had time to drive about the forts which he had seen bombarded a few years before, and then he took the train for Suez, where he found the Bombay mail steamship ready to start on her voyage.
Villiers was determined to catch the party of Lord Dufferin, “who had been deputed by the British government to take over officially the Burmese territory recently annexed.” But at Suez the hurrying reporter was told that the Viceroy would have a four days’ start and could not be overtaken. He determined to chance it, trusting to the luck which many times before had come to his aid. At Aden, sure enough, he learned that Lord Dufferin had been delayed by a slight illness in his journey down country to Calcutta and would not start for Burmah at the time first appointed.
Reaching Bombay he found that by hurrying straight on he would be able to reach the capital on the very morning of the departure of the Viceroy for Rangoon. He must save every minute, however, so he did not wait for the passenger boat, but made such presentations to the accommodating captain of his steamship that he was allowed to go ashore on the mail tender. That is, Villiers was shot down the mail chute with the letters, and it is on record that he hit hard when he landed!
At the railway station he sent a telegram notifying the Viceroy’s secretary of his wish to go on with the vice-regal party, and caught the mail express for Calcutta by less than a minute. It was hot traveling, indeed, on that special; he had left the Balkans with the thermometer below zero, and now the mercury was registering 106 in the shade. A gigantic Sikh in the gorgeous livery of the Viceroy’s establishment met him at the terminal and handed him a big, sealed letter. It conveyed the information that “His Excellency was unable to take on Mr. Villiers with his party, ” that “numerous applications had been refused,” but that “if Mr. Villiers traveled to Rangoon by mail steamer, on arrival at that port His Excellency would do all he could to assist him. ”
And on the back of the note the perplexed artist found this scrawl in pencil: “There’s a British India leaving an hour before the Viceroy — don’t miss her. ” Villiers made the train and the boat. Within the hour with his kit he was aboard the train for Diamond Harbor, where would be met the little mail steamer for Rangoon. Getting aboard the mail meant that passengers with their baggage were carried out to row boats by stalwart sailors, to catch ropes thrown from a steamer which slowed down but never stopped. Baggage and passengers safely hauled up, the boats were ungrappled and the steamer made full speed ahead again.
Like a lightning flash, there descended upon the ship as she crossed the Bay of Bengal a tremendous hurricane. Said Villiers: “For a day and night it was touch-and-go whether we were going under, so terrible was the sea and so heavily laden was the ship. From brilliant sunshine a darkness fell upon us like the blackest of nights; tempestuous seas broke over us from all quarters, and for hours we expected funnel, masts, spars, and all deck gear to be swept into the boiling ocean. ”
But the same storm delayed also the ship aboard which was the representative of the Queen, and Villiers was landed shortly after Lord Dufferin’s arrival in Rangoon. Now the artist had a half-hour with the Viceroy, who kept his word to do what he could for the news man, giving him permission to take a berth in the advance guard-ship of the vice-regal flotilla of three vessels. On the night of his arrival Villiers took a train for Prome, where the railway ended on the banks of the Irrawady. Thence he went on by steamer up the shallow and uncertain stream, through vast forests of teak and masses of impenetrable jungle. From time to time glimpses were caught of the gold-tipped spires of pagodas and often the tinkle of temple bells was heard out of the dense thicket. All was well, when on the afternoon of the second day the steamship suddenly stuck midstream.
The engines were reversed, but the paddles merely churned the waters to no purpose. The boat was firmly imbedded in a sandbank. The steamer of the Viceroy passed and the rear guard-ship was signalled to take the place ahead which had belonged to the vessel aboard which Villiers was standing half-dazed, watching the more fortunate boats disappear round a bend in the river. The goal was almost in sight, and he was to lose after all!
But the captain came to the rescue. Yilliers was told that it was the custom on that river for all ships to anchor at sundown. A small boat was offered him with a crew who would row all night if the rupees were numerous enough and the correspondent was firm enough. The river was a “sullen, inky black” when the boat was pushed off. Yilliers was making himself as comfortable as possible when a new calamity overtook him.
Water was coming rapidly through the bottom of the boat; bailing was of no avail. It was a case of foundering or getting back to the steamer, which they reached when water was actually oozing over the gunwale. They were saved from being swamped only by three of the crew leaping clear and clinging to the rigging of the ship. The boat had been hanging at the davits for months and had so warped that she was “simply a sieve.”
And then the captain declared that Villiers should have his gig. Rupees spelled readiness on the part of the oarsmen, and in a few minutes the artist was pushed off once more. He reached the ship of the Viceroy just at dawn, with the muzzle of his revolver nestling against the neck of the Burman who acted as pilot. The native had manifested a tendency to doze, and for the boat to run ashore meant exposure to pirates and looters. When the pilot got sulky over Villiers’s remonstrances he kept him awake only by threats.
Lord Dufferin now received Villiers as a guest until the landing at Mandalay. The correspondent had been successful after all, having journeyed twelve thousand miles, and he reached the capital of KingTheebaw a good twenty-four hours in advance of the Queen’s mails. Next morning came the great ceremony at the palace.
Now this world-wanderer spent some years in lecturing and he “covered” the Chicago Exposition of 1893, going on the war path once more when China and Japan were at odds in 1894. Having again toured the globe as a lecturer and sketched the coronation of the Czar in 1896, he joined the Greek army in the little war with Turkey in 1897, using the bicycle and experimenting with the cinematograph camera. Then having visited Crete, he joined the expeditionary force for the Soudan and found himself in familiar territory on the Nile.
Through all those campaigns Villiers made his way, but there was not so much of color or incident in these later expeditions for the reconquest of the Soudan. The host of war specials who went out to see the last of Mahdism found little comparatively to rnaxe then- narratives picturesque in the machine-like precision with which war was organized and conducted by the Sirdar, nor were the reporters helped any at headquarters in getting the news. Occasionally in very desperation they would concoct an outrageous tale, and go with it to the censor, gravely simulating faith in it and the intention of wiring it to London. Then sometimes the authorities would deny so vehemently that they would get on the track of some real item of importance of which they had had no inkling whatever. “But gratuitously,” says Villiers,“ not a single piece of news of any importance was ever afforded to the press.” The achievement in that campaign in which he had most satisfaction was the taking of a bicycle to Omdur- man. The natives used to think the machine was alive, and when he blew a loud blast with the trumpet attached to the handle bars they would flee in terror.
Late in 1895 Villiers was in South Africa, where he found his friend, Frank Rhodes, formerly of the staff of General Sir Herbert Stewart, from whom he received a letter to Cecil Rhodes. Thus it came about that Christmas Eve was passed by the artist as a guest of Cecil Rhodes at the old Dutch residence at Groote Schuur. He dined sitting between Rhodes and Alfred Beit, and they amazed him by breaking open ordinary envelopes and spilling from them scores of diamonds which “ capered about among the plates of the guests. ” The stones had just arrived from Amsterdam, where they had been sent to be cut. Rhodes took a liking to the artist and, through his secretary, almost insisted that he forego his intention to sail from Cape Town the next day. The times were too stirring, he was assured, for him to leave South Africa just at that time. Villiers waited until the last moment, but no special message came, and, marvelling a little, the artist went aboard the steamer. Then at Madeira, when the telegrams with the news of the world were brought aboard, there was one which Villiers says “sent a thrill through every soul on the ship.”
This was the despatch which curtly described Jameson’s raid into the Transvaal. And Villiers often declared afterwards: “Then I knew that I had made one of the mistakes of my life; I ought to have remained. ”
When the Boer War was in progress the correspondent with Mrs. Villiers visited Lady Randolph Churchill, who then was in charge of the American hospital ship Maine. The vessel was tied up at the quay in Durban. Lady Churchill’s face wore a puzzled look as she readthe names upon the cards. “Why,” she said, “the Mr. Villiers I once knew is dead. He was decapitated in a recent campaign.” Whereupon the artist was able to assure her that this story was “one of the little mistakes that get into the papers, ” and but the latest of the series of erroneous obituary reports to which he had been subjected since the days when Forbes had mourned him in the Balkans.
Once on shipboard Villiers had made a picture of Lady Randolph, who was a good shot, practicing, with some passengers and Japanese officers, firing at empty bottles slung over the stem of the vessel. Some years later when lecturing in the University Club in New York City he threw that portrait on his screen, when instantly the whole room stood up and cheered, to the surprise of the lecturer, who learned later that he had been speaking in the very room in which Lady Randolph had appeared in private theatricals, for the club house had formerly belonged to her father.
The Japanese-Chinese War was the most unsatisfactory of all the campaigns of this veteran special; there was scarcely any action and what fighting there was was one-sided. He was back at Port Arthur in the great war between the Mikado and the Czar. “We were ten together,” he states, “when we were set down on the quay at Dalny in August, 1904. ” Among the ten were the specials for the Daily Mail, the Illustrated London News, the Daily Telegraph, the San Francisco Chronicle and the Associated Press. With James Ricalton and the Chronicle’s correspondent, Richard Barry, Villiers spent some time before the fortress with the army of investiture. He says that Barry left his office in such a hurry that he brought away nothing save what he stood in, together with a note-book and
some pencils. Day after day Villiers made his observations from the top of an almost perpendicular ridge, which he managed somehow to climb; often he slept there. When at length the time came for him to leave he went with regret, declaring that he had never been treated with greater consideration and kindness by all ranks of an army in the field than by the Third Imperial Army of Japan.
Today Villiers belongs both to the old school and the new school of specials. He sees clearly that the days of merely reckless valor in the gathering of war news have gone by, and that the correspondent of the future will have greater difficulty in getting his facts, and perhaps less opportunity for stirring and brilliant narrative and striking sketches. But Villiers is fond of his exhilarating profession, and delights in the perils and even in the hardships that must be endured on the warpath. The little war between the Spanish and the Riff tribesmen called him in 1910, and in the last great struggle in the Balkans he did his stint of press work. Everywhere he goes he makes friends, whether he goes to sketch, to lecture, or merely for social purposes. He seems to have the secret of youth. And not only is he liked; he also is respected, for, believing absolutely in the moral value of publicity, he has stood uniformly in his work for the highest standards of humanity and truth-telling. Some day there will be a war without him, and very strange it will seem and very greatly will he be missed.