ST. PETERSBURG TO LONDON VIA BERLIN I WAS in Finland when the war broke out. We had of course heard that there was trouble in Servia which might cause some disturbance in that part of Europe, but it never seemed to have entered any of our heads, that it could possibly affect us in any way. Everyone was going about his business as usual, the women reaping the rye, the men ploughing and preparing the fields for sowing next year's harvest (rye is sown in August), and cutting and carrying trees in the forest for winter litter. But on Thursday night, July the 30th, our servants came to us in wild excitement. They told us that the Germans were fleeing from Helsingfors in panic, that by order of the Czar all lighthouses on the Gulf of Finland were not to be lit, and that boats would not in future be allowed to leave any of the harbours between sunset and sunrise. As an example of how the whole country round was taken by complete surprise, it is worth remarking that we found it impossible to raise any money for our journey even on such good security as land, houses and crops- the fact was that no one had any money beyond what was necessary for their immediate needs. We decided to leave for St. Petersburg without delay- without lighthouses it would be impossible to make the journey home by sea. On the next morning (Friday) I enquired at the village shop, and was told by the owner, an intelligent and well-educated Finn, that martial law was declared throughout Finland, and that only two trains a day would be passing between St. Petersburg and Helsingfors. I immediately drove 20 miles to the local magistrate (landsmann) and got permission to leave the country-no one may leave Russia at any time without a police permit-and at 5.30 just managed to catch my train for St. Petersburg. I noticed that our station was then being taken over by the military. This was the first sign of martial law that I saw. In St. Petersburg officers were pouring endlessly into the capital from all directions to join their regiments, some by train, some driving, some in motor cars. There was here no sign that Russia had been preparing for war. In the Champs de Mars I passed an artillery barracks the streets were barricaded and guns were hastily being mounted on their carriages. Outside the marine barracks women were waiting silently, in the hope of catching a last glance of their sons and lovers. The British consul could offer us no advice; he had, he said, received no official information. A Russian pro- fessor asked me Why do you leave us ? You are our friends. We cannot hope to fight Germany and Austria alone. What is England going to do ? On every house soldiers were posting proclama- tions. The inhabitants were standing about the streets in little groups discussing quietly and bewilderedly. All had happened so quickly. No one seemed prepared for the news in the least. The Isvoschick turned to me and said as we passed a stream of baggage waggons, hay, requisitioned with the peasants' carts that carried it, marching soldiers and sailors, and cartloads of provisions So they go, night and day sailors through Kronstadt. soldiers by train." Everywhere was military energy and hustle, but the ordinary civilians were dumbfounded. As we got near to the Warsaw Railway Station, the military hustle increased for here trains for the western frontier start. Officers were bidding good-bye to their wives, and civilians were trying vainly to get tickets for the already packed trains. Russia moves slowly even now the officials refused to forego red tape; though in their places behind the window of the booking-office, they would issue no ticket till the scheduled tune. By great good luck I managed to get a place on the courier train at eleven o'clock that night, as I was able to speak Russian. This was one hour before martial law was declared and all traffic disorganized. As usual no compartment was allowed to take one more passenger than its fixed allowance. All next day along the line we saw soldiers instead of the railway authorities. We saw guns being placed in position, 1 won't say where. trenches being dug at certain points, and among them a medley of cases of food, ammunition and wire,-the vanguard of the army which was close on our heels. (After our train 80 troop trains a day were to set out for the front.) We saw the troop trains in the sidings, consisting of long rows of luggage waggons with the addition of an occasional ordinary carriage for officers: these waggons were divided in half horizontally-on the floor and on the hastily provided shelf thus provided the soldiers lie or squat- I believe about 36 men to a waggon All along the route peasants were to be seen at their cottage doors watching the trains go by. As we got into the war zone near Wirballen, their very attitude suggested fear and tension. No one seemed to be working in the fields, all were gathered in knots along the route patiently watching and wondering. At Wirballen a strict examination of passports was made.