Budapest, VII. Wesselényi ú. 6.
Dec 17th 1929.
Our dear Mrs. Lloyd,
this strenuous week full with emotions is passed and now we shall be able to look after our neglected obligations. Today being Tuesday our treasurer, Mrs. Somló will be in our headquarters and I can ask her to send tomorrow 75$ to Mlle Gobat. Excuse for the delay but it was impossible indeed to think even of anything else but our celebrations. We thank you again for your kindness and for your generosity ever so much. Everything went very smoothly and except for our Romanian guests who did not arrive – which is an unveiled mystery as yet – there was no disturbance whatever. On the contrary, it was very edifying and touchy and proved what wonderful work our two pioneer women made, that even in this very disharmonic Hungary of today men and women of all positions and rank had nothing but words of the highest appreciation for the Feministák Egyesülete. Our program was: a general assembly, a simple business-meeting on Saturday afternoon. This was followed by a concert – a prologue of our poetess Eugenie Várnai (translation enclosed) was recited by an excellent actress [Piroska Szabados] and we had some very good music: singing, violin and piano soli and a dinner with speeches. Sunday morning, we had our beautiful celebration – meeting with a very large hall quite packed. I was honored with the charge of making the opening address and I had the joy to hear enthusiastic applause whenever Rosika’s name was mentioned. Then came the greetings of Cicely Corbett Fisher, Frau v. Palitschek, Vienna, and Mrs. Lackó from Czechoslovakia and was followed by the Countess Apponyi (N.[ational] C.[ouncil of] W.[omen]), the Countess Teleki (Women Writers’ Club), Dr. Margaret Vági-Ungár, lawyer (University Women), [illegible word] Lukács for the Men’s League being in the last moment, presented sent a cordial letter and telegram, Prof. Havas [Miksa] (Cobden Union), Miss Augusta Rosenberg (Peace Society), Prof. Fenyvesy (Pan-European Union), Mrs. Dr. Kozma (Esperanto Society), Mrs. Latinovics (Abolitionist Federation against White Slave-Traffic) etc. all paying sincere homage to our work. Melanie Vámbéry in a very good summing up looked back on the 25 years’ work from the standpoint of progressive men and at last came the fenomenal [sic!] speech of our only M.P. Miss [Anna] Kéthly, who brought us warm greetings from women laborers and an elegant expression of their deepest estimation. Well, it was wonderful! The audience did not stir, from eleven to two, – everybody was so touched. We did not have anything like this since our Congress in 1913.
Mrs. Havas invited us for lunch and there was an afternoon tea in my house. The next day, yesterday we had a public meeting with Cicely, Mrs. Henriette v. Fürth, Vienna, Mrs. Zsuffa, Czechoslov. and Mrs. [illegible name] from the Political Group of the Austr. W.[omen’s] I.[nternational] L.[eague] section as speakers.
Concerning my private affairs: my son is at home now and so far strives in vain to find an employment. Baby is everybody’s joy and comfort and will soon become an independent person on her own feet. You are lonely and we are crowded: my second daughter and husband are living with us during the winter. At the same time she makes my life comfortable undertaking marketing and other cases – I could leave her and the others all arrangements for the reception the day before yesterday.
After this momentous anniversary I feel the double obligations to go onward. We made an effort to have the claim of equal rights brought before Parliament at the discussion of the Bill for the reform !? of the administration of our capital. This bill is so retrograde that it will deprive the city of its autonomy and the opposition fights it fiercely, with no success of course. There is some sort of compromise concerning the voting and probably therefore it was not demanded in the Committee. Anna Kéthly informed me, that the Soc.[ialist] Party presented and amendment for equal and general suffrage and it is to be discussed in January and we asked members of all parties to plead for equal rights. – We have a series of lectures on the third [illegible word] of our Private Code Bill and a delightfully able young woman, a former member’s daughter, Dr. Lilla Wagner Vészi made a wonderful lecture on it. We shall continue this course in January with our woman lawyer.
We asked for the collection of our League Headquarters which was exhibited in Switzerland at the Congress of Education list and put it up on our headquarters for the general meeting.
This letter was taken up twice, I have seen our treasurer since and the money will be sent to Marguerite Gobat tomorrow. I am fairly dropping and beg you to send this to Rosika after you read it – I am arrear with so many letters!
Thanking you again for your kindness and generosity. I beg you to hug your “little chick” for me.
Eugenie Miskolczy Meller
The Pioneer Woman
By Eugenie Várnai
I have seen the statue of the American pioneer women
The woman, who went forward in the ancient forest
Her little child sleeping at her breast,
Her sinewy arm holding a pole-axe aloft.
Thus the pioneer women went forward
Cutting a path in the wilderness of jungle
Crushing the sharp stones of rock
Charging down on the venomous vipers
And on the ferocious breasts of prey,
To enable a new world to be built
In the place of uncleared forest and jungle
To enable the child to have a foothold in the new world
When the time comes for it to leave
Its mother’s arms and stand on its own feet.
Thus did the pioneer woman start on her path
On the ancient soil of this country twentyfive years ago.
Her feet were snared by the entangling growths of the swamp
She was persecuted by the stinging tongues of venomous serpents
Around her head were hissing the arrows of mocking barbarians
But undaunted the pioneer woman went forward
She cleared the jungle of wickedness with the pole-exe of the spirit,
She crushed the stones
She battled with hot-breathed ferocious breasts,
She carried aloft the torch of knowledge
Making it shine in the stars of night.
Upon her breast slumbered the divine child of loving-kindness, justice and peace,
Then she started upon the rugged ways of this Earth
And on she goes on the path of her Mission,
Stumbling often, her clothes torn,
Stumbling over stones and weeds, but always forward
For the night is still dark and the end of the journey is still far-off.
Its light is shining from a far horizon
And to-day when she has reached the milestone of twentyfive years
The pioneer woman halts for the moment.
The lifts her careworn, sweating brow
And she looks back shuddering on the series of bloodstained years
A menacing forest of tombstones covers the ground behind her
The wind carries the sights of blind and maimed people,
The tearful sighs of widows and orphans float in the rain
Tortured millions howl the infernal chorus of hunger and ruin
For the iron hoofs of wat have been stampeding over the earth
And still, still their roaring clamour is heard,
And having reached this milestone the pioneer women lifts up her voice
And cries to all the regions of the world:
“This was not my will
I have pitted all my strength against it,
The divine child of loving Kindness, justice and peace
Was slumbering at my breast
But the barbarous clamour of the trumpet of war
Has defend my protesting woman’s voice
An in the murderous din of cannon and machine gun
Mankind was lost!
Again blood stained swords
Are carried over the face of the earth
Tigers are thirsting for the young blood of our sons!
Women of the world, clamour in a million voices
Give voice to the outcry of protests
To make all the Continents of this world tremble.
We will not have it!
We pioneer women want
Peace, Justice and Life!
And we are going on, we are going on, with this sacred mission in our hearts.
Through all the terrors of this darkness
Towards a new and shining horizon,
We are going on, forward!
Translated by Arthur Rényi
Can anything be done with similar poems, you think in America, publish them in periodicals? We should very much like to help the author, if we could!
New York Public Library Manuscripts and Archives Division. Rosika Schwimmer Papers, Box 200.