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The Strange Story of Rab Ráby   By: (1825-1904)

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THE STRANGE STORY OF RAB RÁBY

DR. MAURUS JÓKAI'S MORE FAMOUS WORKS

(Authorised Translations).

LIBRARY EDITION.

6/ each.

Black Diamonds. The Green Book; or, Freedom Under the Snow. Pretty Michal. The Lion of Janina; or, The Last Days of the Janissaries. An Hungarian Nabob. Dr. Dumany's Wife. The Nameless Castle. The Poor Plutocrats. Debts of Honour. Halil the Pedlar. The Day of Wrath. Eyes Like the Sea. 'Midst the Wild Carpathians. The Slaves of the Padishah. Tales from Jókai.

NEW POPULAR EDITION.

2/6 Net each.

The Yellow Rose. Black Diamonds. The Green Book; or, Freedom Under the Snow. Pretty Michal. The Day of Wrath.

LONDON: JARROLD & SONS.

[Illustration: portrait of Mór Jókai]

THE STRANGE STORY OF RAB RÁBY

BY MAURUS JÓKAI

[Illustration: SANS PEUR ET SANS REPROCHE.]

THIRD EDITION

LONDON JARROLD & SONS, 10 & 11, WARWICK LANE, E.C.

[All Rights Reserved.]

PREFACE

TO JÓKAI'S "RAB RÁBY," IN ENGLISH,

By Dr. Emil Reich.

In "Rab Ráby," the famous Hungarian novelist gives us, in a manner quite his own, a picture of the "old régime" in Hungary in the times of Emperor Joseph II., 1780 1790. The novel, as to its plot and principal persons, is based on facts, and the then manners and institutions of Hungary are faithfully reflected in the various scenes from private, judicial, and political life as it developed under the erroneous policy of Joseph II.

Briefly speaking, "Rab Ráby" is the story of one of those frightful miscarriages of justice which at all times cropped up under the influence of political motives. In our own time we have seen the Dreyfus case, another instance of appalling injustice set in motion for political reasons. "Rab Ráby" is thus very likely to give the English reader a wrong idea of the backward and savage character of Hungarian civilisation towards the end of the eighteenth century, unless he carefully considers the peculiar circumstances of the case. I think I can do the novel no better service than setting it in its right historic frame, which Jókai, writing as he did for Hungarians, did not feel induced to dwell upon.

The Hungarians, alone of all Continental nations, have a political Constitution of their own, the origin of which goes back to an age prior to Magna Charta in England. Outside Hungary, it is generally believed that Hungary is a mere annex of "Austria"; and the average Englishman in particular is much surprised to hear that "Austria" is considerably smaller than Hungary. In fact, "Austria" is merely a conventional phrase. There is no Austria, in technical language. What is conventionally called Austria has in reality a much longer name by which alone it is technically recognised to exist. This name is, "The countries represented in the Reichsrath ." On the other hand, there is, conventionally and technically, a Hungary, which has no "home rule" whatever from Austria, any more than Australia has "home rule" from England. In fact, Hungary is the equal partner of Austria; and no Austrian official whatever can officially perform the slightest function in Hungary. The person whom the people of "Austria" call "Emperor," the Hungarians accept only as their King. There is not even a common citizenship between Hungarians and Austrians; and a Hungarian to be fully recognised in Austria as, say a lawyer, must first acquire the Austrian rights of naturalisation, just as an Englishman would.

The preceding remarks will enable the reader to see clearly that Hungary never accepted, nor can ever accept Austrian rule in any shape whatever; and that the entire business of political, judicial, and administrative government in Hungary must legally be done by Hungarian citizens only. The King alone happens to be an official in Austria as well as in Hungary; but according to Hungarian constitutional law he cannot command, nor reform things in Hungary except with the formal consent of the Hungarian authorities, in Parliament and County... Continue reading book >>




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