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REFUGEE SKETCHES - 1914 - Dr. Louis Dwight Ray, Ph.D.

Dr. Louis Dwight Ray, Ph.D., was the Headmaster of Irving School, New York.

The Irving School, on 54 West Eight-Fourth Street in New York. Offered Thorough college preparation for boys a specialty. Irving Schoolhouse is a modern building, with sanitary plumbing, heating, and ventilation. Attention is called to its well-furnished rooms, to its laboratory and manual training shop, to its indoor and outdoor gymnasium, and to its private playground. Professional teachers not only teach in this school, but also prepare their pupils carefully for the following day's work. The one tuition fee covers both preparation and recitation.

Since 1891, Harvard, Yale, New York University, Cornell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Williams, and Columbia (Arts and Mines) have received thirty students prepared here, of whom twenty-four entered without condition. In 1894, an Irving graduate won the Columbia alumni prize for highest entrance honors. The class of 1895, fourteen in number, all passed in French, German, history, geography, arithmetic, geometry, Greek, chemistry, Latin translation, and drawing. - Dr. L. D. Ray, Headmaster, August, 1895.


Mr. Louis D. Ray of 15 West 84th Street, New York Mr. Ray City, related the following experience:

On Tuesday afternoon, August fourth, Mrs. Ray and I were sailing on the Austrian Lloyd steamship Galicia through the Straits of Otranto, just beyond Corfu, having come from Constantinople and the Piraeus. In the Straits, we saw an English fleet of four gunboats and four torpedo boat destroyers, but since England had not declared war at that time, our Austrian boat was not molested.

Wednesday morning, we passed an Austrian fleet of three torpedo boats, two cruisers, and a dreadnought at target practice, an event which gave us an opportunity to see their marksmanship. I thought this very poor, since they hit the canvas only about once in seven trials. Thursday afternoon, we sighted Trieste, our port, and when we arrived there, we found the harbor almost dead; besides our vessel, nothing else was moving except another arriving ship and our tender, although there were sixty or seventy boats at anchor.

Almost as soon as we had landed, we were informed that all train and boat service to Italy had been cut off and that if we wished to continue our way there, we would have to either try our luck on a troop train or hire a motor. The next day, we decided to do the latter. Before starting, we had to get a permit from the chief of police, a Captain Lonec. We first went to the police station, thinking that he would naturally be there, but we found this place in charge of an Italian who carefully inspected our passports and then told us that we were in the wrong establishment and that we must see Captain Lonec personally, whom we would find at the barracks.

After receiving this information we proceeded to the barracks, where we found soldiers everywhere. Since saluting seemed to be the proper thing to do, I saluted everybody I saw and everybody saluted in return with the greatest courtesy. We had to take places in a line which had formed at the Captain's door, and when our turn arrived, we explained our desires carefully and in great detail, keeping our passports on display all the while.

Captain Lonec treated us with marked courtesy, almost with cordiality, but while he was writing our police permit, he received three messages, one of which changed his attitude toward us from gallant attention to mere civility. This message informed him that Austria and Russia had broken off diplomatic connections and that the American Consul in Trieste would take charge of the Russian affairs there. Since we were, therefore, distantly connected with Russia—being Americans—he felt less cordially inclined toward us. He transacted our business, however, with all desirable dispatch, and, with a formal salute, dismissed us.

Then we started our motor trip up the wonderful mountains which lie at the head of the Adriatic above Trieste. We wound up and up for three thousand feet, catching beautiful vistas everywhere of green valleys interspersed with gleaming white houses and silvery rivers. Half way up, a soldier stopped us and demanded our permit. This he 'read' upside down, pronounced good, and then allowed us to pass.

About a quarter of a mile further on, another guard stopped us, this time with a fixed bayonet. He, too, demanded our permit. After carefully comparing the number of our car with that on the paper, he also allowed us to proceed. We had gone about a half mile more, when a young blond giant, whose arms and legs extended for yards beyond his trousers and sleeves, commanded us to halt. He demanded our permit in the usual manner, but instead of pretending to read it, took it to his superior, while we carefully followed him. The officer gave his O.K. and allowed us to go on.

At the seventh repetition of this procedure, my interpreter carelessly lost patience and swore at the soldier who had stopped us, whereupon the latter increased his severity at once by demanding that we unlock our trunks and bags for his inspection. I was perfectly willing to help him in his task, because I had come to the conclusion that the safest attitude to adopt, if we wished to get to Italy, was one of extreme civility.

All went well in his search through two suitcases, three bags and one trunk until I had lifted the tray of the last named article, thereby exposing a Turkish coffee mill that we had bought in Constantinople. When the soldier saw this utensil, which resembles a piece of bronze pipe eight inches long by two in diameter, he thought that he had discovered a Servian bomb, and was about to put us under arrest.

Mrs. Ray quickly came to our rescue, however, by hurriedly attaching the handle of the grinder and milling a few grains of coffee which fortunately remained in the 'infernal machine' from the last demonstration, and then holding the article close to the Austrian's nose, so that he might smell the odor of the berries. Even he appreciated the humor of the situation, and, with a grin, put the grinder back.

Guards stopped us two more times and examined our baggage once more before we reached Cervignano, the town at the Austro-Italian border. Here the customs officers inspected it, but luckily, they did not discover the Turkish coffee mill.

At this place, we had to change from our motor to a peasant's wagon that my interpreter had succeeded in ferreting out from a countryside destitute of horses and conveyances. We had wanted to go as far as San Giorgio in the automobile, but the chauffeur did not dare to take it out of Austria. After our ride in the peasant's wagon, we experienced no more refugee 'hardships,' since we went all the rest of the way to Genoa on regular trains.


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