Thursday, March 29, 2012

"Back from the Greek War - John Christus Says that the Crown Prince is a Coward and a Hard Drinker" article - New York Times, July 11, 1897


Published in The New York Times, July 11, 1897
BACK FROM THE GREEK WAR
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John Christus Says That the Crown Prince
Is a Coward and a Hard Drinker
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John Christus, a six-foot Greek who has been a sailorman on the Pacific coast, and who went from San Francisco to Athens to fight the Turks, arrived here Friday on the steamship Yarrowdale, from Cardiff, Wales, and yesterday found himself in the custody of the immigration officials, charged with being a stowaway.
An alien who arrives as a stowaway is deported on the vessel that brought him.  An American citizen who stows away is fined $10, or in lieu of that must go to jail.  Christus had taken out his first papers and had lived in this country for fifteen years.  It was decided that he should be fined.  Eventually the fine was remitted.  In his case perhaps it was because of the story of hard luck he had to tell.
Christus started for Athens Feb. 28, and was among the first to offer himself in King George’s service after the call had been issued for the Greek army reserves and for volunteers.  He was enlisted at once and sent to the front, and fought in ten battles, being present at the retreat from Mliouna Pass to Larissa.  He received a wound in the thigh from a piece of exploded shell on that occasion.  
At the close of the war the Greek Government gave each volunteer 10 francs, and Christus, together with twenty-six Englishmen, six Americans, forty Frenchmen, and Fifty Greeks, was provided with free passage from Athens to Marseilles.  This was all that the Government could do for them.
From there Christus paid his fare to Paris and Havre, and at Havre some Greeks got up a subscription and paid his passage to Cardiff.
He was discovered stowed away on the Yarrowdale shortly after she sailed, and was made to work hard for his passage.
Christus is no respecter of the Crown Prince Constantine.  The Greeks, he said, fought courageously, but it seemed that whenever they were gaining an advantage on the enemy a retreat was ordered.
“The Crown Prince,” said he, “is a terrible coward, a stupid man, and a hard drinker.”  Then he said that the Prince made the Greek soldiers furious by drinking German beer.  They didn’t mind his drinking cognac, but anything German was offensive.  He cited an instance where an officer of the Red Cross, Capt. Nichols, he said, had remonstrated with the Prince when he found what a stock of beer he kept on hand, and the Crown Prince at once ordered him to leave camp.
On another occasion, after the Greeks had been overawed by the Turks, a file of the enemy’s soldiers approached the Greek lines and demanded that they be permitted to pass on some business errand.  They were held back while the matter was reported to the Prince.  He said:  “Let them pass.”
“That was easier than fighting them,” Christus remarked with sarcasm.  “The Greek flag has been dragged in the dust,” he said; “the Prince has dragged it there.  Hereafter the American flag is good enough for me.”
Christus was permitted to go free by the immigration officials.

To view a copy of the actual article go to 
The New York Times - Archive 1851 - 1980


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