Maurus Jokai (1825-1904)
Jokai is the most famous of all Hungarian novelists. It has been said that “if all the persons whom he has called to life in his novels were to appear… the multitude would line the streets for more than a mile.” So much for quantity; but Jokai was an artist as well. In his numerous short stories he was a keen if not a very subtle observer of the life about him.
He led a very active life, as politician, journalist and editor. A Ball is characteristic of his skill as a narrator: the simplicity of the point of view shown in this story must not deceive the reader. Notice that the incidents are related in a letter from one prim young lady to another, neither of whom would for a moment be able to understand such shocking war stories as were to be told later by men like Stephen Crane and Ambrose Bierce.
The present translation, published anonymously, is reprinted from Jokai’s Hungarian Sketches In Peace And War, Edinburgh, 1