The situation in Macedonia becomes more and more threatening, and
unless the Powers are able to bring pres- sure enough to • bear on the Sultan to make him not
merely promise reforms, but provide trustworthy machinery for carrying them out—a very different matter—we can hardly doubt that the Macedonians will act as soon as the spring makes it practicable to move in the mountain regions. No doubt the Macedonians have threatened every year for the last twenty years to rise in the spring, and every spring, like the lover in Gray's song, the politicians have been able to point to the blossoming of the thorn or the almond, and ask what it means by coming out while Thyrsis's promise is unfulfilled. There seems, however, to be a feeling in the air that this spring the Macedonians really do mean business. Clearly Russia and Austria think they do, for they have got ready a Note which will be endorsed by the rest of the Powers, and will ask for autonomy for Macedonia. To anticipate this Note the Sultan has ordered the mobilisa- tion of several hundred thousand troops ; but, fortunately, the Powers see through this piece of "bluff." and the Porte has been warned that its action will not in the least affect the deter- mination of Austria and Russia. But though the situation ae regards Austria and Russia seems promising, there are still many and great difficulties ahead. Bulgaria, Servia, and Greece are all ready to explode with suspicion that the par. ticular settlement adopted may prejudice their reversionary claims. Probably the interests of the Great Powers in peace are too tremendous to allow real trouble over Macedonia, but Europe will not feel quite happy again till the matter is settled.