About fifteen years ago, during the Brătianu Cabinet, I was editing 'The National Revolt'. It was an essentially combative paper, in strong opposition to the government. Our strength however lay not so much in the leading articles or in the polemic pieces as in sensational information carefully interwoven with venomous comments. We had driven the public, politicians, and, most importantly, colleagues berserk by revealing the most intimate secrets of what was going on behind the political, social, and even family scenes. The police had gone crazy trying to discover The Revolt's sources. And how simple it all was when you think of it! We got everything from a lady from the high society that collected it purposefully from one of the pillars of power, a very important person. All three parts were most interested in the utter discretion of the collaboration: the statesman could, through our paper, exert his petty meanness and grand intentions; the lady made good money from us, and we set a record as the best-informed paper. Had anybody bothered to read carefully our journal they should have at least suspected the truth: while we abused everybody in power, our man was drowned in sugar and rose water. Unfortunately however the source of information was bound to go dry at some point. The statesman finally obtained the mission he had long been hunting for and left the capital. We were thus left behind – the lady in distress without her good friend and we in even more distress without information. The lady tried to feed us news from other sources; but it started raining denials, and the colleagues broke into pouring venom on 'The Revolt' that are 'without scruples'… 'liars'… 'despicable'… 'fools'… anyway, all the sweet talk some jealous fellow professionals are capable of sputtering at you after a long success. We then took on a special reporter. For a few days we were rid of denials and abuses… Yeah! But what information, my God! Judge for yourselves: 'A ministers' council was held today in the Ministry of Interior.' 'The Prime Minister will go to Florica tomorrow, Saturday. He will probably be back on Monday or Tuesday, unless he decides to stay there longer.' 'The Cults Minister worked with His Majesty the King yesterday, i.e. Wednesday.' 'It is with great pleasure that we find out and inform you of the engagement of Mr. Alexandru Popescu, old clerk, to Mrs. Alexandrina Ionescu, mother of young poet Horaţiu Ionescu, official in the servants' office to the Prefecture of the Capital Police. Our warmest wishes to the young couple!' 'Following the request of Mrs Tudoriţa Ştefănescu and Mrs Fani Teodorescu, the following swap took place: the former took up the latter's position as a midwife in the district Z, while the latter took the former's position in the same capacity in the district X.'  When my reporter got to work in the morning I welcomed him fuming: 'Mr Caracudi, we just can't go on like this! With information such as yours we push the paper down the drain. Do you call this news? Of course there's been a ministers' council today, there's one every Thursday!… Of course the Prime Minister will go to Florica on Saturday, he always does, just as he always comes back on Monday, or Tuesday, or Wednesday, or any other day!… Of course the Cults Minister worked at the palace yesterday, Wednesday is this State Secretary's appointed working day with the King!… And then… What do I care about the engagement of young Alexandrina!… Of what interest could it be to our readers that your midwives swapped places!…What? Are you trying to kill 'The Revolt', my man?… talk to me!' 'No, I'm not!' 'Well, then!… What I need, mister, is sensational political information.' 'But there isn't any, sir…' 'There must be!…Otherwise, with all due regret, my friend, you're not fit for working with us!' 'Got it, sir.' 'Go, run now! Poke about everywhere, out there, in public places, in political circles; search, sniff, find out, find out, find out!' Mr Caracudi left very determined. In a few hours, in the evening, he came back terribly proud of himself. He had all the reasons for it too! He had found out most interesting things from a politician whose name he wouldn't disclose. There you go, among other things:1. Serious disagreement within the Ministers' Council;2. Imminent government crisis;3. Government intends to increase the number of the military and of the years of service;4. Rumours about a serious diplomatic incident;5. Scandalous divorce in the high society. 'Well, you see?' says I. 'Who's the friend who told you all this?' 'No way,' Caracudi answers. 'I gave him my word that I wouldn't reveal his name. If he found out I betrayed him, he would never tell me anything else again.' 'Well done, Mr Caracudi! Great harvest. That's the spirit! Keep it up! You've got American habits! You have a brilliant future ahead of you as a Romanian journalist.' And indeed, as the days went by the reporter advanced steadily, so very soon 'The Revolt', slightly compromised in the previous two weeks, had gone back to its former level of popularity, and even higher. Never before had it enjoyed such success… My heroic Caracudi! For instance: We have it from an authorised source that a scene took place yesterday at the palace suggesting that the whole situation could not be sustained much longer. The government is going downhill. Details in the evening edition. Then, in the evening edition: It is public knowledge that the King has long realised the miserable situation the country has got to be in and he wastes no opportunity to express his dissatisfaction with the vizier's[1] government. The king has long been waiting for an occasion to spell out his opinion on this mad policy. So yesterday when the vizier came for his usual audience, the King locked himself away with him in his study, taking the strictest precautions against being overheard. He was thoroughly hauled over the coal for what was called the policy of tolerating 'robbery, murders, and outrageous trials', to quote the vizier himself. Throughout the meeting the vizier kept his eyes downcast, pale as a cadaver. At the end, showing that the situation had grown intolerable for the country and the crown, the King said flatly: 'Enough is enough, gentlemen, enough is enough!' Even the servants could notice the dismal look on the vizier's face as he was leaving the palace. Needless to say how successful our newspaper was that evening. The run for the capital was exhausted in a matter of minutes, so we had to print another one thousand copies (another three, we said in the morning). 'Damn this Caracudi!' I thought. 'Where does he find all this? I must find out immediately.' In vain did I insist; there was no way I could find out the source of so much information. His stubbornness made me lose my patience. I decided to outdo him at his own game, wringing his secret out by any means, however undignified. The following day, a lovely autumn day, the reporter said to me in the morning: 'I think I may have a piece of news for the evening edition about what happened yesterday, the scene between the King and the vizier. A little while ago, as I was coming here, I saw the vizier entering the palace again… Let's see… I'm off now… I'll be back in about an hour with the information…' 'I'll get you this time!' thought I, and set off following him, more discreetly than an old detective. Caracudi, without the slightest suspicion, got out on Calea Victoriei. He stopped for a moment in front of a haberdashery; then strolled on. Reaching the corner of the New Street, he stopped at Capşa, sitting at an outdoors table. I was at this time standing at the corner of the Boulevard Hotel. He kept me like that for about 20 minutes, he sitting and I standing… He got up and headed towards the palace. After him… But, unfortunately, in front of Oteteleşeanu, where the Theatre Square opened, I lost sight of him… I looked around: nothing… He had no doubt gone up in some hotel to meet his man – some deputy, senator… or who knows? Just as I was beginning to lose hope and was thinking of heading back to the office and leave the whole thing for another time, there was my man coming out of a tobacconist's with a small package in his hand… He had bought tobacco!… Up the street again towards the palace… After him… But, as I pass the tobacconist's I steal a glance inside to see whether there is anybody in there he might have communicated with… In the shop – nobody, apart from the shop assistant and the clerk. Passing by the palace, Caracudi crosses the street, greets somebody at the window, and heads on. Arriving myself in front of the palace, I glance a furtive look upwards and see a young cavalry officer… Caracudi changes his mind a little before getting to the building of the Episcopal Seat; he turns and starts back… I hide in a passage. He passes down the street… I get out to follow him at the right distance, fixing my eyes on his silver-grey hat. When we pass by the palace the grey hat greets again… The officer again… 'Could it be that…?' thought I. Near the palace garden the reporter turns to the right into St. John Street… I still following him… Into Rosetti Drive… Then Cişmigiu… He crosses the foot bridge… Goes straight to the café… I stay hidden behind a knoll and don't lose sight of him… He drinks coffee and smokes the recently bought tobacco. This must be the meeting place with the man he takes his information from… He's waiting for him… And I'm waiting too… The reporter takes out a notebook from his pocket and starts writing… The weather is gorgeous and the garden under the clear autumn sky is more beautiful than ever. The atmosphere is quiet; yellow leaves are falling, circling slowly in wide loops around their withered twigs to the ground, and swans can be heard in the distance. But my man has finished writing; he pays, stands up, and starts towards my hiding place… I move round the knoll. He goes back towards the Rosetti gate… I'm behind him… He takes the Brezoianu Street out of the park… He goes up the boulevard… Now he starts hurrying…I do too… Where is he taking me? Let's see… The editorial office… He goes in… I rush. When I enter, Caracudi takes out his notebook. 'Well?' I ask. 'Try this!' he answers with a triumphant smile on his face and forces a paper with the following information before my eyes: We published last night a piece of information about the scene that took place at the palace yesterday between the King and the vizier. From the same authorised source we are now able to give you details on the aftermath of that scene, which connect to the rumours we have heard about an imminent ministerial crisis. With a very despondent air about him, the vizier went up the palace stairs at about 9 this morning. The king kept him waiting for more than half an hour in the antechamber. During this time, the servants and officers on duty could see the vizier sighing, probably thinking of the good old days when he could have his own way enjoying the unquestioned confidence of the Sovereign, who had in the meanwhile realised who he was dealing with – mieux vaut tard que jamais[2] – and was turning his back on him like on a servant with whose service the master is dissatisfied and whom is about to be kicked out like a rogue. When the king did eventually see the vizier in his study, he repeated the same imputations about the intolerable character of the situation. Shaking and with a quavering voice, the vizier said:'Then, Sire, I cannot but…''But?' asked the King.'But…' And unable to utter the words: '…to resign and withdraw in my private life…' he started weeping, like a hag choking on her spite. As you can see, the days of the 'robberies, murder and scandalous trials' policy are numbered. This time we are talking no partial ministerial reshuffling, no vizier-like botch up, but a complete collapse of the collectivist shack[3].  'Well done, dear Caracudi!' I exclaimed. 'You're better than I could have imagined! You're the luck of "The National Revolt"!…But… let me tell you that now I know…''What?''The source of your information… I know it…''Yeah, right!''Wanna bet?''On anything you want.''Lunch at Iordache's… Are you in?''Yes, I am,' said Caracudi sure of himself.'Do you want me to tell you where you have it from?''I'm all ears.''Come here…'I then took him to my editor-in-chief office, closed the door more cautiously than the king himself would have done it when wanting to talk to his vizier, and whispered slowly, devilishly staring into his eyes:'Ciş-mi-giu!'He turned more yellow than the vizier in his news. But…si augur augurem[4] - shaking his hand enthusiastically I hurried to add:'It doesn't matter really!… I'm very pleased with your services… Without them "The Revolt" would be worth nothing, with all our articles and instalments… Let's have lunch!' The lunch was wonderful. Caracudi kept blinking with satisfaction. 'Pray,' I asked him over coffee and after having given him a detailed account of his morning itinerary, 'pray, I understand when the weather is good, like today; but what do you do when the weather is bad?' 'When the weather is bad?… I stay at home.' 'Shall we have another one?… This time on me.' We had quite a laugh!… We paid, he for the lunch and I for the extras, and we returned to the office very joyful. 'Three o'clock!… Caracudi!' I screamed; 'News, quick! Look for it and make it as "sensational" as possible!' 'Coming!' my worthy reporter answered and scurried out towards the palace. I'm left in the coolness of the office to write my leading article: What Does the King Think?…Let's see, what could he think?… I dip my quill in ink and, dozing with my head on the table, I think, and think… What a lovely weather!… The gardens must be so beautiful now at dusk under the clear autumn sky… The atmosphere so quiet… I can almost see the yellow leaves falling, circling slowly in wide loops around their withered twigs to the ground... and can almost hear swans in the distance… Damn Caracudi!… Let's see: What Does the King Think?
[1] Nickname given to Ion Brătianu because of his dictatorial manner of governing.[2] Better late than never [3] The Liberal Party.[4] If an augur sees another one – Latin saying meaning: when a soothsayer meets another one, they both begin to laugh.

by I. L. Caragiale (1852-1912)