Reymont in AmericaNew York, Chicago, Buffalo
Although Reymont does not mention them in his autobiographical notes, he made two visits to the United States. The first took place in 1919 when he was sent here to make a tour of Polish-American communities on the initiatives, it would appear, of Ignacy Paderewski, then Prime Minister of Poland. His mission was to build confidence in the new Polish state among the American Polonia.
Reymont embarked on the steamer `Canada" in Marseille on May, 18, 1919. As it happens, so did Col. Francis Fronczak who was returning to Buffalo, and Consul Konstantyn Buszczynski, who was sailing to New York City with his staff to open there the first Polish Consulate in the United States. The steamer made the port of New York on June 2.
While staying in New York City, Reymont met Wojciech Morawski, a newspaper editor. After three weeks in NYC, Reymont journeyed to Chicago which became his home base until he departed for Poland on September 17. In the interim he visited many localities in the around the Great Lakes, including Buffalo. He returned to the U.S. the following year, landing in New York City in May, 1920, and departing in early July.
Or³owski, who accompanied him from New York to Chicago on this second trip, provides a short sketch of the novelist's personality. He found Reymont most engaging, effusing simplicity, delicacy and kindness. At the same time he exhibited a keen interest in people and all manifestations of life, He proved a willing and lively discussant and, if the topic stimulated his interest, he would paint word pictures, infecting the listener with his nervous energy. One could see even then however, that he sought to ration himself in this regard since he paid for such excitement with exhaustion of his energy and his already sick heart.
Unfortunately, Reymont's cardiac condition was already quite serious and, in the days before air-conditioning, the humid oppressive summer heat in New York, but particularly in Chicago, was very hard on him.
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