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Title: With the Allies
Author: Davis, Richard Harding, 1864-1916
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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I have not seen the letter addressed by President Wilson to the
American people calling upon them to preserve toward this war the
mental attitude of neutrals. But I have seen the war. And I feel sure
had President Wilson seen my war he would not have written his

This is not a war against Germans, as we know Germans in America,
where they are among our sanest, most industrious, and most
responsible fellow countrymen. It is a war, as Winston Churchill has
pointed out, against the military aristocracy of Germany, men who are
six hundred years behind the times; who, to preserve their class
against democracy, have perverted to the uses of warfare, to the
destruction of life, every invention of modern times. These men are
military mad. To our ideal of representative government their own
idea is as far opposed as is martial law to the free speech of our town

One returning from the war is astonished to find how little of the true
horror of it crosses the ocean. That this is so is due partly to the strict
censorship that suppresses the details of the war, and partly to the
fact that the mind is not accustomed to consider misery on a scale so
gigantic. The loss of hundreds of thousands of lives, the wrecking of
cities, and the laying waste of half of Europe cannot be brought home
to people who learn of it only through newspapers and moving
pictures and by sticking pins in a map. Were they nearer to it, near
enough to see the women and children fleeing from the shells and to
smell the dead on the battle-fields, there would be no talk of

Such lack of understanding our remoteness from the actual seat of
war explains. But on the part of many Americans one finds another
attitude of mind which is more difficult to explain. It is the cupidity
that in the misfortunes of others sees only a chance for profit. In
an offer made to its readers a prominent American magazine
best expresses this attitude. It promises prizes for the essays
on "What the war means to me."

To the American women Miss Ida M. Tar-bell writes: "This is her time
to learn what her own country's industries can do, and to rally with all
her influence to their support, urging them to make the things she
wants, and pledging them her allegiance."

This appeal is used in a periodical with a circulation of over a million,
as an advertisement for silk hose. I do not agree with Miss Tarbell
that this is the time to rally to the support of home industries. I do not
agree with the advertiser that when in Belgium several million women
and children are homeless, starving, and naked that that is the time
to buy his silk hose. To urge that charity begins at home is to repeat
one of the most selfish axioms ever uttered, and in this war to urge
civilized, thinking people to remain neutral is equally selfish.

Were the conflict in Europe a fair fight, the duty of every American
would be to keep on the side-lines and preserve an open mind. But it
is not a fair fight. To devastate a country you have sworn to protect,
to drop bombs upon unfortified cities, to lay sunken mines, to levy
blackmail by threatening hostages with death, to destroy cathedrals is
not to fight fair.

That is the way Germany is fighting. She is defying the rules of war
and the rules of humanity. And if public opinion is to help in
preventing further outrages, and in hastening this unspeakable
conflict to an end, it should be directed against the one who offends.
If we are convinced that one opponent is fighting honestly and that
his adversary is striking below the belt, then for us to maintain a
neutral attitude of mind is unworthy and the attitude of a coward.

When a mad dog runs amuck in a village it is the duty of every farmer
to get his gun and destroy it, not to lock himself indoors and toward
the dog and the men who face him preserve a neutral mind.

NEW YORK, Dec. 1st, 1914.


   I. The Germans In Brussels
  II. "To Be Treated As A Spy"
 III. The Burning Of Louvain
  IV. Paris In War Time
   V. The Battle Of Soissons
  VI. The Bombardment Of Rheims
 VII. The Spirit Of The English
VIII. Our Diplomats In The War Zone
  IX. "Under Fire"
   X. The Waste Of War
  XI. The War Correspondents

Chapter I
The Germans In Brussels

When, on August 4, the Lusitania, with lights doused and air-ports
sealed, slipped out of New York harbor the crime of the century was
only a few days old. And for three days those on board the Lusitania
of the march of the great events were ignorant. Whether or no
between England and Germany the struggle for the supremacy of the
sea had begun we could not learn.

But when, on the third day, we came on deck the news was written
against the sky. Swinging from the funnels, sailors were painting out
the scarlet-and-black colors of the Cunard line and substituting a
mouse-like gray. Overnight we had passed into the hands of the
admiralty, and the Lusitania had emerged a cruiser. That to possible
German war-ships she might not disclose her position, she sent no
wireless messages. But she could receive them; and at breakfast in
the ship's newspaper appeared those she had overnight snatched
from the air. Among them, without a scare-head, in the most modest
of type, we read: "England and Germany have declared war." Seldom
has news so momentous been conveyed so simply or, by the
Englishmen on board, more calmly accepted. For any exhibition they
gave of excitement or concern, the news the radio brought them
might have been the result of a by-election.

Later in the morning they gave us another exhibition of that
repression of feeling, of that disdain of hysteria, that is a national
characteristic, and is what Mr. Kipling meant when he wrote: "But oh,
beware my country, when my country grows polite!"

Word came that in the North Sea the English war-ships had
destroyed the German fleet. To celebrate this battle which, were the
news authentic, would rank with Trafalgar and might mean the end of
the war, one of the ship's officers exploded a detonating bomb.
Nothing else exploded. Whatever feelings of satisfaction our English
cousins experienced they concealed.

Under like circumstances, on an American ship, we would have tied
down the siren, sung the doxology, and broken everything on the bar.
As it was, the Americans instinctively flocked to the smoking-room
and drank to the British navy. While this ceremony was going
forward, from the promenade-deck we heard tumultuous shouts and
cheers. We believed that, relieved of our presence, our English
friends had given way to rejoicings. But when we went on deck we
found them deeply engaged in cricket. The cheers we had heard
were over the retirement of a batsman who had just been given out,
leg before wicket.

When we reached London we found no idle boasting, no vainglorious
jingoism. The war that Germany had forced upon them the English
accepted with a grim determination to see it through and, while they
were about it, to make it final. They were going ahead with no false
illusions. Fully did every one appreciate the enormous task, the
personal loss that lay before him. But each, in his or her way, went
into the fight determined to do his duty. There was no dismay, no
hysteria, no "mafficking."

The secrecy maintained by the press and the people regarding
anything concerning the war, the knowledge of which might
embarrass the War Office, was one of the most admirable and
remarkable conspiracies of silence that modern times have known.
Officers of the same regiment even with each other would not discuss
the orders they had received. In no single newspaper, with no matter
how lurid a past record for sensationalism, was there a line to suggest
that a British army had landed in France and that Great Britain was at
war. Sooner than embarrass those who were conducting the fight, the
individual English man and woman in silence suffered the most cruel
anxiety of mind. Of that, on my return to London from Brussels, I was
given an illustration. I had written to The Daily Chronicle telling where
in Belgium I had seen a wrecked British airship, and beside it the
grave of the aviator. I gave the information in order that the family of
the dead officer might find the grave and bring the body home. The
morning the letter was published an elderly gentleman, a retired
officer of the navy, called at my rooms. His son, he said, was an
aviator, and for a month of him no word had come. His mother was
distressed. Could I describe the air-ship I had seen?

I was not keen to play the messenger of ill tidings, so I tried to gain

"What make of aeroplane does your son drive?" I asked.

As though preparing for a blow, the old gentleman drew himself up,
and looked me steadily in the eyes.

"A Blériot monoplane," he said.

I was as relieved as though his boy were one of my own kinsmen.

"The air-ship I saw," I told him, "was an Avro biplane!"

Of the two I appeared much the more pleased.

The retired officer bowed.

"I thank you," he said. "It will be good news for his mother."

"But why didn't you go to the War Office?" I asked.

He reproved me firmly.

"They have asked us not to question them," he said, "and when they
are working for all I have no right to embarrass them with my personal

As the chance of obtaining credentials with the British army appeared
doubtful, I did not remain in London, but at once crossed to Belgium.

Before the Germans came, Brussels was an imitation Paris--
especially along the inner boulevards she was Paris at her best. And
her great parks, her lakes gay with pleasure-boats or choked with lily-
pads, her haunted forests, where your taxicab would startle the wild
deer, are the most beautiful I have ever seen in any city in the world.
As, in the days of the Second Empire, Louis Napoleon bedecked
Paris, so Leopold decorated Brussels. In her honor and to his own
glory he gave her new parks, filled in her moats along her ancient
fortifications, laid out boulevards shaded with trees, erected arches,
monuments, museums. That these jewels he hung upon her neck
were wrung from the slaves of the Congo does not make them the
less beautiful. And before the Germans came the life of the people of
Brussels was in keeping with the elegance, beauty, and joyousness
of their surroundings.

At the Palace Hotel, which is the clearing-house for the social life of
Brussels, we found everybody taking his ease at a little iron table on
the sidewalk. It was night, but the city was as light as noonday--
brilliant, elated, full of movement and color. For Liege was still held by
the Belgians, and they believed that all along the line they were
holding back the German army. It was no wonder they were jubilant.
They had a right to be proud. They had been making history. In order
to give them time to mobilize, the Allies had asked them for two days
to delay the German invader. They had held him back for fifteen. As
David went against Goliath, they had repulsed the German. And as
yet there had been no reprisals, no destruction of cities, no murdering
of non-combatants; war still was something glad and glorious.

The signs of it were the Boy Scouts, everywhere helping every one,
carrying messages, guiding strangers, directing traffic; and Red
Cross nurses and aviators from England, smart Belgian officers
exclaiming bitterly over the delay in sending them forward, and
private automobiles upon the enamelled sides of which the transport
officer with a piece of chalk had scratched, "For His Majesty," and
piled the silk cushions high with ammunition. From table to table
young girls passed jangling tiny tin milk-cans. They were supplicants,
begging money for the wounded. There were so many of them and
so often they made their rounds that, to protect you from themselves,
if you subscribed a lump sum, you were exempt and were given a
badge to prove you were immune.

Except for these signs of the times you would not have known
Belgium was at war. The spirit of the people was undaunted. Into their
daily lives the conflict had penetrated only like a burst of martial
music. Rather than depressing, it inspired them. Wherever you
ventured, you found them undismayed. And in those weeks during
which events moved so swiftly that now they seem months in the
past, we were as free as in our own "home town" to go where we

For the war correspondent those were the happy days! Like every
one else, from the proudest nobleman to the boy in wooden shoes,
we were given a laissez-passer, which gave us permission to go
anywhere; this with a passport was our only credential. Proper
credentials to accompany the army in the field had been formerly
refused me by the war officers of England, France, and Belgium. So
in Brussels each morning I chartered an automobile and without
credentials joined the first army that happened to be passing.
Sometimes you stumbled upon an escarmouche, sometimes you fled
from one, sometimes you drew blank. Over our early coffee we would
study the morning papers and, as in the glad days of racing at home,
from them try to dope out the winners. If we followed La Dernière
Heure we would go to Namur; L'Etoile was strong for Tirlemont.
Would we lose if we plunged on Wavre? Again, the favorite seemed
to be Louvain. On a straight tip from the legation the English
correspondents were going to motor to Diest. From a Belgian officer
we had been given inside information that the fight would be pulled off
at Gembloux. And, unencumbered by even a sandwich, and too wise
to carry a field-glass or a camera, each would depart upon his
separate errand, at night returning to a perfectly served dinner and a
luxurious bed. For the news-gatherers it was a game of chance. The
wisest veterans would cast their nets south and see only harvesters
in the fields, the amateurs would lose their way to the north and find
themselves facing an army corps or running a gauntlet of shell-fire. It
was like throwing a handful of coins on the table hoping that one
might rest upon the winning number. Over the map of Belgium we
threw ourselves. Some days we landed on the right color, on others
we saw no more than we would see at state manoeuvres. Judging by
his questions, the lay brother seems to think that the chief trouble of
the war correspondent is dodging bullets. It is not. It consists in trying
to bribe a station-master to carry you on a troop train, or in finding
forage for your horse. What wars I have seen have taken place in
spots isolated and inaccessible, far from the haunts of men. By day
you followed the fight and tried to find the censor, and at night you sat
on a cracker-box and by the light of a candle struggled to keep awake
and to write deathless prose. In Belgium it was not like that. The
automobile which Gerald Morgan, of the London Daily Telegraph, and
I shared was of surpassing beauty, speed, and comfort. It was as
long as a Plant freight-car and as yellow; and from it flapped in the
breeze more English, Belgian, French, and Russian flags than fly
from the roof of the New York Hippodrome. Whenever we sighted an
army we lashed the flags of its country to our headlights, and at sixty
miles an hour bore down upon it.

The army always first arrested us, and then, on learning our
nationality, asked if it were true that America had joined the Allies.
After I had punched his ribs a sufficient number of times Morgan
learned to reply without winking that it had. In those days the sun
shone continuously; the roads, except where we ran on the blocks
that made Belgium famous, were perfect; and overhead for miles
noble trees met and embraced. The country was smiling and
beautiful. In the fields the women (for the men were at the front) were
gathering the crops, the stacks of golden grain stretched from village
to village. The houses in these were white-washed and, the better to
advertise chocolates, liqueurs, and automobile tires, were painted a
cobalt blue; their roofs were of red tiles, and they sat in gardens of
purple cabbages or gaudy hollyhocks. In the orchards the pear-trees
were bent with fruit. We never lacked for food; always, when we lost
the trail and "checked," or burst a tire, there was an inn with fruit-trees
trained to lie flat against the wall, or to spread over arbors and
trellises. Beneath these, close by the roadside, we sat and drank red
wine, and devoured omelets and vast slabs of rye bread. At night we
raced back to the city, through twelve miles of parks, to enamelled
bathtubs, shaded electric light, and iced champagne; while before our
table passed all the night life of a great city. And for suffering these
hardships of war our papers paid us large sums.

On such a night as this, the night of August 18, strange folk in
wooden shoes and carrying bundles, and who looked like emigrants
from Ellis Island, appeared in front of the restaurant. Instantly they
were swallowed up in a crowd and the dinner-parties, napkins in
hand, flocked into the Place Rogier and increased the throng around

"The Germans!" those in the heart of the crowd called over their
shoulders. "The Germans are at Louvain!"

That afternoon I had conscientiously cabled my paper that there were
no Germans anywhere near Louvain. I had been west of Louvain,
and the particular column of the French army to which I had attached
myself certainly saw no Germans.

"They say," whispered those nearest the fugitives, "the German
shells are falling in Louvain. Ten houses are on fire!" Ten houses!
How monstrous it sounded! Ten houses of innocent country folk
destroyed. In those days such a catastrophe was unbelievable. We
smiled knowingly.

"Refugees always talk like that," we said wisely. "The Germans would
not bombard an unfortified town. And, besides, there are no Germans
south of Liege."

The morning following in my room I heard from the Place Rogier the
warnings of many motor horns. At great speed innumerable
automobiles were approaching, all coming from the west through the
Boulevard du Regent, and without slackening speed passing
northeast toward Ghent, Bruges, and the coast. The number
increased and the warnings became insistent. At eight o'clock they
had sent out a sharp request for right of way; at nine in number they
had trebled, and the note of the sirens was raucous, harsh, and
peremptory. At ten no longer were there disconnected warnings, but
from the horns and sirens issued one long, continuous scream. It was
like the steady roar of a gale in the rigging, and it spoke in abject
panic. The voices of the cars racing past were like the voices of
human beings driven with fear. From the front of the hotel we
watched them. There were taxicabs, racing cars, limousines. They
were crowded with women and children of the rich, and of the nobility
and gentry from the great châteaux far to the west. Those who
occupied them were white-faced with the dust of the road, with
weariness and fear. In cars magnificently upholstered, padded, and
cushioned were piled trunks, hand-bags, dressing-cases. The women
had dressed at a moment's warning, as though at a cry of fire. Many
had travelled throughout the night, and in their arms the children,
snatched from the pillows, were sleeping.

But more appealing were the peasants. We walked out along the
inner boulevards to meet them, and found the side streets blocked
with their carts. Into these they had thrown mattresses, or bundles of
grain, and heaped upon them were families of three generations. Old
men in blue smocks, white-haired and bent, old women in caps, the
daughters dressed in their one best frock and hat, and clasping in
their hands all that was left to them, all that they could stuff into a
pillow-case or flour-sack. The tears rolled down their brown, tanned
faces. To the people of Brussels who crowded around them they
spoke in hushed, broken phrases. The terror of what they had
escaped or of what they had seen was upon them. They had
harnessed the plough-horse to the dray or market-wagon and to the
invaders had left everything. What, they asked, would befall the live
stock they had abandoned, the ducks on the pond, the cattle in the
field? Who would feed them and give them water? At the question the
tears would break out afresh. Heart-broken, weary, hungry, they
passed in an unending caravan. With them, all fleeing from the same
foe, all moving in one direction, were family carriages, the servants on
the box in disordered livery, as they had served dinner, or coatless,
but still in the striped waistcoats and silver buttons of grooms or
footmen, and bicyclers with bundles strapped to their shoulders, and
men and women stumbling on foot, carrying their children. Above it all
rose the breathless scream of the racing-cars, as they rocked and
skidded, with brakes grinding and mufflers open; with their own terror
creating and spreading terror.

Though eager in sympathy, the people of Brussels themselves were
undisturbed. Many still sat at the little iron tables and smiled pityingly
upon the strange figures of the peasants. They had had their trouble
for nothing, they said. It was a false alarm. There were no Germans
nearer than Liege. And, besides, should the Germans come, the civil
guard would meet them.

But, better informed than they, that morning the American minister,
Brand Whitlock, and the Marquis Villalobar, the Spanish minister, had
called upon the burgomaster and advised him not to defend the city.
As Whitlock pointed out, with the force at his command, which was
the citizen soldiery, he could delay the entrance of the Germans by
only an hour, and in that hour many innocent lives would be wasted
and monuments of great beauty, works of art that belong not alone to
Brussels but to the world, would be destroyed. Burgomaster Max,
who is a splendid and worthy representative of a long line of
burgomasters, placing his hand upon his heart, said: "Honor requires

To show that in the protection of the Belgian Government he had full
confidence, Mr. Whitlock had not as yet shown his colors. But that
morning when he left the Hôtel de Ville he hung the American flag
over his legation and over that of the British. Those of us who had
elected to remain in Brussels moved our belongings to a hotel across
the street from the legation. Not taking any chances, for my own use I
reserved a green leather sofa in the legation itself.

Except that the cafés were empty of Belgian officers, and of English
correspondents, whom, had they remained, the Germans would have
arrested, there was not, up to late in the afternoon of the 19th of
August, in the life and conduct of the citizens any perceptible change.
They could not have shown a finer spirit. They did not know the city
would not be defended; and yet with before them on the morrow the
prospect of a battle which Burgomaster Max had announced would
be contested to the very heart of the city, as usual the cafés blazed
like open fire-places and the people sat at the little iron tables. Even
when, like great buzzards, two German aeroplanes sailed slowly
across Brussels, casting shadows of events to come, the people
regarded them only with curiosity. The next morning the shops were
open, the streets were crowded. But overnight the soldier-king had
sent word that Brussels must not oppose the invaders; and at the
gendarmerie the civil guard, reluctantly and protesting, some even in
tears, turned in their rifles and uniforms.

The change came at ten in the morning. It was as though a wand had
waved and from a fête-day on the Continent we had been wafted to
London on a rainy Sunday. The boulevards fell suddenly empty.
There was not a house that was not closely shuttered. Along the
route by which we now knew the Germans were advancing, it was as
though the plague stalked. That no one should fire from a window,
that to the conquerors no one should offer insult, Burgomaster Max
sent out as special constables men he trusted. Their badge of
authority was a walking-stick and a piece of paper fluttering from a
buttonhole. These, the police, and the servants and caretakers of the
houses that lined the boulevards alone were visible. At eleven
o'clock, unobserved but by this official audience, down the Boulevard
Waterloo came the advance-guard of the German army. It consisted
of three men, a captain and two privates on bicycles. Their rifles were
slung across their shoulders, they rode unwarily, with as little concern
as the members of a touring-club out for a holiday. Behind them, so
close upon each other that to cross from one sidewalk to the other
was not possible, came the Uhlans, infantry, and the guns. For two
hours I watched them, and then, bored with the monotony of it,
returned to the hotel. After an hour, from beneath my window, I still
could hear them; another hour and another went by. They still were

Boredom gave way to wonder. The thing fascinated you, against your
will, dragged you back to the sidewalk and held you there open-eyed.
No longer was it regiments of men marching, but something uncanny,
inhuman, a force of nature like a landslide, a tidal wave, or lava
sweeping down a mountain. It was not of this earth, but mysterious,
ghostlike. It carried all the mystery and menace of a fog rolling toward
you across the sea. The uniform aided this impression. In it each man
moved under a cloak of invisibility. Only after the most numerous and
severe tests at all distances, with all materials and combinations of
colors that give forth no color, could this gray have been discovered.
That it was selected to clothe and disguise the German when he
fights is typical of the General Staff, in striving for efficiency, to
leave nothing to chance, to neglect no detail.

After you have seen this service uniform under conditions entirely
opposite you are convinced that for the German soldier it is one of his
strongest weapons. Even the most expert marksman cannot hit a
target he cannot see. It is not the blue-gray of our Confederates, but
a green-gray. It is the gray of the hour just before daybreak, the gray
of unpolished steel, of mist among green trees.

I saw it first in the Grand Place in front of the Hôtel de Ville. It was
impossible to tell if in that noble square there was a regiment or a
brigade. You saw only a fog that melted into the stones, blended with
the ancient house fronts, that shifted and drifted, but left you nothing
at which to point.

Later, as the army passed under the trees of the Botanical Park, it
merged and was lost against the green leaves. It is no exaggeration
to say that at a few hundred yards you can see the horses on which
the Uhlans ride but cannot see the men who ride them.

If I appear to overemphasize this disguising uniform it is because, of
all the details of the German outfit, it appealed to me as one of the
most remarkable. When I was near Namur with the rear-guard of the
French Dragoons and Cuirassiers, and they threw out pickets, we
could distinguish them against the yellow wheat or green corse at half
a mile, while these men passing in the street, when they have
reached the next crossing, become merged into the gray of the
paving-stones and the earth swallowed them. In comparison the
yellow khaki of our own American army is about as invisible as the
flag of Spain.

Major-General von Jarotsky, the German military governor of
Brussels, had assured Burgomaster Max that the German army
would not occupy the city but would pass through it. He told the truth.
For three days and three nights it passed. In six campaigns I have
followed other armies, but, excepting not even our own, the
Japanese, or the British, I have not seen one so thoroughly equipped.
I am not speaking of the fighting qualities of any army, only of the
equipment and organization. The German army moved into Brussels
as smoothly and as compactly as an Empire State express. There
were no halts, no open places, no stragglers. For the gray
automobiles and the gray motorcycles bearing messengers one side
of the street always was kept clear; and so compact was the column,
so rigid the vigilance of the file-closers, that at the rate of forty miles
an hour a car could race the length of the column and need not for a
single horse or man once swerve from its course.

All through the night, like the tumult of a river when it races between
the cliffs of a canyon, in my sleep I could hear the steady roar of the
passing army. And when early in the morning I went to the window
the chain of steel was still unbroken. It was like the torrent that swept
down the Connemaugh Valley and destroyed Johnstown. As a
correspondent I have seen all the great armies and the military
processions at the coronations in Russia, England, and Spain, and
our own inaugural parades down Pennsylvania Avenue, but those
armies and processions were made up of men. This was a machine,
endless, tireless, with the delicate organization of a watch and the
brute power of a steam roller. And for three days and three nights
through Brussels it roared and rumbled, a cataract of molten lead.
The infantry marched singing, with their iron-shod boots beating out
the time. They sang "Fatherland, My Fatherland." Between each line
of song they took three steps. At times two thousand men were
singing together in absolute rhythm and beat. It was like the blows
from giant pile-drivers. When the melody gave way the silence was
broken only by the stamp of iron-shod boots, and then again the song
rose. When the singing ceased the bands played marches. They
were followed by the rumble of the howitzers, the creaking of wheels
and of chains clanking against the cobblestones, and the sharp, bell-
like voices of the bugles.

More Uhlans followed, the hoofs of their magnificent horses ringing
like thousands of steel hammers breaking stones in a road; and after
them the giant siege-guns rumbling, growling, the mitrailleuse with
drag-chains ringing, the field-pieces with creaking axles, complaining
brakes, the grinding of the steel-rimmed wheels against the stones
echoing and re-echoing from the house front. When at night for an
instant the machine halted, the silence awoke you, as at sea you
wake when the screw stops.

For three days and three nights the column of gray, with hundreds of
thousands of bayonets and hundreds of thousands of lances, with
gray transport wagons, gray ammunition carts, gray ambulances,
gray cannon, like a river of steel, cut Brussels in two.

For three weeks the men had been on the march, and there was not
a single straggler, not a strap out of place, not a pennant missing.
Along the route, without for a minute halting the machine, the post-
office carts fell out of the column, and as the men marched mounted
postmen collected post-cards and delivered letters. Also, as they
marched, the cooks prepared soup, coffee, and tea, walking beside
their stoves on wheels, tending the fires, distributing the smoking
food. Seated in the motor-trucks cobblers mended boots and broken
harness; farriers on tiny anvils beat out horseshoes. No officer
followed a wrong turning, no officer asked his way. He followed the
map strapped to his side and on which for his guidance in red ink his
route was marked. At night he read this map by the light of an electric
torch buckled to his chest.

To perfect this monstrous engine, with its pontoon bridges, its
wireless, its hospitals, its aeroplanes that in rigid alignment sailed
before it, its field telephones that, as it advanced, strung wires over
which for miles the vanguard talked to the rear, all modern inventions
had been prostituted. To feed it millions of men had been called from
homes, offices, and workshops; to guide it, for years the minds of the
high-born, with whom it is a religion and a disease, had been solely

It is, perhaps, the most efficient organization of modern times; and its
purpose only is death. Those who cast it loose upon Europe are
military-mad. And they are only a very small part of the German
people. But to preserve their class they have in their own image
created this terrible engine of destruction. For the present it is their
servant. But, "though the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind
exceeding small." And, like Frankenstein's monster, this monster, to
which they gave life, may turn and rend them.

Chapter II
"To Be Treated As A Spy"

This story is a personal experience, but is told in spite of that fact and
because it illustrates a side of war that is unfamiliar. It is unfamiliar
for the reason that it is seamy and uninviting. With bayonet charges,
bugle-calls, and aviators it has nothing in common.

Espionage is that kind of warfare of which, even when it succeeds, no
country boasts. It is military service an officer may not refuse, but
which few seek. Its reward is prompt promotion, and its punishment,
in war time, is swift and without honor. This story is intended to show
how an army in the field must be on its guard against even a
supposed spy and how it treats him.

The war offices of France and Russia would not permit an American
correspondent to accompany their armies; the English granted that
privilege to but one correspondent, and that gentleman already had
been chosen. So I was without credentials. To oblige Mr. Brand
Whitlock, our minister to Belgium, the government there was willing to
give me credentials, but on the day I was to receive them the
government moved to Antwerp. Then the Germans entered Brussels,
and, as no one could foresee that Belgium would heroically continue
fighting, on the chance the Germans would besiege Paris, I planned
to go to that city. To be bombarded you do not need credentials.

For three days a steel-gray column of Germans had been sweeping
through Brussels, and to meet them, from the direction of Vincennes
and Lille, the English and French had crossed the border. It was
falsely reported that already the English had reached Hal, a town only
eleven miles from Brussels, that the night before there had been a
fight at Hal, and that close behind the English were the French.

With Gerald Morgan, of the London Daily Telegraph, with whom I had
been in other wars, I planned to drive to Hal and from there on foot
continue, if possible, into the arms of the French or English. We both
were without credentials, but, once with the Allies, we believed we
would not need them. It was the Germans we doubted. To satisfy
them we had only a passport and a laissez-passer issued by General
von Jarotsky, the new German military governor of Brussels, and his
chief of staff, Lieutenant Geyer. Mine stated that I represented the
Wheeler Syndicate of American newspapers, the London Daily
Chronicle, and Scribner's Magazine, and that I could pass German
military lines in Brussels and her environs. Morgan had a pass of the
same sort. The question to be determined was: What were "environs"
and how far do they extend? How far in safety would the word carry
us forward?

On August 23 we set forth from Brussels in a taxicab to find out. At
Hal, where we intended to abandon the cab and continue on foot, we
found out. We were arrested by a smart and most intelligent-looking
officer, who rode up to the side of the taxi and pointed an automatic at
us. We were innocently seated in a public cab, in a street crowded
with civilians and the passing column of soldiers, and why any one
should think he needed a gun only the German mind can explain.
Later, I found that all German officers introduced themselves and
made requests gun in hand. Whether it was because from every one
they believed themselves in danger or because they simply did not
know any better, I still am unable to decide. With no other army have
I seen an officer threaten with a pistol an unarmed civilian. Were an
American or English officer to act in such a fashion he might escape
looking like a fool, he certainly would feel like one. The four soldiers
the officer told off to guard us climbed with alacrity into our cab and
drove with us until the street grew too narrow both for their regiment
and our taxi, when they chose the regiment and disappeared. We
paid off the cabman and followed them. To reach the front there was
no other way, and the very openness with which we trailed along
beside their army, very much like small boys following a circus
procession, seemed to us to show how innocent was our intent. The
column stretched for fifty miles. Where it was going we did not know,
but, we argued, if it kept on going and we kept on with it, eventually
we must stumble upon a battle. The story that at Hal there had been
a fight was evidently untrue; and the manner in which the column was
advancing showed it was not expecting one. At noon it halted at
Brierges, and Morgan decided Brierges was out of bounds and that
the limits of our "environs" had been reached.

"If we go any farther," he argued, "the next officer who reads our
papers will order us back to Brussels under arrest, and we will lose
our laissez-passer. Along this road there is no chance of seeing
anything. I prefer to keep my pass and use it in 'environs' where there
is fighting." So he returned to Brussels. I thought he was most wise,
and I wanted to return with him. But I did not want to go back only
because I knew it was the right thing to do, but to be ordered back so
that I could explain to my newspapers that I returned because
Colonel This or General That sent me back. It was a form of vanity for
which I was properly punished. That Morgan was right was
demonstrated as soon as he left me. I was seated against a tree by
the side of the road eating a sandwich, an occupation which seems
almost idyllic in its innocence but which could not deceive the
Germans. In me they saw the hated Spion, and from behind me,
across a ploughed field, four of them, each with an automatic, made
me prisoner. One of them, who was an enthusiast, pushed his gun
deep into my stomach. With the sandwich still in my hand, I held up
my arms high and asked who spoke English. It turned out that the
enthusiast spoke that language, and I suggested he did not need so
many guns and that he could find my papers in my inside pocket.
With four automatics rubbing against my ribs, I would not have
lowered my arms for all the papers in the Bank of England. They took
me to a café, where their colonel had just finished lunch and was in a
most genial humor. First he gave the enthusiast a drink as a reward
for arresting me, and then, impartially, gave me one for being
arrested. He wrote on my passport that I could go to Enghien, which
was two miles distant. That pass enabled me to proceed unmolested
for nearly two hundred yards. I was then again arrested and taken
before another group of officers. This time they searched my
knapsack and wanted to requisition my maps, but one of them
pointed out they were only automobile maps and, as compared to
their own, of no value. They permitted me to proceed to Enghien. I
went to Enghien, intending to spend the night and on the morning
continue. I could not see why I might not be able to go on indefinitely.

As yet no one who had held me up had suggested I should turn back,
and as long as I was willing to be arrested it seemed as though I
might accompany the German army even to the gates of Paris. But
my reception in Enghien should have warned me to get back to
Brussels. The Germans, thinking I was an English spy, scowled at
me; and the Belgians, thinking the same thing, winked at me; and the
landlord of the only hotel said I was "suspect" and would not give me
a bed. But I sought out the burgomaster, a most charming man
named Delano, and he wrote out a pass permitting me to sleep one
night in Enghien.

"You really do not need this," he said; "as an American you are free
to stay here as long as you wish." Then he, too, winked.

"But I am an American," I protested.

"But certainly," he said gravely, and again he winked. It was then I
should have started back to Brussels. Instead, I sat on a moss-
covered, arched stone bridge that binds the town together, and until
night fell watched the gray tidal waves rush up and across it,
stamping, tripping, stumbling, beating the broad, clean stones with
thousands of iron heels, steel hoofs, steel chains, and steel-rimmed
wheels. You hated it, and yet could not keep away. The Belgians of
Enghien hated it, and they could not keep away. Like a great river in
flood, bearing with it destruction and death, you feared and loathed it,
and yet it fascinated you and pulled you to the brink. All through the
night, as already for three nights and three days at Brussels, I had
heard it; it rumbled and growled, rushing forward without pause or
breath, with inhuman, pitiless persistence. At daybreak I sat on the
edge of the bed and wondered whether to go on or turn back. I still
wanted some one in authority, higher than myself, to order me back.
So, at six, riding for a fall, to find that one, I went, as I thought,
along the road to Soignes. The gray tidal wave was still roaring past.
It was pressing forward with greater speed, but in nothing else did
it differ from the tidal wave that had swept through Brussels.

There was a group of officers seated by the road, and as I passed I
wished them good morning and they said good morning in return. I
had gone a hundred feet when one of them galloped after me and
asked to look at my papers. With relief I gave them to him. I was sure
now I would be told to return to Brussels. I calculated if at Hal I had
luck in finding a taxicab, by lunch time I should be in the Palace Hotel.

"I think," said the officer, "you had better see our general. He is ahead
of us."

I thought he meant a few hundred yards ahead, and to be ordered
back by a general seemed more convincing than to be returned by a
mere captain. So I started to walk on beside the mounted officers.
This, as it seemed to presume equality with them, scandalized them
greatly, and I was ordered into the ranks. But the one who had
arrested me thought I was entitled to a higher rating and placed me
with the color-guard, who objected to my presence so violently that a
long discussion followed, which ended with my being ranked below a
second lieutenant and above a sergeant. Between one of each of
these I was definitely placed, and for five hours I remained definitely
placed. We advanced with a rush that showed me I had surprised a
surprise movement. The fact was of interest not because I had
discovered one of their secrets, but because to keep up with the
column I was forced for five hours to move at what was a steady trot.
It was not so fast as the running step of the Italian bersagliere, but as
fast as our "double-quick." The men did not bend the knees, but,
keeping the legs straight, shot them forward with a quick, sliding
movement, like men skating or skiing. The toe of one boot seemed
always tripping on the heel of the other. As the road was paved with
roughly hewn blocks of Belgian granite this kind of going was very
strenuous, and had I not been in good shape I could not have kept
up. As it was, at the end of the five hours I had lost fifteen pounds,
which did not help me, as during the same time the knapsack had
taken on a hundred. For two days the men in the ranks had been
rushed forward at this unnatural gait and were moving like
automatons. Many of them fell by the wayside, but they were not
permitted to lie there. Instead of summoning the ambulance, they
were lifted to their feet and flung back into the ranks. Many of them
were moving in their sleep, in that partly comatose state in which you
have seen men during the last hours of a six days' walking match.
Their rules, so the sergeant said, were to halt every hour and then for
ten minutes rest. But that rule is probably only for route marching.

On account of the speed with which the surprise movement was
made our halts were more frequent, and so exhausted were the men
that when these "thank you, ma'ams" arrived, instead of standing at
ease and adjusting their accoutrements, as though they had been
struck with a club they dropped to the stones. Some in an instant
were asleep. I do not mean that some sat down; I mean that the
whole column lay flat in the road. The officers also, those that were
not mounted, would tumble on the grass or into the wheat-field and lie
on their backs, their arms flung out like dead men. To the fact that
they were lying on their field-glasses, holsters, swords, and water-
bottles they appeared indifferent. At the rate the column moved it
would have covered thirty miles each day. It was these forced
marches that later brought Von Kluck's army to the right wing of the
Allies before the army of the crown prince was prepared to attack,
and which at Sezanne led to his repulse and to the failure of his
advance upon Paris.

While we were pushing forward we passed a wrecked British air-ship,
around which were gathered a group of staff-officers. My papers were
given to one of them, but our column did not halt and I was not
allowed to speak. A few minutes later they passed in their
automobiles on their way to the front; and my papers went with them.
Already I was miles beyond the environs, and with each step away
from Brussels my pass was becoming less of a safeguard than a
menace. For it showed what restrictions General Jarotsky had placed
on my movements, and my presence so far out of bounds proved I
had disregarded them. But still I did not suppose that in returning to
Brussels there would be any difficulty. I was chiefly concerned with
the thought that the length of the return march was rapidly increasing
and with the fact that one of my shoes, a faithful friend in other
campaigns, had turned traitor and was cutting my foot in half. I had
started with the column at seven o'clock, and at noon an automobile,
with flags flying and the black eagle of the staff enamelled on the
door, came speeding back from the front. In it was a very blond and
distinguished-looking officer of high rank and many decorations. He
used a single eye-glass, and his politeness and his English were
faultless. He invited me to accompany him to the general staff.

That was the first intimation I had that I was in danger. I saw they
were giving me far too much attention. I began instantly to work to set
myself free, and there was not a minute for the next twenty-four hours
that I was not working. Before I stepped into the car I had decided
upon my line of defence. I would pretend to be entirely unconscious
that I had in any way laid myself open to suspicion; that I had erred
through pure stupidity and that I was where I was solely because I
was a damn fool. I began to act like a damn fool. Effusively I
expressed my regret at putting the General Staff to inconvenience.

"It was really too stupid of me," I said. "I cannot forgive myself. I
should not have come so far without asking Jarotsky for proper
papers. I am extremely sorry I have given you this trouble. I would like
to see the general and assure him I will return at once to Brussels." I
ignored the fact that I was being taken to the general at the rate of
sixty miles an hour. The blond officer smiled uneasily and with his
single glass studied the sky. When we reached the staff he escaped
from me with the alacrity of one released from a disagreeable and
humiliating duty. The staff were at luncheon, seated in their luxurious
motor-cars or on the grass by the side of the road. On the other side
of the road the column of dust-covered gray ghosts were being
rushed past us. The staff, in dress uniforms, flowing cloaks, and
gloves, belonged to a different race. They knew that. Among
themselves they were like priests breathing incense. Whenever one
of them spoke to another they saluted, their heels clicked, their
bodies bent at the belt line.

One of them came to where, in the middle of the road, I was stranded
and trying not to feel as lonely as I looked. He was much younger
than myself and dark and handsome. His face was smooth-shaven,
his figure tall, lithe, and alert. He wore a uniform of light blue and
silver that clung to him and high boots of patent leather. His waist was
like a girl's, and, as though to show how supple he was, he kept
continually bowing and shrugging his shoulders and in elegant protest
gesticulating with his gloved hands. He should have been a moving-
picture actor. He reminded me of Anthony Hope's fascinating but
wicked Rupert of Hentzau. He certainly was wicked, and I got to hate
him as I never imagined it possible to hate anybody. He had been
told off to dispose of my case, and he delighted in it. He enjoyed it as
a cat enjoys playing with a mouse. As actors say, he saw himself in
the part. He "ate" it.

"You are an English officer out of uniform," he began. "You have
been taken inside our lines." He pointed his forefinger at my stomach
and wiggled his thumb. "And you know what that means!"

I saw playing the damn fool with him would be waste of time.

"I followed your army," I told him, "because it's my business to follow
armies and because yours is the best-looking army I ever saw." He
made me one of his mocking bows.

"We thank you," he said, grinning. "But you have seen too much."

"I haven't seen anything," I said, "that everybody in Brussels hasn't
seen for three days."

He shook his head reproachfully and with a gesture signified the
group of officers.

"You have seen enough in this road," he said, "to justify us in
shooting you now."

The sense of drama told him it was a good exit line, and he returned
to the group of officers. I now saw what had happened. At Enghien I
had taken the wrong road. I remembered that, to confuse the
Germans, the names on the sign-post at the edge of the town had
been painted out, and that instead of taking the road to Soignes I was
on the road to Ath. What I had seen, therefore, was an army corps
making a turning movement intended to catch the English on their
right and double them up upon their centre. The success of this
manœuvre depended upon the speed with which it was executed and
upon its being a complete surprise. As later in the day I learned, the
Germans thought I was an English officer who had followed them
from Brussels and who was trying to slip past them and warn his
countrymen. What Rupert of Hentzau meant by what I had seen on
the road was that, having seen the Count de Schwerin, who
commanded the Seventh Division, on the road to Ath, I must
necessarily know that the army corps to which he was attached had
separated from the main army of Von Kluck, and that, in going so far
south at such speed, it was bent upon an attack on the English flank.
All of which at the time I did not know and did not want to know. All I
wanted was to prove I was not an English officer, but an American
correspondent who by accident had stumbled upon their secret. To
convince them of that, strangely enough, was difficult.

When Rupert of Hentzau returned the other officers were with him,
and, fortunately for me, they spoke or understood English. For the
rest of the day what followed was like a legal argument. It was as
cold-blooded as a game of bridge. Rupert of Hentzau wanted an
English spy shot for his supper; just as he might have desired a
grilled bone. He showed no personal animus, and, I must say for him,
that he conducted the case for the prosecution without heat or anger.
He mocked me, grilled and taunted me, but he was always
charmingly polite.

As Whitman said, "I want Becker," so Rupert said, "Fe, fo, fi, fum, I
want the blood of an Englishman." He was determined to get it. I was
even more interested that he should not. The points he made against
me were that my German pass was signed neither by General
Jarotsky nor by Lieutenant Geyer, but only stamped, and that any
rubber stamp could be forged; that my American passport had not
been issued at Washington, but in London, where an Englishman
might have imposed upon our embassy; and that in the photograph
pasted on the passport I was wearing the uniform of a British officer. I
explained that the photograph was taken eight years ago, and that
the uniform was one I had seen on the west coast of Africa, worn by
the West African Field Force. Because it was unlike any known
military uniform, and as cool and comfortable as a golf jacket, I had
had it copied. But since that time it had been adopted by the English
Brigade of Guards and the Territorials. I knew it sounded like fiction;
but it was quite true.

Rupert of Hentzau smiled delightedly.

"Do you expect us to believe that?" he protested.

"Listen," I said. "If you could invent an explanation for that uniform as
quickly as I told you that one, standing in a road with eight officers
trying to shoot you, you would be the greatest general in Germany."

That made the others laugh; and Rupert retorted: "Very well, then, we
will concede that the entire British army has changed its uniform to
suit your photograph. But if you are not an officer, why, in the
photograph, are you wearing war ribbons?"

I said the war ribbons were in my favor, and I pointed out that no
officer of any one country could have been in the different campaigns
for which the ribbons were issued.

"They prove," I argued, "that I am a correspondent, for only a
correspondent could have been in wars in which his own country was
not engaged."

I thought I had scored; but Rupert instantly turned my own witness
against me.

"Or a military attaché," he said. At that they all smiled and nodded

He followed this up by saying, accusingly, that the hat and clothes I
was then wearing were English. The clothes were English, but I knew
he did not know that, and was only guessing; and there were no
marks on them. About my hat I was not certain. It was a felt Alpine
hat, and whether I had bought it in London or New York I could not
remember. Whether it was evidence for or against I could not be
sure. So I took it off and began to fan myself with it, hoping to get a
look at the name of the maker. But with the eyes of the young
prosecuting attorney fixed upon me, I did not dare take a chance.
Then, to aid me, a German aeroplane passed overhead, and
those who were giving me the third degree looked up. I stopped
fanning myself and cast a swift glance inside the hat. To my intense
satisfaction I read, stamped on the leather lining: "Knox, New York."

I put the hat back on my head and a few minutes later pulled it off and
said: "Now, for instance, my hat. If I were an Englishman would I
cross the ocean to New York to buy a hat?"

It was all like that. They would move away and whisper together, and
I would try to guess what questions they were preparing. I had to
arrange my defence without knowing in what way they would try to trip
me, and I had to think faster than I ever have thought before. I had no
more time to be scared, or to regret my past sins, than has a man in
a quicksand. So far as I could make out, they were divided in opinion
concerning me. Rupert of Hentzau, who was the adjutant or the chief
of staff, had only one simple thought, which was to shoot me. Others
considered me a damn fool; I could hear them laughing and saying:
"Er ist ein dummer Mensch." And others thought that whether I was a
fool or not, or an American or an Englishman, was not the question; I
had seen too much and should be put away. I felt if, instead of having
Rupert act as my interpreter, I could personally speak to the general I
might talk my way out of it, but Rupert assured me that to set me free
the Count de Schwerin lacked authority, and that my papers, which
were all against me, must be submitted to the general of the army
corps, and we would not reach him until midnight.

"And then!--" he would exclaim, and he would repeat his pantomime
of pointing his forefinger at my stomach and wiggling his thumb. He
was very popular with me.

Meanwhile they were taking me farther away from Brussels and the

"When you picked me up," I said, "I was inside the environs, but by
the time I reach 'the' general he will see only that I am fifty miles
beyond where I am permitted to be. And who is going to tell him it
was you brought me there? You won't!"

Rupert of Hentzau only smiled like the cat that has just swallowed the

He put me in another automobile and they whisked me off, always
going farther from Brussels, to Ath and then to Ligne, a little town five
miles south. Here they stopped at a house the staff occupied, and,
leading me to the second floor, put me in an empty room that
seemed built for their purpose. It had a stone floor and whitewashed
walls and a window so high that even when standing you could see
only the roof of another house and a weather-vane. They threw two
bundles of wheat on the floor and put a sentry at the door with orders
to keep it open. He was a wild man, and thought I was, and every
time I moved his automatic moved with me. It was as though he were
following me with a spotlight. My foot was badly cut across the instep
and I was altogether forlorn and disreputable. So, in order to look less
like a tramp when I met the general, I bound up the foot, and, always
with one eye on the sentry, and moving very slowly, shaved and put
on dry things. From the interest the sentry showed it seemed evident
he never had taken a bath himself, nor had seen any one else take
one, and he was not quite easy in his mind that he ought to allow it.
He seemed to consider it a kind of suicide. I kept on thinking out
plans, and when an officer appeared I had one to submit. I offered to
give the money I had with me to any one who would motor back to
Brussels and take a note to the American minister, Brand Whitlock.
My proposition was that if in five hours, or by seven o'clock, he did not
arrive in his automobile and assure them that what I said about
myself was true, they need not wait until midnight, but could shoot me

"If I am willing to take such a chance," I pointed out, "I must be a
friend of Mr. Whitlock. If he repudiates me, it will be evident I have
deceived you, and you will be perfectly justified in carrying out your
plan." I had a note to Whitlock already written. It was composed
entirely with the idea that they would read it, and it was much more
intimate than my very brief acquaintance with that gentleman justified.
But from what I have seen and heard of the ex-mayor of Toledo I felt
he would stand for it.

The note read:

"Dear Brand:

"I am detained in a house with a garden where the railroad passes
through the village of Ligne. Please come quick, or send some one in
the legation automobile.


The officer to whom I gave this was Major Alfred Wurth, a reservist
from Bernburg, on the Saale River. I liked him from the first because
after we had exchanged a few words he exclaimed incredulously:
"What nonsense! Any one could tell by your accent that you are an
American." He explained that, when at the university, in the same
pension with him were three Americans.

"The staff are making a mistake," he said earnestly. "They will regret

I told him that I not only did not want them to regret it, but I did not
want them to make it, and I begged him to assure the staff that I was
an American. I suggested also that he tell them, if anything happened
to me there were other Americans who would at once declare war on
Germany. The number of these other Americans I overestimated by
about ninety millions, but it was no time to consider details.

He asked if the staff might read the letter to the American minister,
and, though I hated to deceive him, I pretended to consider this.

"I don't remember just what I wrote," I said, and, to make sure they
would read it, I tore open the envelope and pretended to reread the

"I will see what I can do," said Major Wurth; "meanwhile, do not be
discouraged. Maybe it will come out all right for you."

After he left me the Belgian gentleman who owned the house and his
cook brought me some food. She was the only member of his
household who had not deserted him, and together they were serving
the staff-officers, he acting as butler, waiter, and valet. The cock was
an old peasant woman with a ruffled white cap, and when she left, in
spite of the sentry, she patted me encouragingly on the shoulder. The
owner of the house was more discreet, and contented himself with
winking at me and whispering: "Ça va mal pour vous en bas!" As they
both knew what was being said of me downstairs, their visit did not
especially enliven me. Major Wurth returned and said the staff could
not spare any one to go to Brussels, but that my note had been
forwarded to "the" general. That was as much as I had hoped for. It
was intended only as a "stay of proceedings." But the manner of the
major was not reassuring. He kept telling me that he thought they
would set me free, but even as he spoke tears would come to his
eyes and roll slowly down his cheeks. It was most disconcerting. After
a while it grew dark and he brought me a candle and left me, taking
with him, much to my relief, the sentry and his automatic. This gave
me since my arrest my first moment alone, and, to find anything that
might further incriminate or help me, I used it in going rapidly through
my knapsack and pockets. My note-book was entirely favorable. In it
there was no word that any German could censor. My only other
paper was a letter, of which all day I had been conscious. It was one
of introduction from Colonel Theodore Roosevelt to President
Poincaré, and whether the Germans would consider it a clean bill of
health or a death-warrant I could not make up my mind. Half a dozen
times I had been on the point of saying: "Here is a letter from the man
your Kaiser delighted to honor, the only civilian who ever reviewed
the German army, a former President of the United States."

But I could hear Rupert of Hentzau replying: "Yes, and it is
recommending you to our enemy, the President of France!"

I knew that Colonel Roosevelt would have written a letter to the
German Emperor as impartially as to M. Poincaré, but I knew also
that Rupert of Hentzau would not believe that. So I decided to keep
the letter back until the last moment. If it was going to help me, it still
would be effective; if it went against me, I would be just as dead. I
began to think out other plans. Plans of escape were foolish. I could
have crawled out of the window to the rain gutter, but before I had
reached the rooftree I would have been shot. And bribing the sentry,
even were he willing to be insulted, would not have taken me farther
than the stairs, where there were other sentries. I was more safe
inside the house than out. They still had my passport and laissez-
passer, and without a pass one could not walk a hundred yards. As
the staff had but one plan, and no time in which to think of a better
one, the obligation to invent a substitute plan lay upon me. The plan I
thought out and which later I outlined to Major Wurth was this: Instead
of putting me away at midnight, they would give me a pass back to
Brussels. The pass would state that I was a suspected spy and that if
before midnight of the 26th of August I were found off the direct road
to Brussels, or if by that hour I had not reported to the military
governor of Brussels, any one could shoot me on sight. As I have
stated, without showing a pass no one could move a hundred yards,
and every time I showed my pass to a German it would tell him I was
a suspected spy, and if I were not making my way in the right
direction he had his orders. With such a pass I was as much a
prisoner as in the room at Ligne, and if I tried to evade its conditions I
was as good as dead. The advantages of my plan, as I urged them
upon Major Wurth, were that it prevented the General Staff from
shooting an innocent man, which would have greatly distressed them,
and were he not innocent would still enable them, after a reprieve of
two days, to shoot him. The distance to Brussels was about fifty
miles, which, as it was impossible for a civilian to hire a bicycle,
motor-car, or cart, I must cover on foot, making twenty-five miles a
day. Major Wurth heartily approved of my substitute plan, and added
that he thought if any motor-trucks or ambulances were returning
empty to Brussels, I should be permitted to ride in one of them. He
left me, and I never saw him again. It was then about eight o'clock,
and as the time passed and he did not return and midnight grew
nearer, I began to feel very lonely. Except for the Roosevelt letter, I
had played my last card.

As it grew later I persuaded myself they did not mean to act until
morning, and I stretched out on the straw and tried to sleep. At
midnight I was startled by the light of an electric torch. It was strapped
to the chest of an officer, who ordered me to get up and come with
him. He spoke only German, and he seemed very angry. The owner
of the house and the old cook had shown him to my room, but they
stood in the shadow without speaking. Nor, fearing I might
compromise them--for I could not see why, except for one purpose,
they were taking me out into the night--did I speak to them. We got
into another motor-car and in silence drove north from Ligne down a
country road to a great château that stood in a magnificent park.
Something had gone wrong with the lights of the château, and its hall
was lit only by candles that showed soldiers sleeping like dead men
on bundles of wheat and others leaping up and down the marble
stairs. They put me in a huge armchair of silk and gilt, with two of the
gray ghosts to guard me, and from the hall, when the doors of the
drawing-room opened, I could see a long table on which were
candles in silver candlesticks or set on plates, and many maps and
half-empty bottles of champagne. Around the table, standing or
seated, and leaning across the maps, were staff-officers in brilliant
uniforms. They were much older men and of higher rank than any I
had yet seen. They were eating, drinking, gesticulating. In spite of the
tumult, some, in utter weariness, were asleep. It was like a picture of
1870 by Détaille or De Neuville. Apparently, at last I had reached the
headquarters of the mysterious general. I had arrived at what, for a
suspected spy, was an inopportune moment. The Germans themselves
had been surprised, or somewhere south of us had met with a
reverse, and the air was vibrating with excitement and something
very like panic. Outside, at great speed and with sirens shrieking,
automobiles were arriving, and I could hear the officers shouting:
"Die Englischen kommen!"

To make their reports they flung themselves up the steps, the electric
torches, like bull's-eye lanterns, burning holes in the night. Seeing a
civilian under guard, they would stare and ask questions. Even when
they came close, owing to the light in my eyes, I could not see them.
Sometimes, in a half circle, there would be six or eight of the electric
torches blinding me, and from behind them voices barking at me with
strange, guttural noises. Much they said I could not understand,
much I did not want to understand, but they made it quite clear it was
no fit place for an Englishman.

When the door from the drawing-room opened and Rupert of
Hentzau appeared, I was almost glad to see him.

Whenever he spoke to me he always began or ended his sentence
with "Mr. Davis." He gave it an emphasis and meaning which was
intended to show that he knew it was not my name. I would not have
thought it possible to put so much insolence into two innocent words.
It was as though he said: "Mr. Davis, alias Jimmy Valentine." He
certainly would have made a great actor.

"Mr. Davis," he said, "you are free."

He did not look as disappointed as I knew he would feel if I were free,
so I waited for what was to follow.

"You are free," he said, "under certain conditions." The conditions
seemed to cheer him. He recited the conditions. They were those I
had outlined to Major Wurth. But I am sure Rupert of Hentzau did not
guess that. Apparently, he believed Major Wurth had thought of
them, and I did not undeceive him. For the substitute plan I was not
inclined to rob that officer of any credit. I felt then, and I feel now,
that but for him and his interceding for me I would have been left
in the road. Rupert of Hentzau gave me the pass. It said I must
return to Brussels by way of Ath, Enghien, Hal, and that I must report
to the military governor on the 26th or "be treated as a spy"--"so wird
er als Spion behandelt." The pass, literally translated, reads:

"The American reporter Davis must at once return to Brussels via
Ath, Enghien, Hal, and report to the government at the latest on
August 26th. If he is met on any other road, or after the 26th of
August, he will be handled as a spy. Automobiles returning to
Brussels, if they can unite it with their duty, can carry him."

"VON GREGOR, Lieutenant-Colonel."

Fearing my military education was not sufficient to enable me to
appreciate this, for the last time Rupert stuck his forefinger in my
stomach and repeated cheerfully: "And you know what that means.
And you will start," he added, with a most charming smile, "in three

He was determined to have his grilled bone.

"At three in the morning!" I cried. "You might as well take me out and
shoot me now!"

"You will start in three hours," he repeated.

"A man wandering around at that hour," I protested, "wouldn't live five
minutes. It can't be done. You couldn't do it." He continued to grin. I
knew perfectly well the general had given no such order, and that it
was a cat-and-mouse act of Rupert's own invention, and he knew I
knew it. But he repeated: "You will start in three hours, Mr. Davis."

I said: "I am going to write about this, and I would like you to read
what I write. What is your name?"

He said: "I am the Baron von"--it sounded like "Hossfer"--and, in any
case, to that name, care of General de Schwerin of the Seventh
Division, I shall mail this book. I hope the Allies do not kill Rupert of
Hentzau before he reads it! After that! He would have made a great

They put me in the automobile and drove me back to Ligne and the
impromptu cell. But now it did not seem like a cell. Since I had last
occupied it my chances had so improved that returning to the candle
on the floor and the bundles of wheat was like coming home. Though
I did not believe Rupert had any authority to order me into the night at
the darkest hour of the twenty-four, I was taking no chances. My
nerve was not in a sufficiently robust state for me to disobey any
German. So, lest I should oversleep, until three o'clock I paced the
cell, and then, with all the terrors of a burglar, tiptoed down the stairs.
There was no light, and the house was wrapped in silence.

Earlier there had been everywhere sentries, and, not daring to
breathe, I waited for one of them to challenge, but, except for the
creaking of the stairs and of my ankle-bones, which seemed to
explode like firecrackers, there was not a sound. I was afraid, and
wished myself safely back in my cell, but I was more afraid of Rupert,
and I kept on feeling my way until I had reached the garden. There
some one spoke to me in French, and I found my host.

"The animals have gone," he said; "all of them. I will give you a bed
now, and when it is light you shall have breakfast." I told him my
orders were to leave his house at three.

"But it is murder!" he said. With these cheering words in my ears, I
thanked him, and he bid me bonne chance.

In my left hand I placed the pass, folded so that the red seal of the
General Staff would show, and a match-box. In the other hand I held
ready a couple of matches. Each time a sentry challenged I struck
the matches on the box and held them in front of the red seal. The
instant the matches flashed it was a hundred to one that the man
would shoot, but I could not speak German, and there was no other
way to make him understand. They were either too surprised or too
sleepy to fire, for each of them let me pass. But after I had made a
mark of myself three times I lost my nerve and sought cover behind a
haystack. I lay there until there was light enough to distinguish trees
and telegraph-poles, and then walked on to Ath. After that, when they
stopped me, if they could not read, the red seal satisfied them; if they
were officers and could read, they cursed me with strange, unclean
oaths, and ordered me, in the German equivalent, to beat it. It was a
delightful walk. I had had no sleep the night before and had eaten
nothing, and, though I had cut away most of my shoe, I could hardly
touch my foot to the road. Whenever in the villages I tried to bribe any
one to carry my knapsack or to give me food, the peasants ran from
me. They thought I was a German and talked Flemish, not French. I
was more afraid of them and their shotguns than of the Germans,
and I never entered a village unless German soldiers were entering
or leaving it. And the Germans gave me no reason to feel free from
care. Every time they read my pass they were inclined to try me all
over again, and twice searched my knapsack.

After that happened the second time I guessed my letter to the
President of France might prove a menace, and, tearing it into little
pieces, dropped it over a bridge, and with regret watched that
historical document from the ex-President of one republic to the
President of another float down the Sambre toward the sea. By noon
I decided I would not be able to make the distance. For twenty-four
hours I had been without sleep or food, and I had been put through
an unceasing third degree, and I was nearly out. Added to that, the
chance of my losing the road was excellent; and if I lost the road the
first German who read my pass was ordered by it to shoot me. So I
decided to give myself up to the occupants of the next German car
going toward Brussels and ask them to carry me there under arrest. I
waited until an automobile approached, and then stood in front of it
and held up my pass and pointed to the red seal. The car stopped,
and the soldiers in front and the officer in the rear seat gazed at me in
indignant amazement. The officer was a general, old and kindly
looking, and, by the grace of Heaven, as slow-witted as he was kind.
He spoke no English, and his French was as bad as mine, and in
consequence he had no idea of what I was saying except that I had
orders from the General Staff to proceed at once to Brussels. I made
a mystery of the pass, saying it was very confidential, but the red seal
satisfied him. He bade me courteously to take the seat at his side,
and with intense satisfaction I heard him command his orderly to get
down and fetch my knapsack. The general was going, he said, only
so far as Hal, but that far he would carry me. Hal was the last town
named in my pass, and from Brussels only eleven miles distant.
According to the schedule I had laid out for myself, I had not hoped to
reach it by walking until the next day, but at the rate the car had
approached I saw I would be there within two hours. My feelings
when I sank back upon the cushions of that car and stretched out my
weary legs and the wind whistled around us are too sacred for cold
print. It was a situation I would not have used in fiction. I was a
condemned spy, with the hand of every German properly against me,
and yet under the protection of a German general, and in luxurious
ease, I was escaping from them at forty miles an hour. I had but one
regret. I wanted Rupert of Hentzau to see me. At Hal my luck still
held. The steps of the Hôtel de Ville were crowded with generals. I
thought never in the world could there be so many generals, so many
flowing cloaks and spiked helmets. I was afraid of them. I was afraid
that when my general abandoned me the others might not prove so
slow-witted or so kind. My general also seemed to regard them with
disfavor. He exclaimed impatiently. Apparently, to force his way
through them, to cool his heels in an anteroom, did not appeal. It was
long past his luncheon hour and the restaurant of the Palace Hotel
called him. He gave a sharp order to the chauffeur.

"I go on to Brussels," he said. "Desire you to accompany me?" I did
not know how to ask him in French not to make me laugh. I saw the
great Palace of Justice that towers above the city with the same
emotions that one beholds the Statue of Liberty, but not until we had
reached the inner boulevards did I feel safe. There I bade my friend a
grateful but hasty adieu, and in a taxicab, unwashed and unbrushed, I
drove straight to the American legation. To Mr. Whitlock I told this
story, and with one hand that gentleman reached for his hat and with
the other for his stick. In the automobile of the legation we raced to
the Hôtel de Ville. There Mr. Whitlock, as the moving-picture people
say, "registered" indignation. Mr. Davis was present, he made it
understood, not as a ticket-of-leave man, and because he had been
ordered to report, but in spite of that fact. He was there as the friend
of the American minister, and the word "Spion" must be removed
from his papers.

And so, on the pass that Rupert gave me, below where he had
written that I was to be treated as a spy, they wrote I was "not at all,"
"gar nicht," to be treated as a spy, and that I was well known to the
American minister, and to that they affixed the official seal.

That ended it, leaving me with one valuable possession. It is this:
should any one suggest that I am a spy, or that I am not a friend of
Brand Whitlock, I have the testimony of the Imperial German
Government to the contrary.

Chapter III
The Burning Of Louvain

After the Germans occupied Brussels they closed the road to Aix-la-
Chapelle. A week later, to carry their wounded and prisoners, they
reopened it. But for eight days Brussels was isolated. The mail-trains
and the telegraph office were in the hands of the invaders. They
accepted our cables, censored them, and three days later told us, if
we still wished, we could forward them. But only from Holland. By this
they accomplished three things: they learned what we were writing
about them, for three days prevented any news from leaving the city,
and offered us an inducement to visit Holland, so getting rid of us.

The despatches of those diplomats who still remained in Brussels
were treated in the same manner. With the most cheerful
complacency the military authorities blue-pencilled their despatches
to their governments. When the diplomats learned of this, with their
code cables they sent open cables stating that their confidential
despatches were being censored and delayed. They still were
delayed. To get any message out of Brussels it was necessary to use
an automobile, and nearly every automobile had taken itself off to
Antwerp. If a motor-car appeared it was at once commandeered. This
was true also of horses and bicycles. All over Brussels you saw
delivery wagons, private carriages, market carts with the shafts empty
and the horse and harness gone. After three days a German soldier
who did not own a bicycle was poor indeed.

Requisitions were given for these machines, stating they would be
returned after the war, by which time they will be ready for the scrap-
heap. Any one on a bicycle outside the city was arrested, so the only
way to get messages through was by going on foot to Ostend or
Holland, or by an automobile for which the German authorities
had given a special pass. As no one knew when one of these
automobiles might start, we carried always with us our cables and
letters, and intrusted them to any stranger who was trying to run the

No one wished to carry our despatches, as he feared they might
contain something unfavorable to the Germans, which, if he were
arrested and the cables read, might bring him into greater trouble.
Money for himself was no inducement. But I found if I gave money for
the Red Cross no one would refuse it, or to carry the messages.

Three out of four times the stranger would be arrested and ordered
back to Brussels, and our despatches, with their news value
departed, would be returned.

An account of the Germans entering Brussels I sent by an English
boy named Dalton, who, after being turned back three times, got
through by night, and when he arrived in England his adventures
were published in all the London papers. They were so thrilling that
they made my story, for which he had taken the trip, extremely tame

Hugh Gibson, secretary of the American legation, was the first person
in an official position to visit Antwerp after the Belgian Government
moved to that city, and, even with his passes and flag flying from his
automobile, he reached Antwerp and returned to Brussels only after
many delays and adventures. Not knowing the Belgians were
advancing from the north, Gibson and his American flag were several
times under fire, and on the days he chose for his excursion his route
led him past burning towns and dead and wounded and between the
lines of both forces actively engaged.

He was carrying despatches from Brand Whitlock to Secretary Bryan.
During the night he rested at Antwerp the first Zeppelin air-ship to visit
that city passed over it, dropping one bomb at the end of the block in
which Gibson was sleeping. He was awakened by the explosion and
heard all of those that followed.

The next morning he was requested to accompany a committee
appointed by the Belgian Government to report upon the outrage,
and he visited a house that had been wrecked, and saw what was left
of the bodies of those killed. People who were in the streets when the
air-ship passed said it moved without any sound, as though the motor
had been shut off and it was being propelled by momentum.

One bomb fell so near the palace where the Belgian Queen was
sleeping as to destroy the glass in the windows and scar the walls.
The bombs were large, containing smaller bombs of the size of
shrapnel. Like shrapnel, on impact they scattered bullets over a
radius of forty yards. One man, who from a window in the eighth story
of a hotel watched the air-ship pass, stated that before each bomb fell
he saw electric torches signal from the roofs, as though giving
directions as to where the bombs should strike.

After my arrest by the Germans, I found my usefulness in Brussels as
a correspondent was gone, and I returned to London, and from there
rejoined the Allies in Paris.

I left Brussels on August 27th with Gerald Morgan and Will Irwin, of
Collier's, on a train carrying English prisoners and German wounded.
In times of peace the trip to the German border lasts three hours, but
in making it we were twenty-six hours, and by order of the authorities
we were forbidden to leave the train.

Carriages with cushions naturally were reserved for the wounded, so
we slept on wooden benches and on the floor. It was not possible to
obtain food, and water was as scarce. At Graesbeek, ten miles from
Brussels, we first saw houses on fire. They continued with us to

Village after village had been completely wrecked. In his march to the
sea Sherman lived on the country. He did not destroy it, and as
against the burning of Columbia must be placed to the discredit of the
Germans the wiping out of an entire countryside.

For many miles we saw procession after procession of peasants
fleeing from one burning village, which had been their home, to other
villages, to find only blackened walls and smouldering ashes. In no
part of northern Europe is there a countryside fairer than that
between Aix-la-Chapelle and Brussels, but the Germans had made of
it a graveyard. It looked as though a cyclone had uprooted its houses,
gardens, and orchards and a prairie fire had followed.

At seven o'clock in the evening we arrived at what for six hundred
years had been the city of Louvain. The Germans were burning it,
and to hide their work kept us locked in the railroad carriages. But the
story was written against the sky, was told to us by German soldiers
incoherent with excesses; and we could read it in the faces of women
and children being led to concentration camps and of citizens on their
way to be shot.

The day before the Germans had sentenced Louvain to become a
wilderness, and with German system and love of thoroughness they
left Louvain an empty, blackened shell. The reason for this appeal to
the torch and the execution of non-combatants, as given to Mr.
Whitlock and myself on the morning I left Brussels by General von
Lutwitz, the military governor, was this: The day before, while the
German military commander of the troops in Louvain was at the Hôtel
de Ville talking to the burgomaster, a son of the burgomaster, with an
automatic pistol, shot the chief of staff and German staff surgeons.

Lutwitz claimed this was the signal for the civil guard, in civilian
clothes on the roofs, to fire upon the German soldiers in the open
square below. He said also the Belgians had quick-firing guns,
brought from Antwerp. As for a week the Germans had occupied
Louvain and closely guarded all approaches, the story that there was
any gun-running is absurd.

"Fifty Germans were killed and wounded," said Lutwitz, "and for that
Louvain must be wiped out--so!" In pantomime with his fist he swept
the papers across his table.

"The Hôtel de Ville," he added, "was a beautiful building; it is a pity it
must be destroyed."

Were he telling us his soldiers had destroyed a kitchen-garden, his
tone could not have expressed less regret.

Ten days before I had been in Louvain, when it was occupied by
Belgian troops and King Albert and his staff. The city dates from the
eleventh century, and the population was forty-two thousand. The
citizens were brewers, lace-makers, and manufacturers of ornaments
for churches. The university once was the most celebrated in
European cities and was the headquarters of the Jesuits.

In the Louvain College many priests now in America have been
educated, and ten days before, over the great yellow walls of the
college, I had seen hanging two American flags. I had found the city
clean, sleepy, and pretty, with narrow, twisting streets and smart
shops and cafés. Set in flower gardens were the houses, with red
roofs, green shutters, and white walls.

Over those that faced south had been trained pear-trees, their
branches, heavy with fruit, spread out against the walls like branches
of candelabra. The town hall was an example of Gothic architecture,
in detail and design more celebrated even than the town hall of
Bruges or Brussels. It was five hundred years old, and lately had
been repaired with taste and at great cost.

Opposite was the Church of St. Pierre, dating from the fifteenth
century, a very noble building, with many chapels filled with carvings
of the time of the Renaissance in wood, stone, and iron. In the
university were one hundred and fifty thousand volumes.

Near it was the bronze statue of Father Damien, priest of the leper
colony in the South Pacific, of whom Robert Louis Stevenson wrote.

On the night of the 27th these buildings were empty, exploded
cartridges. Statues, pictures, carvings, parchments, archives--all
these were gone.

No one defends the sniper. But because ignorant Mexicans, when
their city was invaded, fired upon our sailors, we did not destroy Vera
Cruz. Even had we bombarded Vera Cruz, money could have
restored that city. Money can never restore Louvain. Great architects
and artists, dead these six hundred years, made it beautiful, and their
handiwork belonged to the world. With torch and dynamite the
Germans turned those masterpieces into ashes, and all the Kaiser's
horses and all his men cannot bring them back again.

When our troop train reached Louvain, the entire heart of the city was
destroyed, and the fire had reached the Boulevard Tirlemont, which
faces the railroad station. The night was windless, and the sparks
rose in steady, leisurely pillars, falling back into the furnace from
which they sprang. In their work the soldiers were moving from the
heart of the city to the outskirts, street by street, from house to house.

In each building they began at the first floor and, when that was
burning steadily, passed to the one next. There were no exceptions--
whether it was a store, chapel, or private residence, it was destroyed.
The occupants had been warned to go, and in each deserted shop or
house the furniture was piled, the torch was stuck under it, and into
the air went the savings of years, souvenirs of children, of parents,
heirlooms that had passed from generation to generation.

The people had time only to fill a pillowcase and fly. Some were not
so fortunate, and by thousands, like flocks of sheep, they were
rounded up and marched through the night to concentration camps.
We were not allowed to speak to any citizen of Louvain, but the
Germans crowded the windows of the train, boastful, gloating, eager
to interpret.

In the two hours during which the train circled the burning city war
was before us in its most hateful aspect.

In other wars I have watched men on one hilltop, without haste,
without heat, fire at men on another hill, and in consequence on both
sides good men were wasted. But in those fights there were no
women or children, and the shells struck only vacant stretches of
veldt or uninhabited mountain sides.

At Louvain it was war upon the defenceless, war upon churches,
colleges, shops of milliners and lace-makers; war brought to the
bedside and the fireside; against women harvesting in the fields,
against children in wooden shoes at play in the streets.

At Louvain that night the Germans were like men after an orgy.

There were fifty English prisoners, erect and soldierly. In the ocean of
gray the little patch of khaki looked pitifully lonely, but they regarded
the men who had outnumbered but not defeated them with calm,
uncurious eyes. In one way I was glad to see them there. Later they
will bear witness. They will tell how the enemy makes a wilderness
and calls it war. It was a most weird picture. On the high ground rose
the broken spires of the Church of St. Pierre and the Hôtel de Ville,
and descending like steps were row beneath row of houses, roofless,
with windows like blind eyes. The fire had reached the last row of
houses, those on the Boulevard de Jodigne. Some of these were
already cold, but others sent up steady, straight columns of flame. In
others at the third and fourth stories the window curtains still hung,
flowers still filled the window-boxes, while on the first floor the torch
had just passed and the flames were leaping. Fire had destroyed the
electric plant, but at times the flames made the station so light that
you could see the second-hand of your watch, and again all was
darkness, lit only by candles.

You could tell when an officer passed by the electric torch he carried
strapped to his chest. In the darkness the gray uniforms filled the
station with an army of ghosts. You distinguished men only when
pipes hanging from their teeth glowed red or their bayonets flashed.

Outside the station in the public square the people of Louvain passed
in an unending procession, women bareheaded, weeping, men
carrying the children asleep on their shoulders, all hemmed in by the
shadowy army of gray wolves. Once they were halted, and among
them were marched a line of men. These were on their way to be
shot. And, better to point the moral, an officer halted both processions
and, climbing to a cart, explained why the men were to die. He
warned others not to bring down upon themselves a like vengeance.

As those being led to spend the night in the fields looked across to
those marked for death they saw old friends, neighbors of long
standing, men of their own household. The officer bellowing at them
from the cart was illuminated by the headlights of an automobile. He
looked like an actor held in a spotlight on a darkened stage.

It was all like a scene upon the stage, unreal, inhuman. You felt it
could not be true. You felt that the curtain of fire, purring and crackling
and sending up hot sparks to meet the kind, calm stars, was only a
painted backdrop; that the reports of rifles from the dark ruins came
from blank cartridges, and that these trembling shopkeepers and
peasants ringed in bayonets would not in a few minutes really die, but
that they themselves and their homes would be restored to their
wives and children.

You felt it was only a nightmare, cruel and uncivilized. And then you
remembered that the German Emperor has told us what it is. It is his
Holy War.

Chapter IV
Paris In War Time

Those who, when the Germans approached, fled from Paris,
described it as a city doomed, as a waste place, desolate as a
graveyard. Those who run away always are alarmists. They are on
the defensive. They must explain why they ran away.

Early in September Paris was like a summer hotel out of season. The
owners had temporarily closed it; the windows were barred, the
furniture and paintings draped in linen, a caretaker and a night-
watchman were in possession.

It is an old saying that all good Americans go to Paris when they die.
Most of them take no chances and prefer to visit it while they are alive.
Before this war, if the visitor was disappointed, it was the fault of
the visitor, not of Paris. She was all things to all men. To some she
offered triumphal arches, statues, paintings; to others by day racing,
and by night Maxims and the Rat Mort. Some loved her for the book-
stalls along the Seine and ateliers of the Latin Quarter; some for her
parks, forests, gardens, and boulevards; some because of the
Luxembourg; some only as a place where everybody was smiling,
happy, and polite, where they were never bored, where they were
always young, where the lights never went out and there was no early
call. Should they to-day revisit her they would find her grown grave
and decorous, and going to bed at sundown, but still smiling bravely,
still polite.

You cannot wipe out Paris by removing two million people and closing
Cartier's and the Café de Paris. There still remains some hundred
miles of boulevards, the Seine and her bridges, the Arc de Triomphe,
with the sun setting behind it, and the Gardens of the Tuilleries. You
cannot send them to the store-house or wrap them in linen. And the
spirit of the people of Paris you cannot crush nor stampede.

Between Paris in peace and Paris to-day the most striking difference
is lack of population. Idle rich, the employees of the government, and
tourists of all countries are missing. They leave a great emptiness.
When you walk the streets you feel either that you are up very early,
before any one is awake, or that you are in a boom town from which
the boom has departed.

On almost every one of the noted shops "Fermé" is written, or it has
been turned over to the use of the Red Cross. Of the smaller shops
those that remain open are chiefly bakeshops and chemists, but no
man need go naked or hungry; in every block he will find at least one
place where he can be clothed and fed. But the theatres are all
closed. No one is in a mood to laugh, and certainly no one wishes to
consider anything more serious than the present crisis. So there are
no revues, operas, or comedies.

The thing you missed perhaps most were the children in the Avenue
des Champs Elysées. For generations over that part of the public
garden the children have held sway. They knew it belonged to them,
and into the gravel walks drove their tin spades with the same sense
of ownership as at Deauville they dig up the shore. Their straw hats
and bare legs, their Normandy nurses, with enormous head-dresses,
blue for a boy and pink for a girl, were, of the sights of Paris, one of
the most familiar. And when the children vanished they left a dreary
wilderness. You could look for a mile, from the Place de la Concorde
to the Arc de Triomphe, and not see a child. The stalls, where they
bought hoops and skipping-ropes, the flying wooden horses, Punch-
and-Judy shows, booths where with milk they refreshed themselves
and with bonbons made themselves ill, all were deserted and
boarded up.

The closing down of the majority of the shops and hotels was not due
to a desire on the part of those employed in them to avoid the
Germans, but to get at the Germans.

On shop after shop are signs reading: "The proprietor and staff are
with the colors," or "The personnel of this establishment is mobilized,"
or "Monsieur------informs his clients that he is with his regiment."

In the absence of men at the front, Frenchwomen, at all times
capable and excellent managers, have surpassed themselves. In my
hotel there were employed seven women and one man. In another
hotel I visited the entire staff was composed of women.

An American banker offered his twenty-two polo ponies to the
government. They were refused as not heavy enough. He did not
know that, and supposed he had lost them. Later he learned from the
wife of his trainer, a Frenchwoman, that those employed in his stables
at Versailles who had not gone to the front at the approach of the
Germans had fled, and that for three weeks his string of twenty-two
horses had been fed, groomed, and exercised by the trainer's wife
and her two little girls.

To an American it was very gratifying to hear the praise of the French
and English for the American ambulance at Neuilly. It is the outgrowth
of the American hospital, and at the start of this war was organized by
Mrs. Herrick, wife of our ambassador, and other ladies of the
American colony in Paris, and the American doctors. They took over
the Lycée Pasteur, an enormous school at Neuilly, that had just been
finished and never occupied, and converted it into what is a most
splendidly equipped hospital. In walking over the building you find it
hard to believe that it was intended for any other than its present use.
The operating rooms, kitchens, wards, rooms for operating by
Roentgen rays, and even a chapel have been installed.

The organization and system are of the highest order. Every one in it
is American. The doctors are the best in Paris. The nurses and
orderlies are both especially trained for the work and volunteers. The
spirit of helpfulness and unselfishness is everywhere apparent.
Certain members of the American colony, who never in their lives
thought of any one save themselves, and of how to escape boredom,
are toiling like chambermaids and hall porters, performing most
disagreeable tasks, not for a few hours a week, but unceasingly, day
after day. No task is too heavy for them or too squalid. They help all
alike--Germans, English, major-generals, and black Turcos.

There are three hundred patients. The staff of the hospital numbers
one hundred and fifty. It is composed of the best-known American
doctors in Paris and a few from New York. Among the volunteer
nurses and attendants are wives of bankers in Paris, American girls
who have married French titles, and girls who since the war came
have lost employment as teachers of languages, stenographers, and
governesses. The men are members of the Jockey Club, art
students, medical students, clerks, and boulevardiers. They are all
working together in most admirable harmony and under an
organization that in its efficiency far surpasses that of any other
hospital in Paris. Later it is going to split the American colony in twain.
If you did not work in the American ambulance you won't belong.

Attached to the hospital is a squadron of automobile ambulances, ten
of which were presented by the Ford Company and ten purchased.
Their chassis have been covered with khaki hoods and fitted to
carry two wounded men and attendants. On their runs they are
accompanied by automobiles with medical supplies, tires, and
gasolene. The ambulances scout at the rear of the battle line and
carry back those which the field-hospitals cannot handle.

One day I watched the orderlies who accompany these ambulances
handling about forty English wounded, transferring them from the
automobiles to the reception hall, and the smartness and intelligence
with which the members of each crew worked together was like that
of a champion polo team. The editor of a London paper, who was in
Paris investigating English hospital conditions, witnessed the same
performance, and told me that in handling the wounded it surpassed
in efficiency anything he had seen.

Chapter V
The Battle Of Soissons

The struggle for the possession of Soissons lasted two days. The
second day's battle, which I witnessed, ended with the city in the
possession of the French. It was part of the seven days' of
continuous fighting that began on September 6th at Meaux. Then the
German left wing, consisting of the army of General von Kluck, was at
Claye, within fifteen miles of Paris. But the French and English,
instead of meeting the advance with a defence, themselves attacked.
Steadily, at the rate of ten miles a day, they drove the Germans back
across the Aisne and the Marne, and so saved the city.

When this retrograde movement of the Germans began, those who
could not see the nature of the fighting believed that the German line
of communication, the one from Aix-la-Chapelle through Belgium, had
proved too long, and that the left wing was voluntarily withdrawing to
meet the new line of communication through Luxembourg. But the
fields of battle beyond Meaux, through which it was necessary to
pass to reach the fight at Sois-sons, showed no evidence of leisurely
withdrawal. On both sides there were evidences of the most
desperate fighting and of artillery fire that was wide-spread and
desolating. That of the Germans, intended to destroy the road from
Meaux and to cover their retreat, showed marksmanship so accurate
and execution so terrible as, while it lasted, to render pursuit

The battle-field stretched from the hills three miles north of Meaux for
four miles along the road and a mile to either side. The road is lined
with poplars three feet across and as high as a five-story building. For
the four miles the road was piled with branches of these trees. The
trees themselves were split as by lightning, or torn in half, as with your
hands you could tear apart a loaf of bread. Through some, solid shell
had passed, leaving clean holes. Others looked as though drunken
woodsmen with axes from roots to topmost branches had slashed
them in crazy fury. Some shells had broken the trunks in half as a
hurricane snaps a mast.

That no human being could survive such a bombardment were many
grewsome proofs. In one place for a mile the road was lined with
those wicker baskets in which the Germans carry their ammunition.
These were filled with shells, unexploded, and behind the trenches
were hundreds more of these baskets, some for the shells of the
siege-guns, as large as lobster-pots or umbrella-stands, and others,
each with three compartments, for shrapnel. In gutters along the road
and in the wheat-fields these brass shells flashed in the sunshine like
tiny mirrors.

The four miles of countryside over which for four days both armies
had ploughed the earth with these shells was the picture of complete
desolation. The rout of the German army was marked by knapsacks,
uniforms, and accoutrements scattered over the fields on either hand
as far as you could see. Red Cross flags hanging from bushes
showed where there had been dressing stations. Under them were
blood-stains, bandages and clothing, and boots piled in heaps as
high as a man's chest, and the bodies of those German soldiers that
the first aid had failed to save.

After death the body is mercifully robbed of its human aspect. You are
spared the thought that what is lying in the trenches among the
shattered trees and in the wheat-fields staring up at the sky was once
a man. It appears to be only a bundle of clothes, a scarecrow that
has tumbled among the grain it once protected. But it gives a terrible
meaning to the word "missing." When you read in the reports from
the War Office that five thousand are "missing," you like to think of
them safely cared for in a hospital or dragging out the period of the
war as prisoners. But the real missing are the unidentified dead. In
time some peasant will bury them, but he will not understand the
purpose of the medal each wears around his neck. And so, with the
dead man will be buried his name and the number of his regiment. No
one will know where he fell or where he lies. Some one will always
hope that he will return. For, among the dead his name did not
appear. He was reported "missing."

The utter wastefulness of war was seldom more clearly shown.
Carcasses of horses lined the road. Some few of these had been
killed by shell-fire. Others, worn out and emaciated, and bearing the
brand of the German army, had been mercifully destroyed; but the
greater number of them were the farm horses of peasants, still
wearing their head-stalls or the harness of the plough. That they
might not aid the enemy as remounts, the Germans in their retreat
had shot them. I saw four and five together in the yards of stables,
the bullet-hole of an automatic in the head of each. Others lay beside
the market cart, others by the canal, where they had sought water.

Less pitiful, but still evidencing the wastefulness of war, were the
motor-trucks, and automobiles that in the flight had been abandoned.
For twenty miles these automobiles were scattered along the road.
There were so many one stopped counting them. Added to their loss
were two shattered German airships. One I saw twenty-six kilometres
outside of Meaux and one at Bouneville. As they fell they had buried
their motors deep in the soft earth and their wings were twisted
wrecks of silk and steel.

All the fields through which the army passed had become waste land.
Shells had re-ploughed them. Horses and men had camped in them.
The haystacks, gathered by the sweat of the brow and patiently set in
trim rows were trampled in the mud and scattered to the winds. All the
smaller villages through which I passed were empty of people, and
since the day before, when the Germans occupied them, none of the
inhabitants had returned. These villages were just as the Germans
had left them. The streets were piled with grain on which the soldiers
had slept, and on the sidewalks in front of the better class of houses
tables around which the officers had eaten still remained, the bottles
half empty, the food half eaten.

In a château beyond Neufchelles the doors and windows were open
and lace curtains were blowing in the breeze. From the garden you
could see paintings on the walls, books on the tables. Outside, on the
lawn, surrounded by old and charming gardens, apparently the
general and his staff had prepared to dine. The table was set for a
dozen, and on it were candles in silver sticks, many bottles of red and
white wine, champagne, liqueurs, and coffee-cups of the finest china.
From their banquet some alarm had summoned the officers. The
place was as they had left it, the coffee untasted, the candles burned
to the candlesticks, and red stains on the cloth where the burgundy
had spilled. In the bright sunlight, and surrounded by flowers, the
deserted table and the silent, stately château seemed like the
sleeping palace of the fairy-tale.

Though the humor of troops retreating is an ugly one, I saw no
outrages such as I saw in Belgium. Except in the villages of Neuf-
chelles and Varreddes, there was no sign of looting or wanton
destruction. But in those two villages the interior of every home and
shop was completely wrecked. In the other villages the destruction
was such as is permitted by the usages of war, such as the blowing
up of bridges, the burning of the railroad station, and the cutting of

Not until Bouneville, thirty kilometres beyond Meaux, did I catch up
with the Allies. There I met some English Tommies who were trying to
find their column. They had no knowledge of the French language, or
where they were, or where their regiment was, but were quite
confident of finding it, and were as cheerful as at manœuvres.
Outside of Chaudun the road was blocked with tirailleurs, Algerians in
light-blue Zouave uniforms, and native Turcos from Morocco in khaki,
with khaki turbans. They shivered in the autumn sunshine, and were
wrapped in burnooses of black and white. They were making a
turning movement to attack the German right, and were being hurried
forward. They had just driven the German rear-guard out of Chaudun,
and said that the fighting was still going on at Soissons. But the only
sign I saw of it were two Turcos who had followed the Germans too
far. They lay sprawling in the road, and had so lately fallen that their
rifles still lay under them. Three miles farther I came upon the
advance line of the French army, and for the remainder of the day
watched a most remarkable artillery duel, which ended with Soissons
in the hands of the Allies.

Soissons is a pretty town of four thousand inhabitants. It is chiefly
known for its haricot beans, and since the Romans held it under
Caesar it has been besieged many times. Until to-day the Germans
had held it for two weeks. In 1870 they bombarded it for four days,
and there is, or was, in Soissons, in the Place de la République, a
monument to those citizens of Soissons whom after that siege the
Germans shot. The town lies in the valley of the River Aisne, which is
formed by two long ridges running south and north.

The Germans occupied the hills to the south, but when attacked
offered only slight resistance and withdrew to the hills opposite. In
Soissons they left a rear-guard to protect their supplies, who were
destroying all bridges leading into the town. At the time I arrived a
force of Turcos had been ordered forward to clean Soissons of the
Germans, and the French artillery was endeavoring to disclose their
positions on the hills. The loss of the bridges did not embarrass the
black men. In rowboats they crossed to Soissons and were warmly
greeted. Soissons was drawing no color-line. The Turcos were
followed by engineers, who endeavored to repair one bridge and in
consequence were heavily shelled with shrapnel, while, with the intent
to destroy the road and retard the French advance, the hills where
the French had halted were being pounded by German siege-guns.

This was at a point four kilometres from Chaudun, between the
villages of Breuil and Courtelles. From this height you could see
almost to Compiègne, and thirty miles in front in the direction of Saint-
Quentin. It was a panorama of wooded hills, gray villages in fields of
yellow grain, miles of poplars marking the roads, and below us the
flashing waters of the Aisne and the canal, with at our feet the
steeples of the cathedral of Soissons and the gate to the old abbey of
Thomas à Becket. Across these steeples the shells sang, and on
both sides of the Aisne Valley the artillery was engaged. The wind
was blowing forty knots, which prevented the use of the French
aeroplanes, but it cleared the air, and, helped by brilliant sunshine, it
was possible to follow the smoke of the battle for fifteen miles. The
wind was blowing toward our right, where we were told were the
English, and though as their shrapnel burst we could see the flash of
guns and rings of smoke, the report of the guns did not reach us. It
gave the curious impression of a bombardment conducted in utter

From our left the wind carried the sounds clearly. The jar and roar of
the cannon were insistent, and on both sides of the valley the hilltops
were wrapped with white clouds. Back of us in the wheat-fields shells
were setting fire to the giant haystacks and piles of grain, which in the
clear sunshine burned a blatant red. At times shells would strike in
the villages of Breuil and Vauxbain, and houses would burst into
flames, the gale fanning the fire to great height and hiding the village
in smoke. Some three hundred yards ahead of us the shells of
German siege-guns were trying to destroy the road, which the
poplars clearly betrayed. But their practice was at fault, and the shells
fell only on either side. When they struck they burst with a roar,
casting up black fumes and digging a grave twenty yards in

But the French soldiers disregarded them entirely. In the trenches
which the Germans had made and abandoned they hid from the wind
and slept peacefully. Others slept in the lee of the haystacks, their red
breeches and blue coats making wonderful splashes of color against
the yellow grain. For seven days these same men had been fighting
without pause, and battles bore them.

Late in the afternoon, all along the fifteen miles of battle, firing
ceased, for the Germans were falling back, and once more Soissons,
freed of them as fifteen hundred years ago she had freed herself of
the Romans, held out her arms to the Allies.

Chapter VI
The Bombardment of Rheims

In several ways the city of Rheims is celebrated. Some know her only
through her cathedral, where were crowned all but six of the kings of
France, and where the stained-glass windows, with those in the
cathedrals of Chartres and Burgos, Spain, are the most beautiful in all
the world. Children know Rheims through the wicked magpie which
the archbishop excommunicated, and to their elders, if they are rich,
Rheims is the place from which comes all their champagne.

On September 4th the Germans entered Rheims, and occupied it
until the 12th, when they retreated across the Vesle to the hills north
of the city.

On the 18th the French forces, having entered Rheims, the Germans
bombarded the city with field-guns and howitzers.

Rheims is fifty-six miles from Paris, but, though I started at an early
hour, so many bridges had been destroyed that I did not reach the
city until three o'clock in the afternoon. At that hour the French
artillery, to the east at Nogent and immediately outside the northern
edge of the town, were firing on the German positions, and the
Germans were replying, their shells falling in the heart of the city.

The proportion of those that struck the cathedral or houses within a
hundred yards of it to those falling on other buildings was about six to
one. So what damage the cathedral suffered was from blows
delivered not by accident but with intent. As the priests put it, firing on
the church was "exprès."

The cathedral dominates not only the city but the countryside. It rises
from the plain as Gibraltar rises from the sea, as the pyramids rise
from the desert. And at a distance of six miles, as you approach from
Paris along the valley of the Marne, it has more the appearance of a
fortress than a church. But when you stand in the square beneath
and look up, it is entirely ecclesiastic, of noble and magnificent
proportions, in design inspired, much too sublime for the kings it has
crowned, and almost worthy of the king in whose honor, seven
hundred years ago, it was reared. It has been called "perhaps the
most beautiful structure produced in the Middle Ages." On the west
façade, rising tier upon tier, are five hundred and sixty statues and
carvings. The statues are of angels, martyrs, patriarchs, apostles, the
vices and virtues, the Virgin and Child. In the centre of these is the
famous rose window; on either side giant towers.

At my feet down the steps leading to the three portals were pools of
blood. There was a priest in the square, a young man with white hair
and with a face as strong as one of those of the saints carved in
stone, and as gentle. He was curé doyen of the Church of St.
Jacques, M. Chanoine Frezet, and he explained the pools of blood.
After the Germans retreated, the priests had carried the German
wounded up the steps into the nave of the cathedral and for them
had spread straw upon the stone flagging.

The curé guided me to the side door, unlocked it, and led the way into
the cathedral. It is built in the form of a crucifix, and so vast is the
edifice that many chapels are lost in it, and the lower half is in a
shadow. But from high above the stained windows of the thirteenth
century, or what was left of them, was cast a glow so gorgeous, so
wonderful, so pure that it seemed to come direct from the other world.

From north and south the windows shed a radiance of deep blue, like
the blue of the sky by moonlight on the coldest night of winter, and
from the west the great rose window glowed with the warmth and
beauty of a thousand rubies. Beneath it, bathed in crimson light,
where for generations French men and women have knelt in prayer,
where Joan of Arc helped place the crown on Charles VII, was piled
three feet of dirty straw, and on the straw were gray-coated Germans,
covered with the mud of the fields, caked with blood, white and
haggard from the loss of it, from the lack of sleep, rest, and food. The
entire west end of the cathedral looked like a stable, and in the blue
and purple rays from the gorgeous windows the wounded were as
unreal as ghosts. Already two of them had passed into the world of
ghosts. They had not died from their wounds, but from a shell sent by
their own people.

It had come screaming into this backwater of war, and, tearing out
leaded window-panes as you would destroy cobwebs, had burst
among those who already had paid the penalty. And so two of them,
done with pack-drill, goose-step, half rations and forced marches, lay
under the straw the priests had heaped upon them. The toes of their
boots were pointed grotesquely upward. Their gray hands were
clasped rigidly as though in prayer.

Half hidden in the straw, the others were as silent and almost as still.
Since they had been dropped upon the stone floor they had not
moved, but lay in twisted, unnatural attitudes. Only their eyes showed
that they lived. These were turned beseechingly upon the French
Red Cross doctors, kneeling waist-high in the straw and unreeling
long white bandages. The wounded watched them drawing slowly
nearer, until they came, fighting off death, clinging to life as
shipwrecked sailors cling to a raft and watch the boats pulling toward

A young German officer, his smart cavalry cloak torn and slashed,
and filthy with dried mud and blood and with his eyes in bandages,
groped toward a pail of water, feeling his way with his foot, his arms
outstretched, clutching the air. To guide him a priest took his arm, and
the officer turned and stumbled against him. Thinking the priest was
one of his own men, he swore at him, and then, to learn if he wore
shoulder-straps, ran his fingers over the priest's shoulders, and,
finding a silk cassock, said quickly in French: "Pardon me, my father;
I am blind."

As the young curé guided me through the wrecked cathedral his
indignation and his fear of being unjust waged a fine battle. "Every
summer," he said, "thousands of your fellow countrymen visit the
cathedral. They come again and again. They love these beautiful
windows. They will not permit them to be destroyed. Will you tell them
what you saw?"

It is no pleasure to tell what I saw. Shells had torn out some of the
windows, the entire sash, glass, and stone frame--all was gone; only
a jagged hole was left. On the floor lay broken carvings, pieces of
stone from flying buttresses outside that had been hurled through the
embrasures, tangled masses of leaden window-sashes, like twisted
coils of barbed wire, and great brass candelabra. The steel ropes that
supported them had been shot away, and they had plunged to the
flagging below, carrying with them their scarlet silk tassels heavy with
the dust of centuries. And everywhere was broken glass. Not one of
the famous blue windows was intact. None had been totally
destroyed, but each had been shattered, and through the apertures
the sun blazed blatantly.

We walked upon glass more precious than precious stones. It was
beyond price. No one can replace it. Seven hundred years ago the
secret of the glass died. Diamonds can be bought anywhere, pearls
can be matched, but not the stained glass of Rheims. And under our
feet, with straw and caked blood, it lay crushed into tiny fragments.
When you held a piece of it between your eye and the sun it glowed
with a light that never was on land or sea.

War is only waste. The German Emperor thinks it is thousands of
men in flashing breastplates at manoeuvres, galloping past him,
shouting "Hoch der Kaiser!" Until this year that is all of war he has
ever seen.

I have seen a lot of it, and real war is his high-born officer with his
eyes shot out, his peasant soldiers with their toes sticking stiffly
through the straw, and the windows of Rheims, that for centuries with
their beauty glorified the Lord, swept into a dust heap.

Outside the cathedral I found the bombardment of the city was still
going forward and that the French batteries to the north and east
were answering gun for gun. How people will act under unusual
conditions no one can guess. Many of the citizens of Rheims were
abandoning their homes and running through the streets leading
west, trembling, weeping, incoherent with terror, carrying nothing with
them. Others were continuing the routine of life with anxious faces but
making no other sign. The great majority had moved to the west of
the city to the Paris gate, and for miles lined the road, but had taken
little or nothing with them, apparently intending to return at nightfall.
They were all of the poorer class. The houses of the rich were closed,
as were all the shops, except a few cafés and those that offered for
sale bread, meat, and medicine.

During the morning the bombardment destroyed many houses. One
to each block was the average, except around the cathedral, where
two hotels that face it and the Palace of Justice had been pounded
but not destroyed. Other shops and residences facing the cathedral
had been ripped open from roof to cellar. In one a fire was burning
briskly, and firemen were playing on it with hose. I was their only
audience. A sight that at other times would have collected half of
Rheims and blocked traffic, in the excitement of the bombardment
failed to attract. The Germans were using howitzers. Where shells hit
in the street they tore up the Belgian blocks for a radius of five yards,
and made a hole as though a water-main had burst. When they hit a
house, that house had to be rebuilt. Before they struck it was possible
to follow the direction of the shells by the sound. It was like the
jangling of many telegraph-wires.

A hundred yards north of the cathedral I saw a house hit at the third
story. The roof was of gray slate, high and sloping, with tall chimneys.
When the shell exploded the roof and chimneys disappeared. You did
not see them sink and tumble; they merely vanished. They had been
a part of the sky-line of Rheims; then a shell removed them and
another roof fifteen feet lower down became the sky-line.

I walked to the edge of the city, to the northeast, but at the outskirts
all the streets were barricaded with carts and paving-stones, and
when I wanted to pass forward to the French batteries the officers in
charge of the barricades refused permission. At this end of the town,
held in reserve in case of a German advance, the streets were
packed with infantry. The men were going from shop to shop trying to
find one the Germans had not emptied. Tobacco was what they

They told me they had been all the way to Belgium and back, but I
never have seen men more fit. Where Germans are haggard and
show need of food and sleep, the French were hard and moved
quickly and were smiling.

One reason for this is that even if the commissariat is slow they are
fed by their own people, and when in Belgium by the Allies. But when
the Germans pass the people hide everything eatable and bolt the
doors. And so, when the German supply wagons fail to come up the
men starve.

I went in search of the American consul, William Bardel. Everybody
seemed to know him, and all men spoke well of him. They liked him
because he stuck to his post, but the mayor had sent for him, and I
could find neither him nor the mayor.

When I left the cathedral I had told my chauffeur to wait near by it, not
believing the Germans would continue to make it their point of attack.
He waited until two houses within a hundred yards of him were
knocked down, and then went away from there, leaving word with the
sentry that I could find him outside the gate to Paris. When I found
him he was well outside and refused to return, saying he would sleep
in his car.

On the way back I met a steady stream of women and old men
fleeing before the shells. Their state was very pitiful. Some of them
seemed quite dazed with fear and ran, dodging, from one sidewalk to
the other, and as shells burst above them prayed aloud and crossed
themselves. Others were busy behind the counters of their shops
serving customers, and others stood in doorways holding in their
hands their knitting. Frenchwomen of a certain class always knit. If
they were waiting to be electrocuted they would continue knitting.

The bombardment had grown sharper and the rumble of guns was
uninterrupted, growling like thunder after a summer storm or as the
shells passed shrieking and then bursting with jarring detonations.
Underfoot the pavements were inch-deep with fallen glass, and as
you walked it tinkled musically. With inborn sense of order, some of
the housewives abandoned their knitting and calmly swept up the
glass into neat piles. Habit is often so much stronger than fear. So is
curiosity. All the boys and many young men and maidens were in the
middle of the street watching to see where the shells struck and on
the lookout for aeroplanes. When about five o'clock one sailed over
the city, no one knew whether it was German or French, but every
one followed it, apparently intending if it launched a bomb to be in at
the death.

I found all the hotels closed and on their doors I pounded in vain, and
was planning to go back to my car when I stumbled upon the Hôtel
du Nord. It was open and the proprietress, who was knitting, told me
the table-d'hôte dinner was ready. Not wishing to miss dinner, I halted
an aged citizen who was fleeing from the city and asked him to carry
a note to the American consul inviting him to dine. But the aged man
said the consulate was close to where the shells were falling and that
to approach it was as much as his life was worth. I asked him how
much his life was worth in money, and he said two francs.

He did not find the consul, and I shared the table d'hôte with three
tearful old French ladies, each of whom had husband or son at the
front. That would seem to have been enough without being shelled at
home. It is a commonplace, but it is nevertheless true that in war it is
the women who suffer. The proprietress walked around the table, still
knitting, and told us tales of German officers who until the day before
had occupied her hotel, and her anecdotes were not intended to
make German officers popular.

The bombardment ceased at eight o'clock, but at four the next
morning it woke me, and as I departed for Paris salvoes of French
artillery were returning the German fire.

Before leaving I revisited the cathedral to see if during the night it had
been further mutilated. Around it shells were still falling, and the
square in front was deserted. In the rain the roofless houses,
shattered windows, and broken carvings that littered the street
presented a picture of melancholy and useless desolation. Around
three sides of the square not a building was intact. But facing the
wreckage the bronze statue of Joan of Arc sat on her bronze charger,
uninjured and untouched. In her right hand, lifted high above her as
though defying the German shells, some one overnight had lashed
the flag of France.

The next morning the newspapers announced that the cathedral was
in flames, and I returned to Rheims. The papers also gave the two
official excuses offered by the Germans for the destruction of the
church. One was that the French batteries were so placed that in
replying to them it was impossible to avoid shelling the city.

I know where the French batteries were, and if the German guns
aimed at them by error missed them and hit the cathedral, the
German marksmanship is deteriorating. To find the range the artillery
sends what in the American army are called brace shots--one aimed
at a point beyond the mark and one short of it. From the explosions of
these two shells the gunner is able to determine how far he is off the
target and accordingly regulates his sights. Not more, at the most,
than three of these experimental brace shots should be necessary,
and, as one of each brace is purposely aimed to fall short of the
target, only three German shells, or, as there were two French
positions, six German shells should have fallen beyond the batteries
and into the city. And yet for four days the city was bombarded!

To make sure, I asked French, English, and American army officers
what margin of error they thought excusable after the range was
determined. They all agreed that after his range was found an artillery
officer who missed it by from fifty to one hundred yards ought to be
court-martialled. The Germans "missed" by one mile.

The other excuse given by the Germans for the destruction of the
cathedral was that the towers had been used by the French for
military purposes. On arriving at Rheims the question I first asked
was whether this was true. The abbé Chinot, curé of the chapel of the
cathedral, assured me most solemnly and earnestly it was not. The
French and the German staffs, he said, had mutually agreed that on
the towers of the cathedral no quick-firing guns should be placed, and
by both sides this agreement was observed. After entering Rheims
the French, to protect the innocent citizens against bombs dropped
by German air-ships, for two nights placed a search-light on the
towers, but, fearing this might be considered a breach of agreement
as to the mitrailleuses, the abbé Chinot ordered the search-light
withdrawn. Five days later, during which time the towers were not
occupied and the cathedral had been converted into a hospital for the
German wounded and Red Cross flags were hanging from both
towers, the Germans opened fire upon it. Had it been the search-light
to which the Germans objected, they would have fired upon it when it
was in evidence, not five days after it had disappeared.

When, with the abbé Chinot, I spent the day in what is left of the
cathedral, the Germans still were shelling it. Two shells fell within
twenty-five yards of us. It was at that time that the photographs that
illustrate this chapter were taken.

The fire started in this way. For some months the northeast tower of
the cathedral had been under repair and surrounded by scaffolding.
On September 19th a shell set fire to the outer roof of the cathedral,
which is of lead and oak. The fire spread to the scaffolding and from
the scaffolding to the wooden beams of the portals, hundred of years
old. The abbé Chinot, young/alert, and daring, ran out upon the
scaffolding and tried to cut the cords that bound it.

In other parts of the city the fire department was engaged with fire lit
by the bombardment, and unaided, the flames gained upon him.
Seeing this, he called for volunteers, and, under the direction of the
Archbishop of Rheims, they carried on stretchers from the burning
building the wounded Germans. The rescuing parties were not a
minute too soon. Already from the roofs molten lead, as deadly as
bullets, was falling among the wounded. The blazing doors had
turned the straw on which they lay into a prairie fire.

Splashed by the molten lead and threatened by falling timbers, the
priests, at the risk of their lives and limbs, carried out the wounded
Germans, sixty in all.

But, after bearing them to safety, their charges were confronted with a
new danger. Inflamed by the sight of their own dead, four hundred
citizens having been killed by the bombardment, and by the loss of
their cathedral, the people of Rheims who were gathered about the
burning building called for the lives of the German prisoners. "They
are barbarians," they cried. "Kill them!" Archbishop Landreaux and
Abbé Chinot placed themselves in front of the wounded.

"Before you kill them," they cried, "you must first kill us."

This is not highly colored fiction, but fact. It is more than fact. It is
history, for the picture of the venerable archbishop, with his cathedral
blazing behind him, facing a mob of his own people in defence of their
enemies, will always live in the annals of this war and in the annals of
the church.

There were other features of this fire and bombardment which the
Catholic Church will not allow to be forgotten. The leaden roofs were
destroyed, the oak timbers that for several hundred years had
supported them were destroyed, stone statues and flying buttresses
weighing many tons were smashed into atoms, but not a single
crucifix was touched, not one waxen or wooden image of the Virgin
disturbed, not one painting of the Holy Family marred.

I saw the Gobelin tapestries, more precious than spun gold, intact,
while sparks fell about them, and lying beneath them were iron bolts
twisted by fire, broken rooftrees and beams still smouldering.

But the special Providence that saved the altars was not omnipotent.
The windows that were the glory of the cathedral were wrecked.
Through some the shells had passed, others the explosions had
blown into tiny fragments. Where, on my first visit, I saw in the stained
glass gaping holes, now the whole window had been torn from the
walls. Statues of saints and crusader and cherubim lay in mangled
fragments. The great bells, each of which is as large as the Liberty
Bell in Philadelphia, that for hundreds of years for Rheims have
sounded the angelus, were torn from their oak girders and melted into
black masses of silver and copper, without shape and without sound.
Never have I looked upon a picture of such pathos, of such wanton
and wicked destruction.

The towers still stand, the walls still stand, for beneath the roofs of
lead the roof of stone remained, but what is intact is a pitiful, distorted
mass where once were exquisite and noble features. It is like the face
of a beautiful saint scarred with vitriol.

Two days before, when I walked through the cathedral, the scene
was the same as when kings were crowned. You stood where Joan
of Arc received the homage of France. When I returned I walked
upon charred ashes, broken stone, and shattered glass. Where once
the light was dim and holy, now through great breaches in the walls
rain splashed. The spirit of the place was gone.

Outside the cathedral, in the direction from which the shells came, for
three city blocks every house was destroyed. The palace of the
archbishop was gutted, the chapel and the robing-room of the kings
were cellars filled with rubbish. Of them only crumbling walls remain.
And on the south and west the façades of the cathedral and flying
buttresses and statues of kings, angels, and saints were mangled
and shapeless.

I walked over the district that had been destroyed by these accidental
shots, and it stretched from the northeastern outskirts of Rheims in a
straight line to the cathedral. Shells that fell short of the cathedral for
a quarter of a mile destroyed entirely three city blocks. The heart of
this district is the Place Godinot. In every direction at a distance of
a mile from the Place Godinot I passed houses wrecked by shells
--south at the Paris gate, north at the railroad station.

There is no part of Rheims that these shells the Germans claim were
aimed at French batteries did not hit. If Rheims accepts the German
excuse she might suggest to them that the next time they bombard, if
they aim at the city they may hit the batteries.

The Germans claim also that the damage done was from fires, not
shells. But that is not the case; destruction by fire was slight. Houses
wrecked by shells where there was no fire outnumbered those that
were burned ten to one. In no house was there probably any other
fire than that in the kitchen stove, and that had been smothered by
falling masonry and tiles.

Outside the wrecked area were many shops belonging to American
firms, but each of them had escaped injury. They were filled with
American typewriters, sewing-machines, and cameras. A number of
cafés bearing the sign "American Bar" testified to the nationality and
tastes of many tourists.

I found our consul, William Bardel, at the consulate. He is a fine type
of the German-American citizen, and, since the war began, with his
wife and son has held the fort and tactfully looked after the interests
of both Americans and Germans. On both sides of him shells had
damaged the houses immediately adjoining. The one across the
street had been destroyed and two neighbors killed.

The street in front of the consulate is a mass of fallen stone, and the
morning I called on Mr. Bardel a shell had hit his neighbor's chestnut-
tree, filled his garden with chestnut burrs, and blown out the glass of
his windows. He was patching the holes with brown wrapping-paper,
but was chiefly concerned because in his own garden the dahlias
were broken. During the first part of the bombardment, when firing
became too hot for him, he had retreated with his family to the corner
of the street, where are the cellars of the Roderers, the champagne
people. There are worse places in which to hide in than a champagne

Mr. Bardel has lived six years in Rheims and estimated the damage
done to property by shells at thirty millions of dollars, and said that
unless the seat of military operations was removed the champagne
crop for this year would be entirely wasted. It promised to be an
especially good year. The seasons were propitious, being dry when
sun was needed and wet when rain was needed, but unless the
grapes were gathered by the end of September the crops would be

Of interest to Broadway is the fact that in Rheims, or rather in her
cellars, are stored nearly fifty million bottles of champagne belonging
to six of the best-known houses. Should shells reach these bottles,
the high price of living in the lobster palaces will be proportionately

Except for Red Cross volunteers seeking among the ruins for
wounded, I found that part of the city that had suffered completely
deserted. Shells still were falling and houses as yet intact, and those
partly destroyed were empty. You saw pitiful attempts to save the
pieces. In places, as though evictions were going forward, chairs,
pictures, cooking-pans, bedding were piled in heaps. There was none
to guard them; certainly there was no one so unfeeling as to disturb

I saw neither looting nor any effort to guard against it. In their
common danger and horror the citizens of Rheims of all classes
seemed drawn closely together. The manner of all was subdued and
gentle, like those who stand at an open grave.

The shells played the most inconceivable pranks. In some streets the
houses and shops along one side were entirely wiped out and on the
other untouched. In the Rue du Cardinal du Lorraine every house
was gone. Where they once stood were cellars filled with powdered
stone. Tall chimneys that one would have thought a strong wind
might dislodge were holding themselves erect, while the surrounding
walls, three feet thick, had been crumpled into rubbish.

In some houses a shell had removed one room only, and as neatly
as though it were the work of masons and carpenters. It was as
though the shell had a grievance against the lodger in that particular
room. The waste was appalling.

Among the ruins I saw good paintings in rags and in gardens statues
covered with the moss of centuries smashed. In many places, still on
the pedestal, you would see a headless Venus, or a flying Mercury
chopped off at the waist.

Long streamers of ivy that during a century had crept higher and
higher up the wall of some noble mansion, until they were part of it,
still clung to it, although it was divided into a thousand fragments. Of
one house all that was left standing was a slice of the front wall just
wide enough to bear a sign reading: "This house is for sale; elegantly
furnished." Nothing else of that house remained.

In some streets of the destroyed area I met not one living person.
The noise made by my feet kicking the broken glass was the only
sound. The silence, the gaping holes in the sidewalk, the ghastly
tributes to the power of the shells, and the complete desolation, made
more desolate by the bright sunshine, gave you a curious feeling that
the end of the world had come and you were the only survivor.

This-impression was aided by the sight of many rare and valuable
articles with no one guarding them. They were things of price that one
may not carry into the next world but which in this are kept under lock
and key.

In the Rue de l'Université, at my leisure, I could have ransacked shop
after shop or from the shattered drawing-rooms filled my pockets.
Shopkeepers had gone without waiting to lock their doors, and in
houses the fronts of which were down you could see that, in order to
save their lives, the inmates had fled at a moment's warning.

In one street a high wall extended an entire block, but in the centre a
howitzer shell had made a breach as large as a barn door. Through
this I had a view of an old and beautiful garden, on which oasis
nothing had been disturbed. Hanging from the walls, on diamond-
shaped lattices, roses were still in bloom, and along the gravel walks
flowers of every color raised their petals to the sunshine. On the
terrace was spread a tea-service of silver and on the grass were
children's toys--hoops, tennis-balls, and flat on its back, staring up
wide-eyed at the shells, a large, fashionably dressed doll.

In another house everything was destroyed except the mantel over
the fireplace in the drawing-room. On this stood a terra-cotta statuette
of Harlequin. It is one you have often seen. The legs are wide apart,
the arms folded, the head thrown back in an ecstasy of laughter. It
looked exactly as though it were laughing at the wreckage with which
it was surrounded. No one could have placed it where it was after the
house fell, for the approach to it was still on fire. Of all the fantastic
tricks played by the bursting shells it was the most curious.

Chapter VII
The Spirit Of The English

When I left England for home I had just returned from France and
had motored many miles in both countries. Everywhere in this
greatest crisis of the century I found the people of England showing
the most undaunted and splendid spirit. To their common enemy they
are presenting an unbroken front. The civilian is playing his part just
as loyally as the soldier, the women as bravely as the men.

They appreciate that not only their own existence is threatened, but
the future peace and welfare of the world require that the military
party of Germany must be wiped out. That is their burden, and with
the heroic Belgians to inspire them, without a whimper or a whine of
self-pity, they are bearing their burden.

Every one in England is making sacrifices great and small. As long
ago as the middle of September it was so cold along the Aisne that I
have seen the French, sooner than move away from the open fires
they had made, risk the falling shells. Since then it has grown much
colder, and Kitchener issued an invitation to the English people to
send in what blankets they could spare for the army in the field and in
reserve. The idea was to dye the blankets khaki and then turn them
over to the supply department. In one week, so eagerly did the
people respond to this appeal, Kitchener had to publish a card stating
that no more blankets were needed. He had received over half a

The reply to Kitchener's appeal for recruits was as prompt and
generous. The men came so rapidly that the standard for enlistment
was raised. That is, I believe, in the history of warfare without
precedent. Nations often have lowered their requirements for
enlistment, but after war was once well under way to make recruiting
more difficult is new. The sacrifices are made by every class.

There is no business enterprise of any sort that has not shown itself
unselfish. This is true of the greengrocery, the bank, the department
store, the Cotton Exchange. Each of these has sent employees to the
front, and while they are away is paying their wages and, on the
chance of their return, holding their places open. Men who are not
accepted as recruits are enrolled as special constables. They are
those who could not, without facing ruin, neglect their business. They
have signed on as policemen, and each night for four hours patrol the
posts of the regular bobbies who have gone to the front.

The ingenuity shown in finding ways in which to help the army is
equalled only by the enthusiasm with which these suggestions are
met. Just before his death at the front, Lord Roberts called upon all
racing-men, yachtsmen, and big-game shots to send him, for the use
of the officers in the field, their field-glasses. The response was
amazingly generous.

Other people gave their pens. The men whose names are best
known to you in British literature are at the service of the government
and at this moment are writing exclusively for the Foreign Office. They
are engaged in answering the special pleading of the Germans and in
writing monographs, appeals for recruits, explanations of why
England is at war. They do not sign what they write. They are, of
course, not paid for what they write. They have their reward in
knowing that to direct public opinion fairly will be as effective in
bringing this war to a close as is sticking bayonets into Uhlans.

The stage, as well as literature, has found many ways in which it can
serve the army. One theatre is giving all the money taken in at the
door to the Red Cross; all of them admit men in uniform free, or at
half price, and a long list of actors have gone to the front. Among
them are several who are well known in America. Robert Lorraine has
received an officer's commission in the Royal Flying Corps, and Guy
Standing in the navy. The former is reported among the wounded.
Gerald du Maurier has organized a reserve battalion of actors, artists,
and musicians.

There is not a day passes that the most prominent members of the
theatrical world are not giving their services free to benefit
performances in aid of Belgian refugees, Red Cross societies, or to
some one of the funds under royal patronage. Whether their talent is
to act or dance, they are using it to help along the army. Seymour
Hicks and Edward Knoblauch in one week wrote a play called
"England Expects," which was an appeal in dramatic form for recruits,
and each night the play was produced recruits crowded over the

The old sergeants are needed to drill the new material and cannot be
spared for recruiting. And so members of Parliament and members of
the cabinet travel all over the United Kingdom--and certainly these
days it is united--on that service. Even the prime minister and the first
lord of the admiralty, Winston Churchill, work overtime in addressing
public meetings and making stirring appeals to the young men. And
wherever you go you see the young men by the thousands marching,
drilling, going through setting-up exercises. The public parks, golf-
links, even private parks like Bedford Square, are filled with them, and
in Green Park, facing the long beds of geraniums, are lines of cavalry
horses and the khaki tents of the troopers.

Every one is helping. Each day the King and Queen and Princess
Mary review troops or visit the wounded in some hospital; and the day
before sailing, while passing Buckingham Palace, I watched the
young Prince of Wales change the guard. In a businesslike manner
he was listening to the sentries repeat their orders; and in turn a
young sergeant, also in a most businesslike manner, was in whispers
coaching the boy officer in the proper manner to guard the home of
his royal parents. Since then the young prince has gone to the front
and is fighting for his country. And the King is in France with his

As the song says, all the heroes do not go to war, and the warriors at
the front are not the only ones this war has turned out-of-doors. The
number of Englishwomen who have left their homes that the Red
Cross may have the use of them for the wounded would fill a long roll
of honor. Some give an entire house, like Mrs. Waldorf Astor, who
has loaned to the wounded Cliveden, one of the best-known and
most beautiful places on the Thames. Others can give only a room.
But all over England the convalescents have been billeted in private
houses and made nobly welcome.

Even the children of England are helping. The Boy Scouts, one of the
most remarkable developments of this decade, has in this war scored
a triumph of organization. This is equally true of the Boy Scouts in
Belgium and France. In England military duties of the most serious
nature have been intrusted to them. On the east coast they have
taken the place of the coast guards, and all over England they are
patrolling railroad junctions, guarding bridges, and carrying
despatches. Even if the young men who are now drilling in the parks
and the Boy Scouts never reach Berlin nor cross the Channel, the
training and sense of responsibility that they are now enjoying are all
for their future good.

They are coming out of this war better men, not because they have
been taught the manual of arms, but in spite of that fact. What they
have learned is much more than that. Each of them has, for an ideal,
whether you call it a flag, or a king, or a geographical position on the
map, offered his life, and for that ideal has trained his body and
sacrificed his pleasures, and each of them is the better for it. And
when peace comes his country will be the richer and the more

Chapter VIII
Our Diplomats In The War Zone

When the war broke loose those persons in Europe it concerned the
least were the most upset about it. They were our fellow countrymen.
Even to-day, above the roar of shells, the crash of falling walls, forts,
forests, cathedrals, above the scream of shrapnel, the sobs of
widows and orphans, the cries of the wounded and dying, all over
Europe, you still can hear the shrieks of the Americans calling for their
lost suit-cases.

For some of the American women caught by the war on the wrong
side of the Atlantic the situation was serious and distressing. There
were thousands of them travelling alone, chaperoned only by a man
from Cook's or a letter of credit. For years they had been saving to
make this trip, and had allowed themselves only sufficient money
after the trip was completed to pay the ship's stewards. Suddenly
they found themselves facing the difficulties of existence in a foreign
land without money, friends, or credit. During the first days of
mobilization they could not realize on their checks or letters. American
bank-notes and Bank of England notes were refused. Save gold,
nothing was of value, and every one who possessed a gold piece,
especially if he happened to be a banker, was clinging to it with the
desperation of a dope fiend clutching his last pill of cocaine. We can
imagine what it was like in Europe when we recall the conditions at

In New York, when I started for the seat of war, three banks in which
for years I had kept a modest balance refused me a hundred dollars
in gold, or a check, or a letter of credit. They simply put up the
shutters and crawled under the bed. So in Europe, where there
actually was war, the women tourists, with nothing but a worthless
letter of credit between them and sleeping in a park, had every
reason to be panic-stricken. But to explain the hysteria of the hundred
thousand other Americans is difficult--so difficult that while they live
they will still be explaining. The worst that could have happened to
them was temporary discomfort offset by adventures. Of those they
experienced they have not yet ceased boasting.

On August 5th, one day after England declared war, the American
Government announced that it would send the Tennessee with a
cargo of gold. In Rome and in Paris Thomas Nelson Page and Myron
T. Herrick were assisting every American who applied to them, and
committees of Americans to care for their fellow countrymen had
been organized. All that was asked of the stranded Americans was to
keep cool and, like true sports, suffer inconvenience. Around them
were the French and English, facing the greatest tragedy of centuries,
and meeting it calmly and with noble self-sacrifice. The men were
marching to meet death, and in the streets, shops, and fields the
women were taking up the burden the men had dropped. And in the
Rue Scribe and in Cockspur Street thousands of Americans were
struggling in panic-stricken groups, bewailing the loss of a hat-box,
and protesting at having to return home second-class. Their suffering
was something terrible. In London, in the Ritz and Carlton
restaurants, American refugees, loaded down with fat pearls and
seated at tables loaded with fat food, besought your pity. The imperial
suite, which on the fast German liner was always reserved for them,
"except when Prince Henry was using it," was no longer available,
and they were subjected to the indignity of returning home on a nine-
day boat and in the captain's cabin. It made their blue blood boil; and
the thought that their emigrant ancestors had come over in the
steerage did not help a bit.

The experiences of Judge Richard William Irwin, of the Superior
Court of Massachusetts, and his party, as related in the Paris Herald,
were heartrending. On leaving Switzerland for France they were
forced to carry their own luggage, all the porters apparently having
selfishly marched off to die for their country, and the train was not
lighted, nor did any one collect their tickets. "We have them yet!" says
Judge Irwin. He makes no complaint, he does not write to the Public-
Service Commission about it, but he states the fact. No one came to
collect his ticket, and he has it yet. Something should be done. Merely
because France is at war Judge Irwin should not be condemned to
go through life clinging to a first-class ticket.

In another interview Judge George A. Carpenter, of the United States
Court of Chicago, takes a more cheerful view. "I can't see anything
for Americans to get hysterical about," he says. "They seem to think
their little delays and difficulties are more important than all the
troubles of Europe. For my part, I should think these people would be
glad to settle down in Paris." A wise judge!

For the hysterical Americans it was fortunate that in the embassies
and consulates of the United States there were fellow country-men
who would not allow a war to rattle them. When the representatives of
other countries fled our people not only stayed on the job but held
down the jobs of those who were forced to move away. At no time in
many years have our diplomats and consuls appeared to such
advantage. They deserve so much credit that the administration will
undoubtedly try to borrow it. Mr. Bryan will point with pride and say:
"These men who bore themselves so well were my appointments."
Some of them were. But back of them, and coaching them, were first
and second secretaries and consuls-general and consuls who had
been long in the service and who knew the language, the short cuts,
and what ropes to pull. And they had also the assistance of every lost
and strayed, past and present American diplomat who, when the war
broke, was caught off his base. These were commandeered and put
to work, and volunteers of the American colonies were made
honorary attachés, and without pay toiled like fifteen-dollar-a-week

In our embassy in Paris one of these latter had just finished struggling
with two American women. One would not go home by way of
England because she would not leave her Pomeranian in quarantine,
and the other because she could not carry with her twenty-two trunks.
They demanded to be sent back from Havre on a battle-ship. The
volunteer diplomat bowed. "Then I must refer you to our naval
attaché, on the first floor," he said. "Any tickets for battle-ships must
come through him."

I suggested he was having a hard time.

"If we remained in Paris," he said, "we all had to help. It was a choice
between volunteering to aid Mr. Herrick at the embassy or Mrs.
Herrick at the American Ambulance Hospital and tending wounded
Turcos. But between soothing terrified Americans and washing
niggers, I'm sorry now I didn't choose the hospital."

In Paris there were two embassies running overtime; that means from
early morning until after midnight, and each with a staff enlarged to
six times the usual number. At the residence of Mr. Herrick, in the
Rue François Ier, there was an impromptu staff composed chiefly of
young American bankers, lawyers, and business men. They were
men who inherited, or who earned, incomes of from twenty thousand
to fifty thousand a year, and all day, and every day, without pay, and
certainly without thanks, they assisted their bewildered, penniless,
and homesick fellow countrymen. Below them in the cellar was stored
part of the two million five hundred thousand dollars voted by
Congress to assist the stranded Americans. It was guarded by quick-
firing guns, loaned by the French War Office, and by six petty officers
from the Tennessee. With one of them I had been a shipmate when
the Utah sailed from Vera Cruz. I congratulated him on being in Paris.

"They say Paris is some city," he assented, "but all I've seen of it is
this courtyard. Don't tell anybody, but, on the level, I'd rather be back
in Vera Cruz!"

The work of distributing the money was carried on in the chancelleries
of the embassy in the Rue de Chaillot. It was entirely in the hands of
American army and navy officers, twenty of whom came over on the
warship with Assistant Secretary of War Breckinridge. Major Spencer
Cosby, the military attaché of the embassy, was treasurer of the fund,
and every application for aid that had not already been investigated
by the civilian committee appointed by the ambassador was decided
upon by the officers. Mr. Herrick found them invaluable. He was
earnest in their praise. They all wanted to see the fighting; but in other
ways they served their country.

As a kind of "king's messenger" they were sent to our other
embassies, to the French Government at Bordeaux, and in command
of expeditions to round up and convoy back to Paris stranded
Americans in Germany and Switzerland. Their training, their habit of
command and of thinking for others, their military titles helped them to
success. By the French they were given a free road, and they were
not only of great assistance to others, but what they saw of the war
and of the French army will be of lasting benefit to themselves.
Among them were officers of every branch of the army and navy and
of the marine and aviation corps. Their reports to the War
Department, if ever they are made public, will be mighty interesting

The regular staff of the embassy was occupied not only with
Americans but with English, Germans, and Austrians. These latter
stood in a long line outside the embassy, herded by gendarmes. That
line never seemed to grow less. Myron T. Herrick, our ambassador,
was at the embassy from early in the morning until midnight. He was
always smiling, helpful, tactful, optimistic. Before the war came he
was already popular, and the manner in which he met the dark days,
when the Germans were within fifteen miles of Paris, made him
thousands of friends. He never asked any of his staff to work harder
than he worked himself, and he never knocked off and called it a
day's job before they did. Nothing seemed to worry or daunt him;
neither the departure of the other diplomats, when the government
moved to Bordeaux and he was left alone, nor the advancing
Germans and threatened siege of Paris, nor even falling bombs.

Herrick was as democratic as he was efficient. For his exclusive use
there was a magnificent audience-chamber, full of tapestry, ormolu
brass, Sèvres china, and sunshine. But of its grandeur the
ambassador would grow weary, and every quarter-hour he would
come out into the hall crowded with waiting English and Americans.
There, assisted by M. Charles, who is as invaluable to our
ambassadors to France as are Frank and Edward Hodson to our
ambassadors to London, he would hold an impromptu reception. It
was interesting to watch the ex-governor of Ohio clear that hall and
send everybody away smiling. Having talked to his ambassador
instead of to a secretary, each went off content. In the hall one
morning I found a noble lord of high degree chuckling with pleasure.

"This is the difference between your ambassadors and ours," he said.
"An English ambassador won't let you in to see him; your American
ambassador comes out to see you." However true that may be, it was
extremely fortunate that when war came we should have had a man
at the storm-centre so admirably efficient.

Our embassy was not embarrassed nor was it greatly helped by the
presence in Paris of two other American ambassadors: Mr. Sharp,
the ambassador-elect, and Mr. Robert Bacon, the ambassador that
was. That at such a crisis these gentlemen should have chosen to
come to Paris and remain there showed that for an ambassador tact
is not absolutely necessary.

Mr. Herrick was exceedingly fortunate in his secretaries, Robert
Woods Bliss and Arthur H. Frazier. Their training in the diplomatic
service made them most valuable. With him, also, as a volunteer
counsellor, was H. Perceval Dodge, who, after serving in diplomatic
posts in six countries, was thrown out of the service by Mr. Bryan to
make room for a lawyer from Danville, Ky. Dodge was sent over to
assist in distributing the money voted by Congress, and Herrick,
knowing his record, signed him on to help him in the difficult task of
running the affairs of the embassies of four countries, three of which
were at war. Dodge, Bliss, and Frazier were able to care for these
embassies because, though young in years, in the diplomatic service
they have had training and experience. In this crisis they proved the
need of it. For the duties they were, and still are, called upon to
perform it is not enough that a man should have edited a democratic
newspaper or stumped the State for Bryan. A knowledge of
languages, of foreign countries, and of foreigners, their likes and their
prejudices, good manners, tact, and training may not, in the eyes of
the administration, seem necessary, but, in helping the ninety million
people in whose interest the diplomat is sent abroad, these
qualifications are not insignificant.

One might say that Brand Whitlock, who is so splendidly holding the
fort at Brussels, in the very centre of the conflict, is not a trained
diplomat. But he started with an excellent knowledge of the French
language, and during the eight years in which he was mayor of
Toledo he must have learned something of diplomacy, responsibility,
and of the way to handle men--even German military governors. He
is, in fact, the right man in the right place. In Belgium all men,
Belgians, Americans, Germans, speak well of him. In one night he
shipped out of Brussels, in safety and comfort, five thousand
Germans; and when the German army advanced upon that city it was
largely due to him and to the Spanish minister, the Marquis Villalobar,
that Brussels did not meet the fate of Antwerp. He has a direct way of
going at things. One day, while the Belgian Government still was in
Brussels and Whitlock in charge of the German legation, the chief
justice called upon him. It was suspected, he said, that on the roof of
the German legation, concealed in the chimney, was a wireless outfit.
He came to suggest that the American minister, representing the
German interests, and the chief justice should appoint a joint
commission to investigate the truth of the rumor, to take the
testimony of witnesses, and make a report.

"Wouldn't it be quicker," said Whitlock, "if you and I went up on the
roof and looked down the chimney?"

The chief justice was surprised but delighted. Together they
clambered over the roof of the German legation. They found that the
wireless outfit was a rusty weather-vane that creaked.

When the government moved to Antwerp Whitlock asked permission
to remain at the capital. He believed that in Brussels he could be of
greater service to both Americans and Belgians. And while diplomatic
corps moved from Antwerp to Ostend, and from Ostend to Havre, he
and Villalobar stuck to their posts. What followed showed Whitlock
was right. To-day from Brussels he is directing the efforts of the rest
of the world to save the people of that city and of Belgium from death
by starvation. In this he has the help of his wife, who was Miss Ella
Brainerd, of Springfield, 111, M. Gaston de Levai, a Belgian
gentleman, and Miss Caroline S. Larner, who was formerly a
secretary in the State Department, and who, when the war started,
was on a vacation in Belgium. She applied to Whitlock to aid her to
return home; instead, much to her delight, he made her one of the
legation staff. His right-hand man is Hugh C. Gibson, his first
secretary, a diplomat of experience. It is a pity that to the legation in
Brussels no military attaché was accredited. He need not have gone
out to see the war; the war would have come to him. As it was,
Gibson saw more of actual warfare than did any or all of our twenty-
eight military men in Paris. It was his duty to pass frequently through
the firing-lines on his way to Antwerp and London. He was constantly
under fire. Three times his automobile was hit by bullets. These trips
were so hazardous that Whitlock urged that he should take them. It is
said he and his secretary used to toss for it. Gibson told me he was
disturbed by the signs the Germans placed between Brussels and
Antwerp, stating that "automobiles looking as though they were on
reconnoissance" would be fired upon. He asked how an automobile
looked when it was on reconnoissance.

Gibson is one of the few men who, after years in the diplomatic
service, refuses to take himself seriously. He is always smiling,
cheerful, always amusing, but when the dignity of his official position
is threatened he can be serious enough. When he was chargé
d'affaires in Havana a young Cuban journalist assaulted him. That
journalist is still in jail. In Brussels a German officer tried to
blue-pencil a cable Gibson was sending to the State Department.
Those who witnessed the incident say it was like a buzz-saw
cutting soft pine.

When the present administration turned out the diplomats it spared
the consuls-general and consuls. It was fortunate for the State
Department that it showed this self-control, and fortunate for
thousands of Americans who, when the war-cloud burst, were
scattered all over Europe. Our consuls rose to the crisis and rounded
them up, supplied them with funds, special trains, and letters of
identification, and when they were arrested rescued them from jail.
Under fire from shells and during days of bombardment the American
consuls in France and Belgium remained at their posts and protected
the people of many nationalities confided to their care. Only one
showed the white feather. He first removed himself from his post, and
then was removed still farther from it by the State Department. All the
other American consuls of whom I heard in Belgium, France, and
England were covering themselves with glory and bringing credit to
their country. Nothing disturbed their calm, and at no hour could you
catch them idle or reluctant to help a fellow countryman. Their office
hours were from twelve to twelve, and each consulate had taken out
an all-night license and thrown away the key. With four other
Americans I was forced to rout one consul out of bed at two in the
morning. He was Colonel Albert W. Swalm, of Iowa, but of late years
our representative at Southampton. That port was in the military zone,
and before an American could leave it for Havre it was necessary that
his passport should be viséed in London by the French and Belgian
consuls-general and in Southampton by Colonel Swalm. We arrived
in Southampton at two in the morning to learn that the boat left at
four, and that unless, in the interval, we obtained the autograph and
seal of Colonel Swalm she would sail without us.

In the darkness we set forth to seek our consul, and we found that,
difficult as it was to leave the docks by sea, it was just as difficult by
land. In war time two o'clock in the morning is no hour for honest men
to prowl around wharfs. So we were given to understand by very
wide-awake sentries with bayonets, policemen, and enthusiastic
special constables. But at last we reached the consulate and laid
siege. One man pressed the electric button, kicked the door, and
pounded with the knocker, others hurled pebbles at the upper
windows, and the fifth stood in the road and sang: "Oh, say, can you
see, by the dawn's early light?"

A policeman arrested us for throwing stones at the consular sign. We
explained that we had hit the sign by accident while aiming at the
windows, and that in any case it was the inalienable right of
Americans, if they felt like it, to stone their consul's sign. He said he
always had understood we were a free people, but, "without meaning
any disrespect to you, sir, throwing stones at your consul's coat of
arms is almost, as you might say, sir, making too free." He then told
us Colonel Swalm lived in the suburbs, and in a taxicab started us
toward him.

Scantily but decorously clad, Colonel Swalm received us, and
greeted us as courteously as though we had come to present him
with a loving-cup. He acted as though our pulling him out of bed at
two in the morning was intended as a compliment. For affixing the
seal to our passports he refused any fee. We protested that the
consuls-general of other nations were demanding fees. "I know," he
said, "but I have never thought it right to fine a man for being an

Of our ambassadors and representatives in countries in Europe other
than France and Belgium I have not written, because during this war I
have not visited those countries. But of them, also, all men speak
well. At the last election one of them was a candidate for the United
States Senate. He was not elected. The reason is obvious.

Our people at home are so well pleased with their ambassadors in
Europe that, while the war continues, they would keep them where
they are.

Chapter IX
"Under Fire"

One cold day on the Aisne, when the Germans had just withdrawn to
the east bank and the Allies held the west, the French soldiers built
huge bonfires and huddled around them. When the "Jack Johnsons,"
as they call the six-inch howitzer shells that strike with a burst of black
smoke, began to fall, sooner than leave the warm fires the soldiers
accepted the chance of being hit by the shells. Their officers had to
order them back. I saw this and wrote of it. A friend refused to credit
it. He said it was against his experience. He did not believe that, for
the sake of keeping warm, men would chance being killed.

But the incident was quite characteristic. In times of war you
constantly see men, and women, too, who, sooner than suffer
discomfort or even inconvenience, risk death. The psychology of the
thing is, I think, that a man knows very little about being dead but has
a very acute knowledge of what it is to be uncomfortable. His brain is
not able to grasp death but it is quite capable of informing him that his
fingers are cold. Often men receive credit for showing coolness and
courage in times of danger when, in reality, they are not properly
aware of the danger and through habit are acting automatically. The
girl in Chicago who went back into the Iroquois Theatre fire to rescue
her rubber overshoes was not a heroine. She merely lacked
imagination. Her mind was capable of appreciating how serious for
her would be the loss of her overshoes but not being burned alive. At
the battle of Velestinos, in the Greek-Turkish War, John F. Bass, of
The Chicago Daily News, and myself got into a trench at the foot of a
hill on which later the Greeks placed a battery. All day the Turks
bombarded this battery with a cross-fire of shrapnel and rifle-bullets
which did not touch our trench but cut off our return to Velestinos.
Sooner than pass through this crossfire, all day we crouched in the
trench until about sunset, when it came on to rain. We exclaimed with
dismay. We had neglected to bring our ponchos. "If we don't get back
to the village at once," we assured each other, "we will get wet!" So
we raced through half a mile of falling shells and bullets and, before
the rain fell, got under cover. Then Bass said: "For twelve hours we
stuck to that trench because we were afraid if we left it we would be
killed. And the only reason we ever did leave it was because we were
more afraid of catching cold!"

In the same war I was in a trench with some infantrymen, one of
whom never raised his head. Whenever he was ordered to fire he
would shove his rifle-barrel over the edge of the trench, shut his eyes,
and pull the trigger. He took no chances. His comrades laughed at
him and swore at him, but he would only grin sheepishly and burrow
deeper. After several hours a friend in another trench held up a bag
of tobacco and some cigarette-papers and in pantomime "dared" him
to come for them. To the intense surprise of every one he scrambled
out of our trench and, exposed against the sky-line, walked to the
other trench and, while he rolled a handful of cigarettes, drew the fire
of the enemy. It was not that he was brave; he had shown that he
was not. He was merely stupid. Between death and cigarettes, his
mind could not rise above cigarettes.

Why the same kind of people are so differently affected by danger is
very hard to understand. It is almost impossible to get a line on it. I
was in the city of Rheims for three days and two nights while it was
being bombarded. During that time fifty thousand people remained in
the city and, so far as the shells permitted, continued about their
business. The other fifty thousand fled from the city and camped out
along the road to Paris. For five miles outside Rheims they lined both
edges of that road like people waiting for a circus parade. With them
they brought rugs, blankets, and loaves of bread, and from daybreak
until night fell and the shells ceased to fall they sat in the hay-fields
and along the grass gutters of the road. Some of them were most
intelligent-looking and had the manner and clothes of the rich. There
was one family of five that on four different occasions on our way to
and from Paris we saw seated on the ground at a place certainly five
miles away from any spot where a shell had fallen. They were all in
deep mourning, but as they sat in the hay-field around a wicker tea
basket and wrapped in steamer-rugs they were comic. Their lives
were no more valuable than those of thousands of their fellow
townsfolk who in Rheims were carrying on the daily routine. These
kept the shops open or in the streets were assisting the Red Cross.

One elderly gentleman told me how he had been seized by the
Germans as a hostage and threatened with death by hanging. With
forty other first citizens, from the 4th to the 12th of September he had
been in jail. After such an experience one would have thought that
between himself and the Germans he would have placed as many
miles as possible, but instead he was strolling around the Place du
Parvis Notre-Dame, in front of the cathedral. For the French officers
who, on sightseeing bent, were motoring into Rheims from the battle
line he was acting as a sort of guide. Pointing with his umbrella, he
would say: "On the left is the new Palace of Justice, the façade
entirely destroyed; on the right you see the palace of the archbishop,
completely wrecked. The shells that just passed over us have
apparently fallen in the garden of the Hôtel Lion d'Or." He was as cool
as the conductor on a "Seeing Rheims" observation-car.

He was matched in coolness by our consul, William Bardel. The
American consulate is at No. 14 Rue Kellermann. That morning a
shell had hit the chestnut-tree in the garden of his neighbor, at No.
12, and had knocked all the chestnuts into the garden of the
consulate. "It's an ill wind that blows nobody good," said Mr. Bardel.

In the bombarded city there was no rule as to how any one would act.
One house would be closed and barred, and the inmates would be
either in their own cellar or in the caves of the nearest champagne
company. To those latter they would bring books or playing-cards
and, among millions of dust-covered bottles, by candle-light, would
wait for the guns to cease. Their neighbors sat in their shops or stood
at the doors of their houses or paraded the streets. Past them their
friends were hastening, trembling with terror. Many women sat on the
front steps, knitting, and with interested eyes watched their
acquaintances fleeing toward the Paris gate. When overhead a shell
passed they would stroll, still knitting, out into the middle of the street
to see where the shell struck.

By the noise it was quite easy to follow the flight of the shells. You
were tricked by the sound into almost believing you could see them.
The six-inch shells passed with a whistling roar that was quite
terrifying. It was as though just above you invisible telegraph-wires
had jangled, and their rush through the air was like the roar that rises
to the car window when two express-trains going in opposite
directions pass at sixty miles an hour. When these sounds assailed
them the people flying from the city would scream. Some of them, as
though they had been hit, would fall on their knees. Others were
sobbing and praying aloud. The tears rolled down their cheeks. In
their terror there was nothing ludicrous; they were in as great physical
pain as were some of the hundreds in Rheims who had been hit. And
yet others of their fellow townsmen living in the same street, and with
the same allotment of brains and nerves, were treating the
bombardment with the indifference they would show to a summer

We had not expected to spend the night in Rheims, so, with
Ashmead Bartlett, the military expert of the London Daily Telegraph, I
went into a chemist's shop to buy some soap. The chemist, seeing I
was an American, became very much excited. He was overstocked
with an American shaving-soap, and he begged me to take it off his
hands. He would let me have it at what it cost him. He did not know
where he had placed it, and he was in great alarm lest we would
leave his shop before he could unload it on us. From both sides of
the town French artillery were firing in salvoes, the shocks shaking
the air; over the shop of the chemist shrapnel was whining, and in the
street the howitzer shells were opening up subways. But his mind
was intent only on finding that American shaving-soap. I was anxious
to get on to a more peaceful neighborhood. To French soap, to soap
"made in Germany," to neutral American soap I was indifferent. Had it
not been for the presence of Ashmead Bartlett I would have fled. To
die, even though clasping a cake of American soap, seemed less
attractive than to live unwashed. But the chemist had no time to
consider shells. He was intent only on getting rid of surplus stock.

The majority of people who are afraid are those who refuse to
consider the doctrine of chances. The chances of their being hit may
be one in ten thousand, but they disregard the odds in their favor and
fix their minds on that one chance against them. In their imagination it
grows larger and larger. It looms red and bloodshot, it hovers over
them; wherever they go it follows, menacing, threatening, filling them
with terror. In Rheims there were one hundred thousand people, and
by shells one thousand were killed or wounded. The chances against
were a hundred to one. Those who left the city undoubtedly thought
the odds were not good enough.

Those who on account of the bombs that fell from the German
aeroplanes into Paris left that city had no such excuse. The chance of
any one person being hit by a bomb was one in several millions. But
even with such generous odds in their favor, during the days the
bomb-dropping lasted many thousands fled. They were obsessed by
that one chance against them. In my hotel in Paris my landlady had
her mind fixed on that one chance, and regularly every afternoon
when the aeroplanes were expected she would go to bed. Just as
regularly her husband would take a pair of opera-glasses and in the
Rue de la Paix hopefully scan the sky.

One afternoon while we waited in front of Cook's an aeroplane sailed
overhead, but so far above us that no one knew whether it was a
French air-ship scouting or a German one preparing to launch a
bomb. A man from Cook's, one of the interpreters, with a horrible
knowledge of English, said: "Taube or not Taube; that is the
question." He was told he was inviting a worse death than from a
bomb. To illustrate the attitude of mind of the Parisian, there is the
story of the street gamin who for some time, from the Garden of the
Tuileries, had been watching a German aeroplane threatening the
city. Finally, he exclaimed impatiently:

"Oh, throw your bomb! You are keeping me from my dinner."

A soldier under fire furnishes few of the surprises of conduct to which
the civilian treats you. The soldier has no choice. He is tied by the leg,
and whether the chances are even or ridiculously in his favor he must
accept them. The civilian can always say, "This is no place for me,"
and get up and walk away. But the soldier cannot say that. He and
his officers, the Red Cross nurses, doctors, ambulance-bearers, and
even the correspondents have taken some kind of oath or signed
some kind of contract that makes it easier for them than for the
civilian to stay on the job. For them to go away would require more
courage than to remain.

Indeed, although courage is so highly regarded, it seems to be of all
virtues the most common. In six wars, among men of nearly every
race, color, religion, and training, I have seen but four men who failed
to show courage. I have seen men who were scared, sometimes
whole regiments, but they still fought on; and that is the highest
courage, for they were fighting both a real enemy and an imaginary

There is a story of a certain politician general of our army who, under
a brisk fire, turned on one of his staff and cried:

"Why, major, you are scared, sir; you are scared!"

"I am," said the major, with his teeth chattering, "and if you were as
scared as I am you'd be twenty miles in the rear."

In this war the onslaughts have been so terrific and so unceasing, the
artillery fire especially has been so entirely beyond human
experience, that the men fight in a kind of daze. Instead of arousing
fear the tumult acts as an anaesthetic. With forests uprooted, houses
smashing about them, and unseen express-trains hurtling through
space, they are too stunned to be afraid. And in time they become
fed up on battles and to the noise and danger grow callous. On the
Aisne I saw an artillery battle that stretched for fifteen miles. Both
banks of the river were wrapped in smoke; from the shells villages
miles away were in flames, and two hundred yards in front of us the
howitzer shells were bursting in black fumes. To this the French
soldiers were completely indifferent. The hills they occupied had been
held that morning by the Germans, and the trenches and fields were
strewn with their accoutrement. So all the French soldiers who were
not serving the guns wandered about seeking souvenirs. They had
never a glance for the villages burning crimson in the bright sunight or
for the falling "Jack Johnsons."

They were intent only on finding a spiked helmet, and when they
came upon one they would give a shout of triumph and hold it up for
their comrades to see. And their comrades would laugh delightedly
and race toward them, stumbling over the furrows. They were as
happy and eager as children picking wild flowers.

It is not good for troops to sup entirely on horrors and also to
breakfast and lunch on them. So after in the trenches one regiment
has been pounded it is withdrawn for a day or two and kept in
reserve. The English Tommies spend this period of recuperating in
playing football and cards. When the English learned this they
forwarded so many thousands of packs of cards to the distributing
depot that the War Office had to request them not to send any more.
When the English officers are granted leave of absence they do not
waste their energy on football, but motor into Paris for a bath and
lunch. At eight they leave the trenches along the Aisne and by noon
arrive at Maxim's, Voisin's, or La Rue's. Seldom does warfare present
a sharper contrast. From a breakfast of "bully" beef, eaten from a tin
plate, with in their nostrils the smell of camp-fires, dead horses, and
unwashed bodies, they find themselves seated on red velvet
cushions, surrounded by mirrors and walls of white and gold, and
spread before them the most immaculate silver, linen, and glass. And
the odors that assail them are those of truffles, white wine, and
"artechant sauce mousseline."

It is a delight to hear them talk. The point of view of the English is so
sane and fair. In risking their legs or arms, or life itself, they see
nothing heroic, dramatic, or extraordinary. They talk of the war as
they would of a cricket-match or a day in the hunting-field. If things
are going wrong they do not whine or blame, nor when fortune smiles
are they unduly jubilant. And they are so appallingly honest and frank.
A piece of shrapnel had broken the arm of one of them, and we were
helping him to cut up his food and pour out his Scotch and soda.
Instead of making a hero or a martyr of himself, he said confidingly:
"You know, I had no right to be hit. If I had been minding my own
business I wouldn't have been hit. But Jimmie was having a hell of a
time on top of a hill, and I just ran up to have a look in. And the
beggars got me. Served me jolly well right. What?"

I met one subaltern at La Rue's who had been given so many
commissions by his brother officers to bring back tobacco, soap, and
underclothes that all his money save five francs was gone. He still
had two days' leave of absence, and, as he truly pointed out, in Paris
even in war time five francs will not carry you far. I offered to be his
banker, but he said he would first try elsewhere. The next day I met
him on the boulevards and asked what kind of a riotous existence he
found possible on five francs.

"I've had the most extraordinary luck," he said. "After I left you I met
my brother. He was just in from the front, and I got all his money."

"Won't your brother need it?" I asked.

"Not at all," said the subaltern cheerfully. "He's shot in the legs, and
they've put him to bed. Rotten luck for him, you might say, but how
lucky for me!"

Had he been the brother who was shot in both legs he would have
treated the matter just as light-heartedly.

One English major, before he reached his own firing-line, was hit by a
bursting shell in three places. While he was lying in the American
ambulance hospital at Neuilly the doctor said to him:

"This cot next to yours is the only one vacant. Would you object if we
put a German in it?"

"By no means," said the major; "I haven't seen one yet."

The stories the English officers told us at La Rue's and Maxim's by
contrast with the surroundings were all the more grewsome. Seeing
them there it did not seem possible that in a few hours these same fit,
sun-tanned youths in khaki would be back in the trenches, or
scouting in advance of them, or that only the day before they had
been dodging death and destroying their fellow men.

Maxim's, which now reminds one only of the last act of "The Merry
Widow," was the meeting-place for the French and English officers
from the front; the American military attachés from our embassy,
among whom were soldiers, sailors, aviators, marines; the doctors
and volunteer nurses from the American ambulance, and the
correspondents who by night dined in Paris and by day dodged arrest
and other things on the firing-line, or as near it as they could motor
without going to jail. For these Maxim's was the clearing-house for
news of friends and battles. Where once were the supper-girls and
the ladies of the gold-mesh vanity-bags now were only men in red
and blue uniforms, men in khaki, men in bandages. Among them
were English lords and French princes with titles that dated from
Agincourt to Waterloo, where their ancestors had met as enemies.
Now those who had succeeded them, as allies, were, over a sole
Marguery, discussing air-ships, armored automobiles, and

At one table Arthur H. Frazier, of the American embassy, would be
telling an English officer that a captain of his regiment who was
supposed to have been killed at Courtrai had, like a homing pigeon,
found his way to the hospital at Neuilly and wanted to be reported
"safe" at Lloyds. At another table a French lieutenant would describe
a raid made by the son of an American banker in Paris who is in
command of an armed automobile. "He swept his gun only once--so,"
the Frenchman explained, waving his arm across the champagne
and the broiled lobster, "and he caught a general and two staff-
officers. He cut them in half." Or at another table you would listen to a
group of English officers talking in wonder of the Germans' wasteful
advance in solid formation.

"They were piled so high," one of them relates, "that I stopped firing.
They looked like gray worms squirming about in a bait-box. I can
shoot men coming at me on their feet, but not a mess of arms and

"I know," assents another; "when we charged the other day we had to
advance over the Germans that fell the night before, and my men
were slipping and stumbling all over the place. The bodies didn't give
them any foothold."

"My sergeant yesterday," another relates, "turned to me and said: 'It
isn't cricket. There's no game in shooting into a target as big as that.
It's just murder.' I had to order him to continue firing."

They tell of it without pose or emotion. It is all in the day's work. Most
of them are young men of wealth, of ancient family, cleanly bred
gentlemen of England, and as they nod and leave the restaurant we
know that in three hours, wrapped in a greatcoat, each will be
sleeping in the earth trenches, and that the next morning the shells
will wake him.

Chapter X
The Waste of War

In this war, more than in other campaigns, the wastefulness is
apparent. In other wars, what to the man at home was most
distressing was the destruction of life. He measured the importance
of the conflict by the daily lists of killed and wounded. But in those
wars, except human life, there was little else to destroy. The war in
South Africa was fought among hills of stone, across vacant stretches
of prairie. Not even trees were destroyed, because there were no
trees. In the district over which the armies passed there were not
enough trees to supply the men with fire-wood. In Manchuria, with the
Japanese, we marched for miles without seeing even a mud village,
and the approaches to Port Arthur were as desolate as our Black
Hills. The Italian-Turkish War was fought in the sands of a desert, and
in the Balkan War few had heard of the cities bombarded until they
read they were in flames. But this war is being waged in that part of
the world best known to the rest of the world.

Every summer hundreds of thousands of Americans, on business or
on pleasure bent, travelled to the places that now daily are being
taken or retaken or are in ruins. At school they had read of these
places in their history books and later had visited them. In
consequence, in this war they have a personal and an intelligent
interest. It is as though of what is being destroyed they were part

Toward Europe they are as absentee landlords. It was their pleasure-
ground and their market. And now that it is being laid low the utter
wastefulness of war is brought closer to this generation than ever
before. Loss of life in war has not been considered entirely wasted,
because the self-sacrifice involved ennobled it. And the men who
went out to war knew what they might lose. Neither when, in the
pursuits of peace, human life is sacrificed is it counted as wasted.
The pioneers who were killed by the Indians or who starved to death
in what then were deserts helped to carry civilization from the Atlantic
to the Pacific. Only ten years ago men were killed in learning to
control the "horseless wagons," and now sixty-horsepower cars are
driven by women and young girls. Later the air-ship took its toll of
human life. Nor, in view of the possibilities of the air-ships in the
future, can it be said those lives were wasted. But, except life, there
was no other waste. To perfect the automobile and the air-ship no
women were driven from home and the homes destroyed. No
churches were bombarded. Men in this country who after many years
had built up a trade in Europe were not forced to close their mills and
turn into the streets hundreds of working men and women.

It is in the by-products of the war that the waste, cruelty, and stupidity
of war are most apparent. It is the most innocent who suffer and
those who have the least offended who are the most severely
punished. The German Emperor wanted a place in the sun, and,
having decided that the right moment to seize it had arrived, declared
war. As a direct result, Mary Kelly, a telephone girl at the Wistaria
Hotel, in New York, is looking for work. It sounds like an O. Henry
story, but, except for the name of the girl and the hotel, it is not
fiction. She told me about it one day on my return to New York,
on Broadway.

"I'm looking for work," she said, "and I thought if you remembered me
you might give me a reference. I used to work at Sherry's and at the
Wistaria Hotel. But I lost my job through the war." How the war in
Europe could strike at a telephone girl in New York was puzzling; but
Mary Kelly made it clear. "The Wistaria is very popular with
Southerners," she explained, "They make their money in cotton and
blow it in New York. But now they can't sell their cotton, and so they
have no money, and so they can't come to New York. And the hotel
is run at a loss, and the proprietor discharged me and the other girl,
and the bellboys are tending the switchboard. I've been a month
trying to get work. But everybody gives me the same answer. They're
cutting down the staff on account of the war. I've walked thirty miles a
day looking for a job, and I'm nearly all in. How long do you think this
war will last?" This telephone girl looking for work is a tiny by-product
of war. She is only one instance of efficiency gone to waste.

The reader can think of a hundred other instances. In his own life he
can show where in his pleasures, his business, in his plans for the
future the war has struck at him and has caused him inconvenience,
loss, or suffering. He can then appreciate how much greater are the
loss and suffering to those who live within the zone of fire. In Belgium
and France the vacant spaces are very few, and the shells fall among
cities and villages lying so close together that they seem to touch
hands. For hundreds of years the land has been cultivated, the fields,
gardens, orchards tilled and lovingly cared for. The roads date back
to the days of Caesar. The stone farmhouses, as well as the stone
churches, were built to endure. And for centuries, until this war came,
they had endured. After the battle of Waterloo some of these stone
farmhouses found themselves famous. In them Napoleon or
Wellington had spread his maps or set up his cot, and until this war
the farmhouses of Mont-Saint-Jean, of Caillou, of Haie-Sainte, of the
Belle-Alliance remained as they were on the day of the great battle a
hundred years ago. They have received no special care, the
elements have not spared them nor caretakers guarded them. They
still were used as dwellings, and it was only when you recognized
them by having seen them on the post-cards that you distinguished
them from thousands of other houses, just as old and just as well
preserved, that stretched from Brussels to Liege.

But a hundred years after this war those other houses will not be
shown on picture post-cards. King Albert and his staff may have
spent the night in them, but the next day Von Kluck and his army
passed, and those houses that had stood for three hundred years
were destroyed. In the papers you have seen many pictures of the
shattered roofs and the streets piled high with fallen walls and lined
with gaping cellars over which once houses stood. The walls can be
rebuilt, but what was wasted and which cannot be rebuilt are the
labor, the saving, the sacrifices that made those houses not mere
walls but homes. A house may be built in a year or rented overnight; it
takes longer than that to make it a home. The farmers and peasants
in Belgium had spent many hours of many days in keeping their
homes beautiful, in making their farms self-supporting. After the work
of the day was finished they had planted gardens, had reared fruit-
trees, built arbors; under them at mealtime they sat surrounded by
those of their own household. To buy the horse and the cow they had
pinched and saved; to make the gardens beautiful and the fields
fertile they had sweated and slaved, the women as well as the men;
even the watch-dog by day was a beast of burden.

When, in August, I reached Belgium between Brussels and Liege, the
whole countryside showed the labor of these peasants. Unlike the
American farmer, they were too poor to buy machines to work for
them, and with scythes and sickles in hand they cut the grain; with
heavy flails they beat it. All that you saw on either side of the road that
was fertile and beautiful was the result of their hard, unceasing
personal effort. Then the war came, like a cyclone, and in three
weeks the labor of many years was wasted. The fields were torn with
shells, the grain was in flames, torches destroyed the villages, by the
roadside were the carcasses of the cows that had been killed to feed
the invader, and the horses were carried off harnessed to gray gun-
carriages. These were the things you saw on every side, from
Brussels to the German border. The peasants themselves were
huddled beneath bridges. They were like vast camps of gypsies,
except that, less fortunate than the gypsy, they had lost what he
neither possesses nor desires, a home. As the enemy advanced the
inhabitants of one village would fly for shelter to the next, only by the
shells to be whipped farther forward; and so, each hour growing in
number, the refugees fled toward Brussels and the coast. They were
an army of tramps, of women and children tramps, sleeping in the
open fields, beneath the hayricks seeking shelter from the rain, living
on the raw turnips and carrots they had plucked from the deserted
vegetable gardens. The peasants were not the only ones who
suffered. The rich and the noble-born were as unhappy and as
homeless. They had credit, and in the banks they had money, but
they could not get at the money; and when a château and a
farmhouse are in flames, between them there is little choice.

Three hours after midnight on the day the Germans began their three
days' march through Brussels I had crossed the Square Rogier to
send a despatch by one of the many last trains for Ostend. When I
returned to the Palace Hotel, seated on the iron chairs on the
sidewalk were a woman, her three children, and two maid servants.
The woman was in mourning, which was quite new, for, though the
war was only a month old, many had been killed, among them her
husband. The day before, at Tirlemont, shells had destroyed her
château, and she was on her way to England. She had around her
neck two long strings of pearls, the maids each held a small hand-
bag, her boy clasped in his arms a forlorn and sleepy fox-terrier, and
each of the little girls was embracing a bird-cage. In one was a
canary, in the other a parrot. That was all they had saved. In their way
they were just as pathetic as the peasants sleeping under the
hedges. They were just as homeless, friendless, just as much in
need of food and sleep, and in their eyes was the same look of fear
and horror. Bernhardi tells his countrymen that war is glorious, heroic,
and for a nation an economic necessity. Instead, it is stupid,
unintelligent. It creates nothing; it only wastes.

If it confined itself to destroying forts and cradles of barbed wire then
it would be sufficiently hideous. But it strikes blindly, brutally; it
tramples on the innocent and the beautiful. It is the bull in the china
shop and the mad dog who snaps at children who are trying only
to avoid him. People were incensed at the destruction in Louvain
of the library, the Catholic college, the Church of St. Pierre that dated
from the thirteenth century. These buildings belonged to the world,
and over their loss the world was rightfully indignant, but in Louvain
there were also shops and manufactories, hotels and private houses.
Each belonged, not to the world, but to one family. These individual
families made up a city of forty-five thousand people. In two days
there was not a roof left to cover one of them. The trade those people
had built up had been destroyed, the "good-will and fixings," the
stock on the shelves and in the storerooms, the goods in the
shop-windows, the portraits in the drawing-room, the souvenirs and
family heirlooms, the love-letters, the bride's veil, the baby's first
worsted shoes, and the will by which some one bequeathed to his
beloved wife all his worldly goods.

War came and sent all these possessions, including the will and the
worldly goods, up into the air in flames. Most of the people of Louvain
made their living by manufacturing church ornaments and brewing
beer. War was impartial, and destroyed both the beer and the church
ornaments. It destroyed also the men who made them, and it drove
the women and children into concentration camps. When first I visited
Louvain it was a brisk, clean, prosperous city. The streets were
spotless, the shop-windows and cafés were modern, rich-looking,
inviting, and her great churches and Hôtel de Ville gave to the city
grace and dignity. Ten days later, when I again saw it, Louvain was in
darkness, lit only by burning buildings. Rows and rows of streets were
lined with black, empty walls. Louvain was a city of the past, another
Pompeii, and her citizens were being led out to be shot. The fate of
Louvain was the fate of Vise, of Malines, of Tirlemont, of Liege, of
hundreds of villages and towns, and by the time this is printed it will
be the fate of hundreds of other towns over all of Europe. In this war
the waste of horses is appalling. Those that first entered Brussels with
the German army had been bred and trained for the purposes of war,
and they were magnificent specimens. Every one who saw them
exclaimed ungrudgingly in admiration. But by the time the army
reached the approaches of Paris the forced marches had so depleted
the stock of horses that for remounts the Germans were seizing all
they met. Those that could not keep up were shot. For miles along
the road from Meaux to Soissons and Rheims their bodies tainted the

They had served their purposes, and after six weeks of campaigning
the same animals that in times of peace would have proved faithful
servants for many years were destroyed that they might not fall into
the hands of the French. Just as an artillery-man spikes his gun, the
Germans on their retreat to the Aisne River left in their wake no horse
that might assist in their pursuit. As they withdrew they searched each
stable yard and killed the horses. In village after village I saw horses
lying in the stalls or in the fields still wearing the harness of the
plough, or in groups of three or four in the yard of a barn, each with a
bullet-hole in its temple. They were killed for fear they might be useful.

Waste can go no further. Another example of waste were the motor-
trucks and automobiles. When the war began the motor-trucks of the
big department stores and manufacturers and motor-buses of
London, Paris, and Berlin were taken over by the different armies.
They had cost them from two thousand to three thousand dollars
each, and in times of peace, had they been used for the purposes for
which they were built, would several times over have paid for
themselves. But war gave them no time to pay even for their tires.
You saw them by the roadside, cast aside like empty cigarette-boxes.
A few hours' tinkering would have set them right. They were still good
for years of service. But an army in retreat or in pursuit has no time to
waste in repairing motors. To waste the motor is cheaper.

Between Villers-Cotterets and Soissons the road was strewn with
high-power automobiles and motor-trucks that the Germans had
been forced to destroy. Something had gone wrong, something that
at other times could easily have been mended. But with the French in
pursuit there was no time to pause, nor could cars of such value be
left to the enemy. So they had been set on fire or blown up, or
allowed to drive head-on into a stone wall or over an embankment.
From the road above we could see them in the field below, lying like
giant turtles on their backs. In one place in the forest of Villers was a
line of fifteen trucks, each capable of carrying five tons. The gasolene
to feed them had become exhausted, and the whole fifteen had been
set on fire. In war this is necessary, but it was none the less waste.
When an army takes the field it must consider first its own safety; and
to embarrass the enemy everything else must be sacrificed. It cannot
consider the feelings or pockets of railroad or telegraph companies. It
cannot hesitate to destroy a bridge because that bridge cost five
hundred thousand dollars. And it does not hesitate.

Motoring from Paris to the front these days is a question of avoiding
roads rendered useless because a broken bridge has cut them in
half. All over France are these bridges of iron, of splendid masonry,
some decorated with statues, some dating back hundreds of years,
but now with a span blown out or entirely destroyed and sprawling in
the river. All of these material things--motor-cars, stone bridges,
railroad-tracks, telegraph-lines--can be replaced. Money can restore
them. But money cannot restore the noble trees of France and
Belgium, eighty years old or more, that shaded the roads, that made
beautiful the parks and forests. For military purposes they have been
cut down or by artillery fire shattered into splinters. They will again
grow, but eighty years is a long time to wait.

Nor can money replace the greatest waste of all--the waste in "killed,
wounded, and missing." The waste of human life in this war is so
enormous, so far beyond our daily experience, that disasters less
appalling are much easier to understand. The loss of three people in
an automobile accident comes nearer home than the fact that at the
battle of Sezanne thirty thousand men were killed. Few of us are
trained to think of men in such numbers--certainly not of dead men in
such numbers. We have seen thirty thousand men together only
during the world's series or at the championship football matches. To
get an idea of the waste of this war we must imagine all of the
spectators at a football match between Yale and Harvard suddenly
stricken dead. We must think of all the wives, children, friends
affected by the loss of those thirty thousand, and we must multiply
those thirty thousand by hundreds, and imagine these hundreds of
thousands lying dead in Belgium, in Alsace-Lorraine, and within ten
miles of Paris. After the Germans were repulsed at Meaux and at
Sezanne the dead of both armies were so many that they lay
intermingled in layers three and four deep. They were buried in long
pits and piled on top of each other like cigars in a box. Lines of fresh
earth so long that you mistook them for trenches intended to conceal
regiments were in reality graves. Some bodies lay for days uncovered
until they had lost all human semblance. They were so many you
ceased to regard them even as corpses. They had become just a
part of the waste, a part of the shattered walls, uprooted trees, and
fields ploughed by shells. What once had been your fellow men were
only bundles of clothes, swollen and shapeless, like scarecrows
stuffed with rags, polluting the air.

The wounded were hardly less pitiful. They were so many and so
thickly did they fall that the ambulance service at first was not
sufficient to handle them. They lay in the fields or forests sometimes
for a day before they were picked up, suffering unthinkable agony.
And after they were placed in cars and started back toward Paris the
tortures continued. Some of the trains of wounded that arrived
outside the city had not been opened in two days. The wounded had
been without food or water. They had not been able to move from the
positions in which in torment they had thrown themselves. The foul air
had produced gangrene. And when the cars were opened the stench
was so fearful that the Red Cross people fell back as though from a
blow. For the wounded Paris is full of hospitals--French, English, and
American. And the hospitals are full of splendid men. Each one once
had been physically fit or he would not have been passed to the front;
and those among them who are officers are finely bred, finely
educated, or they would not be officers. But each matched his good
health, his good breeding, and knowledge against a broken piece of
shell or steel bullet, and the shell or bullet won. They always will win.
Stephen Crane called a wound "the red badge of courage." It is all of
that. And the man who wears that badge has all my admiration. But I
cannot help feeling also the waste of it. I would have a standing army
for the same excellent reason that I insure my house; but, except in
self-defence, no war. For war--and I have seen a lot of it--is waste.
And waste is unintelligent.

Chapter XI
War Correspondents

The attitude of the newspaper reader toward the war correspondent
who tries to supply him with war news has always puzzled me.

One might be pardoned for suggesting that their interests are the
same. If the correspondent is successful, the better service he
renders the reader. The more he is permitted to see at the front, the
more news he is allowed to cable home, the better satisfied should be
the man who follows the war through the "extras."

But what happens is the reverse of that. Never is the "constant
reader" so delighted as when the war correspondent gets the worst of
it. It is the one sure laugh. The longer he is kept at the base, the more
he is bottled up, "deleted," censored, and made prisoner, the greater
is the delight of the man at home. He thinks the joke is on the war
correspondent. I think it is on the "constant reader." If, at breakfast,
the correspondent fails to supply the morning paper with news, the
reader claims the joke is on the news-gatherer. But if the milkman
fails to leave the milk, and the baker the rolls, is the joke on the
milkman and the baker or is it on the "constant reader"? Which goes

The explanation of the attitude of the "constant reader" to the
reporters seems to be that he regards the correspondent as a prying
busybody, as a sort of spy, and when he is snubbed and suppressed
he feels he is properly punished. Perhaps the reader also resents the
fact that while the correspondent goes abroad, he stops at home and
receives the news at second hand. Possibly he envies the man who
has a front seat and who tells him about it. And if you envy a man,
when that man comes to grief it is only human nature to laugh.

You have seen unhappy small boys outside a baseball park, and one
happy boy inside on the highest seat of the grand stand, who calls
down to them why the people are yelling and who has struck out. Do
the boys on the ground love the boy in the grand stand and are they
grateful to him? No.

Does the fact that they do not love him and are not grateful to him for
telling them the news distress the boy in the grand stand? No. For no
matter how closely he is bottled up, how strictly censored, "deleted,"
arrested, searched, and persecuted, as between the man at home
and the correspondent, the correspondent will always be the more
fortunate. He is watching the march of great events, he is studying
history in the making, and all he sees is of interest. Were it not of
interest he would not have been sent to report it. He watches men
acting under the stress of all the great emotions. He sees them
inspired by noble courage, pity, the spirit of self-sacrifice, of loyalty,
and pride of race and country.

In Cuba I saw Captain Robb Church of our army win the Medal of
Honor, in South Africa I saw Captain Towse of the Scot Greys win his
Victoria Cross. Those of us who watched him knew he had won it just
as surely as you know when a runner crosses the home plate and
scores. Can the man at home from the crook play or the home run
obtain a thrill that can compare with the sight of a man offering up his
life that other men may live?

When I returned to New York every second man I knew greeted me
sympathetically with: "So, you had to come home, hey? They wouldn't
let you see a thing." And if I had time I told him all I saw was the
German, French, Belgian, and English armies in the field, Belgium in
ruins and flames, the Germans sacking Louvain, in the Dover Straits
dreadnoughts, cruisers, torpedo destroyers, submarines,
hydroplanes; in Paris bombs falling from air-ships and a city put to
bed at 9 o'clock; battle-fields covered with dead men; fifteen miles of
artillery firing across the Aisne at fifteen miles of artillery; the
bombardment of Rheims, with shells lifting the roofs as easily as you
would lift the cover of a chafing-dish and digging holes in the streets,
and the cathedral on fire; I saw hundreds of thousands of soldiers
from India, Senegal, Morocco, Ireland, Australia, Algiers, Bavaria,
Prussia, Scotland, saw them at the front in action, saw them
marching over the whole northern half of Europe, saw them wounded
and helpless, saw thousands of women and children sleeping under
hedges and haystacks with on every side of them their homes blazing
in flames or crashing in ruins. That was a part of what I saw. What
during the same two months did the man at home see? If he were
lucky he saw the Braves win the world's series, or the Vernon Castles
dance the fox trot.

The war correspondents who were sent to this war knew it was to
sound their death-knell. They knew that because the newspapers that
had no correspondents at the front told them so; because the
General Staff of each army told them so; because every man they
met who stayed at home told them so. Instead of taking their death-
blow lying down they went out to meet it. In other wars as rivals they
had fought to get the news; in this war they were fighting for their
professional existence, for their ancient right to stand on the firing-
line, to report the facts, to try to describe the indescribable. If their
death-knell sounded they certainly did not hear it. If they were licked
they did not know it. In the twenty-five years in which I have followed
wars, in no other war have I seen the war correspondents so well
prove their right to march with armies. The happy days when they
were guests of the army, when news was served to them by the men
who made the news, when Archibald Forbes and Frank Millet shared
the same mess with the future Czar of Russia, when MacGahan slept
in the tent with Skobeleff and Kipling rode with Roberts, have passed.
Now, with every army the correspondent is as popular as a floating
mine, as welcome as the man dropping bombs from an air-ship. The
hand of every one is against him. "Keep out! This means you!" is the
way they greet him. Added to the dangers and difficulties they must
overcome in any campaign, which are only what give the game its
flavor, they are now hunted, harassed, and imprisoned. But the new
conditions do not halt them. They, too, are fighting for their place in
the sun. I know one man whose name in this war has been signed to
despatches as brilliant and as numerous as those of any
correspondent, but which for obvious reasons is not given here. He
was arrested by one army, kept four days in a cell, and then warned if
he was again found within the lines of that army he would go to jail for
six months; one month later he was once more arrested, and told if
he again came near the front he would go to prison for two years.
Two weeks later he was back at the front. Such a story causes the
teeth of all the members of the General Staff to gnash with fury. You
can hear them exclaiming: "If we caught that man we would treat him
as a spy." And so unintelligent are they on the question of
correspondents that they probably would.

When Orville Wright hid himself in South Carolina to perfect his flying-
machine he objected to what he called the "spying" of the
correspondents. One of them rebuked him. "You have discovered
something," he said, "in which the whole civilized world is interested.
If it is true you have made it possible for man to fly, that discovery is
more important than your personal wishes. Your secret is too
valuable for you to keep to yourself. We are not spies. We are
civilization demanding to know if you have something that more
concerns the whole world than it can possibly concern you."

As applied to war, that point of view is equally just. The army calls for
your father, husband, son--calls for your money. It enters upon a war
that destroys your peace of mind, wrecks your business, kills the men
of your family, the man you were going to marry, the son you brought
into the world. And to you the army says: "This is our war. We will
fight it in our own way, and of it you can learn only what we choose to
tell you. We will not let you know whether your country is winning the
fight or is in danger, whether we have blundered and the soldiers are
starving, whether they gave their lives gloriously or through our lack
of preparation or inefficiency are dying of neglected wounds." And if
you answer that you will send with the army men to write letters home
and tell you, not the plans for the future and the secrets of the army,
but what are already accomplished facts, the army makes reply: "No,
those men cannot be trusted. They are spies."

Not for one moment does the army honestly think those men are
spies. But it is the excuse nearest at hand. It is the easiest way out of
a situation every army, save our own, has failed to treat with
intelligence. Every army knows that there are men to-day acting, or
anxious to act, as war correspondents who can be trusted absolutely,
whose loyalty and discretion are above question, who no more would
rob their army of a military secret than they would rob a till. If the army
does not know that, it is unintelligent. That is the only crime I impute
to any general staff--lack of intelligence.

When Captain Granville Fortescue, of the Hearst syndicate, told the
French general that his word as a war correspondent was as good as
that of any general in any army he was indiscreet, but he was merely
stating a fact. The answer of the French general was to put him in
prison. That was not an intelligent answer.

The last time I was arrested was at Romigny, by General Asebert. I
had on me a three-thousand-word story, written that morning in
Rheims, telling of the wanton destruction of the cathedral. I asked the
General Staff, for their own good, to let the story go through. It stated
only facts which I believed were they known to civilized people would
cause them to protest against a repetition of such outrages. To get
the story on the wire I made to Lieutenant Lucien Frechet and Major
Klotz, of the General Staff, a sporting offer. For every word of my
despatch they censored I offered to give them for the Red Cross of
France five francs. That was an easy way for them to subscribe to the
French wounded three thousand dollars. To release his story Gerald
Morgan, of the London Daily Telegraph, made them the same offer. It
was a perfectly safe offer for Gerald to make, because a great part of
his story was an essay on Gothic architecture. Their answer was to
put both of us in the Cherche-Midi prison. The next day the censor
read my story and said to Lieutenant Frechet and Major Klotz: "But I
insist this goes at once. It should have been sent twenty-four hours

Than the courtesy of the French officers nothing could have been
more correct, but I submit that when you earnestly wish to help a man
to have him constantly put you in prison is confusing. It was all very
well to dissemble your love. But why did you kick me down-stairs?

There was the case of Luigi Barzini. In Italy Barzini is the D'Annunzio
of newspaper writers. Of all Italian journalists he is the best known.
On September 18, at Romigny, General Asebert arrested Barzini, and
for four days kept him in a cow stable. Except what he begged from
the gendarmes, he had no food, and he slept on straw. When I saw
him at the headquarters of the General Staff under arrest I told them
who he was, and that were I in their place I would let him see all there
was to see, and let him, as he wished, write to his people of the
excellence of the French army and of the inevitable success of the
Allies. With Italy balancing on the fence and needing very little urging
to cause her to join her fortunes with France, to choose that moment
to put Italian journalists in a cow yard struck me as dull.

In this war the foreign offices of the different governments have been
willing to allow correspondents to accompany the army. They know
that there are other ways of killing a man than by hitting him with a
piece of shrapnel. One way is to tell the truth about him. In this entire
war nothing hit Germany so hard a blow as the publicity given to a
certain remark about a scrap of paper. But from the government the
army would not tolerate any interference. It said: "Do you want us to
run this war or do you want to run it?" Each army of the Allies treated
its own government much as Walter Camp would treat the Yale
faculty if it tried to tell him who should play right tackle.

As a result of the ban put upon the correspondents by the armies, the
English and a few American newspapers, instead of sending into the
field one accredited representative, gave their credentials to a dozen.
These men had no other credentials. The letter each received stating
that he represented a newspaper worked both ways. When arrested
it helped to save him from being shot as a spy, and it was almost sure
to lead him to jail. The only way we could hope to win out was through
the good nature of an officer or his ignorance of the rules. Many
officers did not know that at the front correspondents were prohibited.

As in the old days of former wars we would occasionally come upon
an officer who was glad to see some one from the base who could tell
him the news and carry back from the front messages to his friends
and family. He knew we could not carry away from him any
information of value to the enemy, because he had none to give. In a
battle front extending one hundred miles he knew only his own tiny
unit. On the Aisne a general told me the shrapnel smoke we saw two
miles away on his right came from the English artillery, and that on his
left five miles distant were the Canadians. At that exact moment the
English were at Havre and the Canadians were in Montreal.

In order to keep at the front, or near it, we were forced to make use of
every kind of trick and expedient. An English officer who was acting
as a correspondent, and with whom for several weeks I shared the
same automobile, had no credentials except an order permitting him
to pass the policemen at the British War Office. With this he made his
way over half of France. In the corner of the pass was the seal or
coat of arms of the War Office. When a sentry halted him he would,
with great care and with an air of confidence, unfold this permit, and
with a proud smile point at the red seal. The sentry, who could not
read English, would invariably salute the coat of arms of his ally, and
wave us forward.

That we were with allied armies instead of with one was a great help.
We would play one against the other. When a French officer halted
us we would not show him a French pass but a Belgian one, or one in
English, and out of courtesy to his ally he would permit us to proceed.
But our greatest asset always was a newspaper. After a man has
been in a dirt trench for two weeks, absolutely cut off from the entire
world, and when that entire world is at war, for a newspaper he will
give his shoes and his blanket.

The Paris papers were printed on a single sheet and would pack as
close as bank-notes. We never left Paris without several hundred of
them, but lest we might be mobbed we showed only one. It was the
duty of one of us to hold this paper in readiness. The man who was to
show the pass sat by the window. Of all our worthless passes our rule
was always to show first the one of least value. If that failed we
brought out a higher card, and continued until we had reached the
ace. If that proved to be a two-spot, we all went to jail. Whenever we
were halted, invariably there was the knowing individual who
recognized us as newspaper men, and in order to save his country
from destruction clamored to have us hung. It was for this pest that
the one with the newspaper lay in wait. And the instant the pest
opened his lips our man in reserve would shove the Figaro at him.
"Have you seen this morning's paper?" he would ask sweetly. It
never failed us. The suspicious one would grab at the paper as a dog
snatches at a bone, and our chauffeur, trained to our team-work,
would shoot forward.

When after hundreds of delays we did reach the firing-line, we always
announced we were on our way back to Paris and would convey
there postal cards and letters. If you were anxious to stop in any one
place this was an excellent excuse. For at once every officer and
soldier began writing to the loved ones at home, and while they wrote
you knew you would not be molested and were safe to look at the

It was most wearing, irritating, nerve-racking work. You knew you
were on the level. In spite of the General Staff you believed you had a
right to be where you were. You knew you had no wish to pry into
military secrets; you knew that toward the allied armies you felt only
admiration--that you wanted only to help. But no one else knew that;
or cared. Every hundred yards you were halted, cross-examined,
searched, put through a third degree. It was senseless, silly, and
humiliating. Only a professional crook with his thumb-prints and
photograph in every station-house can appreciate how from minute to
minute we lived. Under such conditions work is difficult. It does not
make for efficiency to know that any man you meet is privileged to
touch you on the shoulder and send you to prison.

This is a world war, and my contention is that the world has a right to
know, not what is going to happen next, but at least what has
happened. If men have died nobly, if women and children have
cruelly and needlessly suffered, if for no military necessity and without
reason cities have been wrecked, the world should know that.

Those who are carrying on this war behind a curtain, who have
enforced this conspiracy of silence, tell you that in their good time the
truth will be known. It will not. If you doubt this, read the accounts of
this war sent out from the Yser by the official "eye-witness" or
"observer" of the English General Staff. Compare his amiable gossip
in early Victorian phrases with the story of the same battle by Percival
Phillips; with the descriptions of the fall of Antwerp by Arthur Ruhl, and
the retreat to the Marne by Robert Dunn. Some men are trained to
fight, and others are trained to write. The latter can tell you of what
they have seen so that you, safe at home at the breakfast table, also
can see it. Any newspaper correspondent would rather send his
paper news than a descriptive story. But news lasts only until you
have told it to the next man, and if in this war the correspondent is not
to be permitted to send the news I submit he should at least be
permitted to tell what has happened in the past. This war is a world
enterprise, and in it every man, woman, and child is an interested
stockholder. They have a right to know what is going forward. The
directors' meetings should not be held in secret.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "With the Allies" ***

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