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Title: A Journal From Our Legation in Belgium
Author: Gibson, Hugh, 1883-1954
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.

*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Journal From Our Legation in Belgium" ***

[Transcriber's note: This document contains several illustrations of
letters and posters. Where possible, the text on these illustrations
has been included in the description of the illustration.]

[Illustration: His Majesty, Albert, King of the Belgians
_Photograph by Boute, Brussels_]

                               A JOURNAL
                           FROM OUR LEGATION
                              IN BELGIUM

                              HUGH GIBSON

                           SECRETARY OF THE


                               NEW YORK
                           GROSSET & DUNLAP

                        _Copyright, 1917, by_
                      DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY

               _All rights reserved, including that of
                 translation into foreign languages,
                     including the Scandinavian._

                            TO MY MOTHER

                       LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

His Majesty, Albert, King of the Belgians                          _Front_

Facsimile of the first page of the German ultimatum to Belgium
  (_in the text_)                                                     16

Pass issued by the Belgian military authorities to enable Mr.
  Gibson to enter the German Legation at Brussels                     16

Maître Gaston de Leval, legal adviser to the American Legation
  in Brussels                                                         17

Her Majesty, Elizabeth, Queen of the Belgians                         32

Mr. Brand Whitlock, American Minister to Belgium                      33

German supply train entering Brussels                                 96

German infantry entering Brussels                                     97

German officers and soldiers were always ready to oblige by
  posing for the camera                                              112

"Mit Gott für Kaiser und Reich"                                      112

Count Guy d'Oultremont                                               113

From left to right: Colonel DuCane, Captain Ferguson and
  Colonel Fairholme                                                  113

Pass issued by General von Jarotzky (_in text_)                      116

Letter signed by Burgomaster Max requesting the Belgian
  authorities to allow Mr. Gibson to pass (_in text_)                128

Boy Scouts at Belgian headquarters                                   140

Reading from left to right: a Belgian Staff Officer, Colonel
  Fairholme, Colonel DuCane and Captain Ferguson                     140

List of the civilians killed by the Germans at Tamines on
  August 20, 1914                                                    141

Entrance to the Rue de Diest, Louvain                                156

The dead and the living. A Belgian civilian and a German
  soldier                                                            157

Pass issued by Field-Marshal von der Goltz (_in text_)               200

A street in Louvain                                                  202

Fixing on the white Flag for the dash between the lines              202

Refugees from the villages near the Antwerp forts                    203

Arrival in Antwerp of refugees from Malines                          203

At Malines--a good background for a photograph to send home
  to Germany                                                         218

His Eminence, Cardinal Mercier                                       219

Fire at Namur during the bombardment                                 254

Effect of big German shell on Fort of Waehlem                        255

Outside view of the Fort of Waehlem after bombardment                255

View of the Meuse at Huy                                             262

Refugees fleeing toward Dunkirk before the German advance            263

Graves of civilians shot by the Germans                              266

A typical proclamation                                               266

Views of the Fort of Waehlem after its bombardment                   267

Herbert C. Hoover                                                    282

French Howitzer near H----                                           283

German camp kitchen                                                  283

Von Bulow's greeting to the people of Liège (_in text_)              324

How the simple pleasures of the German soldiers were restricted
  (_in text_)                                                        324

Aux habitants de la Belgique (_in text_)                             328

Appeal of the Queen of the Belgians for help from America
  (_in text_)                                                        338

Julius Van Hee, American Vice-Counsel at Ghent                       340

Lewis Richards                                                       340

A Brussels soup-kitchen run by volunteers                            341

Meals served to the children in the schools                          341

German proclamation announcing the execution of Miss Cavell
  (_in text_)                                                        349

Miss Edith Cavell                                                    356

Fly-leaf of Miss Cavell's prayer book                                357

Notes in Miss Cavell's prayer book                              360, 361


This volume is not a carefully prepared treatise on the war. It does not
set out to prove anything. It is merely what its title indicates--a
private journal jotted down hastily from day to day in odd moments, when
more pressing duties would permit. Much material has been eliminated as
of little interest. Other material of interest has been left out because
it cannot be published at this time. It is believed, however, that what
is printed here will suffice to give some idea of life in Belgium during
the first few months of the war.

I have eliminated from the journal most of the matter about the early
history of the Commission for Relief in Belgium. My day-to-day record
did not do any sort of justice to the subject, and since it was not
adequate, I have preferred to eliminate all but such casual reference to
the relief work as is necessary to maintain the narrative. I am
reconciled to this treatment of the subject by the knowledge that the
story will be told comprehensively and well by Dr. Vernon Kellogg, who
will soon publish an authoritative history of the Commission's work. As
former Director of the Commission in Belgium, he has the detailed
knowledge of its workings and the sympathetic understanding of its
purpose, which peculiarly fit him for the task.

The work of the Commission is of a scope and significance that few of us
realise. It is without doubt the greatest humanitarian enterprise in
history, conducted under conditions of almost incredible difficulty. To
those who had an understanding of the work, it had a compelling appeal,
not only as an opportunity for service but also as the greatest
conservation project of all time--the conservation of one of the finest
races of our civilisation.

In its inception and execution, the work of the Commission is
distinctively American. Its inception was in the mind of Herbert Hoover;
in its execution he had the whole-hearted assistance of a little band of
quiet American gentlemen who laboured in Belgium from the autumn of 1914
until we entered the war in April of this year. They came from all parts
of our country and from all walks of life. They were simple work-a-day
Americans, welded together by unwavering devotion to the common task and
to Herbert Hoover, the "Chief." It was the splendid human side of the
Commission that made it succeed in spite of all obstacles, and that part
of the story will be hard to tell.

The gallant little band is now widely scattered. Some are carrying on
their old work from Holland or England or America in order to ensure a
steady flow of food to Belgium. Others are serving our Government in
various capacities or fighting in the armies of our allies. Some of them
we shall not see again and there will never be another reunion, as in
the old days, when the "Chief" came over from London to Brussels with
work to be done. But the bright light of kindly human service which
brought them all together is still aflame and will always be an
inspiration to those who served, however humbly, in the great work.

WASHINGTON, D.C., SEPT. 24, 1917.

                 A Journal From Our Legation In Belgium

_BRUSSELS, July 4, 1914._--After years of hard work and revolutions and
wars and rumours of war, the change to this quiet post has been most
welcome and I have wallowed in the luxury of having time to play.

For the last year or two I have looked forward to just such a post as
this, where nothing ever happens, where there is no earthly chance of
being called out of bed in the middle of the night to see the human race
brawling over its differences. When pounding along in the small hours of
the night, nearly dead with fatigue, I have thought that I should like
to have a long assignment to just such a post and become a diplomatic
Lotos Eater. And at first it was great fun.

That phase lasted until I had had a thorough rest, and then the longing
for something more active began to manifest itself.

I sat down and wrote to the Department of State that while I greatly
appreciated having been sent to this much-coveted post I was ready
whenever there might be need of my services to go where there was work
to be done.

           *           *           *           *           *

_July 28, 1914._--Well, the roof has fallen in. War was declared this
afternoon by Austria. The town is seething with excitement and
everybody seems to realise how near they are to the big stage. Three
classes of reserves have already been called to the colours to defend
Belgian neutrality. A general mobilisation is prepared and may be
declared at any time. The Bourse has been closed to prevent too much
play on the situation, and let things steady themselves. In every other
way the hatches have been battened down and preparations made for heavy

To-night the streets are crowded and demonstrations for and against war
are being held. The Socialists have Jaurés, their French leader, up from
Paris, and have him haranguing an anti-war demonstration in the Grande
Place, where a tremendous crowd has collected. Nobody on earth can see
where it will all lead. England is trying hard to localise the conflict,
and has valuable help. If she does not succeed * * *

An advance guard of tourists is arriving from France, Germany, and
Switzerland, and a lot of them drop in for advice as to whether it is
safe for them to go to various places in Europe. And most of them seem
to feel that we really have authoritative information as to what the
next few days are to bring forth, and resent the fact that we are too
disobliging to tell them the inside news. A deluge of this sort would be
easier for a full-sized Embassy to grapple with, but as Belgium is one
of those places where nothing ever happens we have the smallest possible
organisation, consisting on a peace basis of the Minister and myself,
with one clerk. We shall have somehow to build up an emergency force to
meet the situation.

           *           *           *           *           *

_July 30th._--No line on the future yet. Brussels is beginning to look
warlike. Troops are beginning to appear. The railway stations have been
occupied, and the Boy Scouts are swarming over the town as busy as bird
dogs. A week ago there was hardly a tourist in Brussels. Now the Legation
hall is filled with them, and they all demand precise information as to
what is going to happen next and where they can go with a guarantee from
the Legation that they will not get into trouble.

           *           *           *           *           *

_July 31st._--No, my recent remarks about nothing ever happening in
Brussels were not intended as sarcasm. I thought Belgium was the one
place where I could be sure of a quiet time, and here we are right in
the centre of it. Even if nothing more happens we have had enough
excitement to last me for some time. The doings of the past few days
have brought out some idea of what a general European war would
mean--and it is altogether too dreadful to think of.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Saturday, Aug. 1st._--Last night when I went home, at about midnight,
I found the police going about with the orders for mobilisation, ringing
the door bells and summoning the men to the colours. There was no time
to tarry, but each man tumbled out of bed into his clothes and hurried
away to his regiment. Two of my neighbours were routed out a little
after midnight, and got away within the hour. There was a good deal of
weeping and handshaking and farewelling, and it was not the sort of
thing to promote restful sleep.

This morning I got down to the chancery at a quarter past eight, and
found that Omer, our good messenger, had been summoned to the colours.
He had gone, of course, and had left a note for me to announce the fact.
He had been ill, and could perfectly well have been exempted. The other
day, when we had discussed the matter, I had told him that there would
be no difficulty in getting him off. He showed no enthusiasm, however,
and merely remarked, without heroics, that it was up to him.

Colonel Falls, 7th Regiment, of the National Guard of New York, came in,
having been sent back from the frontier. He had the pleasure of standing
all the way as the trains were packed.

Millard Shaler, the American mining engineer, who had just come back from
the Congo, came in with his amusing Belgian friend who had been telling
us for weeks about the wonderful new car in which he was investing. This
time he came around to let me have a look at it, he having been advised
that the car was requisitioned and due to be taken over to-day.

We have done a land-office business in passports, and shall probably
continue to turn them out by the dozen.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Sunday, August 2d._--Another hectic day with promise of more to come.

This morning I came down a little earlier than usual and found the
Minister already hard at it. He had been routed out of bed and had not
had time to bathe or shave. There was nothing to show that it was a
Sunday--nearly twice as many callers as yesterday, and they were more

Mrs. A---- B---- C---- came in airily and announced that she had started
from Paris yesterday on a motor tour through France and Belgium. Having
got this far, some rude person had told her that her motor might be
seized by the Government for military purposes and that an order had
been promulgated forbidding any one to take cars out of the country. She
came around confidently to have us assure her that this was a wicked
lie--and needless to say was deeply disappointed in us when we failed to
back her up. We had refrained from asking the Government to release our
own servants from their military obligations and have refused to interfere
for anybody else, but that was not enough for her. She left, a highly
indignant lady.

The story is around town this afternoon that the Germans have already
crossed the frontier without the formality of a declaration of war--but
that remains to be seen. Brussels was put under martial law last night,
and is now patrolled by grenadiers and lancers.

The money situation is bad. All small change has disappeared in the
general panic, and none of it has dared show its head during the past
few days. The next thing done by panicky people was to pass round word
that the Government bank notes were no good and would not be honoured.
Lots of shops are refusing to accept bank notes, and few places can make
any change. The police are lined up outside the banks keeping people in
line. People in general are frantic with fear, and are trampling each
other in the rush to get money out of the banks before the crash that
probably will not come. Travelers who came here with pockets bulging with
express checks and bank notes are unable to get a cent of real money, and
nobody shows any enthusiasm over American paper. I have a few bank notes
left, and this evening when I went into a restaurant I have patronised
ever since my arrival the head waiter refused to change a note for me,
and I finally had to leave it and take credit against future meals to be
eaten there. We may have our troubles when our small store is gone, but
probably the situation will improve and I refuse to worry. And some of
our compatriots don't understand why the Legation does not have a cellar
full of hard money to finance them through their stay in Europe.

Communications, with such parts of the world as we still speak to, are
getting very difficult on account of mobilisation, the military having
right of way. This morning's Paris papers have not come in this evening,
and there are no promises as to when we shall see them. The news in the
local papers is scarce and doubtful, and I hope for a word from Paris.

Word has just come in that the Government has seized the supplies of
bread, rice, and beans, and will fix prices for the present. That is a
sensible and steadying thing, and should have a good effect.

Nobody seems to remember that a few days ago Serbia was playing a star
rôle in this affair. She seems to have faded away behind the scenes. A
few days ago, Mexico loomed large in the papers and now we have forgotten
that she ever existed. Albania supplied a lot of table talk, and now we
think about as much about her and her troubles as we do about Thibet.

This afternoon I went around to the Rue Ducale to take a look at the
French Legation. The tricolor was flying in the fresh breeze, and there
was a big crowd outside cheering itself hoarse. It was made up of men
who were called to the colors and were waiting to enroll themselves and
get instructions as to where they should report for duty. The air was
electric, and every now and then the military band struck up the
Marseillaise and the crowd instantly became happily delirious. Some of
them had been standing in the sun for hours waiting to get in and get
their orders, but they were just as keenly responsive to the music and
the mood of the crowd as anybody. All the crowd in the Legation had been
working day and night for days, and was dead with fatigue; but, some
way, they kept going, and managed to be civil and friendly when I had
business with them. How they do it I don't know. A Frenchman's
politeness must be more deeply ingrained than even I had supposed.

On the way back from the Legation this evening, I saw von Below, the
German Minister, driving home from the Foreign Office to his Legation.
He passed close to me, and I saw that the perspiration was standing out
on his forehead. He held his hat in his hand and puffed at a cigarette
like a mechanical toy, blowing out jerky clouds of smoke. He looked
neither to left nor right, and failed to give me his usual ceremonious
bow. He is evidently not at ease about the situation, although he
continues to figure in the newspapers as stating that all is well, that
Germany has no intention of setting foot on Belgian soil, and that all
Belgium has to do is to keep calm. In an interview given to _Le Soir_
he sums up his reassuring remarks by saying: "Your neighbour's house may
burn but yours will be safe."

           *           *           *           *           *

_August 3, 1914._--No mail in to-day. All communications seem to be
stopped for the time being at least. Mobilisation here and in France
requires all the efforts of all hands, and little workaday things like
mail and newspapers go by the board.

According to the news which was given me when I got out of bed this
morning, the German Minister last night presented to the Belgian
Government an ultimatum demanding the right to send German troops across
Belgium to attack France. He was evidently returning from this pleasant
duty when I saw him last night, for the ultimatum seems to have been
presented at seven o'clock. The King presided over a Cabinet Council
which sat all night; and when the twelve hours given by the ultimatum
had expired, at seven this morning, a flat refusal was sent to the German
Legation. Arrangements were got under way, as the Council sat, to defend
the frontiers of the country against aggression. During the night the
garrison left and the Garde Civique came on duty to police the town.

The influx of callers was greater to-day than at any time so far, and we
were fairly swamped. Miss Larner came in and worked like a Trojan, taking
passport applications and reassuring the women who wanted to be told that
the Germans would not kill them even when they got to Brussels. She is a
godsend to us.

Monsieur de Leval, the Belgian lawyer who for ten years has been the
legal counselor of the Legation, came in and brought some good clerks
with him. He also hung up his hat and went to work, making all sorts of
calls at the Foreign Office, seeing callers, and going about to the
different Legations. Granville Fortescue came in from Ostend, and I
should have put him to work but that he had plans of his own and has
decided to blossom forth as a war correspondent. He is all for getting
to the "front" if any.

Just to see what would happen, I went to the telephone after lunch and
asked to be put through to the Embassy at London. To my surprise, I got
the connection in a few minutes and had a talk with Bell, the Second
Secretary. The Cabinet had been sitting since eleven this morning, but
had announced no decision. I telephoned him again this evening and got
the same reply. Bell said that they had several hundred people in the
chancery and were preparing for a heavy blow.

As nearly as we can make out the Germans have sent patrols into Belgian
territory, but there have been no actual operations so far. All day long
we have been getting stories to the effect that there has been a battle
at Visé and that fifteen hundred Belgians had been killed; later it was
stated that they had driven the Germans back with heavy losses. The net
result is that at the end of the day we know little more than we did
this morning.

Parliament is summoned to meet in special session to-morrow morning to
hear what the King has to say about the German ultimatum. It will be an
interesting sight. Parliament has long been rent with most bitter
factional quarrels, but I hear that all these are to be forgotten and
that all parties, Socialists included, are to rally round the throne in
a great demonstration of loyalty.

All the regular troops have been withdrawn from this part of the country
and dispatched to the front, leaving the protection of the capital to
the Garde Civique, who are patrolling the streets, to examine the papers
of everybody who moves about. This is a sort of local guard made up of
people who have not been called for active military service, but who
have volunteered for local defense. They are from every class--lawyers
and butchers and bakers and dentists and university professors. They
have, of course, had little training for this sort of work, and have had
only elementary orders to guide them. These they carry out to the letter.
There are detachments of them at all sorts of strategic points in the
city where they hold up passing vehicles to see who is inside. I have been
stopped by them goodness knows how many times this day. They hold up the
car, look inside, apologise, and explain good-naturedly that they are
obliged to bother me, asking who I am, and after I have satisfied them
with papers that any well-equipped spy would be ashamed of, they let me
go on with more apologies. They rejoice in a traditional uniform topped
off by a derby hat with kangaroo feathers on it. This is anything but
martial in appearance and seems to affect their funny bone as it does

           *           *           *           *           *

_August 5th._--Yesterday morning we got about early and made for the
Chamber of Deputies to hear the King's speech. The Minister and I walked
over together and met a few straggling colleagues headed in the same
direction. Most of them had got there ahead of us, and the galleries
were all jammed. The Rue Royale, from the Palace around the park to the
Parliament building, was packed with people, held in check by the Garde
Civique. There was a buzz as of a thousand bees and every face was
ablaze--the look of a people who have been trampled on for hundreds of
years and have not learned to submit. The Garde Civique had two bands in
front of the Senate, and they tried to play the Brabançonne in unison.
Neither of them could play the air in tune, and they were about a bar
apart all the time. They played it through and then began to play it
over again without a pause between. They blew and pounded steadily for
nearly half an hour, and the more they played, the more enthusiastic the
crowds became.

When I saw how crowded the galleries were I thought I would not push, so
resigned myself to missing the speech and went out onto a balcony with
Webber, of the British Legation, to see the arrival of the King and
Queen. We had the balcony to ourselves, as everybody else was inside
fighting for a place in the galleries to hear the speech.

When the King and Queen finally left the Palace we knew it from a roar
of cheering that came surging across the Park. The little procession
came along at a smart trot, and although it was hidden from us by the
trees we could follow its progress by the steadily advancing roaring of
the mob. When they turned from the Rue Royale into the Rue de la Loi,
the crowd in front of the Parliament buildings took up the cheering in a
way to make the windows rattle.

First came the staff of the King and members of his household. Then the
Queen, accompanied by the royal children, in an open daumont. The
cheering for the Queen was full-throated and with no sign of doubt,
because of her Bavarian birth and upbringing--she is looked on as a
Belgian Queen and nothing else.

After the Queen came a carriage or two with members of the royal family
and the Court. Finally the King on horseback. He was in the field
uniform of a lieutenant-general, with no decorations and none of the
ceremonial trappings usual on such occasions as a speech from the
Throne. He was followed by a few members of his staff who also looked as
though they were meant more for business than for dress parade.

As the King drew rein and dismounted, the cheering burst forth with
twice its former volume; and, in a frantic demonstration of loyalty,
hats and sticks were thrown into the air. Two bands played on manfully,
but we could hear only an occasional discord.

Just as the King started into the building an usher came out, touched me
on the arm and said something, beckoning me to come inside. One of the
galleries had been locked by mistake but had now been opened, and Webber
and I were rewarded for our modesty by being given the whole thing to
ourselves. In a few minutes the Bolivian Chargé came in and joined us.
Our places were not ten feet from the Throne, and we could not have been
better placed.

The Queen came in quietly from one side and took a throne to the left of
the tribune, after acknowledging a roaring welcome from the members of
the two Houses. When the cheering had subsided, the King walked in
alone from the right, bowed gravely to the assembly and walked quickly
to the dais above and behind the tribune. With a business-like gesture
he tossed his cap on to the ledge before him and threw his white cotton
gloves into it--then drew out his speech and read it. At first his voice
was not very steady but he soon controlled it and read the speech to the
end in a voice that was vibrating with emotion but without any oratory
or heroics. He went straight to the vital need for union between all
factions and all parties, between the French, Flemish, and Walloon
races, between Catholics, Liberals, and Socialists in a determined
resistance to the attack upon Belgian independence. The House could
contain itself for only a few minutes at a time, and as every point was
driven home they burst into frantic cheering. When the King, addressing
himself directly to the members of Parliament, said, "Are you determined
at any cost to maintain the sacred heritage of our ancestors?" the whole
Chamber burst into a roar, and from the Socialists' side came cries of:
"At any cost, by death if need be."

It was simple and to the point--a manly speech. And as he delivered it
he was a kingly figure, facing for the sake of honour what he knew to be
the gravest danger that could ever come to his country and his people.
When he had finished he bowed to the Queen, then to the Parliament, and
then walked quickly out of the room, while the assembly roared again.
The Senators and Deputies swarmed about the King on his way out,
cheering and trying to shake him by the hand--and none were more at
pains to voice their devotion than the Socialists.

After he had gone the Queen rose, bowed shyly to the assembly, and
withdrew with the royal children. She was given a rousing ovation as
everybody realised the difficulty of her position and was doubly anxious
to show her all their confidence and affection. The whole occasion was
moving, but when the little Queen acknowledged the ovation so shyly and
so sadly and withdrew, the tears were pretty near the surface--my
surface at any rate.

[Illustration: Facsimile of the first page of the German ultimatum to

    Kaiserlich                         Brüssel, den 2. August 1914
    Deutsche Gesandtschaft
    in Belgien
                                          Trés confidentiel.

    Der Kaiserlicher Regierung liegen zuverlässige Nachrichten vor
    ueber den beabsichtigten Aufmarsch französischer Streitkräfte an
    der Maas-Strecke Givet-Namur. Sie lassen keinen Zweifel ueber die
    Absicht Frankreichs, durch belgisches Gebiet gegen Deutschland

    Die Kaiserliche Regierung kann sich der Besorgniss nicht erwehren,
    daß Belgien, trotz besten Willens, nicht im Stände sein wird, ohne
    Hilfe einen französischen Vormarsch mit so großer Aussicht auf
    Erfolg abzuwehren, daß darin eine ausreichende Sicherheit gegen die
    Bedrohung Deutschlands gefunden werden kann. Es ist ein Gebot der
    Selbsterhaltung für Deutschland, dem feindlichen Angriff
    zuvorzukommen. Mit dem größten Bedauerns würde es daher die deutsche
    Regierung erfüllen, wenn Belgien einen Akt der Feindseligkeit]

[Illustration: Pass issued by the Belgian military authorities to
enable Mr. Gibson to enter the German Legation at Brussels]

[Illustration: Maître Gaston de Leval, legal adviser to the American
Legation in Brussels]

For several minutes after the Queen withdrew the cheering continued.
Suddenly a tense silence fell upon the room. M. de Broqueville, the
Prime Minister, had mounted the tribune and stood waiting for attention.
He was clearly under great stress of emotion, and as the House settled
itself to hear him he brushed away the tears that had started to his
eyes. He began in a very direct way by saying that he would limit
himself to reading a few documents and hoped that, after hearing them,
the House would consider the Government worthy of the confidence that
had been reposed in it and that immediate action would be taken upon
matters of urgent importance. He first read the German ultimatum,[1]
which was received quietly but with indignation and anger which was with
difficulty suppressed. Without commenting upon the German note, he then
read the reply which had been handed to the German Minister.[2]
This was followed by a final note delivered by the German Minister this
morning stating "that in view of the refusal of the King to accede to
the well-intentioned proposals of the Emperor, the Imperial Government,
greatly to its regret, was obliged to carry out by force of arms the
measures indispensable to its security." After reading these documents
he made a short and ringing speech, full of fire, which was repeatedly
interrupted by cheers. When he came down from the tribune he was
surrounded by cheering Senators and Deputies struggling to shake his
hand and express their approval of his speech. Even the Socialists who
had fought him for years rose to the occasion and vied with their
colleagues in their demonstrations of enthusiasm. Broqueville rose again
and said: "In the present crisis we have received from the opposition a
whole-hearted support; they have rallied to our side in the most
impressive way in preparing the reply to Germany. In order to emphasise
this union of all factions, His Majesty the King has just signed a
decree appointing Monsieur Vandervelde as a Minister of State." This
announcement was greeted by roars of applause from all parts of the
House, and Vandervelde was immediately surrounded by Ministers and
Deputies anxious to congratulate him. His reply to the Prime Minister's
speech was merely a shout above the roar of applause: "I accept."

[Footnote 1: The following is the text of the German ultimatum:

                                               BRUSSELS, August 2, 1914.

                           VERY CONFIDENTIAL.

    Reliable information has been received by the German Government to
    the effect that French forces intend to march on the line of the
    Meuse by Gîvet and Namur. This information leaves no doubt as to the
    intention of France to march through Belgian territory against

    The German Government cannot but fear that Belgium, in spite of the
    utmost goodwill, will be unable, without assistance, to repel so
    considerable a French invasion with sufficient prospect of success
    to afford an adequate guarantee against danger to Germany. It is
    essential for the self-defence of Germany that she should anticipate
    any such hostile attack. The German Government would, however, feel
    the deepest regret if Belgium regarded as an act of hostility
    against herself the fact that the measures of Germany's opponents
    force Germany, for her own protection, to enter Belgian territory.

    In order to exclude any possibility of misunderstanding, the German
    Government make the following declaration:

    1. Germany has in view no act of hostility against Belgium. In the
    event of Belgium being prepared in the coming war to maintain an
    attitude of friendly neutrality towards Germany, the German
    Government bind themselves, at the conclusion of peace, to guarantee
    the possessions and independence of the Belgian Kingdom in full.

    2. Germany undertakes, under the above-mentioned condition, to
    evacuate Belgian territory on the conclusion of peace.

    3. If Belgium adopts a friendly attitude, Germany is prepared, in
    co-operation with the Belgian authorities, to purchase all
    necessaries for her troops against a cash payment, and to pay an
    indemnity for any damage that may have been caused by German troops.

    4. Should Belgium oppose the German troops, and in particular should
    she throw difficulties in the way of their march by a resistance of
    the fortresses on the Meuse, or by destroying railways, roads,
    tunnels or other similar works, Germany will, to her regret, be
    compelled to consider Belgium as an enemy.

    In this event, Germany can undertake no obligations towards Belgium,
    but the eventual adjustment of the relations between the two States
    must be left to the decision of arms.

    The German Government, however, entertain the distinct hope that
    this eventuality will not occur, and that the Belgian Government
    will know how to take the necessary measures to prevent the
    occurrence of incidents such as those mentioned. In this case the
    friendly ties which bind the two neighbouring States will grow
    stronger and more enduring.]

[Footnote 2: The Belgian Government replied as follows to the German

    The German Government stated in their note of the 2nd August, 1914,
    that according to reliable information French forces intended to
    march on the Meuse via Gîvet and Namur, and that Belgium, in spite
    of the best intentions, would not be in a position to repulse,
    without assistance, an advance of French troops.

    The German Government, therefore, considered themselves compelled to
    anticipate this attack and to violate Belgian territory. In these
    circumstances, Germany proposed that the Belgian Government adopt a
    friendly attitude towards her, and undertook, on the conclusion of
    peace, to guarantee the integrity of the Kingdom and its possessions
    to their full extent. The note added that if Belgium put
    difficulties in the way of the advance of German troops, Germany
    would be compelled to consider her as an enemy, and to leave the
    ultimate adjustment of the relations between the two States to the
    decision of arms.

    This note has made a deep and painful impression upon the Belgian

    The intentions attributed to France by Germany are in contradiction
    to the formal declarations made to us on August 1st in the name of
    the French Government.

    Moreover, if contrary to our expectation, Belgian neutrality should
    be violated by France, Belgium intends to fulfil her international
    obligations and the Belgian army would offer the most vigorous
    resistance to the invader.

    The treaties of 1839, confirmed by the treaties of 1870, vouch for
    the independence and neutrality of Belgium under the guarantee of
    the Powers, and notably of His Majesty the King of Prussia.

    Belgium has always been faithful to her international obligations;
    she has carried out her duties in a spirit of loyal impartiality and
    she has left nothing undone to maintain and enforce respect for her

    The attack upon her independence with which the German Government
    threaten her constitutes a flagrant violation of international law.
    No strategic interest justifies such a violation of law.

    The Belgian Government, if they were able to accept the proposals
    submitted to them, would sacrifice the honour of the nation and
    betray their duty towards Europe.

    Conscious of the part which Belgium has played for more than eighty
    years in the civilisation of the world, they refuse to believe that
    the independence of Belgium can only be preserved at the price of
    the violation of her neutrality.

    If this hope is disappointed the Belgian Government are firmly
    resolved to repel, by all the means in their power, every attack
    upon their rights.

    Brussels, August 3, 1914 (7 A.M.).]

As we came out, some of the colleagues were gathered about debating
whether they should go over to the Palace and ask to take leave of the
King. They were saved that labour, however, for the King had stepped
into a motor at the door and was already speeding to the General
Headquarters which has been set up nobody knows where. That looks like

When I got back to the Legation I found von Stumm, Counselor of the
German Legation, with the news that his chief had received his passports
and must leave at once. He had come to ask that the American Minister
take over the care of the German Legation and the protection of the
German subjects who had not yet left the country. I said that we could
not undertake anything of that sort without authority from Washington,
and got the Minister to telegraph for it when he came in from some
hurried visits he had made in search of news.

While we were snatching some lunch, von Stumm came back with the German
Minister, von Below, and said that some provisional arrangement must be
made at once as the staff of the Legation would have to leave for the
Dutch frontier in the course of the afternoon--long before we could hope
for an answer from Washington. We did not like the idea of doing that
sort of thing without the knowledge of Washington, but finally agreed to
accept the charge provisionally on grounds of humanity, until such time
as we should receive specific instructions as to who would be definitely
entrusted with the protection of German interests. In case of need, we
shall be asked to take over certain other Legations and shall have our
hands more than full.

At five o'clock we went over to the German Legation, which we found
surrounded by a heavy detachment of Garde Civique as a measure of
protection against violence. We drew up, signed, and sealed a protocol
accepting what is known as _la garde des clefs et des sceaux_, until
such time as definite arrangements might be made. The Minister and von
Stumm were nearly unstrung. They had been under a great strain for some
days and were making no effort to get their belongings together to take
them away. They sat on the edge of their chairs, mopped their brows and
smoked cigarettes as fast as they could light one from another. I was
given a lot of final instructions about things to be done--and all with
the statement that they should be done at once, as the German army would
doubtless be in Brussels in three days. While we were talking, the
chancellor of the Legation, Hofrat Grabowsky, a typical white-haired
German functionary, was pottering about with sealing wax and strips of
paper, sealing the archives and answering questions in a deliberate and
perfectly calm way. It was for all the world like a scene in a play.
The shaded room, the two nervous diplomats registering anxiety and
strain, the old functionary who was to stay behind to guard the archives
and refused to be moved from his calm by the approaching cataclysm. It
seemed altogether unreal, and I had to keep bringing myself back to a
realisation of the fact that it was only too true and too serious.

They were very ominous about what an invasion means to this country, and
kept referring to the army as a steam roller that will leave nothing
standing in its path. Stumm kept repeating: "Oh, the poor fools! Why
don't they get out of the way of the steam roller. We don't want to hurt
them, but if they stand in our way they will be ground into the dirt.
Oh, the poor fools!"

The Government had a special train ready for the German diplomatic and
consular officers who were to leave, and they got away about seven. Now,
thank goodness, they are safely in Holland and speeding back to their
own country.

Before leaving, Below gave out word that we would look after German
interests, and consequently we have been deluged with frightened people
ever since.

All the Germans who have remained here seem to be paralysed with fright,
and have for the most part taken refuge in convents, schools, etc. There
are several hundreds of them in the German Consulate-General which has
been provisioned as for a siege. Popular feeling is, of course, running
high against them, and there may be incidents, but so far nothing has
happened to justify the panic.

This morning a Belgian priest, the Abbé Upmans, came in to say that he
had several hundred Germans under his care and wanted some provision
made for getting them away before the situation got any worse.

After talking the matter over with the Minister and getting his
instructions, I took the Abbé in tow, and with Monsieur de Leval went to
the Foreign Office to see about getting a special train to take these
people across the border into Holland and thence to Germany. At first,
the suggestion was received with some resentment and I was told flatly
that there was no good reason for Belgium to hand over special trains to
benefit Germans when every car was needed for military operations. I
pleaded that consideration must be shown these helpless people and that
this course was just as much in the interest of Belgium as of anybody
else, as it would remove the danger of violence with possible reprisals
and would relieve the overworked police force of onerous duties. After
some argument, Baron Donny went with me to the Sûreté Publique where we
went over the matter again with the Chief. He got the point at once, and
joined forces with us in a request to the Minister of Railways for a
special train. We soon arranged matters as far as the Belgian frontier.
I then telephoned through to The Hague, got Marshal Langhorne and asked
him to request the Dutch Government to send another train to the
frontier to pick our people up and send them through to Germany. He went
off with a right good will to arrange that, and I hope to have an answer
in the morning.

We plan to start the train on Friday morning at four o'clock, so as to
get our people through the streets when there are few people about. We
are making it known that all Germans who wish to leave should put in an
appearance by that time, and it looks as though we should have from
seven hundred to a thousand to provide for. It will be a great relief to
get them off, and I hold my breath until the train is safely gone.

The Belgian Government is making no distinction between Germans, and is
letting those liable for military service get away with the others.

Wild stories have begun to circulate about what is bound to happen to
Americans and other foreigners when hostilities get nearer to Brussels,
and we have had to spend much time that could have been devoted to
better things in calming a lot of excitable people of both sexes. I
finally dug out the plan of organisation of the foreigners for the Siege
of Peking and suggested to the Minister that, in order to give these
people something to do and let them feel that something was being done,
we should get them together and appoint them all on committees to look
after different things. This was done to-day. Committees were appointed
to look for a house where Americans could be assembled in case of
hostilities in the immediate vicinity of Brussels; to look after the
food supply; to attend to catering; to round up Americans and see that
they get to the place of refuge when the time comes; to look after
destitute Americans, etc. Now they are all happy and working like
beavers, although there is little chance that their work will serve any
useful purpose aside from keeping them occupied. We got Mrs. Shaler to
open up the Students' Club, which had been closed for the summer, so
that the colony can have a place to meet and work for the Red Cross and
keep its collective mind off the gossip that is flying about.

Last night our cipher telegrams to Washington were sent back from the
telegraph office with word that under the latest instructions from the
Government they could not be forwarded. The Minister and I hurried over
to the Foreign Office, where we found several of the colleagues on the
same errand. It was all a mistake, due to the fact that the General
Staff had issued a sweeping order to stop all cipher messages without
stopping to consider our special case. It was fixed after some debate,
and the Minister and I came back to the shop and got off our last
telegrams, which were finished at three this morning.

I was back at my desk by a little after eight and have not finished this
day's work, although it is after midnight. I have averaged from three to
five hours sleep since the trouble began and, strange to say, I thrive
on it.

I have called several times to-day at the French and British Legations
to get the latest news. They keep as well posted as is possible in the
prevailing confusion, and are most generous and kind in giving us
everything they properly can.

There seems to have been a serious engagement to-day at Liège, which the
Germans are determined to reduce before proceeding toward France. The
report is that the attack was well resisted and the Germans driven back
with heavy loss. A number of prisoners have been taken and were being
brought into Brussels this evening along with the wounded. In the
course of the fighting there was a sort of charge of the Light Brigade;
one squadron of Belgian Lancers was obliged to attack six times its
number of Germans and was cut to pieces, only one officer escaping. The
morale of the Belgians is splendid.

This afternoon as the Minister and I were going to call on the British
Minister, we passed the King and his staff headed out the Rue de la Loi
for the front. They looked like business.

Several times to-day I have talked over the telephone with the Embassy
in London. They seem to be as strong on rumours as we are here. One
rumour I was able to pass on to Bell was to the effect that the British
flagship had been sunk by German mines with another big warship. Another
to the effect that five German ships have been destroyed by the French
fleet off the coast of Algeria, etc., etc.

The Red Cross is hard at work getting ready to handle the wounded, and
everybody is doing something. Nearly everybody with a big house has
fitted it in whole or in part as a hospital. Others are rolling bandages
and preparing all sorts of supplies.

The military attachés are all going about in uniform now. Each Legation
has a flag on its motor and the letters C.D.--which are supposed to
stand for Corps Diplomatique, although nobody knows it. I have seized
Mrs. Boyd's big car for my own use. D.L. Blount has put his car at the
disposal of the Minister and is to drive it himself.

There is talk already of moving the Court and the Government to Antwerp,
to take refuge behind the fortifications. When the Germans advance
beyond Liège, the Government will, of course, have to go, and the
diplomatic corps may follow. It would be a nuisance for us, and I hope
we may be able to avoid it.

Germans are having an unhappy time, and I shall be happier when they are
across the border. Nothing much seems to have happened to them beyond
having a few shops wrecked in Antwerp and one or two people beaten up
here. One case that came to my knowledge was an outraged man who had
been roughly handled and could not understand why. All he had done was
to stand in front of a café where the little tables are on the sidewalk
and remark: "Talk all the French you can. You'll soon have to talk
German." Of course there are a lot of Belgians, Swiss and Dutch who
rejoice in good German names and they are not having a pleasant time.
One restaurant called Chez Fritz, I saw when coming along the Boulevard
this evening, had hung out a blackboard with the proud device: "_Fritz
est Luxembourgeois, mais sa Maison est Belge._" He was taking no chances
on having the place smashed.

           *           *           *           *           *

_August 6th._--This morning when I came into the Legation I found the
Minister of Justice in top hat and frock coat waiting to see somebody.
He had received a report that a wireless station had been established on
top of the German Legation and was being run by the people who were left
in the building. He came to ask the Minister's consent to send a judge
to look, see and draw up a _procès verbal_. In our own artless little
American way we suggested that it might be simpler to go straight over
and find out how much there was to the report. The Minister of Justice
had a couple of telegraph linemen with him, and as soon as Mr. Whitlock
could get his hat, we walked around the corner to the German Legation,
rang the bell, told the startled occupants that we wanted to go up to
the garret and--up we went.

When we got there we found that the only way onto the roof was by a long
perpendicular ladder leading to a trap door. We all scrambled up
this--all but the Minister of Justice, who remained behind in the garret
with his top hat.

We looked the place over very carefully, and the workmen--evidently in
order to feel that they were doing something--cut a few wires which
probably resulted in great inconvenience to perfectly harmless people
farther along the street. But there was no evidence of a wireless
outfit. One of the men started to explain to me how that proved nothing
at all; that an apparatus was now made that could be concealed in a hat
and brought out at night to be worked. He stopped in the middle of a
word, for suddenly we heard the rasping intermittent hiss of a wireless
very near at hand. Everybody stiffened up like a lot of pointers, and in
a minute had located the plant. It was nothing but a rusty girouette on
top of a chimney being turned by the wind and scratching spitefully at
every turn. The discovery eased the strain and everybody laughed.

Then there was another sound, and we all turned around to see a trap
door raised and the serene, bemonocled face of my friend Cavalcanti
looked out on us in bewilderment. In our search we had strayed over
onto the roof of the Brazilian Legation. It seemed to cause him some
surprise to see us doing second-story work on their house. It was a
funny situation--but ended in another laugh. It is a good thing we can
work in a laugh now and then.

The day was chiefly occupied with perfecting arrangements for getting
off our German refugees. The Minister wished the job on me, and I with
some elements of executive ability myself gave the worst part of it to
Nasmith, the Vice-Consul-General. Modifications became necessary every
few minutes, and Leval and I were running around like stricken deer all
day, seeing the disheartening number of government officials who were
concerned, having changes made and asking for additional trains. During
the afternoon more and more Germans came pouring into the Consulate for
refuge, until there were over two thousand of them there, terribly
crowded and unhappy. Several convents were also packed, and we
calculated that we should have two or three thousand to get out of the
country. In the morning the Legation was besieged by numbers of poor
people who did not know which way to turn and came to us because they
had been told that we would take care of them. We were all kept busy;
and Leval, smothering his natural feelings, came out of his own accord
and talked and advised and calmed the frightened people in their own
language. None of us would have asked him to do it, but he was fine
enough to want to help and to do it without any fuss.

A crowd of curious people gathered outside the Legation to watch the
callers, and now and then they boo-ed a German. I looked out of the
window in time to see somebody in the crowd strike at a poor little worm
of a man who had just gone out the door. He was excited and foolish
enough to reach toward his hip pocket as though for a revolver. In an
instant the crowd fell on him; and although Gustave, the messenger, and
I rushed out we were just in time to pull him inside and slam the door
before they had a chance to polish him off. Gustave nearly had his
clothes torn off in the scrimmage, but stuck to his job. An inspired
idiot of an American tourist who was inside tried to get the door open
and address the crowd in good American, and I had to handle him most
undiplomatically to keep him from getting us all into trouble. The crowd
thumped on the door a little in imitation of a mob scene, and the Garde
Civique had to be summoned on the run from the German Legation to drive
them back and establish some semblance of order. Then de Leval and I
went out and talked to the crowd--that is to say, we went out and he
talked to the crowd. He told them very reasonably that they were doing
harm to Belgium, as actions of this sort might bring reprisals which
would cost the country dear, and that they must control their feelings.
He sounded the right note so successfully that the crowd broke up with a

Orders have been issued to permit us free use of the telephone and
telegraph, although they have been cut for everybody else. Yesterday
afternoon I talked with the Consulates at Ghent and Antwerp. They were
both having their troubles with Germans who wanted to get out of the
country. I told them to send everybody up here and let them report at
their own consulate, where they will be looked after.

The Government is taking no chances of having trouble because of the
doings of francs-tireurs. The Minister of the Interior sent out, on the
4th, a circular to every one of the 2,700 communes in the country to be
posted everywhere. The circular points out in simple and emphatic terms
the duty of civilians to refrain from hostile acts and makes it clear
that civilians might be executed for such acts. Aside from this, every
newspaper in the country has printed the following notice signed by the
Minister of the Interior:

                           TO CIVILIANS

     The Minister of the Interior advises civilians, in case the enemy
     should show himself in their district:

     Not to fight;

     To utter no insulting or threatening words;

     To remain within their houses and close the windows, so that it
     will be impossible to allege that there has been any provocation;

     To evacuate any houses or small village which may be occupied by
     soldiers in order to defend themselves, so that it cannot be
     alleged that civilians have fired;

     An act of violence committed by a single civilian would be a crime
     for which the law provides arrest and punishment. It is all the
     more reprehensible in that it might serve as a pretext for measures
     of repression resulting in bloodshed and pillage or the massacre of
     the innocent population with women and children.

In the course of the afternoon we got our telegrams telling of the
appropriation by Congress of two and a half millions for the relief of
Americans in Europe, and the despatch of the _Tennessee_ with the money
on board. Now all hands want some of the money and a cabin on the
_Tennessee_ to go home in.

----, the Wheat King, came into the Legation this morning and was very
grateful because we contrived to cash out of our own pockets a
twenty-dollar express check for him. He was flat broke with his pocket
bulging with checks and was living in a _pension_ at six francs a day.
There is going to be a lot of discomfort and suffering unless some money
is made available pretty soon. The worst of it is that this is the
height of the tourist season and Europe is full of school-teachers and
other people who came over for short trips with meager resources
carefully calculated to get them through their traveling and home again
by a certain date. If they are kept long they are going to be in a bad
way. One of our American colony here, Heineman, had a goodly store of
currency and had placed it at the disposal of the Legation, to be used
in cashing at face value travelers' checks and other similar paper which
bankers will not touch now with a pair of tongs. Shaler has taken charge
of that end of the business and has all the customers he can handle.
Heineman will have to bide his time to get any money back on all his
collection of paper, and his contribution has meant a lot to people who
will never know who helped them.

[Illustration: Her Majesty, Elisabeth, Queen of the Belgians
_Photograph by Underwood & Underwood_]

[Illustration: Mr. Brand Whitlock, American Minister to Belgium]

There was a meeting of the diplomatic corps last night to discuss the
question of moving with the Court to Antwerp in certain eventualities.
It is not expected that the Government will move unless and until the
Germans get through Liège and close enough to threaten Louvain, which is
only a few miles out of Brussels. There was no unanimous decision on the
subject, but if the Court goes, the Minister and I will probably take
turns going up, so as to keep in communication with the Government.
There is not much we can accomplish there, and we have so much to do
here that it will be hard for either of us to get away. It appeals to
some of the colleagues to take refuge with a Court in distress, but I
can see little attraction in the idea of settling down inside the line
of forts and waiting for them to be pounded with heavy artillery.

Liège seems to be holding out still. The Belgians have astonished
everybody, themselves included. It was generally believed even here that
the most they could do was to make a futile resistance and get slaughtered
in a foolhardy attempt to defend their territory against invasion. They
have, however, held off a powerful German attack for three or four days.
It is altogether marvelous. All papers have the head lines: "_Les forts
tiennent toujours._"

In the course of the afternoon we arranged definitely that at three
o'clock this morning there should be ample train accommodations ready at
the Gare du Nord to get our Germans out of the country. Nasmith and I
are to go down and observe the entire proceedings, so that we can give
an authoritative report afterward.

There is a German-American girl married to a German who lives across the
street from me. I sent her word to-day that she and her husband and
little boy had better get away while there was a way open. Last evening
while we were at dinner at the Legation the three of them arrived in a
panic. They had heard that there was a mob of ten thousand people about
the German Consulate about to break in and kill every German in the
place. Of course they could not be persuaded to go near the Consulate or
any of the other refuges. They wanted to settle down and stay at the
Legation. As the Minister was on his way out to the meeting of the
corps, the woman waylaid him, had got down on her knees and kissed his
hand and groveled and had hysterics. He called for me and we got them
quieted down. I finally agreed to go down to the Consulate and take a
look so as to reassure them.

When I got there I found that the streets had been barred off by the
military for two blocks in every direction, and that there was only a
small crowd gathered to see what might happen. About as hostile as a lot
of children. I got through the line of troops and in front of the
Consulate found several hundreds of the refugees who had been brought
out to be marched to the Cirque Royale, where they could be more
comfortably lodged until it was time to start for the train. They were
surrounded by placid Gardes Civiques and were all frightened to death.
They had had nothing to do for days but talk over the terrible fate that
awaited them if the bloodthirsty population of Brussels ever got at
them; the stories had grown so that the crowd had hypnotised itself and
was ready to credit any yarn. The authorities showed the greatest
consideration they could under their orders. They got the crowd started
and soon had them stowed away inside the Cirque Royale, an indoor circus
near the Consulate. Once they got inside, a lot of them gave way to
their feelings and began to weep and wail in a way that bade fair to set
off the entire crowd. One of the officers came out to where I was and
begged me to come in and try my hand at quieting them. I climbed up on a
trunk and delivered an eloquent address to the effect that nobody had
any designs on them; that the whole interest of the Belgian Government
lay in getting them safely across the frontier; called their attention
to the way the Garde Civique was working to make them comfortable, and
to reassure them, promised that I would go with them to the station, put
them on their trains, and see them safely off for the frontier. That
particular crowd cheered up somewhat, but I could not get near enough to
be heard by the entire outfit at one time, so one of the officers
dragged me around from one part of the building to another until I had
harangued the entire crowd on the instalment plan. They all knew that we
were charged with their interests, and there was nearly a riot when I
wanted to leave. They expected me to stay right there until they were
taken away.

I came back to the Legation and told my people that the way was clear
and that they had nothing to worry about. Mrs. Whitlock and Miss Larner
had taken the family in hand, were petting the baby boy, and had them
all cheered up to a sensible state of mind. I got them into the motor
and whisked them down to the lines that were drawn about the block. Here
we were stopped and, sooner than undertake a joint debate with the
sentry, I was for descending and going the rest of the way on foot. When
a few of the idly curious gathered about the car, the woman nearly had
a fit and scrambled back into the car almost in spasms. Of course the
scene drew some more people and we soon had a considerable crowd. I
gathered up the boy--who was a beauty and not at all afraid--and took
him out of the car. There was in the front rank an enormous Belgian with
a fiercely bristling beard. He looked like a sane sort, so I said to
him: "_Expliquez à ces gens que vous n'êtes pas des ogres pour croquer
les enfants._" He growled out affably: "_Mais non, on ne mange pas les
enfants, ni leurs mères,_" and gathered up the baby and passed him about
for the others to look at. My passengers then decided that they were not
in such mortal danger and consented to get out. An officer I knew came
along and offered to escort them inside. On the way in I ran into Madame
Carton de Wiart, wife of the Minister of Justice, who was there to do
what she could to make things run smoothly. She is rabid about the
Germans, but is not for taking it out on these helpless people. And that
seems to be the spirit of everybody, although it would be quite
understandable if they showed these people some of their resentment. The
Gardes were bestirring themselves to look after their charges. Some of
them had contributed their pocket money and had bought chocolate and
milk for the children and mineral waters and other odds and ends for
those that needed them. And some of them are not very sure as to how
long they will have pocket money for themselves. Aside from the fright
and the heat and the noise of that crowd in the Cirque, it was all
pretty depressing. During the night one old man died--probably from
fright and shock--and a child was born. It was altogether a night of
horror that could perfectly well have been avoided if people had only
been able to keep calm and stay at home until time for the train to

Having settled my charges and taken a look round, I went back to the
Legation and got off some telegrams and talked with Bell over the
telephone. He had a lot of news that we had not received and many
errands to be done for people who had friends and relatives here.

A little after midnight friend Nasmith came along and we set out
together for our rounds. We first took a look at one or two places and
then went to my diggings for a sandwich and such rest as we could get
before time to start on our round-up. Soon after midnight, Fortescue
came rolling up in a cab looking for a place to lay his head. He had
just come in from Liège, where he had had a close view of yesterday
morning's heavy fighting. He said the Germans were pouring men in
between the forts in solid formation, and that these sheep were being
mown down by the Belgians heavily intrenched between the forts. The
Germans are apparently determined to get some of their men through
between the forts and are willing to pay the price, whatever it may be.
To-day we hear that the Germans have asked for an armistice of
twenty-four hours to bury their dead.

After we had hung upon his words as long as he could keep going, Nasmith
and I got under way to look after our exodus. The Garde was keeping
order at all places where there were refugees, and I was easy in my mind
about that; my only worry was as to what might happen when we got our
people out into the streets. Promptly at three o'clock we began to march
them out of the Cirque. The hour was carefully chosen as the one when
there were the least possible people in the streets; the evening crowds
would have gone home and the early market crowd would hardly have
arrived. A heavy guard was thrown around the people as they came out of
the building and they were marched quickly and quietly down back streets
to the Gare du Nord. I never saw such a body of people handled so
quickly and yet without confusion. In the station four trains were drawn
up side by side; as the stream of people began pouring into the station,
it was directed to the first platform and the train was filled in a few
minutes. At just the right moment the stream was deflected to the next
platform, and so on until all four trains were filled. After starting
the crowd into the station and seeing that there was going to be no
trouble, I set off with an officer of the Garde Civique to see about
other parties coming from some of the convents. They had not waited for
us, but were already moving, so that when we got back to the station
they tacked onto the end of the first party and kept the stream flowing.

As fast as the trains were filled, the signal was given and they pulled
out silently. I stood behind some of the Garde Civique and watched the
crowd pour in. The Gardes did not know who I was aside from the fact
that my presence seemed to be countenanced by their officers, and so I
overheard what they had to say. They were a decent lot and kept saying:
_Mais c'est malheureux tout de même! Regardez donc ces pauvres gens. Ce
n'est pas de leur faute_, and a lot more of that sort of thing.

It takes a pretty fine spirit to be able to treat the enemy that way.
A lot of people in the passing crowd spotted me and stopped to say
good-bye or called out as they went by. It was pathetic to see how
grateful they were for the least kind word. I never saw such a pitiful
crowd in my life and hope I never may again. They hurried along, looking
furtively to right and left with the look of a rat that is in fear of
his life. I have seldom pitied people more, for that sort of fear must
be the most frightful there is--simple fear of physical violence.

It was remarkable to see the different classes of people who were there.
The Manager of a bank of Brussels had abandoned everything he owned and
joined the crowd. There were several financiers of standing who felt
obliged to flee with their families. And there were lots of servants who
had lived here for years and were really Belgian in everything but
birth. Just before the last train left some closed wagons came from the
prisons to bring a lot of Germans and wish them back on their own
country in this way.

And there was not an incident. Here and there a prowling cab driver
hooted, but there was not a stone thrown or any other violence. Before
the last of the procession got into the station, it was nearly six
o'clock and broad daylight. We moved up the platform with Major Dandoy
and watched the last train leave. The Abbé Upmans was there through it
all, working like a trump, bucking the people up; he did not stop until
the last train pulled out into the fresh summer morning, and then he
stayed aboard after the train was in motion to shake hands with a little
handful of downhearted people. He shook himself and heaved a sigh of
relief--remarking quietly that his duty had required him to go through
all this and look after his charges while they were in trouble--but that
now he might have the satisfaction of being a Belgian. I too heaved a
sigh of relief, but it was because the mob was safely off and I need not
worry about street fighting.

Dandoy had not had any sleep for nearly sixty hours, and though Nasmith
and I were pretty tired ourselves, we thought the least we could do was
to take him home. His family is in Liège and he has not been able to get
any word from them. I offered to try a telephone message to the Consul
at Liège, but have had no luck with it. None the less, Dandoy has been
most grateful.

Before we left the station they began bringing in the wounded and
prisoners. Most of the wounded I saw were not badly hurt, and were
plucky and confident. Most of them were supported or led by Boy Scouts
who have taken off the military the full burden of messenger work and a
lot of other jobs. They are being of real value, as they can do lots of
useful things and thereby release grown men for service at the front.

When I got back to the Rue St. Boniface--after stopping at the Legation
to see what had come in--had just time to throw myself down for a
twenty-minute rest before the slave came in with my coffee. And then
with no time for a tub, I had to hurry back and get into the harness.
And none too soon, for the work began to pour in and I have been kept
on the jump all day. If all goes well I hope to get to bed some time
after midnight to-night. That means about three hours sleep and hard
going during the past forty-eight hours.

This morning the various American committees came to the Legation to
report on the measures they have taken for the protection of the colony
in case of danger. I have been handed the pleasant task of Chief of
Staff, with full authority to settle all matters affecting the
protection of Americans in case hostilities reach this part of the
country, as seems may well be the case before many days. In harmony with
my well-known policy of passing the buck--more politely known as
executive ability--I impressed Major Boyer of the Army, who is here for
the time. He has set up an office at the headquarters of the committee
and makes it his business to keep me fully posted as to what is going on
there. First I started him out to look at the various houses that have
been under discussion by the committee, so that he could decide as to
their relative accessibility and general strategic advantages. He did
this and made all sorts of arrangements tending to co-ordinate the work
of the various sub-committees along the lines of the plan we drew up. It
will be a great thing to have somebody who will act as buffer for all
the detail and relieve me of just that much.

Germans who for one reason or another had not got away on our train kept
turning up all day, and we kept sending them along to the Consulate.
Late this afternoon the hard-working Nasmith came in to say that there
were already seven hundred of them gathered there. We shall have to
have another special train for day after to-morrow morning, and hope to
get most of the remaining Germans out of harm's way by that time.

The Belgians continue to be a surprise. At last accounts they were still
holding the forts at Liège. The French appear to have established
themselves along the Meuse and to be ready for the attack when it comes.
Where the British troops are, nobody here seems to know--and, strange to
say, they are not advertising their whereabouts. There are plenty of
people who have had confidential tips from their cook's brother, who
lives in the country and has seen them with his own eyes. According to
such stories they are all landed at Ostend and are being hurried across
the country through Malines. Another story is that they have been
shipped through to Liège in closed freight cars to outwit German spies,
and that they are now in the thick of it. According to still another of
these confidential fellows, they have been shipped through Brussels
itself in the night and we were unaware when they passed under our very
windows. You can choose any story you like and get an audience with it
these days.

To-day's mouth-to-mouth news is that the French have fought a big battle
near St. Hubert and repulsed the Germans with heavy losses. This has
about as much confirmation as the reports as to the whereabouts of the
British army.

To-day trains have been coming in all day with wounded from Liège, and
the lot--Belgian and German--are being cared for by the Red Cross. The
Palace has been turned into a hospital, and the Queen has taken over
the supervision of it. Nearly every big hotel in town has turned its
dining-room into a ward, and guests are required to have their meals in
their rooms. Some of the big department stores have come up finely in
outfitting hospitals and workrooms, clearing out their stocks, and
letting profits go hang for the time being. The International Harvester
Company cleared its offices here and installed twenty-five
beds--informing the Red Cross that it would take care of the running
expenses as long as the war lasts. The hospital facilities have grown
far faster than the wounded have come in, and there is an element of
humour in the rush of eager women who go to the station and almost fight
for the wounded as they are brought off the trains.

I impressed the services of several people to help out to-day, but the
most valuable are two crack stenographers who have been turned over to
us by business firms here. By dint of labouring with them all morning
and afternoon and seeing as few people as possible, I have managed to
clean up my desk, so that I can go to bed with a clear conscience
to-night when I have got through my call to London.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, August 8, 1914._--To-day our new organisation is working like
clockwork. In Cruger's formerly calm chancery there are five typewriters
pounding away, and at the committee rooms there are swarms of people
working to take care of odds and ends. Monsieur de Leval has a table at
one side of my room, and the committee relieves us of the people who
want information and those who want to talk.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Sunday, August 9th._--I got this far when the roof fell in last night.
During the afternoon yesterday I got out to attend to a few odds and
ends of errands--and, as always happens when I go out, things began to
happen. I came back to find the Minister and de Leval wrestling with a
big one.

A curious telegram had come from The Hague, quoting the text of a
message which the German Government desired us to present to the Belgian
Government. Here it is in translation, a truly German message:

     The fortress of Liège has been taken by assault after a brave
     defense. The German Government most deeply regret that bloody
     encounters should have resulted from the attitude of the Belgian
     Government toward Germany. Germany is not coming as an enemy into
     Belgium; it is only through the force of circumstances that she has
     had, owing to the military measures of France, to take the grave
     decision of entering Belgium and occupying Liège as a base for her
     further military operations. Now that the Belgian army has upheld
     the honour of its arms by its heroic resistance to a very superior
     force, the German Government beg the King of the Belgians and the
     Belgian Government to spare Belgium further horrors of war. The
     German Government are ready for any compact with Belgium which can
     be reconciled with their conflicts with France. Germany once more
     gives her solemn assurance that it is not her intention to
     appropriate Belgian territory to herself and that such an intention
     is far from her thoughts. Germany is still ready to evacuate
     Belgium as soon as the state of war will allow her to do so.

Of course we were loath to present anything of the sort, but the thing
had to be handled carefully. After some pow-wowing I went over to the
Foreign Office with the message and saw Baron van der Elst. I told him
seriously that we had received a very remarkable telegram which
purported to contain a message from the German Government; that it bore
no marks of authenticity, and that we were not sure as to its source;
but that we felt that we should be lacking in frankness if we did not
show him what we had received. He seized the message and read it
through, his amazement and anger growing with each line. When he had
finished, he gasped for a minute or two and then led me into the next
room to the Minister for Foreign Affairs, M. Davignon, to whom he
translated the telegram aloud. When they had finished discussing the
message and I had a pretty clear idea as to the Belgian attitude toward
the proposal--not that I had had any real doubt--I asked him: "If the
American Minister had delivered this message what would have been its
reception?" Without an instant's hesitation, M. Davignon replied: "We
should have resented his action and should have declined to receive the

That was all I wanted to know and I was ready to go back to the

I took Baron van der Elst home in the car and had the pleasure of seeing
him explain who he was to several Gardes Civiques, who held up the car
from time to time. He was very good-natured about it, and only resented
the interruptions to what he was trying to say. His son is in the army
and he has no news of him. As he got out of the car he remarked that if
it were not so horrible, the mere interest of events would be enough to
make these days wonderful.

When I got back to the Legation and reported the result of my visit, we
went to work and framed a telegram to Washington, giving the text of
the German message, explaining that we had nothing to prove its
authenticity and adding that we had reason to believe that the Belgian
Government would not accept it. The same message was sent to The Hague.
This pleasant exercise with the code kept us going until four in the
morning. Eugène, the wonder chauffeur, had no orders, but curled up on
the front seat of his car and waited to take me home. He was also on
hand when I got up a couple of hours later, to take me back to the
Legation. Chauffeurs like that are worth having.

When I came in this morning the place was packed with Germans. Some
cheerful idiot had inserted a notice in the papers that all Germans were
to be run out of the country, and that they should immediately apply to
the American Legation. As the flood poured in, Leval got on the
telephone to the Sûreté Publique and found out the true facts. Then we
posted a notice in the hall. But that was not enough. As is always the
case with humans, they all knew better than to pay any attention to what
the notice said and each one of the hundred or more callers had some
reason to insist on talking it over with somebody. When they once got
hold of one of us, it was next to impossible to get away without
listening to the whole story of their lives. All they had to do was to
go down to the German Consulate-General, where we had people waiting to
tell them all there was to know. It was hard to make them realise that
by taking up all our time in this way, they were preventing us from
doing things that were really necessary to serve them in more important
matters. I said as much to several of them, who were unusually
long-winded, but every last one replied that HIS case was different and
that he must be heard out at length.

Our refugee train left this morning and took eight hundred more of the
poor people. Where they all turn up from, I don't know, but each day
brings us a fresh and unexpected batch. Many of the cases are very sad,
but if we stop to give sympathy in every deserving case, we should never
get anything practical done for them.

To-day's budget of news is that the French have got to Mulhouse and have
inflicted a decisive defeat upon the Germans. According to reports, the
Alsatians went mad when the French troops crossed the frontier for the
first time in forty-four years. They tore up and burned the frontier
posts and generally gave way to transports of joy. I would have given a
lot to see the crowds in Paris.

A letter came yesterday from Omer, the legation footman, who is at
Tirlemont with the artillery. He said he had not yet been hit, although
he had heard the bullets uncomfortably near. He wound up by saying that
he had _beaucoup de courage_--and I believe him.

It seems that some of the German troops did not know what they were
attacking and thought they were in France. When brought here as
prisoners, some of them expressed surprise to find that Paris was so
small. They seem to have thought that they were in France and the goal
not far away.

The King to-day received through other channels the message from the
Emperor of Germany in regard to peace, which we declined to transmit. I
have not seen its text, but hear it is practically identical with the
message sent us, asking the King to name his conditions for the
evacuation of Liège and the abandonment of his allies, so that Germany
may be entirely free of Belgian opposition in her further operations
against France. I have heard among Belgians only the most indignant
comments on the proposal and look forward with interest to seeing the
answer of the King, which should appear to-morrow.[3]

[Footnote 3: The Belgian reply, which was sent on August 12th through
the Netherlands Minister for Foreign Affairs, is as follows:

    The proposal made to us by the German Government repeats the
    proposal which was formulated in the ultimatum of August 2nd.
    Faithful to her international obligations, Belgium can only
    reiterate her reply to that ultimatum, the more so as since August
    3rd, her neutrality has been violated, a distressing war has been
    waged on her territory, and the guarantors of her neutrality have
    responded loyally and without delay to her appeal.]

The town is most warlike in appearance. There is hardly a house in the
town that does not display a large Belgian flag. It looks as though it
were bedecked for a fiesta. Here and there are French and British flags,
but practically no others. Every motor in town flies a flag or flags at
the bow. We fly our own, but none the less, the sentries, who are
stationed at all the corners dividing the chief quarters of the town and
before all the Ministries and other public buildings, stop us and demand
the papers of the chauffeur and each passenger in the car. We have
passports and all sorts of other papers, but that was not enough, and we
finally had to be furnished by the Ministry for Foreign Affairs with a
special _laisser-passer_. This afternoon I slipped out for a breath of
air and was held up and told that even that was no good until I had had
it viséd by the military authorities. It is said that these strict
measures are the result of the discovery of a tremendous spy system
here. According to the stories which are told, but of which we have
little confirmation, spies are being picked up all the time in the
strangest disguises.

The gossip and "inside news" that is imparted to us is screamingly
funny--some of it.

Yesterday, according to one of these yarns, four nuns arriving at the
Gare du Midi were followed for some time and finally arrested. When
searched, they proved to be young German officers who had adopted that
dress in order to conceal carrier pigeons which they were about to
deliver in Brussels. Wireless outfits are said to have been discovered
in several houses belonging to Germans. I cannot remember all the yarns
that are going about, but even if a part of them are true, it should
make interesting work for those who are looking for the spies. The
regular arrests of proven spies have been numerous enough to turn every
Belgian into an amateur spy-catcher. Yesterday afternoon Burgomaster Max
was chased for several blocks because somebody raised a cry of
"_Espion_" based on nothing more than his blond beard and chubby face. I
am just as glad not to be fat and blond these days.

Yesterday afternoon a Garde Civique came in with the announcement that
the chancellor and clerks of the German Legation, who were locked up
there, were in dire distress; that a baby had been born the day before
to the wife of the concièrge, and that all sorts of troubles had come
upon them. Leval, who had announced that his heart was infinitely
hardened against all Germans, was almost overcome by the news of a
suffering baby and ran like a lamp-lighter to get around there and help
out. When we arrived, however, we found them all beaming and happy. The
baby had been born some days before and the mother was up and about
before the Legation had been closed. Their meals are sent in from a
neighbouring restaurant, and they are perfectly contented to bide their
time as they are. They had orders from Berlin not to leave the Legation,
so it made little difference to them whether they were blockaded by the
Belgian authorities or not. I shall drop in every day or two and see
whether there is anything I can do to lighten their gloom. Of course
their telephone was cut off and they are not allowed to receive mail or
papers, so they are consumed with curiosity about developments. It was,
of course, necessary to refuse to answer their questions about what was
going on and to make assurance doubly sure, I had the Garde Civique
stand by me while I talked with them.

As things shape up now it looks as though we were the only life-sized
country that could keep neutral for long, and as a consequence all the
representatives of the countries in conflict are keeping us pretty well
posted in the belief that they may have to turn their interests over to
us. We shall probably soon have to add Austrian interests to the German
burdens we now have. If there is a German advance, some of the Allied
ministers will no doubt turn their legations over to us. The consequence
is that we may see more of the inside of things than anybody else. Now,
at least, we are everybody's friends. This is undoubtedly the most
interesting post in Europe for the time being, and I would not be
anywhere else for the wealth of the Indies.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, Aug. 10, 1914._--The Belgian Government has finally got out a
proclamation, urging German subjects to leave the country, but stating
that in the event of a general order of expulsion, certain classes of
people will be allowed to remain, such as, very old persons, the sick,
governesses, nurses, etc., and even others for whom Belgians of
undoubted reputation are willing to vouch. There are quantities of
Germans who have lived here all their lives, who are really more Belgian
than German, have no interest in the present conflict and are threatened
with financial ruin if they leave their interests here, and it is pretty
hard on them if they are to be obliged to get out, but they are only a
few of the many, many thousands who are suffering indirectly from the
effects of the war. It is not any easier for the manufacturers in the
neighbourhood of Liège, who will see the work of many years wiped out by
the present hostilities. Some inspired idiot inserted in the papers
yesterday the news that the Legation was attending to the repatriation
of German subjects and the consequence is that our hallways have been
jammed with Germans all day, making uncouth noises and trying to argue
with us as to whether or not we are in charge of German interests. The
mere fact that we deny it is not enough for them! I suppose that the
hallways will continue to sound like a celebration of Kaisersgeburtstag
until we have sent off the last of them.

This morning a large, badly frightened darkey came in looking for a
passport. He awaited his turn very quietly, and grew visibly more and
more apprehensive at the long series of questions asked of the people
ahead of him. When he moved up to the desk, the first question was:

"Where do you want to go?"

"Jes as fur as the stature of Libbuty."

"Are you an American citizen?"

"Me? Lawd bless yuh! No, I ain't nuthin' but a plain ole Baltimoh coon."

Then they gave him the usual blank to fill out. One of the questions on
it was:

"Why do you desire to return to the United States?"

Without any hesitation he wrote:

"I am very much interested in my home at the present time."

Everybody here is intensely curious as to what has become of the British
army; the most generally accepted story is that troops have been landed
at Calais, Dunkirk and Ostend, but although this is generally believed,
there seems to be absolutely no official confirmation of it. Everyone
seems to take it for granted that the British will turn up in good form
when the right time comes, and that when they do turn up, it will have a
good effect. If they can get to the scene of hostilities without everybody
knowing about it, it increases by just so much their chances of success
and anyone that knows anything at all is keeping mum and hoping that no
British soldier will stumble over a chair and make a noise and give away
the line of march.

Our letters from London indicate intense satisfaction with the appointment
of Kitchener and confidence that he will get a maximum of service out of
the forces at his command.

We have been looking from one moment to another for news of a big naval
engagement, but suppose the British Navy is somewhere waiting for a chance
to strike.

Colonel Fairholme, the British Military Attaché, has made a number of
trips to the front and reports that the morale of the Belgian troops is
excellent, that the organisation is moving like clockwork, and, as he
expresses it, that "every man has his tail up."

This evening I went over to the British Legation to see the Colonel, and
learn whatever news he had that he could give me. There was a great
scurrying of servants and the porter was not to be found in the chancery.
The door to Grant-Watson's room was ajar, so I tapped, and, on being
bade in a gruff voice to "Come in," walked into the presence of a
British officer in field uniform, writing at Webber's desk. He was dusty
and unshaven, and had evidently come in from a long ride. I promptly
backed out with apologies and was hustled out of the place by Kidston,
who came running out from the Minister's office. I asked him if the rest
of the army was hidden about the chancery, and his only reply was to
tell me to run along and find the navy, which they themselves had not
been able to locate. They evidently have all they need to know about the
whereabouts of the army, but have succeeded in keeping it dark.

C.M. came over to the Legation this afternoon to get some books for her
mother. We fixed her up and put her in her car, when she announced that
on the way over she had been arrested and taken to the police station as
a German. People are pointing out spies on the street, and anybody that
is blond and rosy-cheeked stands a fine show of being arrested every
time he goes out. She had impressed this car with a suspected number and
paid for it by being made into a jail bird.

My day's work began with a visit to the German Legation. The Government
asked me to secure and return the number for the automobile of von
Stumm, the German Counselor. I had his machine put in the Legation the
day after he left, although he had offered it to me. I presented myself
at the door of the Legation with the note from the Foreign Office,
asking for the number, but was refused admittance by the Gardes
Civiques. They were very nice, but stated that they had the strictest
orders not to let anybody come in or out, and that they had not
discretionary powers. At a visit at the Foreign Office later in the day,
I told of my experience and asked that I be furnished by the military
authorities with a _laisser-passer_ which would enable me to enter the
Legation whenever I so desire. This afternoon I received a formidable
document from the Military Governor which gives me free passage--so far
as I can make out--to enter the Legation in any way save by telephone or
telegraph. I shall go around to-morrow and rub it in on the Gardes

The question of passes has been changed and made more strict each day,
and has got to be a sort of joke. I first used my card, that was
declared insufficient almost from the first. Then I tried my _permis de
circulation_, which was issued to allow me to get into the railway
stations without paying. That was good for a day or so. Then I tried my
passport (as a bearer of despatches), and that got me through once or
twice. Then the Minister for Foreign Affairs gave me his personal card
with a _laisser-passer_ in his own hand, but that was soon turned down
on the ground that the military authorities are in control and the civil
authorities cannot grant passes. Finally the Government has got out a
special form of _laisser-passer_ for the diplomats, and it may prove to
be good--although it is not signed by the military authorities. I have
taken the precaution of keeping all the aforementioned documents and
some others on my person, and am curious to see how soon I shall have to
have some other. The Garde Civique is no longer content with holding up
the car every few blocks and examining the _pièce d'identité_ of the
chauffeur; they must now be satisfied as to the bona fides of each
passenger. Doing some errands around town this afternoon I was held up
and looked over eleven times. I now pull out all the documents I own and
hand out the bunch each time I am stopped. The Garde then, in most
cases, treats the matter rather humorously, and the next time I pass
lets me go on without going through the whole performance again. In
front of the German Legation, however, which we nearly always pass on
our way to or from town, we are invariably held up and looked into
seriously. I know most of the people on the different shifts by this
time and wish them well each time they look at the well-remembered
papers. I shall keep the credentials and any others that may eventually
be added to them, and perhaps some day I shall be able to paper a room
with them.

In the course of the morning there were several matters of interest
which made it necessary for me to go to the Foreign Office. All their
messengers are now gone, and in their place there is a squad of Boy
Scouts on duty. I had a long conference with van der Elst, the
Director-General of the Ministry. In the course of our pow-wow it was
necessary to send out communications to various people and despatch
instructions in regard to several small matters. Each time van der Elst
would ring, for what he calls a "scoots," and hand him the message with
specific instructions as to just how it should be handled. The boys were
right on their toes, and take great pride in the responsibility that is
given them. Some of them have bicycles and do the messenger work through
the town. Those who have not, run errands in the different buildings and
attend to small odd jobs.

The Red Cross is very much in evidence. I went around to the headquarters
after my call at the Foreign Office, to make a little contribution of my
own and to leave others for members of our official family. The
headquarters is at the house of Count Jean de Mérode, the Grand Marshal
of the Court. The entrance hall was filled with little tables where
women sat receiving contributions of money and supplies. I had to wait
some time before I could get near enough to one of the dozen or more
tables, to hand in my contributions. This is the headquarters, but there
are any number of branch offices, and they are said to be equally busy.
The society has been quite overcome by the way people have come forward
with gifts, and they have been almost unable to get enough people
together to handle them as they come in. The big cafés down-town nearly
all have signs out, announcing that on a certain day or days they will
give their entire receipts to the Red Cross or to one of the several
funds gotten up to take care of those suffering directly or indirectly
from the war. Many of the small shops have signs out of the same sort,
announcing that the entire receipts for all articles sold on a certain
day will be handed to one of the funds. They must have gathered an
enormous amount of money, and I don't doubt they will need it. The
wounded are being brought in in great numbers and many buildings are
quite filled with them. In nearly every street there is a Red Cross flag
or two, to indicate a temporary hospital in a private house or a hotel
or shop, and people are stationed in the street to make motors turn
aside or slow down. There are almost no motors on the street except
those on official business or Red Cross work; and, because of the small
amount of traffic, these few go like young cyclones, keeping their
sirens going all the time. The chauffeurs love it and swell around as
much as they are allowed to do. I pray with ours now and then, but even
when I go out to the barber, he seems to believe that he is on his way
to a fire and cuts loose for all he is worth.

Quantities of German prisoners continue to be brought here for safe
keeping, and many of them are taken on down to Bruges. Among those
removed there for unusually safe keeping yesterday was a nephew of the

Judging from the stories printed in the _London Times_ which arrived
to-night, the German Government aroused great enthusiasm by playing up
the capture of Liège. The Germans evidently were led to believe they had
gained a great victory; whereas the forts, which are the only object of
the campaign, are still intact. The city itself is undefended, and there
is no great military reason why the Belgians should not allow it to be
taken. The German troops that had invested the town have not taken over
the administration, but appear to be confining themselves to
requisitioning provisions and supplies, of which they are in need. The
Berlin papers made a great hurrah about the capture of the citadel,
which is a purely ornamental old fort without military importance. From
what they tell me, I judge that you could back an American army mule up
against it and have him kick it down without the expense of bombarding
it. It sounds well in the despatches, however.

Eight French aeroplanes sailed over the city this afternoon, probably
coming from Namur. One of the machines landed on the aviation field at
the edge of the city, and the aviator was nearly torn to shreds by
admirers who wanted to shake him by the hand and convince him that he
was really welcome to Brussels. It is said that some of these fellows
are going to lie in wait for the Zeppelins which have been sailing over
Brussels by night to terrify the population. We hear that one of the
Belgian army aviators did attack a Zeppelin and put it out of business,
bringing to earth and killing all the crew. He himself went to certain
death in the attempt.

The afternoon papers say that in Paris the name of the Rue de Berlin has
been changed to Rue de Liège. Here the Rue d'Allemagne has been changed
to Rue de Liège and the Rue de Prusse to Rue du Général Leman, the
defender of Liège. The time abounds in _beaux gestes_ and they certainly
have their effect on the situation.

Kitchener says that the war may last for some time. At first it seemed
to be taken for granted that it could not last long, as the financial
strain would be too great and the damage done so enormous that one side
or the other would have to yield to avoid national bankruptcy.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, August 11, 1914._--Our halls have been filled with Germans
and Americans, the latter in smaller numbers and the former in larger
crowds than ever. They are gradually being got out of the country,
however, and those who are going to remain are being induced to go to
the right authorities, so that their troubles will soon be settled to a
large extent, and they will not be coming here so much. We are getting
off hundreds of telegrams about the whereabouts and welfare of Americans
and others here and in other parts of Europe; this work alone is enough
to keep a good-sized staff working, and we have them hard at it.

This afternoon I went over to the British Legation and saw Colonel
Fairholme, the military attaché, for a few minutes. He was just back
from a trip out into the wilds with a party of British officers and was
so clearly rushed that I had not the heart to detain him, although I was
bursting with curiosity about the news he evidently had concealed about
him. He appreciates the lenient way I have treated him, and goes out of
his way to let me have anything that he can.

While I was out we saw a German monoplane which sailed over the city not
very high up. The newspapers have published a clear description of the
various aeroplanes that are engaged in the present war, so that nobody
will be foolish enough to fire at those of the allies when they come our
way. This one was clearly German, and the Garde Civique and others were
firing at it with their rifles, but without any success. Our Legation
guard, which consists of about twenty-five men, banged away in a perfect
fusillade, but the airman was far too high for them to have much chance
of hitting him.

Yesterday afternoon when the German biplanes passed over the city, a
Belgian officer gave chase in a monoplane, but could not catch them.
Contests of this sort are more exciting to the crowd than any fancy
aviation stunts that are done at exhibitions, and the whole town turns
out whenever an aeroplane is sighted.

This morning I presented myself at the German Legation with the imposing
_laisser-passer_ furnished me by the Military Governor of Brabant, but
the guard on duty at the door had not received orders to let me in and
turned me down politely but definitely. I took the matter up with the
Foreign Office and said that I wanted it settled, so that I would not
have any more fruitless trips over there. At five an officer from the
État-Major of the Garde Civique came for me in a motor and took me over
to the Legation, to give orders in my presence that whenever I appeared
I was to be allowed to pass without argument. As I got into the motor I
noticed that the soldier who was driving the car looked at me with a
twinkle in his eye, but paid no attention to him. When I took a second
look I saw that it was G. B----, with whom I had played golf several
times. I am constantly being greeted by people in uniform whom I had
known at one time or another. It is hard to recognise them in uniform.

So far as operations in Belgium are concerned, we may not have anything
big for some days to come; but, in the meantime, work of preparation is
being pushed rapidly and supplies and reinforcements are being rushed to
the front. Half the shops in town are closed, and all the people are
working either in the field or taking care of the wounded or prisoners.
There are said to be some eight thousand German prisoners in Belgium,
and it is some work to take care of them all.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, August 12, 1914._--A few minutes' gap, so I seize my pen to
scratch off a line.

Last night when I left here I rode up the Rue Bélliard on my way home. I
was stopped in front of the German Legation by the guard which was
placed across the street. They examined the chauffeur's papers carefully
and then looked over mine. They compared the tintype on my
_laisser-passer_ with the classic lineaments of the original, and after
looking wise, told me to move on. When we got up to the Boulevard there
was great cheering, and we came out on a thin file of French cavalry,
which was on its way through town from the Gare du Midi. The crowd was
mad with enthusiasm and the soldiers, although plainly very tired,
pulled their strength together every now and then to cry, "_Vive la
Belgique!_" There were crowds on the Boulevards, waiting for news from
_là bas_. A few French officers were going about in cabs, and each time
that one appeared the crowd went mad. The officers were smiling and
saluting, and every now and then one stood up in his place and cheered
for Belgium. In twenty minutes or so, I saw that we could get through,
so started for home and bed.

When we got to the Porte de Namur, we heard frenzied cheering down by
the Porte Louise. The chauffeur is a regular old war horse who does not
want to miss a trick. He cast a questioning glance over his shoulder;
and, catching my nod, put on full speed down the Boulevard until we came
to a solid crowd banked along the line of march of more French cavalry.
The people in the crowd had bought out the nearby shops of cigars and
cigarettes and chocolate and small flasks of brandy, and as each man
rode by, he was loaded up with as much as he could carry. The défilé had
been going on for over an hour, but the enthusiasm was still boundless.
All the cafés around the Porte Louise sent out waiters and waitresses
with trays of beer to meet the troops as they came into the Avenue
Louise. Each man would snatch a glass of beer, swallow it as he rode
along and hand it back to others who were waiting with empty trays a
hundred yards or so down the line of march. The men were evidently very
tired, and it was an effort for them to show any appreciation of their
reception, but they made the effort and croaked out, "_Vive la
Belgique!_" The French and British troops can have anything they want in
this country. They will be lucky, though, if they escape without acute

Yesterday afternoon, as I was coming out of the chancery of the British
Legation, a little cockney messenger in uniform came snorting into the
court on a motor-cycle. As he got off he began describing his
experiences, and wound up his story of triumphant progress--"And when I
got to the Boulevards I ran down a blighter on a bicycle and the crowd
gave me an ovation!"

More troubles to-day about the German Legation. The État-Major gave
orders that nobody but I should be allowed to enter. The laymen who have
the onerous duty of protecting the Legation held a council of war, and
decided that this precluded them from allowing food to go in; so when
the waitress from the Grand Veneur with the lunch of the crowd inside
came along, she was turned back and told I should have to go with her. I
went around to the Legation and fixed it up with the guard. A few
minutes ago the waitress came back with word that more bread and butter
was wanted, but that the guard had changed and that she was again barred
out. Monsieur de Leval and I went around again and fortunately found
some one from the État-Major who was there for inspection. He promised
to get proper orders issued and now we hope that we shall not be obliged
to take in every bite under convoy.

There are ominous reports to-day of a tremendous German advance in this
direction, and it is generally believed that there will be a big
engagement soon near Haelen, which is on the way from Liège to
Tirlemont. Communications are cut, so I don't quite see where all the
news comes from.

           *           *           *           *           *

_After dinner._--News sounds better to-night. Although there is nothing
very definite, the impression is that the Belgians have come out
victorious to-day in an engagement near Tirlemont. I hope to get some
news later in the evening.

During a lull in the proceedings this afternoon, I got in Blount's car
and went out to Brooks, to see his horses and arrange to have him send
them in for our use every afternoon. He came over here a few months ago
to spend the rest of his life in peace and quiet. It looks as though he
wouldn't get much of either.

The Avenue de Tervueren, a broad boulevard with a parkway down the
centre, is the most direct way into town from the scene of the fighting,
and there has been a general belief that the Germans might rush a force
into town in motors that way. In order to be ready for anything of the
sort, a barricade has been made of heavy tram cars placed at right
angles across the road, so that they do not absolutely stop traffic,
but compel motors to slow down and pick their way, thus:


          +---+                +---+                +---+
         /   /                /   /                /   /
        /   /                /   /                /   /
       +---+                +---+                +---+
                 +---+                 +---+                +---+
                /   /                 /   /                /   /
               /   /                 /   /                /   /
              +---+                 +---+                +---+

It is close work getting through, and can only be done at a snail's

The latest news we have is that the nearest large German force is just
38 miles away from Brussels.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, August 13, 1914._--Last night, after dining late, I went out
to find my friend, Colonel Fairholme, and see if he had any news. He had
just finished his day's work and wanted some air. Fortunately I had the
car along and so took him out for a spin to the end of the Avenue
Louise. We walked back, followed by the car, and had a nightcap at the
Porte de Namur.

The Colonel has been going to Louvain every day, to visit the General
Staff and report to the King as the military representative of an ally.
The first time he arrived in a motor with Gen. de Selliers de
Moranville, the Chief of Staff. As they drew into the square in front of
the headquarters, they saw that everything was in confusion and a crowd
was gathered to watch arrivals and departures. When their car stopped, a
large thug, mistaking him for a German officer, reached in and dealt him
a smashing blow on the mouth with his fist, calling him a "_sal alboche_"
by way of good measure. He had to go in and report to the King, streaming
with blood--a pleasant beginning. He is just getting back to a point where
he can eat with ease and comfort. Life will be easier for some of the
attachés when people get used to khaki uniforms and learn that some do not
cover Germans.

The day the General Staff left for the front, the Colonel went to see
them off. He was called by one of the high officers who wanted to talk
to him, and was persuaded to get on the train and ride as far as the
Gare du Luxembourg, sending his car through town to meet him there. Word
came that the King wanted to see the Chief of Staff, so he asked the
Colonel to take him to the Palace. When the crowd saw a British officer
in uniform and decorations come out of the station accompanied by the
Chief of Staff and two aides, they decided that it was the
Commander-in-Chief of the British army who was arriving and gave him a
wonderful ovation. Even the papers published it as authentic. He was
tremendously fussed at the idea of sailing under false colors, but the
rest of us have got some amusement out of it.

Stories are coming in here about the doings of the German troops.
According to reports they came into Hasselt and took the money in the
town treasury and the local bank--some two and a half millions
altogether. The story, whether true or not, has caused a great deal of
ill feeling here. There is another story that the commanding officer of
one of the forts around Liège was summoned to parley with a white flag.
When he climbed on top of his turret, he was shot through both legs and
only saved by his men pulling him to cover. Of course there are always a
great many stories of this sort scattered broadcast at the beginning of
every war, but in this instance they seem to be generally believed and
are doing the Germans no good at all.

Mlle. D----, one of our stenographers, has a brother in the French army.
She has not heard a word from him since the war began, and had no idea
where he was. Yesterday a small detachment of French cavalry came along
the street. She ran out, called to one of them that her brother was in
the ----, and asked where it was. They told her it had not yet been in
action and she has been walking on air ever since. But she could not
telegraph the good news to her family, for fear of betraying military

Roger de Leval, the 8-year-old son of our friend, practically broke off
diplomatic relations with his father and mother because he was not allowed
to be a Boy Scout. His father was at the Legation, his mother at the Red
Cross, and he had to stay at home with his governess. He felt so badly
about it that we had Monsieur de Leval register him as a B.S., and have
him assigned to special duty at the Legation. He attends in full uniform
and carries messages and papers from my room to the other offices and vice
versa. When we go out he rides on the box with the chauffeur and salutes
all the officers we pass. They are used to it now and return the salutes
very gravely. The youngster now feels that he is really doing something,
but is outraged because we go along. He wants to undertake some of the
big missions alone.

Princesse Charles de Ligne was in this morning. Her son, Prince Henri,
head of that branch of the house, has enlisted as a private in the
aviation corps. There seemed to be no way for him to have a commission
at once, so he put his star of the Legion of Honor on his private's
uniform and was off to the front yesterday. That's the spirit.

Comtesse d'A---- was at their home in the Grand Duchy when war broke
out. No news had been received from her, and her husband was worried
sick. We got a message through via The Hague and got word back this
morning that she was safe and well. I went up to tell him the good news.
He was presiding over some sort of committee meeting, and the maid said
I could not see him. I insisted that she should announce me and after
some argument she did. As the door opened, the buzz subsided and she
announced: "_Monsieur le Secrétaire de la Légation d'Amérique_." There
was a terrible cry of fear and the old Count came running out white as a
sheet. Before he had come in sight I called out, "_Les nouvelles sont
bonnes!_" The old chap collapsed on my shoulder and cried like a baby,
saying over and over: "_J'étais si inquiet: j'étais si inquiet!_" He
soon pulled himself together and showed me out to the car with the
honours of war. We send and receive hundreds of telegrams of inquiry and
shoot them through in a perfectly routine way. It is only now and then
that we come to a realising sense of the human side of it all.

This afternoon I went over and made inquiry as to the well-being of
those who are cooped up in the German Legation. They are getting along
perfectly well, but are consumed with curiosity as to the progress of
the war. The Government has not allowed them to have any letters or
newspapers, and they are completely in the dark as to what is going on.
I felt like a brute to refuse them, but could not very well do anything
against the wishes of the Government. They were decent enough not to
embarrass me by insisting, which made it harder to refuse. The son of
Hofrath Grabowsky, the Chancellor of the Legation, is Secretary of the
German Consulate at Antwerp. He came down here to say good-bye to his
father the day war was declared, and lingered so long that he was cooped
up with the others. He is liable for military service in Germany, and
having left his post at Antwerp at such a time, he must face a court
martial whenever he does get home. There are five or six people there,
including the wife of the old Hofrath, who are firmly convinced that
they will all be murdered in their beds. It is my daily job to comfort
them and assure them that nobody now here is giving any thought to them.

Last night I dined with Colonel Fairholme and Kidston, the First
Secretary of the Legation. We went to the usually crowded terrace of the
Palace Hotel, where we had no difficulty in getting a table in the best
part of the balcony. The few other diners were nearly all colleagues or
officers. Military motors and motor-cycles came and went, and orderlies
dashed up on horseback and delivered messages; it looked like war.

The proprietor of the hotel, who has given one hundred thousand francs
to the Red Cross, rolled up in his motor from a trip to the front and
got out with an armful of Prussian helmets and caps, which he had
collected. A crowd gathered round the motor and displayed as much
pleasure as though he had brought in a whole German Army corps. The
novelty of these souvenirs has not yet worn off.

Women with big tin boxes came by every few minutes to collect for the
Red Cross or some other fund. Finally the Colonel protested, and asked
if there was no way of buying immunity. That was quickly arranged by
giving up five francs, in return for which we were given tags of
immunity. Dozens of collectors came by during the evening, but our
ostentatiously displayed tags saved us.

We ate at our leisure--out of doors--the first unhurried and unharried
meal I have had for days, and then got back to the Legation.

This afternoon the Minister and I went over to see Sir Francis Villiers,
the British Minister, and spent half an hour with him. He is evidently
all ready to make a quick get-away whenever it looks as though the
Germans would come to Brussels. A number of the other diplomats are also
prepared to depart. Those who are accredited at The Hague will probably
go there, and the others will go to Antwerp. We are too busy here to
enjoy the luxury of spending a month undergoing a siege, so no matter
what happens, we shall probably not go along. The Minister and I shall
take turns from time to time, going up to pay our respects.

Having some things to talk over, the Minister and I went for a drive
after our visit, and it was well we did, for when we got back, we found
the hall filled with callers. As the tourists and the Germans leave, the
war correspondents begin to come in, and in a few days we shall probably
have the place full of them. I heard to-day that there were 200 of them
in London, and that most of them want to come on here.

Maxwell, the British correspondent, told me this afternoon that he
looked for a big engagement at Diest to-morrow or the day after. He has
been down through the fighting zone ever since the trouble began, and
probably knows more about pending operations than any other civilian.

While I was writing, Z---- came in, suffering from a bad case of panic.
He announced as he burst into my office that the Germans were within 20
kilometers of Brussels and were going to occupy the city this evening.
He was fairly trembling, but got indignant because I denied it, having
just talked with Colonel Fairholme and with Maxwell, both of whom had no
more than come back from the front. The fact that it had been published
in the _Soir_ was enough for him, and although the news had made him
nervous, he hated to have his perfectly good sensation spoiled.

The authorities, so as to be prepared for any eventuality, have this
evening published a communiqué to impress upon the population the
necessity for abstaining from any participation in the hostilities in
case of an occupation. It advises everybody to stay indoors and avoid
any words or actions that might give an excuse for measures against

           *           *           *           *           *

_August 15th._--Last night I dined with the Colonel, Grant-Watson, and
Kidston at the Palace. I was looking forward to a lot of interesting
talk, as the Colonel had just come from the front. Just as we were
settling down to our conversational Marathon, up walked ----, the
---- Chargé and bade himself to dine with us. He is strongly pro-German
in his sympathies, and, of course, that put a complete damper on
conversation. We talked about everything on earth save the one thing we
were interested in, and sat tight in the hope that he would move on. Not
only did he stay, but after a time the ---- First Secretary came and
joined us, and we gave up in despair. The only result of the evening was
that I gathered the impression that there is a good deal of apprehension
on the part of the allies as to the result of the next big battle, which
may occur any day now. The Germans are undoubtedly pretty near now,
perhaps a good deal nearer than we know. Just before dinner the War
Office announced that there would be no further official communiqués as
to the operations. That looks as though they were battening down the
hatches for the next big engagement.

Yesterday's papers announced France's declaration of war against
Austria. This morning comes the news that Montenegro has also declared
her intention of wiping Austria off the map. Our daily query now
is--"Who has declared war to-day?"

Every minute we are not hammering away at our work, we sit around and
talk of the latest developments. These things make such an impression
that I can quite understand old veterans boring everybody to death with
reminiscences. I see some forty years from now that people will be
saying: "I don't want to let old man Gibson get hold of me and tell me
all about the war of 1914!"

This morning I received a telegram from Richard Harding Davis, who wants
to join the Belgian forces. We are trying to arrange it this morning,
and I expect to see him any day now.

We are going to have a lot of newspaper men in our midst. I met two more
of them last night. None of them who have so far appeared speak any
language but English, but they are all quite confident that they can get
all the news. I look next for Palmer and Jimmy Hare and the rest of the

Maxwell, the _Telegraph_ correspondent, yesterday showed me a photograph
of a French bulldog that has been doing good service at Liège. His
master, who is an officer in one of the forts, fastens messages in his
collar and shoves him out onto the glacis. The puppy makes a blue streak
for home and, as he is always sent at night, has managed so far to avoid
the Germans. His mistress brings him back to the edge of town and starts
him back for the fort.

The Belgian troops have so far had to dam the flood of Germans with
little or no help from the allies. The Kaiser expected, so far as we can
make out, to sweep through Belgium with little opposition and be
fighting in France in three days! The Belgians have knocked his schedule
out by twelve days already, and there is no telling how much longer they
may hold out. "My military advisers" tell me that in view of the great
necessity for a quick campaign in France, so as to get the army back in
time to head off the Russian flood when it begins to pour over the
northern frontier, the loss of this much time is equivalent to the loss
of the first great battle. The moral effect is also tremendous.

The Minister to-day had a card from Omer which began: "_J'ai l'honneur
de faire savoir a Votre Excellence que je suis encore toujours vivant!_"
_Encore toujours_ sounds as though he were pretty emphatically alive. We
were all relieved to hear from him.

Villalobar, the Spanish Minister, came in after dinner--just to visit.
His household is greatly upset. His cook and three footmen have gone to
the war. He apologised for not inviting us to dine during these
depressing days, but said he could not, as his cook was a Lucretia di
Borgia. He is confident that the war is going to knock Brussels life
into a cocked hat this winter. So many of the families will be in
mourning, and so much poverty will come as a result of the war. Life
goes on so normally now, save for the little annoyances of living under
martial law, that it is hard to realise that such great changes are

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, August 16, 1914._--This morning I walked out of my office and
bumped into Frederick Palmer. I had no idea he was so near. Two weeks
ago he was in Vera Cruz, but made a bee-line for Brussels at the first
news of impending war. In the breathing spaces during the morning I got
in a little visiting with him. He stayed to lunch at the Legation and so
did I. In the afternoon I took him to the Foreign Office and the War
Office and the Gendarmerie, and got him outfitted with passes, so that
he can make a try to get towards the front. As a measure of precaution I
added another _laisser-passer_ to my collection, with a beautiful
photograph on it. The collection grows every day.

I went to the Palace to dine with Palmer and Blount. We had hardly got
seated when in walked Richard Harding Davis and Gerald Morgan, and
joined us. I had not expected Davis here so soon, but here he is. He was
immaculate in dinner jacket and white linen, for war does not interfere
with his dressing.

While we were dining, a lot of motors came by filled with British
officers. There was a big crowd in the square, and they went crazy with
enthusiasm, cheering until the windows rattled.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, August 18, 1914._--At ten in the morning I started with
Frederick Palmer and Blount in the latter's car, to see whether we could
get a little way out of town and get a glimpse of what was going on. We
were provided with _laisser-passers_ and passports and all sorts of
credentials, but as a strict prohibition against sightseers has been
enforced for some days, we rather doubted whether we should be able to
get farther than the edge of town. Before we got back we had gone more
than a hundred kilometers through the heart of things and saw a great
deal more than anybody should be allowed to see. We got back to town
about eight o'clock, thoroughly tired and with eyes filled with dust and

Part way out the avenue we were hailed by a soldier, who asked us for a
lift as far as Tervueren. He climbed into the car beside me and rode
out. The Forêt de Soignes was mournful. Quatre Bras, where the cafés are
usually filled with a good-sized crowd of bourgeois, was deserted and
empty. The shutters were up and the proprietors evidently gone. The
Minister's house, near by, was closed. The gate was locked and the
gardener's dog was the only living thing in sight. We passed our Golf
Club a little farther on toward Tervueren. The old château is closed,
the garden is growing rank, and the rose-bushes that were kept so
scrupulously plucked and trim, were heavy with dead roses. The grass was
high on the lawns; weeds were springing up on the fine tennis courts.
The gardeners and other servants have all been called to the colours.
Most of the members are also at the front, shoulder to shoulder with the
servants. A few caddies were sitting mournfully on the grass and greeted
us solemnly and without enthusiasm. These deserted places are in some
ways more dreadful than the real horrors at the front. At least there is
life and activity at the front.

Before we got out of town the guards began stopping us, and we were held
up every few minutes until we got back to town at night. Sometimes the
posts were a kilometer or even two kilometers apart. Sometimes we were
held up every fifty yards. Sometimes the posts were regulars, sometimes
Gardes Civiques; often hastily assembled civilians, mostly too old or
too young for more active service. They had no uniforms, but only
rifles, caps, and brassards to distinguish them as men in authority. In
some places the men formed a solid rank across the road. In others they
sat by the roadside and came out only when we hove in sight. Our
_laisser-passers_ were carefully examined each time we were stopped,
even by many of the guards who did not understand a word of French, and
strangely enough, our papers were made out in only the one language.
They could, at least, understand our photographs and took the rest for

When we got to the first outpost at Tervueren, the guard waved our
papers aside and demanded the password. Then our soldier passenger
leaned across in front of Blount and whispered "_Belgique_." That got
us through everything until midday, when the word changed.

From Tervueren on we began to realise that there was really a war in
progress. All was preparation. We passed long trains of motor trucks
carrying provisions to the front. Supply depots were planted along the
way. Officers dashed by in motors. Small detachments of cavalry,
infantry and artillery pounded along the road toward Louvain. A little
way out we passed a company of scouts on bicycles. They are doing good
work, and have kept wonderfully fresh. In this part of the country
everybody looked tense and anxious and hurried. Nearer the front they
were more calm.

Most of the groups we passed mistook our flag for a British standard and
cheered with a good will. Once in a while somebody who recognised the
flag would give it a cheer on its own account, and we got a smile

All the farm houses along the road were either already abandoned or
prepared for instant flight. In some places the reaping had already
begun, only to be abandoned. In others the crop stood ripe, waiting for
the reapers that may never come. The sight of these poor peasants
fleeing like hunted beasts and their empty houses or their rotting crops
were the worst part of the day. It is a shame that those responsible for
all this misery cannot be made to pay the penalty--and they never can,
no matter what is done to them.

Louvain is the headquarters of the King and his État-Major. The King is
Commander-in-Chief of the Allied Forces operating in Belgium, and is
apparently proving to be very much of a soldier. The town is completely
occupied and troops line the streets, stopping all motors and inspecting
papers, then telling you which way you can go. We were the only civilians
on the road all day, except the Red Cross people. The big square was
completely barred off from general traffic and was surrounded with
grenadiers. We got through the town and stopped at the only café we could
find open, where we had a bottle of mineral water and talked over what
we should do next.

In Louvain there is an American theological seminary. We had had some
correspondence with Monseigneur de Becker, its Rector, as to what he
should do to protect the institution. At our suggestion he had
established a Red Cross Hospital and had hoisted a big American flag,
but still he was not altogether easy in his mind. I called on him and
did my level best to reassure him, on the ground that the Germans were
certainly not making war on seminaries or priests, and that if the
Germans reached Louvain, all he had to do was to stay peacefully at home
and wait for quiet to be restored. Most of his students were gone and
some of the faculty had followed them, so his chief concern was for the
library and other treasures. My arguments did not seem to have very much
weight, but I left with a promise to look in again at the first
opportunity and to respond to any call the Rector might make.

From the seminary we drove out the Tirlemont road, to see if we could
get to that little town and see some of the fighting that was known to
be going on. At the edge of the town we came to a barricade of carts,
road-rollers and cobble stones, where we were courteously but firmly
turned back. Everybody was anxious to make it as nice as possible for
us, and one of the bright boys was brought forward to tell us in
English, so as to be more convincing. He smiled deprecatingly, and said:
"Verreh bad. Verreh sorreh. Oui mus' mak our office, not?" So we turned
and went back to town. They had told us that _nobody_ could go beyond
the barricade without an order from the _Commandant de Place_ at Louvain.
On the way back we decided that we could at least try, so we hunted
through the town until we found the headquarters of the Commandant.
A fierce-looking sergeant was sitting at a table near the door, hearing
requests for visés on _laisser-passers_. Everybody was begging for a
visé on one pretext or another, and most of them were being turned down.
I decided to try a play of confidence, so took our three cards and
walked up to his table, as though there could be no possible doubt of
his doing what I wanted. I threw our three _laisser-passers_ down in
front of him, and said in a business-like tone: "_Trois visés pour
Tirlemont, S.V.P._" My man looked up in mild surprise, viséed the three
papers without a word and handed them back in less time than it takes to
tell it. We sailed back to the barricade in high feather, astonished the
guard with our visé, and plowed along the road, weaving in and out among
ammunition wagons, artillery caissons, infantry, cavalry, bicyclists--all
in a dense cloud of dust. Troops were everywhere in small numbers.
Machine guns, covered with shrubbery, were thick on the road and in the
woods. There was a decidedly hectic movement toward the front, and it
was being carried out at high speed without confusion or disorder. It
was a sight to remember. All along the road we were cheered both as
Americans and in the belief that we were British. Whenever we were
stopped at a barricade to have our papers examined, the soldiers crowded
around the car and asked for news from other parts of the field, and
everybody was wild for newspapers. Unfortunately we had only a couple
that had been left in the car by accident in the morning. If we had only
thought a little, we could have taken out a cartful of papers and given
pleasure to hundreds.

The barricades were more numerous as we drew nearer the town. About two
miles out we were stopped dead. Fighting was going on just ahead, between
us and the town, and the order had been given out that _nobody_ should
pass. That applied to military and civilians alike, so we could not
complain, and came back to Louvain, rejoicing that we had been able to
get so far.

We hunted up our little café and ate our sandwiches at a table on the
sidewalk, letting the house profit to the extent of three glasses of
beer. We were hardly seated when a hush fell on the people sitting near.
The proprietor was summoned and a whispered conversation ensued between
him and a bewhiskered old man three tables away. Then Mr. Proprietor
sauntered over our way with the exaggerated carelessness of a stage
detective. He stood near us for a minute or two, apparently very much
interested in nothing at all. Then he went back, reported to "Whiskers"
and the buzz of conversation began again as though nothing had happened.
After a bit the proprietor came over again, welcomed us to the city,
asked us a lot of questions about ourselves, and finally confided to us
that we had been pointed out as Germans and that he had listened to us
carefully and discovered that we were nothing of the sort. "_J'ai très
bonne oreille pour les langues_," he said. Of course we were greatly
surprised to learn that we had been under observation. Think of German
spies within 200 yards of the headquarters of the General Staff! (And
yet they have caught them that near.) Every active citizen now considers
himself a policeman on special duty to catch spies, and lots of people
suffer from it. I was just as glad the proprietor had not denounced us
as spies, as the populace has a quite understandable distaste for them.
I was glad the bright café proprietor could distinguish our lingo from

After lunch we went down to the headquarters of the General Staff, to
see if we needed any more visés. We did not, but we got a sight of the
headquarters with officers in all sorts of uniforms coming and going.
The square was full of staff autos. The beautiful carved Hôtel de Ville
is the headquarters. As we walked by, a British Major-General came down
the steps, returned everybody's salutes and rolled away--a fine gaunt
old type with white hair and moustache--the sort you read about in story

After lunch we found that there was no use in trying to get to Tirlemont,
so gave that up, and inquired about the road to Diest. Everybody who was
in any sort of position to know told us we could not get more than a few
kilometers along the road, and that as Uhlans were prowling in that
neighbourhood, we might be potted at from the woods or even carried off.
On the strength of that we decided to try that road, feeling fairly
confident that the worst that could happen to us would be to be turned

As we drew out along the road, the traffic got steadily heavier. Motors
of all sorts--beautifully finished limousines filled with boxes of
ammunition or sacks of food, carriages piled high with raw meat and
cases of biscuit. Even dog-carts in large numbers, with the good Belgian
dogs straining away at the traces with a good will, and barking with
excitement. They seemed to have the fever and enthusiasm of the men and
every one was pulling with all his strength. In some places we saw men
pushing heavily-laden wheelbarrows, with one or two dogs pulling in

From Louvain on most of the barricades were mined. We could see clearly
as we passed where the mines were planted. The battery jars were under
the shelter of the barricade and the wire disappeared into some
neighbouring wood or field. Earthworks were planted in the fields all
along the lines, good, effective, well-concealed intrenchments that
would give lots of trouble to an attacking force. There was one place
where an important intrenchment was placed in a field of hay. The
breastworks were carefully covered with hay and the men had it tied
around their hats in such a way as to conceal them almost completely.
This war is evidently going to be fought with some attention to detail,
and with resourcefulness.

Diest itself we reached at about half past three, after having been
nearly turned back six or seven times. We were the only civilians that
had turned up all day, and although our papers seemed to be all right
and we could give a good account of ourselves, our mere presence was
considered so remarkable that a good many of the outposts were inclined
to turn us back. By virtue of our good arguments and our equally good
looks, however, we did manage to get through to the town itself.

Diest is an old town which figures a good deal in the combats of the
middle ages. It has a fine old church, quite large, a good Hôtel de
Ville, and clean, Dutch-looking streets, with canals here and there. The
whole town is surrounded with high earthworks, which constituted the
fortifications, which were part of the line of forts erected by the
allies after Waterloo, as a line of defence against French aggression.
These forts were so numerous that Belgium in her younger days had not
sufficient men to garrison them. A number of them were abandoned,
finally leaving Antwerp, Liège and Namur to bear the burden. Brialmont,
who built the great ring forts at Liège, wanted to build modern
fortifications at Diest, but could not get those holding the
purse-strings to see things his way.

Diest was attacked by Germans about three days ago. They wanted to take
the old fortifications so as to control the road and use the place as a
base of operations. It could hardly be called a big battle, but was more
probably in the nature of a reconnaissance in force with four or five
regiments of cavalry. This part of Belgium is the only place on the
whole field of operations where cavalry can be used and they are
certainly using it with a liberal hand, probably in attempt to feel out
the country and locate the main body of opposing troops. They have got
into a lot of trouble so far, and I am sure they have not yet located
the main bodies of the allied armies.

The shops were all closed and most of the people were sitting on the
sidewalk waiting for something to turn up. Some of them had evidently
been to America, and we had an ovation all the way in. The Grande Place
was filled with motors and motor trucks, this evidently being a supply
depôt. We had some of the local mineral water and talked with the people
who gathered round for a look at the _Angliches_.

They were all ready for anything that might come, particularly
Prussians. In the old days the Uhlans spread terror wherever they
appeared, to burn and shoot and plunder. Now they seem to arouse only
rage and a determination to fight to the last breath. There was a little
popping to the north and a general scurry to find out what was up. We
jumped in the car and made good time through the crowded, crooked little
streets to the fortifications. We were too late, however, to see the
real row. Some Uhlans had strayed right up to the edge of town and had
been surprised by a few men on the earthworks. There were no fatalities,
but two wounded Germans were brought into town in a motor. They were
picked up without loss of time and transported to the nearest Red Cross

Cursing our luck we started off to Haelen for a look at the
battlefields. Prussian cavalry made an attack there the same day they
attacked Diest, and their losses were pretty bad.

At one of the barricades we found people with Prussian lances, caps,
haversacks, etc., which they were perfectly willing to sell. Palmer was
equally keen to buy, and he looked over the junk offered, while some two
hundred soldiers gathered around to help and criticise. I urged Palmer
to refrain, in the hope of finding some things ourselves on the
battlefield. He scoffed at the idea, however. He is, of course, an old
veteran among the war correspondents, and knew what he was about. He
said he had let slip any number of opportunities to get good things, in
the hope of finding something himself, but there was nothing doing when
he got to the field. We bowed to his superior knowledge and experience,
and let him hand over an English sovereign for a long Prussian lance. I
decided to do my buying on the way home if I could find nothing myself.

The forward movement of troops seemed to be headed toward Diest, for our
road was much more free from traffic. We got into Haelen in short order
and spent a most interesting half hour, talking to the officer in
command of the village. As we came through the village we saw the effect
of rifle fire and the work of machine guns on the walls of the houses.
Some of them had been hit in the upper story with shrapnel and were
pretty badly battered up. The village must have been quite unpleasant as
a place of residence while the row was on. The commanding officer, a
major, seemed glad to find some one to talk to, and we stretched our
legs for half an hour or so in front of his headquarters and let him
tell us all about what had happened. He was tense with rage against the
Germans, whom he accused of all sorts of barbarous practices, and whom
he announced the allies must sweep from the earth. He told us that only
a few hours before a couple of Uhlans had appeared in a field a few
hundred yards from where we were standing, had fired on two peasant
women working there, and then galloped off. Everywhere we went we heard
stories of peaceful peasants being fired on. It seems hard to believe,
but the stories are terribly persistent. There may be some sniping by
the non-combatant population, but the authorities are doing everything
they can to prevent it, by requiring them to give up their arms and
pointing out the danger of reprisals.

Before we moved on, our officer presented me with a Prussian lance he
had picked up on the battlefield near Haelen. We got careful directions
from him for finding the battlefield and set off for Loxbergen, where
the fight had taken place the day before. The run was about four
kilometers through little farms, where the houses had been set on fire
by shrapnel and were still burning. The poor peasants were wandering
around in the ruins, trying to save odds and ends from the wreck, but
there was practically nothing left. Of course they had had to flee for
their lives when the houses were shelled, and pretty much everything was
burned before they could safely venture back to their homes.

We had no difficulty in locating the field of battle when we reached it.
The ground was strewn with lances and arms of all sorts, haversacks,
saddle bags, trumpets, helmets and other things that had been left on
the ground after the battle. There were a few villagers prowling around,
picking things up, but there were enough for everybody, so we got out
and gathered about fifteen Prussian lances, some helmets and other odds
and ends that would serve as souvenirs for our friends in Brussels. As
everybody took us for English, they were inclined to be very friendly,
and we were given several choice trophies to bring back. While we were
on the field, a German aeroplane came soaring down close to us and
startled us with the sharp crackling of its motor. It took a good look
at us and then went its way. A little farther along, some Belgian troops
fired at the aeroplane, but evidently went wide of their mark, for it
went unconcernedly homeward. We wandered through the ruins of some old
farms and sized up pretty well what must have happened. The Germans had
evidently come up from the south and occupied some of the farmhouses
along the road. The Belgians had come down from the north and opened
fire on the houses with rapid-fire guns, for the walls were riddled with
small holes and chipped with rifle fire. Then shrapnel had been brought
into play, to set the houses on fire and bring the German troops out
into the open. Then they had charged the Belgians across an open field
and apparently with disastrous results. Part of the ground was in hay
which had already been harvested and piled in stacks, the rest was in
sugar beets. The Prussians had charged across the field and had come
upon a sunken road into which they fell helter-skelter without having
time to draw rein. We could see where the horses had fallen, how they
had scrambled to their feet and tried with might and main to paw their
way up on the other side. The whole bank was pawed down, and the marks
of hoofs were everywhere. The road was filled with lances and saddles,
etc. All through the field were new-made graves. There was, of course,
no time for careful burial. A shallow trench was dug every little way--a
trench about thirty feet long and ten feet wide. Into this were dumped
indiscriminately Germans and Belgians and horses, and the earth hastily
thrown over them--just enough to cover them before the summer sun got in
its work. There were evidences of haste; in one place we saw the arm of
a German sergeant projecting from the ground. It is said that over three
thousand men were killed in this engagement, but from the number of
graves we saw I am convinced that this was a good deal overstated. At
any rate it was terrible enough; and when we think that this was a
relatively unimportant engagement, we can form some idea of what is
going to happen when the big encounter comes, as it will in the course
of a few days more. It is clear that the Germans were driven off with
considerable losses, and that the Belgians still hold undisputed control
of the neighbourhood. There were a few scattered Uhlans reconnoitering
near by, but they were not in sufficient numbers to dare to attack.

After gathering our trophies we were ready to start for home; and it was
well we should, for it was getting rather late in the afternoon and we
had a long trip ahead of us with many delays.

Soon after leaving Haelen, on our way back we met a corps of bicycle
carabiniers who were rolling along toward Haelen at top speed. The
officer in command held us up and asked us for news of the country we
had covered. He seemed surprised that we had not seen any German
forces, for he said the alarm had been sent in from Haelen and that
there were strong forces of Belgians on the way to occupy the town and
be ready for the attack. When he had left us, we ran into one detachment
after another of infantry and lancers coming up to occupy the little

When we got to the barricade at the entrance to Diest, the soldiers of
the guard poured out and began taking our trophies out of the car. We
protested vigorously, but not one of them could talk anything but
Walloon--and French was of no use. Finally, a corporal was resurrected
from somewhere and came forth with a few words of French concealed about
his person. We used our best arguments with him, and he finally agreed
to let a soldier accompany us to the town hall and see what would be
done with us there. The little chunky Walloon who had held us up at the
barrier climbed in with great joy, and away we sped. The little chap was
about the size and shape of an egg with whopping boots, and armed to the
teeth. He had never been in a car before, and was as delighted as a
child. By carefully piecing words together through their resemblance to
German, we managed to have quite a conversation; and by the time we got
to the Grande Place we were comrades in arms. I fed him on cigars and
chocolate, and he was ready to plead our cause. As we came through the
streets of the town, people began to spot what was in the car and cheers
were raised all along the line. When we got to the Hôtel de Ville, the
troops had to come out to keep back the curious crowd, while we went in
to inquire of the officer in command as to whether we could keep our
souvenirs. He was a Major, a very courteous and patient man, who
explained that he had the strictest orders not to let anything of the
sort be carried away to Brussels. We bowed gracefully to the inevitable,
and placed our relics on a huge pile in front of the Hôtel de Ville.
Evidently many others had met the same fate, for the pile contained
enough trophies to equip a regiment. The Major and an old fighting
priest came out and commiserated with us on our hard luck, but their
commiseration was not strong enough to cause them to depart from their

The Major told us that they had in the Hôtel de Ville the regimental
standard of the Death's Head Hussars. They are keeping it there, although
it would probably be a great deal safer in Brussels. Unfortunately the
room was locked, and the officer who had the key had gone, so we could
not look upon it with our own eyes.

Heading out of town, a young infantryman held us up and asked for a
lift. He turned out to be the son of the President of the Court of
Appeals at Charleroi. He was a delicate looking chap with lots of nerve,
but little strength. His heavy infantry boots looked doubly heavy on
him, and he was evidently in a bad way from fatigue. He had to rejoin
his regiment which was twelve miles along the road from Diest, so we
were able to give him quite a boost. He asked me to get word to his
father that he wanted to be given a place as chauffeur or aviator, and
in any other place that would not require so much foot work. There must
be a lot of this sort. We finally landed him in the bosom of his company
and waved him a good-bye.

By this time it was twilight, and the precautions of the guards were
redoubled. A short way out from Louvain, a little Walloon stepped out
from behind a tree about a hundred yards in front of us and barred the
way excitedly. We were going pretty fast and had to put on emergency
brakes, and skid up to him with a great smell of sizzling rubber. He
informed us that papers were no good any more; that we must know the
password, or go back to Louvain for the night. This he communicated to
us in his best Walloon, which we finally understood. Blount started to
tell him that we did not know, as the word had been changed since we
left; but in one of my rare bursts of resourcefulness I thought to try a
ruse, so leaned forward very confidently and gave him the password for
the morning--"_Belgique_." With a triumphant look, he shook his head and
countered: "No, _Haelen_!" He had shown the travellers from the outside
world that he knew more than they did, and he was without any misgivings
as to what he had done, and let us proceed without further loss of time.
We got all the way back to Tervueren with this password, which was all
that saved us from spending the night in Louvain and getting back nobody
knows when. Nearly opposite the Golf Club we were stopped with the
tidings that the word was no longer good, but that if we had
satisfactory papers we could get into town. For some reason the password
had evidently been changed since we left Louvain, so we got through with
rare luck all along the line.

We rolled up to the Legation a few minutes before eight o'clock, and
found that there was a great deal of anxiety about us. Cheerful people
had been spreading the news all day that if we fell into the hands of
the Germans they would hold us as hostages, as they did the Bishop and
Mayor of Liège. They probably would if they had caught us, but they did
not catch us.

Palmer was pleased at the amount we saw. It was by rare good luck that
we got through the lines and we were probably the last who will get so
far. To-day all _laisser-passers_ have been canceled, and nobody can set
foot out of town to the east. It gave us a pretty good idea before we
got through as to how the troops must be disposed. I came within an ace
of putting off our trip for a day or two. If I had, it would have cut me
out of seeing anything.

As usual, when I go out, the lid had blown off the Legation and the
place was in a turmoil. During the afternoon the Government had decided
to move to Antwerp and take refuge in the _enceinte_. The Queen, the
royal children and some of the members of the Government left at eight
o'clock, and this morning more of them left. Most of the Diplomatic
Corps have gone, and will have so much time to think of their troubles
that they will be more uncomfortable than we are. The Spanish Minister
will stay on and give us moral support.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, August 19, 1914._--Yesterday morning began with a visit from
our old friend, Richard Harding Davis, who was still quite wroth because
I had not waited for him to arrange for his passes and go with me on my
trip. If we had, there would have been no trip, as he was not equipped
until afternoon. After lunch he started off boldly for Namur, but got
turned back before he reached Wavre, where there had been a skirmish
with Uhlans. He was sore and disgusted.

While he was in my office, another troop arrived composed of Irwin Cobb,
John McCutcheon, the cartoonist, Lewis and a few others. Later in the
day, Will Irwin came in with news that he was closely followed by
others. McCutcheon is a great friend of the Minister, and makes this his

The Minister took them out to get _laisser-passers_. While they were
away, Sir Francis Villiers came in and showed me a telegram from the
Foreign Office, stating that British newspapers and news associations
had been requested to recall their correspondents, as they had already
done great harm by the news they had given out. He was also to request
the Belgian Government to refuse permits of any sort to the press, and
get all foreign correspondents out of the country. The Belgian
Government realised the importance of this, and has consequently shut
down the lid tight.

There was supposed to have been a fair-sized cavalry engagement near
Charleroi, in which six regiments of German cavalry were chewed up. We
have no details, but it looked as though they were lured into a trap.
Practically no news of the operations is leaking out. It looks as though
Kitchener had remarked, "We will go into that house where William
Hohenzollern is breaking the furniture, and we will close the door and
pull down the blinds, and when we get through, we will come out and tell
people about it."

Yesterday was just a day of work with a great deal of beating people on
the back and assuring them that their lives are not in danger just
because the Court has gone to Antwerp. They all seem to be convinced
that their throats are going to be cut immediately.

This morning we had the usual deluge of newspaper men and correspondents.
The Minister went off with the Spanish Minister to call on the military
authorities, who are the only ones with whom we now have any relations,
and while he was gone, Sir Francis came in and announced that he had
been ordered to leave for Antwerp and place his Legation and British
interests under our charge. The news is that the German cavalry in
considerable force is marching toward Brussels. The military authorities
are getting ready to defend the city, which is quite a futile proceeding,
as the available forces are inadequate, so that the only result will be
that a lot of innocent people will be killed quite incidentally. The
Governor expects to resist about as far as the ring of inner boulevards,
which are about four blocks farther in than we are. Our street is
probably one of the principal ones by which the Germans would enter. A
hundred yards farther out there is a big railroad barricade, where a
stand would probably be made, so that our Legation would undoubtedly get
a fair share of the wild shots from both sides. The cellar is being made
ready for occupancy during the shindy, if it comes. The Burgomaster came
in to say that he had a house prepared for our occupancy in the safe
part of town; but we were not prepared to abandon the Legation and
declined with sincere thanks for his thoughtfulness.

I went over and saw Sir Francis and the Legation staff just as they were
leaving. They refused to have their plans upset by any little thing like
a German advance, so had their lunch peacefully at the usual hour and
then left in motors.

At seven o'clock Cobb, McCutcheon, and the rest of the crowd, were due
at my house, so I gathered up the Minister, the Consul-General, and
Blount, and repaired thither. Davis and Morgan turned up a little late,
but nothing has been heard of the rest of the crowd so far--10:30 P.M.
They were to have dined here, but have not appeared or sent word.

Crowds of people are pouring in from the east in all stages of panic,
and some small forces of cavalry have also retreated into the city,
looking weary and discouraged. There has evidently been a rout. Further
than that, we know nothing so far.

Several of the wives of high Belgian officials have come in this
evening, having received word from their husbands to put themselves
under our protection. There is nothing we can do for them, particularly
at this time.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, August 20, 1914._--To-day has been one full of experience and
the end is not yet. Last night there was a great stir in the streets,
and crowds of people and weary-looking soldiers. At the Palace Hotel I
found the usual collection of diplomats and some other people whom I
knew, and from the crowd I elicited the fact that there had been some
sort of rout of Belgian forces near Louvain, and the soldiers were
falling back. That was about all they knew. I started back to the upper
town in the hope of finding some news at the Porte de Namur. On the way
up the hill I was stopped by half a dozen groups of Gardes Civiques and
soldiers, who asked me to take them to Ghent. They were so excited and
in such a hurry that they could hardly be made to realize that the car
was not liable to seizure. I took advantage of the opportunity to get a
little first-hand news, and learned that they had been driven back all
along the line and were ordered to retreat to Ghent by any means they
could find. There were no trains available; nobody seemed to know why.
The last group that I talked with said that the vanguard of the German
cavalry was only about fifteen miles out of town and would be in this
morning. They were all tremendously excited and did not dally by the
wayside to chat about the situation with me. I can't say that I blame
them, particularly in view of what I have seen since.

At the Porte de Namur I found that the Garde Civique in Brussels had
been ordered to disband and that the plan for the defense of the city
had been completely abandoned. It was the wise thing to do, for there
was no hope of defending the town with the small force of Gardes at the
disposal of the military governor. It would have been quite futile and
would have entailed a big loss of innocent civilian life. The governor
wanted to do it purely as a matter of honour, but he would have paid for
it heavily and could not have accomplished anything beyond delaying the
Germans for an hour or two. The Garde Civique was furious, however, at
the idea of not being able to make a stand. There was a demonstration,
but the cooler heads prevailed, and the men withdrew to their homes.

[Illustration: German supply train entering Brussels]

[Illustration: German infantry entering Brussels]

I was out by seven this morning and looked about for news before coming
to the Legation. I found that the Germans were steadily advancing and
that the vanguard was about seven kilometers out of the city. They
expected to begin the triumphal march about eleven. The Garde Civique
had disappeared from the streets and there were very few police to be
found. The shops were closed, shutters down on all houses, and posters
everywhere with the proclamation of the Burgomaster urging the people to
refrain from hostile acts. It was an abandoned and discouraged-looking
city. On the boulevards there were long lines of high carts bringing in
the peasants from the surrounding country. They are great high-wheeled
affairs, each drawn by a big Belgian draught horse. Each cart was piled
high with such belongings as could be brought away in the rush. On top
of the belongings were piled children and the old women, all of whom had
contrived to save their umbrellas and their gleaming, jet-black bonnets,
piled with finery. Those who could not find places in the carts walked
alongside, some of them carrying other belongings that could not be put
on the carts. It was the most depressing sight so far. Lots of them were
crying; all looked sad and crushed. Every one of them was probably
without enough money for a week's living. Even those who have money in
the banks cannot get it out at this time. They have no place to go to
here and have a bad prospect even if this part of the campaign is
finished quickly and they are soon able to return to their homes. Their
crops are rotting in the ground and many of their homes are already in
ruins. That is the hard side of the war--lots harder than the men who
go out and have at least a fighting chance for their lives.

When I got down to the Legation I found that the telegraph and telephone
communication had been cut off. The train service is abandoned and we
are completely isolated from the outside world. I did not think it would
come so soon and only hope that before we were cut off the news was
allowed to get out that there would be no fighting in the city.

I had a lot of errands to do during the morning and kept both motors
busy. I found time to get up signs on my door and that of M. de Leval,
warning all comers that both places were inviolate. That was in
anticipation of quartering of troops on private citizens, which has not
been done.

We got word that the Spanish Minister had some news, so I went over to
see him. He had heard from the Burgomaster as to the plans for the entry
of the troops, and wanted to pass it along to us. The commanding general,
von Jarotzky, was already at the edge of the city, on the Boulevard
Militaire, and was expecting to start into town at one o'clock. He was
to march down the Chaussée de Louvain, the boulevards, and out the other
side of the city, where his men were to be encamped for the present. Other
forces, comparatively small, were to occupy the railway stations and the
Grande Place. At the Hôtel de Ville he was to establish the headquarters
of the staff and administer the city government through the regularly
constituted authorities. It was all worked out to a nicety, even to the
exact measures for policing the line of march.

As the Garde Civique was withdrawn, the prisoners in the German Legation
knew that there was something in the air and ventured forth into the light
of day. They were not long in learning just what had taken place, and
called upon us to express their thanks for what we had done for them.
I suppose they will be trotting away for their own country before there
is a chance to lock them up again. It must be pretty dismal for them to
be locked up without any news of the outside world when they don't know
whether their armies are victorious or badly beaten.

As I was about to start to see the triumphal entry, the Spanish Minister
came along with his flag flying from his motor, and bade us to go with
him. We made off down the Boulevard and drew up at the Italian
Legation--two motors full of us; the whole staff of the Spanish Legation
and ourselves. The Italian Minister bade us in to watch the show, which
we had intended he should do. This did not work out well, so M. de Leval
and I started off down the street together. The first of the Germans
appeared as we stepped out the front door, and we saw that they were not
coming over the route that had been originally planned. Instead, they
were heading down the hill into the lower town. They proved to be the
troops that were to occupy the Grande Place and guard the headquarters
of the staff at the Hôtel de Ville. We cut across through side streets
and came upon them as they were passing Ste. Gudule. There was a sullen
and depressed crowd lining the streets, and not a sound was to be heard.
It would have been better had the crowd been kept off the streets, but
they behaved wonderfully well.

A large part of the reason for bringing the German troops through here
was evidently to impress the populace with their force and discipline.
It was a wonderful sight, and one which I never expect to see equaled as
long as I live. They poured down the hill in a steady stream without a
pause or a break; not an order was shouted nor a word exchanged among
the officers or men. All the orders and signals were given by whistles
and signs. The silence was a large element of the impressiveness.

These troops had evidently been kept fresh for this march, and I should
not be at all surprised if it should prove that they had not seen any
fighting. If they have suffered any losses, they have closed up their
ranks with wonderful precision and show none of the signs of
demoralisation. They had clearly been at great pains to brush up and
give the appearance of freshness and strength. Nearly all the men were
freshly shaven, and their uniforms had been brushed and made as natty
and presentable as possible. They swaggered along with a palpable effort
to show that they were entirely at home, and that they owned the place.
The officers looked over the heads of the crowd in their best
supercilious manner, and the men did their best to imitate their

First came some lancers--a couple of battalions, I should think; then
there was a lot of artillery, rapid-fire guns and field pieces. Then
more cavalry and a full regiment of infantry. When the last contingent
of cavalry came along, they burst into song and kept it up steadily.
There was a decidedly triumphant note, and the men looked meaningly at
the crowd, as much as to say: "Now do you realise what your little army
went up against when it tried to block us?" It seemed to me pretty rough
to rub it in on them by singing songs of triumph as they rode into an
undefended city. If they had been attacked and had succeeded in driving
the invader back into his own capital, it would be understandable; but
it seemed to me rather unnecessary to humiliate these people after
trampling on their poor country and slaughtering half their army. It was
more than de Leval could stand, so I walked home with him to the

When we got back to the Legation I decided that I ought to see all I
could, so Blount and I went back in his car. First we worked our way
through to the lower town and got a look at the Grande Place. There were
a little more than two full battalions resting there, with their field
pieces parked at the lower end of the square. Small squads were being
walked around doing the goose step for the delectation of the _bons
Bruxellois_, who were kept a block away up the side streets leading to
the square. The men had their arms stacked in the centre of the square,
and were resting hard--all but those who were supplying the spectacle.

From there we went down to Luna Park, an amusement place on the edge of
the city. The stream was pouring by there just as steadily as it had
earlier in the afternoon. We watched the passing of great quantities of
artillery, cavalry and infantry, hussars, lancers, cyclists, ambulance
attendants, forage men, and goodness only knows what else.

I have never seen so much system and such equipment. The machine is
certainly wonderful; and, no matter what is the final issue of the war,
nobody can deny that so far as that part of the preparation went, the
Germans were hard to beat. The most insignificant details were worked
out, and all eventualities met with promptness. The horses were shod for
a campaign in the country, and naturally there was a lot of slipping on
the smooth cobble pavements. The instant a horse went down there was a
man ready with a coarse cloth to put under his head, and another to go
under his forefeet, so that he would have some grip when he tried to get
up and would not hurt himself slipping and pawing at the cobbles. The
moment he fell, all hands rushed to the rescue so effectively that he
was on his feet again in no time, and the procession was barely
arrested. The men's kits were wonderfully complete and contained all
sorts of things that I had never seen or heard of, so I turned for
explanation to Davis, who had come along and was lost in admiration of
the equipment and discipline. He said he had been through pretty much
every campaign for the last twenty years, and thought he knew the last
word in all sorts of equipment, but that this had him staggered. I began
asking him what a lot of things were for, and he frankly admitted that
he was as much in the dark as I was.

A great many of the officers wore, upon their chests, great electric
searchlights attached to batteries in their saddle-bags. These are
useful when on the march at night, and serve to read sign-posts and
study maps, etc.

The supply trains were right with the main body of the troops, and were
also carefully equipped for purposes of display. The kitchens were on
wheels, and each was drawn by four horses. The stoves were lighted and
smoke was pouring from the chimneys. The horses were in fine shape and
in huge numbers.

The troops marched down the right side of the boulevard, leaving the
left side free. Up and down this side dashed officers on horseback,
messengers on motor-cycles and staff officers in military cars. There
were no halts and practically no slacking of the pace, as the great army
rolled in.

Here and there came large motor trucks fitted out as cobblers' shops,
each with a dozen cobblers pounding industriously away at boots that
were passed up to them by the marching soldiers. While waiting for
repairs to be made, these soldiers rode on the running board of the
motor, which was broad enough to carry them and their kits.

After watching them for a while, we moved back to the Boulevard, where
we found the Minister with the ladies of the family who had been brought
out to watch the passing show. We had hesitated to bring them out at the
beginning for fear that there might be riots, or even worse,
precipitated by the foolhardy action of some individual. Fortunately,
there was nothing of the sort, and while the reception given the troops
was deadly sullen, they were offered no affronts that we could see. The
entry was effected quietly, and perfect order has prevailed ever since.

Afterwards we drove out to the country and watched the steady stream
nearer its source; still pouring in, company after company, regiment
after regiment, with apparently no end in sight. We watched until after
seven, and decided that the rest would have to get in without our
assistance. On the way back a German monoplane flew over the city, and,
turning near the Hôtel de Ville, dropped something that spit fire and
sparks. Everybody in the neighbourhood let out a yell and rushed for
cover in the firm belief that it was another bomb such as was dropped in
Namur. It dropped, spitting fire until fairly near the spire of the
Hôtel de Ville, when it burst into ten or a dozen lights like a Roman
candle--evidently a signal to the troops still outside the city--perhaps
to tell them that the occupation had been peacefully accomplished. We
learned afterward that the Minister and Villalobar were riding down the
hill and the infernal machine seemed right over their car, giving them a
nice start for a moment. When I got back to the Legation, I found that
the Minister had gone with Villalobar to call on the Burgomaster and the
German General. They found the old gentleman in command at the city
hall, carrying on the government through the Bourgomaster, who has
settled down with resignation to his task. He is tremendously down in
the mouth at having to give up his beautiful Grande Place to a foreign
conqueror, but he has the good sense to see that he can do more good for
his country by staying there and trying to maintain order than by
getting out with a _beau geste_.

The first thing the General did was to excuse himself and go to take a
bath and get a shave, whereupon he reappeared and announced his
readiness to proceed to the discussion of business.

The General said that he had no intention of occupying the town
permanently or of quartering soldiers, or otherwise bothering the
inhabitants. He was sent there to keep open a way so that troops could
be poured through toward the French frontier. They expect to be several
days marching troops through, and during that time they will remain in
nominal control of the city. Judging from this, there must be a huge
army of them coming. We shall perhaps see some of them after the big
engagement, which is bound to take place soon, as they get a little
nearer the French frontier.

Brussels has not been occupied by a foreign army since Napoleon's time,
and that was before it was the capital of a free country. It has been
forty-four years since the capital of a European Power has had hostile
troops marching in triumph through its streets, and the humiliation has
been terrible. The Belgians have always had a tremendous city patriotism
and have taken more pride in their municipal achievements than any
people on earth, and it must hurt them more than it could possibly hurt
any other people. The Burgomaster, when he went out to meet General von
Jarotzky, declined to take his hand. He courteously explained that there
was no personal affront intended, but that under the circumstances he
could hardly bring himself to offer even such a purely perfunctory
manifestation of friendship. The old General, who must be a good deal of
a man, replied quietly that he entirely understood, and that under
similar circumstances he would probably do the same. The two men are on
exceedingly workable terms, but I don't believe they will exchange
photographs after the war is over. Poor Max was going to spend the night
at the Hôtel de Ville. Most of his assistants cleared out for the
night, but he could not bring himself to leave the beautiful old
building entirely in control of the enemy. He curled up and slept on the
couch in his office, just for the feeling it gave him that he was
maintaining some sort of hold on the old place.

The Minister arranged to have his telegrams accepted and transmitted
without loss of time, so we shall soon get word home that we are still
in the land of the living. We wrote out our message and sent it off
right after dinner, but Gustave brought it back, saying that the
telegraph office was closed and that he could find no one to whom he
could hand his bundle of messages. Evidently the orders for the
re-opening of the place did not get around in time for our purposes. We
shall try again the first thing in the morning, and hope that some of
the newspaper men will have succeeded in getting their stuff out in some
other way. They were around in force just after dinner and wild to get
an O.K. on their stuff, so that it could be sent. The General had said
that he wanted the Minister's O.K. on the men themselves, and that he
himself would approve their messages after having them carefully read to
him. He gave them an interview on alleged German atrocities and will
probably let them send through their stories if they play that up

After dinner I started out on my usual expedition in search of news. I
found the Foreign Office closed, and learned upon inquiry that the few
remaining men who had not gone to Antwerp were at home and would not be
around again for the present--thus we have no dealings through the
Foreign Office, but must do the best we can with the military
authorities. I went down to the Palace Hotel on the chance of picking up
a little news, but did not have much luck. The restaurant was half
filled with German officers, who were dining with great gusto. The
Belgians in the café were gathered just as far away as possible, and it
was noticeable that instead of the usual row of conversation, there was
a heavy silence brooding over the whole place.

           *           *           *           *           *

_August 21, 1914._--So far as we can learn we are still as completely
cut off from the outside world as we were yesterday. The General
promised the Minister that there would be no difficulty in sending his
telegrams, either clear or in cipher, but when we came to sending them
off, it was quite another story.

The first thing this morning I made an attempt to hand them in, but
found all the telegraph offices closed. At ten o'clock I went down to
the Hôtel de Ville to see the General, who has taken over the duties of
Military Governor, and see what was the matter. He was away somewhere
and so was the Burgomaster, so I contented myself with seeing one of the
Echevins, whom I had met a number of times. He could not do anything
about it on his own responsibility, but made a careful memorandum and
said that he would take it up with the General, through the Mayor, when
they both got back. I also asked for _laisser-passers_ for everybody in
the shop, and he promised to attend to that.

By lunch time we had received no answer from General von Jarotzky, so I
got in the motor with my pocket full of telegrams and went down to the
Hôtel de Ville once more. It is a depressing sight. The Grande Place,
which is usually filled with flower venders and a mass of people coming
and going, is almost empty. At the lower end there are parked a number
of small guns; in the centre, some camp kitchens, with smoke rising from
the chimneys. The courtyard of the Hôtel de Ville itself, where so many
sovereigns have been received in state, was filled with saddle-horses
and snorting motors. The discarded uniforms of the Garde Civique were
piled high along one side, as if for a rummage sale. Beer bottles were
everywhere. In the beautiful Gothic room, hung with the battle flags of
several centuries, there are a hundred beds--a dormitory for the
officers who are not quartered at the neighbouring hotels.

The marvelous order and system which so compelled our admiration
yesterday were not in evidence. There were a lot of sentries at the door
and they took care to jab a bayonet into you and tell you that you could
not enter; but any sort of reply seemed to satisfy them, and you were
allowed to go right up to the landing, where the General had established
himself in state at a couple of huge tables. Here confusion reigned
supreme. There were staff officers in abundance, but none of them seemed
to have the slightest authority, and the old man had them all so
completely cowed that they did not dare express an opinion or ask for a
decision. The General himself is a little, tubby man, who looks as
though he might be about fifty-five; his face is red as fire when it is
not purple, and the way he rages about is enough to make Olympus
tremble. The crowd of frightened people who came to the Hôtel de Ville
for _laisser-passers_ and other papers, all found their way straight to
his office; no one was on hand to sort them out and distribute them
among the various bureaus of the civil administration. Even the staff
officers did very little to spare their chief and head off the crowd.
They would come right up to him at his table and shove a _pièce
d'identité_ under his nose, with a tremulous request for a visé; he
would turn upon them and growl, "_Bas bossible; keine Zeit; laissez mois
dranquille, nom de D----!_" He switched languages with wonderful
facility, and his cuss words were equally effective in any language that
he tried. Just as with us, everyone wanted something quite out of the
question and then insisted on arguing about the answer that they got. A
man would come up to the General and say that he wanted to get a pass to
go to Namur. The General would say impatiently that it was quite
impossible, that German troops were operating over all that territory
and that no one could be allowed to pass for several days. Then Mr. Man
would say that that was no doubt true, but that _he_ must go because he
had a wife or a family or a business or something else that he wanted to
get to. As he talked, the General would be getting redder and redder,
and when about to explode, he would spring to his feet and advance upon
his tormentor, waving his arms and roaring at him to get the ---- out of
there. Not satisfied with that, he invariably availed of the opportunity
of being on his feet to chase all the assembled crowd down the stairs
and to scream at all the officers in attendance for having allowed all
this crowd to gather. Then he would sit down and go through the same
performance from the beginning. I was there off and on for more than two
hours, and I know that in that time he did not do four minutes'
continuous, uninterrupted work. Had it not been for the poor frightened
people and the general seriousness of the situation, it would have been
screamingly funny and worth staying indefinitely to see.

I had my share of the troubles. I explained my errand to an aide-de-camp
and asked him to see that proper instructions were given for the sending
of the telegrams. He took them and went away. Then after a few minutes
he came gravely back, clicked his heels, and announced that there was no
telegraph communication with the outside world and that he did not know
when it would be reëstablished. I asked him to go back to the General,
who in the meantime had retreated to the Gothic room and had locked
himself in with a group of officers. My friend came back again, rather
red in the face, and said that he had authority to stamp my telegrams
and let them go. He put the rubber stamp on them and said I could take
them. I said that was all very well, but where could I take them, since
the telegraph offices were closed. He went off again and came back with
the word that the office in the central bureau was working for official
messages. I got into the motor with the Italian Secretary, who had a
similar task, and together we went to the central bureau. It was nailed
up tight, and the German sentries on guard at the door swore to us by
their _Ehrenwort_ that there was absolutely nothing doing.

Back we went to the Hôtel de Ville. Our friend, the aide-de-camp, had
disappeared, but we got hold of another and asked him to inform himself.
He went away and we spent a few minutes watching the General blow up
everybody in sight; when the aide-de-camp came back, he smilingly
announced that there was no way of getting the messages out on the wire;
that the best thing we could do would be to send a courier to Holland
and telegraph from there. I told him to go back and get another answer.
When he came back next time, he had the glad news that the office had
really been established in the post office and that orders had been sent
over there to have our cables received and sent at once. Away we went
again, only to find that the latest bulletin was just as good as the
others; the post office was closed up just as tight as the other office,
and the sentries turned us away with a weary explanation that there was
not a living soul inside, as though they had explained it a thousand
times since they had been on duty.

By this time the wild-goose chasing was getting a little bit monotonous,
and when we got back to the headquarters, I announced with some emphasis
to the first aide-de-camp that I could reach, that I did not care to do
any more of it; that I wanted him to get me the right information, and
do it right away, so that I should not have to go back to my chief and
report any more futile errands. He went away in some trepidation and was
gone some time. Presently the General came out himself, seething in his
best manner.

"_A qui tout ce tas de depeches?_" roars he.

"_A moi_," says I.

He then announced in a voice of thunder that they were all wrong and
that he was having them rewritten. Before I could summon enough breath
to shout him down and protest, he had gone into another room and slammed
the door. I rushed back to my trusty aide-de-camp and told him to get me
those telegrams right away; he came back with word that they would be
sent after correction. I said that under no circumstances could they
send out a word over the signature of the American Minister without his
having written it himself. He came back and said that he could not get
the cables. I started to walk into the office myself to get them, only
to bump into the General coming out with the messages in his hand. He
threw them down on a table and began telling a young officer what
corrections to make on the telegraph form itself. I protested vigorously
against any such proceeding, telling him that we should be glad to have
his views as to any errors in our message, but that he could not touch a
letter in any official message. At this stage of the game he was
summoned to the office of the Burgomaster and rushed off with a string
of oaths that would have made an Arizona cow-puncher take off his hat.
The young officer started calmly interlining the message, so I reached
over and took it away from him, with the statement that I would report
to my chief what had happened. He was all aflutter, and asked that I
remain, as the General would not be long. I could not see any use in
waiting longer, however, and made as dignified a retreat as possible
under the circumstances. There were a number of cables in the handful I
had carried around that were being sent in the interest of the German
Government and of German subjects, and I took good care to tell the
young man that while we were glad to do anything reasonable for them or
for their people, we had stood for a good deal more than they had a
right to expect, and that these cables would stay on my desk until such
time as they got ready to make a proper arrangement for our
communications. Now we shall settle down and see what happens next.

[Illustration: German officers and soldiers were always ready to oblige
by posing for the camera]

[Illustration: "Mit Gott für Kaiser und Reich." This trio had a mania
for being photographed]

[Illustration: Count Guy d'Oultremont, Adjutant of the Belgian Court.
French howitzer in the background]

[Illustration: From left to right: Colonel DuCane, Captain Ferguson, and
Colonel Fairholme]

When I got back to the Legation I found the Argentine and Brazilian
Ministers and the Mexican Chargé d'Affaires waiting to hear the news of
my mission. I was rather hot under the collar, and gave an unexpurgated
account of what had happened. By this time I was beginning to see some
of the humor in the situation, but they saw nothing but cause for rage,
and left in a fine temper.

Just to see what would happen, we then proceeded to put our cable in its
original form into cipher, and send it back to the General with a
written request that it be sent immediately to Washington. It will be
interesting to see what reply he makes. The Spanish Minister left some
telegrams with him last night to be sent, and is quite sure that they
were held up, as he has received no answers to any of them. To-morrow he
expects to put on his uniform and make a solemn official call on von
Jarotzky to demand that he be granted free communication with his

During the afternoon a lot of correspondents came in and gave an amusing
account of what the General had done for them. He had received them
cordially and had given them a very pleasing interview, making an
extended statement about the alleged German atrocities. Could they send
their messages through to their papers? Certainly! Of course the General
would have to read the stories and approve the subject matter.
Naturally! The boys sat down in great enthusiasm and wrote out their
stories, giving full credit to the German army for the orderly way they
got in, the excellence of their appearance and behaviour, and the calm
that prevailed in the city. They took these messages back and let the
old chap read them. He plowed his way carefully through them and
expressed his great satisfaction at the friendly expressions of
approval. He put his O.K. on them and handed them back with the remark
that they might send them. The boys ventured to inquire how. "Oh," said
the General, "you can either send a courier with them to Holland or to
Germany and have them telegraphed from there." Whereupon he rose and,
bowing graciously, left the bunch so flabbergasted that they did not
wake up until he was gone. He was most amiable and smiling and got away
with it.

The General commanding the forces now coming through--von Arnim--got out
a proclamation to-day which was posted in the streets, warning the
inhabitants that they would be called upon for supplies and might have
troops quartered upon them, and that if they ventured upon hostile acts
they would suffer severely.


                                            BRUSSELS, August 20, 1914.

     German troops will pass through Brussels to-day and the following
     days, and will be obliged by circumstances to call upon the city
     for lodging, food, and supplies. All these requirements will be
     settled for regularly through the communal authorities.

     I expect the population to meet these necessities of war without
     resistance, and especially that there shall be no aggression
     against our troops, and that the supplies required shall be
     promptly furnished.

     In this case I give every guarantee for the preservation of the
     city and the safety of its inhabitants.

     If, however, as has unfortunately happened in other places, there
     are attacks upon our troops, firing upon our soldiers, fires or
     explosions of any sort, I shall be obliged to take the severest

             The General Commanding the Army Corps,
                 SIXT VON ARNIM.

The strongest thing so far was the series of demands made upon the city
and Province. The city of Brussels has been given three days to hand
over 50 million francs in coin or bills. The Germans also demand a
tremendous supply of food to be furnished during the next three days. If
the city fails to deliver any part of it, it must pay in coin at a rate
equal to twice the market value of the supplies. The Province of Brabant
must hand over, by the first of next month, 450 millions of francs--90
million dollars. When you consider that the total war indemnity imposed
by Germany upon France in 1870 was only five milliards, the enormity of
this appears. Upon one little province of a tiny country they are
imposing a tax equal to one-tenth that imposed on the whole of France.
How on earth they are ever to arrange to pay it, I cannot possibly see.
I do not know what is to happen if they fail to make good, but I have no
doubt that it will be something pretty dreadful.

This afternoon the Germans went into the Ministry of War and the Foreign
Office, and searched through the archives. It must have been an entirely
futile proceeding, for all papers of any interest were removed to
Antwerp when the Government left. The higher officials who were still
here were kept in the buildings to witness the search--a needless
humiliation. There is talk now of a search of the British Legation, but
we have heard nothing of it and expect that will not be done without
asking our permission first.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, August 22, 1914._--Another day with much to do and no great

This morning, at 7 o'clock, General von Jarotzky arrived at the Legation
and was all smiles. It appears that my action, in making known my
displeasure at his behaviour and that of his staff, had a good effect.
We have heard, from several sources, that he blew up everybody in sight
yesterday afternoon when he came out from the Burgomaster's office and
learned that I had departed in bad temper. He knows that nobody dares to
oppose his acts or views, but just the same he gave them fits for not
having made me stay and attend to my case. Be that as it may, he
appeared with his Chief of Staff, and sent up a message that brought the
Minister down in his pajamas and dressing gown. He expressed great
regret for the "misunderstanding" of yesterday evening, and assured the
Minister that there would be no further cause for complaint on our part.
He had in his hand the telegram which we had sent him the evening
before--the very same telegram which we had been trying to get off ever
since the German occupation of the city. He had signed each page of the
message, and had affixed his stamp with an order that it be immediately
transmitted. He explained to the Minister that the best thing to do was
for him to take it in person to the office of the Director of the Bureau
of Telegraphs, who had already received instructions on the subject.

[Illustration: Pass issued by General von Jarotzky, the first German
commander in Brussels, to enable Mr. Gibson to go through the lines to

The servants were thrown into a perfect panic by the arrival of the
_Généraux_. It took some argument to convince them that the Germans
would hardly need to send two generals to take them into custody, even
if they had any reason to desire them as prisoners.

About ten o'clock I was starting to go down to the telegraph office, to
send the messages, when the Spanish Minister drove up in his big green
car with the Spanish flag flying at the fore. We told him our story,
whereupon he announced that he also had telegrams to send and that he
would go with us. We drove in state to the telegraph office, and found
that the entrance which had been indicated to us was the alley through
which the mail wagons drive in the good days when there are any. Before
an admiring crowd, we descended and made our way among Prussian troopers
through the noisome alley to a small side door, where we were stopped by
a sentry who stuck a bayonet in our general direction and said we could
go no further. I was immediately thrust into the foreground as the
brilliant German scholar; and, limbering up my heavy German artillery, I
attacked him. The sentry blanched, but stood his ground. An officer came
up as reinforcements, but was also limited to the German tongue; so I
had to keep it up, with two full-grown Ministers behind me thinking up
impossible things to be translated into the hopeless tongue. The
officer, who was a genial soul, announced as though there were no use
ever again to appear at that particular place, that the instruments had
all been removed, and that there was absolutely no way of sending any
messages--no matter from whom they came. We told him that we had come at
the special request of the General himself. He replied that that made no
difference whatever; that if there were no wires and no instruments,
there was no possible way of sending the messages. After three or four
repetitions, the Minister and I began to understand that there was no
use haggling about it; but the Spanish Minister was not so lightly to be
turned aside and took up the cudgels, himself bursting into the German
language. He stood his ground valiantly in the face of a volley of long
words, but he did not get any forrader. Prince Ernst de Ligne came in
with a permit from the General to send his messages, and joined forces
with the Spanish Minister; but the poor officer could only shrug his
shoulders and smile and repeat what he had already said a score of
times. Mr. Whitlock and I began to laugh, and had a hard time to control
ourselves. Finally we prevailed upon them to return to the Hôtel de
Ville. The Minister was beginning to get even madder than he was
yesterday, when I got back with my story of the way I had spent the
afternoon, going from one wild goose chase to another. We got the
Burgomaster in his private office and placed our troubles before him. He
understood the importance of the matter and sent for the General. He
appeared in short order, clicked his heels, and inquired whether we had
come in regard to the matter of telegrams. The old fox knew perfectly
well that we had, and was ready for us. We had come to the
conclusion--which I had reached yesterday afternoon and held all by
myself--that the old man was jockeying.

He listened to what we had to say, and then said that there was no means
of communication with the outside world; that he had just learned it a
few minutes before. It is hardly necessary to say that he had been fully
posted from the minute he set foot in the town. The Spanish Minister was
rather sarcastic about his opinion of a General who would venture to
occupy a capital without being in possession of means of telegraphic
communication. The old soldier was in no mood for argument on abstract
questions, and was playing for too big stakes to stop and dicker, so he
passed this over lightly and suggested that we go back and discuss with
the Director-General of Telegraphs the possibilities of reëstablishing
communications. Then the Spanish Minister let loose on him, and
announced that it was not consistent with the dignity of representatives
of World Powers to spend their time standing in back alleys disputing
with soldiers who barred the way and refused to honour the instructions
of their General. He threw in hot shot until the effect told. He said
plainly that the General was full of fair words and promises and agreed
to anything that was asked of him, but that when we went to do the
things he had authorised, we were baffled by subordinates that took it
upon themselves to disregard these orders--the intimation being
cleverly conveyed that their action might not be unconnected with
instructions from above. The old man then dropped his bluff, and asked
what we wanted. We asked that he send for the Director-General, and give
him, in our presence, the instructions and authorisation necessary to
enable him to reëstablish communication with the outside world, and
instruct him to receive and send all official messages for the Legations
of neutral Powers. There was no way out, short of flatly refusing to
give us our right to communicate with our governments, so the
Director-General was sent for and the Burgomaster wrote out, at our
dictation, the most general and comprehensive orders to meet our wishes
in all matters of official business. The General signed the order and
instructed the Director-General to go ahead.

The Director-General was a poor soul who could see nothing but technical
difficulties in everything that was proposed. He reluctantly agreed to
everything that he was told to do, and there is no telling when our
stories will get off. He told us that when the Germans had occupied the
telegraph bureau, instead of simply disconnecting the instruments and
placing a man there to see that communication was not reëstablished, the
officer in command had battered down the door leading to the roof and
had slashed all the wires with his sabre. As there were three or four
hundred wires leading out of the office, it will be a tremendous job to
get them all together again.

We also took occasion to arrange for the issuance of _sauf conduits_ for
all the members of the Legations and for such members of the foreign
colonies under our protection as we care to vouch for. Food is getting
very scarce because of the enormous demands of the Germans, and we told
von Jarotzky that we should expect that he make arrangements to see that
our colonies should not suffer from the requisitions--that ample food be
reserved to keep them all as long as it might be found necessary for
them to stay here. He agreed to this, but I don't see just how he is to
arrange it in practice. There are about fifty thousand men camping
within a few miles of Brussels, and another Army Corps is now marching
in. The food for all the people must be supplied by the city--all
importations from the outside world have been suspended for days. It is
a pretty bad situation, and it will probably get a great deal worse
before long. I don't know whether we shall get down to eating horse and
dog, but it is not altogether improbable. That is one of these things
that it is interesting to read about afterward.

We spent nearly two hours at the Hôtel de Ville, and got in a good deal
of talk that will be of service to all sorts of people. When we got
back, we found the chancery full of people who were waiting for us to
tell them just how they could send telegrams and letters, and get
passports and permits to pass through the lines in all possible
directions. Before leaving I had dictated a bulletin which was posted in
the hallway, stating that there were no communications with the outside
world by rail, telegraph or post, and that no _laisser-passers_ would be
granted by the authorities until conditions had changed, and that the
Legation could not issue any sort of papers which would enable people to
leave in safety.

About four o'clock, McCutcheon, Irwin and Cobb breezed in, looking like
a lot of tramps. Several days ago they had sailed blissfully away to
Louvain in a taxi, which they had picked up in front of the hotel. When
they got there, they got out and started to walk about to see what was
going on, when, before they could realise what was happening, they found
themselves in the midst of a Belgian retreat, hard-pressed by a German
advance. They were caught between the two, and escaped with their lives
by flattening themselves up against the side of a house while the firing
continued. When the row was over, they were left high and dry with no
taxi--of course it had been seized by the retreating troops--and with no
papers to justify their presence in Louvain at such a time. They decided
that the best thing to do was to go straight to the German headquarters
and report. They were received well enough, and told to lodge themselves
as best they could and stay indoors until it was decided what was to be
done with them. They were told that they might be kept prisoners here,
or even sent to Berlin, but that no harm would come to them if they
behaved themselves. The order had gone out that if a single shot was
fired at the German troops, from the window of any house, everybody in
the house was to be immediately taken out and shot. Not wishing to risk
any such unpleasant end, they rented all the front rooms of a house and
spread themselves through all the rooms, so that they could be sure that
nobody did any slaughtering from their house. They were there for three
days, and were told to-day that they might take themselves hence. They
came back to Brussels in the same clothes that they had worn for the
past three days, unshaven and dirty. When they drove up to the front
door this afternoon, they were nearly refused admittance as being too
altogether disreputable.

This evening, when I went to see my old friend the General, just before
dinner, he told me that he had had news of a great battle near Metz, in
which the French army had been cut off and practically destroyed, with a
loss of 45,000 prisoners. It sounds about as probable as some of the
other yarns. In view of the fact that my friend had no telegraphic
communication, I was curious to know where he got his information, but
my gentle queries did not bring forth any news on that point.

The Germans now expect to establish themselves for some time here in
Brussels. They are going to occupy the various governmental departments,
and it is quite possible that for some time we shall have to deal
exclusively with them. The Government to which we are accredited has
faded away, and we are left here with a condition and not a theory. We
shall have to deal with the condition, and I am not at all sure that the
condition will not require some pretty active dealing with.
Functionaries are to be brought from Berlin to administer the various
departments, so that it is evidently expected that the occupation is not
to be of a temporary character.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Later._--After writing the foregoing, I went upstairs and listened to
some of the tales of the four people who were tied up at Louvain. Now
that they are safely out of it, they can see the funny side of it, but
it was certainly pretty dangerous while it lasted. Monsieur de Leval is
overcome with admiration for their _sang-froid_, and marvels at the race
of men we breed.

They seem to have made themselves solid with the Germans before they had
been there long; it would be hard for anybody to resist that crowd any
length of time. Of course they never saw their taxi again after getting
out to scout for the battle, and whenever the Major who had the duty of
keeping them under surveillance came to take a look at them, Cobb would
work up a sob-shaken voice and plead for liberty and permission to
return to Brussels. He was always at some pains to explain that it was
not his life he was worrying about, but the haunting thought of that
taxi running up at the rate of fifty centimes every three minutes. After
a while he got the Major's funny bone located, and then all was well. He
so completely got into the officer's good graces that he promised to
send us word that they were safe and well,--and then failed to do so.

While the Germans occupied the city, all inhabitants were required to be
indoors by eight o'clock; a light had to be kept in every window, and
the blinds left open, so that any one moving could be clearly seen from
the street. The windows themselves were to be closed. Dosch said he woke
up about four o'clock one morning with his head splitting; the lamp was
smoking and the air vile with smoke and smell. He decided he would
prefer to be shot than die of headache, so deliberately got up and
opened his window. The story loses its point by the fact that after
violating this strict rule, he was not taken out and shot.

They said it was really pretty dreadful. From their window, they saw,
every little while, a group of soldiers lead some poor frightened
Belgian to a little café across the street; several officers were
sitting at one of the tables on the sidewalk, holding a sort of drumhead
court martial. While they were examining the case, a squad would be
marched around behind the railroad station. A few minutes later the
prisoner would be marched around by another way, and in a few minutes
there would be a volley and the troops would be marched back to their
post; then, after a little while, a stretcher would be brought out with
a body in civilian clothes, a cloth over the face. Some of the prisoners
were women, and there were screams before the shots were fired. It must
have been a dreadful ordeal to go through.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, August 27, 1914._--The day after my last entry I started on a
trip to Antwerp, got through the lines and managed to wriggle back into
Brussels last night after reëstablishing telegraph communication with
the Department and having a number of other things happen to and around
about me.

All I can remember now of the 23d is that it was a Sunday, and that we
could hear cannonading all day long from the east. It was hard to tell
just where it came from, but it was probably from the direction of Wavre
and Namur. It was drizzly all day. The German troops continued to pour
through the city. From time to time, during the last few days, their
march has been interrupted for a couple of hours at a time, apparently
as a result of a determined attempt on the part of the French and
English to stop the steady flow of troops toward the French frontier.
Each time we could hear the booming of the cannon, the deep voices of
the German guns and the sharp, dry bark of the French. At night we have
seen the searchlights looking for the enemy or flashing signals. Despite
the nearness of all this fighting and the sight of the wounded being
brought in, the streets barred off to keep the noisy traffic away from
the hospitals, and all the other signs of war, it has still been hard to
realize that it was so near us.

Our little German General, von Jarotzky, has kept clicking his heels
together and promising us anything we chose to ask. We have run around
day after day with our telegrams, and not one has got farther than the
Hôtel de Ville. Being naturally somewhat touchy, we got tired of this
after a few days, and decided that the only way to get any news to
Washington was for me to go to Antwerp and get into direct communication
over the cable from there. We got our telegrams ready and made a last
try on the General Monday morning. He was still effusively agreeable and
assured us that he had determined to place a military field wire at our
disposal so that we could communicate with Washington via Berlin. Our
previous experiences had made us suspicious, so it was decided that
while depositing our messages here, I would make a try at getting
through the lines and send whatever I thought best from Antwerp or any
other place I could reach. We told the General frankly what we intended
to do, and he was all smiles and anxiety to please. At our request he
had an imposing passport made out for me, signed with his hand and
authorized with his seal. The Burgomaster wrote out an equally good
letter for us when we reached the Belgian lines. Providence was to take
care of us while we were between the lines, and, just to make it
unanimous, He did.

We wanted to get away during the morning, but one thing after another
came up and I was kept on the jump. We had to stop and worry about our
newspaper correspondents, who have wandered off again. Morgan came
sauntering in during the morning and announced that he and Davis had set
out on foot to see whether there was any fighting near Hal; they had
fallen in with some German forces advancing toward Mons. After
satisfying themselves that there was nothing going on at Hal or Enghien,
Morgan decided that he had had enough walking for one day, and was for
coming home. Davis felt that they were too near the front to give up,
and with a Sherlock Holmes sagacity announced that if they stuck to
these German troops, they would succeed in locating the French and
British armies. Morgan thought this so probable that he was all for
coming back, and left Davis tramping along behind an ammunition wagon in
search of adventure. He found it.

After getting out of their trouble at Louvain, McCutcheon, Cobb and
Lewis set forth on another adventure. There are, of course, no motor
cars or carriages to be had for love or money, so they invested in a
couple of aged bicycles and a donkey cart. Cobb, who weighs far above
standard, perched gracefully on top of the donkey cart, and the other
two pedalled alongside on their wheels. They must have been a funny
outfit, and at last accounts were getting along in good style. The air
is filled with nervousness, however, and there is a constantly
increasing list of people who are being thrown into jail, or shot as
spies, and there is little time for careful and painstaking trials for
wanderers who are picked up inside the lines of the fighting armies and
are unable to render a convincing account of themselves. I shall be
rather uncomfortable about them until they reappear.

While we were waiting for the final formalities for our trip to be
accomplished, I invested in a wrist watch and goggles. We also bought a
fuzzy animal like a Teddy bear, about three inches high, and tied him on
the radiator as a mascot. He made a hit with all hands and got a
valuable grin from several forbidding-looking Germans. We had signs on
the car fore and aft, marking it as the car of the American Legation,
the signs being in both French and German. As we were the first to try
to make the trip, we thought it up to us to neglect nothing that would
help to get us through without any unpleasant shooting or bayoneting.

[Illustration: Letter signed by Burgomaster Max requesting the Belgian
authorities to allow Mr. Gibson to pass through the lines on his way to
Antwerp. This was one of the last documents signed by the Burgomaster
before he was sent to Germany as a prisoner of war.

                                     Bruxelles, le 24 Septembre 1914

    Le Bourgmestre de Bruxelles, prie les Autorités Belges de bien
    vouloir laisser passer Monsieur Hugh S. Gibsen, secrétaire de la
    Légation des Etats-Unis d'Amérique, accompagné de son chauffeur.

    M.H.S. Gibsen est chargé d'une mission officielle.

             Le Bourgmestre

                                  Vu au Consulat de Belgique
                                  à ROOSENDAAL (P.B.)
                                  le 28 septembre 1914

                                  LE CONSUL DE BELGIQUE]

After formally filing all our telegrams with the German General, Blount
and I got under way at half-past two. We pulled out through the northern
end of the city, toward Vilvorde. There were German troops and supply
trains all along the road, but we were not stopped until we got about
half way to Vilvorde. Then we heard a loud roar from a field of cabbages
we were passing and, looking around, discovered what looked like a
review of the Knights of Pythias. A magnificent-looking man on
horseback, wearing several orders, surrounded by a staff of some ten or
twelve others, was riding toward us through the cabbages, waving angrily
at us to stop. The whole crowd surrounded the car and demanded hotly how
we dared venture out of town by this road. While they were industriously
blowing us up, the Supreme Potentate observed the sign on the front of
straightway to salute and kept it up. The others all saluted most
earnestly and we had to unlimber and take off our hats and bow as
gracefully as we could, all hunched up inside a little racing car. Then
I handed out our pass, which the chief of staff read aloud to the
assembled notables. They were all most amiable, warned us to proceed
with great caution, driving slowly, stopping every hundred yards, and to
tear back toward town if popping began in our immediate neighbourhood.
They were so insistent on our not getting in the way of bullets that I
had to assure them, in my best rusty German, that we were getting into
this ragged edge of their old war simply because it was necessary for
business reasons and not because of any ardent desire to have holes shot
through us. They all laughed and let us go our way with a final caution.
From that time on we were in the midst of German patrols. We religiously
observed the officers' advice to drive slowly and keep a lookout. Five
minutes later we began to meet peasants running away from their homes in
the direction of Brussels. They reported fighting near Malines, and said
that we were running straight into it. They were a badly frightened
lot. We decided that the only thing to do was to go ahead, feeling our
way carefully, and come back or wait if things got too hot for us. We
were stopped several times by troops crossing the road to get into
trenches that were already prepared, and once had to wait while a big
gun was put in place. It was a ticklish business to come around a turn
in the road and light on a hundred men sneaking along behind a hedge
with their rifles ready for instant action. Just beyond Eppeghem we met
a troop of cavalry convoying a high cart filled with peasants, who had
evidently been taken prisoners. The officer in charge was a nervous
chap, who came riding at us, brandishing his revolver, which he had tied
to the pommel of his saddle with a long cord. He was most indignant that
we had been allowed to come this far and reluctantly admitted that our
pass was good. All the time he talked with us, and told us of the
skirmishing ahead, he kept waving that large blunderbuss in our faces. I
tried a little humour on him by saying, as nearly as the unwieldy
structure of the German tongue would permit: "Please point that thing
the other way; you can never tell when it may go off and hurt somebody."
He was quite solemn about it, however, and assured us that he had
perfect control over it, emphasising his remarks by shaking it under our
noses. I was glad to get out of his range, for I verily believe that if
somebody had shouted _boo!_ he would have let that gun off with a bang.

The German officers we talked with from time to time said that the
Belgians were advancing, and that several skirmishes had taken place;
that a big engagement was expected during the night or in the morning.
We passed the last of the German outposts about two miles this side of
Malines, but for fear we might tell on them, they would not tell us
whether we had any more of their kind ahead of us. We shot along through
the open country, between the last Germans and the edge of Malines, at a
fairly good rate, and kept a lookout for the English flag, which we had
been given to understand was flying from the tower of the Cathedral.
That is what we had been given to understand in Brussels, but along the
road they were very noncommittal about the whereabouts of the British
troops. When we finally did get a clear view of the Cathedral spires, we
saw the Belgian flag standing straight out in the good breeze that was
blowing, and while that showed that the English troops had not taken
over the place, it at least convinced us that the Germans were behind
us; As we drove through the little suburb on this side of the canal
which runs through the edge of the town, we found that all the houses
were battened up tight. One lone man, who came out from a little café,
told us that the Germans had been through about fifteen minutes before,
and had shot up the town, until they were driven off by a small force of
Belgian cavalry which had appeared from nowhere and had as quickly gone
back to the same place. Not knowing what forces were ready to start in
again on short notice, all the inhabitants who were fortunate enough to
have cellars were hiding in them, and the rest were trying to get into
town as best they could, leaving their belongings.

When we reached the canal, we found that the drawbridge had been taken
up, and that there was no way to get across. There were a few gendarmes
on the other side, and a few carts on our side of the canal. All were
anxious to get across, but the Burgomaster had ordered traffic suspended
until things had quieted down. We prevailed upon a genial gendarme to
run back and get orders to govern our special case. After waving our
credentials and showing how much influence we had with the local
administration, we were quite popular with the panic-stricken peasants
who wanted to get into town. Orders came very soon, and we made straight
for the Hôtel de Ville to thank the Burgomaster for letting us in, and
also to pick up any news he had as to conditions. We did not get any
great amount, however, as he could not get over the fact that we had
come straight through from Brussels without having been shot by the
German or the Belgian patrols, who were out with orders to pick up
strays like us. We tried several times to get information out of him,
but he could do nothing but marvel at our luck, and above all at our
_prouesse_, which left him quite bowled over. We gave him up and went
our way. He has had other things to marvel about since.

Not far out of Malines, we ran into the first Belgian outpost. When we
were about fifty yards from them, they surged across the road and began
brandishing rifles, swords, lances--a veritable armory of deadly
weapons. Blount put on the emergency brakes, and we were bracing for
quick and voluble explanations when we saw that they were all grinning
broadly and that each one was struggling to get our particular
attention. We had our _laisser-passers_ in our hands, and waved them in
the air. No one would pay the slightest heed to them. From the hubbub
that was seething about our ears, we learned that ten minutes or so
before they had finished a little brush with the Germans, and that the
articles they had been waving in our faces were the trophies of the
combat. Each fellow was anxious to show us what he had taken, and to
tell just how he had done it. They seemed to take it for granted that we
were friends and would enjoy the sight, and share their delight. One of
the boys--a chap about eighteen--held aloft a huge pair of cavalry boots
which he had pulled off a German he had killed. It was a curious mixture
of childish pride and the savage rejoicing of a Fiji Islander with a
head he has taken. We admired their loot until they were satisfied, and
then prevailed upon them to look at our papers, which they did in a
perfunctory way. Then, after shaking hands all round, they sent us on
with a cheer. We were hero-curiosities as the first civilians who had
got through from the German lines since the occupation of Brussels. And
perhaps we were not glad to be safely inside the Belgian lines! It was
nervous work that far, but once inside we found everybody friendly and
got through without any trouble, although we were stopped every
kilometer or so. Soon after we passed the first outposts, we began
passing Belgian troops advancing toward Malines in large force. They
seemed in good spirits and ready for anything. Our position here has
gone steadily up since the beginning of the hostilities, and everywhere
we went, the flag was cheered and we got a warm welcome.

This forward movement of the troops was a part of a concerted operation
by which the Belgians were to attempt to push through to Brussels while
the main German army was engaged in attacking Mons and Charleroi.

About twelve kilometers out of Antwerp, we were stopped at a little
house and asked if we would take a wounded man into town to the
hospital. He had been shot through the hand and was suffering from shock
and loss of blood, but was able to chew on a huge chunk of bread all the
way into town. He had no interest in anything else, and, after trying
one or two questions on him, I let him alone and watched the troops we
were passing--an unbroken line all the way in. The main Belgian army and
a lot of the Garde Civique were inside the ring of forts and were all
being put on the road with full contingents of supply wagons,
ambulances, and even the dog artillery. These little chaps came tugging
along the road and turned their heads to bark at us with enthusiasm.

For a mile or so outside the _enceinte_, which has been thrown up around
the town, the roads are heavily mined, and small red flags planted
between the cobbles to warn passers-by to tread gently and gingerly. We
did not require the urging of the sentries to make us proceed with
caution over these places, which were so delicately mined that heavy
carts were not allowed to pass. I breathed more easily when we were once
out of this.

We found the military hospital and handed over our wounded soldier to
the attendants, who bundled him inside and then rushed back to hear what
we could tell them. They had not heard a word from the outside
world--or rather from our part of the outside world--since the
withdrawal of the Belgian army to Antwerp, and they greeted us as they
would greet fellow-beings returning from a journey to Mars. They had a
few newspapers which were being published in Antwerp, and handed them
over to us, we being as anxious as they for the news that we had not
been able to get.

From the hospital we drove to the Hôtel St. Antoine and asked for rooms.
The proprietor was very suspicious of us, and we had a tremendous time
convincing him that there was nothing the matter with us. He _knew_ that
we could not have come from Brussels, as nobody had been able to make
the trip. Our papers were _en règle_, but that made no difference.
German spies and other suspicious characters had managed to get forged
papers before that. Fortunately, all the other diplomats were living in
the hotel, and I asked that he hunt up some of them, and verify what we
had to say for ourselves. Webber, of the British Legation, was brought
out and acted as though he had seen a ghost. He calmed down enough to
assure the proprietor that we were respectable citizens, and that he
could safely give us rooms. All the other people were away from the
hotel for the moment, so we deposited our things in our room, and made
for the Consulate-General. It was then half-past six, and the
Consul-General had gone for the day. A well-trained porter refused to
tell where either he or the Vice-Consul-General lived, but we managed to
find out and got to the Vice-Consul-General's house after a hunt with a
_chasseur_ of the hotel on the box. He was not at home, but his wife
was there. We talked with her for a few minutes, and then went back to
the hotel to await Sherman's (Vice-Consul-General) coming. He called in
the course of a few minutes, and we made arrangements to go to the
Consulate after dinner and get off our telegrams.

By the time we could get washed up and ready for dinner, the crowd had
come back, and when we set foot on the stairway, we were literally
overwhelmed by our loving friends. First, I met Sir Francis Villiers and
accepted his invitation to dine. He and Prince Koudacheff, the Russian
Minister, a lot of other colleagues, and goodness only knows who else,
fell upon us with demands for news. I took refuge in Sir Francis's
office, and saw as many people as I could until dinner time. Baron van
der Elst, the Secretary General of the Foreign Office, and M. Carton de
Wiart, the Minister of Justice, forgetting all about the requirements of
the protocol that I should make the first call upon them, came flying
around to see if I had any news of their families. Luckily I had, and
was able to tell them that all was well. I did not know that I had so
much first-hand knowledge of the people in Brussels, but was able to
give good news to any number of people. It became a regular joyfest, and
was more fun for me than for anybody else. By eight o'clock we got out
to dinner, but hardly got two consecutive bites without interruptions.
In the midst of soup, General Yungbluth, Chief of Staff to the King,
came around in full regimentals and wanted to get all sorts of news for
the Queen. Before we got much farther, others began to arrive and drew
up chairs to the table, filling up all that part of the room. As we
were finishing dinner, several Ministers of State came in to say that
the Prime Minister wanted me to come to meet him and the Cabinet Council
which was being held--just to assure them that all was well with their
families and to tell them, in the bargain, anything that I felt I
properly could. However, I had my real work ahead of me--getting off my
telegrams to Washington. I tore myself away from the crowd and, joining
Sherman, who was waiting for me in the hall, I made for the
Consulate-General. The Consul-General was already there, anxious to hear
the news. I had to get before the Department all the news I could, and
as comprehensive a statement as possible of everything that had happened
since communications had been cut. I pounded away until after eleven,
and got off a fat bundle of cables, which Sherman took to the office for
me. I then made for the Grand Hôtel, where the Cabinet Council was
waiting for me.

I have never been through a more moving time than the hour and a half I
spent with them. It was hard to keep from bursting out and telling them
everything that I knew would interest them. I had bound myself with no
promises before I left about telling of the situation, but none the less
I felt bound not to do it. I was able to tell them a great deal that was
of comfort to them, and that could give no ground for objection if the
Germans were to know of it, and, on these subjects, I gave them all they
wanted. After telling them all I could about their families and friends,
I let them ask questions and did my best to answer those that I could.
The first thing they wanted to know was how the Germans had behaved in
the town. The answer I gave them was satisfactory. Then they wanted to
know whether the Royal Palace had been respected, or whether the German
flag was flying over it; also whether the Belgian flag still flew on the
Hôtel de Ville. Their pride in their old town was touching, and when
they heard that no harm had as yet been done it, you would have thought
that they were hearing good news of friends they had lost. Then they
started in and told me all the news they had from outside sources--bits
of information which had reached them indirectly via Holland, and the
reports of their military authorities. We have never had such complete
information given us--enough to justify the trip even if I had not
restored communication with the Department.

We stayed on and talked until nearly half-past twelve, when I got up and
insisted on leaving; perhaps it is just as well. They did not want to
break up the party, but when I insisted, they also made up their minds
to call it a day's work and quit.

We brought van der Elst back to the hotel, and with his influence ran
our car into the Gendarmerie next door. Then to bed.

Blount and I had a huge room on the third floor front. We had just got
into bed and were settling down to a good night's rest when there was an
explosion, the like of which I have never heard before, and we sat up
and paid strict attention. We were greatly interested, but took it
calmly, knowing that the forts were nearly four miles out of town and
that they could bang away as long as they liked without doing more than
spoil our night's sleep. There were eight of these explosions at short
intervals, and then as they stopped there was a sharp _purr_ like the
distant rattle of a machine gun. As that died down, the chimes of the
Cathedral--the sweetest carillon I have ever heard--sounded one o'clock.
We thought that the Germans must have tried an advance under cover of a
bombardment, and retired as soon as they saw that the forts were
vigilant and not to be taken by surprise. We did not even get out of
bed. About five minutes later we heard footsteps on the roof and the
voice of a woman in a window across the street, asking some one on the
sidewalk below whether it was safe to go back to bed. I got out and took
a look into the street. There were a lot of people there talking and
gesticulating, but nothing of enough interest to keep two tired men from
their night's sleep, so we climbed back into bed and stayed until

Blount called me at what seemed an unreasonably early hour and said we
should be up and about our day's work. When we were both dressed, we
found that we had made a bad guess, when he looked at his watch and
discovered that it was only a quarter to seven. Being up, however, we
decided to go down and get our breakfast.

When we got down we found everybody else stirring, and it took us
several minutes to get it through our heads that we had been through
more excitement than we wotted of. Those distant explosions that we had
taken so calmly were bombs dropped from a Zeppelin which had sailed over
the city and dropped death and destruction in its path. The first bomb
fell less than two hundred yards from where we slept--no wonder that we
were rocked in our beds! After a little breakfast we sallied forth.

The first bomb was in a little street around the corner from the hotel,
and had fallen into a narrow four-story house, which had been blown into
bits. When the bomb burst, it not only tore a fine hole in the immediate
vicinity, but hurled its pieces several hundred yards. All the windows
for at least two hundred or three hundred feet were smashed into little
bits. The fronts of all the surrounding houses were pierced with
hundreds of holes, large and small. The street itself was filled with
débris and was impassable. From this place we went to the other points
where bombs had fallen. As we afterward learned, ten people were killed
outright; a number have since died of their injuries and a lot more are
injured, and some of these may die. A number of houses were completely
wrecked and a great many will have to be torn down. Army officers were
amazed at the terrific force of the explosions. The last bomb dropped as
the Zeppelin passed over our heads fell in the centre of a large
square--la Place du Poids Publique. It tore a hole in the cobblestone
pavement, some twenty feet square and four or five feet deep. Every
window in the square was smashed to bits. The fronts of the houses were
riddled with holes, and everybody had been obliged to move out, as many
of the houses were expected to fall at any time. The Dutch Minister's
house was near one of the smaller bombs and was damaged slightly. Every
window was smashed. All the crockery and china are gone; mirrors in tiny
fragments; and the Minister somewhat startled. Not far away was Faura,
the First Secretary of the Spanish Legation. His wife had been worried
sick for fear of bombardment, and he had succeeded only the day before
in prevailing upon her to go to England with their large family of
children. Another bomb fell not far from the houses of the
Consul-General and the Vice-Consul-General, and they were not at all
pleased. The windows on one side of our hotel were also smashed.

[Illustration: Boy Scouts at Belgian headquarters, Lierre]

[Illustration: Reading from left to right: a Belgian Staff Officer,
Colonel Fairholme, Colonel DuCane and Captain Ferguson. (Malines
Cathedral in the background)]

[Illustration: "Hommage aux Glorieux Martyrs de Tamines, tombés dans la
Journée du 20 Août 1914". List of the civilians killed by the Germans at
Tamines on August 20, 1914.]

We learned that the Zeppelin had sailed over the town not more than five
hundred feet above us; the motor was stopped some little distance away
and she slid along in perfect silence and with her lights out. It would
be a comfort to say just what one thinks about the whole business. The
_purr_ of machine guns that we heard after the explosion of the last
bomb was the starting of the motor, which carried our visitor out of
range of the guns which were trundled out to attack her. Preparations
were being made to receive such a visit, but they had not been
completed; had she come a day or two later, she would have met a warm
reception. The line of march was straight across the town, on a line
from the General Staff, the Palace where the Queen was staying with the
royal children, the military hospital of Ste. Elisabeth, filled with
wounded, the Bourse, and some other buildings. It looks very much as
though the idea had been to drop one of the bombs on the Palace. The
Palace itself was missed by a narrow margin, but large pieces of the
bomb were picked up on the roof and shown me later in the day by
Inglebleek, the King's Secretary. The room at the General Staff, where
I had been until half an hour before the explosion, was a pretty ruin,
and it was just as well for us that we left when we did. It was a fine,
big room, with a glass dome skylight over the big round table where we
were sitting. This came in with a crash and was in powder all over the
place. Next time I sit under a glass skylight in Antwerp, I shall have a
guard outside with an eye out for Zeppelins.

If the idea of this charming performance was to inspire terror, it was a
complete failure. The people of the town, far from yielding to fear, are
devoting all their energies to anger. They are furious at the idea of
killing their King and Queen. There is no telling when the performance
will be repeated, but there is a chance that next time the balloon man
will get a warmer reception.

In the morning I went around and called at the Foreign Office, which is
established in a handsome building that belonged to one of the municipal
administrations. The Minister for Foreign Affairs took me into his
office and summoned all hands to hear any news I could give them of
their families and friends. I also took notes of names and addresses of
people in Brussels who were to be told that their own people in Antwerp
were safe and well. I had been doing that steadily from the minute we
set foot in the hotel the night before, and when I got back here, I had
my pockets bulging with innocent messages. Now comes the merry task of
getting them around.

At the hotel we were besieged with invitations to lunch and dine with
all our friends. They were not only glad to see somebody from the
outside world, but could not get over the sporting side of our trip,
and patted us on the back until they made us uncomfortable. Everybody in
Antwerp looked upon the trip as a great exploit, and exuded admiration.
I fully expected to get a Carnegie medal before I got away. And it
sounded so funny coming from a lot of Belgian officers who had for the
last few weeks been going through the most harrowing experiences, with
their lives in danger every minute, and even now with a perfectly good
chance of being killed before the war is over. They seem to take that as
a matter of course, but look upon our performance as in some way
different and superior. People are funny things.

I stopped at the Palace to sign the King's book, and ran into General
Jungbluth, who was just starting off with the Queen. She came down the
stairs and stopped just long enough to greet me, and then went her way;
she is a brave little woman and deserves a better fate than she has had.
Inglebleek, the King's Secretary, heard that I was there signing the
book, and came out to see me. He said that the Queen was anxious I
should see what had been done by the bombs of the night before. He
wanted me to go right into the houses and see the horrid details. I did
not want to do this, but there was no getting out of it under the

We drove first to the Place du Poids Publique and went into one of the
houses which had been partially wrecked by one of the smaller bombs.
Everything in the place had been left as it was until the police
magistrate could make his examination and report. We climbed to the
first floor, and I shall never forget the horrible sight that awaited
us. A poor policeman and his wife had been blown to fragments, and the
pieces were all over the walls and ceiling. Blood was everywhere. Other
details are too terrible even to think of. I could not stand any more
than this one room. There were others which Inglebleek wanted to show
me, but I could not think of it. And this was only one of a number of
houses where peaceful men and women had been so brutally killed while
they slept.

And where is the military advantage of this? If the bombs were dropped
near the fortifications, it would be easy to understand, but in this
instance it is hard to explain upon any ground, except the hope of
terrifying the population to the point where they will demand that the
Government surrender the town and the fortifications. Judging from the
temper they were in yesterday at Antwerp, they are more likely to demand
that the place be held at all costs rather than risk falling under the
rule of a conqueror brutal enough to murder innocent people in their

The Prime Minister told me that he had four sons in the army--all the
children he has--and that he was prepared to give every one of them, and
his own life and fortune, into the bargain, but that he was _not_
prepared--and here he banged his fist down on the table and his eyes
flashed--to admit for a minute the possibility of yielding to Germany.
Everybody else is in the same state of mind. It is not hysterical. The
war has been going on long enough, and they have had so many hard blows
that the glamour and the fictitious attractiveness of the thing has
gone, and they have settled down in deadly earnest to fight to the
bitter end. There may not be one stone left upon another in Belgium
when the Germans get through, but if these people keep up to their
present level they will come through--what there is left of them--free.

Later in the afternoon I went to the Foreign Office and let them read to
me the records of the commission which is investigating the alleged
German atrocities. They are working in a calm and sane way and seem to
be making the most earnest attempt to get at the true facts, no matter
whether they prove or disprove the charges that have been made. It is
wonderful to see the judicial way they can sit down in the midst of war
and carnage and try to make a fair inquiry on a matter of this sort. If
one one-thousandth part of the charges are proven to be true....

The rest of the afternoon was spent seeing people who came in for news
of Brussels, and who had messages to send home. I had had to tell the
hotel people that I would be there from four to seven to see people, and
that the rest of the time I must have free for my own work. They came in
swarms; all the diplomats, the Cabinet Ministers, and the Ministers of
State, army officers, and other officials--a perfect mob. I had a
package of cards on which I noted names and addresses and the messages
which were to be delivered. These messages have been sent out to-day,
after being submitted to the military authorities, some of them in
writing and some by word of mouth, and if they have afforded one-tenth
the comfort that I hope, the sum total of misery in this town has been
reduced a good deal this day.

Colonel Fairholme left for the front, with the King, early in the
morning, and was with him during the battle at Malines. He thought we
were going back during the day, as I had told him the evening before.
About noon he called up from the telephone and told Sir Francis that
under no circumstances was I to be allowed to start, as the town was
being bombarded with heavy siege pieces and all traffic was absolutely
stopped; that we could not only not get by, but that any part of the
trip by the regular road was extremely dangerous. I was just as glad
that we had decided to stay over. The Colonel stayed out all that night
and had not returned to Antwerp when we left yesterday. During the
morning he called up again and asked about us, again advising against
our starting. Pretty decent of a man who has as much to think of as he
had to be worrying about us enough to take time to telephone us as to
the dangers of the road.

During the evening bad news came in from France, and everybody was down
in the mouth. The French Minister came in and told me what he had
received. Everybody was plainly worried, and altogether things looked
pretty dismal. We sat around a little while and then decided for a good
night's sleep.

To make sure of offering no unnecessary chances for Mr. Zeppelin the
authorities had ordered all the lights on the streets put out at eight
o'clock. It was dark as midnight and there was no use in thinking of
venturing out into the town. The Cathedral clock was stopped and the
carillon turned off for the first time in heaven only knows how many
years. It was a city of the dead. Guns were posted in the streets ready
for instant use in case the airship should put in another appearance. As
a result of this and the searchlights that played upon the sky all
night, our friend the enemy did not appear. Some people know when they
have had enough.

Yesterday morning I looked out of my window at the Cathedral clock, and
saw that it was twenty-five minutes to ten. I tumbled through my tub,
and rushed downstairs to get through my morning's work, only to find
that it was half-past six. I had forgotten that the Cathedral clock had
been stopped.

It was just as well that I was up early, however, for there was plenty
to be done. I found a lot of telegrams waiting for me at the Consulate,
and had to get off another string of them. Then an orderly held me up on
the street to tell me that the King's Secretary was hunting for me all
over the place, and that I was wanted at the Palace. When I got there,
he had started off on another hunt for me. He finally got me at the
hotel, and kept me for half an hour.

By the time that I got through with him, there was word that the
Minister of Foreign Affairs wanted to see me, so I made a bee-line over
there. Then there was another call to the Consulate to answer some more
telegrams. After attending to various matters at the Palace, the
Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Consulate General, and seeing a few
more people at the hotel, the morning was gone and it was time for lunch
and a quick get-away.

All hands came out and bade us farewell. You would have thought we were
on our way to Heaven, except for the fact that they urged us to come

As we could hear the cannonading, we decided that we would avoid the
Malines road and would try to skirt around the zone of trouble and work
our way into Brussels from the west. We got ferried across the Scheldt
on a terrible tub of a steamer that looked as though she would go down
under the weight of the military automobiles that she had to get across
in order to take ammunition to the front. We all got away in a bunch
from the other side, but we drew ahead of them as we had not such a
heavy load; and within three-quarters of an hour we were outside the
Belgian lines. Van der Elst had secured for us a most imposing
_laisser-passer_, which took us through with practically no trouble
except that it was so impressive that we were held at each barricade
while all the men on duty took turns reading it. The only ticklish part
of the trip to the Belgian outposts was working our way through the
villages which had been mined in anticipation of a German invasion. It
is bad enough working one's way through there in a motor with everybody
helping you to keep out of harm's way, but it must be a trifle worse to
do it in a mass with a man on a hill a little way off waiting for you to
come up to the signal post so that he can touch a button and send you in
small pieces into the next world.

We struck out through St. Nicholas, Hamme, Termonde and Assche, and got
into Brussels from the west without mishap. We have got quite used to
having people poke bayonets in our faces and brandish revolvers at us,
so the latter part of the trip with only that to contend with seemed
quiet and almost boring.

On the road in from Assche, we passed near Eppeghem and Vilvorde, where
the fighting had been going on for a couple of days. After news had been
received in Antwerp of the defeat of the French and English at Mons and
Charleroi, the Belgians were ordered to fall back on Antwerp and had
left these little villages to be occupied by the Germans. As they
occupied them, they had set them afire and the flames were raging as we
came by. They were quaint little towns, and had excited our admiration
two days before when we had gone through--despite the fact that we had
other things on our minds beside admiring the beauties of architecture.
Now they are gone.

The Germans gave us no trouble, and we got back to the Legation by a
little before five. Everyone poured out to meet us, and greeted us as
prodigal sons. When we had not come back the day before, they had about
made up their minds that something dreadful had happened to us, and the
rejoicing over our return was consequently much greater than if we had
not whetted their imaginations just a little.

I found that the situation in Brussels had undergone big changes while I
was away. General von Jarotzky had been replaced by General von
Lüttwitz, who is an administrator and has been sent to put things in
running order again. There was no inkling of this change when I left,
and I was a good deal surprised. Guns have been placed at various
strategic points commanding the town, and the Germans are ready for
anything. The telephone wire they had put through the town to connect
the two stations and headquarters was cut day before yesterday by some
cheerful idiot who probably thought he was doing something good for his
country. The military authorities thereupon announced that if anything
of the sort was done again they would lay waste the quarter of the town
where the act was committed.

Some of the subordinate officers have since told us that von Jarotzky
was a fighting general, and had no business staying in a post requiring
administrative ability. The new man is cut out particularly for this
sort of work, and is going to start a regular German administration.
Functionaries are being brought from Berlin to take things over, and in
a short time we shall, to all intents and purposes, be living in a
German city. The first trains ran to-day in a halting fashion to Liège
and the German frontier. Perhaps we shall have a newspaper.

Most distressing news has come through from Tamines. I had a long talk
to-day with a trustworthy man from there, and his story was enough to
make one's blood run cold. He says that on the evening of the
twenty-first the Germans entered the village after a brush with French
troops which were still in the neighbourhood. Infuriated by the
resistance offered to their advance, they proceeded to vent their rage
on the town. They shot down a lot of villagers, and arrested many more.
A great many escaped to the country. A lot of houses were first sacked,
and then burned. The orgy continued during the night, and through the
next day. On the evening of the twenty-second, something over four
hundred men were collected near the church and lined up to be shot. The
work was done for a time by a firing squad which fired into the crowd
with more or less system, but this was too slow, and finally a
rapid-fire gun was brought out and turned loose. Of course, a great many
were not killed outright and lay groaning among the dead. Now and then
a German would put one out of his misery by a bayonet thrust. Others
settled their own troubles by rolling themselves into the nearby river.
Altogether over six hundred people were shot down, but it is hard to get
any exact figures yet. After the shooting was over, other civilians were
brought out and compelled to bury the dead. My informant says that some
of the scenes attending this duty were quite as poignant as the shooting
itself, for some buried their own fathers and brothers. One man about to
be thrown into the trench was found to be still alive, but the German
doctor, after a cursory examination, ordered him buried with the rest.
The man had enough life left in him to raise his hand in appeal but the
doctor shrugged his shoulder and repeated his order. There were many
incidents, most of them horrible. The man who told the story seemed
still dazed and spoke quietly, with few adjectives and little emphasis
on anything he said. It was a bare recital of facts, and far more moving
than if he had striven for effect.

Davis got back yesterday from his trip to the front, and we learned that
he had been through a perfectly good experience that will look well when
he comes to writing it up, but one that gave him little satisfaction
while it was in progress. He started off to follow the German army in
the hope of locating the English. After leaving Hal, some bright young
German officer decided that he was a suspicious-looking character, and
ought to be shot as an English spy. As a preliminary, they arrested him
and locked him up. Then the war was called off while the jury sat on
his case. One of the officers thought it would be a superfluous effort
to go through the form of trying him, but that they should shoot him
without further to do. They began considering his case at eleven in the
morning, and kept it up until midnight. He was given pretty clearly to
understand that his chances were slim, and that the usual fate of spies
awaited him. He argued at length, and apparently his arguments had some
effect, for at three o'clock in the morning he was routed out and told
to hit the road toward Brussels. He was ordered to keep religiously to
the main road all the way back, on pain of being shot on sight, and to
report at headquarters here immediately on his arrival. By this time he
was perfectly willing to do exactly what was demanded by those in
authority, and made a bee-line back here on foot. He turned up at the
Legation yesterday morning, footsore and weary, and looking like a
tramp, and told his story to an admiring audience. I was still away on
my little jaunt, and did not get it at first hand. The Minister took him
down to call on the General, and got them to understand that Richard
Harding Davis was not an English spy, but, on the contrary, probably the
greatest writer that ever lived, not excepting Shakespeare or Milton.
The General said he had read some of his short stories, and that he
would not have him shot. Just the same, he was not keen about having him
follow the operations. He is now ordered to remain in this immediate
neighbourhood until further orders. To-day he had several interviews
with the General in an attempt to get permission to leave the country,
but had no luck. The last we saw of Davis, he came in late this
afternoon to tell us that he did not know what to do next. He said that
he had been through six wars, but that he had never been so scared as he
was at that time. If he is allowed to get out of Belgium, I think that
he will not darken the door of General von Lüttwitz for some time to

I was surprised to learn that Hans von Herwarth, who used to be military
attaché in Washington, and whom I knew very well, is here as Adjutant to
our new Governor. I have not yet had time to get over to see him, but
shall try to do so to-morrow. I am glad to have somebody like that here
to do business with. He is a real white man, and I anticipate a much
better time with him than with any other officer they could send here in
that capacity.

Baron Capelle came in late this afternoon to tell me that the Germans
were bringing in a lot of priests on carts filled with cows and pigs,
and were planning to hold them as hostages. One of them had called out
and asked him to notify us that Monseigneur de Becker, Rector of the
American College at Louvain, was among these prisoners. He is the priest
I went to see when I was in Louvain ten days ago. I had told him he was
perfectly safe, and scoffed at his fears.

The Minister was out when this news came, but I sallied forth and tried
to locate the Monseigneur. He was not to be found anywhere. When I got
back to the Legation, both the Minister and Villalobar were here and I
told them all about what had happened. The people of the town were
getting excited over the treatment that was being meted out to their
priests, and it was in a fair way to result in serious trouble. Both
Ministers made for the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, where the German
Government is established, and before they left, had secured orders for
the release of all the hostages. A lot of these terrible things are done
by subordinate officers, and the people at the top seem only too anxious
to learn of such affairs and do what they can to remedy them. The day
has been dreadful with stories of suffering and murder and pillage.

Not only are we cut off from communication with the outside world, but a
lot of the ordinary conveniences of life have already disappeared. We
have no newspapers, no trams, no taxis, no telephones. Milk is no longer
to be had, and within a day or two we shall have no butter or eggs. Then
it will begin to look like a real siege. In a day or so I am to have a
list of Jarotzky's demands for supplies, so that I can cheer myself with
thoughts of what our life is to be like.

There is bad news from Louvain. The reports we have received agree that
there was some sort of trouble in the square before the Hôtel de Ville a
day or two ago. Beyond that, no two reports are alike. The Germans say
that the son of the Burgomaster shot down some staff officers who were
talking together at dusk before the Hôtel de Ville. The only flaw in
that story is that the Burgomaster has no son. Some Belgians say that
two bodies of Germans who were drunk met in the dusk; that one body
mistook the other for French, and opened fire. Other reliable people
tell with convincing detail that the trouble was planned and started by
the Germans in cold blood. However that may be, the affair ended in the
town being set on fire, and civilians shot down in the streets as they
tried to escape. According to the Germans themselves, the town is being
wiped out of existence. The Cathedral, the Library, the University, and
other public buildings have either been destroyed or have suffered
severely. People have been shot by hundreds, and those not killed are
being driven from the town. They are coming to Brussels by thousands,
and the end is not yet. This evening the wife of the Minister of Fine
Arts came in with the news that her mother, a woman of eighty-four, had
been driven from her home at the point of the bayonet and forced to walk
with a stream of refugees all the way to Tervueren, a distance of about
twelve miles, before she could be put on a tram to her daughter's house.
Two old priests have staggered into the ---- Legation more dead than
alive after having been compelled to walk ahead of the German troops for
miles as a sort of protecting screen. One of them is ill, and it is said
that he may die as a result of what he has gone through.

           *           *           *           *           *

_August 28th._--After lunch Blount and I decided to go out to Louvain to
learn for ourselves just how much truth there is in the stories we have
heard, and see whether the American College is safe. We were going
alone, but Pousette and Bulle, the Swedish and Mexican Chargés
d'Affaires, were anxious to join us, so the four of us got away together
and made good time as far as the first outpost this side of Louvain.

Here there was a small camp by a hospital, and the soldiers came out to
examine our papers and warn us to go no farther, as there was fighting
in the town. The road was black with frightened civilians carrying away
small bundles from the ruins of their homes. Ahead was a great column of
dull gray smoke which completely hid the city. We could hear the muffled
sound of firing ahead. Down the little street which led to the town, we
could see dozens of white flags which had been hung out of the windows
in a childish hope of averting trouble.

We talked with the soldiers for some time in an effort to get some idea
of what had really happened in the town. They seemed convinced that
civilians had precipitated the whole business by firing upon the staff
of a general who was parleying with the Burgomaster in the square before
the Hôtel de Ville. They saw nothing themselves, and believe what they
are told. Different members of the detachment had different stories to
tell, including one that civilians had a machine gun installed on top of
the Cathedral, and fired into the German troops, inflicting much damage.
One of the men told us that his company had lost twenty-five men in the
initial flurry. They were a depressed and nervous-looking crew, bitter
against the civil population and cursing their ways with great
earnestness. They were at some pains to impress upon us that all
Belgians were _Schwein_, and that the people of Louvain were the lowest
known form of the animal.

After talking the situation over with the officer in command, we decided
to try getting around the town to the station by way of the ring of
outer boulevards. We got through in good shape, being stopped a few
times by soldiers and by little groups of frightened civilians who were
cowering in the shelter of doorways, listening to the noise of fighting
in the town, the steady crackle of machine guns, and the occasional

[Illustration: Entrance to the Rue de Diest, Louvain]

[Illustration: The dead and the living. A Belgian civilian and a German

They were pathetic in their confidence that the United States was coming
to save them. In some way word has traveled all over Belgium that we
have entered the war on the side of Belgium, and they all seem to
believe it. Nearly every group we talked to asked hopefully when our
troops were coming, and when we answered that we were not involved, they
asked wistfully if we didn't think we should be forced to come in later.
A little boy of about eight, in a group that stopped us, asked me
whether we were English, and when I told him what we were, he began
jumping up and down, clapping his hands, and shouting:

_Les Américains sont arrivés! Les Américains sont arrivés!_

His father told him to be quiet, but he was perfectly happy and clung to
the side of the car as long as we stayed, his eyes shining with joy,
convinced that things were going to be all right somehow.

About half way around the ring of boulevards we came to burning houses.
The outer side of the boulevard was a hundred feet or so from the
houses, so the motor was safe, but it was pretty hot and the cinders
were so thick that we had to put on our goggles. A lot of the houses
were still burning, but most of them were nothing but blackened walls
with smouldering timbers inside. Many of the front doors had been
battered open in order to start the fires or to rout out the people who
were in hiding.

We came to a German ammunition wagon, half upset against a tree, where
it had been hurled when the horses had turned to run away. The tongue
was broken and wrenched out. Near by were the two horses, dead and
swollen until their legs stood out straight. Then we began to see more
ghastly sights--poor civilians lying where they had been shot down as
they ran--men and women--one old patriarch lying on his back in the sun,
his great white beard nearly hiding his swollen face. All sorts of
wreckage scattered over the street, hats and wooden shoes, German
helmets, swords and saddles, bottles and all sorts of bundles which had
been dropped and abandoned when the trouble began. For three-quarters of
a mile the boulevard looked as though it had been swept by a cyclone.
The Porte de Tirlemont had evidently been the scene of particularly
bloody business. The telegraph and trolley wires were down; dead men and
horses all over the square; the houses still burning. The broad road we
had traveled when we went to Tirlemont was covered with wreckage and
dead bodies.

Some bedraggled German soldiers came out from under the gate and
examined our passes. They were nervous and unhappy and shook their heads
gloomily over the horrors through which they were passing. They said
they had had hardly a minute's sleep for the past three nights. Their
eyes were bloodshot and they were almost too tired to talk. Some of them
were drunk--in the sodden stage, when the effect begins to wear off.
They told us we could proceed in safety as far as the station, where we
would find the headquarters of the commanding officer. Here we could
leave the motor and learn how far we could safely go. This crowd varied
the wording a little by saying that the Belgians were all dogs and that
these particular dogs were being driven out, as they should be, that all
that part of town was being cleared of people, ordered to leave their
homes and go to Brussels or some other town, so that the destruction of
Louvain could proceed systematically. We thought at the time that they
were exaggerating what was being done, but were enlightened before we
had gone much farther.

We continued down the boulevard for a quarter of a mile or so till we
came to the station. Sentries came out and looked through our passes
again. We parked the motor with a number of German military cars in the
square and set off on foot down the Rue de la Station, which we had
admired so much when we had driven down its length, just ten days

The houses on both sides were either partially destroyed or smouldering.
Soldiers were systematically removing what was to be found in the way of
valuables, food, and wine, and then setting fire to the furniture and
hangings. It was all most businesslike. The houses are substantial stone
buildings, and fire will not spread from one to another. Therefore the
procedure was to batter down the door of each house, clean out what was
to be saved, then pile furniture and hangings in the middle of the room,
set them afire, and move on to the next house.

It was pretty hot, but we made our way down the street, showing our
passes every hundred feet or so to soldiers installed in comfortable
armchairs, which they had dragged into the gutter from looted houses,
till we came to a little crossing about half way to the Hôtel de Ville.
Here we were stopped by a small detachment of soldiers, who told us that
we could go no farther; that they were clearing civilians out of some
houses a little farther down the street, and that there was likely to be
firing at any time.

The officer in command spoke to us civilly and told us to stick close to
him so that we could know just what we ought to do at any time. He was
in charge of the destruction of this part of the town and had things
moving along smartly. His men were firing some houses near by and he
stood outside smoking a rank cigar and looking on gloomily.

We exchanged remarks with him in German for a few minutes, I limping
along behind the more fluent Pousette and Bulle. Then I said something
in an aside to Blount, and the officer broke into the conversation in
perfectly good English. He turned out to be a volunteer officer from
Hamburg, who had spent some thirty years in England and was completely
at home in the language.

We then accomplished the formal introductions which are so necessary to
Germans even at a time like this, and when we came to Bulle the officer
burst into a rapid fire of questions, which ended in his proclaiming in

"Why, I knew your father in Hamburg and went to school with your Uncle

Reminiscence went on as though we were about a dining table at home;
minute inquiry was made into the welfare and activities of the Bulle
family from the cradle to the grave. On the strength of the
respectability of Bulle's relatives we were then taken under the
officer's wing and piloted by him through the rest of our visit.

From where we stood we could see down the street through the smoke, as
far as the Hôtel de Ville. It was still standing, but the Cathedral
across the street was badly damaged and smoke was rising in clouds from
its roof. The business houses beyond were not to be seen; the smoke was
too dense to tell how many of them were gone.

Machine guns were at work near by, and occasionally there was a loud
explosion when the destructive work was helped with dynamite.

A number of the men about us were drunk and evidently had been in that
state for some time. Our officer complained that they had had very
little to eat for several days, but added glumly that there was plenty
to drink.

A cart, heaped high with loot, driven by a fat Landsturmer and pulled by
a tiny donkey, came creaking past us. One of our party pulled his kodak
from his pocket and inquired of our guardian in English: "May I take a

His intent evidently escaped the German, who answered cordially:

"Certainly; go ahead. You will find some beautiful things over there on
the corner in the house they are getting ready to burn."

We kept our faces under control, and he was too much occupied with his
other troubles to notice that we did not avail of his kind permission
to join in the pillage.

He was rabid against the Belgians and had an endless series of stories
of atrocities they had committed--though he admitted that he had none of
them at first hand. He took it as gospel, however, that they had fired
upon the German troops in Louvain and laid themselves open to reprisals.
To his thinking there is nothing bad enough for them, and his chief
satisfaction seemed to consist in repeating to us over and over that he
was going the limit. Orders had been issued to raze the town--"till not
one stone was left on another," as he said.

Just to see what would happen I inquired about the provision of The
Hague Conventions, prescribing that no collective penalty can be imposed
for lawless acts of individuals. He dismissed that to his own
satisfaction by remarking that:

"All Belgians are dogs, and all would do these things unless they are
taught what will happen to them."

Convincing logic!

With a hard glint in his eye he told us the purpose of his work; he came
back to it over and over, but the burden of what he had to say was
something like this:

"We shall make this place a desert. We shall wipe it out so that it will
be hard to find where Louvain used to stand. For generations people will
come here to see what we have done, and it will teach them to respect
Germany and to think twice before they resist her. Not one stone on
another, I tell you--_kein Stein auf einander!_"

I agreed with him when he remarked that people would come here for
generations to see what Germany had done--but he did not seem to follow
my line of thought.

While we were talking about these things and the business of burning and
looting was pursuing its orderly course, a rifle shot rang out near by.
Instantly every soldier seized his rifle and stood waiting for an
indication as to what would happen next. In a few seconds a group of
soldiers rushed into a house about a hundred feet away. There was a
sound of blows, as though a door was being beaten in; then a few shots,
and the soldiers came out wiping the perspiration from their faces.

"Snipers!" said our guide, shaking his fist at the house. "We have gone
through that sort of thing for three days and it is enough to drive us
mad; fighting is easy in comparison, for then you know what you are
doing." And then almost tearfully: "Here we are _so_ helpless!"

While he was talking another shot rang out, and then there was a regular
fusillade, which lasted for fifteen seconds or so; then an explosion.

Bulle stood not upon the order of his going, but ran for the station,
calling back:

"I've had enough of this. Let's get out and go home."

Our friend, the officer, said Bulle was right, and that it would be the
part of wisdom for us all to fall back to the station, where we would be
near the car in case anything happened. He started off at a good pace,
and as we were in no mood to argue we went meekly along in his wake. We
overtook Bulle engaged in an altercation with a very drunken soldier,
who wanted to see his papers and was insulting about it. Instead of
taking the easy course and showing his papers Bulle was opening a debate
on the subject, when we arrived and took a hand. Our officer waded into
the soldier in a way that would have caused a mutiny in any other army,
and the soldier, very drunk and sullen, retreated, muttering, to his
armchair on the curb. We then moved on to the station.

Outside the station was a crowd of several hundred people, mostly women
and children, being herded on to trains by soldiers, to be run out of
the town. They seemed to be decently treated but were naturally in a
pitiable state of terror. Just inside the gates of the freight yard were
a couple of women telling their troubles to a group of officers and
soldiers. They had both lost their husbands in the street-fighting, and
were in a terrible state. The officers and men were gathered about them,
evidently distressed by their trouble, and trying to comfort them. They
had put the older woman in an armchair and were giving her a little
brandy in a tea cup. And the same men may have been the ones who killed
the husbands....

We went on into the freight yards and were greeted by a number of
officers with hopeful talk about a train coming from Brussels with food.
We were given chairs and an orderly was despatched for a bottle of wine
so that a drink could be given to Bulle, who said that after what he had
been through he would appreciate a glass of something comforting.

We settled down and listened to the stories of the past few days. It was
a story of clearing out civilians from a large part of the town; a
systematic routing out of men from cellars and garrets, wholesale
shootings, the generous use of machine guns, and the free application of
the torch--the whole story enough to make one see red. And for our
guidance it was impressed on us that this would make people _respect_
Germany and think twice about resisting her.

Suddenly several shots rang out apparently from some ruins across the
street and the whole place was instantly in an uproar. The lines of
civilians were driven helter-skelter to cover--where, I don't know. The
stands of arms in the freight yard were snatched up, and in less time
than it takes to tell it, several hundred men were scattered behind any
sort of shelter that offered, ready for the fray.

I took one quick look about and decided that the substantial freight
station was the most attractive thing in sight. In no time I was inside,
closely followed by my own crowd and a handful of soldiers. First, we
lay down upon the platform, and then, when we got our bearings, rolled
over on to the track among a lot of artillery horses that were tethered

Apparently a number of civilians, goaded to desperation by what they had
seen, had banded together, knowing that they were as good as dead, and
had determined to sell their lives as dearly as they could. They had
gathered in the ruins of the houses fronting on the station and had
opened up on us. There was a brisk interchange of shots, with an
occasional tinkle of broken glass and a good deal of indiscriminate
cursing by the soldiers, who had taken refuge with us.

The artillery horses did not welcome us very cordially and began to get
restive in a way that made us debate whether we preferred staying up on
the platform with a chance of being potted or staying under cover and
being ingloriously trampled to death. A joint debate on this important
question kept us occupied for several minutes. We finally compromised by
fishing down a few boxes from the platform and erecting a barricade of
sorts to protect us against any stray kicks.

As we sat in the undignified position imposed on us by circumstances, we
exchanged various frivolous remarks, not because we felt particularly
gay, but because we had to do something to keep ourselves interested and
to keep our courage up. Bulle resented this, and raised his head to look
at me reproachfully over the barricade, and say: "Don't talk like that;
it is nothing short of tempting Providence."

After a time Blount and I decided to make a reconnaissance in force and
see how the car was getting on. We crawled along the floor to a place
from which we could see out into the square. The soldiers were flat on
their stomachs behind a low wall that extended around the small circular
park in the centre of the square, and behind any odd shelter they could
find. The car lay in the line of fire but had not been struck. We were
sufficiently pessimistic to be convinced that it would go up in smoke
before the row was over, and took a good look at our shoes to see
whether they would last through a walk back to Brussels.

Our officer came out from behind his barricade and showed us where the
attacking force was concealed--at least he told us that they were there
and we were willing to take his word for it without going across the
street to make a first-hand investigation.

He tried to impress us with the black sinfulness of people who would
fire upon the German troops, and called our particular attention to the
proof now offered us that civilians had started the row by firing on
German troops. According to the German story, which was the only one we
had heard, civilians had been hunted down like rats in garrets and
cellars and shot down in cold blood in the streets when they sought
safety in flight. To my mind it was not surprising that men driven to
desperation by seeing their friends and neighbours murdered in cold
blood, should decide to do any harm possible to the enemy. Three days of
the reign of terror that had been described to us was enough to account
for anything, and the fact that civilians were firing now did not in any
sense prove that they were guilty of starting the trouble. For all we
could tell they may have started it or they may not, but firing by them
three days after the row began was no proof to any one with the
slightest sense of the value of evidence. On the other hand, the story
freely told us by the Germans as to their own behaviour, is enough to
create the darkest presumptions as to how the trouble started, and would
seem to place the burden of proof on them rather than on the Belgians.

While we were talking about this there came another rattle of fire, and
we scuttled back to our shelter, among the horses. Every now and then a
surly soldier with two huge revolvers came and looked over the ledge at
us, and growled out: _Was machen Sie denn hier?_ followed by some
doubting remarks as to our right to be on the premises. As he was
evidently very drunk and bad-tempered I was not at all sure that he
would not decide on his own responsibility to take no chances and put
us out of our misery. After several visits, however, he evidently found
something else more interesting, and came back to trouble us no more.

When the row began a motor had been despatched toward Brussels to recall
some troops that had left a few hours before. Now and then our officer
came in to tell us what he thought of their chances of getting back.

On one of these visits, Blount remarked by way of airy persiflage, that
that drink of wine that had been sent for was a long time coming.
Anything as subtle as that was lost on our friend, for he walked
solemnly away, only to reappear in a few minutes with a bottle and
several glasses which he set up on the edge of the platform and filled
with excellent Burgundy. We stood up among the horses and drained a
bumper of the stuff, while the officer wandered back to his work. He had
gone calmly out into the thick of things to rescue this bottle, and took
it as a matter of course that we should claim the drink that had been
promised us.

Presently, with a good deal of noise, a fairly large force of troops
came marching down the boulevard, and took up positions around the
station. Our officer returned, waving a smoking revolver, and told us to
lie down as flat as we could among the horses, and not to move unless
they got restive. He said it looked as though an attempt would be made
to take the station by storm, and that there might be a brisk fight.

However, there were only a few scattering shots, and then our friend
came back and told us that we had better get out and start for home
before things began again. He added, however, that we must have the
permission of the commanding officer who was on the other side of the
station, but offered to pilot us to the great man and help us get the
permission. The way lay straight out into the square, in full view of
the houses across the way, along the front of the station just behind
the troops and into the railroad yard on the other side.

That station seemed about four miles long, and the officer was possessed
of a desire to loiter by the way, recounting anecdotes of his school
days. He would walk along for a few steps and then pause to tell Bulle
some long and rambling yarn about his uncle. Bulle would take him by the
arm and get him in motion again. Then the old chap would transfer his
conversational fire to another member of the party, and we were obliged
almost to pull him the length of the square.

The commanding officer was a pleasant-faced little man who stood in the
shelter of a water tank and received us in a puzzled way, as though he
wondered what civilians were doing in that neighbourhood anyway.
Permission was readily granted for us to leave, with the ludicrous
proviso that we did so "at our own risk." Then Bulle put everybody in
good humour by inquiring innocently if there was any danger. Everybody
burst into peals of laughter, and we were escorted to our car by the
same slow-moving officer, who insisted on exchanging cards with us and
expressing the hope that we should meet again, which we could not
honestly reciprocate. Then, after an hour and a half in the station, we
got away amid a great waving of hands.

The boulevards were deserted save for the troops coming back into the
town. New houses were burning that had been intact in the afternoon.
After passing the Porte de Tirlemont, we began to see people
again--little groups that had come out into the streets through a
craving for company, and stood huddled together listening to the
fighting in the lower part of the town.

In harmony with the policy of terrorising the population, the Germans
have trained them to throw up their hands as soon as any one comes in
sight, in order to prove that they are unarmed and defenseless. And the
way they do it, the abject fear that is evident, shows that failure to
comply with the rule is not lightly punished.

Our worst experience of this was when in coming around a corner we came
upon a little girl of about seven, carrying a canary in a cage. As soon
as she saw us, she threw up her hands and cried out something we did not
understand. Thinking that she wanted to stop us with a warning of some
sort, we put on the brakes and drew up beside her. Then she burst out
crying with fear, and we saw that she was in terror of her life. We
called out to reassure her, but she turned and ran like a hunted animal.

It was hard to see the fear of others--townspeople, peasants, priests,
and feeble old nuns who dropped their bundles and threw up their hands,
their eyes starting with fear. The whole thing was a nightmare.

We were dreadfully depressed, and rode along in silence until Bulle
turned around from the front seat and inquired in a matter-of-fact

"What sort of wine was that we drank at the station?"

We told him, and then he shook his head and said as though to himself:

"I drank a big glass of it, but I was so frightened that I didn't taste
it at all."

That broke the edge of the strain we were under, and we had a good laugh
in which Bulle joined.

And so back to the Legation without further mishap, to find everybody
worrying about us, and the Minister putting his foot down and announcing
that there were to be no more expeditions of the sort, no matter what
the reason for them.

           *           *           *           *           *

NOTE--The foregoing is an impression of one afternoon at Louvain, taken
from a journal written at the time. It was intended to pass on the
question of responsibility for precipitating the orgy of murder and
bestiality indulged in by the German army from the 25th of August until
the 30th, when orders were received from Berlin to stop the destruction
and restore public order.

Many subsequent visits to Louvain, and conversations with people who
were there when the trouble began, have only served to strengthen the
impression that the whole affair was part of a cold-blooded and
calculated plan to terrorise the civilian population.

While we were there, it was frankly stated that the town was being wiped
out; that its destruction was being carried out under definite orders.
When the German Government realised the horror and loathing with which
the civilised world learned of the fate of Louvain, the orders were
cancelled and the story sent out that the German forces had tried to
prevent the destruction, had fought the fire, and by good fortune had
been able to save the Hôtel de Ville. Never has a government lied more
brazenly. When we arrived, the destruction of the town was being carried
on in an orderly and systematic way that showed careful preparation. The
only thing that saved the Hôtel de Ville was the fact that the German
troops had not progressed that far with their work when the orders were
countermanded from Berlin.

It was only when he learned how civilisation regarded his crimes, that
the Emperor's heart began to bleed.

The true facts as to the destruction of Louvain will startle the
world--hardened though it has become to surprise at German crimes.
Unfortunately, however, it is impossible to publish the details at this
time without endangering the lives of people still in Belgium under
German domination. But these people will speak for themselves when the
Germans have been driven from Belgian soil, and they are once more free
to speak the truth.

           *           *           *           *           *

During the afternoon Count Clary had come over and announced that
Austria-Hungary had declared war on Belgium, and that he had to leave at
once. He has turned his Legation over to us. I went around to see him
late in the evening, and made the final arrangements. This afternoon the
Danish Minister came in and turned his Legation over to us, as he
expects to go in a day or two. That will make four Legations besides our
own under our protection.

Austrian guns have been in action for some days, and now it has been
thought worth while to regularise the situation. The Austrian Minister
has, therefore, under instructions from his Government addressed the
following note to the Belgian Government:

                                                   _August 28, 1914._

     "Whereas Belgium, having refused to accept the proposals made to
     her on several occasions by Germany, is affording her military
     assistance to France and Great Britain, both of which Powers have
     declared war upon Austria-Hungary, and whereas, as has just been
     proved (_no indication as to how or when it has been proved_),
     Austrian and Hungarian subjects in Belgium have been obliged to
     submit, under the very eyes of the Belgian authorities, to
     treatment contrary to the most primitive demands of humanity and
     inadmissible even toward subjects of an enemy State, therefore
     Austria is obliged to break off diplomatic relations and considers
     herself from this moment in a state of war with Belgium. I am
     leaving the country with the staff of the Legation, and am
     entrusting the protection of Austrian interests to the United
     States Minister in Belgium. The Austro-Hungarian Government is
     forwarding his passports to Count Errembault de Dudzeele.


This is the first we have heard of any mistreatment of Austrians in this
country, but then they probably had to advance some sort of reason for
going to war.[4]

[Footnote 4: The Belgian Government sent the following reply to the
Austrian declaration of war.

                                           _Antwerp, August 29, 1914._

     Belgium has always entertained friendly relations with all her
     neighbours without distinction. She has scrupulously fulfilled the
     duties imposed upon her by her neutrality. If she has not been able
     to accept Germany's proposals, it is because those proposals
     contemplated the violation of her engagements toward Europe,
     engagements which form the conditions of the creation of the
     Belgian Kingdom. She has been unable to admit that a people,
     however weak they may be, should fail in their duty and sacrifice
     their honour by yielding to force. The Government have waited, not
     only until the ultimatum had expired, but also until Belgian
     territory had been violated by German troops, before appealing to
     France and Great Britain, guarantors of her neutrality, under the
     same terms as are Germany and Austria-Hungary, to coöperate in the
     name and in virtue of the treaties in defense of Belgian territory.

     By repelling the invaders by force of arms, she has not even
     committed a hostile act as laid down by the provisions of Article
     10 of The Hague Convention, respecting the Rights and Duties of
     Neutral Powers.

     Germany has herself recognised that her attack constitutes a
     violation of international law, and being unable to justify it,
     she has pleaded her strategical interests.

     Belgium formally denies the allegation that Austrian and Hungarian
     subjects have suffered treatment in Belgium contrary to the most
     primitive demands of humanity.

     The Belgian Government, from the very beginning of hostilities,
     have issued the strictest orders for the protection of
     Austro-Hungarian persons and property.


The ---- Chargé came around this afternoon to ask about getting to
Antwerp, where he wants to flee for protection. He was very indignant
because the Military Governor had refused to allow him to go. When I
asked him on what ground the permission had been refused, he said that
it had not exactly been refused, but that he could go only on his own
responsibility. He wanted us to protest against this. I meanly suggested
to him that he would be in much more serious danger if he had an escort
of German troops to take him to the Belgian lines, and he left in a
terrible state of mind.

Mr. Whitlock and the Spanish Minister went to call on the Military
Governor this afternoon to get off some telegrams which he had promised
to send, and to talk over the general situation. After that they went to
call on the Burgomaster, and came back with a pretty good idea of what
was happening in our fair city.

The Governor loaded them up with a large budget of official news,
showing that Germany was victorious all along every line; that she was
not only chasing the French and English armies around in circles, but
that Uhlans were within forty kilometers of Paris, and that five Russian
army corps had been beaten in Eastern Prussia. It really looks as though
things were going pretty badly for the Allies, but we have absolutely
nothing but German news and cannot form an accurate opinion.

The Germans are particularly bitter against the Belgian clergy and
insist that the priests have incited the people to attack the German
troops and mistreat the wounded. So far as I can learn, this is utter
rubbish. The authorities of the church have publicly exhorted the people
to remain calm and to refrain from hostile acts, pointing out that any
provocation would bring sure punishment from the German military
authorities. The priests I have seen have been at great pains to set an
example that the Germans should be the first to commend.

The clergy has a tremendous influence in Belgium, and is sincerely
respected. They will be a vital force in holding the people together in
their patriotic devotion, and in maintaining public tranquillity.

A new Governor-General is to be sent us here. The Minister could not
remember his name. I am curious. Von Lüttwitz will remain for the
present at least.

The Burgomaster reports that the inhabitants of Brussels are calm and
that there need be no fear of trouble unless they are allowed to go
hungry. A committee has been formed to revictual the town, and is
working night and day. Monsieur Solvay has given a million francs, and
other Belgians given large sums. Soup kitchens are being started for the
poor and the question of bringing food supplies from neutral countries
is being taken up and pushed with activity. These Belgians are admirable
in the way they handle things of this sort. They all realise the
importance of keeping quiet so as to avoid any possibility of a
repetition of the Louvain business. It would take very little to start
something of the sort here and the result would be the same--the
destruction of the city. Naturally everybody is turning to and trying to
head off any excuse for violence.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, Sunday, August 30, 1914._--Our place has got to be the local
diplomatic corner grocery, where all the village loafers come to do
their heavy loafing. They bring in all the fantastic rumours that are
abroad in the land, and discuss them with all solemnity. In the last day
or so we have had it "on the best authority" that the Queen of Holland
has had her consort shot because of his pro-German sympathies; that the
Kaiser has given up all hope and taken refuge in Switzerland; that the
United States had declared war on Germany and Austria; that the King and
Queen of the Belgians had fled to Holland, and that all was over. These
are just a few.

Troops have been pouring through the town steadily all day on the way to
Vilvorde, where the Belgians are still fighting, and to the south, where
there is heavy cannonading going on. The Belgians are making a big fight
on the Antwerp road, evidently to hold the attention of one German army
corps and lighten France's load by just that much. It is a hopeless
fight so far as they themselves are concerned, but it throws their
courage and fighting qualities into higher relief.

We are now the pampered pets of both sides. The German troops cheer our
flag when the motor noses its way through them. The people of the town
are equally enthusiastic, and many of them are wearing small American
flags in their buttonholes. How long it will last there is no telling,
but while it does, our work is made just that much easier.

Lunched at the Palace Hôtel with Bulle and Blount. Riseis, the Italian
Secretary, came in and joined us. Bulle told him the story of our trip
to Louvain with embellishments that made my eyes start from my head. I
had not realised what a desperate adventure we had been on until I heard
it as it should be told. It made the real thing seem mild.

Before lunch we drove to Blount's to learn whether the cannonading to
the south was still going on. It was--heavy booming of German guns; no
French guns to be heard. Late in the afternoon Blount and I drove off
into the country to see whether we could locate the fighting to the
south. We got as far as Nivelles, but all was as peaceful as it should
be on a perfect Sunday afternoon. The people there were surprised that
anyone should have thought there was fighting there. It was still much
farther to the south. We drove around in search of evidence of fighting,
but could find none. And this after circumstantial accounts of
hand-to-hand struggle through all this part of the country!

           *           *           *           *           *

_August 31st._--This morning began with a troop of people in to tell us
that the rough work was about to begin, and that Brussels was to go up
in smoke. There is a good deal of unrest in the lower end of town and
trouble may break out at any time. Bad feeling has grown a good deal in
the past few days and one good row would throw the fat in the fire. I
went through the rough part of town late this afternoon and found
patrols everywhere, heavily armed and swaggering about in groups of
four. For their own sake I hope the people will not do anything foolish.

People are making another effort to get away and are not finding it
easy. At six this morning a crowd left here for Ninove, twenty
kilometers to the west. Twenty-five hundred of them clung all over the
trams that make the trip. At Ninove they walked a mile or so, carrying
their belongings, and caught a train to Alost, where they changed for
another train for Ghent. Goodness knows how many changes they had ahead
of them after that. The trip was supposed to end safely in Ostend some
time this evening. It usually takes two hours.

Hearing that the train service was open and that boats were running from
Ostend to Folkstone, we decided to verify the tidings and then get off
some of our people, who should have gone long ago.

To make sure Blount and I motored down to Ninove after lunch to telephone
the Consul at Ostend and learn the true state of affairs. When we reached
Ninove we found the station so packed with refugees that there was no
getting near the telephone bureau. The Chef de Gare, who had never in his
long and honourable career had such a mob to lord it over, was so puffed
up that he could not get down near enough to earth to hear our questions,
so we decided to proceed to Alost and try our luck there.

We motored over in short order and got quick communication with the
Consul at Ostend. He had very little news save that a lot of British
Marines had been landed there and had to-day been taken away again. He
gave us what we wanted in the way of steamer information.

I got the Consul-General at Antwerp on the telephone and learned that
all was well there.

As I came out of the booth from this second call, I was held up by a
Garde Civique, who inquired if I was the _Monsieur de l'automobile_. He
would like to see my papers. Certainly. Then I remembered that I had
left all my Belgian papers at the Legation and had nothing but papers in
German from the military authorities. I showed them anyway. Before he
could examine us any further, three eager amateur Sherlocks came
bursting into the room and took charge of the proceedings. The leader
pointed an accusing finger at Blount, and exclaimed, "You have come from
Ninove!" Blount admitted it. "You had a third person in the car when you
left there!" "_Pas du tout._" "On the contrary, I have three witnesses
to prove it." Aside from the fact that nobody could have got to Alost in
the time we had, it made no real difference how many people we had in
the car, and Blount said as much. Then our accuser changed his plan of
attack. "I observed you when you arrived, and you were speaking a
language which was perhaps not German, but sounded like English." "It
was," said Blount. "Aha," triumphantly, "but you said you were

By this time the Chef de Gare had come to answer our questions and we
waved our persecutors aside while we talked to him. They kept quiet and
meekly stood aside, as we bade them. While we talked with our
functionary, I looked out on the square and saw that we were a real
sensation. The Garde Civique had been called out and was keeping the
place clear. The crowd was banked up solid around the other three sides
of the square. They looked hopeful of seeing the German spies brought
out and shot. By signing our names on a scrap of paper, which the
amateurs compared with the signatures on different papers we had about
us, we convinced them that we were harmless citizens, and were allowed
to go. The crowd seemed greatly disappointed to see us walk out free.
The Garde Civique let them loose as we got in the car, and they came
thronging around for a good close look at us.

We honk-honked our way through them, thanking our lucky stars we had not
had a worse time of it.

At the edge of the town we looked up and saw two German aeroplanes
snooping around. A minute later a crowd of people surged across the
street to bar our way, shouting that we must go no farther, as the
Germans were approaching the town and that it was dangerous to proceed.
Two young officers came across the street to tell us in great glee that
they had made a dash in a motor at the first German outpost and had
brought in four prisoners. They were bursting with joy in their exploit,
but by this time they may themselves be prisoners.

In a few minutes we came to the first German outpost, and had our papers
carefully examined. From then on we were held up every few yards and
nearly had our papers worn out from much handling. At one place a young
Lieutenant looked over our papers and burst out into roars of laughter
at the name of von Jarotzky. He called to other officers. They came up,
looked at the signature, and also burst out into loud laughter. I asked
them what the joke was, but they were not telling.

We got in about seven o'clock, without incident.

Went to see von Herwarth after dinner on behalf of a poor Belgian woman
whose husband, a Major in the Grenadiers, is dangerously wounded and in
the military hospital at Antwerp. The Germans are going to send her up
to-morrow on a motor with some Belgian officers, who are being
exchanged. I saw the aide-de-camp who is going through with the car and
asked him to be nice to her. Then to her house, to shut up a lot of old
women of both sexes who were trying to dissuade her from going, on the
ground that the Germans would hold her as a hostage. I suppose she will
be off.

Mrs. Bridges,[5] wife of the former British Military Attaché, was in
this evening for help. A British prisoner told of seeing Colonel Bridges
fall from his horse at Mons, mount again, ride a little way and fall.
She cannot get to Mons, so we are getting her off to France via England,
in the hope that she may find him on that side.

[Footnote 5: Colonel Bridges was badly wounded at Mons, but escaped,
recovered, was wounded again at Nieuport, but survived both, and having
received the rank of Lieutenant-General, was the military member of the
Balfour Mission to the United States in 1917.]

It is a pitiful business, and the worst of it is that they all think we
have some miraculous power to do anything we like for them. I only wish
we could.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, September 1, 1914._--- The first thing this morning I had a
pow-wow with Hulse about how to handle the funds that are being gathered
to relieve the enormous amount of distress that we shall have to meet
here. There is a good deal of it even now. All the big factories are
closed. Most of the shops have their shutters up, and the streets are
filled with idle people. Importations of foodstuffs, even from the
outlying districts, have stopped dead. Conditions are bad enough in all
conscience, but they are nothing compared to what we have ahead, when
cold weather comes on.

A lot of bankers and big business men have got together to wrestle with
the financial problem. The Burgomaster has his people at work, trying to
get their hands on foodstuffs and coördinate their work.

I went to the Foreign Office and talked things over with von Herwarth.
He straightened out some of the tangles, and we were able to get things

I have no trouble with the higher officers at headquarters, but I never
go there that I do not want to murder the large brutes of
non-commissioned officers who guard the door. They wear large brass
plates on their chest and look like bock-beer signs. They have a free
and careless way of booting everybody out the door and refusing to
listen to anybody. I get fighting mad every time I go there and this
morning got sufficiently roused to develop considerable fluency in
German. I pictured to the large rough-neck some of the things that were
going to happen to him if I was not let in; he was sufficiently
impressed to permit me to stand on the sidewalk while my card was sent
in. When I got in I made a few well-chosen remarks on the manners, if
any, of the watch dogs of the Ministry.

From the Ministry I went to the Société Générale, where I was asked to
attend a conference between the bankers of the city. There were ten of
them in the big directors' room, and they worked to some purpose. M.
Francqui, the director and leading spirit of the Société Générale,
presided over the meeting. He explained the general situation simply and
clearly, and stated what they had done and wanted to do. They had three
points on which they wanted advice, and they were brought up and
disposed of one at a time. By twelve o'clock I got away, and felt that
the hour I had put in there had been well spent.

When I got back to the Legation, I found a nice Belgian who had no
request to make of us, but wanted to tell his story to somebody, and a
terrible story it was, too. He had fitted up his château near Mons as a
Red Cross hospital. During the battle there a week ago, 102 British
wounded had been brought in. The Germans found the château a hindrance
in their operations, so got it out of the way by battering down the
walls with artillery, and then throwing grenades into the building to
set it on fire. There was great difficulty in getting the wounded out
and hiding them in such shelter as was to be found. One man, at least,
was burned alive in his bed. It seems incredible that Red Cross
hospitals should be attacked, but stories come in from every side,
tending to show that they are.

Beside this man's property there is a railway crossing. When a troop
train passed over it day before yesterday, there was an explosion like
the report of a rifle. The train was immediately stopped. The officer in
command announced that civilians had fired upon his train, and ordered
all the men in the vicinity taken prisoners. Then, refusing to listen to
explanation or discussion, he had them all stood up against a wall and
shot. When it was all over, he listened to explanations and learned that
the report was that of a cap placed in the switch by the German railway
men as a signal to stop the train before reaching the next station. By
way of reparation, he then graciously admitted that the civilians were
innocent. But, as my caller said: "The civilians were also dead."

Another pleasant thing the Germans seem to be doing is arresting
peaceful citizens by hundreds and sending them back to Germany to
harvest the crops. They will also reap a fine harvest of hatred for
generations to come.

Poor Bulle is in considerable doubt as to his status. For many months he
has not heard from his Government, if any, and has not been able to get
a word as to whether he is Chargé d'Affaires or not. I told him to-day
that he had a rather unique situation as the representative of a country
without a Government to a Government without a country. He extracted a
chuckle from that.

Blount made up his mind to leave for America this afternoon, by way of
Ostend and England. His family was all ready to start, but when he went
down to headquarters to get a _laisser-passer_ it was refused.
Operations are apparently about to be started in _tout le bazar_, and
they don't want stray civilians seeing too much. Blount will now settle
down here for the present. His loss is our gain.

The Danish Minister was in again this afternoon. He is going away, and
has finally turned his Legation over to us. We now have four Legations
besides our own--German, British, Austro-Hungarian, and Danish.

One little thing the Germans have done here that is _echt Deutsch_ is to
change the clocks on the railway stations and public buildings to German
time. Every other clock in town continues about its business in the
same old way, and the change only serves to arouse resentment.

Another thing is, that on entering a town, they hold the Burgomaster,
the Procureur du Roi and other authorities as hostages, to ensure good
behaviour by the population. Of course the hoodlum class would like
nothing better than to see their natural enemies, the defenders of law
and order, ignominiously shot, and they do not restrain themselves a bit
on account of the hostages. Just lack of imagination.

           *           *           *           *           *

_September 2nd._--A paper, smuggled through the lines from Antwerp this
morning, gives the news that the Queen has left for England, with the
royal children; adding, "she is expected back in a few days." This move
is evidently in anticipation of the bombarding of Antwerp.

Now and then a Belgian has the satisfaction of getting in a gentle dig
at the Germans; although, if the dig is too gentle, the chances are the
digee does not know it. Last week Countess Z----, aged eighty-four, who
is living alone in her château, was obliged to put up a German General
and his staff. She withdrew to her own rooms, and did not put in an
appearance during the two or three days that they were there. When the
time came for them to leave, the General sent word that he would like to
see her. She sent back a message, asking to be excused. The General was
insistent, however, and finally the little old lady came reluctantly
down the stairs into the great hall, stopping three or four steps from
the bottom and gazing down upon her lodgers with a quizzical smile.
They all clicked their heels and bowed, and then the General stepped
forward a few paces and, in his best manner, said that they could not go
away without thanking her for all that had been done to make them
comfortable during the time they had had the honour of being her guests.
When he had quite finished, the little old lady replied in her gentle
soft voice:

"_Messieurs, vous n'avez pas à me remercier. Je ne vous avais pas

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, September 2, 1914._--A beautiful aide-de-camp of
Field-Marshal von der Goltz turned up this afternoon, and announced
that, if agreeable, His Excellency the Governor-General, would call
to-morrow afternoon between four and five. We are looking forward with a
good deal of interest to seeing the big man. He arrived yesterday, but
has kept so quiet that nobody knew he was here. The aide-de-camp nearly
wept on my shoulder; said there was nobody in the General's party who
knew Brussels, and that they were having a terrible time to find their
way around the town. He'll probably have greater worries before he gets

We have at last heard from McCutcheon, Cobb, Lewis, Bennett, etc. A
telegram came to-day from the Consul at Aix-la-Chapelle, asking that we
look after their baggage at the Palace Hotel. From this we judge that
they were arrested and sent back to Germany on a troop train. They left
here for Mons, and goodness only knows what adventures they have been
through since we last saw them.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, September 3, 1914._--This afternoon, at four o'clock, von der
Goltz (Field-Marshal Baron von der Goltz Pacha, to be exact) arrived
with a staff of seven officers to make a formal call. A crowd quickly
gathered in the street, as their big gray military cars snorted up to
the door. All the neighbourhood was in a great state of excitement. The
great man is pretty old and doddery, wears spectacles about an inch
thick, and a large collection of decorations. His staff was also
brilliant in decorations and silver helmets, etc. I met them at the foot
of the stairs, and escorted them up. The Marshal is apparently blind as
a bat, for he never turned on the landings and would have walked
straight into the walls if I had not steered him around the corners.

After one good look we decided that he was to be a figure head and leave
the real work to the troop of officers and functionaries he had brought
with him.

It was supposed to be a purely formal call, but the old gentleman seemed
to have no thought of leaving, and did not budge for half an hour. The
conversation was not thrilling.

They finally left after much clicking of heels, and the bemonocled Count
Ortenburg nearly broke his neck by tripping over his sword. However, we
got them safely out of the house, while all the servants leaned out of
the windows and took in the show.

The new Governor-General has addressed a Proclamation to the Belgian
people, and has had it posted on the walls:


     His Majesty, the Emperor of Germany, after the occupation of the
     greater part of Belgian territory, has been pleased to appoint me
     Governor-General in Belgium. I have established the seat of the
     General Government in Brussels.

     By His Majesty's orders, a civil administration has been
     established with the General Government. His Excellency Herr von
     Sandt has been made Chief of this Administration.

     The German armies advance victoriously in France. My task will be
     to preserve quiet and public order in Belgium.

     Every act of the population against the German military forces,
     every attempt to interfere with their communications with Germany,
     to trouble or cut railway, telegraph or telephone communications,
     will be punished severely. Any resistance or revolt against the
     German administration will be suppressed without pity.

     It is inevitable in war that the punishment of hostile acts falls
     not only upon the guilty but also on the innocent. It is the duty
     of all reasonable citizens to exercise their influence with the
     turbulent elements of the population to restrain them from any
     infraction of public order. Belgian citizens desiring to return
     peaceably to their occupations have nothing to fear from the German
     authorities or troops. So far as is possible, commerce should be
     resumed, factories should begin to work, and the crops harvested.

                            BELGIAN CITIZENS

     I do not ask any one to forego his patriotic sentiments, but I do
     expect from all of you a sensible submission and absolute obedience
     to the orders of the General Government. I call upon you to show
     confidence in that Government, and accord it your co-operation. I
     address this summons particularly to the functionaries of the State
     and of the communes who have remained at their posts. The greater
     your response to this appeal, the greater the service you will
     render to your country.

                                      The Governor-General,
                                          BARON VON DER GOLTZ,

     _Brussels, September 2, 1914._

At about five o'clock, Bulle came along, and we went for a long walk
together--the first time I have tried anything of the sort since the war
began. We tramped out to the Bois and made a swing around the circle,
not getting back until half-past seven, when we repaired to the Palace
Hotel and had dinner with several of the colleagues. When von der Goltz
left us, he had started for the Spanish Legation; but we learned from
the Spanish Secretary that he had never arrived. Instead, at the last
minute, an aide-de-camp had come clanking in to express His Excellency's
regrets that he was unable to come, and say that he would have to defer
his visit until a later date. Something happened to him after he left
our Legation.

X---- had an experience yesterday which made him boiling mad. He left
town in the afternoon with his Consul, to go to Alost for telegrams and
letters. He was in a car flying his flag, and had his _laisser-passer_
from the German military authorities. Near Assche, he was stopped by an
outpost, and told he could not go any further. He accepted this in good
part, and said he would go back. At this point, an old turkey gobbler of
a General arrived and lit into him for being there. He replied that he
had done nothing to which exception could be taken; that his papers were
in order, and that he was ready to return at the first indication from
the military authorities. This seemed to enrage the old soldier who
announced that they would do nothing of the sort; that they were
prisoners of war and would be sent back under armed guard. X----
protested that this was an outrage against the representative of a
friendly country, but in spite of this two armed soldiers were placed
in the car with them and another beside the driver, and they were
brought back to town as prisoners. By dint of arguments and threats they
were taken to headquarters instead of jail, and succeeded in seeing
General von Lüttwitz who piled on the excuses. It does you no good to
have legitimate business and papers in order if it suits some apoplectic
officer to clap you into jail.

One of the officers I saw to-day told me that the Germans were
deliberately terrorizing the country through which they passed. It is a
perfectly convincing explanation of German doings in this country, but I
did not think they were prepared to admit it so frankly. This frank
fellow made no claim that civilians had attacked the German troops; his
only observation was that they might do so unless they were so
completely cowed that they dared not raise their hands. He emphasised
the fact that it was not done as a result of bad temper, but as part of
the scheme of things in general. For my information, he remarked that in
the long run this was the most humane manner of conducting war, as it
discouraged people from doing things that would bring terrible
punishment upon them. And yet some of these Belgians are ungrateful
enough to complain at being murdered and robbed.

           *           *           *           *           *

_September 4th._--Autumn is coming with little gusts of wind and falling
leaves. Clouds are thick, and there is a sort of hidden chill in the
air. It is depressing in itself, and makes us think with some dismay of
what is ahead of the millions of men who are in the field, if the war is
to continue into the winter as seems probable.

I am sure there is something big in the air to-day. For several days
there has been a growing nervousness at headquarters. For four days
there has been no official proclamation of German victories. Persistent
rumours come in of large numbers of British troops between here and the
coast, advancing in the general direction of Brussels. X----'s arrest,
while on a trip to Alost, looks as though the Germans had some reason
for keeping people from getting out that way with knowledge of military
conditions here. Another thing. We were to have returned the call of von
der Goltz to-day at noon. Between here and the Spanish Legation yesterday,
_something_ happened. He never got to the Spanish Legation. This morning
we got a message from the État-Major that von der Goltz had "telegraphed"
to ask that we should postpone our call. Where he is, nobody would say.
The officer who brought the message merely stated that he had been
called away in great haste, and that it was not known when he would
return. Troops are marching through the town in every direction, and in
large numbers. Supply trains and artillery are creaking through the
place night and day, and we are awakened nearly every morning either by
the crunching of the heavy siege pieces or the singing of large bodies
of troops as they march through the streets. Every day we realise more
and more the enormous scale on which the operations are being conducted.
It seems tremendous here, and we are seeing only a small part of one
section of the field of operations.

Privately, the Germans continue to assure us that they are winning all
along the line. They say that they have taken the whole of the first
line of defences in France with the single exception of Maubeuge, where
there has been long and heavy fighting and where the result still
trembles in the balance. In addition to this they claim to have taken a
part of the second line of defences. They say that the French Government
has removed to Bordeaux, which seems quite possible, and even sensible.
They tell us all these things every time that we go over to the General
Staff, but they do not publish anything about it.

A British Red Cross doctor was in to-day and told us some items of
interest. He said that he had been assigned to care for the wounded
prisoners who were being brought back from France on their way to
Germany, and that he had seen all the British prisoners who had been
brought back by way of Brussels--about three thousand in all. He said
that they were in good spirits and were sure that things would come out
right in the end. There were the remnants of the Argyle and Sutherland
Highlanders, who went into action something over a thousand strong and
came out only a handful.

I made two attempts to see Herwarth to-day but was kept on the sidewalk
and in the courtyard by the big green dragons who guard the entrance to
headquarters. After the second attempt I returned to the Legation and
telephoned him that I should like to see him when he could get it
through the heads of these people that we were not tramps. He was very
nice and apologetic and had all the officers in the German army out in
the street waiting for me when I went back for the third time. All the
sentries were blown up and given the strictest sort of instructions
that I was to be passed along without question whenever I appeared. I
was also given another _Passierschein_ to add to my collection,
directing everybody to let me pass wherever I wanted to go. In view of
the fact that a lot of our work here is in behalf of German subjects,
this is about the least they could do.

Some news has been brought down from Antwerp that makes it seem
necessary for me to go there and get back again before the siege begins.
I had hoped to get away this morning but have not yet been able to get a
decision as to exactly what is to be done. I now hope to get away after

I spent all yesterday afternoon enciphering a telegram which I must get
off either through Holland or Antwerp. We are able to send nothing but
open messages over the military wire through Berlin and I have a strong
suspicion that these are being censored.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, September 7, 1914._--Did not get off to Antwerp to-day but
hope to make it by to-morrow noon. There was too much going on, but
arrangements are being made for a _laisser-passer_, etc., and I
anticipate no trouble beyond being shot or made prisoner.

Gherardi[6] came in this morning for a call and then left for Maubeuge,
which the Germans had arranged to capture during the day. They seemed
very sure of it, but I would not be surprised to see him come sailing
back without having seen the surrender.

[Footnote 6: American Naval Attaché at Berlin.]

Baron von der Lancken, of the Foreign Office in Berlin, called this
morning. He is here to handle relations with the Foreign Ministers
remaining in Brussels. As we have had the care of German interests they
all come here first and our position is better than that of any other
Legation in the country. We have things on a working basis.

           *           *           *           *           *

_September 8th._--Last night, after dinner, I trotted around and called
on the wives of some of the Belgian officials to see whether there was
any news of them that I could give to their husbands in Antwerp. I found
Madame Davignon, the wife of the Minister for Foreign Affairs, in her
son's home, peacefully working away on clothes for the wounded. She told
me all the news of the house so that I could repeat it to her husband.
She is as calm as you please and far from despairing.

Madame de Broqueville, the wife of the Prime Minister, turned her house
into a Red Cross hospital at the outbreak of hostilities; it is a
beautiful big place. Of course there are practically nothing but German
wounded in the house now, but the good lady conquers her natural
feelings and has them as well looked after as though they were of her
own race. I went in in an apologetic mood for intruding on her at so
late an hour, but she had lots to say and I stayed on for a long time.
It did her good to talk, and I was so overawed by her courage and poise
that I sat and listened in silent admiration. The wives of the Cabinet
Ministers and other officials have shown wonderful nerve and are
standing right up to their duty.

Count and Countess de X had an interesting story to tell of their
experiences when the first armies went through. When the war broke out
they were at their château and were caught by the first onrush of
troops. Their fine cellars were emptied for the benefit of the invader,
but nothing more serious happened to them until the second wave came
along. Then there was a demand for more wine. As all the wine had been
carried away they could not comply. The Germans were convinced that they
were being fooled, and searched the place very carefully. Finally they
imprisoned the X's for three days in the cellar and then brought them
forth and stood them up before a firing squad and threatened to shoot
them unless they told where the wine was hidden. At the critical moment
a big gray military car rolled up, and to their considerable relief they
saw that one of the occupants was a German princeling, who had formerly
been their guest on several occasions. They called out to him, and by
his orders were immediately released. After expressing their thanks to
him they went into the château to find that soldiers were engaged in
packing up their fine collections of enamels and porcelains to ship them
to Germany. Another appeal to the Prince, who was most sympathetic. He
was a practical and resourceful man, and said:

"Of course I'll stop this, but you will understand that our men would
like to keep some little souvenir of the war in Belgium. That would be
hard to prevent. But I would suggest that you pick out all the pieces
that you value most and pack them away in that large wardrobe. Then I'll
do the rest."

Madame de X was, of course, delighted with this, and scurried about
gathering together the finest pieces and packing them carefully into the
big wardrobe. She kept it up as long as there was a nook or cranny
where odd pieces could be put, and then reported progress to the Prince.

"Are you sure that all the best pieces are there?" says he.

"All that could be packed there," answers Madame de X.

"Good," says the Prince, and then turning to his orderly: "Have that
wardrobe sent to Berlin for me."

The way the German army cleaned out the wine of the country was a
revelation to everybody. They would not take what they needed for the
day's drinking but would clear out whole cellars at a time and load what
was not drunk onto carts to be carried away. The result was that people
who had a little warning had recourse to all sorts of ingenious tricks
to save some of their store. There was one bright man in the province of
Namur who removed his stock of wine--all except a few thousand bottles
of new wine--and deposited them in the ornamental pond near his château.
The Germans arrived a few hours afterward and raised a great fog because
they were not satisfied with the amount of wine they found. The owner of
the château had discreetly slipped away to Brussels and they could not
do anything to him. However, they tapped all the walls for secret hiding
places and went over the park to see if anything had been buried--all in
vain. The next morning, however, the pond was covered with labels which
had soaked off and floated to the surface, and after draining the pond
the whole stock was carted away.

Madame B----, who was there, has an interesting souvenir which she
proposes to keep if possible. During the first days of the war her
château was occupied by a lot of officers, who got gloriously drunk and
smashed up pretty well everything in the drawing-room and dining-room.
One of them, with a fine sense of humour, took a piece of hard chalk and
wrote on the top of her piano in large letters: _Deutschland über
alles!_ The crowd left the place in the morning without trying to cover
their traces, and Madame B---- came in to put things to rights. The first
thing she did was to get a large piece of plate glass to cover the top
of the piano so that the legend would not be effaced, and over that she
placed an ordinary piano cover so that no future visitor would be
inclined to erase the inscription. When the war is over this will be an
interesting reminder of her visitors.

This morning I was ready to start for Antwerp. My _laisser-passer_ had
been promised for ten o'clock. When it did not come by that hour, I went
up to see Baron von der Lancken who had agreed to attend to the matter.
He received me most graciously, told me how delighted he was to see me,
how it pleased him to see that we came to him with our little troubles,
etc. He kept off the subject of the _laisser-passer_ as long as he
could, but when he could stave it off no longer he said that he must ask
me to see von Herwarth, who had been placed in charge of all matters
regarding passports, etc. I made a blue streak over to Herwarth's
office, and saw him after a little delay. He kept me as long as he
could, and told me all that he knew about the war and perhaps a great
deal more. When we got down to the subject of my visit he said that von
der Lancken was mistaken, that passports could be granted only by
Colonel von Claer who had his office about a block away. I began to
smell a rat about this time, but kept plugging away. I spent an hour and
a quarter in the antechamber of the Colonel, being unable to get to him
or to any of his officers. It was all part of a game. Both von der
Lancken and Herwarth harped upon the danger of the trip to Antwerp,
advised against it and told how terribly they would feel if anything
were to happen to me. I asked each of them point blank if they
contemplated an attack while I was there. They both avoided the subject,
but said that with the situation as it was now it was impossible to tell
from one moment to another what might happen. I saw that they were
undecided about what was going to happen next, and that until they did
know they did not intend to let me go. They naturally do not wish to
have anything happen to me or anyone else connected with the Legation,
so I feel entirely safe about going.

After lunch I went back to the siege and stayed until my friend, the
Colonel, left by the fire-escape or some equally desperate way so as to
avoid seeing me.

Von der Goltz had sent word to the Minister that he was coming here for
tea this afternoon, and wanted to meet the Spanish Minister. That was
our opportunity, and the Minister was all primed with what he was to say
to the old chap. They beat us to it, however. The problem had evidently
been decided since I saw von der Lancken in the morning, for he greeted
me with the news that the _laisser-passer_ would be around in the course
of the evening. He added that the General was anxious to send one of the
Belgian Ministers of State to Antwerp, and would appreciate it if I
would take him with me. He is Count de Woeste, the man who has always
fought against having an army, on the ground that Belgium was so fully
guaranteed by her treaties that it was unnecessary. Baron von der
Lancken says that they will make out a _laisser-passer_ on which he will
be included, and that the military authorities will mark out the route
by which we had best go, so as to avoid running into trouble. I imagine
it will take us by way of Termonde and St. Nicolas.

The crowd that came to tea included von der Goltz, Pacha, Baron von der
Lancken, Herr von Sandt, and Count Ortenburg--a scion of a mediatised
Bavarian family. They told us of all the glorious triumphs of the German
army, and of the terrible drubbing that was in store for their enemies.
They stayed on for about an hour.

When they left, I escorted the old man to his car. Before he climbed in,
he looked me over curiously and remarked: "_Tiens, c'est fous qui faîtes
ce foyage à Anfers! Four afez peaucoup de gourage. Che tacherai
d'arranger un petit entr'acte pour fous être agreaple. Mais il vaut
refenir aussitot gue bossible!_" They evidently intend to hold off for a
day to await certain developments, and I am to get the benefit of the

The Marshal also told us that Maubeuge had fallen, and that they had
made forty-five thousand prisoners. It seems almost incredible that the
French and English would have left that many men at Maubeuge when they
knew that it was bound to fall. Perhaps we shall find that this is not
altogether accurate. They say nothing about what is happening in
Austria. The news from England and Antwerp is to the effect that the
Russians are giving the Austrians a hard time of it.

This afternoon the German headquarters issued an order prohibiting the
bringing of newspapers to Brussels from the outside world, and
announcing that any one who brings newspapers here or is found with
papers in his possession will be severely punished. Two German papers
will be distributed by the authorities, and everything else is taboo.
They evidently intend that their own version of passing events shall be
the only one to get out here.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, September 13, 1914._--Ever since the 9th I have been off on
my little jaunt to Antwerp, and have not been able to get a line on

I was not at all sure that I was going to get away at all, until I got
down to the Legation on Wednesday morning and found my _laisser-passer_,
signed by von der Goltz, waiting for me--another to add to my already
large and interesting collection. With it was a letter from my friend
and well-wisher, Baron von der Lancken, who said that an officer would
be assigned to accompany us as far as the German outposts. He suggested
that I take along a large white flag to be hoisted over the motor for
the run between the lines. The note and _laisser-passer_ had arrived at
the Legation about one o'clock in the morning, and had looked so
important that the slaves waked the Minister from a deep sleep to
receive them.

[Illustration: Pass issued by Field-Marshal von der Goltz to enable Mr.
Gibson to pass through the German lines to Antwerp.


    für den ersten Sekretär der Gesandtschaft der Vereinigten Staaten
    von Amerika zu Brüssel

              herrn Hugh Gibson

    und den Königlich Belgischen Staatsminister

              herrn Woeste,

    die sich nach Antwerpen begeben, von wo sie am 10. September d. J.
    nach Brüssel zurückzukehren beabsichtigen.

    Bei der Rückreise von Antwerpen nach Brüssel werden die
    vorbezeichneten herren begleitet sein von dem ersten Sekretär der
    hiesigen Spanischen Gesandtschaft,

              Marquis de Faura

    und einem oder zwei weiteren belgischen Herren, deren Namen noch
    nicht angegeben werden künnen.

    Die herren sind frei und ungehindert passieren und repassieren zu
    lassen. Jeder Beistand ist ihnen zu gewahren.

                              Brüssel, den 9. September 1914

                              Der Generalgouverneur in Belgien.]

When I got to the office I found that Villalobar had not sent over his
contribution of letters, so I ran up to the Legation and saw him. He
bade me farewell as though I were off to certain death, and loaded me
with a large bundle of letters and telegrams.

When I got back to the shop, I found my fellow-passenger, the Count de
Woeste, waiting for me. He is a leader of the Catholic party which has
been in power in Belgium for the past thirty years, and, although he is
seventy-five years old, he is still a big figure in the little country.
He behaved very well on the trip, and if I were a Belgian citizen I
should vote for him on account of his good nerve.

We bowled off to headquarters, where I was mightily pleased to find that
von Herwarth had assigned himself to the duty of taking us up to the
outposts--just for a visit. It was the only satisfactory one I have had
with him since he came. At headquarters there were always too many
interruptions. My old travelling companion had a hard time to keep
himself in hand and not enter upon a joint debate upon the war, its
causes and justification. He did well, however, and my two passengers
parted on good terms, even going to the extraordinary length of shaking
hands at the outpost.

A big military motor, filled with armed men, was sent ahead to act as
guide, and we followed along closely behind in a cloud of dust.

From the outskirts of Brussels right up to the German outposts at
Hofstade, the fields were filled with German troops of every
sort--infantry, lancers, heavy artillery, and even three or four large
detachments of sailors in blue blouses and caps. All the men, except
the sailors and a few of the Landsturm who wear conspicuous blue
uniforms, were in the new greenish grey, which is about the finest color
that has yet seen active service. Frequently we drove several hundred
yards beside a field before noticing that it was filled with soldiers.
Several of the villages between Dieghem and Hofstade were partially
burned, and there were evidences of shell fire--which to these peasants
must be a perfectly convincing substitute for hell-fire--and of fighting
at really close quarters. Between Perck and Hofstade, the fields were
covered with deep entrenchments, and over some of these were stuck dummy
heads to draw hostile fire. Some, on the other hand, were fitted with
Belgian caps picked up on the battle-field, evidently for the purpose of
inducing Belgian troops to approach for a closer look before firing.
Most of the big trees along the road had been cut down, and many houses
razed to the ground so as to have a cleaner sweep for the artillery. At
Dieghem, the German pilot-car picked up a naval officer who was to
accompany us as far as the outposts and to inspect his men on the way

On the outskirts of Hofstade, under a brick railway bridge, we found the
last German troops. They had some hard fighting here at the time of the
last Belgian sortie, and the bridge and the surrounding houses showed
evidences of shell fire.

[Illustration: A street in Louvain]

[Illustration: Fixing on the white flag for the dash between the lines]

[Illustration: Refugees from the villages near the Antwerp forts]

[Illustration: Arrival in Antwerp of refugees from Malines]

I was rather against putting up the white flag, but both Herwarth and
the naval officer were most insistent that I should do so, saying that
the country between the lines was filled with patrols, both Belgian and
German; that they felt that hostilities were to be commenced at any
moment, and that any one who ventured into the district between the
lines would stand a fine chance of being shot unless he carried a
conciliatory emblem. They rigged up a long pole on the side of the car
with a white flag about six feet square, and bidding a glad farewell to
the representatives of Hohenzollern and Company, we started out to feel
our way into Malines. About 500 yards beyond the bridge we sighted two
Belgian bicycle patrols who, on seeing us, jumped off their machines and
ran into an abandoned farmhouse. Knowing that they were at high tension,
we crept up very slowly so that they might have a good look at us before
trying their marksmanship. They were peeking over the window-ledge, with
their rifles trained at us; but after a good look at the black clothes
and white whiskers of M. de Woeste they pulled in their weapons and
waved us to go ahead. About a kilometer farther on, we came around a
turn in the road and nearly ran into the first Belgian outpost--six men
and an officer. As we came around upon them they scurried behind stone
walls and trees, and gave us the usual pleasant greeting of levelled
rifles. As the most prudent things to do under such circumstances, the
car was stopped, and I went ahead to parley. The officer proved to be
young Z----. He turned quite white when he got a good look at me, and
remarked that it was fortunate they had not had a sight of us farther
down the road, as we would certainly have been filled with lead.

He said that the Germans had tried three times that morning to get
through the lines in cars flying the white flag, in one instance at
least, with a machine-gun in the car. As a result of this, the outposts
had orders not to take any chance for the rest of the time intervening
before the attack which was expected to begin at any minute.

Far be it from me to suggest that our friends had me put up the white
flag, so as to offer proof of the Belgian savagery in firing on the
white flag.

After this little experience, we took in our white flag and made the
rest of our trip without trouble. We found outposts about every hundred
yards, and were stopped at the point of the rifle each time; but as we
got farther away from the outer lines the behaviour of the posts was
noticeably less nervous, and when we got into Malines the mere sight of
our papers was sufficient to let us freely through.

Since my last trip, the Belgians have been working steadily at their
preparations for defence, and have accomplished wonders. Their large
tracts of land, some of them forming natural routes, for entry between
the forts, have been inundated with water from the canals so as to be
quite impassable. Tremendous barbed wire entanglements form a broad
barrier all around the outer and inner fortifications; they are so thick
and so strongly braced that artillery fire would be practically useless
against them, and cutting with wire nippers would be so slow that it
could not be accomplished without a horrible loss of men.

There are any number of huge searchlights placed on the fortifications
to sweep the skies for Zeppelins. Since my last visit, one Zeppelin had
succeeded in getting over the town, but was surprised and dropped its
whole cargo of 15 bombs in a distance of a few hundred yards, taking no
lives and doing little material damage. Since then, several big craft
have appeared at night, but have always been frightened away by the
searchlights and the fire of the small vertical guns which have been
ready for them.

All the villages which cluster around the fortifications have been razed
to the ground, and the avenues of big trees have been cut down; it is a
pretty dreadful sight.

I left M. de Woeste at the Grand Hôtel, where the Cabinet is staying,
and then made for the Saint Antoine. Had lunch with Sir Francis Villiers
and Colonel Fairholme, and got my first real news since the Prussian
headquarters stopped issuing bulletins of German victories. Sir Francis
showed me the telegrams he had received about the German check and
retreat in France; and Prince Koudacheff, the Russian Minister, who
joined us for coffee, vied with him by showing me his telegrams about
the Russian advance in Eastern Prussia and in Austria.

After luncheon, I had some pow-wows on the subject that had brought me,
and went to see various people for whom I had messages. They are a lot
more cheerful than the last time I was in Antwerp, and are ready for

From the Foreign Office, I went to the Consulate General, where I found
a mountain of letters and telegrams. Got off my cables, and answered as
much of the other correspondence as was absolutely necessary--no more.

On my way back to the hotel, I ran into General Jungbluth coming out of
the Palace, and was promptly hauled inside for gossip.

The Queen, who has very properly come back from England, walked in on us
and stopped to hear the news from Brussels.

I got back to the hotel, and found all the colleagues waiting for me to
hear the latest news from Brussels. I played my part, and was nearly
torn to pieces in their eagerness for news from the town where there is
none. They were all there except the Papal Nuncio, who is most unhappy
in the midst of war's alarms and hardly budges from the episcopal

After dinner I was again asked to go to the Grand Hôtel to see the Prime
Minister. He had nothing startling to say, but was anxious to know what
was going on in Brussels. He showed me his telegrams from France,
England and Russia, and his maps with the recent movements worked out
with little flags.

Monsieur de Brocqueville told me an interesting incident that had taken
place at Ghent. It seems that when the Germans arrived there, they sent
in an officer and several soldiers to arrange for requisitions, etc., a
promise having been given that they would not be molested. Of course,
the whole town was on the _qui vive_ and everybody had been warned to
refrain from incurring their displeasure. Just as the German motor
passed in front of our Consulate, a Belgian armoured car came charging
in from Antwerp, knowing nothing of the presence of the Germans, and
upon seeing the enemy uniform, opened fire, wounding the officer and one
of the men.

That was enough to start things, and the town would probably be in ruins
to-day but for the quick thinking and action of Van Hee, the American
Vice-Consul. He plunged down the staircase, seized the Burgomaster, who
happened to be present, pushed him into a motor with the wounded men and
went straight to the German headquarters to explain that the attack had
been made by two men from Antwerp who knew nothing of the agreement
reached between the city and the German forces, and to plead that no
reprisals should be made upon the city. The general said that he was
prepared to accept the statement of the Vice-Consul on this matter, and
that he would not therefore visit retribution on the town if the
requisitions which he had demanded were promptly furnished. The
requisitions were heavy, and he was apparently afraid that they might
not be sent. He said that he would send in troops to occupy the town
until the supplies requisitioned were actually in his possession, but
finally agreed to refrain from doing so on condition that the
Vice-Consul should give his word of honour that the supplies should be

Van Hee took this responsibility, and the General agreed to keep his
troops outside the town. When they got back to Ghent, the Military
Governor disavowed the arrangement on the ground that the Burgomaster
had no right to enter into an agreement with the Germans and that he, as
Military Governor, was the only one with any authority to deal with
them. He therefore declared that no supplies should be sent. The
Burgomaster telegraphed the Prime Minister in Antwerp, and placed the
entire situation before him, and Monsieur de Brocqueville promptly
telegraphed back that since the American Vice-Consul had given his word
of honour to the German General it was impossible to disavow the
agreement, and that the supplies should be sent out immediately. This
was a pretty high stand for the Belgians to take, but they feel that Van
Hee saved Ghent from destruction, and are correspondingly grateful to

Getting around Antwerp in the evening is quite an undertaking at this
time; no street lamps are lighted, all the window shades lined with
black, and heavy black shades are placed over the small electric lights
in the courtyards of hotels, etc.--all of this to keep from giving any
indication to the Zeppelins as to where to drop their visiting cards. A
heavy detachment of soldiers guards the approach to the Saint Antoine,
and there are patrols in all the streets. The few motors allowed on the
street have no lights, and are stopped by all the patrols, who do not
call out but rise up silently in front of you and demand the password.
It is a ticklish business finding one's way. The big searchlights on the
forts sweep the skies from nightfall until dawn, making a wonderful sort
of fireworks.

When I got back to the hotel I found Prince Caraman Chimay waiting for
me with a message from the Queen. Also poor Prince Ernest de Ligne,
whose son, Badouin, was killed in one of the armoured motors several
days ago.

Young de Ligne, who was a volunteer, was in one of three armoured cars
that went out on a reconnaissance toward the German lines. Just before
entering a sunken road between two fields they stopped a Flemish peasant
and asked him whether there were any Germans anywhere about. The peasant
told them that three Uhlans had been seen a short time before but they
had gone away. The three motors, de Ligne in the first, started down and
were attacked by about forty Germans under command of a major. De Ligne
was shot in the head and died shortly afterwards. The man who took his
place at the wheel was killed, and several others of the party were also
badly wounded and have since died. The third motor came up from some
little distance behind and opened on the Germans, killing or wounding
nearly all of them, including the officer, who was killed.

A young chap named Strauss, whose mother was an American, had the
mitrailleuse in his car, and stood upright, firing upon the Germans
without being touched by the heavy rifle fire that they directed against
him. When the Germans had been put to flight he and the other survivors
got the three cars into running order, and brought them all back to
Antwerp, where de Ligne and two of the others died.

Prince Ernest had a hard time getting through from Brussels, and was
fired on several times by the German troops, who were even more nervous
than in the morning, when I came through. One of his nephews has also
been killed, and another nephew, Prince Henri de Ligne, is in the
aviation corps, and has been in the thick of it ever since the beginning
of the war. He and his wife are also staying at the Saint Antoine.

On Thursday morning I got caught in another avalanche of telegrams and
had to spend a couple of hours at the Consulate-General polishing off
and finishing business. Stopped in at the palace on the way back and saw
General Jungbluth, who showed me the latest telegrams. I gathered up
what newspapers I could beg or buy and stuffed them into a military
pouch to take back. Had an early lunch, gathered up M. de Woeste and
Faura, whom I was to bring back, and started about one. We got through
Malines, across the only one of the three bridges which is left, and
started down the bank of the canal toward Hofstade, where Herwarth was
to meet us at two o'clock. There was heavy firing by small guns ahead
and a certain amount of protective firing from the forts behind us, with
the shells singing high above our heads, but we thought that it was
probably aimed further to the south and that we could get through.

Just at the edge of Malines we were startled by a tremendous report
near-by, and on getting out to reconnoitre I discovered a Belgian
battery, which had been established near the Convent of the Dames de
Coloma. The commanding officer of the battery, Major Nyssens, whom I had
known in Brussels, advised us to wait a little to see if there was a
lull in the fighting, so that we would get through. We went into the
convent to wait and were warmly received by a little Irish nun, who
showed us the park and pictures by way of entertainment, although we
felt a much greater interest in the banging of the battery. After a bit
Major Nyssens sent out a messenger to the farthest battery to see
whether they were prepared to stop firing for a little while to let us
scuttle through to Hofstade. Presently an answer came back that at 2:10
the firing would be stopped for twelve minutes to let us through. We
were in the motor ready to start when another messenger came from the
outer battery saying that the Germans were prepared to move up their
battery from the bridge at Hofstade--the very spot we were making for,
if there were any lull in the firing and that the Belgian battery could
not stop without endangering its position.

We then decided to go back to Malines and to try a direct road by way of
Sempst and Villevorde. On parting I gave Nyssens all my cigars, knowing
I should find plenty when I got back to Brussels, and he, in a burst of
gratitude, gave me a tiny revolver taken off a dead German officer a few
hours before. Immediately after getting the revolver Nyssens' orderly
had handled it rather carelessly, and shot himself in the stomach. To
make sure of doing nothing equally foolish, I took out the remaining
cartridges and chucked them in the canal as we rode back to Malines.

About a kilometer out of Malines we ran into a considerable detachment
of Belgian infantry and lancers and a large armoured motor with two
mitrailleuses. We were told that the Belgians had taken and retaken
Sempst three times during the day, and while neither side occupied the
town at that precise moment they were both advancing on it, and that it
might be rather warm for ordinary motors. They finally agreed to let us
talk to the commanding officer, who turned out to be none other than
Colonel Cumont, the owner of the building occupied by the Legation.

He was up on a railway embankment, lying on his stomach between the
rails, watching some German patrols through a pair of big field glasses,
and when we hailed him, rolled gracefully over the side, and came down
to talk to us. He had been out on the track most of the time for three
days and was a rather disreputable-looking person, but apparently glad
of a chance to talk with someone from the outside world.

He said he thought we would have time to get through before the row
began, and in any event he would warn his men so that if we came
scuttling back we would be given the right of way to safety.

We passed several Belgian patrols along the way and finally got into the
town, which showed clear evidences of fighting; some of the houses were
burned to the ground, and all that were standing had their doors and
windows smashed, furniture broken, and strewn about the floors with
broken bottles and dishes, mattresses and goodness knows what else; and
above all arose that terrible smell of burnt flesh.

We were nearly through the town when we were hailed by a detachment of
about twenty Belgians, who had got through and occupied the grounds of a
villa on the edge of the village. We stopped the car, and I got out and
went ahead, they remaining with leveled rifles, in their usual
hospitable manner. When I got to within twenty feet of them we heard the
whirr of a machine gun--which the Belgian soldiers call a _cinema_--and
a German armoured car poked its nose around the corner for a look-see.
It was firing high to draw a return fire and locate any Belgians there
might be in the town, but they all scurried behind cover, closely
followed by me. They were taking no chances, however, and called me to
stay in the middle of the road. Without wasting any time in formality I
made clear my identity, and, on being shown through a breach in the wall
a disagreeable-looking body of German infantry and lancers about a half
a mile away approaching through a field, I decided that we were on the
wrong road and made back for the motor.

I told my passengers what was up, and that we had to go back to Malines.
M. de Woeste, however, was all for going through on the valid plea that
he had no clean linen and did not want to spend another night out of
Brussels. Nevertheless we turned around and started back, only to rush
into the big Belgian armoured car which Colonel Cumont, hearing firing,
had sent down to rescue us and cover our retreat. This car stayed in the
village for a few minutes to meet the German car, fired a few shots at
it, and then came back to the outposts.

We then tried getting out toward the west from Malines, but soon came to
a point where the road was inundated, and had to turn back for the third
time. It was then getting pretty late in the afternoon, and even M. de
Woeste had to admit that we had best come back to Antwerp rather than
try to make a roundabout journey to Brussels after dark.

All the way back into Antwerp we met Belgian forces advancing to the
attack. They are getting to know the flag better every day and we were
greeted with waving hands and cheers everywhere we went. When nearly in
town, a young chap ran out of the ranks to where we were waiting for
them to get by, grabbed me by the shoulder, and said:

"I am born an American."

"Where were you born?"

"Aurora, Illinois. My father worked in ----'s glycerine works."

"Who do you know in Aurora?"

"I know Mr. Evans and Mr. ---- and Mr. ---- and Mr. _Beaupré_."[7]

"What's your name?"

Just then a non-commissioned officer came along and ordered him back
into the ranks; the motor started ahead, and I lost track of the boy in
a cloud of dust.

[Footnote 7: Former American Minister at The Hague.]

At the edge of town we caught up with a British Legation motor, which
was stopped at a railroad barricade. Its occupants roared with laughter
when they saw us, and Colonel Fairholme gloated particularly, as he had
prophesied that we would not get through. When we got back to the hotel
we were met with more laughter. It was the great joke of the week to see
the only people who had previously been successful in running the lines,
caught like the rest of them. I was not at all down in the mouth, as
Antwerp was most interesting, and I had left only because I had felt it
my duty to get back to work and to keep the Minister from worrying. When
I saw that there was no way of getting through I gladly accepted the
decree of fate.

When we got back to Antwerp I soon learned that it would be out of the
question to get back to Brussels the next day, or perhaps even the day
after that. The Belgians were advancing to an enveloping movement and
all the surrounding country was to be covered with Belgian troops in an
endeavour to deal a smashing blow to the Germans and compel them to
bring back more troops from the front in France. Colonel Fairholme asked
me to accompany him to the front next morning, and I accepted with an
alacrity which startled him.

After dinner I made another excursion into the darkness and told
Monsieur de Woeste that there was no prospect of getting back to
Brussels the next day. His colleagues, who were there also, impressed
upon him the futility of going, and he finally resigned himself to
staying, although he kept insisting that he infinitely preferred danger
to boredom, which was his lot so long, as he had nothing to do but sit
around the hotel.

Friday morning while I was waiting for the Colonel to get ready and was
doing my little errands down town, there came a great roaring of a
crowd, and the chauffeur, knowing my curiosity, put on steam and spurted
down to the boulevards just in time to run into a batch of three hundred
German prisoners being brought in. They were a dejected-looking crowd,
most of them Landsturm, haggard and sullen. The crowd, mindful of the
things the Germans have been doing to this little country, were in no
friendly mood, but did nothing violent. There was only a small guard of
Belgian Garde Civique to escort the prisoners, but there were no
brickbats or vegetables. The people limited themselves to hoots and
catcalls and hisses--which were pretty thick. And even this was frowned
upon by the authorities. Within a couple of hours the Military Governor
had posted a proclamation begging the people of Antwerp to maintain a
more dignified attitude and to refrain from any hostile demonstration
against other prisoners. This batch was surrounded, and caught at
Aerschot, where the Germans are said to have committed all sorts of
atrocities for the past three weeks. Among the prisoners was the
commanding officer, who was accused of being responsible for a lot of
the outrages. He was examined by the military court, which sits for the
purpose, and admitted having done most of the things of which he was
accused, pleading in his own defence that he had done them only in
obedience to superior orders, to which he had protested. The soldiers
who made the capture disclaimed a large part of the credit for it on the
ground that most of the Germans were drunk and that they were too dazed
to get to their arms. Stories of this sort keep piling in from every

We got away at eleven to Lierre, where the King has established his
headquarters for his movement. The road lay to the southeast and was
through country I had not traversed before. The aspect was the same,
however--long stretches of destroyed houses and felled trees,
barbed-wire entanglements and inundated fields. It is a mournful sight.

Little Lierre was unharmed, and I hope it may remain so. The Grande
Place was filled with staff motors, and there was a constant coming and
going of motors and motorcycles bearing messengers to and from the field
of operations. Headquarters was established in the Hôtel de Ville, which
bears on its tower the date 1369--a fine old building, not large, but

In the morning a message had come ordering Colonel DuCane back to
England. He was out in the field, and we had to wait until he came in to
deliver it to him. The King was also away, but we put in our time
talking with the officers on duty as to the movement and its progress,
and then went out for a stroll around the town. We looked into the old
church, and I stopped and bought an officer's forage cap as a souvenir
of the place. By the time we had poked around the neighbourhood and
inspected the other _Sehenswürdigkeiten_ of the town it was lunch time
and we joined an officers' mess in the back room of a little café on the
square, and then, to kill time, sat in front of another café and had
coffee and a cigar.

We could not get started until Colonel DuCane had returned and received
his message, so we sat in front of our little café and growled. It was
maddening to waste our time there while the guns were thundering all
around us and we knew from the signs of activity at headquarters that
big things were toward. After a time a little man, the Senator for the
district, came out and asked us into his house, directly across the
street from the Hôtel de Ville. It was raining hard and we were ready
for a change, so we accepted gladly and were entertained with champagne
and cigars to the music of falling rain and booming cannon.

Our Senator was very much down in the mouth about the situation in
general and wanted to talk about it. The Colonel told him of the
bulletins that had been published in Antwerp as to the progress of the
campaign, and as this went on he cheered up visibly minute by
minute--whether as a result of the good news or the champagne, I don't

The Colonel was called away after a time to talk to Lord Kitchener over
the telephone. Kitchener keeps himself informed directly as to the
progress of operations and the knowledge that he may drop in over the
telephone at any minute gives his officers a very comforting feeling
that they are not forgotten.

Finally, after dark, Colonel DuCane and Captain Ferguson came in, and we
got under way. It was too late to go forward with hopes of seeing
anything, but it was evident that things would be as hot as ever the
next day and that I could not hope to get my charges back to Brussels.
Accordingly the Colonel's invitation was extended and accepted, and we
turned back toward Antwerp considerably disappointed.

While we were waiting around trying to make up our minds--if any--I ran
into young Strauss, the half-American, who was in the armoured car
behind young de Ligne. He was really the principal hero of the occasion,
having stood bolt upright in his car and riddled the German forces with
his mitrailleuse until the few survivors turned and fled. He had with
him two of the other survivors of his party. All of them had been
decorated with the Order of Leopold for their behaviour. An order like
that looks pretty well on a private's uniform, particularly when given
with such good reason.

We had retreated inside the Hôtel de Ville during a particularly heavy
downpour of rain, when in came the King, who had spent the whole day in
the field with the troops. He was drenched to the skin, but came briskly
up the steps, talking seriously with his aide-de-camp. He stopped and
spoke with us all and took Colonel DuCane into his study and had a few
minutes talk with him by way of farewell. The King shows up finely in
the present situation and all the foreign military attachés are
enthusiastic about his ability. He is in supreme command of the army and
no detail is too insignificant for his attention.

[Illustration: At Malines--a good background for a photograph to send
home to Germany]

[Illustration: His Eminence, Cardinal Mercier, Archbishop of Malines]

We got the password and made back for Antwerp in the dark, leaving
Colonel DuCane and Captain Ferguson to spend the night at Lierre. We
were in bad luck and got stopped at every railroad crossing along the
way. Troop and supply trains were pouring down toward the front and Red
Cross trains were bringing back the wounded in large numbers. Both sides
must have suffered heavily during the day, and there may be several days
more of this sort of fighting before there is a lull.

When we got back to the hotel we found Sir Francis waiting for us with a
glowing telegram and an equally glowing face. It was the most
enthusiastic message yet received from the British War Office, which has
been very restrained in its daily bulletins. For the first time that day
it spoke with a little punch, speaking of the "routed enemy" and their
being "vigorously pressed." We tumbled through a hasty bath and got down
to dinner in short order.

After dinner it was the same old performance of going over to the Grand
Hôtel and labouring with Monsieur de Woeste, who was still bent on
getting home to his clean linen without further delay. It took the
united arguments of the Cabinet, which was in session, to convince him
that it would be useless and foolish to try to get away. Finally he
yielded, with a worse grace than on the previous evening. I had a
comfortable visit with several of the Ministers, who were glad to hear
news of their families in Brussels, and asked me to remember all sorts
of messages to be given on my return. I only hope that I shall not get
the messages mixed and get too affectionate with the wrong people. The
Cabinet was going through the latest telegrams from the various fields
of action. They even had some from Servia and were decidedly cheered up,
a big change from the dogged determination with which they were facing
bad news the last time I was in Antwerp.

Saturday morning the Colonel and I were called at six, and at seven we
got away in a pouring rain over the same road to Lierre that we had
travelled the day before. There was a big force of workmen hard at it in
the vicinity of the outer forts, burning houses and chopping down trees
and building barbed-wire entanglements. It is a scene of desolation, but
it is necessary in a fight like this.

We found things moving rapidly at headquarters in Lierre. Messengers
were pouring in and orders going out with twice the activity of the day
before. The movement had been under way for two hours when we got there
and the guns were booming all around. After learning as much as we could
of the disposition of the troops we went out and stocked up with bread,
cheese, and mineral water, and started forth to see what we could of the
operations. We took along a young officer from headquarters to show us
the road. We soon saw that he did not know the roads and could not even
read a map, and had to take over that work ourselves. Colonel Fairholme
and I went in my motor with the headquarters passenger and Colonel
DuCane and Ferguson followed in their own car with an orderly. We got to
Malines without difficulty and got out for a look at the Cathedral. It
is a dreadful sight, all the wonderful old fifteenth century glass in
powder on the floor. Part of the roof is caved in and there are great
gaping holes in the lawn, showing where the shells struck that fell
short of their mark. A few of the surrounding houses, belonging to
entirely peaceful citizens, were completely wiped out while they were
getting the range. It is hard to see what useful military purpose is
served by smashing churches and peaceful habitations, when there are no
troops about the place. Malines was bombarded when the troops had
withdrawn. It is hard to reconcile with _Gott mit uns_.

Before we left Lierre, nine troopers of the Landsturm were marched into
the hallway of the Hôtel de Ville, to be examined by the officer who is
there for that purpose. They were a depressed lot who had run away and
given themselves up, so as to be spared the hardships and dangers of the
rest of the war. They answered questions freely, telling all they knew
as to the disposition of troops and making their get-away toward the
local lockup with great alacrity as soon as the word was given to move.
Most of them were Bavarians. Colonel Fairholme speaks German like a
native. He talked with these chaps, and there was some interesting
conversation. They were all without enthusiasm for the war, and all
expressed indignation at having been brought out of the country,
maintaining that the Landsturm cannot be used for anything except the
maintenance of order in the Empire. I think they are wrong about that,
but this was no joint debate on German law, and no attempt was made to
sooth their injured feelings. A lot of men were brought in while we were
there, some of them prisoners taken during the fighting, but a great
many of them fugitives who were sick of the war, and only asked to get
off with a whole skin.

As they marched out of the hall, the King came in from the field for a
look at the morning's telegrams. He had been out since long before
daybreak, and was covered with rain and mud. He shook himself
vigorously, spraying everybody with raindrops, and then stopped to speak
to us before going in for a cup of coffee and a look at the news.

From Malines we made back along the northern side of the canal, in an
endeavour to find the headquarters of the ----th Division. We went
through a little village where all the inhabitants were standing in the
road, listening to the cannonading, and spun out upon an empty and
suspiciously silent country road. A little way out we found a couple of
dead horses which the thrifty peasants had already got out and skinned.
I didn't like the looks of it, and in a minute the Colonel agreed that
he thought it did not look like a road behind the lines, but our little
staff officer was cock-sure that he knew just what he was talking about,
and ordered the chauffeur to go ahead. Then we heard three sharp toots
on the horn of the car behind--the signal to stop and wait. And it came
pulling up alongside with an inquiry as to what we meant by "barging"
along this sort of a road which likely as not would land us straight
inside the enemy's lines. There was a spirited discussion as to whether
we should go ahead or go back and strike over through Rymenam, when we
heard a shell burst over the road about half a mile ahead, and then saw
a motor filled with Belgian soldiers coming back toward us full tilt.
The Colonel stopped them and learned that they had been out on a
reconnaissance with a motor-cyclist to locate the German lines, which
were found to be just beyond where the shell had burst, killing the
motor-cyclist. It would have been a little too ignominious for us to
have gone bowling straight into the lines and get taken prisoners. We
turned around and left that road to return no more that way. We got
about half-way up to Rymenam when we met some Belgian officers in a
motor, who told us that a battery of the big French howitzers, which had
just gone into action for the first time, were in a wood near H----. We
turned around once more, and made for H---- by way of Malines. We found
the headquarters of the ----th Division, and went in and watched the
news come in over the field telephone and telegraph, and by messengers
on motor-cycles, bicycles and horses straight from the field. The
headquarters was established in a little roadside inn about half a mile
outside the town, and was as orderly as a bank. Officers sat at the
various instruments and took notes of the different reports as they came
in. Reports were discussed quickly but quietly, and orders sent out
promptly but without confusion. The maps were kept up to the minute by
changing the little flags to show the positions of the different troops
right at the minute. There was telephone communication with the forts,
and several times they were ordered to pour fire into a certain spot to
cover an advance or a retreat of parts of the Belgian forces, and, at
other times, to cease firing, so as to let Belgian troops cross or
occupy the exact spot they had been bombarding. It was a wonderful sight
to watch, and it was hard to realise that this was merely a highly
scientific business of killing human beings on a large scale. It was so
business-like and without animus, that to anyone not knowing the
language or conditions, it might have passed as a busy day in a war
office commissary when ordering supplies and giving orders for shipment.

Just outside the headquarters was one of the fine German kitchen wagons
with two fine Norman horses which had pulled it all the way from
Germany. It had been stationed in the grounds of a château not far away,
and three men of its crew were hard at work getting a meal when a little
Belgian soldier with two weeks' growth of beard waltzed into the garden,
shot one of the men dead and captured the other two. He disarmed them,
put ropes around their necks and drove the kitchen to headquarters in
triumph. He was proud as punch of his exploit, and, for that matter, so
was everybody else around the place.

In a field of turnips a couple of hundred yards away from the
headquarters were the howitzers. There were three of them in a row with
three ammunition wagons. They had been sent here only a few days ago,
and they were promptly put into action. They were planted here, slightly
inside the range of the guns from the outer forts, and were able to drop
shells six miles from where we stood, or about five miles outside the
range of the fort guns. They toss a shell about two feet long, filled
with deadly white powder, six miles in ten seconds, and when the shell
strikes anything, "it thoes rocks at yeh!" as the darkey said about our
navy guns. The battery was planted down behind a little clump of pines,
and was dropping shells into a little village where there was a
considerable force of Germans about to be attacked. The Germans must
have been puzzled by this development, for they had counted on being
able to advance safely up to the range of the forts, feeling sure that
the Belgians had no powerful field guns of this sort.

We were introduced to the officers commanding the battery, and watched
their work for nearly two hours. One of the officers was Count Guy
d'Oultremont, adjutant of the Court, whom I had known in Brussels. He
was brown as a berry, had lost a lot of superfluous flesh, and was
really a fine-looking man. He had been in Namur, and had got away with
the Belgian troops who went out the back door into France and came home
by ship.

After we had been watching a little while, an aeroplane came circling
around, evidently to spot the place where these deadly cannon were. It
cruised around for some time in vain, but finally crossed straight
overhead. As soon as we were located, the machine darted away to spread
the news, so that the big German guns could be trained on us and silence
the battery; but the Belgians were Johnny-at-the-rat-hole again, and he
was winged by rifle fire from a crowd of soldiers who were resting near
the headquarters. They killed the observer and wounded the pilot
himself, to say nothing of poking a hole in the oil tank. The machine
volplaned to earth a few hundred yards from where we were, and the pilot
was made prisoner. The machine was hauled back to the village and
shipped on the first outgoing train to Antwerp as a trophy.

We were leaving the battery and were slipping and sliding through the
cabbages on our way back to the road, when we met the King on foot,
accompanied only by an aide-de-camp, coming in for a look at the big
guns. He stopped and spoke to us and finally settled down for a real
talk, evidently thinking that this was as good a time as any other he
was likely to find in the immediate future.

After talking shop with the two colonels, he turned to me for the latest
gossip. He asked me about the story that the German officers had drunk
his wine at the Palace in Laeken. I told him that it was generally
accepted in Brussels, and gave him my authority for the yarn. He
chuckled a little and then said, in his quiet way, with a merry twinkle:
"You know I never drink anything but water." He cogitated a minute and
then, with an increased twinkle, he added: "And it was not very good
wine!" He seemed to think that he had quite a joke on the Germans.

As we talked, the sound of firing came from the German lines not far
away, and shrapnel began falling in a field on the other side of the
road. The Germans were evidently trying to locate the battery in that
way. Most of the shrapnel burst in the air and did no damage, but some
of it fell to the ground before bursting and sent up great fountains of
the soft black earth with a cloud of gray smoke with murky yellow
splotches in it. It was not a reassuring sight, and I was perfectly
willing to go away from there, but being a true diplomat, I remembered
that the King ranked me by several degrees in the hierarchy, and that he
must give the sign of departure. Kings seem powerless to move at such
times, however, so we stayed and talked while the nasty things popped.
His Majesty and I climbed to a dignified position on a pile of rubbish,
whence we could get a good view up and down the road, and see the French
guns which were in action again.

A little later Ferguson, who was standing not far away, got hit with a
little sliver and had a hole punched in the shoulder of his overcoat. It
stopped there, however, and did not hurt him in the least. He looked
rather astonished, pulled the little stranger from the hole it had made,
looked at it quizzically, and then put it in his pocket and went on
watching the French guns. I think he would have been quite justified in
stopping the battle and showing his trophy to everybody on both sides.

The King was much interested in all the news from Brussels, how the
people were behaving, what the Germans were doing, whether there were
crowds on the streets, and how the town felt about the performances of
the army.

He realised what has happened to his little country, and made me realise
it for the first time. He said that France was having a hard time, but
added that perhaps a sixth of her territory was invaded and occupied,
but that every bit of his country had been ravaged and devastated with
the exception of the little bit by the sea coast and Antwerp itself,
which was getting pretty rough treatment, in order to put it in shape to
defend itself. He spoke with a great deal of feeling. And no wonder!

Then to change the tone of the conversation, he looked down at my
pretty patent leather shoes, and asked in a bantering way whether those
were a part of my fighting kit, and where I had got them. I answered: "I
got them several months ago to make my first bow to Your Majesty, at
Laeken!" He looked around for a bit at the soggy fields, the marching
troops, and then down at the steaming manure heap, and remarked with a
little quirk to his lips: "We did not think then that we should hold our
first good conversation in a place like this, did we?" He smiled in a
sad way, but there was a lot more sadness than mirth in what he said.

Guy d'Oultremont came up and said something that I did not understand,
and we started back toward the headquarters. We stopped opposite the
inn, and the two colonels were called up for a little more talk.

Just then a crowd of priests, with Red Cross brassards on their arms,
came down the road on their way to the battlefield to gather up the
wounded. With his usual shyness the King withdrew a few steps to seek
shelter behind a motor that was standing near by. As we talked, we edged
back a little, forcing him to come forward, so that he was in plain
sight of the priests, who promptly broke out in a hearty "_Vive le
roi!_" He blushed and waved his hand at them, and, after they had passed
by, shook hands with us and followed them on foot out onto the field. In
modern warfare a King's place is supposed to be in a perfectly safe
spot, well back of the firing line, but he does not play the game that
way. Every day since the war began, he has gone straight out into the
thick of it, with the shells bursting all around and even within range
of hostile rifle fire. It is a dangerous thing for him to do, but it
does the troops good, and puts heart into them for the desperate
fighting they are called upon to do. They are all splendidly devoted to

The rain stopped as we got into the motors and started back toward
Malines, with the idea of locating the other battery of _obusiers_.
There was a sharp volley of three toots on Colonel DuCane's horn, and we
came to a sudden stop, with the emergency brakes on, to receive the
information that it was two o'clock and time for lunch. None of us had
kept any track of time, and all were ready to go sailing along
indefinitely without food. As soon as we had noticed the time, however,
we all became instantly hungry, and moved along, looking for a good
place for lunch. I had the happy idea of suggesting the convent where we
had taken refuge on Thursday, and thither we repaired to be most warmly
greeted by all the nuns, and most particularly by the little Irish
sister who was overjoyed to see British uniforms and hear some war news
that she could believe. She hailed me with, "Oh! and it's the
riprisintitive of the Prisidint!" The nuns gave us a table in the park
and two big benches, and we got out our bread and cheese and chocolate
and a few other things that Colonel DuCane had found somewhere, and had
a most comfortable meal with a towering pitcher of beer brought out from
the convent, to give us valour for the afternoon's work.

After lunch we went back through Malines again, through the railroad
yards, bumping over the tracks, and away toward Muysen and Rymenam to
see the other batteries. I was struck in going through the railway
yards, which I had always seen teeming with activity and movement, to
see that all the rails are covered deep with rust--probably for the
first time. Think of it!

After leaving Muysen, our road lay for a mile or so along a canal with
open fields on either side. Uhlan patrols had been reported in this part
of the country, which was in a weak spot in the Belgian lines, and the
Colonel told the staff officer to keep a sharp lookout and be ready with
his revolver and prepared for a burst of speed. That military genius
replied with an air of assurance: "Oh, that's all right. They cannot
cross the canal." The Colonel confined himself to saying mildly: "No,
but bullets can!" Little Napoleon said nothing more, but I noticed that
he unstrapped his revolver without loss of time.

We were bowling along the road, looking for the battery, when there was
the most enormous noise which tore the earth asunder and the universe
trembled. I looked around to the left, and there not more than a hundred
feet away were those three husky French guns which had just gone off
right over our heads! We had found them all right, but I should prefer
to find them in some other way next time.

We spent a little time looking at them, and Ferguson had them get out
some of the explosive and show it to me. It comes in long strips that
look for all the world like chewing gum--the strips about the same
proportions, only longer. I fail to see, however, how they can be made
to blow up.

After a bit we got back into the cars, and started out to cruise around
to the Belgian left wing and watch, a little of the infantry fighting at
close quarters. We very soon began running into stragglers who informed
us that the ----th Division was being driven back, and that a retreat
was in progress. Soon we came upon supply trains and ammunition wagons
making for the rear, to be out of the way of the troops when they began
to move. We were not anxious to be tangled up in the midst of a retreat,
and obliged to spend the night trying to work our way out of it, so we
forged ahead and got back to Lierre as fast as we could. It was raining
hard as we came in, and we took refuge in the Hôtel de Ville, where the
colonels read their telegrams and got off a report to London. One of
their telegrams brought the unwelcome news that Ferguson was also
recalled to England. They are evidently hard put to it to find enough
officers to handle the volunteer forces. He will have to stay on for a
few days, but Colonel DuCane came back with us and left the next morning
for England by way of Ostend.

When we got back to the hotel after a fast run, I found that Inglebleek,
the King's Secretary, had been around twice for me, and wanted me to go
at once to the Palace. I jumped into the car and ran over there, to
learn that the Queen wanted to see me. She was then at dinner, and he
thought it would do the next time I came up--she seems to have wanted
more news of Brussels--nothing pressing. She had told Inglebleek to give
me a set of the pictures she had had taken of the damage done to the
Cathedral at Malines. They are interesting as a matter of record.

Sir Francis had another good bulletin from the War Office, and was
beaming. The colleagues came and gathered round the table, and chortled
with satisfaction.

Heavy cannonading continued well into the night, to cover the advance of
the ----th Division, which had been reinforced and was moving back into
the dark and rain to take up its old position and be ready for the
Germans in the morning.

I was up and about early on Sunday morning. Had breakfast with Count
Goblet d'Alviella, one of the Ministers of State. Gathered up Monsieur
de Woeste and Faura, and made for the Scheldt and Brussels. Instead of
going across on the boat as we had to do the last time, we found a broad
and comfortable pontoon bridge placed on canal boats and schooners
lashed together and moored from one side of the river to the other. Any
time they like, the Belgians can cut the string, and there is no way of
getting into the city from that side. There was a tremendous wind
blowing and the rain fell in torrents--short showers--from the time we
left Antwerp until we came sailing into town here.

The bridge at Termonde had been blown up by the Germans on evacuating
the place after having destroyed the entire town, so there was no
thought of returning that way. I knew there could be nothing doing the
direct way through Malines, so decided on a long swing around the circle
by way of Ghent as the only practicable way. We found Belgian troops all
the way to Ghent, and had no trouble beyond giving the password which I
had. We drew up at a restaurant in a downpour and had a hasty lunch,
getting under way again immediately afterward.

About ten kilometers this side of Ghent we came to Melle, a village
which had been destroyed, and another where a number of houses had been
burned. A nice-looking young chap told us that there had been a fight
there the day before and that the Germans had set fire to the place as
they retreated--just from cussedness, so far as he could see. There, and
at another place along the road, peasants told us that they had been
made to march in front of the German troops when they marched against
the Belgians. I don't like to believe that there is any truth in that
story but it comes from every direction and the people tell it in a most
convincing way.

We found no Germans until we were this side of Assche and then our
adventures were evidently at an end. As we came in we could hear heavy
cannonading from the direction of Vilvorde and Hofstade and knew that
the fight was still going on. They had been hearing it in town for a
couple of days.

The family at the Legation had been somewhat anxious, but had learned
through the Germans that we were all right--evidently from somebody who
got through the lines. I had to sit right down and tell the story of my
life from one end to the other.

I never got over the idea in Antwerp of the incongruity of going out
onto the field all day and fighting a big battle, or rather, watching it
fought, and then sailing comfortably home to a big modern hotel in a
motor and dressing for dinner. I don't think there has ever been a war
quite like this before.

Herwarth has gone to the front for some active service. I am sorry to
miss him. He went up to Hofstade the day I was to have returned, and
waited for me about an hour, but the fire got too thick for him and he
came back and reported that I would not be able to get through.

Monsieur de Woeste called this afternoon and paid his respects. He gave
the Minister an account of the attempts we made to get through that made
his hair stand on end for an hour afterward.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, September 16, 1914._--To-day has brought a long string of
callers, and between times we took satisfying looks at the passing
troops, which have been pouring into town steadily yesterday and to-day.
Nobody has established to my satisfaction whence they come or whither
they are going. There are all sorts of explanations offered, each
explanation being quite convincing to the one who offers it. Most people
say that they are being brought in for the siege of Antwerp, which is
about to begin. The siege of Antwerp has begun so often and never
materialized that I decline to get excited about it at this stage of the
game. Another explanation is that the German retreat in France is so
precipitate that some of the troops and supply trains are already
pouring through here on their way home. I cannot get up much enthusiasm
for that either. Some imaginative souls maintain that these are forces
being brought back to fight against the Russians. None of these stories
sound good to me and I have resigned myself to the belief that the only
really safe conjecture is that this "is a movement of troops."

This morning Baron von der Lancken came in and asked me to testify as to
what we had seen at Louvain. Of course what we saw had no bearing on the
original cause of the trouble and there is no reason for me to push my
way into the controversy. Besides, I can't do it without orders from

We are getting quite accustomed to having no communications with the
outside world. Railroads, of course, have ceased to work, except for
military purposes, and there is no way for the general public to get
about. There has been no postal service since the Germans marched in on
August 20th, and we don't know when we shall have any. All telephones
were cut off within a few hours of the arrival of the German army. There
are no newspapers, and all the information we are supposed to have about
happenings in the outside world is fed to us in the form of placards on
the walls of the city. Nobody takes any great amount of stock in what
these placards tell us, although they have sometimes told us the truth,
and consequently there is a great demand for the few copies of Dutch and
English newspapers that are smuggled across the border and brought to
Brussels. The prices vary according to the number of papers to be had,
and run from five francs to one hundred francs for a single copy of the
_Times_. Those who do not care to spend so much can rent a paper by the
hour--and customers are not wanting on this basis. By way of
discouraging this traffic it is said that the Germans have shot several
men caught smuggling papers. Those caught selling them in Brussels are
arrested and given stiff terms of imprisonment. All taxis disappeared
many days ago and altogether the normal life of the town has ceased. It
will be a rollicking place from now on.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, September 17, 1914._--This morning I spent digging my way out
from under a landslide of detail work which has been piling up on my
desk, until I could hardly see over it. I now have it out of the way,
and can breathe again freely for the moment.

This afternoon Baron de Menten de Horne, a Lieutenant in the Second
Regiment of Lancers, was brought in to the Legation, a prisoner, still
wearing his Belgian uniform. He was captured last Friday near H---- while
I was there. Nyssens, the Major who was in the convent with us, told me
that one of his officers had gone off on a reconnaissance and had not
reappeared; he was greatly worried about him, but could not send any one
out to look for him. This was the man. He was surrounded, in company
with several of his men, and took to cover in a field of beets. Night
was coming on, and they thought that when the fight was over and the
German troops who were all about them had retired, they would be able to
work their way out and rejoin their own forces, but twenty-five Germans
surrounded them, and after killing all the others, took this man

His only idea is to be exchanged and rejoin his regiment; and, as is the
case with pretty much everybody else nowadays, he turned to the American
Legation. He made such a good plea that the German authorities brought
him here yesterday, and left him an hour, on his giving his word of
honour not to divulge anything as to the military movements he had seen
while a prisoner.

Of course, we could not arrange to make the exchange, but he stayed on
for an hour and told us of his adventures. He was a pathetic figure in
his dirty uniform, sitting on a little chair in my office and telling in
a simple way of all he had been through--laying more stress on the
sufferings and death of his soldiers than on anything that had happened
to him. His own brother had been killed in the fighting around Liège,
and he had heard that his brother-in-law, of whom he was very fond, had
also been mortally wounded. While at Louvain, he had visited the
military hospitals, and had a list of Belgian officers who were there. I
took a list of them, by permission of the German officer who came after
the prisoner, and shall send word to their families.

I went around to see the young man's sister, and sent her off to have a
look at him at headquarters, where he is being well treated. It is a joy
to be able to do some of these little errands. Nobody can realize the
amount of bitter sorrow there is in this country--we cannot realize it
ourselves, but now and then a wave of it rises up to confront and
overwhelm us.

Miss T----, an American owning a school here, was in late this afternoon
to complain of the behaviour of a couple of officers and gentlemen who
did her the honour of calling upon her. They came swaggering in, asked
whether a certain German girl had attended the school and demanded her
portrait. On being refused, they became nasty and finally so overawed
the two women who were there alone that they found some snap shots and
handed over a couple of them. Then they demanded a post card with a
picture of the school, wrote a message to the girl, and tried to compel
the two women to sign it. They flatly refused, and, in a rage, the elder
German tore up the card, threw it at Miss T----, flung down the
photographs and stamped out of the house, slamming the doors.

The Minister is going over to see the military authorities in the
morning and make some remarks that they will not forget in a hurry. The
puppies ought to be horsewhipped.

           *           *           *           *           *

_September 18th._--Repressive measures are getting stronger and more
severe. The Germans have now ordered the Belgians to take down their
flags. Lüttwitz, the Military Governor, has posted an _Avis_ on the
subject which is worth reproducing in full.

     The population of Brussels, understanding well its own interests,
     has generally, since the arrival of the German troops, maintained
     order and quiet. For this reason, I have not yet forbidden the
     display of Belgian flags, which is regarded as a provocation by the
     German troops living in or passing through Brussels. Purely in
     order to avoid having our troops led to acting on their own
     initiative, I now call upon houseowners to take down their Belgian

     The Military Government, in putting this measure into effect, has
     not the slightest intention of wounding the susceptibilities and
     dignity of the citizens. It is intended solely to protect the
     citizens against harm.

     Brussels, September 16, 1914.

                                    BARON VON LÜTTWITZ.
                                    _General and Governor_.

Dined at the Palace in a din of German officers. Bulle, Pousette and
Riseis kept me in countenance. There were also some twenty or thirty
Austrian officers--the first we have seen. They were quiet and well
behaved, and contrasted sharply with their allies.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, September 19, 1914._--This morning our Vice-Consul came in
from Ghent bringing with him a pouch and a huge bag of letters and
telegrams. These had been got through to him from Antwerp yesterday, and
he made a run through the lines early this morning, having been turned
back several times on account of small engagements between Belgian and
German outposts.

This morning a Dutchman came in to see me, and after showing me a lot of
papers, to establish that he was somebody entirely different, told me
that he was a British spy. He then launched into a long yarn about his
travels through the country and the things he had seen, unloading on me
a lot of military information or misinformation that he seemed anxious
to have me understand. After he had run down I asked why he had honoured
me with his confidence, and was somewhat startled to have him answer
that he had no way of getting it out and thought that inasmuch as we
were charged with the protection of British interests I might have an
opportunity to pass it on where it would do the most good. He seemed
rather pained at my remarks, and was most reproachful when I threw him
out on his head. Yes, my shrewd friend, it has also occurred to me that
he may have been a German spy just trying to find out whether we were
indulging in dirty work. It would not be the first time that that sort
of thing was tried on us.

Monseigneur N---- came around this afternoon and asked me to take him to
Antwerp on my next trip. I told him that I could not, as I had already
promised to take some other people, and that my car would be full. He
said that he had his own car, and that he would ask me to convoy him; he
had heard that I had "_beaucoup de bravourr, tandis que moi je n'ai pas
de bravourrrr et j'aimarais me mettre sous votre protection._" I sent
him to see von der Lancken, and he came back in a little while to say
that he was told that the only safe way was to go by Namur, Liège and
Holland, entering Antwerp from the north. He evidently insisted on a
perfectly safe route, that could be guaranteed, and they told him a
story that they thought would dissuade him from making the trip. They do
not like to have a lot of people coming and going.

We have no more news from the outside world; the battle still rages all
along the line in France (according to what we hear), but we have no
inkling as to whether the German retreat still continues. The only thing
we are told at headquarters is that the outcome is as yet undecided, but
that the Germans are in a favourable position, and that they will be
victorious in a few days. I would give a good deal for a little real
news as to how things are going.

This morning Major Langhorne, our Military Attaché from Berlin, breezed
in upon us. He is travelling around with six other Military Attachés,
seeing as much of the field of operations as the German officer who
personally conducts them will permit. They got in this morning, and left
about one, so we had only a few minutes' visit, and he carried off all
our good wishes and New York papers.

The German _affiche_ of yesterday, ordering the Belgian flags taken
down, has made everybody furious, and for a time we thought there might
be trouble. If the flags had been ordered down the day the Germans came
in there would not have been half as much resentment, but, on the
contrary, they began by proclaiming that the patriotic feelings of the
people would be scrupulously respected. Max, the Burgomaster, got out a
little proclamation of his own which served to soothe the feelings of
the people. After expressing some views as to the German order, he says:

     I ask the population of the town to give a fresh example of
     self-restraint and greatness of soul which it has already so often
     shown during these sad days.

     Let us provisionally accept the sacrifice which is imposed upon us;
     let us take down our flags in order to avoid conflicts, and
     patiently await the hour of redress.

Soon flags were coming down all over the city, and there was not a
murmur. An hour after Max's proclamation was posted, however, German
soldiers were running about covering them with sheets of white paper.
The Military authorities were furious, because Max had intimated in his
poster that the present situation would not endure forever, and that the
Belgian flag would fly again over Brussels. In their unimaginative way
they sent down a squad of soldiers and arrested him. He was taken to
headquarters, and brought before von Lüttwitz, who told him that he was
to be taken as a prisoner of war to Berlin. Max replied that he bowed
before superior force; that he had done what he knew to be necessary for
the preservation of order in his city, and that he was ready to accept
the consequences of his act; that at any rate he would have the
satisfaction of having maintained order here up to the minute that he
was sent to Germany, and that he could not be held responsible for what
might happen after his departure. General von Lüttwitz sat up and took
notice of the last part of this and rushed off to see von der Goltz. In
ten minutes he came back and told Max that he was free and that the
Field Marshal desired that he should continue to act as Burgomaster as
though nothing had happened. Why don't people have a little

The town is still bottled up, and troops are being marched back and
forth across it, as, I believe, purely for the purpose of impressing the
population with the belief that they are far more numerous than they
really are. Late this afternoon I took a drive to the edge of town, and
we were stopped half a dozen times and had our papers examined. From all
I can gather it would seem that the Germans are entrenching themselves
as solidly as they can so as to be ready to resist another sortie
without sustaining the terrible losses they suffered last time. They
cannot be very happy over the way things have been going in France,
although they have this afternoon announced a great victory on their
right wing.

One of our friends who has just come back from the coast reports that
there were a lot of French troops marching through Belgium on their way
from Dunkerque to Lille--evidently an attempt to turn the German right
wing. We have heard nothing more about it.

           *           *           *           *           *

The food supply of the country is being rapidly exhausted and there is
urgent need for importations. The public knows little about the
situation, but a serious shortage threatens and we must have a
considerable stock from abroad. The Brussels committee has raised a
goodly sum of money and hopes to get food from Holland and England to
meet present needs. Similar committees are being formed in other cities,
and they, too, will require food from abroad. The local committee has
asked Shaler to go to Holland and from there to England to purchase as
much food as possible, make arrangements for sending it across the
frontier and investigate the chances of getting future supplies. The
German authorities have given assurances that they will not requisition
any of the supplies imported for the use of the civil population. They
are to issue placards signed by the Military Governor ordering the
military authorities to respect our purchases. These placards are to be
affixed to the cars and barges bringing in the supplies and we are
inclined to believe that they will be effective.

After hurried preparation Shaler got away this afternoon with young
Couchman by way of Liège. I went out to lunch with him and see him off.
It is not an easy task he has ahead, but he went to it with a good

Yesterday evening the Minister had an interview with Baron von der
Lancken about the question of my making a statement as to what I saw at
Louvain. I naturally am very reluctant to be brought into the affair,
but the Germans have been very insistent, and finally von der Lancken
said that he was confident that if he could talk with me for a few
minutes he could arrange the matter to the satisfaction of everybody. He
asked that I go to see him at the Ministry at half past six. I hurried
home and dressed for dinner, so as to be able to go straight to Mrs.
Z.'s, and then run over to the Ministry on the minute. The office of von
der Lancken was dark and empty. I waited in the chilly corridors for
twenty minutes and then went my way.

This morning one of his minions was here on another matter and I took
occasion to mention the fact that he had not been there when I called.
He came right back with the statement that they had come back from the
field particularly early, on my account, and had waited for me in vain
for nearly an hour. I assured them that I had been there on the minute
and had been in the office, and that there was no one there. Mystery! By
way of clinching it I said that the office was dark as the tomb. Then a
ray of light struck the German, and he said: "Oh, I see, you came at
half past six, Belgian time! Of course von der Lancken expected you at
half past six, German time!!!" When he asked me when I would call I felt
inclined to set eleven in the morning and then wander over at three in
the afternoon, with the statement that, of course, I did everything
according to New York time.

I had an hour's talk with von der Lancken about noon, and finally got
off without testifying, which is a great comfort to me. He knew from
their own troops that I had been in Louvain during the fighting, and
had already reported that to Berlin. I finally prevailed upon him to let
it go at that.

After we had settled our business, von der Lancken talked to me for half
an hour or so about the war in general. He said they had just received a
telegram that Reims is in flames, cathedral and all. It is a terrible
thing to think of, and I suppose may turn out to be another Louvain
before we get through. Von der Lancken explained it on the ground that
French troops had come up and occupied the town, and that it was
necessary to take it by storm--that troops could never operate against a
position of that sort until artillery had cleared the way. I don't know
just how far that sort of an explanation explains.

The Germans got out an _affiche_ of news this morning, stating that
"_les troupes Allemands ont fait des progrès sur certains points_." It
does not sound very enthusiastic.

People coming in from Mons and Charleroi yesterday and to-day say that
the German rear guard has fallen back on villages near those places and
ordered the inhabitants to leave; the idea evidently being that they are
preparing to resist any further advance of the allies.

After lunch, Baron de Menten de Horne was brought into the Legation
again. The Germans seem anxious to get rid of him, and have finally
turned him loose. I cannot very well make out their object in setting
him free without getting a German officer in exchange, but they were
keen to get him off their hands and wanted us to take cognisance of the
fact that they had accorded him his liberty. This we have done. I shall
be curious to see whether there is any sequel to this case.

Late this afternoon we got a telegram from the Consul at Liège, stating
that Shaler and Couchman had been arrested in that city because they
were carrying private letters to be posted when they got to England.
They had taken a certain number of letters, all of them open and
containing nothing but information as to the welfare of individuals
here. They were on a mission of interest to the German
authorities--getting foodstuffs to prevent a famine here. The Minister
got off an urgent telegram to the Consul to get to work and have them
released, and also saw von der Lancken about it, with the result that
the wires are hot. I hope to hear to-night that they are free. These are
parlous times to be travelling with correspondence.

I may have to get away any minute for Antwerp, to see if we cannot
arrange to get flour down here for the city. There is enough for only a
few days now, and there will be trouble when the bread gives out.

We have now been charged with Japanese interests; that makes six
Legations we have to look after.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Wednesday._--Late yesterday afternoon I got a note from Princess
P---- de B----, asking me to go to see her. I got away from my toil and
troubles at seven, and went up to find out what was the matter. The old
lady was in a terrible state. A member of her immediate family married
the Duke of ----, a German who has always lived here a great deal. At
the beginning of the war, things got so hot for any one with any German
taint that they cleared out. For the last few days, German officers have
been coming to the house in uniform asking to see the Princess. The
servants have stood them off with the statement that she was out, but
she cannot keep that up indefinitely. They are undoubtedly anxious to
see her, in order to give her some messages from the ----'s, some of her
other relatives in Germany; but if it gets around town that she is
receiving officers in uniform the town will be up in arms, and the
lady's life would be made miserable whenever the Germans do get out. She
wanted me to start right away for Antwerp and take her along, so that
she could send her intendant around afterward to say that she was away
on a journey, and could not see the officers who had been sent to see
her. I laboured with her, and convinced her that the best thing was to
be absolutely frank. She is going to send her intendant around to see
von der Lancken, and explain to him frankly the embarrassment to which
she would be subjected by having to receive officers at her home. I am
sure that Lancken will realise the difficult situation the old lady is
in, and will find some way of calling his people off.

Went down to the Palace and had dinner with Pousette and Bulle and
Cavalcanti, who were full of such news as there is floating around the
town. There is a growing impression that the Germans do intend to invest
Antwerp, and the Belgians are apparently getting ready for that
contingency--by inundating a lot more of the country outside the ring of

At noon, day before yesterday, I found a man with a copy of the _London
Times_, and carried it in my overcoat pocket to the Palace Hotel when I
went there to lunch. Last night, a lot of German civil officials were
sitting at a table near by and holding forth in loud tones on the
punishment that should be meted out to people who had forbidden
newspapers in their possession. The most vehement one of the lot
expressed great indignation that the _Amerikanischer Legationsrath_ had
been seen in that very restaurant the day before with an English
newspaper in his overcoat pocket. Pretty good spy you have, Fritz.

A telegram has just been received from Liège, saying that Shaler and
Couchman have been released and are on their way to Holland. A Dutch
messenger was in after lunch, and told me that he had seen the two men
at headquarters yesterday afternoon, and that they were far from happy.
He said he did not blame them, as the Germans are dealing out summary
justice to anybody who falls into their hands that they do not take a
fancy to.

A.B. has been after me for a couple of days to take her up to the
château near Louvain, where Countess R. is left alone with twenty-eight
German officers quartered on her. A man cousin was sent up to defend
her, but was so badly frightened that he spent all his time in the
cellar and finally ran away and came back to Brussels. Now she wants to
go up to the rescue, and stay there. I have asked von der Lancken for a
pass, and shall try to take her up to-morrow. She certainly has good
nerve, but I am not sure how much protection she would be able to

The supply of flour is getting pretty well used up, and I may have to
clear out to-morrow afternoon or the next day to go to Antwerp and
negotiate to have some supplies sent down for the relief of the civil
population. The Government has volunteered to do this, if the Germans
would promise that the food would not be requisitioned for the troops.
We have been given these assurances, and it only remains for me to go up
and complete the arrangements.

When the Minister came back from Louvain he went over to headquarters
and talked about the subject of my trip to Antwerp. He has been nervous
about each of my trips and has worried a lot more about it than I have,
but when he saw von der Lancken, that worthy made things worse by saying
that there was artillery ready to begin business in every part of the
country I was to traverse and that it would be a very dangerous trip.
Now, the Minister is making superhuman efforts to find some other way to
get the letters and papers through to Antwerp.

A note has just come in from Princess P. de Z----, to say that she
followed my advice, and that everything has been settled with the German
authorities to her complete satisfaction. She is now easy in her mind.

           *           *           *           *           *

_September 25th._--I spent all day yesterday sitting on the edge of my
chair waiting for a decision about my leaving for Antwerp, and by dark I
was a fit candidate for an asylum. At five o'clock the Minister went
around to see von der Lancken to get the _laisser-passer_. It was then
suggested that a letter could be sent around by way of Berlin and The
Hague. It would take a week or ten days to get an answer that way. Then
we argued the matter out again from the beginning, and after a quarter
of an hour of joint debate I went over to see von der Lancken and press
for the _laisser-passer_. He was in a _conseil de guerre_, but I had him
pulled out and put it up to him. He said it was then too late to get
anything last night, but that he would attend to it to-day. I am now
sitting on the same old edge of my chair waiting for action, so that I
can get away. I think that the trip by Namur, Liège and Maestricht,
which is the route prescribed, is a lot safer than the other two trips I
have made to Antwerp, which really were risky performances. Most of this
trip will be in peaceful Holland and I do not contemplate any sort of
trouble along the way.

By way of being ready I got passes from the Dutch Legation and the
Burgomaster yesterday afternoon, and now all I have to do is take the
German _Passierschein_ in my hand and start.

Yesterday evening I dined at the M.'s. Just the two of them and their
daughter, who is married to a French officer. As is the case everywhere
else, they talk nothing but war, and are most rabid. They have a
daughter in Germany, but she does not seem to enter into their
calculations, and all their thoughts are for France and Belgium. Their
son, who is in the Belgian cavalry, has just got his corporal's stripes
for gallantry in action. The old gentleman is bursting with pride.
During the evening another old chap came in with a letter from his son,
who is in young M.'s regiment; he had some very nice things to say about
the young man's behaviour, and there was a great popular rejoicing.

The _London Times_ came in during the evening, and there was a great
revamping of war maps to correspond with the latest movement of troops.
The daughter keeps the maps up to date, and does it very well, having
picked up some training from her husband. She has different coloured
lines for each day's progress and it is easy to see at a glance just how
the positions compare for any given times.

This morning the Germans have big placards up all over town, trying to
explain their action in burning Reims Cathedral. They are doing a lot of
explaining these days.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, September 26, 1914._--My departure for Antwerp has been put
off again and again, but if the German authorities live up to their
promises, I shall be able to start to-morrow morning early. At the last
minute the mothers of Mr. and Mrs. Whitlock decided to avail of the
opportunity to go home, so I shall take them as far as Rotterdam before
going to Antwerp. I shall attend to my business there and then go back
to Rotterdam, take the ladies over to England, turn them over to Mr.
N----, spend a day or two there getting a line on the news, and then
rush back to Antwerp, and then back to Brussels. I suppose I shall be
away ten days or so, but there is no way of telling. I should like the
little trip to England and a breath of air in a country where there is
no actual fighting.

It is now half past eight and there is no telling when this family will
sit down to dine. The Burgomaster has indulged in some more repartee
with the German authorities, and they, with their usual _finesse_, have
put him in prison. Yesterday the Germans got out a proclamation
announcing that since the city of Brussels had not settled
"voluntarily," the whole of the forced loan imposed upon her no more
requisitions should be paid in cash, as had been promised.[8] Max
thereupon sat down and wrote a letter to the banks, saying that they
were to pay nothing on the forced loan unless and until the Germans
conformed to their part of the agreement. He further annoyed the Germans
by putting up an _affiche_, giving the lie to a proclamation of the
Governor of Liège:

     The German Governor of the town of Liège, Lieutenant-General von
     Kolewe, caused the following notice to be posted yesterday:

     "_To the inhabitants of the town of Liège._

     "The Burgomaster of Brussels has informed the German Commander that
     the French Government has declared to the Belgian Government the
     impossibility of giving them any offensive assistance whatever, as
     they themselves are forced to adopt the defensive."

     _I absolutely deny this assertion._

                                             ADOLPHE MAX,

[Footnote 8: The German point of view was set forth in the following
official notice:

     "The German Government had ordered the cash payment of requisition,
     naturally believing that the city would voluntarily pay the whole
     of the forced payment (_contribution de guerre_) imposed upon it.

     "It was only this condition that could justify the favoured
     treatment enjoyed by Brussels, as distinguished from the other
     cities of Belgium which will not have their requisition orders
     settled until after the conclusion of peace.

     "Inasmuch as the city administration of Brussels refuses to settle
     the remainder of the forced payment, from this day forward no
     requisition will be settled in cash by the Government treasury.

                              "The Military Governor,
                                  BARON VON LÜTTWITZ,
     Brussels, September 24, 1914.]

Lüttwitz replied to this by having Max arrested, and the present
prospect is that he is to be sent to Germany as a prisoner of war. That
is not very comforting for us, as he has been a very calming influence,
and has kept the population of Brussels well in hand. If they do send
him away, the Germans will do a very stupid thing from their own point
of view, and will make Max a popular hero everywhere.

Early this evening Monsieur Lemonnier, the Senior Alderman, came around
with several of his colleagues, and laid the matter before Mr. Whitlock
and the Spanish Minister. They immediately went over to see General von
Lüttwitz to see whether there was anything to be done for Max, but as
they have been gone a long time, I fear they are going through one of
those long and thoroughly unsatisfactory discussions that get nowhere.

Monsieur Lemonnier is waiting in my office to hear the result of the
visit to Lüttwitz. He is naturally far from cheerful, and looks forward
with a good deal of dread to taking over the reins if Max is sent to
Germany. He, of course, foresees that the chances are in favour of his
following Max into exile sooner or later, if he tries to do his duty. As
to his own future he says only--"I succeed only to the troubles of the
office--_Max a bien emporté sa gloire avec lui._" The life of a Belgian
official these days is anything but comfortable.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Sunday Morning._--We were all up working until two o'clock this
morning. Monsieur Max was spirited away to Namur, and everybody is
standing by for trouble. The people are greatly excited and highly
resentful, but it is to be hoped that they will not do anything rash.
The cooler spirits are going about urging calm. The excitement is not
lessened by the fact that there is heavy cannonading from the direction
of Antwerp.

Lüttwitz has announced the arrest of Max in the following poster:


     Burgomaster Max having failed to fulfil the engagements entered
     into with the German Government, I am forced to suspend him from
     his position.

     Monsieur Max will be held in honourable detention in a fortress.

                               The Military Governor,
                                   BARON VON LÜTTWITZ,
     Brussels, September 26, 1914.

We are evidently not yet through the epoch of destruction, for the
Governor-General came out to-day with this Proclamation, which is posted
on the walls of various towns:

     Recently, in regions not occupied by strong forces of German
     troops, convoys of transport wagons and patrols have been attacked
     without warning by the inhabitants.

     I draw the attention of the public to the fact that a list is kept
     of the towns and communes in the vicinity of which these attacks
     have been committed, and that they must expect their punishment as
     soon as German troops pass near them.

I have not been able to learn of any places where such attacks have
taken place, but suppose this is merely an evidence of the well-known
nervousness of the army of occupation, and that they are trying to
frighten the people to a point where they will not try to start

[Illustration: Fire at Namur during the bombardment]

[Illustration: Effect of big German shell on Fort of Waehlem]

[Illustration: Outside view of the Fort of Waehlem after bombardment by
big German guns]

General von Lüttwitz has come out with another Proclamation, forbidding
the sale of foreign newspapers in Belgium:

     I remind the population of Brussels and its suburbs that it is
     strictly forbidden to sell or distribute newspapers that are not
     expressly authorised by the German Military Government. Any
     infraction of this prohibition will entail the immediate arrest of
     the vendors, as well as long periods of imprisonment.

                               The German Military Governor,
                                   BARON VON LÜTTWITZ,

My _laisser-passer_ has not come, and there is no telling when we shall
get away. The Germans swear it was sent last night.

           *           *           *           *           *

_On board S.S. "Oranje Nassau" off Flushing, Sept. 30, 1914._--We got
away on Sunday morning about eleven o'clock, after many calls at
headquarters and a mild row about the _laisser-passer_ that had not been
sent. It was finally discovered that some boneheaded clerk had sent it
by mail--a matter of three days! It was fished out of the military post
office, and we got away in a few minutes.

We were in the big car, heavily laden--two trunks, several valises and a
mail pouch on top--my two passengers inside with their small stuff, the
chauffeur and I in front.

We made quick time out through Tervueren and down to Namur, hearing the
heavy booming of cannon all the time away to the north. Ruin was all the
way--odd farm-houses burned, towns with half the buildings in them, the
Grand Place destroyed, etc. The great square at Namur a heap of brick
and mortar.

The great bridge across the Meuse was dynamited, and the three sections
hung in the river. All the way to Liège the main bridges had been
destroyed, and we had to cross on temporary affairs constructed by the

And the Germans were thick all the way, holding us up at frequent
intervals to look at our papers. They have it in for Belgium, and are in
bad humour. We had some fine samples of it during the day.

We stopped not far from Huy for a picnic lunch, and then got under way
again, being stopped frequently all the way to Liège, where we sought
out the Consulate. The Consul had gone to Spa to look after some English
people, but I said my few words to his wife and daughter, and then
hurried away toward Visé and the Dutch frontier.

_Visé n'existe plus!_ Goodness knows what was done to the place, but
there is nothing left but blackened walls. It took us a long time to
find unencumbered roads and get through between the fallen walls. Not
far from the edge of town we found the last German outpost, and were
promptly put under arrest because my _laisser-passer_ did not bear my
photograph. The officer in command cursed me roundly for daring to come
through Liège without reporting, placed two armed soldiers in the car,
and ordered us sent back. It was futile to point out to him that passes
issued by the Military Governor General did not need to conform to the
local rules; in fact, it only made him peevish. We scorched back over
the road to Liège, but I succeeded in making the soldiers stop at a
small town where there was a local headquarters of some sort with a
colonel in command, I got him to look at our pass which had been
confiscated by our guard, and, after hearing my case and thinking
heavily, he unenthusiastically said we might proceed. We went back
through Visé even faster, and enjoyed the look of our lieutenant when
told he had been overruled. After a minute or so he became very affable
and said he had a brother in Jefferson City, Mo., and a nephew in
Sacramento, _Californien_, who runs an _Apoteke_. Just to show there was
no hard feeling, I gave him a cigar, and a few minutes later we crossed
the Dutch frontier, where we created a sensation. A big crowd gathered
around the car, and, by the time the leisurely custom officers had
examined the papers given me by the Dutch Legation, they were packed so
tight that it took the united effort of several officers and citizens to
get us extricated.

Holland is taking no chances, and has quantities of troops massed in
that part of the country. There are frequent posts to stop travellers
and examine papers, and there is practically no traffic on the road save
that of a military character.

Near Maestricht we ran into a large detachment guarding a bridge. Our
papers did not satisfy the commanding officer, so we were once more
placed under arrest and hustled through town to headquarters. The
officers there were very courteous, and, after examining my papers, made
out a _laisser-passer_ for use in Holland and sent me on my way.

By this time it was dark, but we determined to push on as far as
Roermond--50 kilometers. Here we found a charming little hotel--the Lion
d'Or--and after a good supper, got early to bed.

The next day I planned to take the two ladies--who have good nerve, and
don't turn a hair at being arrested--to Rotterdam and then run down to
Antwerp, some 280 kilometers, a long run in war time.

We were off at 6:30, and bowled along beautifully in a bitter cold wind
until we were in sight of Tilburg, where the engine broke down. Eugène,
the chauffeur, tried everything he could think of, and tore his hair in
rage and shame. Finally we got a soldier on a bicycle to go into Tilburg
and get a motor to tow us in. Then two good hours in a garage before we
were in shape to start.

We caught the boat at Moerdyck and got into Rotterdam a little before
four. I installed my companions at the Maas Hotel, overlooking the same
old Meuse, and then started back through the rain toward Antwerp. At
Willemsdorp we just missed the boat for Moerdyck and lost an hour.
Eugène raged and smoked many cigarettes, to the danger of his health,
because his _sacrée_ machine had lost us so much time.

At eight we got to Rosendaal, near the Belgian frontier, and were
forbidden to go any farther until morning, as the outposts were taking
no chances.

Had a good supper at the little hotel, had my papers viséed by the
Belgian Consul, and at 6 o'clock yesterday morning was up and away, by
way of Putte.

The Belgian outposts received us with levelled rifles, but when we got
near, one of the officers recognised me through his glasses, and we got
through without any more trouble. Arrived at the St. Antoine as
everybody was coming down to breakfast. The Germans were bombarding the
outer forts, and they could not believe their eyes when I came in. Not
a word of news had got through the lines for some days, and I was nearly
torn to pieces by the excited friends.

I had coffee with Colonel Fairholme, and got all the news he could tell
me. Malines has been bombarded again, and Antwerp is filled with
refugees. Before I left, the Germans had occupied Malines itself and
were bombarding the fort at Waelhem.

After breakfast I started out on my carefully planned campaign. First to
the Consulate-General to get off some telegrams, etc. Then to the
Foreign Office with a lot of things to attend to. I was able to give van
der Elst word that his son is in Magdebourg--a prisoner, but not
wounded. The look on his face when he got the news paid for the whole
trip. I saw M. Davignon, and went with him to see the Prime Minister,
who had heard I was there and had sent for me.

On the way we saw hundreds of miserable refugees from Malines pouring
down from the station. The courage of these Belgians is beyond all
words. Save for the two in the freight station yard at Louvain, I have
not seen a woman crying! It may be that they are numb, but they have
none of the stupidity of numbness. And when you think that these very
women will be creeping back to their homes and caring for the German
wounded they find there, it gives you a fine lump in the throat.

I paid a call at the French Legation, went back to the Consulate-General
to sign my telegrams and mail which had been hammered out, and then to
lunch. Got away at 3:30 to the banging of heavy siege artillery and
invitations to come back "if we are still here." As I was getting into
the car, Prince D---- plucked me by the sleeve and pointed at the
Cathedral tower high above us. "Take a good look," he said. "It may not
be here when you come back."

We made good time through the rain, but missed the boat at Moerdyck, and
spent an hour on the dock. Got in at ten, ravenously hungry, had a
snack, and then to bed.

Up again at six and took the seven-thirty train for Flushing. It loafed
along through the country, and we did not sail until eleven. We have to
go round to Folkstone, but hope to be in by six o'clock.

There are not more than twenty people on the ship, and the way they went
through our credentials was a caution. I was glad I had taken the
precaution to provide myself with American, British, German, Dutch and
Belgian papers for the trip. There is another examination at Folkstone.

           *           *           *           *           *

_On board the S.S. "Brussels," off Flushing, October 5, 1914._--To

We got into Folkstone last Wednesday evening at sunset, and got through
to London by eight-fifteen. All the latter part of the crossing we were
spoken from time to time by British destroyers, which bobbed up from
nowhere to warn of floating mines or give directions as to our course.
The entrance to Dover was surrounded by destroyers, and looked grim and
warlike, and what's more, businesslike.

Thursday morning I got up as late as I decently could and went down to
the Embassy to find Shaler and Couchman waiting for me. They had been
in London since Monday, but had not made much progress with their
mission of getting food for Brussels. This was due to no lack of energy
on their part, but to the general difficulty of getting attention for
any matter at this time. I went with them to the Belgian Legation, and
after a talk with the Belgian Minister, we got things started.

As the food was intended for the civil population of Brussels, it was
necessary to get the Belgian Minister to secure from the Foreign Office
permission to ship it through the blockade. He felt that he must have
some instructions from the Government at Antwerp for his guidance in the
matter, so I telegraphed at some length, with the result that he had
ample instructions before the sun went down. The next day he made three
or four calls at the Foreign Office and matters were got under way.

Shaler is buying the food and getting it ready for shipment, and now all
that is holding things up is the actual permission to go ahead and ship.
Shaler has had some talk on the general problems that confront us with
Herbert Hoover, an American mining engineer, who has given some very
helpful ideas and may do more still.

Shaler and Couchman had an experience at Liège they did not particularly
relish. They were pulled up by a Landsturm guard somewhere in Liège,
taken to the Kommandantur, where it was discovered that they were
carrying a number of messages of the
"We-are-well-and-hope-you-are-the-same" variety. Without discussion they
were pushed into cells and treated to talk that gave them little
comfort. They spent the night in jail, but by some means contrived to
get word to the Consul, who arrived and delivered them before breakfast.
It evidently grieved the Germans that they could not take these two out
and shoot them, but they yielded with a bad grace and turned them loose
to hasten to the Consul's breakfast table.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, October 11, 1914._--On Saturday afternoon late I went with
Harold Fowler to call on Sir Claude MacDonald, who had been to the
Embassy twice to see me about the English Red Cross nurses in Brussels.
I tried to reassure him as to their safety, but he went to see the
Ambassador later in the day and asked him to send Harold Fowler back to
Brussels with me to bring the nurses out. This suited me perfectly, so
we made preparations to get off together.

On Sunday evening we left Fenchurch Street at six, with a little group
of friends to see us off. About the only other people on the train were
a King's Messenger, a bankrupt Peer and his Man Friday, and a young
staff officer. Each set of us had a separate compartment and travelled
in lonely state to Tilbury, where the boat was waiting.

As we got aboard the _Brussels_, her sister ship, the _Dresden_, just in
from Antwerp, pulled up alongside, and Mrs. Sherman, wife of the
Vice-Consul, called me to the rail to give me the latest news. She said
that everything was going to pieces, that some of the forts had fallen,
and that Antwerp might be under bombardment before we got there. Then
she went ashore in peace, and we went below to seek the seclusion that
the cabin grants, and fortify ourselves for the bombardment.

[Illustration: View of the Meuse at Huy]

[Illustration: Refugees fleeing toward Dunkirk before the German
advance, after the fall of Antwerp
_Copyright by the International News Service_]

We got under way during the night and dropped down to the mouth of the
Thames, where we lay to until daylight, before starting across. The
first sound I heard was a hail from a torpedo-boat destroyer, which sent
an officer aboard to lay our course for us through the British mine
fields. We made our zigzag course across the North Sea and fetched up at
Flushing, where we picked up a pilot to take us through Dutch waters.
When darkness overtook us we were just about on the Belgian frontier
line and had to lie to for the night, getting to Antwerp Tuesday morning
about nine.

We found the place in a great hubbub--everybody packed and ready to
leave. They had been on the point of departure since Friday, and the
uncertainty had got on everybody's nerves--and no wonder.

Several thousand British Marines had arrived and were doing good work,
holding back the Germans, while the exhausted Belgians pulled themselves
together for the evacuation. The Belgian forces had been fighting with
little rest and no sleep until they were physically incapable of further
resistance. How human strength held out so long is the great marvel.
Winston Churchill was in the Legation when I arrived, with General
Rawlinson and Colonel Seeley.

After a call at the Foreign Office, most of which had been installed on
a boat in the river, I went to the Palace to see General Jungbluth. He
was not there, but Countess de Caraman-Chimay said that the King wanted
to see me.

I was taken straight up to him in his Council Chamber, where I found him
seated at a great table covered with maps and papers. He pushed them
aside wearily as I came in, and rose to greet me. He talked at some
length on the war and the ordeal of Belgium, but was chiefly interested
in how the people were being treated. His interest was not only for his
own friends, but he showed particular interest in learning how the
poorer people were being treated--whether the poorer quarters of the
town were keeping calm and avoiding trouble with the Germans. He was
most anxious that they should avoid doing anything that would arouse the
Germans against them. He spoke simply and touchingly of his confidence
in the loyalty and patriotism of all his people, and his certainty that
they would come through the war with an even greater love of country.

The rest of the Palace was in confusion, with servants packing and
orderlies coming and going. But the King's room was in perfect calm. The
King sat quite still in his armchair and talked quietly, without haste.
He was very serious, and it was clearly to be seen that he felt his
responsibility and the suffering of his army. But his determination was
just as evident. He realised that the evacuation was inevitable, and
having made up his mind to that, he devoted his whole energies and
thoughts to seeing that it was carried out effectively and quickly. He
has a very patent faculty of concentration and of eliminating his own
personality and feelings. I have seldom felt so sorry for anyone, partly
perhaps because all of his sympathy was for others.

When the King finally rose to dismiss me, he said:

"The Queen wants to see you. Will you come back at half-past two?"

I had planned to leave for Brussels immediately after luncheon, but, of
course, this was a command to which I gladly yielded.

The St. Antoine was all hurry and confusion, and the dining room was
buzzing with conjecture as to whether the bombardment of the city would
begin before the exodus was accomplished. The Military Governor had
posted a proclamation to warn the population that it might begin at any
time. There was a certain amount of unconscious humour in his
proclamation. He advised people to retire into their cellars with
bedding, food, water and other necessaries; to disconnect the water, gas
and electricity; to stuff the staircases with mattresses, as a matter of
protection; to take with them picks and shovels, so that they could dig
themselves out in case their houses fell in; and after a few more hints
of this sort, the Governor genially remarks:

"Having taken these precautions, the population can await the
bombardment in calm."

The German authorities have offered to spare the historic monuments of
Antwerp in their bombardment, if the Belgian General Staff will send
them maps of the city with such monuments and hospitals clearly; marked.
I found that it had been arranged in Brussels that I should collect the
plans on my way through Antwerp and deliver them to the German
authorities in Brussels, and, of course, agreed to do so.

After luncheon I went back to the Palace, where I was immediately
received by the Queen in her sitting room. Her Majesty seemed quite
oblivious of the confusion in the Palace, and, like the King, she was
chiefly concerned as to the welfare of the people left under German
domination. I was able to give her comforting news as to the treatment
of the people of Brussels. While we were talking, the roar of the German
guns seemed to increase and made the windows rattle. There was an outcry
in the street, and we went to the window to see a German aeroplane
pursued by a British machine. We watched them out of sight, and then
went back to our talk. The members of the Court had tried to prevail
upon the Queen to leave Antwerp, but when it became evident that the
place must be surrendered, she refused to move and told me she would
stay until the King left. And she did.

When I got back to the hotel, I found Eugène with news that the
differential of my car had broken, so that we could not start. It was
important that we lose no time in getting the plans of the town to the
German authorities, so I got Baron van der Elst to go with me to the
General Staff and explain the situation. General de Guise promptly wrote
out an order that I should be given the best car to be found in the
city. Armed with this, Eugène set forth and gathered in a very pretty
little limousine to bring us back to Brussels. It was evidently a lady's
car and almost too pretty, but we were not exacting and took it
thankfully. However, it was too late to start out through the lines, so
we gave up the idea of leaving before morning. We had thought of taking
the route of the army and getting to Brussels by way of Ghent, but the
people at the General Staff said the road was so crowded with transport
that we would make little progress, and that the better course would be
to take exactly the opposite direction and go by way of Tournhout.

[Illustration: Graves of civilians shot by the Germans]

[Illustration: A typical proclamation


    A l'avenir les localités situees près de l'endroit ou a eu lieu la
    destruction des chemins de fer et lignes télégraphiques seront
    punies sans pitié (il n'importe qu'elles soient coupables ou non de
    ces actes.) Dans ce but des otages ont été pris dans toutes les
    localités situees près des chemins de fer qui sont menacés de
    pareilles attaques; et au premier attentat à la destruction des
    lignes de chemins de fer, de lignes télégraphiques ou lignes
    téléphoniques, ils seront immédiatement fusillés.

    Bruxelles, le 5 Octobre 1914                   _Le Gouverneur,_
                                                    VON DER GOLTZ


    In future, villages in the vicinity of places where railway and
    telegraph lines are destroyed will be punished without pity (whether
    they are guilty or not of the acts in question). With this in view
    hostages have been taken in all villages near the railway lines
    which are threatened by such attacks. Upon the first attempt to
    destroy lines of railway, telegraph, or telephone, they will be
    immediately shot.

                                                     The Governor,
                                                     VON DER GOLTZ]

[Illustration: Two illustrations titled "Views of the Fort of Waehlem
after its bombardment by the big German guns"]

I took several of the ladies of the corps down to the boat, which was to
take them to Ostend, which was to be the next stand of the Government.
They all took it coolly and went to bed, as though there were no
bombardment going on. The King and Queen, the Prime Minister, and the
representatives of the allies remained in town overnight.

On one of my trips out of the hotel I met the Queen coming in to say
good-bye to Princess Koudatcheff (wife of the Russian Minister), who was
ill. She stopped to greet us and make inquiries as to each one.

After dark the crowd began to melt. Winston Churchill came down with his
party, got into motors, and made off for Bruges. The Belgian officers
staying at the hotel got off with their units, and by ten o'clock the
staff of the British Legation, Fowler and I, were left in almost
undisputed possession of the hotel. The water-supply was cut. The lights
were out and the place was far from gay, particularly as nearly all the
servants had fled, and we could not get anything to eat or drink.

Most of the town repaired to the cellars for the night, but we decided
that if it really came, we saw no choice between going down with the
house into the cellar and having the house come down on top of us, so we
turned in and got a night's rest, which, I am free to confess, was
rather fitful.

All night long motors were snorting away, and all night long the guns
kept pounding, although they did not seem to get any nearer. With the
intelligence that one has when half awake, I carefully arranged a pillow
between me and the window, as a protection against shells!

We got up early and went out into the streets to watch the movement. The
few remaining troops were being poured out on the road to Ghent. On
foot, in motors, on trains, on bicycles, and on horseback, they
streamed. The civil population was also getting away, and all the trams
in the direction of the Dutch frontier were loaded with people carrying
their little bundles--all they could hope to take away with them. The
hospitals were being emptied of the wounded and they were getting away
as best they could, those whose legs were all right helping those who
had trouble in walking. It was a depressing sight, and above all, the
sound of the big guns which we had heard steadily since the morning

We got under way about half-past eight, after a wretched and sketchy
breakfast, and after saying good-bye to one of our friends of the
British Legation.

First, we went to the north gate, only to find that it had been closed
to vehicles a few minutes before, and that barbed-wire entanglements had
been stretched across the road. Argument was vain, so we worked our way
back through the traffic and reached the Porte de Tournhout, only to be
turned back again. For nearly an hour we wandered about in the stream
of refugees, in vehicles and on foot, before we finally succeeded in
making our way through a side door of the Porte de Tournhout, and
starting that way. We were not at all sure that we should be able to
reach the Dutch frontier through Tournhout, as the Germans were supposed
to be that far north, but we did make it after a long series of stops,
to be examined by all sorts of Belgian outposts who kept cropping up out
of fields to stop us and look through our papers. From some little
distance out of town, we could see the shells bursting over the southern
part of the town, or possibly over the villages to the south of the town

We plowed along through Holland, being stopped all afternoon by Civil
Guards, and reached Maestricht at sunset. We went straight to the German
Consulate to have our papers put in order and learn whether it could be
arranged for us to pass the lines at night. Our papers were not in order
because they bore no photographs, and the Consul could not see that the
German interest in our mission made any difference, so that there was
nothing to do but wait over until morning, and get some pictures.

It took us until ten in the morning to get our photographs and have our
papers arranged, and by good driving we reached Liège in time to lunch
with the Consul. Then on to Brussels by way of Namur. On the road we
picked up a German officer on his way to Namur, which kindly deed saved
us much delay in being stopped by posts.

We reached Brussels at five and hastened to send the precious plans of
Antwerp to Lancken. We had just settled down at the Legation to a good
talk when word came that Lancken was anxious to see me at once. I went
over to the Political Department to find that the gentleman merely
wanted a formal statement from me as to when I had received and
delivered the plans, so that he could make it a matter of record. I
satisfied him on these points and went my way.

Then we gathered at the Legation and talked steadily until after

While I was away the Minister had got off a train-load of Americans, and
with them he had sent the English nurses. That relieved Harold Fowler of
the mission that brought him, but we bore up bravely.

The Germans have announced the fall of Antwerp and have apparently
occupied the city. At first everybody was much downcast, but on second
thought they have been convinced that the evacuation of the army and the
surrender of an empty shell was a pretty clever piece of work. With the
big siege guns that were in action, it was only a question of days until
the Germans would have reduced all the forts. And then if the resistance
had been maintained, the greater part of the army would probably have
been captured. As it is, the Belgians inundated the country to keep the
Germans from cutting off their retreat, and made off for Ostend, leaving
only a handful of men with the British Marines, to hold the Germans in
check. So far as we can learn, most of the army has succeeded in getting
away and forming a junction with the allies.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, October 14, 1914._--We are quite up in the air about what we
are to do next. Monday afternoon I went around to headquarters to get a
_laisser-passer_ to take Harold Fowler back to England. While the
matter was being attended to, an officer came in and told me that Baron
von der Lancken wanted very much to see me. When I went into his room,
he said that there was nothing in particular that he wanted to see me
about, but that he thought I would be interested in hearing the news and
in telling him something of my trip. We talked along for some time about
things in general, and then he told me that the movement of troops
toward the coast was progressing rapidly and that the Belgian Government
would soon be driven from the country. Then putting the tips of his
fingers together and looking me coyly in the eye, he inquired: "And then
my dear colleague, what will be your position?" He elaborated by
pointing out that the Government, to which we are accredited, having
left the country, we would be merely in the position of foreigners of
distinction residing here, and that we would have no official rank or
standing. The idea evidently is that they do not care to have us around
any longer than they can help.

I later learned that Villalobar had been more ready than I with his
retort. In the course of a call later in the afternoon, Lancken had
talked the same matter over with him, and had wound up with the same
genial question: "And then my dear colleague, what will be your
position?" Without any hesitation, Villalobar replied: "My situation
will be just the same as yours. We are both representatives of our
country in a country not our own. We shall continue to owe each other
respect, and to make the best of conditions."

The latest news we have this afternoon is to the effect that the
Government has been driven from Ostend, presumably to the Isle of
Guernsey. It would be pleasant, in a way, to retire to a retreat of that
sort for a few months' rest, but I fear there is nothing of that sort in

To-day I ran across an order from the Governor-General forbidding
civilians to ride bicycles. The order concludes as follows:

     Civilians who, in spite of this, continue to ride bicycles, expose
     themselves to being shot by German troops.

     If a cyclist is suspected of planning to damage railroad, telegraph
     or telephone lines, or of the intention of attacking German troops,
     he will be shot according to martial law.

Apparently it is no longer necessary to go through the forms of proving
that the cyclist had any evil intention. The mere suspicion is enough to
have him shot.

In the course of a visit to General von Lüttwitz to-day, one of the
colleagues remarked that the Germans _must_ keep the Belgians alive, and
could not allow them to starve. Lüttwitz was not at all of that mind,
for he said with some show of feeling:

"The allies are at liberty to feed the Belgians. If they don't, they are
responsible for anything that may happen. If there are bread riots, the
natural thing would be for us to drive the whole civil population into
some restricted area, like the Province of Luxembourg, build a barbed
wire fence around them, and leave them to starve in accordance with the
policy of their allies."

And as the German policy is more or less frankly stated as a
determination to wipe out as many of the enemy as possible without
regard to what is or has been considered as permissible, it is quite
within the realm of possibility that they would be prepared to let the
Belgian people starve. In any event, you can't gamble with the lives of
seven millions of people when all you have to go on is the belief that
Germany will be guided by the dictates of humanity.

Fowler was to have left yesterday morning, and had engaged a seat in a
new motor that is being run out by way of Maestricht. It was to have
called at my house at seven o'clock yesterday morning, and we were up
and about bright and early. We waited until a little after nine, when
Eugène turned up to say that the chauffeur had been arrested and put in
jail for having carried correspondence and having been caught nosing
around one of the forts at Liège. The service is now suspended, and we
don't see any prospect of his getting off before Friday, when we are
sending a courier to the Legation at The Hague.

Yesterday afternoon we went up to Antwerp to see how our old motor-car
was getting along. It was out of whack, and we were obliged to get
another to come back to Brussels. I took the big car and organised an
expedition of Monsieur de Leval, Fowler and a German official named
Conrad, who went along to help us over the rough places. It is the first
time for weeks that the direct route has been feasible.

I have had enough of ruined towns, and was not able to get the awful
sights out of my head all night, but spent my time in bad dreams. From
Vilvorde right into Antwerp there is not a town intact. Eppeghem,
Sempst, Malines, Waehlem, Berchem--all razed to the ground. In Malines a
good part of the town is standing and I suppose that the Cathedral can
be restored, but the other towns are done for. There were practically no
civilians in any of them--a few poor peasants poking dismally about in
the ruins, trying to find some odds and ends that they could save from
the general wreck. There were some children sitting on the steps of
deserted houses and a few hungry dogs prowling around, but no other
signs of life. All the way from the outskirts of Brussels straight
through to Antwerp, the road was lined with empty bottles. They gave a
pretty good idea of what had gone on along the line of march.

The bombardment of Antwerp lasted from the afternoon that we left up to
Friday noon. The damage is pretty evenly distributed. Houses here and
there in every street were badly smashed and the whole block across the
street from the Hôtel St. Antoine, where we stayed, was burned to the
ground. The Cathedral was not damaged.

When we were there last week, the streets were thronged with people and
with motors. Yesterday there was not a soul to be seen for blocks
together. The town was practically deserted.

The garage where I had left my car had been taken over by the military
authorities. The car was put away on the second floor undamaged, but
also unrepaired, so we shall have to wait until things settle down a
little and we can get some work done. I shall have to go back to Antwerp
a little later and attend to that. There is some comfort in the fact
that the car has not been smashed.

This morning the Committee for the Provisioning of Brussels came in, and
asked whether I was prepared to go to London for them and endeavour to
arrange for some sort of permanent agreement with the British Government
for the provisioning of the civilian population of Belgium. I am

In the course of some errands this afternoon, I dropped in on Baronne
Lambert for a cup of tea. The Baron came in and then Villalobar. About
two minutes later, Lambert was called out of the room to speak with a
German officer, who demanded that he accompany him to headquarters.
Villalobar went with him to see what was up, and I stayed behind to see
if I could be of any use. We stood by for a little over half an hour,
and then when Mme. Lambert could stand it no longer, I jumped in my car
and went down to see what was happening. I found Villalobar on the
sidewalk, getting into his car. He was depressed and said that he had
been obliged to leave the Baron with the Germans; that he was suspected
of nobody would say what, and that the Germans were going to search the
house. I went back and had them all ready for the shock of the invasion.
They were standing by for the search party, when in walked the Baron,
smiling broadly. They had sent him home under guard of two armed men,
and were to search the house in the course of a few minutes. While he
was telling about it, two officers arrived, profusely apologetic, and
asked to be shown over the Red Cross hospital, which had been installed
on the ground floor. They were taken all through the place, and found
only a lot of German soldiers carrying off the beds and other
belongings. Then they searched the Baron's private office and that of
his son, and withdrew after more excuses.

There was nothing to show for the whole performance, and nothing had
been accomplished beyond making a lot of people nervous and
apprehensive. That is the sort of thing that everybody is subject to
these days, without any hope of redress. And, of course, this was the
least serious thing that could happen.

           *           *           *           *           *

_On board S.S. "Princess Juliana," off Dover, Sunday, October 19,
1914._--Here we are again, coming into England in rain and fog. Up to
the last minute, I was in great doubt as to whether we should come at
all, but everything was finally straightened out and here we are.

Friday we spent in hard work, aggravated with many conferences. In the
morning most of the German civil and military Government came to the
Legation and discussed the food question with the members of the
Committee, the Spanish Minister and ourselves. They all united in asking
that I go to London and lay the situation before the Belgian Minister,
the Spanish and American Ambassadors and, under their chaperonage,
before the British Government. When this had been agreed to, some bright
soul suggested that I be accompanied by a commission of fifteen
prominent Belgians, to add impressiveness to what I had to say. The two
Ministers rose up and said _no_, adding that as I was to do the work and
bear the responsibility in going on this mission of forlorn hope, I
should not be hampered by having to carry the weight of fifteen speech
makers. That was knocked in the head, and then to show that we were not
unreasonable, we asked that two members of the Committee go along. The
men chosen were Baron Lambert and Monsieur Francqui, one of the leading
bankers of Brussels and a man of poise and judgment. They expressed
reluctance but were soon persuaded.

This morning, during a call at the Political Department, the talk turned
on Mexico. I was asked what the President was driving at, and answered
that he was clearly trying to give the Mexicans every opportunity to
solve their own troubles without interference. I was then asked, rather
slyly, whether the President really wanted them to settle their
troubles. Without waiting to hear my answer, the oracle went on to tell
me what our real policy was as he saw it, and he had no doubts. The
President wanted to take Mexico, but was intelligent enough to realise
that if he simply seized it, he would forfeit any claim he might have to
disinterestedness, and our Anglo-Saxon hypocrisy could not swallow that.
Therefore, he was deliberately allowing the Mexicans to drift into a
hopeless condition of anarchy, which he knew would get steadily worse,
until all the best and most prosperous elements in the country would
come to the conclusion that they would be happier and safer under
American rule than under the uncertain despotism of changing factions.
The President could then yield to their entreaties, and could take over
the government of Mexico as a humanitarian service to the people.

I made a feeble attempt to explain what our real feelings were toward
Mexico, but it soon became evident that we could not think in the same
terms, so I gave up. There was no criticism expressed or implied. On the
contrary, there was evidence of real admiration of the President's

The rest of the day was spent in getting ready letters and telegrams and
other papers necessary in our work.

Fowler and I dined at the Lambert's, finished up our work at the
Legation, and got to bed at midnight. We got up yesterday morning at
half-past three, and at half-past four set sail in three motors--one
filled with servants and mountains of small baggage.

We sped in the dark through ruined villages to Antwerp, and from there
to Esschen on the Dutch frontier, which we reached soon after daylight.
We had papers from the Dutch Legation, calling upon the customs
authorities to let us pass, but a chuckle-headed _douanier_ would not
even read our papers, and held us up for an hour, while he made out
papers of various sorts and collected a deposit on our cars. I
expostulated in vain, and shall have to get my comfort from making a row
later. As a consequence of his cussedness, we missed the morning boat
train to Flushing, and had to spend the day in that charming city. We
found the place filled with refugees from all parts of Belgium, and were
greeted on every hand by people we knew. The hotels were filled to
overflowing, and people were living in freight cars, sheds and on the
sidewalk. We clung to chairs in the reading room at one of the hotels,
and walked the streets until nine o'clock, when we got aboard the boat
with eight hundred other people. Cabins were not to be had for love or
money, but Francqui, by judicious corruption, got us a place to sleep,
and we slept hard, despite the noise, which was tremendous.

           *           *           *           *           *

_London, October 20, 1914._--Here we are, much cheered up by the

We hammered hard yesterday and to-day, and this afternoon it looks as
though we had secured the permission of the British Government to send
food to our people in Belgium.

We got into Folkstone at 4 o'clock on Sunday, were passed immediately by
the authorities, and then spent an hour and a half waiting for our train
to pull out. We got into darkened London about a quarter of eight. We
sat around and visited beyond our usual hours, and yesterday morning I
was called ahead of anybody else, so as to get down to my day's work.

First, I got things started at the Embassy, by getting off a lot of
telegrams and running away from an office full of people who, in some
mysterious way, had heard I was here. I saw several of them, but as my
day was going, I up and ran.

First, to Alfred Rothschild's house in Park Lane, where I found Baron
Lambert waiting for me. He was beaming, as his son (serving in the
Belgian army) had turned up safe and well before leaving to rejoin his
regiment in France.

Next I went to the Spanish Embassy, and gave the Ambassador details of
what we wanted. He caught the idea immediately, and has done everything
in his power.

When I got back to our chancery, I found that the Ambassador had come
in, so I went over the whole business again, and made an appointment for
a conference with him for the Spanish Ambassador and my travelling

At half-past five we had our conference with the two Ambassadors. They
made an appointment with Sir Edward Grey for this afternoon, and went
over the situation at some length, to make sure of the details.

In view of its significance this meeting was most impressive to me. It
was made up of the two Ambassadors, my two companions, and Herbert
Hoover, the man who is going to tackle one of the biggest jobs of the
time. He has been studying the situation, the needs of the civil
population and the difficulties to be overcome ever since Shaler's
arrival several weeks ago. While we could enlighten him in regard to
recent developments and matters of detail I was astonished to see how
clearly he grasped all the essentials of the situation. He sat still
while the rest of us talked but his few remarks were very much to the
point, particularly when, in answer to a question, he said very quietly:
"Yes, I'll take over the work. I have about finished what I have in
hand. Now we can take up this."

           *           *           *           *           *

_October 21st._--The Belgian Government has sent over Monsieur de
Berryer, the Minister of the Interior, to discuss the food question and
the equally important money question.

I had an early morning note from the Spanish Ambassador and went around
to see him.

London is filled with war spirit; not hysterics, but good determined
work. The streets are full of singing recruits marching hither and
yon--mostly yon. The army must be growing at a tremendous rate; in fact,
faster than equipment can be provided, and they are not slow about that.

           *           *           *           *           *

_London, October 23, 1914._--On Wednesday we had things pretty well
settled, and had also succeeded in raising from official sources about
one hundred and fifty thousand pounds. I took a fair amount of
satisfaction in gloating over those who had croaked. Then some helpful
soul came along and threw a monkey wrench into the machinery, so that a
good part of the work has to be done over again. At any rate, we hope to
get, some time to-day, permission to export enough food to serve as a
stop gap until the general question can be settled.

Monsieur Francqui and Baron Lambert had to start back this morning to
organise the Belgian local committees into one central national affair,
and I am to stay on until things are settled one way or the other. That
may mean not getting back to Belgium for a week or two more.

For some time I have been threatening to get a dog and yesterday,
feeling the need of intelligent canine sympathy, I succumbed. At the
Army and Navy Stores, I found a hideous brindle bull that some officer
had left on going to the front. He was promptly acquired, and given the
name of Max in honour of our Burgomaster. The Stores are to take care of
him for me until I return to Belgium.

When I got back to the Embassy, from my visit to the Stores, I found
Shaler waiting for me with the news that I was expected at a meeting at
Mr. Hoover's office in fifteen minutes, to discuss matters with the
committee which is being formed to handle the feeding of the Belgian
civil population.

I was surprised to find that I had been made a member of this committee,
and was expected to attend. It was a comfort to talk with men who know
what they are about and who can make up their minds right the first
time. Hoover is a wonder and has the faculty of getting big-calibre men
about him. We were not in session more than an hour, but in that time we
went over the needs of the Belgian civil population, the means of
meeting immediate needs, the broader question of finding food from other
parts of the world to continue the work, the problem of getting money
from public and private sources to pay expenses, and finally the
organisation to be set up in Belgium, England, America and Holland, to
handle the work. Before we left a tentative organisation had been
established and people despatched on various duties with orders to get
things started without loss of time, so that food could be pushed across
the line into Belgium at the first possible moment.

It is going to be up-hill work for many reasons, but it would be hard to
find a group of men who inspire as much confidence as these that
everything possible will be done, and occasionally a little that is

[Illustration: Herbert C. Hoover
_Copyright by Underwood & Underwood_]

[Illustration: French Howitzer near H----]

[Illustration: German camp kitchen]

           *           *           *           *           *

_October 24th._--Yesterday was another busy day. I did not know that the
entire population of Belgium could make such a crowd as I have had in
the waiting-room of the chancery. In some mysterious way the news of my
coming to London has got about, and swarms of people are coming in with
little errands they want done and messages to be delivered to their
friends and families in Brussels. It makes work, but that sort of thing
is a comfort to lots of people and is worth undertaking. I have made it
clear to all of them that anything to be delivered will be turned over
to the German authorities first, and hope they will govern themselves

The British Government has stipulated that the feeding of the civil
population shall be carried on by a neutral organisation, under the
patronage of the American and Spanish Ambassadors in London and Berlin,
and the American and Spanish Ministers in Brussels. The food is to be
consigned to the American Minister in Brussels for distribution by the
organisation which is to be known as the American Relief Committee, with
Hoover as chairman and motive power. The various local Belgian
committees are to be grouped together in a national organisation, to
assist in the distribution of the foodstuffs once they are delivered
inside the Belgian frontier. The members of the Belgian organisation
are, of course, prisoners of the Germans and unable to give any
effective guarantees as to the disposal of the supplies. The British
Government has, therefore, stipulated that all authority and
responsibility are to be vested in the American Committee, and that the
Belgians are to be regarded simply as a distributing agency. This is, of
course, in no sense a reflection of the Belgians engaged on the work,
but merely a recognition of the difficulties of their position.

The neutral composition of the Committee assures it a freedom of travel
and action, and an independence of political and personal pressure, and
a consequent freedom of administration which the Belgians could not hope
to enjoy. It is only by the assumption of complete authority and
responsibility by the Committee that the patrons will be able to give
the various Governments concerned the necessary assurances as to the
disposition of foodstuffs and the fulfillment of guarantees.

There is something splendid about the way Hoover and his associates have
abandoned their own affairs and all thought of themselves in order to
turn their entire attention to feeding the Belgians. They have
absolutely cut loose from their business, and are to give their whole
time to the work of the Committee. This is done without heroics. I
should hardly have known it was done, but for the fact that Hoover
remarked in a matter of fact way:

"Of course everybody will have to be prepared to let business go and
give their whole time."

And it was so completely taken for granted that there is nothing but a
murmur of assent.

Another strenuous day on the food question and other things.

My plans were to leave for Brussels on Monday morning, but in the
evening the Ambassador sent for me and it was decided that I should go
to Havre and from there to see the King and Queen. That will take me to
within a couple of hours from Brussels, according to old calculations,
but under present conditions I shall have to get there by way of France,
England and Holland.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Hôtel des Régates, Havre, October 26, 1914._--This is the third town
where I have paid my respects to the Belgian Government. I would gladly
have foregone the experience, for it is depressing.

I left Waterloo station at 9:15 last night. Instead of the usual
two-hour run to Southampton, we puttered along and did not arrive until
after one. I had a compartment and made myself as comfortable as
possible. When we arrived I found poor Colonel Swalm, the Consul,
waiting for me. The Ambassador had telegraphed him to see me off, and he
did so regardless of the hour. I felt horribly guilty to have him
waiting about for me, but it certainly did make things a lot easier.

I got straight to bed, but had a hard time sleeping, as there was a
tremendous racket of loading all night long. Nearly all the passengers
were British officers on their way to the front. Among the others I
found de Bassompierre of the Foreign Office, and a Mr. and Mrs. W----,
who were coming over with a Rolls-Royce, to be presented to the Belgian
General Staff. If I go to the front, he will take me. We sailed at
daybreak and were here by two o'clock. Our Consul, Osborne, was waiting
for me at the dock with Henry Needham, the correspondent of _Colliers_.
I was let straight through the customs, where a _woman_ marked my bag,
and then came to this hotel overlooking the sea.

This was the first thing we saw as we came into the harbour. It is in a
suburb called Nice Havrais, built by old Dufayel of Paris. It was a
curious and pathetic sensation to see the Belgian flags still flying
bravely. The different Ministries are set up here, and one villa has
been set aside for the King and Queen, who have not yet left Belgian
soil. The Legations are all established in this hotel and are bored to
extinction, as their work has dropped very much. This little suburb
enjoys all the privileges of extraterritoriality, and even the French
Minister to Belgium goes through the motions of being accredited to a
foreign Government in his country. The cars of the various Legations go
buzzing around among the French and Belgian and British cars. The
streets are full of troops of the three nations, while some twenty
transports ride at anchor in the open roadstead. Fresh troops from
England are arriving constantly, and march singing through the town to
the camps outside, whence they are sent to the front. There are two
British hospitals near this hotel--one of them the Casino--and wounded
are everywhere. The place is astonishingly calm, but everybody knows
there is a war. The French have their teeth set and are confident of the
final outcome. Women are in the custom house, drive the trams, collect
the fares and do a hundred other things that are usually out of their

I found the hall filled with colleagues, and exchanged greetings with
the crowd before going over to the Foreign Office to make my bow. I
found Colonel Fairholme packing, and ready to leave this evening for

The Foreign Office has a pretty little villa in a pretty little garden
and keeps busy. I saw everybody, from Monsieur Davignon down to the
porters, and spent an hour and a half there. Then at their request I
went to the "Palace" and talked with General Jungbluth. He will try to
arrange my business for me by telegraph, and will let me know in the
morning whether I am to go up to the front to see the King and Queen.

When I came away from this call, Osborne was waiting for me and took me
down to the Consulate for an hour's talk. Then back to the hotel to dine
with Sir Francis. After dinner we all went out and bade the Colonel

           *           *           *           *           *

_Tuesday._--General Jungbluth was waiting for me when I came down this
morning, to say that I should go to the front. Osborne was waiting with
his car, and took me to the Ministry of War, to ask for a lift to
Dunkerque in a military car. As luck would have it, to-day's car had
left ten minutes before, so I was put off until to-morrow morning, when
I shall go up with the W----s. I have spent a good part of the day
getting my papers in order--both French and Belgian--and in the tiresome
occupation of being photographed.

           *           *           *           *           *

_October 28th, Hôtel des Arcades, Dunkerque._--Another one-night stand.

We cleared out of Havre this morning over muddy and slippery roads. It
rained hard all night, and we made good time by way of Fécamp, Dieppe,
Eu, Abbeville, Montreuil, Bologne, Marquise, and Calais, getting to
Dunkerque a little after four, just in time to smell the smoke of a
couple of bombs dropped by an aeroplane across the street from the
office of the Prime Minister, upon whom I called.

We began running into big bunches of troops at Abbeville--English,
French and Belgian. I saw some of the Indian troops doing sentry duty
and looking cold and uncomfortable, and did not blame them, for it was
raw and cheerless. The Rolls-Royce is a beauty and sailed along all day
like a gondola.

The Prime Minister had set up his office in the Mayor's room at the
Hôtel de Ville, which I found in an uproar because of the bombs. The
Prime Minister was said to be at Headquarters, at Furnes, across the
Belgian frontier, and I was urged to go there to see him. We made
twenty-one kilometers there, in time to find that little town in a great
state of excitement, because three big shells had come from nobody knew
where, and burst by the railroad station.

But the Prime Minister was not there, and it was dark, so we gathered up
a guide and set off for la Panne, where the King and Queen are living.
Neither of them was there; nobody but a gendarme on duty. The King was
off with the troops and the Queen was looking after the wounded, who
have overflowed all the hospitals. In the past week--just this one
engagement--the Belgians have suffered 12,000 casualties.

The road from Furnes to la Panne and back lay close behind the lines, so
that we could hear the steady roar of the fighting and see the bursting
shells, particularly those from the British ships, which made a
tremendous flash and roar.

We came on back to town, being stopped every minute by French outposts,
and got to this hostelry at seven-thirty. While I was cleaning up, the
Prime Minister came in and claimed me for dinner. He had his secretary,
Count Lichtervelde, A.B., who is here looking after the wounded, and a
couple of officers. And _then_ we talked until the hands dropped off the
clock and I was nearly dead for sleep. Then I took A.B. home to her
hospital, through the streets darkened for the benefit of Count
Zeppelin, and _now_ I _am_ ready for my rest.

I have plans for to-morrow, but shall see what happens to them when I
see the Prime Minister in the morning.

           *           *           *           *           *

_October 29th._--Still at Dunkerque.

Another busy and interesting day, and if all goes well, I shall be back
in London to-morrow night.

I was up early, did a little writing, and went over to see the Prime
Minister, who was waiting for me. Despatched my business with him in
short order, to my complete satisfaction. He is a trump, and it is a joy
to do business with him, even at a time when he is hounded, as he is

He said the King was out with the troops, but had sent in to say he
wanted to see me and would come in to headquarters at Furnes at
four-thirty for that purpose. The Queen had also sent word in that she
wanted to see me. She was busy looking after the wounded, but said she
would come to la Panne at four. That suited me, although I was in some
doubt as to how I would be able to make connections between the two

Last night I had talked of going out to look at the fighting, and A.B.
had offered to conduct me. I had not taken the offer very seriously, but
when I got back to the hotel after seeing the Prime Minister, she was
there in a big racing car, with a crack chauffeur, ready for the jaunt.
She was in her campaign kit of knickers, with a long rain-coat and a big
knitted cap, and an entrancing boy she made. Mr. and Mrs. W---- had
asked to go along, and were in their car with Barbaçon, an aide-de-camp
of the Prime Minister. Monsieur de Broqueville came out quite seriously
and begged A.B. not to lead me into danger, whereat everybody had a good

We made quick time to Furnes and drew up before Headquarters, where we
learned what was known of the lay of the land and the points of the
front we could reach without getting in the way. The Belgians, who had
for ten days held the line of the Yser from Nieuport to Dixmude, waiting
for reinforcements to come up, had been obliged to fall back to the line
of the railroad, which forms the chord of the arc, and had inundated the
intervening territory to impede the German advance. French and English
troops were being brought up in large numbers to relieve the Belgians,
who have lost in killed and wounded nearly a third of the 50,000 men

While waiting for some definite news to be brought in for us, we climbed
to the top of the high tower of the market next the Hôtel de Ville, for
a look at the battle line. It was pretty misty, but we could see the
smoke of shrapnel and of the big shells from the English ships, which
were enfilading the German right.

The staircase up this tower was a crazy thing, with rotten steps and
places where two or three steps were missing altogether. It was bad
enough going up where we could take hold and pull ourselves up, but it
was far worse going down, because we were ordered down in a hurry and
all came piling down in a steady stream. There were squeaks and screams
at the bad moments, but we did manage to get down without mishap and
take stock of ourselves.

We found some German prisoners lying on the straw in the entrance hall,
and stopped to speak to them. They said that their troops were very
tired from long, hard fighting, but that they had plenty of men. They
seemed rather depressed themselves.

By the time we got down, our information had come and we set off through
a welter of transport trains, artillery, ambulances, marching troops,
and goodness knows what else, in the direction of X----. When we got
within a couple of kilometers of the place, an officer stopped us and
asked if we knew where we were going. He shrugged his shoulders when we
said we did, and let us go straight into it. When we were bowling along
about one kilometer from the town, three shells burst at once, about two
hundred yards to our left, and we stopped to see what was toward. A
hundred yards ahead to the right of the road was a battery of five big
guns, and the Germans were evidently trying to get their range. The
shells kept falling to the left, near a group of farm-houses, and as
some of the spent balls of shrapnel kept rolling around near us, we
decided we might as well go and see the big guns from nearer to.

In the shelter of the farm-houses were fifty or sixty men, some of them
cooking their lunch, others sleeping, all quite oblivious of the roar of
bursting shrapnel and the spattering of the bullets near by. And a few
months ago probably any of these men would have been frightened into a
fit by a shell bursting in his neighbourhood. It is wonderful how soon
people become contemptuous of danger. The horses that were tethered by
the roadside seemed to take it all as a matter of course, and munched
away at their hay, as though all the world were at peace. A wobbly cart
came creaking by with an infantryman, who had had a good part of his
face shot away. He had been bandaged after a fashion and sat up blinking
at us stupidly as the cart lumbered by, bumping into holes and sliding
into ruts.

I was not keen on staying longer than was necessary to see what was
there, but W.---- was very deliberate and not to be budged for more than
half an hour. We finally got him started by calling his attention to the
spent balls, which make a tremendous singing noise, but do no harm. The
only really safe thing in the neighbourhood was what did the trick. The
Germans were making a furious attack, evidently determined to break the
line before the fresh troops could be brought up, and the cannonading
was terrific. The whole front as far as we could see in either direction
was a line of puffs of smoke from bursting shrapnel and black spouts of
earth from exploding shells. The crackle of the _mitrailleuses_ rippled
up and down the whole line. The Belgians were pounding back as hard as
they could and the noise was deafening. Finally, when we decided to
leave, the officer in command of the battery loaded all five guns at
once and fired a salvo for our benefit. The great shells tore away,
roaring like so many express trains, and screaming like beasts in
agony--a terrifying combination. My ears ache yet. It was getting hotter
every minute and the Germans were evidently getting a better idea of the
range, for the shells began falling pretty close on the other side, and
I was quieter in my mind when we went back to our cars and pulled out of
the actual line. We took a road a few hundred yards back, parallel with
the lines, and drove along slowly, watching the effect of the shell
fire, until we absolutely had to start back for lunch. On the way we
stopped at a peasant's hut, and said hello to Jack Reyntiens.

When we got back to the hotel, about half an hour late for lunch, we
found the Prime Minister waiting for us. At the door, in addition to the
usual sentry, there were two privates of the _chasseurs à cheval_, one
wearing a commander's star of the Legion of Honor. They saluted and
smiled, and I bowed and went on in to my meal. They came in after me,
still smiling, and I was taxed with not recognising them. They were the
Duc d'Ursel and --------, the heads of their respective houses, who had
enlisted, and are still fighting as privates. They had just been
relieved and were on their way to the rear, where the Belgian army is
being reformed and rested.

As soon as we had got through, I had to start back for my audience of
the Queen. W.---- took me out to la Panne, where we found the Villa on
the sand dunes, a little way back of the lines. There were a couple of
gendarmes on duty, the King's Secretary, and the Countess de
Caraman-Chimay, the one Lady-in-Waiting. I had just got inside when the
door opened and the King came in. He had heard I was coming to see the
Queen and had motored down from Furnes. I was able to satisfy him in a
few minutes on the points he had wanted to see me about and then he
questioned me about friends in Brussels. I suggested to him that it
would probably help our committee in raising funds if he would write an
appeal for help from America. He fell in with the idea at once, and
together we got out an appeal that is to be sent across the water. Where
we sat we could see the British ships shelling the Germans, and the
windows of the dining-room were rattling steadily. The King stood beside
the table with his finger tips resting on the cloth, watching the stuff
ground out word by word. I looked up at him once, but could not bear to
do it again--it was the saddest face one can imagine, but not a word of
complaint was breathed.

Just as we were finishing, the Queen came and bade us in to tea. She was
supposed to wait for her Lady-in-Waiting to bring me, but didn't. The
King stayed only a minute or two and then said he must be getting back
to Headquarters, where he would see me later.

I suggested to the Queen that she, too, make an appeal to the women of
America, to which she agreed. Another appeal was prepared for her, and
it, too, will be sent to America by the first post.

The Queen had wanted to see me about the subject of surgeons for the
Belgian army. The Belgian surgeons in the Brussels hospitals have been
replaced by Germans, and have nothing to do, although they are
desperately needed here. The Queen was terribly depressed about the
condition of the wounded. There are so few surgeons, and such tremendous
numbers of wounded, that they cannot by any possibility be properly
cared for. Legs and arms are being ruthlessly amputated in hundreds of
cases where they could be saved by a careful operation. Careful
operations are, of course, out of the question, with the wounded being
dumped in every minute by the score. In these little frontier towns
there are no hospital facilities to speak of, and the poor devils are
lucky if they get a bed of straw under any sort of roof, and medical
attendance, within twenty-four hours. We went to see one hospital in a
near-by Villa, and I hope I shall never again have to go through such an
ordeal. Such suffering and such lack of comforts I have never seen, but
I take off my hat to the nerve of the wounded, and the nurses, most of
them the best class of Belgian women, used to every luxury and getting

The Queen gave me tea, and one of her small supply of cigarettes, and we
talked until after dark. The monitors off shore had been joined by a
battleship, and the row was terrific and rendered conversation

The Queen was still full of courage and said that as long as there was
one square foot of Belgian soil free of Germans, she would be on it. She
said it simply, in answer to a question from me, but there was a big
force of courage and determination behind it. As I was not dismissed, I
finally took it on myself to go, and the Queen came with me to the door
and sent me on my way. She stood in the lighted doorway until I reached
the motor, and then turned slowly and went in--a delicate little woman
with a lion's heart. Inglebleek and the Countess de Caraman-Chimay came
out after we had cranked the car, and gave me messages for their
families and friends. It is a pretty hard change for these people, who
three months ago were leading such a dull, comfortable life, but they
have risen to it with fine spirit.

The King was with his staff, studying the maps and despatches, when I
got to Furnes, and I was shown the whole situation--most interesting on
the large scale maps that show every farm-house and pathway. I was to go
back to Dunkerque with Monsieur de Broqueville, so waited while they
discussed the events of the day and plans for to-morrow.

While they talked reinforcements were pouring through the town, with
great rumbling of artillery and blowing of trumpets. It was a comforting
sound, as it presaged some relief for the Belgians in their
heartbreaking stand.

There was comfort in riding back through the night with the Prime
Minister, for there was no long examination of papers, etc. When we came
to a post, the aide-de-camp would switch on a strong light in the car,
the sentries would salute, and on we would go at a great gait.

Seemingly I was boarding with Monsieur de Broqueville, as I was led back
to dine with him.

To-morrow I am off to London. Loewenstein, a young Brussels banker, is
to take me over in his racing car, which is a useful institution these
days. We take along his mother-in-law, Madame Misonne, and A.B. It
means getting up at five to motor to Calais to catch the boat. There the
car will be slung aboard, so that we can be whisked up to London without
waiting for a train.

           *           *           *           *           *

_On board S.S. "Orange Nassau," North Sea, November 2, 1914._--On Friday
morning we were called before dawn, and got under way as per
schedule--Loewenstein, Madame Misonne, A.B., and I. We made good time,
over slippery roads, to Calais, despite frequent stops to have our
papers examined by posts, and got to the dock some twenty minutes before
the steamer sailed. The car was hoisted aboard, and we rode across in
it. Frederick Palmer was on board, returning in disgust after having
been just that far toward the front.

Our suicide wagon was swung off onto the dock without loss of time, and
we sped away toward London while our fellow-passengers were doomed to
wait for all sorts of formalities. It was a wild ride. At times we were
doing as high as one hundred and thirty kilometers an hour over winding
English roads, and I was somewhat relieved when I was dropped at the
Embassy, safe and sound.

I got off some telegrams about my trip, and was told the Ambassador
wanted to see me. Hoover was with him, and I turned over to them the
appeals from the King and Queen.

Jack Scranton decided to come back to Brussels with me, to give me a
hand in Legation work, and spent the morning packing enough plunder to
see him through a siege of three or four years. A.B. came on to London
to see her brother who is seriously wounded and in hospital. Now her
family want her to return to Brussels and have placed her in my care for
the journey.

This morning we had a crowd at the station to see us off. Countess
N.---- has also come along, and was entrusted to our care. A.B.'s family
was there in force to say good-bye, so altogether the casual observer
might have inferred that we were popular.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, November 5th._--We were met in Flushing by our Consular
Agent, who put us through the customs and onto the train.

No motor was waiting for us at Rosendaal, and we had a hard time getting
shelter for the night. Finally we succeeded in getting a room for the
two women in a little, third-rate hotel, and Jack and I slept on the
floor of a sitting-room in the little Hôtel Central. I was so dog-tired
that I slept like a log, wrapped up in my fur coat.

While we were having coffee, M. de Leval came up in my little car. He
had been to Rotterdam in connection with the first shipment of food, and
thought he would find me alone. He had bought a lot of gasoline in
Breda, to be called for, so we could take no luggage. We found another
car leaving for Brussels at noon, and loaded it up with Countess N.,
---- Jack and the luggage, while M. de L. and I took A.B. and the mail
bags, and started by way of Breda. We came through Aerschot and stopped
for a stretch and to look about.

We walked about the streets for a time, and stopped in a shop to ask for
a drink of water. After giving it to us, the proprietor asked if we
would like to see the state the Germans had left things in. He led us
back into his living quarters, opened a door bearing an inscription to
the effect that it was an officers' mess, and let us in. I never have
seen a more complete mess. Everything in the place was smashed, and the
whole room was filthy. The officers had left only a few days before and
had taken pains to break everything before they went. Obscene remarks
were chalked on the walls, and the pictures were improved with heavy
attempts at fun. I always used to think that the term "officer and
gentleman" was redundant, but now I begin to understand the need for it.

The church was also in a bad state. The doors have nearly all been
battered down. The wooden Gothic statues in the nave have been smashed
or destroyed by fire. The altars and confessionals were wantonly
destroyed. The collection boxes had been pried open and emptied. We were
told that the holy-water font and the vestments of the priests had been
profaned and befouled. It is not a pretty sight.

Aerschot was partially destroyed on August 19th and 20th. The Germans
claim that their commanding officer was shot by the son of the
Burgomaster. The Belgians claim that he was struck by a stray bullet
fired at random by one of his own men in the marketplace. However that
may be, the whole place was instantly in an uproar, and quiet was not
restored until the town had been sacked and over one hundred and fifty
people killed, among them women and children. The Burgomaster and his
son and a priest were among those shot and buried outside the Louvain
gate. One of those taken to the place of execution was spared on
condition that he should go to Louvain to tell of what had happened.

Louvain has been cleaned up a lot, and we stopped there only long enough
to have our passes examined at Headquarters, getting back a little
before six to a warm welcome.

The other motor was due at six, but did not come, and after waiting up
till midnight, I turned in. Jack bobbed up yesterday at noon. The car
had been stopped at the frontier because several of the passengers had
not proper papers. Jack threw out his chest and insisted on being taken
to Antwerp to see the Military Governor. His passport, as bearer of
despatches, did the business, and they were allowed to proceed under
armed guard. They were kept overnight in the Hôtel Webber, and then Jack
and Mme. N---- were allowed to come on to Brussels in the car, while the
others were detained.

Marshal Langhorne came in to-day from The Hague to effect formal
delivery of the first bargeload of food, and had weird tales to tell of
his adventures by the way. Thank goodness, the first of the food has
arrived in time, and if the flow can be kept up, the worst of our
troubles will be averted.

With this first consignment of food came the story of how it was got
through in such record time. Hoover is one of these people who is
inclined to get things done and attend later to such details as getting
formal permission, etc.

With Shaler's forty thousand pounds and promises of five hundred
thousand dollars more, he went to work and placed orders for twenty
thousand tons of food, costing two million dollars a week. This he did
on the theory that money would come along later, when the need was
realised, but that the Belgian stomachs would not wait until collections
had been made. He purchased the food, got it transported to the docks,
and loaded on vessels that he had contrived to charter, while all the
world was fighting for tonnage, got them loaded and the hatches closed.

When everything was ready, Hoover went to the proper authority and asked
for permission to ship the food, announcing that unless he could get
four shiploads of food into Belgium by the end of the week, the people
would begin to starve. The functionary was sympathetic, but regretted
that in the circumstances, he could not help. It was out of the question
to purchase food. The railways were choked with troops, munitions and
supplies. Ships were not to be had for love or money. And above all, the
Channel was closed to commerce.

Hoover heard him patiently to the end.

"I have attended to all this," he said. "The ships are already loaded
and ready to sail. All I need from you is clearance papers. You can let
me have them, and everything will be all right."

The high official could hardly believe his ears:

"Young man," he gasped, "perhaps you don't realise what you have done.
Men have been sent to the Tower for less. If it were for any other
cause, I hesitate to think what would happen to you. But as it is, I can
only congratulate you on some very good work."

And that's how we got our food in time.

Fines are being imposed on towns on one pretext or another. The other
day two policemen got into a controversy with a German secret-service
agent who did not explain who he was, and got a good thumping for doing
various things that a civilian had no business to do. This morning von
Lüttwitz comes out with this proclamation:

     On the 28th of October, 1914, a legally constituted court martial
     pronounced the following sentences:

     (1) The policeman De Ryckere for having attacked, in the legal
     exercise of his duties, an authorised agent of the German
     Government, for having deliberately inflicted bodily hurt in two
     instances with the aid of other persons, for having aided in the
     escape of a prisoner and for having attacked a German soldier, was
     condemned to five years' imprisonment.

     (2) The policeman Seghers for having attacked, in the exercise of
     his legal duties, an authorised agent of the German Government, for
     having deliberately inflicted bodily hurt on this German agent, and
     for having aided the escape of a prisoner (all these offences
     constituting one charge), was condemned to three years' imprisonment.

     The sentences were confirmed on October 31st by the Governor-General,
     Baron von der Goltz.

     The city of Brussels, not including its suburbs, has been punished
     for the injury by its policeman De Ryckere to a German soldier, by
     an additional fine of Five Million Francs.

                              The Governor of Brussels,
                                  BARON VON LÜTTWITZ,

     Brussels, November 1, 1914.

Last night we dined at Ctesse. N----'s to celebrate everybody's safe

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, Sunday, November 8, 1914._--Barges of food are beginning to
come in, and we have the place filled with people with real business
concerning the food and a lot of the usual "halo-grabbers" anxious to
give advice or edge into some sort of non-working position where they
can reap a little credit.

We are put on German time to-day.

On November 4th the Governor-General came out with a proclamation
ordering that German money be accepted in all business transactions. It
is to have forced currency at the rate of one mark to one franc,
twenty-five centimes. As a matter of fact, it is really worth about one
franc, seven centimes, and can be bought at that rate in Holland or
Switzerland, where people are glad enough to get rid of their German
money. Any shop refusing to accept German paper money at the stipulated
rate is to be immediately closed, according to the Governor's threat.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, November 9, 1914._--Late in the afternoon Jack and I took Max
for a run in the Bois. While we were going across one of the broad
stretches of lawn, an officer on horseback passed us, accompanied by a
mounted orderly. To our surprise the orderly drew his revolver and began
waving it at us, shouting at the same time that if that ------------ dog
came any nearer, he would shoot him down. The officer paid no attention,
but rode on ahead. I started after them on foot, but they began to trot
and left me in the lurch. I ran back to the motor, overtook them, and
placed the car across their path. The officer motioned his orderly to go
ahead, and then let me tackle him. He took the high ground that I had no
reason to complain since the dog had not actually been shot, not seeming
to realize that peaceable civilians might have legitimate objections to
the promiscuous waving of revolvers. He declined to give his name or
that of the soldier, and I gave up and let him ride on after expressing
some unflattering opinions of him and his kind to the delight of the
crowd that had gathered. They did not dare say anything direct, but as I
got back into the car they set up a loud "_Vive l'Amérique_." The
officer looked peevish and rode away very stiff and haughty. Of course,
since he refused to give his name, there was no getting at him, and I
was free to be as indignant as I liked.

The Germans are tightening up on the question of travel in the occupied
territory, and we are now engaged in a disagreeable row with them over
passes for the Legation cars. They want to limit us in all sorts of ways
that make no difference to them, but cut down our comfort. They will
probably end by giving us what they want; but when it is all done we
shall have no feeling of obligation, having been forced to fight for it.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, November 14, 1914._--On the morning of the 10th, I came down
to the Legation and found things in an uproar. A telegram had been
received saying that two trainloads of food, the first shipment for the
Province of Liège, would cross the frontier in the course of the
afternoon, under convoy of Captain Sunderland, our Military Attaché at
The Hague. The Minister and I are the only people authorized to receive
shipments; and, as no power of attorney had been sent to the Consul at
Liège, things were in a nice mess; and, at the request of the German
authorities and the Committee, it was decided that I should go down,
receive the stuff and make arrangements for its protection and for the
reception of future shipments. The German authorities were so excited
about my being there to head off any trouble that they hustled me off on
an hour's notice without any lunch. I contrived to get Jack's name put
on the _laisser-passer_, so that he could go along and see a little
something of the country. Joseph, the Legation butler, was wild to go
along as far as his native village to see his aged ma, whom he had not
seen since the beginning of the war, and he rode on the front seat with
Max who was much delighted to get under way again.

Jack was thrilled with the trip, and nearly fell out of the car going
through Louvain and the other ruined villages along the way. As we were
in such a rush, I could not stop to show him very much; but in most of
these places no guide is needed. Louvain has been cleared up to a
remarkable extent, and the streets between the ruined houses are neat
and clean. On my other trips I had had to go around by way of Namur, but
this time we went direct; and I got my first glimpse of Tirlemont and
St. Trond, etc.

When we reached Liège we went straight to the Consulate without pausing
to set ourselves up at a hotel, but found that nothing was known of
Captain Sunderland or his food trains. Thence to the German headquarters
where we inquired at all the offices in turn and found that the
gentleman had not been heard from. By the time we got through our
inquiries it was dark; and, as we had no _laisser-passer_ to be out
after dark, we had to scuttle back to the hotel and stay.

In the morning the Consul and I started off again to see what had become
of our man. We went through all the offices again, and as we were about
to give up, I found Renner, who used to be Military Attaché of the
German Legation here, and is now Chief of Staff to the Military
Governor. He cleared up the mystery. Sunderland had arrived about the
same time I did, but had been taken in hand by some staff officers,
dined at their mess, and kept busy until time for him to be off for
Maestricht. He was, however, expected back in time to lunch at the
officers' mess. He was also expected to dine with them in the evening. I
left word that I wanted to see him and made off to get in touch with the
members of the local committee and make arrangements as to what was to
be done with the food. We sat and waited until nearly dark, when I
decided to go out for a little spin. I gathered Jack and the Consular
family into the car and went for a short spin.

After losing our way a couple of times we brought up at the Fort of
Chaudefontaine, which was demolished by the Germans. It is on top of a
veritable mountain and it took us some time to work our way up on the
winding road. When we got there the soldiers on guard made no trouble
and told us that we could mouse around for fifteen minutes. We walked
out to the earthworks, which had been made by the Belgians and
strengthened by the Germans, and then took a look at the fort itself,
which was destroyed, and has since been reconstructed by the Germans.
They must have had the turrets and cupolas already built and ready to
ship to Liège, for the forts are stronger than they ever were before
and will probably offer a solid resistance when the tide swings back,
unless, of course, the allies have by that time some of the big guns
that will drop shells vertically and destroy these works the way the
German 42's destroyed their predecessors. It was very interesting to see
and hard to realise that up to three months ago this sort of thing was
considered practically impregnable.

When we got back we found that our man had come and had left word that
he could be found at the Café du Phare at six o'clock. We made straight
for that place, and found him. I made an appointment with him for the
first thing next morning, and went my way.

I was bid to dine with the German Military Governor and his staff, but
told Renner that since we were accredited here to the Belgian
Government, accepting German hospitality would certainly be considered
as an affront. He saw the point, and did not take offence, but asked me
to come over after dinner for a talk and bring Jack along, the which I
promised to do. While we were dining, a soldier with a rifle on his
shoulder strode into the dining-room and handed me a paper; great
excitement, as everybody thought we had been arrested. The paper was a
pass for us to circulate on the streets after dark, so that we could go
over to the headquarters. It was written on the back of a menu in
pencil. Although dinner was over the entire mess was still gathered
about the table discussing beer and Weltpolitik. At the head of the
table was Excellenz Lieutenant-General von Somethingorother, who was
commanding a German army on the eastern front when they got within
fifteen miles of Warsaw. After being driven back he had an official
"nervous breakdown," and was sent here as Governor of the Province of
Liège--quite a descent, and enough to cause a nervous breakdown. There
was another old chap who had fought in the Franco-Prussian war and had
not yet quite caught up with this one. I foregathered with Renner and
got my shop talk done in a very short time. Then everybody set to to
explain to us about the war and what they fought each other for. It was
very interesting to get the point of view, and we stayed on until nearly
midnight, tramping home through a tremendous downpour, which soaked us.

The next morning at eleven I met Sunderland. We saw the Governor and the
Mayor and Echevins, and talked things out at length. I had to collect a
part of the cost of the food before I could turn it over, and they
explained that the chairman of the local committee had gone to Brussels
to negotiate a loan; he would be back in four or five days and if I
would just wait, they would settle everything beautifully. That did not
please me, so I suggested in my usual simple and direct way that the
Governor rob the safe and pay me with provincial funds, trusting to be
paid later by the committee. It took some little argument to convince
him, but he had good nerve, and by half-past twelve he brought forth
275,000 francs in bank-notes and handed them over to me for a receipt.
Sticking this into my pocket, I made ready to get under way, but there
was nothing for it but that I must lunch with them all. Finally I
accepted, on the understanding that it would be short and that I could
get away immediately afterward. That was not definite enough, however,
for we sat at table until four o'clock and then listened to some

When we got down the home stretch, the Governor arose and made a very
neat little speech, thanking us for what we had done to get food to the
people of Liège, and expressing gratitude to the American Government and
people, etc. I responded in remarks of almost record shortness, and as
soon as possible afterward, we got away through the rain to Brussels.

After getting through that elaborate luncheon, getting our things ready
at the hotel, paying our bill, saying good-bye all around once more,
etc., it was nearly five o'clock when we got off and nearly eight when
we reached Brussels and put our treasure in the safe.

The Germans have begun arresting British civilians and we have had our
hands full dealing with poor people who don't want to be arrested and
kept in prison until the end of the war and can't quite understand why
_they_ have to put up with it. It is pretty tough, but just another of
the hardships of the war, and while we are doing our best to have the
treatment of these people made as lenient as possible, we can't save

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, November 16, 1914._--Some more excitement yesterday morning,
when various British subjects were arrested.

Two German civilians tried to force their way into the British Consulate
and arrest Mr. Jeffes, the British Consul, and his son, although the
American flag was flying over the door and there was a sign posted to
the effect that the place was under our protection and all business
should be transacted with us. Fortunately Nasmith was there, and after
trying to explain the matter politely, he made for the two men, threw
them into the street, and bolted the door. The gum-shoe men were so
surprised that they went away and have not been back. Last night I was
called around to the Consulate and found two more men shadowing the
place. There seemed to be no danger of arrest, but Nasmith spent the
night there, and this morning I went around and took the Jeffes to our
Consulate, so that if any attempt was made to take them, we should have
an opportunity to protest. The higher authorities had promised not to
seize them, but apparently you can never tell.

Yesterday was the King's Saint's Day, and word was passed around that
there would be a special mass at Ste. Gudule. Just before it was to
begin, the military authorities sent around and forbade the service. The
Grand Marshal of the Court opened the King's book at his house, so that
we could all go around and sign, as in ordinary times, for we are
accredited to the King of the Belgians, but early in the morning an
officer arrived and confiscated the book. The Government of Occupation
seems to be mighty busy doing pin-head things for people who have a war
on their hands.

Countess de Buisseret's little boy was playing on the street yesterday
when the German troops passed by. Being a frightful and dangerous
criminal, he imitated their goose-step and was arrested. M. de Leval
went around to headquarters to see what could be done, supposing, of
course, that when it was seen what a child he was, his release would be
ordered. Instead, he was told seriously that the youngster must be
punished and would be left in jail for some days.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, November 18, 1914._--This is another day of disgust. This
morning one of the servants of the Golf Club came in to say that there
were fifty German soldiers looting the place. In the afternoon Jack and
I went out for a look at the place and to get my clubs. We found a lot
of soldiers under command of a corporal. They had cleaned the place out
of food, wine, linen, silver, and goodness knows what else. Florimont,
the steward, had been arrested because he would not tell them which of
the English members of the club had gone away and where the others were
staying. Having spent his time at the club, the fact was that he did not
know who was still in town and could not tell, but the Germans could not
be convinced of this and have made him prisoner.

I stopped at headquarters this afternoon to see von der Lancken. As I
came out a fine Rolls-Royce limousine drew up on the opposite side of
the street--a military car. The chauffeur, in backing out, caught and
tore the sleeve of his coat. In a rage, he slammed the door and planted
a tremendous kick in the middle of the panel with his heavy boot. I
stood agape and watched. He looked up, caught me looking at him, and
turned his anger from the motor to me. He put his hands on his hips,
shot out his jaw and glared at me. Then he began walking toward me
across the street in heavy-villain steps, glaring all the time. He
stopped just in front of me, his face twitching with rage, evidently
ready to do something cataclysmic. Then the heavens opened, and a
tremendous roar came from across the street. The officer to whom the car
belonged had seen the display of temper from his window, and had run out
to express his views. The soldier did a Genée toe-spin and stood at
attention, while his superior cursed him in the most stupendous way. I
was glad to be saved and to have such a display of fireworks into the

           *           *           *           *           *

_November 19th._--One day is like another in its cussedness.

The Germans have been hounding the British Legation and Consulate, and
we have had to get excited about it. Then they announced to the Dutch
Chargé that our courier could no longer go--that everything would have
to be sent by German field post. You would think that after the amount
of hard work we have done for the protection of German interests and the
scrupulous way in which we have used any privileges we have been
accorded, they would exert themselves to make our task as easy as
possible and show us some confidence. On the contrary, they treat us as
we would be ashamed to treat our enemies.

This morning it was snowing beautifully when I woke up, a light, dry
snow that lay on the ground. It has been coming down gently all day and
the town is a lovely sight, but I can't get out of my mind the thought
of those poor beggars out in the trenches. It seems wicked to be
comfortable before a good fire with those millions of men suffering as
they are out at the front.

And now Grant-Watson[9] has been put in prison. He stayed on here after
the Minister left, to attend to various matters, and was here when the
Germans arrived. Recently we have been trying to arrange for passports,
so that he and Felix Jeffes, the Vice-Consul, might return to England.
The authorities were seemingly unable to make up their minds as to what
should be done, but assured the Minister that both men would be allowed
to return to England or to remain quietly in Brussels. On Friday,
however, the Germans changed their minds and did not let a little thing
like their word of honour stand in the way.

[Footnote 9: Second Secretary of the British Legation in Brussels.]

The Minister was asked to bring Grant-Watson to headquarters to talk
things over--nothing more. When they got there, it was smilingly
announced that Grant-Watson was to leave for Berlin on the seven o'clock
train, which put us in the position of having lured him to prison. The
Minister protested vigorously, and finally Grant-Watson was put on
parole and allowed to return to the Legation, to remain there until
eleven o'clock yesterday morning. I went over the first thing in the
morning to help him get ready for his stay in jail. At eleven Conrad
arrived in a motor with Monsieur de Leval. We went out and got in, and
drove in state to the École Militaire, and, although I was boiling with
rage at the entire performance, I could not help seeing some fun in it.

Grant-Watson's butler was ordered to be ready to go at the same time. At
the last minute the butler came down and said perfectly seriously that
he would not be able to go until afternoon, as he had broken the key to
his portmanteau and would have to have another made. The Germans did not
see anything funny in that, and left him behind.

When we got to the École Militaire, we were refused admittance, and had
to wrangle with the sentries at the door. After arguing with several
officers and pleading that we had a man with us who wanted to be put in
prison, we were reluctantly admitted to the outer gate of the building,
where British subjects are kept. When the keeper of the dungeon came
out, I explained to him that the butler had been detained, but would be
along in the course of the afternoon, whereupon the solemn jailer
earnestly replied, "Please tell him that he must be here not later than
three o'clock, or he can't get in!" And nobody cracked a smile until I
let my feelings get the better of me.

I was prepared for an affecting parting with Grant-Watson in consigning
him to the depths of a German jail, but he took it as calmly as though
he were going into a country house for a week-end party. I suppose there
is some chance that they may exchange him for a few wounded German
officers and thus get him back to England.

Since our snow-storm the other day, the weather has turned terribly cold
and we have suffered even with all the comforts that we have. And the
cheerful weather prophets are telling us that without doubt this will be
one of the coldest winters ever known. A pleasant prospect for the boys
at the front! Mrs. Whitlock and everybody else is busy getting warm
clothing for the poor and for the refugees from all parts of Belgium who
were unable to save anything from their ruined homes. It is bad enough
now, but what is coming....

Gustave has just come in with the cheering news that Ashley, our crack
stenographer, has been arrested by the Germans. They are making
themselves altogether charming and agreeable to us.

Max is spread out before the fire, snoring like a sawmill--the only
Englishman in Brussels who is easy in his mind and need not worry.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Tuesday, November 24th._--Another day of rush without getting very far.

The Germans decided this morning that they would arrest Felix Jeffes,
the British Vice-Consul, so I had the pleasant task of telling him that
he was wanted. I am to go for him to-morrow morning and take him to the
École Militaire with his compatriots. This job of policeman does not
appeal to me, even if it is solely to save our friends the humiliation
of being taken through the streets by the Germans.

           *           *           *           *           *

_November 25th._--Had a _pleasant_ day.

Had arrangements made with Jeffes to go with him to the École Militaire
at 11 o'clock and turn him over to his jailer. The Minister went up with
von der Lancken to see the Englishmen and be there when Jeffes arrived,
so as to show a friendly interest in his being well treated.

I went around to the Consulate on time, and found that, through a
misunderstanding, Jeffes had made no preparations for going, having been
assured that another attempt would be made to get him off. I pointed out
that the Minister had given his word of honour that Jeffes should be
there, and that he would be left in a very unpleasant and annoying
position if we did not turn up as promised. Jeffes was perfectly ready,
although not willing to go. I went to the École Militaire and explained
to von der Lancken that Jeffes' failure to appear was due to a mistake,
and asked that he be given time to straighten out his accounts and come
later in the day or to-morrow morning. The answer was that he must come
some time during the day. The Consul-General went straight to von
Lüttwitz with Jeffes, made a great plea on the score of his health or
lack of it, and got his time extended until he could be given a medical
examination by the military authorities. Late in the afternoon he was
looked over and told to go home and be quiet, that he would probably not
be wanted, but that if anything came up, they would communicate with him

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, November 27, 1914._--More busy days. Each day we swear that
we will stop work early and go out to play. Each day we sit at our
desks, and darkness comes down upon us, and we do not get away until
nearly eight o'clock. "Thanksgiving Day" was no exception, and to-day we
are going through the same old performance. Yesterday, by strenuous
work, I got down to swept bunkers and had a good prospect of an easy
day. Instead of that there has been a deluge of Consuls, mail,
telegrams, and excited callers, and we are snowed under a heap of work
it will take several days to get out of the way.

We came back to them with a bump, however, when Nasmith came to my flat
at midnight to say that Jeffes had been arrested. And it was done in the
usual charming manner. In the course of the afternoon, the
Consul-General got a note asking him to go to headquarters "to talk over
the case of Mr. Jeffes." It asked also that Jeffes accompany the
Consul-General "to the conference." When they arrived it was announced
that Jeffes was under arrest and to be sent immediately to the École
Militaire. The Consul-General, like the Minister, on the occasion of his
visit, was placed in the position of having lured his friend into jail.
He protested vigorously, but was not even allowed to accompany Jeffes to
the École Militaire. It was only after some heated argument that Jeffes
was allowed five minutes at home, under guard, to get a few belongings
together to take with him. The Consul-General is furious, and so am I
when I remember how decently the German Vice-Consul here was treated
when the war broke out.

Early in the week Jack is to be sent down to Mons, to bring out some
English nurses who have been there nursing the British wounded. Two of
them, Miss Hozier and Miss Angela Manners, were in yesterday. They have
been working hard during the past three months and are now ready to go
back to England if we can arrange for passports.

Under the date of November 26th, General von Kraewel announces that he
has succeeded Baron von Lüttwitz, who has been transferred to the army
at the front.

Hoover arrived from London this afternoon accompanied by Shaler and by
Dr. Rose, Henry James, Jr., and Mr. Bicknell of the Rockefeller
Foundation, who have come to look into conditions. There is plenty for
them to see, and we shall do our best to help them see it.

As we learned from a confidential source, several days ago, there has
been a big shake-up in the Government here. Both von der Goltz and von
Lüttwitz have gone and have been replaced--the first by Freiherr von
Bissing, and the latter by General von Kraewel. There are several
explanations for the changes, but we don't yet know what they mean.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, December 2, 1914._--We have had a hectic time. Hoover arrived
on Sunday evening, accompanied by Shaler and by three representatives of
the Rockefeller Foundation. We have had a steady rush of meetings,
conferences, etc., and Hoover and Shaler pulled out early this morning.
There is not much relief in sight, however, for to-morrow morning at the
crack of dawn, I expect to start off on a tour of Belgium, to show the
Rockefeller people what conditions really are. We shall be gone for
several days and shall cover pretty well the whole country.

Yesterday morning I got Jack off to Mons to bring back the British
nurses. Everything in the way of passports and arrangements with the
military authorities had been made, and he went away in high spirits for
a little jaunt by himself. This morning at half-past three o'clock he
rang the doorbell and came bristling in, the maddest man I have seen in
a long time. He had suffered everything that could be thought of in the
way of insult and indignity, and to make it worse, had been obliged to
stand by and watch some brutes insult the girls he was sent down to
protect. When he arrived at Mons he got the nurses together and took
them to the headquarters, where he explained that he had been sent down
by the Minister with the consent of the German authorities, to bring the
nurses to Brussels. This was stated in writing on the passport given him
by the German authorities here. Instead of the polite reception he had
expected, the German officer, acting for the Commandant, turned on him
and told him that the nurses were to be arrested, and could not go to
Brussels. Then, by way of afterthought, he decided to arrest Jack and
had him placed under guard on a long bench in the headquarters, where he
was kept for three hours. Luckily, an old gentleman of the town who knew
the nurses, came in on some errand, and before they could be shut up,
they contrived to tell him what the situation was and ask him to get
word to the Legation. Right away after this the three women were taken
out and put in the fourth-class cells of the military prison, that is,
in the same rooms with common criminals. Jack was left in the guard
room. The old gentleman, who had come in, rushed off to the Burgomaster
and got him stirred up about the case, although he was loath to do
anything, as he _knew_ that a representative of the American Legation
could not be arrested. Finally he did come around to headquarters, and
after a long row with the Adjutant, they got Jack released and fitted
out with a _laisser-passer_ to return to Brussels. He was insulted in
good shape, and told that if he came back again, sent by the Minister or
by anybody else, he would be chucked into jail and stay there. Before
the nurses were taken down to their prison, the Adjutant shook his fist
in Miss Hozier's face, and told her that they were going to give her a
good lesson, so that the English should have a taste of the sort of
treatment they were meting out to German nurses and doctors that fell
into their hands.

The Mayor and Aldermen took Jack in charge when he was released, and
kept him in one of their homes until time for the train to leave for
Brussels at midnight. They were convinced that he would be arrested
again at the station, but he did get off in a car filled with sick
soldiers and arrived here without mishap at three o'clock or a little

I went over to see von der Lancken the first thing in the morning, and
told him the whole story, in order that he might be thinking over what
he was going to do about it before the Minister went over to see him at
eleven. The Minister said his say in plain language, and got a promise
that steps would be taken at once to get the girls out of prison and
have them brought to Brussels. Later in the day von der Lancken came
through with the information that the action of the authorities at Mons
was "_due to a misunderstanding_," and that everything was lovely now.
We suppose that the girls will be here to-morrow; if not, inquiries will
be made and the Minister will probably go down himself.

Yesterday morning we spent visiting soup kitchens, milk stations, and
the distributing centres for supplying old clothes to the poor. The
whole thing is under one organisation and most wonderfully handled. It
is probably the biggest thing of the sort that has ever been undertaken
and is being done magnificently.

It is a curious thing to watch the Commission grow. It started as
nothing but a group of American mining engineers, with the sympathetic
aid of some of our diplomatic representatives and the good-will of the
neutral world. It is rapidly growing into a powerful international
entity, negotiating agreements with the Great Powers of Europe, enjoying
rights that no Government enjoys, and as the warring governments come to
understand its sincerity and honesty, gaining influence and authority
day by day.

There is no explanation of the departure of von der Goltz. His successor
has come out with a proclamation in three lines, as follows:

     His Majesty, the Emperor and King, having deigned to appoint me
     Governor-General in Belgium, I have to-day assumed the direction of

                                           BARON VON BISSING.
     Brussels, December 3, 1914.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, Sunday, December 6, 1914._--We got away at eight o'clock on
Thursday morning, in three cars from the Palace Hotel. We were four cars
when we started, but fifty feet from the door the leading car broke down
and could not be started, so we rearranged ourselves and left the wreck
behind. The party was composed of the three Rockefeller
representatives, Dr. Rose, Mr. Bicknell, and Henry James, Jr., Monsieur
Francqui, Josse Allard, Jack and I.

It was rainy and cold, but we made good time to Louvain and stopped at
the Hôtel de Ville. Professor Neerincxs, of the University, took up the
duties of Burgomaster when the Germans shipped the real one away. He
speaks perfect English, and led the crowd around the town with the rush
and energy of a Cook's tourist agent. He took us first through the
Cathedral, and showed us in detail things that we could not have seen if
we had gone at it alone. Then around to the library and some of the
other sights of particular interest, and finally for a spin through the
city, to see the damage to the residence district. This was a most
interesting beginning, and made a good deal of an impression on our
people. They asked questions about the work being done by the people
toward cleaning up the ruins of the town and trying to arrange
make-shift shelters to live in during the winter. The Mayor is a man of
real force of character, and has accomplished marvels under the greatest

From Louvain we cut away to the northeast to Aerschot, where we took a
quick look at the welter of ruin and struck out to the west through
Diest and Haelen, which I saw on my first trip with Frederick Palmer
before there was anything done to them.

We got to Liège about one o'clock and had lunch in a restaurant
downtown, where we were joined by Jackson, our delegate sent down there
to supervise the distribution of food for the Commission. He told us a
lot about the difficulties and incidents of his work, and some details
of which we had to think. He is the first delegate we have sent to
outlying cities, and is up on his toes with interest. A lot more have
already sailed from New York, and will soon be here. They are to be
spread all over the country in the principal centres, some to stay in
the big cities and watch local conditions, and others to travel about
their districts and keep track of the needs of the different villages.
It is all working out a lot better than we had hoped for, and we have
good reason to be pleased. Our chief annoyance is that every time things
get into a comfortable state, some idiot starts the story either in
England or America that the Germans have begun to seize foodstuffs
consigned to us. Then we have to issue statements and get off telegrams,
and get renewed assurances from the German authorities and make
ourselves a general nuisance to everybody concerned. If we can choke off
such idiots, our work will be a lot easier.

The Burgomaster came into the restaurant to find us, and offered to go
on with us to Visé, to show us the town, and we were glad to have him,
as he knows the place like the palm of his hand.

I had been through Visé twice, and had marvelled at the completeness of
the destruction, but had really had no idea of what it was. It was a
town of about forty-five hundred souls, built on the side of a pretty
hill overlooking the Meuse. There are only two or three houses left. We
saw one old man, two children and a cat in the place. Where the others
are, nobody knows. The old man was well over sixty, and had that
afternoon been put off a train from Germany, where he had been as a
prisoner of war since the middle of August. He had KRIEGSGEFANGENER
MUNSTER stencilled on his coat, front and back, so that there could be
no doubt as to who he was. He was standing in the street with the tears
rolling down his cheeks and did not know where to go; he had spent the
day wandering about the neighbouring villages trying to find news of his
wife, and had just learned that she had died a month or more ago. It was
getting dark, and to see this poor old chap standing in the midst of
this welter of ruin without a chick or child or place to lay his
head.... It caught our companions hard, and they loaded the old man up
with bank-notes, which was about all that anybody could do for him and
then we went our way. We wandered through street after street of ruined
houses, sometimes whole blocks together where there were not enough
walls left to make even temporary shelters.

Near the station we were shown a shallow grave dug just in front of a
house. We were told who filled the grave--an old chap of over sixty. He
had been made to dig his own grave, and then was tied to a young tree
and shot. The bullets cut the tree in two just a little above the height
of his waist, and the low wall behind was full of bullet holes.

As nearly as we can learn, the Germans appear to have come through the
town on their way toward Liège. Nothing was supposed to have happened
then, but on the 15th, 16th and 17th, troops came back from Liège and
systematically reduced the place to ruins and dispersed the population.
It was clear that the fires were all set, and there were no evidence of
street fighting. It is said that some two hundred civilians were shot,
and seven hundred men bundled aboard trains and sent back to Germany as
prisoners of war--harmless people like the old chap we saw.

[Illustration: Von Bulow's greeting to the people of Liège

                       A LA POPULATION LIÈGEOISE

    La population d'Andenne, après avoir témoigné des intentions
    pacifiques à légard de nos troupes, les a attaquées de la façon la
    plus traîtresse. Avec mon autorisation, le général qui commandait
    ces troupes a mis la ville en cendres et a fait fusiller 110

    Je porte ce fait à la connaissance de la Villé de Liège pour que ses
    habitants sachent à quel sort ils peuvent s'attandre s'ils prennent
    une attitude semblable.

                                      Liège, le 22 Août 1914

                                           Général von BULOW.



    The population of Andenne, after manifesting peaceful intentions
    toward our troops, attacked them in the most treacherous manner.
    With my authorization the general who commanded these troops has
    reduced the town to ashes and has shot 110 persons.

    I bring this fact to the knowledge of the City of Liège so that its
    people may understand the fate which awaits them if they assume a
    like attitude.]

[Illustration: How the simple pleasures of the German soldier were


    Es ist streng verboten, ohne Genehmigung der Kommandantur, Haüser zu
    betreden oder in Brand zu setzen.

                  Die Etappen-Kommandantur.



    It is strictly forbidden to enter houses or set them on fire without
    the permission of the Kommandantur]

The Burgomaster set out on foot to walk back three kilometers and catch
a tram to Liège, and we went southeast to Dalhem, where we spent the
night at the Château de Dalhem, on a hill overlooking the picturesque
little village snuggled in the bottom of the valley. It was off the main
line of march, and had not suffered. The château belongs to General
Thyss, who was a great friend of the late King Leopold. He was not
there, but the place was being protected by a splendid old dragon in the
shape of a German governess who had been with the family for over thirty
years, and refused to leave when the war broke out. She had been obliged
to lodge a crowd of German officers and some of their men, but held them
down with an iron hand, kept them from doing any damage and made them
pay for every egg and every bottle of wine they had. We arrived after
dark and threw the place into a panic of fear, but Monsieur Francqui
soon reassured everybody, and the place was lighted up and placed at our
disposal in short order.

Although it was pitch dark when we arrived, it was only half past four
and we set out on foot to stretch a little. The moon came out and
lighted our way through the country roads. We tramped for a couple of
hours through all sorts of little towns and villages and groups of
houses, some of them wiped out and some hardly touched.

General Thyss's cellars are famous, and with our dinner of soup and
bacon and eggs, we had some of the finest Burgundy I have ever tasted.
Early to bed so that we could be up and off at daybreak.

Friday morning we were away early, and made for Herve, where I had never
been before. It is a ruin with a few natives and a lot of Landsturm
left. We talked to some peasants and to an old priest who gave us
something to think about in their stories of happenings there during and
after the occupation of their homes. From there to Liège, by way of a
lot of little villages whose names I don't remember, but whose condition
was pretty bad, past the fort of Fléron and the defensive works that are
being put up there.

Wasted some time trying to get gasoline for the other motors, and then
the long stretch to Namur, down the valley of the Meuse, and stopped
long enough for a look at Andennes, my second visit to the place.

In Andenne and Seilles (a little village across the Meuse) the Germans
did a thorough job. They killed about three hundred people and burned
about the same number of houses. Most of the houses had been looted
systematically. According to the stories of those inhabitants who
remain, there was a reign of terror for about a week, during which the
Germans rendered themselves guilty of every sort of atrocity and
barbarity. They are all most positive that there was no firing upon the
German troops by the civil population. It seems to be generally believed
that the massacre was due to resistance of retiring Belgian troops and
the destruction of bridges and tunnels to cover their retreat. Whatever
the provocation, the behaviour of the Germans was that of savages. We
were shown photographs showing the corpses of some of those killed. It
was to be inferred that they had been wantonly mutilated.

Had lunch at an hotel across the street from the station. After a hasty
lunch we made off to Dinant, still following the Meuse. The thin line of
houses down the course of the river were thinner than they were a few
months ago, and there were signs of suffering and distress everywhere. I
had never been to Dinant before, but had seen pictures of it and thought
I had an idea of what we were going to see. But the pictures did not
give a hint of the horror of the place. The little town, which must have
been a gem, nestled at the foot of a huge gray cliff, crowned with the
obsolete fort, which was not used or attacked. The town is _gone_. Part
of the church is standing, and the walls of a number of buildings, but
for the most part, there is nothing but a mess of scattered bricks to
show where the houses had stood. And why it was done, we were not able
to learn, for everybody there says that there was no fighting in the
town itself. We heard stories, too, and such stories that they can
hardly be put on paper. Our three guests were more and more impressed as
we went on. The bridge was blown up and had fallen into the river, and
as we had little time to make the rest of our day's journey, we did not
wait to cross by the emergency bridge farther up the river. While we
were standing talking to a schoolmaster and his father by the destroyed
bridge, seven big huskies with rifles and fixed bayonets came through,
leading an old man and a woman who had been found with a camera in
their possession. At first there was no objection raised to the taking
of photographs, but now our friends are getting a little touchy about
it, and lock up anybody silly enough to get caught with kodaks or

According to what we were told, the Germans entered the town from the
direction of Ciney, on the evening of August 21st, and began firing into
the windows of the houses. The Germans admit this, but say that there
were French troops in the town and this was the only way they could get
them out. A few people were killed, but there was nothing that evening
in the nature of a general massacre. Although the next day was
comparatively quiet, a good part of the population took refuge in the
surrounding hills.

On Sunday morning, the 23rd, the German troops set out to pillage and
shoot. They drove the people into the street, and set fire to their
houses. Those who tried to run away were shot down in their tracks. The
congregation was taken from the church, and fifty of the men were shot.
All the civilians who could be rounded up were driven into the big
square and kept there until evening. About six o'clock the women were
lined up on one side of the square and kept in line by soldiers. On the
other side, the men were lined up along a wall, in two rows, the first
kneeling. Then, under command of an officer, two volleys were fired into
them. The dead and wounded were left together until the Germans got
round to burying them, when practically all were dead. This was only one
of several wholesale executions. The Germans do not seem to contradict
the essential facts, but merely put forward the plea that most of the
damage was incidental to the fighting which took place between the armed
forces. Altogether more than eight hundred people were killed. Six
hundred and twelve have been identified and given burial. Others were
not recognisable. I have one of the lists which are still to be had,
although the Germans have ordered all copies returned to them. Those
killed ranged in age from Félix Fivet, aged three weeks, to an old woman
named Jadot, who was eighty. But then Félix probably fired on the German


                    AUX HABITANTS DE LA BELGIQUE

    Le Maréchal Von der Goltz fait connaître aux Populations de Belgique
    qu'il est informé par les Généraux Commandants les troupes
    d'occupation sur le territoire français, que le choléra sévit avec
    intensité dans les troupes alliées, et qu'il y a le plus grand
    danger à franchir ces lignes, ou à pénétrer dans le territoire

    Nous invitons les Populations de Belgique à ne pas entreìndre cet
    avis, et ceux qui croiraient ne pas devoir se soumettre à cet avis,
    seront traduits devant les Officiers de la Justice Impériale, et
    nous les prévenons que la peine peut-être celle de mort.

                             Maréchal Von der Goltz
    Septembre 1914


    Field-Marshal von der Goltz announces to the Belgian population that
    he is informed by the Generals commanding the troops occupying
    French territory that cholera is raging fiercely among the allied
    troops and that there is the greatest danger in crossing the lines
    or entering enemy territory.

    We call upon the Belgian population not to infringe this notice.
    Those who do not comply with this notice will be brought before the
    Imperial Officers of Justice and we warn them that the penalty of
    death may be inflicted upon them.]

There is no end to the stories of individual atrocities. One is that
Monsieur Wasseige, director of one of the banks, was seized by the
Germans, who demanded that he should open the safes. He flatly refused
to do this, even under threat of death. Finally he was led with his two
eldest sons to the Place d'Armes and placed with more than one hundred
others, who were then killed with machine guns. Monsieur Wasseige's
three youngest children were brought to the spot by German soldiers, and
compelled to witness the murder of their father and two brothers.

From Dinant we struck across country through Phillipeville and some
little by-roads to Rance, where we were expected at the house of G.
D----. He and his wife and their little girl of five had just returned
that morning to receive us, but the place was brightly lighted and as
completely prepared as though they had been there all the time. It was a
lovely old place, and we were soon made comfortable. German officers
have occupied it most of the time, and it required a good deal of
cleaning and repairing after they left, but fortunately this work had
just been completed, and we had a chance to enjoy the place before any
more enforced guests appeared. One of the Imperial princelings had been
there for one night, and his name was chalked on the door of his room.
He had been _très aimable_, and when he left had taken D----'s motor
with him.

We took a tramp around the town in a biting wind, and looked at some of
the houses of our neighbours. Some of them were almost wrecked after
having served as quarters for troops for varying periods. From others
all the furniture had been taken away and shipped back to Germany. One
man showed us a card which he had found in the frame of one of his best
pictures. It was the card of a German officer, and under the name was
written an order to send the picture to a certain address in Berlin. The
picture was gone, but the frame and card were still there and are being
kept against the day of reckoning--if any. We were shown several little
safes which had been pried open and looted, and were told the usual set
of stories of what had happened when the army went through. Some of the
things would be hard to believe if one did not hear them from the lips
of people who are reliable and who live in such widely separated parts
of the country at a time when communications are almost impossible.

We had a good and ingeniously arranged dinner. All sorts of ordinary
foods are not to be had in this part of the country, and our hostess
had, by able thinking, arranged a meal which skillfully concealed the
things that were lacking. Among other things, I observed that we had a
series of most delicious wines--for our host of that evening also had a
wonderful cellar. They had told us just before dinner that the Germans
had taken an inventory of their wines and had forbidden them to touch
another drop, so I wondered whether they were not incurring some risk in
order to give us the wine that they considered indispensable. When I
asked our hostess, she told me that it was very simple, that all they
needed to do was to drink a part of several bottles, refill them
partially with water, seal them, and put them back in the cellars; she
said scornfully that "_les Boches_ don't know one wine from another,"
and had not yet been able to detect the fraud. They had a lot of cheap
champagne in the cellar and had been filling them up with that, as they
prefer any champagne to the best vintage Burgundies. Once in a while
there is a little satisfaction reserved for a Belgian.

We were called at daybreak and were on the road at eight o'clock, taking
in a series of small villages which had been destroyed, and talking with
the few people to be found about the place. This part of Belgium is far
worse than the northern part, where the people can get away with
comparative ease to one of the larger towns and come back now and then
to look after their crops. Here one village after another is wiped out,
and the peasants have no place to go unless they travel so far that
there is no hope of returning, perhaps for months together. It will be a
great problem to provide shelter for these people so that they can

We cut through Beaumont, and then took the main road to Mons, where we
arrived in the middle of the morning. On the way we had heard that the
English nurses had not yet been released, so I made for the military
headquarters and saw the commandant. It was evident that they had been
hauled over the coals for the way they had behaved when Jack was there,
for I never saw such politeness in any headquarters. I was preceded by
bowing and unctuous soldiers and non-commissioned officers, all the way
from the door to the Presence, and was received by the old man standing.
He was most solicitous for my comfort and offered me everything but the
freedom of the city. He said that he had not received a word of
instructions until a few minutes before my arrival, but that he was now
able to give the young ladies their liberty and turn them over to me. In
order to get them, I was prayed to go over to the headquarters of the
military governor of the Province, and an officer was assigned to
accompany me. While we were there, the officer who had been so insulting
to Jack and to Miss Hozier came into the room, took one look at us, and
scuttled for safety. We heard afterward that he had been ordered to
apologise for his behaviour.

At the door of the Provincial headquarters I found another car flying
the Legation flag, and Monsieur de Leval came charging out into my arms.
There had been a pretty hot time about the nurses and he had finally
been sent down to get them out. In a few minutes we had them sitting on
a bench in the Governor's office, while Kracker, who used to be one of
the Secretaries of the German Legation here, was making out their
_laisser-passers_ to come to Brussels. They were a happy crowd, but
pretty well done up by the treatment they had had.

When they were all fixed I went in and asked for the release of Miss
Bradford, another English nurse, who had been in prison in Mons and
Charleroi for the past five weeks. I learned of her imprisonment almost
by accident while we were waiting for the passports. After some argument
it was granted, and I went with a soldier to the prison to get her out.
I had not expected to find anything very luxurious, but I was shocked
when I saw the place. It was the most severe, repressive penitentiary in
the country--still filled with common criminals--and the English nurse
was given the same treatment and rations as the worst murderer of the
lot. There was the usual row with the man in charge of the place, and
finally a soldier was despatched, to tell the young woman she could get
ready to go. While she was getting ready, the director of the prison
took me around and showed me with great pride things that made me
shiver. He said, however, that it was an outrage to put a woman in such
a place. The prisoners who do the work of the prison were going about
the corridors under guard, each one wearing a dirty brown mask covering
his entire head, and with only the smallest of slits for his eyes. They
are never allowed to see each other's faces or to speak to one another.
I was taken up to the chapel, where each man is herded into a little box
like a confessional and locked in so that he cannot see his neighbour,
and can only look up toward the raised altar in the centre, where he can
see the priest. The school was arranged in the same way, and was shown
with equal pride. I fear the jailer thought me lacking in appreciation.

I finally got the young woman out, nearly hysterical, and took her up to
the headquarters, and from there to the hotel, where Monsieur de Leval
had gathered his charges for luncheon. They were rapidly recovering
their old-time spirits, and were chattering away like a lot of magpies.

While I was fussing about with them, I had sent my friends and
fellow-travellers ahead, and now left the flock of nurses in the hands
of Monsieur de Leval, to be conveyed by tram back to Brussels, while I
tried to catch up with my party at the château of Monsieur Warroqué, at
Mariemont. I made as much speed as my little car was capable of, but it
was nearly two o'clock when I arrived.

The old château of Mariemont is one of those built by Louis XIV, when he
set out to have one for each month of the year. This was his place for
August. It had been destroyed, and the new one is built near the ruins,
but the large park is as it has been for a long time, and a lovely place
it is. There were about twenty at table when we arrived, and places were
ready for us. More fine wines, and this time to show that we were in the
house of a connoisseur, the flunky, in pouring out the precious stuff,
would whisper in your ear the name and vintage. Warroqué owns a lot of
the coal mines and other properties and is apparently greatly loved by
the people. When the Germans came, they seized him as a hostage, but the
people became so threatening that he was released. How many men in his
position could have counted on that much devotion?

Immediately after luncheon we shoved off and made through the rain for
Charleroi, where we took a look at the damage done to the town. It was
already dark and we then turned toward Brussels and burned up the road,
getting to the Legation at half-past six, to find all the nurses sitting
up, having tea with Mrs. Whitlock and the Minister.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, December 10, 1914_--Yesterday afternoon we received the call
of General Freiherr von Bissing, Governor General in Belgium, and of
General Freiherr von Kraewel, Military Governor of Brussels. They were
accompanied by their suites in full regalia. The military men were most
affable, but we did not get any farther than tea and cigarettes. They
talked mournfully of the war and said they wished to goodness the whole
thing was over. It was a great contrast to the cock-sure talk at the
beginning of the war. Von Bissing said that there were hospitals in
every village in Germany and that they were all filled with wounded. It
is becoming clearer every day that the Germans, as well as others, are
getting thoroughly sick and tired of the whole business and would give a
lot to end it.

A little while ago the _London Times_ cost as high as two hundred
francs. It has been going down steadily, until it can be had now for
four francs and sometimes for as little as two. The penalties are very
severe, but the supply keeps up, although the blockade runners are being
picked up every day.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, December 11, 1914_.--This afternoon late B---- brought an
uncle to see me, to talk about conditions in France between the Belgian
frontier and the German lines. Those poor people cannot, of course, get
anything from the heart of France, and as the Belgian frontier is closed
tight by the Germans, they are already starving. It looks very much as
though we should have to extend the scope of our work, so as to look
after them, too. We hear very little news from that part of the country,
but from what we do hear, conditions must be frightful. In one little
town Mr. K---- came through, only twenty out of five hundred houses are
said to be standing. He says that the people are not permitted to leave
the place and are living in the cellars and ruins in great misery and
practically without food.

Out of a clear sky comes a new trouble for the country. The German
Government has come down with a demand for money on a scale that leaves
them speechless. The Belgians are ordered to make a forced payment each
month of forty millions of francs, for twelve months. The two first
payments are to be made by the 15th of next month, and the subsequent
installments on the 10th of succeeding months. It is a staggering total,
but the German authorities are deaf to appeals, and the Provinces will
have to get together and raise the money in some way.

[Publisher's note: An entry from a later part of Mr. Gibson's journal
gives a picture of the Belgian spirit under German rule and one of the
few methods of retaliation they had against German oppression.

     The Belgians are getting a good deal of quiet pleasure these days
     from a clandestine newspaper called _La Libre Belgique_ which is
     published almost in the shadow of the Kommandantur. It is a little
     four-page paper that is published "every now and then" and says
     anything it likes about the "Occupant." It also publishes news and
     texts that are barred from the censored press. It is distributed in
     a mysterious way that still has the Germans guessing, although they
     have detailed their cleverest sleuths to the task of hunting down
     the paper and those responsible for its publication. Every number
     is delivered to all the more important German officials in Brussels
     and, more remarkable still, it appears without fail upon the desk
     of the Governor-General--in that sanctum guarded like the vaults of
     the Bank of England. Sometimes it appears in the letter-box in the
     guise of a letter from Germany; sometimes it is thrown in the
     window; sometimes it is delivered by an orderly with a bundle of
     official despatches; sometimes it merely appears from nowhere. But
     it never fails to reach the Governor-General. He never fails to
     read it and to wax wroth over its contents. Large rewards have been
     offered for information about the people who are writing and
     printing the paper. The Germans rage publicly, which only adds to
     the pleasure that the Belgians get from their little enterprise.

     My copy reaches me regularly and always in some weird way as in the
     case of the Germans. I don't know who my friend is that sends me
     the paper. Whoever he is I am much obliged.]

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, December 14, 1914_--Yesterday afternoon late, after a session
at C.R.B.[10] headquarters, I dropped in for a cup of tea with Baronne
Q----. There was a fine circle of gossip and I learned all the spicy
stuff. The husband of Mme. de F---- had been in prison for a month,
having been pulled out of a motor on his way to the frontier, and found
with letters on him. He got out on Thursday and they are quite proud of
themselves. They were having a fine time discussing the predicament of
the H---- family. The Countess was arrested last week because she, too,
was caught carrying letters. She was released from prison and allowed to
return home. Now the Germans have placed sentries before the house and
allow no one to enter or leave: The old gentleman is also locked up
there. The servants have been driven out, and are not even permitted to
bring meals to their _patrons_, who are dependent on what they are given
to eat by the German soldiers. There is no charge against them at
present, so they have no idea as to how long the present charming
situation will last. There was a great amount of gossip and the right
amount of tea and cakes, so I had an enjoyable half hour.

[Footnote 10: Commission for Relief in Belgium. This name was given the
original American Relief Committee within a few weeks of its

Yesterday morning Grant-Watson was put aboard a train and taken to
Berlin, where he is to be guarded as a prisoner of war. It is all most
outrageous, as Lancken definitely promised that he would not be
molested. Moral: get just as far away from these people as you can,
while you can, in the knowledge that if they "change their mind,"
promises won't count.

Jeffes is left here for the present and may be released. We shall try to
get him off, but in view of what has already happened, cannot be very
confident. Jeffes is philosophical and uncomplaining, but naturally is
not very happy.

           *           *           *           *           *

[Illustration: Appeal of the Queen of the Belgians for help from

    I have learned with gratification of the noble and effective work
    being done by American citizens and officials on behalf of my
    stricken people. I confidently hope that their efforts will receive
    that ungrudging support which we have learned to expect from the
    generous womanhood of America.

    We mothers of Belgium no less than the mothers of America have for
    generations instilled in our children the instincts and the love of
    peace. We asked no greater boon than to live in peace and friendship
    with all the world. We have provoked no war, yet in defense of our
    hearthstones, our country has been laid waste from end to end.

    The flow of commerce has ceased and my people are faced with famine.
    The terrors of starvation with its consequences of disease and
    violence menace the unoffending civilian population--the aged, the
    infirm, the women and the children.

    American officials and citizens in Belgium and England, alive to
    their country's traditions, have created an organization under the
    protection of their government and are already sending food to my
    people. I hope that they may receive the fullest sympathy and aid
    from every side.

    I need not say that I and my people shall always hold in grateful
    remembrance the proven friendship of America in this hour of need.


_Brussels, Sunday, December 20, 1914_--Jack got off to London yesterday
after a visit of six weeks. Had it not been for the nearness of
Christmas and the knowledge that he was needed at home, he would have
been prepared to stay on indefinitely. His grief at leaving was genuine.
He invested heavily in flowers and chocolates for the people who had
been nice to him, endowed all the servants, and left amid the cheers and
sobs of the populace. He is a good sort, and I was sorry to see him go.
By this time he is probably sitting up in London, telling them all about

To-day I went up to Antwerp to bring back our old motor. Left a little
before noon, after tidying up my desk, and took my two Spanish
colleagues, San Esteban and Molina, along for company. I had the passes
and away we went by way of Malines, arriving in time for a late lunch.

Antwerp is completely Germanised already. We heard hardly a word of
French anywhere--even the hotel waiters speaking only hotel French. The
crowd in the restaurant of the Webber was exclusively German, and there
was not a word of French on the menu.

The Germans took over the garage where our car was left the day they
came in, and there I discovered what was left of the old machine. The
sentries on guard at the door reluctantly let us in, and the poor
proprietor of the garage led us to the place where our car has stood
since the fall of Antwerp. The soldiers have removed two of the tires,
the lamps, cushions, extra wheels, speedometer, tail lights, tool box,
and had smashed most of the other fixings they could not take off. In
view of the fact that my return trip to Brussels at the time of the
bombardment was for the purpose of bringing the plans of the city to the
Germans, so that they would have knowledge of the location of the public
monuments and could spare them, it seems rather rough that they should
repay us by smashing our motor. I think we shall make some remarks to
them to this effect to-morrow, and intimate that it is up to them to
have the car repaired and returned to us in good shape.

The first group of Americans to work on the relief came into Belgium
this month. They are, for the most part, Rhodes Scholars who were at
Oxford, and responded instantly to Hoover's appeal. They are a picked
crew, and have gone into the work with enthusiasm. And it takes a lot of
enthusiasm to get through the sort of pioneer work they have to do. They
have none of the thrill of the fellows who have gone into the flying
corps or the ambulance service. They have ahead of them a long winter of
motoring about the country in all sorts of weather, wrangling with
millers and stevedores, checking cargoes and costs, keeping the peace
between the Belgians and the German authorities, observing the rules of
the game toward everybody concerned, and above all, keeping neutral. It
is no small undertaking for a lot of youngsters hardly out of college,
but so far they have done splendidly.

The one I see the most of is Edward Curtis, who sails back and forth to
Holland as courier of the Commission. He was at Cambridge when the war
broke out, and after working on Hoover's London Committee to help
stranded Americans get home, he came on over here and fell to. He exudes
silence and discretion, but does not miss any fun or any chance to
advance the general cause. Of course it is taking the Germans some time
to learn his system. He is absolutely square with them, and gets a
certain amount of fun out of their determined efforts to find some sort
of contraband on him. They can hardly conceive of his being honest, and
think his seeming frankness is merely an unusually clever dodge to cover
up his transgressions.

           *           *           *           *           *

[Illustration: Julius Van Hee, American Vice-Consul at Ghent]

[Illustration: Lewis Richards]

[Illustration: A Brussels soup-kitchen run by volunteers]

[Illustration: Meals served to the children in the schools]

_Brussels, December 21, 1914_.--Yesterday Brussels awoke from the calm
in which it had been plunged for some time, when a couple of French
aviators came sailing overhead and dropped six bombs on the railroad
yards at Etterbeck. I was away at Antwerp and did not see it, but
everybody else of the population of 700,000 Bruxellois did, and each one
of them has given me a detailed account of it. The German forces did
their level best to bring the bird men down with shrapnel, but they were
flying high enough for safety. They seem to have hit their mark and torn
up the switches, etc., in a very satisfactory way. For three or four
days we have been hearing the big guns again, each day more distinctly;
but we don't know what it means. The Germans explain it on the ground
that they are testing guns.

Mr. and Mrs. Hoover arrived last night, bringing Frederick Palmer with
them. We dined together at the Palace. They were full of news, both war
and shop, and I sat and talked with them until after eleven, greatly to
the prejudice of my work. Had to stay up and grind until nearly two.

Curtis, who came back last night, says that Jack was arrested at Antwerp
on his way out, because he had Folkstone labels on his bags. It took him
so long to explain away his suspicious belongings that he barely caught
the last train from Rosendaal to Flushing. He seems to be destined to a
certain amount of arrest now and then.

Hoover turned up at the Legation this morning at a little after nine,
and he and the Minister and I talked steadily for three hours and a

Despite the roar of work at the Legation, I went off after lunch with
Mrs. Whitlock and did some Xmas shopping--ordered some flowers and
chocolates. Went out and dropped Mrs. Whitlock at Mrs. B----'s, to help
decorate the tree she is going to have for the English children here.
B---- is a prisoner at Ruhleben, and will probably be there
indefinitely, but his wife is a trump. She had a cheery letter from him,
saying that he and his companions in misery had organised a theatrical
troupe, and were going soon to produce _The Importance of Being

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, Christmas, 1914_--- This is the weirdest Christmas that ever
was--with no one so much as thinking of saying "Merry Christmas."
Everything is so completely overshadowed by the war, that had it not
been for the children, we should have let it go unnoticed.

Yesterday evening there was a dinner at the Legation--Bicknell, Rose and
James, the Hoovers and Frederick Palmer. Although there was a bunch of
mistletoe over the table, it did not seem a bit Christmasy, but just an
ordinary good dinner with much interesting talk.

Immediately after lunch we climbed into the big car and went out to
Lewis Richards' Christmas tree. He has a big house at the edge of town,
with grounds which were fairy-like in the heavy white frost. He had
undertaken to look after 660 children, and he did it to the Queen's
taste. They were brought in by their mothers in bunches of one hundred,
and marched around the house, collecting things as they went. In one
room each youngster was given a complete outfit of warm clothes. In
another, some sort of a toy which he was allowed to choose. In another,
a big bag of cakes and candies, and, finally, they were herded into the
big dining-room, where they were filled with all sorts of Xmas food.
There was a big tree in the hall, so that the children, in their
triumphal progress, merely walked around the tree. Stevens had painted
all the figures and the background of an exquisite _crèche_, with an
electric light behind it, to make the stars shine. The children were
speechless with happiness, and many of the mothers were crying as they
came by.

Since the question of food for children became acute here, Richards has
been supplying rations to the babies in his neighbourhood. The number
has been steadily increasing, and for some time he has been feeding over
two hundred youngsters a day. He has been very quiet about it, and
hardly anyone has known what he was doing.

It is cheering to see a man who does so much to comfort others; not so
much because he weighs the responsibility of his position and fortune,
but because he has a great-hearted sympathy and instinctively reaches
out to help those in distress. Otherwise the day was pretty black, but
it did warm the cockles of my heart to find this simple American putting
some real meaning into Christmas for these hundreds of wretched people.
He also gave it a deeper meaning for the rest of us.

           *           *           *           *           *

_Brussels, December 31, 1914_--Here is the end of the vile old year. We
could see it out with rejoicing, if there were any prospect of 1915
bringing us anything better. But it doesn't look very bright for


_The extracts from this journal have been so voluminous as to preclude
bringing the record much farther than the end of 1914. In the main the
story of 1915-1916 is in the development of the Commission for Relief in
Belgium and the new light shed each day upon German methods and
mentality. It is a long story and could not be crowded between the
covers of this volume. There is, however, one outstanding event in
1915--the case of Miss Edith Cavell--which is of such interest and so
enlightening as to conditions in Belgium under German domination as to
warrant its inclusion in this book. At the risk, therefore, of appearing
disconnected it has been decided to publish as a final chapter an
article in regard to the case of Miss Cavell which has already appeared
in the "World's Work."_

On August 5, 1915, Miss Edith Cavell, an Englishwoman, directress of a
large nursing home at Brussels, was quietly arrested by the German
authorities and confined in the prison of St. Gilles on the charge that
she had aided stragglers from the Allied armies to escape across the
frontier from Belgium to Holland, furnishing them with money, clothing
and information concerning the route to be followed. It was some time
before news of Miss Cavell's arrest was received by the American
Legation, which was entrusted with the protection of British interests
in the occupied portion of Belgium. When the Minister at Brussels
received a communication from the Ambassador at London transmitting a
note from the Foreign Office stating that Miss Cavell was reported to
have been arrested and asking that steps be taken to render her
assistance, Mr. Whitlock immediately addressed a note to the German
authorities asking whether there was any truth in the report of Miss
Cavell's arrest and requesting authorisation for Maître Gaston de Leval,
the legal counselor of the Legation, to consult with Miss Cavell and, if
desirable, entrust some one with her defense.

No reply was received to this communication, and on September 10th the
Legation addressed a further note to Baron von der Lancken, Chief of the
Political Department, calling his attention to the matter and asking
that he enable the Legation to take such steps as might be necessary for
Miss Cavell's defense.

On September 12th a reply was received from Baron von der Lancken in
which it was stated that Miss Cavell had been arrested on August 5th and
was still in the military prison of St. Gilles. The note continued:

     She has herself admitted that she concealed in her house French and
     English soldiers, as well as Belgians of military age, all desirous
     of proceeding to the front. She has also admitted having furnished
     these soldiers with the money necessary for their journey to
     France, and having facilitated their departure from Belgium by
     providing them with guides, who enabled them to cross the Dutch
     frontier secretly.

     Miss Cavell's defense is in the hands of the advocate Braun, who, I
     may add, is already in touch with the competent German authorities.

     In view of the fact that the Department of the Governor-General, as
     a matter of principle, does not allow accused persons to have any
     interviews whatever, I much regret my inability to procure for M.
     de Leval permission to visit Miss Cavell as long as she is in
     solitary confinement.

Under the provisions of international law the American Minister could
take no action while the case was before the courts. It is an elementary
rule that the forms of a trial must be gone through without interference
from any source. If, when the sentence has been rendered, it appears
that there has been a denial of justice, the case may be taken up
diplomatically, with a view to securing real justice. Thus in the early
stages of the case the American Minister was helpless to interfere. All
that he could do while the case was before the courts was to watch the
procedure carefully and be prepared with a full knowledge of the facts
to see that a fair trial was granted.

Maître de Leval communicated with Mr. Braun, who said that he had been
prevented from pleading before the court on behalf of Miss Cavell, but
had asked his friend and colleague, Mr. Kirschen, to take up the case.
Maître de Leval then communicated with Mr. Kirschen, and learned from
him that lawyers defending prisoners before German military courts were
not allowed to see their clients before the trial and were shown none of
the documents of the prosecution. It was thus manifestly impossible to
prepare any defense save in the presence of the court and during the
progress of the trial. Maître de Leval, who from the beginning to the
end of the case showed a most serious and chivalrous concern for the
welfare of the accused, then told Mr. Kirschen that he would endeavour
to be present at the trial in order to watch the case. Mr. Kirschen
dissuaded him from attending the trial on the ground that it would only
serve to harm Miss Cavell rather than help her; that the judges would
resent the presence of a representative of the American Legation.
Although it seems unbelievable that any man of judicial mind would
resent the presence of another bent solely on watching the course of
justice, Mr. Kirschen's advice was confirmed by other Belgian lawyers
who had defended prisoners before the German military courts and spoke
with the authority of experience. Mr. Kirschen promised, however, to
keep Maître de Leval fully posted as to all the developments of the case
and the facts brought out in the course of the trial.

[Illustration: German proclamation announcing the execution of Miss


    Le Tribunal de Conseil de Guerre Impérial Allemand siègent à Bruxelles
    a prononcé les condamnations suivantes:

    Condamné à mort pour trahison en bande organisé:

    Edith CAVAELL, Institutrice à Bruxelles.
    Philippe BANCQ, Architecte à Bruxelles.
    Jeanne de BELLEVILLE, de Montignies.
    Louise THUILIEZ, Professeur à Lille.
    Louis SEVERIN, Pharmacien à Bruxelles.
    Albert LIBIEZ, Avocat à Mons.

    Pour le même motif, ont été condamnés à quince ans de travaux forcés:

    Hermann CAPIAU, Ingénieur à Wasmes.--Ada BODART, à Bruxelles--Georges
    DERVEAU, Pharmacien à Paturages.--Mary de Croy, à Bellignies.

    Dans la même séance, le Conseil de Guerre a prononcé contre dix-sept
    autres accusés de trahison envers les Armées Impériales, des
    comdamnations de travaux forcés et de prison variant entre deux ans
    et huit ans.

    En ce qui concerne BANCQ et Edith CAVELL, le jugement a déjà reçu
    pleine exécution.

    Le Général Gouverneur de Bruxelles porte ces faits à la connaissance
    de public pour qu'ils servent d'avertissement.


    The Imperial German Court Martial sitting at Brussels has pronounced
    the following sentence:

    Condemned to death for treason committed as an organized band:

    Edith Cavell, teacher, of Brussels.
    Philippe Bancq, Architect, of Brussels.
    Jeanne de Belleville, of Montignies.
    Louise Thuilier, Teacher, of Lille.
    Louis Severin, druggist, of Brussels.
    Albert Libiez, lawyer, of Mons.

    For the same offense the following are condemned to fifteen years of
    hard labor:

    Hermann Capiau, engineer, of Wasmes--Ada Bodart, of Brussels--Georges
    Derveau, druggist, of Paturages--Mary de Croy, of Bellignies.

    At the same session the Court Martial has pronounced sentences of
    hard labor and of imprisonment, varying from two to eight years,
    against seventeen others accused of treason against the Imperial

    As regards Bancq and Edith Cavell, the sentence has already been
    fully carried out.

    The Governor-General brings these facts to the attention of the
    public in order that they may serve as a warning.]

The trial began on Thursday, October 7th, and ended the following day.

On Sunday afternoon the Legation learned from persons who had been
present at the trial some of the facts.

It seems that Miss Cavell was prosecuted for having helped English and
French soldiers, as well as Belgian young men, to cross the frontier
into Holland in order that they might get over to England. She had made
a signed statement admitting the truth of these charges and had further
made public acknowledgment in court. She frankly admitted that not only
had she helped the soldiers to cross the frontier but that some of them
had written her from England thanking her for her assistance. This last
admission made the case more serious for her because if it had been
proven only that she had helped men to cross the frontier into Holland,
she could have been sentenced only for a violation of the passport
regulations, and not for the "crime" of assisting soldiers to reach a
country at war with Germany.

Miss Cavell was tried under Paragraph 58 of the German Military Code,
which says:

     Any person who, with the intention of aiding the hostile Power or
     causing harm to German or allied troops, is guilty of one of the
     crimes of Paragraph 90 of the German Penal Code, will be sentenced
     to death for treason.

The "crime" referred to by Paragraph 90 was that of "conducting soldiers
to the enemy" (viz.: _dem Feinde Mannschaften zuführt_).

It is manifest that this was a strained reading of the provisions of
military law; that a false interpretation was wilfully put upon these
provisions in order to secure a conviction. This law was obviously
framed to cover the case of those who assist stragglers or lost soldiers
to get back to their own lines and join their units. It is doubtful
whether the framers of the military law had foreseen anything so
indirect and unprecedented as that of helping soldiers cross into a
neutral country in the hope that they might find their way back through
two other countries to their own army. Miss Cavell assisted these
soldiers to escape into a neutral country which was bound, if possible,
to apprehend and intern them. If these soldiers succeeded in outwitting
the Dutch authorities and making their way to England, their success
would not, to any fair-minded person, increase the offense committed by
Miss Cavell.

Miss Cavell's conduct before the court was marked by the greatest
frankness and courage. She stated that she had assisted these men to
escape into Holland because she thought that if she had not done so they
would have been seized and shot by the Germans; that she felt that she
had only done her duty in helping to save their lives.

The Military Prosecutor replied that while this argument might be made
concerning English soldiers, it could not apply to Belgians, who were
free to remain in the country without danger. The subsequent behaviour
of the German authorities to the Belgian young men who remained in the
country does not lend any considerable weight to the remarks of the
Public Prosecutor.

In concluding his plea, the Public Prosecutor asked that the court pass
the sentence of death upon Miss Cavell and eight other prisoners among
the thirty-five brought to trial.

Upon ascertaining these facts Maître de Leval called at the Political
Department and asked that, the trial having taken place, permission be
granted him to see Miss Cavell in person, as there could be no further
objection to consultation. Herr Conrad, an official of the Political
Department, who received Maître de Leval, stated that he would make
enquiry of the court and communicate with him later.

The foregoing are the developments up to Sunday night, October 10th.
Subsequent developments are shown by the following extracts from a
journal made at the time:

_Brussels, October 12, 1915_.--When I came in yesterday morning I found
information which seemed to confirm previous reports that Miss Cavell's
trial had been concluded on Saturday afternoon and that the prosecution
had asked that the death sentence be imposed. Monsieur de Leval promptly
called the Political Department over the telephone and talked to Conrad,
repeating our previous requests that he be authorised to see Miss Cavell
in prison. He also asked that Mr. Gahan, the English chaplain, be
permitted to visit her. Conrad replied that it had been decided that Mr.
Gahan could not see her, but that she could see any of the three
Protestant clergymen (Germans) attached to the prison; that de Leval
could not see her until the judgment was pronounced and signed. He said
that as yet no sentence had been pronounced and that there would
probably be a delay of a day or two before a decision was reached. He
stated that even if the judgment of the court had been given, it would
have no effect until it had been confirmed by the Governor, who was
absent from Brussels and would not return for two or possibly three
days. We asked Conrad to inform the Legation immediately upon the
confirmation of the sentence in order that steps might be taken to
secure a pardon if the judgment really proved to be one of capital
punishment. Conrad said he had no information to the effect that the
court had acceded to the request for the death sentence, but promised to
keep us informed. I stood by the telephone and could overhear both de
Leval and Conrad.

Despite the promise of the German authorities to keep us fully posted,
we were nervous and apprehensive and remained at the Legation all day,
making repeated enquiry by telephone to learn whether a decision had
been reached. On each of these occasions the Political Department
renewed the assurance that we would be informed as soon as there was any
news. In order to be prepared for every eventuality, we drew up a
petition for clemency addressed to the Governor-General, and a covering
note addressed to Baron von der Lancken, in order that they might be
presented without loss of time in case of urgent need.

A number of people had been arrested and tried for helping men to cross
into Holland, but, so far as we know, the death sentence had never been
inflicted. The usual thing was to give a sentence of imprisonment in
Germany. The officials at the Political Department professed to be
skeptical as to the reported intention of the court to inflict the death
sentence, and led us to think that nothing of the sort need be

None the less we were haunted by a feeling of impending horror that we
could not shake off. I had planned to ride in the afternoon, but when my
horse was brought around, I had it sent away and stayed near the
telephone. Late in the afternoon de Leval succeeded in getting into
communication with a lawyer interested in one of the accused. He said
that the German Kommandantur had informed him that judgment would be
passed the next morning, Tuesday. He was worried as to what was in store
for the prisoners and said he feared the court would be very severe.

At 6.20 I had Topping (clerk of the Legation) telephone Conrad again.
Once more we had the most definite assurances that nothing had happened
and a somewhat weary renewal of the promise that we should have
immediate information when sentence was pronounced.[11]

[Footnote 11: This was just one hour and twenty minutes after the
sentence had actually been pronounced. There is no need for comment.]

At 8.30 I had just gone home when de Leval came for me in my car, saying
that he had come to report that Miss Cavell was to be shot during the
night. We could hardly credit this, but as our informant was so positive
and insisted so earnestly, we set off to see what could be done.

De Leval had seen the Minister, who was ill in bed, and brought me his
instructions to find von der Lancken, present the appeal for clemency,
and press for a favourable decision. In order to add weight to our
representations, I was to seek out the Spanish Minister to get him to go
with us and join in our appeal. I found him dining at Baron Lambert's,
and on explaining the case to him he willingly agreed to come.

When we got to the Political Department we found that Baron von der
Lancken and all the members of his staff had gone out to spend the
evening at one of the disreputable little theatres that have sprung up
here for the entertainment of the Germans. At first we were unable to
find where he had gone, as the orderly on duty evidently had orders not
to tell, but by dint of some blustering and impressing on him the fact
that Lancken would have cause to regret not having seen us, he agreed to
have him notified. We put the orderly into the motor and sent him off.
The Marquis de Villalobar, de Leval, and I settled down to wait, and we
waited long, for Lancken, evidently knowing the purpose of our visit,
declined to budge until the end of an act that seemed to appeal to him

He came in about 10.30, followed shortly by Count Harrach and Baron von
Falkenhausen, members of his staff. I briefly explained to him the
situation as we understood it and presented the note from the Minister,
transmitting the appeal for clemency. Lancken read the note aloud in our
presence, showing no feeling aside from cynical annoyance at
something--probably our having discovered the intentions of the German

When he had finished reading the note, Lancken said that he knew nothing
of the case, but was sure in any event that no sentence would be
executed so soon as we had said. He manifested some surprise, not to say
annoyance, that we should give credence to any report in regard to the
case which did not come from his Department, that being the only
official channel. Leval and I insisted, however, that we had reason to
believe our reports were correct and urged him to make inquiries. He
then tried to find out the exact source of our information, and became
painfully insistent. I did not propose, however, to enlighten him on
this point and said that I did not feel at liberty to divulge our source
of information.

Lancken then became persuasive--said that it was most improbable that
any sentence had been pronounced; that even if it had, it could not be
put into effect within so short a time, and that in any event all
Government offices were closed and that it was impossible for him to
take any action before morning. He suggested that we all go home
"reasonably," sleep quietly, and come back in the morning to talk about
the case. It was very clear that if the facts were as we believed them
to be, the next morning would be too late, and we pressed for immediate
enquiry. I had to be rather insistent on this point, and de Leval, in
his anxiety, became so emphatic that I feared he might bring down the
wrath of the Germans on his own head, and tried to quiet him. There was
something splendid about the way de Leval, a Belgian with nothing to
gain and everything to lose, stood up for what he believed to be right
and chivalrous, regardless of consequences to himself.

Finally, Lancken agreed to enquire as to the facts, telephoned from his
office to the presiding judge of the court martial, and returned in a
short time to say that sentence had indeed been passed and that Miss
Cavell was to be shot during the night.

We then presented with all the earnestness at our command, the plea for
clemency. We pointed out to Lancken that Miss Cavell's offenses were a
matter of the past; that she had been in prison for some weeks, thus
effectually ending her power for harm; that there was nothing to be
gained by shooting her, and on the contrary this would do Germany much
more harm than good and England much more good than harm. We pointed out
to him that the whole case was a very bad one from Germany's point of
view; that the sentence of death had heretofore been imposed only for
cases of espionage and that Miss Cavell was not even accused by the
German authorities of anything so serious.[12] We reminded him that Miss
Cavell, as directress of a large nursing home, had, since the beginning
of the war, cared for large numbers of German soldiers in a way that
should make her life sacred to them. I further called his attention to
the manifest failure of the Political Department to comply with its
repeated promises to keep us informed as to the progress of the trial
and the passing of the sentence. The deliberate policy of subterfuge and
prevarication by which they had sought to deceive us, as to the progress
of the case, was so raw as to require little comment. We all pointed out
to Lancken the horror of shooting a woman, no matter what her offense,
and endeavoured to impress upon him the frightful effect that such an
execution would have throughout the civilised world. With an
ill-concealed sneer he replied that on the contrary he was confident
that the effect would be excellent.

[Footnote 12: At the time there was no intimation that Miss Cavell was
guilty of espionage. It was only when public opinion had been aroused by
her execution that the German Government began to refer to her as "the
spy Cavell." According to the German statement of the case, there is no
possible ground for calling her a spy.]

[Illustration: Miss Edith Cavell]

[Illustration: Fly-leaf of Miss Cavell's prayer book]

When everything else had failed, we asked Lancken to look at the case
from the point of view solely of German interests, assuring him that the
execution of Miss Cavell would do Germany infinite harm. We reminded him
of the burning of Louvain and the sinking of the _Lusitania_, and told
him that this murder would rank with those two affairs and would stir
all civilised countries with horror and disgust. Count Harrach broke in
at this with the rather irrelevant remark that he would rather see Miss
Cavell shot than have harm come to the humblest German soldier, and his
only regret was that they had not "three or four old English women to

The Spanish Minister and I tried to prevail upon Lancken to call Great
Headquarters at Charleville on the telephone and have the case laid
before the Emperor for his decision. Lancken stiffened perceptibly at
this suggestion and refused, frankly, saying that he could not do
anything of the sort. Turning to Villalobar, he said, "I can't do that
sort of thing. I am not a friend of my Sovereign as you are of yours,"
to which a rejoinder was made that in order to be a good friend, one
must be loyal and ready to incur displeasure in case of need. However,
our arguments along this line came to nothing, but Lancken finally came
to the point of saying that the Military Governor of Brussels was the
supreme authority (_Gerichtsherr_) in matters of this sort and that even
the Governor-General had no power to intervene. After further argument
he agreed to get General von Sauberschweig, the Military Governor, out
of bed to learn whether he had already ratified the sentence and whether
there was any chance for clemency.

Lancken was gone about half an hour, during which time the three of us
laboured with Harrach and Falkenhausen, without, I am sorry to say, the
slightest success. When Lancken returned he reported that the Military
Governor said that he had acted in this case only after mature
deliberation; that the circumstances of Miss Cavell's offense were of
such character that he considered infliction of the death penalty
imperative. Lancken further explained that under the provisions of
German Military Law, the _Gerichtsherr_ had discretionary power to
accept or to refuse to accept an appeal for clemency; that in this case
the Governor regretted that he must decline to accept the appeal for
clemency or any representations in regard to the matter.

We then brought up again the question of having the Emperor called on
the telephone, but Lancken replied very definitely that the matter had
gone too far; that the sentence had been ratified by the Military
Governor, and that when matters had gone that far, "even the Emperor
himself could not intervene."[13]

[Footnote 13: Although accepted at the time as true, this statement was
later found to be entirely false and is understood to have displeased
the Emperor. The Emperor could have stopped the execution at any

He then asked me to take back the note I had presented to him. I at
first demurred, pointing out that this was not an appeal for clemency,
but merely a note to him, transmitting a note to the Governor, which was
itself to be considered the appeal for clemency. I pointed out that this
was especially stated in the Minister's note to him, and tried to
prevail upon him to keep it. He was very insistent, however, and
inasmuch as he had already read the note aloud to us and we knew that he
was aware of its contents, it seemed that there was nothing to be gained
by refusing to accept the note, and I accordingly took it back.

Despite Lancken's very positive statements as to the futility of our
errand, we continued to appeal to every sentiment to secure delay and
time for reconsideration of the case. The Spanish Minister led Lancken
aside and said some things to him that he would have hesitated to say in
the presence of Harrach, Falkenhausen, and de Leval, a Belgian subject.
Lancken squirmed and blustered by turns, but stuck to his refusal. In
the meantime I went after Harrach and Falkenhausen again. This time,
throwing modesty to the winds, I reminded them of some of the things we
had done for German interests at the outbreak of the war; how we had
repatriated thousands of German subjects and cared for their interests;
how during the siege of Antwerp I had repeatedly crossed the lines
during actual fighting at the request of Field Marshal von der Goltz to
look after German interests; how all this service had been rendered
gladly and without thought of reward; that since the beginning of the
war we had never asked a favour of the German authorities and it seemed
incredible that they should now decline to grant us even a day's delay
to discuss the case of a poor woman who was, by her imprisonment,
prevented from doing further harm, and whose execution in the middle of
the night, at the conclusion of a course of trickery and deception, was
nothing short of an affront to civilisation. Even when I was ready to
abandon all hope, de Leval was unable to believe that the German
authorities would persist in their decision, and appealed most
touchingly and feelingly to the sense of pity for which we looked in

Our efforts were perfectly useless, however, as the three men with whom
we had to deal were so completely callous and indifferent that they were
in no way moved by anything that we could say.

[Illustration: Two illustrations titled "Notes in Miss Cavell's prayer

We did not stop until after midnight, when it was only too clear that
there was no hope.

It was a bitter business leaving the place feeling that we had failed
and that the little woman was to be led out before a firing squad within
a few hours. But it was worse to go back to the Legation to the little
group of English women who were waiting in my office to learn the result
of our visit. They had been there for nearly four hours while Mrs.
Whitlock and Miss Lamer sat with them and tried to sustain them through
the hours of waiting. There were Mrs. Gahan, wife of the English
chaplain, Miss B., and several nurses from Miss Cavell's school. One was
a little wisp of a thing who had been mothered by Miss Cavell, and was
nearly beside herself with grief. There was no way of breaking the news
to them gently, for they could read the answer in our faces when we came
in. All we could do was to give them each a stiff drink of sherry and
send them home. De Leval was white as death, and I took him back to his
house. I had a splitting headache myself and could not face the idea of
going to bed. I went home and read for awhile, but that was no good, so
I went out and walked the streets, much to the annoyance of German
patrols. I rang the bells of several houses in a desperate desire to
talk to somebody, but could not find a soul--only sleepy and disgruntled
servants. It was a night I should not like to go through again, but it
wore through somehow and I braced up with a cold bath and went to the
Legation for the day's work.

The day brought forth another loathsome fact in connection with the
case. It seems the sentence on Miss Cavell was not pronounced in open
court. Her executioners, apparently in the hope of concealing their
intentions from us, went into her cell and there, behind locked doors,
pronounced sentence upon her. It is all of a piece with the other things
they have done.

Last night Mr. Gahan got a pass and was admitted to see Miss Cavell
shortly before she was taken out and shot. He said she was calm and
prepared and faced the ordeal without a tremor. She was a tiny thing
that looked as though she could be blown away with a breath, but she had
a great spirit. She told Mr. Gahan that soldiers had come to her and
asked to be helped to the frontier; that knowing the risks they ran and
the risks she took, she had helped them. She said she had nothing to
regret, no complaint to make, and that if she had it all to do over
again, she would change nothing. And most pathetic of all was her
statement that she thanked God for the six weeks she had passed in
prison--the nearest approach to rest she had known for years.

They partook together of the Holy Communion, and she who had so little
need of preparation was prepared for death. She was free from resentment
and said: "I realise that patriotism is not enough. I must have no
hatred or bitterness toward any one."

She was taken out and shot before daybreak.

She was denied the support of her own clergyman at the end, but a German
military chaplain stayed with her and gave her burial within the
precincts of the prison. He did not conceal his admiration and said:
"She was courageous to the end. She professed her Christian faith and
said that she was glad to die for her country. She died like a heroine."

Transcriber's Notes: There are no periods/full stops used for
illustration captions, with 5 exceptions: usually the longer ones.

Following is a list of inconsistently used hyphenated words. They are
left as they were in the book.

  battlefield        battle-field
  businesslike       business-like
  downtown           down-town
  farmhouse          farm-house
  goodwill           good-will
  motorcycle         motor-cycle
  nearby             near-by

*** End of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "A Journal From Our Legation in Belgium" ***

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