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Title: Liége on the Line of March - An American Girl's Experiences When the Germans Came Through Belgium
Author: Bigelow, Glenna Lindsley
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: GLENNA L. BIGELOW]


An American Girl's Experiences When the Germans Came Through Belgium



New York: John Lane Company
London: John Lane, The Bodley Head

Copyright, 1918, by
John Lane Company


    _Multitudes upon multitudes they throng
    And thicken: who shall number their array?
    They bid the peoples tremble and obey:
    Their faces are set forward, all for wrong.
    They trample on the covenant and are strong
    And terrible. Who shall dare to say them nay?
    How shall a little nation bar the way
    Where that resistless host is borne along?_

    _You never thought, O! gallant King, to bow
    To overmastering force and stand aside.
    Safe and secure you might have reigned. But now
    Your Belgium is transfigured, glorified,
    The friend of France and England, who avow
    An Equal here, and thank the men who died._

  _H. M._
  _London Times, August 14, 1914._


Liége on the Line of March, or An American Girl's Experience When the
Germans Came Through Belgium, is a unique story. No other American
probably was in the exact position of Miss Bigelow who was at the
Château d'Angleur, Liége, Belgium, with the family of Monsieur X. at the
outbreak of the war and experienced with them and the people of their
country those tragic events which, up to the present, have hardly even
been sketched for the world.

What the public already knows of armies, guns, trenches, etc., has
little to do with the suffering that the people of an invaded country
endures, when the white-hot flame of the enemy invasion sweeps over the
land scorching every flower and leaving in its wake only desolation and
pain and despair. This narrative describes in detail just what might
come to any one of its readers if the Germans were victorious in Europe.
Let him picture to himself his line of action or even his line of
thought if an insolent officer came into his home, took his paintings
from the wall, his rugs from the floor, his private papers from his
desk and, finally, his sons to--what fate? The most pacific of pacifists
would draw a tight breath at such proceedings. And these are the least
of things that have happened in Belgium.

But the journal was not written with exhortative design. It is the
simple and truthful story of daily events as they occurred; if, at
times, the words seem brutal, the circumstances were brutal. Why should
one not know them?

The Château d'Angleur was respected as far as real pillaging and
destroying were concerned for the fact that a cousin of Monsieur X., a
Belgian by birth, is the wife of the Count von M. of Germany, at one
time Grand Chancellor of the Imperial Court and a trusted friend of
Emperor William the Second. As was proven afterwards this relationship,
surprisingly enough, had some influence on the side of clemency.

Monsieur X. was one of that family of famous Belgian bankers which has
existed for four generations. He was also President of the International
Sleeping Car Company of Europe to which honor he was appointed at the
death of his brother Monsieur Georges X., the originator and founder of
the Company.

Madame X. is a Russian by birth, the great-granddaughter of Prince ----,
who was at one time Grand Chancellor of the Court of Russia, and a
cousin of Princess ----, a lady in waiting to Her Former Majesty the
Czarina of Russia. The daughter of Madame X., Baronne de H., wife of a
Belgian nobleman of Brussels, is a personal friend of Their Majesties,
the King and Queen of Belgium.

Miss Bigelow, though a neutral subject, was nevertheless a virtual
prisoner of the Germans from August to November, 1914, owing to the lack
of facility in getting away from Belgium. The railroad was taken over
entirely by the German Army; automobiles, horses, carriages, etc., being
long since confiscated and appropriated by the Germans. Considerable
anxiety was felt as to her safety as no communication with the outside
world was possible during those three months of internment. Therefore,
her journal was faithfully kept for the benefit of her family and
depicts the comfortable luxurious life of the days preceding August,
1914, the shock of the Declaration of War, the terrific battle of
Sartilmont, three kilometres from the château, which entailed indirectly
the death of Monsieur X. in the early morning of the following day while
the guns were still booming. It also includes the bombardment of Liége
which lasted twelve days, the care of soldiers burned in the forts, the
capture of the city by the Prussians, their brutal shooting of
civilians, the burning of parts of the town and the taking of citizens
as hostages.

The passing of the German army with all its accompanying paraphernalia
that went to the front in the first days is described as it was
photographed on the brain of the writer, looking down from her window,
day after day, onto the highroad.

The journal ends with the attempted withdrawal to Brussels, the final
escape to Holland by the aid of the Dutch Consul of Maestricht, the
journey from Flushing, Holland, to Folkestone, England, to Calais and to
Paris. The last part of this journal will appeal to those who have known
and loved Paris in the old days, and portrays her to the world as the
flower she is, revealing her truth and her worth tho' stripped of that
individual worldliness which was yet a charm.

_Note.--All except German names in the Journal are fictitious._




_July 30th, Thursday._

To-day has been warm, very warm and sultry, a day of surprises,
beginning with the sudden disappearance of Monsieur X.'s trusted head
clerk--a German boy who has been in the office for fifteen years and who
knew every phase of the situation. What reason on earth could he have
had for vanishing like that with all his personal belongings, not
leaving one trace behind to show that such a person had ever been? Odd,
but certainly done with studied thoroughness.

This afternoon we sat at the end of the garden by the little lake,
listless and content to do nothing. The air was ominously still, as I
remember it now, and the sun beat down through a yellow haze. Suddenly,
without the slightest warning, huge drops of rain began to fall. You can
imagine that we scurried up the path as fast as possible, past the old
oak, and reached the terrace just before the very heavens opened in a
flood and a great shaft of lightning, like a sword, swept down from the
sky straight to the oak tree, crushing it completely. My hand trembles a
little as I write tonight--it was the suddenness of the onslaught which
unnerved me, I suppose, for it was a curious thing that there were no
signs of approaching storm except the dull yellow light which we did not
notice then.

There was a small dinner this evening and the table was beautiful as
usual with old silver and candles which shed their warm light about--all
lovely and luxurious. Monsieur R., M.P., did his best to draw out the
political opinions of the party, but conversation, quite contrary to
custom, was fitful. I think every one was a little unstrung by the
afternoon's experience and the air even yet is full of electricity.

During one of the unwelcome pauses of the dinner a motor came panting up
the drive and "Uncle Henri" burst in, virtually hatless and coatless,
fairly bristling with political news and very much annoyed that
something, anything, had wrecked his normal existence for a moment. But
this something which has happened is terribly serious. The French trains
are not going beyond the frontier to-night, and part of "Uncle Henri's"
agitation was due to this fact as he had been obliged to walk a few
hundred yards to get the Belgian train. In the excitement of such an
unheard of proceeding he had plunged ponderously along in the dark and
mud with his fellow-travellers and incidentally lost his luggage and his
valet, the ineradicably English James. Nobody took in the seriousness of
such a strange tale at first, for Uncle Henri is, before all, _très
comédien_. But why was he not in Russia as he was expected to be? Very
good reasons indeed, for it appears that Austria and Serbia and Germany
and Russia are about to jump down each other's throats, according to
widespread rumor. France, too, is writhing in suppressed excitement
which one cannot understand, with conditions growing worse every minute.
It would seem rather left-handed for Germany and Russia to reach around
through France to cross swords.

Timid little Madame N. asked if these things might indicate War.
Everybody scouted the idea and ridiculed the thought of the hard-headed,
common-sense, Western world doing anything so absurd. So we will leave
it to the _diplomats_ to settle the difficulty. I am glad that they can.

_July 31st, Friday._

Yesterday was only a preliminary to the seething in the tea-pot which
exists as to-day's events show--everybody is bewildered at the
tremendous things that have started and the equally tremendous things
that have stopped. What does it all mean? There is the greatest
excitement aroused by the foreign news in the evening papers, announcing
in glaring headlines a diplomatic rupture between Germany and Russia. So
it's true! Probably your seismic stock market has already foretold
coming disturbance, but for Europe it is a positive bomb. Already here
in Liége not more than half of the daily four hundred and eighty trains
have passed the city, and it is reported that none of these go beyond
the frontier.

_August 1st, Saturday._

Today the papers announce the stunning news that Germany has declared
war against Russia. The report must be sufficiently authentic, for, as
if by magic, the Belgian army is already gathering itself together with
an almost superhuman rapidity, proof of which we have had in the masses
of troops that have been passing the château all day. Yesterday, trouble
was a newspaper rumor; today, deadly earnestness. And what excitement
all about! The air is positively charged and the whole community is
agog; people with anxious faces accost each other in the street;
farmers neglect their crops to come into town, bank clerks lay down
their pens and shop doors are beginning to close.

_August 2nd, Sunday._

The world has suddenly become nothing but people, and the transition
from the peaceful, care-free existence of four days ago is so great that
I cannot write intelligently, today, because so much is happening.
Following on His Majesty King Albert's magnificent discourse [_Vive le
roi!_], the spirit of a great and glorious decision has set the empire
in motion. The vast machine moves--though some of the bolts creak and
protest a little in their rusty coats and the earth trembles to the
rhythm of tramping feet. Hundreds of soldiers and cannon have been
passing all night, and this morning routes in every direction are
blockaded by detachments from different regiments. There are uniforms of
all types and colors, the ensemble looking like a variegated bouquet
snatched hurriedly by the wayside; the sorting will come later, one
doesn't ask how. The old farm at the end of the garden has been turned
into a barracks, and recruits are being drilled among the apple trees in
the orchard. The excitement is intense--one treads carefully fearing to
be the first to prick the bubble. The newspapers are disquieting, as it
appears now that Germany will probably declare war against France, too,
and is contemplating passing through Belgium by Namur or Luxembourg to
the French frontier. That is a rather offensive threat, as, of course,
there is the neutrality of Belgium and one cannot get away with that. We
consider ourselves most lucky to be here rather than in France.

A detachment of Belgian soldier boys slept in the stables last night.
Monsieur X. sent them his best cigars, and this morning, as soon as they
tumbled out, they made a straight line for the kitchen whence they
scented hot coffee. The good heart of the old, fat cook, who is a native
of Amsterdam, was melted at once and she gave unsparingly until they
flattered and coaxed her into such a state of bewilderment that even
Dutch patience was at last exhausted when she saw them pouring in and
pouring in and boldly attacking her sumptuous pantries _en masse_.

_August 3rd, Monday._

Preparations for war are going on rapidly; scores of automobiles are
racing past like mad things, carrying Governmental messages no doubt
and the Government itself, by its eternal prerogative, is commandeering
for its use everybody's private property--horses, cows, automobiles,
pigs, merchandise, provisions, etc. And how one gives for one's country!
The men, their goods; the women, their sons. The spirit of the people is
magnificent. Huge loads of hay in long processions like caravans are
coming in from the country along with immense droves of cattle. In the
orchard adjoining the château are already domiciled two hundred or more
cows and the discordant melody from this hoarse-throated chorus,
uninterrupted day or night, is driving us to madness. Indoors, we
ourselves are laying in a supply of things in case of necessity and the
kitchen is piled high with bags of flour, coffee, beans, tinned goods,
etc., and in the pasture is a new cow. Beef will probably be the _pièce
de resistance_ for many a day.

Monsieur X.'s old coiffeur came out from town today. He is French and by
far the most volatile person about the news of the moment that I have
seen. It is like a play to hear him declaim on the situation, but, poor
man, having endured the Siege of Paris for six months in 1870, he
doubtless has recollections. And he makes the most of them as well as of
his dramatic ability, describing in an eloquent manner how he fried
rats in a saucepan, which with some spice and plenty of onion all
around, he admitted, were "_pas mal du tout_." Madame X. herself was in
the "Siege of Paris" in 1870 and is therefore taking thought.

These details of the equipment and provisioning of the army will be as
interesting to you as they are engaging to us here in the midst of it,
for they are not commonly even included in a rapid conception of "War"
though being in reality the biggest part of it.

What masses of convoys and munitions! They must constitute that same
impressive "impedimenta" that one used to read about in Cæsar's Wars
which by its unfailing late arrival constantly threw the old Romans into
such a frightful _dépit_. But happily, in this case, it comes first
instead of last.

The whole world seems to be changing place like sand on a moving disc
and my mind is losing its grip on what is real--it's a curious feeling.
Madame X. and her family, like everybody else, are extremely anxious, as
one would naturally be with his country, his home and his future in
peril, but I, in my superb (what shall I say?) Americanism or optimism,
am sure it will come out all right: nevertheless I feel confused.

_August 4th, Tuesday._

The situation, already grave, has taken a definite turn. Germany is
going to attack France through Belgium. Completely ignoring the
neutrality of the latter, she demands to "just pass through peaceably,"
but being refused permission, so much the worse for those who are in the
road. Personally speaking, I should say we are decidedly in the
road--Aix-la-Chapelle--Liége--Namur. Don't you think the crow would
agree with me?

We saw a charming spectacle this morning if anything connected with war
can be so called,--a little company of _mitrailleuses-à-chien_, that is,
small, shrapnel gun carriages drawn by the famous Belgian dogs. It sort
of made my heart crinkle up to see those magnificent animals, detailed
for fatal duty without doubt, pushing on so joyously. Straining in the
traces and really smiling with their great tongues hanging out, they
were performing their work, proud as Punch, and eager to get on.

In the afternoon we were suddenly startled by the booming of nearby
cannon. I shall never forget the first sound of it! It might have been
the Last Trumpet and we didn't know that it was not. My soul turned sick
and seemed to be tumbling down a fathomless abyss while a pair of
unprejudiced eyes watched its descent. Please do not think I am not
serious--it is a moment when one meets things face to face and the
inevitable is happening. We hear that the firing is for the purpose of
demolishing houses and churches before the forts, which might in any way
obstruct the range of the guns. Did I explain that Liége is encircled by
twelve forts, built about twenty-eight years ago under the personal
direction of Général Brialmont? They are on the same principle as those
of Namur and Bucharest, and are large affairs of concrete, sunk three
stories under ground and furnished with elaborate electrical apparatus.
Covering and protecting the cannon are automatic, armored cupolas,
rising and falling with the modern, disappearing guns. Here is a tiny,
freehand map which will give you an idea of the country as well as the
situation of Château d'A----, where I am and which is just between the
city and the enceinte of forts. A shell overreaching this latter, from
the enemy's field cannon, would, I should say, tumble right into our
"zone." But we do not even admit of such a possibility in speaking to
each other. Isn't it funny how we continue to deceive ourselves and life
is a sham to the last throw?


Général Brialmont warned the Government when the forts were under
construction, that if it could not maintain an army sufficiently strong
to defend the open country between them, he was building them for the
Germans. That statement revived suddenly, gives rise to an apprehension
hitherto unfelt by the _Liégeois_, who have absolute faith in the
impregnability of Liége.

Madame X.'s oldest son, Monsieur S., and his wife, arrived tonight from
France by auto. They would never have been able to get here if Monsieur
S. had not the royal seal on some state papers which he was bringing
from the Belgian Embassy in Paris. Was there ever such a wildly exciting
ride, plunging through two battle lines (French and Belgian) into massed
formations everywhere? Nevertheless Madame S. said she used to fall
asleep from sheer fatigue during the long drives in the blackness of the
night or when they were stopped for hours at a time to identify even a
king's messenger.

_August 5th, Wednesday._

I wonder what you are thinking of events, at home? You will marvel that
I can write at such length when the very skies seem to be pressing down
upon us. But it is the greatest relaxation possible and a kind of
safety valve. It makes me think of some lines of Shakespeare where
different conditions "oft make the wise dumb and teach the fool to
speak." So I write on. The news we get may not be altogether authentic,
as we receive nothing now except by word of mouth. By report it seems
that England, France and Russia are prepared to defend the neutrality of
Belgium with their armies. Liége is now in a state of siege with the
Prussians before the forts. Commerce in the city has ceased completely
with the railroad, telegraph, telephone, post, tramcars, newspapers,
shops and factories. Can you understand what that means? At one time or
another in our lives most of us have been the victim of a social
condition called a "strike"--horribly inconvenient circumstances, when
the mail-man did not come, for instance, or train service was laid off
or the electric light went out for a time. But these instances were all
individual, that is, they happened separately, while here the whole
Universe has shut down together. I could not make you comprehend the
criticalness of our position. I feel as if we were suspended by the
finest thread between heaven and earth, for there is nothing very solid
under our feet and only a sea of ether over our heads. This description
is wholly inadequate to interpret the sensation or the uncertainty. Can
you imagine what it would be like? I cannot exactly say I feel "fear";
perhaps I cannot define fear; but a heaven-sent optimism buoys me up. In
our journeys 'round, having previously experienced cold plunges in the
dark, the fascination of "chance" lets us hope.

"War!" What other lone factor could bring about at the same moment, such
circumstances, the absolute cessation of every living element of our
existence? I know that you will be amused at my sudden plunging into the
psychological realm, but it all makes me wonder. Oh, our dear
civilization and the convenient things we are used to! A puff of smoke,
a hostile shot and they are gone. And here we are, groping like the
veriest savage for a hole to hide in and something to eat. I assure you,
nothing else occupies us for the moment. How is it that the whole house
of cards falls down together? In all these centuries of Struggle and
Learning and Science and Dissent has nobody found a common leaven for

It is not yet decided if we shall go to Brussels considering what is
rather sure to happen. Several days ago large quantities of gasoline
were buried in the garden under the shrubbery in the event of our
leaving quickly by automobile. However, Brussels is an open city and it
is a question if we would be as well off there as here in this strongly
fortified place.

But Dieu! If they do come--? There is the sub-cellar of the château
whose fine arches and solid vaulting two hundred years old, would hold
even if the house were burned down about our ears. But no! To be
suffocated under burning ruins, no, no! We will not think of that!

A moment of reckless mirth assails me: I want to scream! I feel like the
fair Dido mounting her funeral pyre.

One other hiding place has been thought of. Up in the woods on the
hill-side is a long tunnel about four feet in diameter which conducts a
tiny mountain stream down to the lake. It is dark and wet. Could we stay
there on our knees in the water for many hours, perhaps days? Heavens!
It is unthinkable. Let us die in the open, if die we must.

I am writing this morning in my room, which looks out on the highroad
and the hurrying troops. It is not a time that one would choose for
composition, but I want you to get as vivid an impression as possible of
events as they occur, _et enfin_, I must do something. The booming of
cannon has commenced again, which is sufficiently frequent and of a
certain terrifying decision to assure us that fighting has really

This ceased during the early evening and we went to bed in peace. That
is, we went to bed. Madame X.'s oldest son was detailed for sentinel
duty on the little road at the side of the château leading up to the
plateau from where the sound of guns came during the day. Monsieur J.,
the other son, with a friend of his, was carrying messages from one fort
to another in his auto, miraculously scooting between the shots.

About 10 P. M. we were violently awakened by furious sounds of
shots in the distance which must have been rifle fire and which grew
more and more distinct, gradually becoming incessant like a long,
uninterrupted drum roll--the machine guns, I suppose. These frightful
noises, increased in volume by the minute and coming on and on in our
direction, were shortly right over the hill above us. The bullets rained
like hail and shells shrieked and split the universe from end to end. We
lay in our beds, trembling, while utter terror seized us as the fracas
would subside a little and then roll nearer and nearer in a perfect
deluge of horrible sounds. Suddenly in the middle of it all a terrific
blast rent the air; the forts had entered into this hideous contest! Oh
the joy of it! I hardly breathed between their shots which seemed
centuries apart and in reality were only a few minutes, for I thought,
now, surely the struggle must end; no enemy can long withstand their
mighty will. But the battle lasted all night with increasing fury. The
roar and din were beyond words, the concerted effort of four forts, the
giant field cannon, machine guns and rifles. My heart stands still when
I remember the thundering of those forts, the premeditated destruction,
the finality which each boom! bespoke, and the thousands of human beings
up there fighting like madmen. The latter, in the wild confusion of
fire, battle and the blackness of the night, finished by shooting into
each other by mistake as their officers were cut down in their midst.

About 2 A. M. we all gathered in Madame X.'s sitting-room.
Suddenly, quite unconscious of any definite purpose, I remember pulling
on the light. Monsieur X., aghast, said, "Mademoiselle, put it out
quickly. They might see it through the dark and aim for it."

What a night! and what visions we conjured up of the invincible
Prussians, drunk with blood and battle ready for any atrocity, plunging
down the hill into our own garden. The sound of the guns was so near
that Monsieur X. thought the battle must be in the open on his own
property just above the hill. As a matter of fact it was only three
kilometres away, on the plain of Sartilmont.

_August 6th, Thursday._

Rain came with the light. That gentle pattering on the sod, after the
tumult of the night, was the sweetest sound I ever heard. It was just as
if Nature had put out Her mother's hand over the earth to soothe its
troubled breast. Was she pleading for that mercy which drops as Her own
gentle tears from Heaven?

During the morning the road in front of the château was filled with
Belgian troops, bedraggled with mud, trying to regain order. And there
they halted for hours and hours in the rain--an absolute picture of
dejection. Even the horses imbibed the general despair as they stood
there, heads drooping, their manes stirring in the wind. That must be
the hard part of it--waiting for orders; but they did it well, no
impatience nor fretting, just obeying the command, their very immobility
carving them a niche in the landscape. These men had been fighting for
several days and, bowed down as they were with the wet and misery of it
all, made a shocking contrast to fresh troops of cavalry which passed at
the same time, brandishing long, dramatic looking lances. And Felix,
the second gardener, who is one of these "_lanciers_," came to say
good-bye in the elegant uniform of his regiment and looking very smart
in white trousers and short blue jacket--in fact, a man transformed.

I had always seen him in wooden sabots and blue apron coaxing this
flower and that into bloom, but he had never been a great success at it.
When his elder brother died, he had wished, so much, to replace him as
head-gardener, so his master let him try for a little and he had failed,
indifferently. But here was a soldier-man, stout heart and valiant
sword, eager to serve his King. This time he will not fail but will meet
his opportunity more than half way.[1] All day Red Cross ambulances and
every kind of vehicle were hurrying by, bringing the wounded from the
battlefield. Madame X.'s family physician stopped in on one of his trips
for a moment's respite from the awfulness up there--his description of
those scenes is too terrible to write about. The carnage was
awful--pieces of bodies scattered about everywhere, the wounded writhing
in their death agony and the dead standing up straight against masses of

In the evening, indistinct sounds of a far off battle could be heard as
the struggle moved on to another quarter. Nearer, we heard the trailing
of heavy artillery down the mountain and against our will the thought
formulated itself, "Will that wave of terror roll back to us?" Our ears
have developed an abnormal acuteness, so that almost a pin falling will
make taut nerves scream, though in reality nobody moves--a glance is
enough to both ask and answer a question. A marvelous new
self-possession seems to have come to everybody which bridges over a
natural despair and forms, at least, a skeleton framework by which we
keep each other up.


[1] Not heard of again.

_August 7th, Friday._

More or less booming from the forts all day. As communications of every
kind have been cut off, we cannot know what is happening. But where is
the assistance so direfully needed, promised by both France and England
to poor little Belgium with the great German army moving on Liége?
Everybody has faith, however, in the Allies, and in the streets it is
pathetic to hear people assuring each other, "_O, oui, les Français
viennent ce soir_" (Oh, yes, the French are coming to-night). There are
many German troops in town already, who somehow have pushed their way
in between the firing, but the city will not cede the forts, so the
bombardment may begin at any moment. I cannot define my
impressions--some day I may be able to, but just now I do not know what
they are. Happily the château is on the edge of the city and there is a
certain quiet at present, but in town pandemonium reigns. Men, women and
children are fleeing in all directions with their few most precious
possessions tied up in a bundle. And where are they going to, the poor
things, with all roads in the country choked up, soldiers and trenches

_August 8th, Saturday._

This morning we walked through the garden to service in the little
village church. For a short moment a welcome calm stole over us in the
quiet of those walls, but how sinister to hear the eternal boom of
cannon between the words of the Mass. All the bridges of the city are
mined and guarded. The five days given Liége by the Prussians to
surrender are up tonight. What will tomorrow bring forth? The Belgians
have blown up the tunnel at Trois Ponts, near the German frontier, as
well as the railroad in many places, which will impede the enemy's
advance considerably, and great trees have been cut down across the
roads in all the country roundabout.

Mère Gavin came hobbling down the path from the top of the hill this
evening to tell us of the astonishing experience she had this afternoon
when a peasant came to her old hut and offered to buy her cow. Now as
her cow is her most precious possession and her sole support she refused
at once, tho' frightened at her own boldness. The stranger, however, was
rather insistent and asked if she would rent the cow, then, for fifty
francs an hour? Was there ever a queerer offer? Of course fifty francs
was a gold-mine to Mère Gavin, so she accepted, and was fairly overcome
when the man laid down three hundred francs on the table and told her to
keep them for him. Then he drove the cow away over the hills while Mère
G. sat staring stupidly at her gold. After a time he came back (with the
cow) and said, "Old One, three hours after I have gone, you can tell
your people that the red _pantalons_ (French soldiers) will be here in
forty-eight hours." Was that not a clever way for a French Scout to find
out the lie of the land?

_August 9th, Sunday._

Some of the Prussians have succeeded in penetrating into the city, tho'
the forts have not surrendered, and are already establishing martial
rule. Aeroplanes, with the wings turned back, _Taubes_, have been flying
about all the morning. In the afternoon we went up over the hill to the
plain of Sartilmont, the battlefield of Wednesday night. All along the
road were heaps of uniforms, some quite new, probably taken from the
dead. Those horrid limp things made me shiver with their lifelessness,
and the spirit of death, everywhere, seemed to close us in. Countless
numbers of haversacks were strewn about, doubtless cast away by the
soldiers to disencumber themselves in falling quickly back from one
position to another. In them, generally, was a change of underwear,
light boots, hard biscuit, canned meats and confiture. Already a flock
of human ravens was collected about the piles of débris, sorting out
what was good to take and collecting fragments of bread for a happy
repast. It was sickening to see, when possibly some of those brave, dead
soldiers were lying, yet unburied, in the nearby hedges and ravines.
Arrived at the little village we saw destruction a plenty. The
inhabitants all had terror-stricken countenances and yet in their desire
to please, literally fell over each other in haste to tell and show.
Some of the buildings were entirely demolished, others with doors hacked
up and windows broken, while everywhere houses and trees were riddled
with bullets. One old peasant woman told me that she and fifty others
were imprisoned for twenty-four hours by the Germans in a tiny stable,
without food or drink, and for no apparent reason.

The battlefield on the top of a ridge of hills between the Ourthe and
the Meuse is a large plain, around the edges of which lay scores of
magnificent trees cut down in haste to give unobstructed range. Their
branches had been previously soaked in _pétrole_ and set on fire. The
effect of those prostrate, charred monsters added to the desolation all
around. Across the end of the plain were those famous open trenches of
"two stories," that is, with about a two-foot elevation of earth in the
bottom against the front wall of the ditch, forming a kind of platform
for the soldiers when taking aim.

These were dug by the soldiers and men from the factories of Liége. In
front of the trenches were constructed those marvellous, barbed wire
fences, about one and one half metres apart and perhaps five rows deep,
with the wire twisted and wound in every conceivable fashion. Thirty
feet in front of this barrier was buried a string of mines, connected
with the trenches by an electric wire, to be exploded at a given
moment. Dark as the night was, the enemy found and severed some of
these communications so that most of the mines were rendered
ineffective. We saw the cut wire in several places. What hope can those
poor soldiers have, enemy or no, the advance guard of the besiegers, who
are pushed forward often at the point of the bayonet, armed only with
huge scissors to cut through such an almost impenetrable defense?

A most touching sight was the graves of thirty Belgians in one end of
these trenches. Does that not seem a terrible irony to be buried in
one's own trenches? A few common, wayside flowers were strewn on the
graves, in front of which was an old prayer-stool and a wooden cross
surmounted with a Belgian _képi_ (military cap). This cap seemed a
living thing almost and reminded me of the red fez so often seen on the
Moslem tombs in the cemeteries of Constantinople, which seemingly
strives to evoke a vital spirit from the frigid marble. Nailed to the
cross was a fragment of those well-known lines of the Immortal Cæsar,
"Of all the peoples of Gaul, the Belgians are the bravest." You see, the
old warrior knew that long ago.

Near by was a small, shrapnel gun carriage, by which stood a toothless,
old man who told, in that excruciating _Wallon_ tongue, a pathetic story
of one of the dogs which had probably drawn it. His mate doubtless was
killed in battle, but he returned three days later, lay down beside the
broken wheels and defied anyone to approach.

_Monday, August 10th._

Monsieur S. came home to-day laden down with bags of gold like Ali Baba.
How he is going to do away with it so that the ferret eyes of the enemy
will not spy it out, is a problem to me. And I do not want it explained
for I am sure I should look right into the forbidden corner at the wrong
moment and give the secret away.

Although there are thousands of German soldiers who have come into the
city and who control it, they are like rats in a trap. On account of the
twelve surrounding forts they cannot leave it and for the same reason no
one can come to their aid. So they have mounted machine guns in corner
houses of many streets and it is horrible to see those deadly mouths
gaping out of the windows. In case of an uprising among the civilians
the soldiers' revenge will be to kill the women and children. But no!
that is not possible in these days, from men who are neither savages nor

A heavy cannonading began at 4.30 A. M.--it literally tore us
from sleep, for it seemed as if the very house were tumbling down about
our ears and the singing and whizzing of those big shells was _bizarre_,
to put it mildly. One did not know whether to get up or efface one's
self in the blankets. I remember having the utmost confidence in the
headboard of my bed, which was toward the window. But that did not
obliterate the siren whistle of those big shells and the moment of
suspense between the lightning and the thunder. After each deafening
burst I kept reiterating to myself, "Saved again," as one would repeat a
chronological table of something important. About 8.00 A. M. we
straggled into the breakfast room--all of us rather lifeless and with
very white faces and little appetite for either eating or talking. There
seemed to be only one thing to say, which was, "Did you hear that?" It
was the same sensation again of the thread between heaven and earth. I
wonder if it will break!

This afternoon we took a little walk into the city along the river,
Madame X., her two sons--Monsieur S. and Monsieur J., her daughter,
Baronne de H., and myself. We passed several Prussian guards on the
bridges and Monsieur S. talked with one of them. It appears that the men
are very disheartened. This man said he had started with a company of
seven hundred soldiers and entered Liége with sixty four. That's what it
means to "take cities without difficulty"--and nobody remembers the
seven hundred mothers, or wives, or children that are left. The
burgomaster has received some most sensational news from Brussels, but
it is too ridiculous to be believed.

Tonight is still and Nature is beautiful in the moonlight. Is it the
calm before the storm? Here in the château we are comfortable with
plenty to eat and faithful servants. In town one is not so lucky as a
cousin of Madame X. is quartering forty soldiers and ten officers at
table who are not--or rather, who are a little argumentative, and we
have heard of some instances where the "host" and "hostess" have had to
sleep in the garret or the cellar or wherever they could, while the best
rooms are appropriated by the _militaires_. Blankets, etc., are also
being requisitioned from many houses.

It is reported that Général Léman narrowly escaped being captured
recently when he was lunching in the court of the Café ---- in town. His
companions-in-arms suddenly became aware of four men in strange uniform
who were approaching, and gave the alarm. Général Léman succeeded in
getting over the wall of the garden while the others engaged the spies
in a hand-to-hand fight and overcame them.

_August 11th, Tuesday._

Invincible Liége! People are still firm in their faith, encouraged by
the peace of the morning. The day was quiet until 6.00 _P. M._, when
furious shooting into the valley began. We saw the great shells bursting
in the air and between the clouds of smoke we could distinguish an old
monastery on the other side of the valley which was being shot to pieces
by the enemy's field-cannon. The structure changed shape half a dozen
times before our eyes and the setting sun concentrated, as if purposely,
all its rays on the windows which made them blaze forth through all that
fury like the veritable Hand of God, writing in fire. It seemed almost
like a premonition.

Pressure from those tremendous guns could remodel mountains, and Nature
herself, sometimes, cannot hold out against the fiendish ingenuity of
man. And the city, itself! Can it hold out?

In the garden, very near the foot of the mountain, is the old farmhouse,
in one corner of which is a little chapel whose door stands open the
year round. It is of particular interest to the peasants, being the
last relic of a certain superstitious legend of the countryside. The
people come from miles around, crossing the fields by a little path
which they themselves have beaten down, to kneel before this tiny altar;
and on the last Sunday in May, the annual fête, the priests, leading a
religious procession which starts from the church, say Mass there. This
year, May 31st, 1914, the head gardener, who is the indisputable
authority on floral subjects in the village, borrowed everything from
the conservatory and gardens that he could lay his hands on in the way
of decoration. He arranged the semi-circle in front of the little chapel
very artistically with branches of leaves, palms and hundreds of pansies
which the day before had been uprooted from the terraces of the château
to make room for the red, summer geraniums.

At ten o'clock this Sunday morning the usual fusillade and tolling of
bells announced the departure of the procession from the church. It
passed slowly along by the highroad and presently we heard a chorus of
young voices singing hymns--the girls and boys of the village: the music
was soft and illusive in the distance, developing a sweet crescendo as
they turned into the pasture, fairly plowing their way through a sea of
daisies. Behind them came two little acolytes, fair as angels, swinging
their golden incense lamps; then followed six choir boys, chanting the
Mass, like veritable della Robbias, in their red soutanes and exquisite,
white, lace surplices. Next were the clergy, in robes of cloth of gold
and rare Flemish lace, carrying the Host under a purple velvet canopy.
The village people followed on in quiet devoutness and, arrived at the
chapel, placed lighted candles in the sconces at each side of the grille
door. When the Mass was said and the last plaintive notes had died away,
little children came forward and heaped their thousand-colored bouquets
before the altar. It was an impressive ceremony and must, by its
charming simplicity, leave a mark on many a worldly heart.

Today, August 11th, 1914, at dusk, as the cannon had ceased firing, we
took a little recreation, following the paths on the mountainside;
looking down from a height of perhaps one hundred feet through the
trees, we saw the little chapel gleaming like a beacon in the dark,
dozens of blinking candles pinioned against the black walls. The grille
door was woven with nosegays, making a curtain of flowers which
partially concealed the altar beyond.

Before it, stretching up supplicating hands, many women knelt, bowed
down with grief and despair, and children, awed by recent memories,
stood immovable in their places. Poor, poor people! Some of them in
spite of their unwavering faith must drink the bitter cup so near at

_August 13th, Thursday._

It is true that one gets inured to danger (particularly if one has not
so far been hit) and after a week of the bombardment, we have a distinct
feeling of annoyance at being disturbed at an unearthly hour every
morning by the screeching and bursting of shells.

About four A. M. we were awakened by another terrifying
whizzing and exploding of bombs as if we were in the very midst of a
battlefield. This lasted about three hours and all we could do was wait.
I often wonder if it's as hard for the men to go off to war as it is for
the women to stay. The battle was inconceivably furious this morning. If
you could imagine five hundred of the worst thunderstorms, shaken up
together, that you ever experienced, you would arrive at a mild notion
of the tumult, not counting the apprehension, the danger and that
terrifying voice in the whistling trail of every shell which sings,
"This time I'll get you." At four this afternoon the Fort of
Chaudefontaine fell, blown up by the Prussians. Between four and six
o'clock the firing ceased.

It was an evening of ineffable beauty and the garden looked so lovely in
its mantle of roses, the little lake at the foot with its white swans
and the wooded mountain rising up almost from its waters--a picture of
calm and contentment. We were there taking a long breath after the
nightmare of the day, when the young gardener rushed in from the village
with the news that thirty of the soldiers in the fort, wounded and
burned beyond recognition, were being brought into the Sisters' Convent,
which had been turned into a Red Cross Ambulance hospital.

The shells from the great field pieces of the enemy falling upon the
forts had shattered the cupolas and had caused them to fall in upon the
Belgians who were thus imprisoned and barely escaped suffocation from
the poisonous gases of the exploding shells. The electric wires were cut
immediately so that the poor things who were entrapped three stories
underground groped about in the dark some time before they at last found
the stairs which led them up through shot and flame and gas to the air.

Gathering some old linen together we fairly flew across the field to the
convent and stopped short, staggered by what we saw. Never on this
earth could one imagine so horrible a sight as those thirty charred
bodies with no suggestion of faces--just a flat, swollen, black surface,
with no eyes, nose nor mouth. Some of the wounded lay on beds, others in
the middle of the floor or wherever there was space, and each was
holding up hands burned to the bone. The room was dimly lighted, a
hushed quiet reigned except for an occasional stifled groan of pain or a
sigh of concern from the villagers or the swish of the black garments of
those ministering angels, the nuns, as they fluttered about among the
suffering; their white coifs, like a halo, contrasting them with that
other Angel, whose black wings, indeed visible, already shadowed his

_August 14th, Friday._

One has hoped against hope, but the worst has happened and the people
are despondent. Liége is certainly in the hands of the Prussians. They
have been pouring into the city all day and most of the forts have
either been destroyed by the German field artillery or been blown up by
their defenders rather than surrender. We nursed the soldiers all
day--if last night was horrible I could not find the words to describe
what the daylight revealed, or the awful odor of burned flesh when the
wounds were redressed. It was pitiful to see the courage of the poor
men--the Belgians are brave not only on the battle field. With lips too
seared to articulate, they would try to speak and one could occasionally
catch an indistinct "_de l'eau_," or a half-formed "_Merci, chère
Soeur_," but never a moan or a groan.

At night, as we were wearily returning home, the young footman, with
ashen face, met us half-way down the steps and announced that there
would be Prussian officers at dinner who were already quartered in the
château. We were nearly too tired to be impressed at this as one
naturally would, at least, be moved in one sense or another, but we did
inwardly wonder what the keynote might be at table.

At eight o'clock dinner was served. Madame X.'s daughter and I, after
such a scrubbing and disinfecting, came down the last ones and stepped
into a veritable playworld of the Middle Ages with the most beautiful
setting--a large salon, opening out onto the terrace, with old,
Flemish-wood fire-place and raftered ceiling, Japanese bronzes, rugs
from the Orient, soft lamps and portraits of dear grandmothers, in the
beauty of their youth, smiling out from their golden frames on the
walls. As we came into the room from the brightly lighted hall, a
semi-circle of gray-green coats rose right up out of the dimness and we
were blinded by a vision of shining buttons, polished boots, gleaming
swords and a military salute accompanied by clinking spurs. At the end
of the room stood Madame X. and her sons waiting for us. Naturally there
were no presentations and the moment was unique in the extreme--nobody
moved for a second which seemed like a decade and nobody spoke, so all
there remained to do was to acknowledge the salute with a semi-circular

Dinner was an odd affair tho' it went off not so badly. Madame X., in
her proud Russian beauty and her admirable control of the conditions,
was superb. I never admired anybody so much, for it is not easy to
entertain at one's board an enemy who has just usurped home and country,
but her extraordinary charm and dignity gave the situation its note and
the "guests" were everything that was agreeable. We talked of
generalities, as well as "War," in four languages (Russian, French,
English and German) with much the same _sang-froid_ as the juggler who
tosses knives and, when the meal was done, thanked Heaven that nobody
had launched a tactless bomb which might have plunged us into a boiling
sea. There was nothing particularly boastful in their conversation,
though at times a certain assured reference to "Paris in a fortnight"
crept in, which we found difficult to digest--in fact I was furious.
Paris, indeed! Beautiful Paris! My neighbor at table on the right was a
man of perhaps fifty-eight years, rather gray and grandfatherly, with
such nice, blue eyes. Prefacing all his remarks with a nervous little
cough to fix my attention, he would launch with difficulty one or two
phrases in restricted French followed by a few straggling words in
English and finally finished up with a burst of voluble German. It was a
work of art to understand him, but I arrived panting--at least I had
that sensation, and it is not the first time I have given thanks for a
woman's natural intuition. Then I decided to lead out next--anyway I
wanted to get him started on "War" without precipitating an
international difficulty and I asked him as stupidly as possible
(perhaps I did not need to simulate that) if he liked "War." He
hesitated just a second and I was prepared for the usual self-respecting
denial when he horrified me by answering a simple "Yes." _Voilà, le
sentiment prusse!_

Afterward when we went into the salon all the officers, commencing with
the superior, came up to Madame X. and kicking their spurs together with
the habitual "_Danke, Frau_," kissed our hands all around. The youngest
soldier among them was a handsome boy of about twenty-two years, who
interested me rather, because he was different--even his boots were
different and he truly had a striking manner, though very gracious. I am
convinced that he was a prince of a reigning house. The atmosphere had a
way of parting in rapid waves when he came in and dropping behind him
like an impervious shield when he went out. Fair, young Achilles! Will a
fatal arrow attain his charméd person?

_August 15th, Saturday._

We took care of the wounded all day: it is the most heartrending
spectacle to see those poor, black heads lying there on their pillows.
They were so shapeless and immovable, I had almost begun to look upon
them as without life like charred logs, when, after finishing a dressing
this morning, I was startled by a hearty, "_Merci, chère Soeur._" Oh,
the joy of it! That brightened the whole scene and flooded me with hope.
Then they have not lost their intelligences, they aren't mere pieces of
wood and one day when their poor flesh has rejuvenated itself, they will
be given back to real life--and their country, again.

The village people and the Sisters were so ardent in their desire to
help that dressings well covered with ointment sometimes fell from their
eager fingers onto grimy blankets or flopped, butter side down, so to
speak, upon the floor; which did not disconcert anyone but me, whose
modern prophylactic soul rattled and shook with horror as the
recalcitrant bandage was gaily redeemed from its dusty resting-place and
applied as originally intended.

It seemed as if I must remonstrate, but the dear whole-hearted helper
was so sure that her dressing would cure and the patient was so
overwhelmingly grateful for the trouble she took to pick it up for him,
that I was dumb before their exquisite faith.

Here was something too big for my stilted aseptic advice and it occurred
to me, suddenly, that perhaps there _are_ many things yet undreamed of
in our philosophy.

All day long the troops in an endless chain have been passing on the
highroad before the château. The air was full of mingled sounds, as, for
example, the singing of the soldiers in the distance, which sounds like
the droning of bees far away and always heralds an advance of troops;
the rhythmic shuffling of feet, the thud of horses' hoofs, the chugging
of autos which carry the superior officers, and the heavy wheels of the
gun carriages with their clanking chains. Their order, equipment and
discipline are admirable to see.

All their apparel is new, as one of the officers told Monsieur D. at
Spa. Uniforms, boots, belts, saddles, bridles and even buttons--all new
and spic and span for a triumphal entry into Paris. Each man carries two
sets of buttons, one for field service (negligible) and the other,
shining brass ones, for the review down the Champs Elysées.

All the officers wear a tiny card-board map of Belgium about (3" x 4"),
hung on their coat buttons and every soldier has embossed on his belt
plate "_Gott mit Uns._" At dinner the officers were very entertaining;
the ice was somewhat broken, at least, we knew better what piece was
safe clinging to and we managed to exchange some ideas. It is rather odd
how few of these educated men speak French. In fact, it is so odd that
it makes us suspicious and cautious. Monsieur J. attacked the captain
with this question, as a leader, "when he thought the war would be
over?" (This being the second week of it.) His answer was _net_ and
forbade argument--"We shall be 'home' by Christmas, or Easter at the
latest." But he did have the grace to congratulate the Belgian army on
its stout defense of Liége, for instead of the two days given the
Germans by their Emperor to capture it, they had been constrained to
take nearly two weeks at it.

_August 16th, Sunday._

A warm, beautiful morning. As Madame de H. and I walked through the
garden and the wood to the little convent ambulance, it was difficult
not to contrast smiling Nature with the frightful scenes of which, in a
few minutes, we would be a part. The awful stench of burned flesh met us
half a block away and congealed my courage as I walked, for it permeates
everything. We can even taste it, it clings in our hair when we go home
and we are obliged to hang our nursing clothes out of the window all
night. I felt as if I must run away from it and those terrible
dressings, reeking with purulence, where ears and eyelids and lips come
off and fingers and hands peel like a glove.

Then I thought of the patience of those brave fellows and the pain and
awfulness of living it. The fortitude and devotion of the village men
and women are beyond praise--they come day after day to help in the
nursing, some spending the night, turn and turn about. Especially the
tenderness of the men for their "_camarades_" is one of the sweetest
things I ever saw, for they are as gentle and capable in their care as
any woman could possibly be.

Prussian troops continue to pass and it is a wonderfully impressive
sight; infantry in gray-green khaki, singing, always singing their
famous "_Wacht am Rhein_" and other folk songs: the _Uhlans_, on
beautiful prancing horses, with their long lances and gray-blue capes
fluttering in the wind; _chasseurs_ in light green; "_Hussars de la
Mort_" with the death's head emblem in the front of their high fur hats
and endless companies of artillery with their huge field cannon, each
drawn by six magnificent horses. On the gun carriages sit four gunners
back to back, still as statues, with arms folded as if on parade. It was
for all the world like a circus when the procession goes twice around
the ring before commencing the serious business of the entertainment.

Dinner was gay tonight (one is obliged to make the best of a bad affair)
and the officers as men of the world were interesting and in unusually
good spirits.

The Captain, a little facetiously, took up the menu and, drawing a tiny
note-book and pencil from his pocket, proceeded to copy it in French,
soliciting Madame X.'s aid _en passant_.

A curious fact occurred to me as I sat there looking down both sides of
the table, how much alike they were--it seems as if they must even think
the same thoughts to resemble each other so much. As their heads were
closely cropped, outlines were baldly apparent, low forehead sloping
back to a narrow crown and all set upon a bulwark of neck. They must
surely have been struck in the same mould. Though forceful, none of them
were good-looking except the young one, of whom I have spoken, and his
face in repose was shockingly cruel. They are expecting marching orders
in the morning and are probably eager to ride on to victory (?). They
bade us good night and good-bye by kissing our hands as usual, a click
of spurs, a military bow and very gracious thanks to Madame X. for her

_August 17th, Monday._

About half-past three in the morning I was wakened from a sound sleep by
a commotion in the court under my window. Impatient horses were pawing
the ground and a voice exactly like a snarling dog was hurling out
orders--I peeped out cautiously and saw that the snarling dog was the
amiable captain who copied the menu last night.

The officers left at four A. M. Fort Lançin fell today and
Général Léman, commander-in-chief of the army here, was taken prisoner.
Thousands of soldiers have passed as usual. In the afternoon a company
of Prussians arrived, whose captain had mistaken the route, which put
him in an abominable humor, having made his men march fifty miles out of
their way and also risking a court-martial on his own account. He
ordered Monsieur S. to open the garage door, in the hope of lodging his
men there for the night. Unluckily the chauffeur, being absent, had the
key, which plunged his Military Highness into a towering rage and he
placed Monsieur S. at once under arrest between two soldiers,
_baionnette-au-canon_, while the others battered in the door with the
butt of their guns. Not finding sufficient quarters for two hundred men,
he marched Monsieur S. away, as guide, half a mile down the road to a

That excitement had hardly quieted down when another batch of officers
arrived at dusk, demanding lodgings for the night. These men were a
rough type, altogether different from the preceding ones. About eight
o'clock as we, the women, were waiting in the library for dinner to be
announced, we heard a tremendous stamping of heavy boots and spurs and a
snarl of angry voices just over our heads. Baronne de H., brave little
woman as she always proved herself to be, flew up the stairs in a flash
and found her brothers at the end of the hall between two orderlies with
fixed bayonets, trying to pacify seven officers who were disputing
angrily and were just about to enter one of the private apartments--in
fact their father's room. She addressed them in a few vehement words--"I
forbid you to enter the room of my father, who has been dead only a
week." Then she added that the other soldiers who had been here were
gentlemen and that she expected them to be. They were cowed at once and
all humility, begging pardon properly. They pleaded fatigue for their
rudeness and said "certainly they expected to be gentlemen, too." Wasn't
that comical? They were ill at ease and rather sullen at dinner: and
such a dinner as we had!--glacial does not express it. The captain of
the band spoke English, French, Russian and German, but he could not
coax anybody into conversation, for we clung to "_Oui_," or "_Non_," and
stopped there. More than that, a kind of rigid fascination fixed our
attention on one of their number--the tallest and lankiest, who sat down
at least two feet from the table and endeavored to serve himself like
that. Every mouthful was fraught with tense anxiety (for us). Happily
they went to bed early, the captain kissing our hands and asking Madame
X. if she were used to that, it being the custom in Germany.

Hardly had they got under cover and we were alone again, when a hoarse
cry arose in the court--it was blood-curdling to us, as every sound
these days is full of terror and possibilities. But it turned out to be
only the cry of the sentry. There had been promiscuous shooting along
the railroad in the village and all our brave soldiers tumbled out of
bed, fell down the stair-case one after the other, buckling on swords as
they went. It is the greatest wonder to me that we were not all shot on
the spot when we stood there staring up, as one very young lieutenant
descended three steps at a time with a revolver in one wobbly hand which
was shaking like an aspen leaf, and a pair of field glasses in the
other. I think the sudden excitement may have unnerved him and there is
no doubt, this time, that the gods favored the innocent. That was the
last we saw of our guests.

_August 18th, Tuesday._

This morning one of them came back for some personal things, principally
his watch, which, in the true, novel style, could not be found anywhere.
So the _Herr leutnant_ ordered a thorough search and said, with a grand
air, to the housekeeper that if it could not be found he would be
obliged to take one of the servant's as a forfeit. Fancy!

I can see the butler's poor, old, bowed legs, now, flying up the
stair-case, with a bayonet stuck in his back to expedite matters. I do
not know if this threat lent an added zest to the search, but
fortunately someone had the happy thought to look under the mattress
(where the officer had put it himself) and there was the ill-fated
timepiece calmly ticking off German minutes. I think I forgot to tell
you that since the invasion we retire at ten instead of eleven o'clock,
having been advised to adopt Celtic time.

Prussian troops in khaki continue to pass; will they never cease? One's
spine shivers at the sight of the endless, green snake which crawls
along, insinuating its greedy length into the gardens of plenty. This
morning four new officers came to the château; three of them were
nondescript, but the fourth, to all appearances, was an Englishman, pure
blood. He spoke English absolutely without accent and had a perfect
English drawing-room air. It was as funny as an impersonation and as he
had appeared on the scene alone, I believe his brothers-in-arms were
almost suspicious of him. After a little the story came out. He is
really a German, but has lived fifteen years in London. At the début of
the war he had been obliged to take up arms against a sea of troubles,
or relinquish forever his right to go back to Baden, where his parents
live. Naturally he chose the former (also probably thinking that "War"
was a word only) and allowed himself to be bored by circumstances. He
told us some amusing tales of his having been already arrested three
times for an English spy. Everybody here likes him very much and I
welcomed him personally as the nearest approach to an Anglo-Saxon that I
have seen in many months.

Monsieur J. and several of the representative men of the village,
including _Monsieur le Curé_ (a little, fat, rosy-cheeked man, adored by
his flock), were taken as hostages for twenty-four hours and had to
sleep in the railroad station. It was nervously comical to see Monsieur
J. starting off, his valet following with a mattress on his back and a
box of sandwiches in his hand against the misery of the night. But it is
not so amusing to be the victim of even a threat which at any moment may
take the form of a sudden reality for no reason except to terrorize
honest people who are defending their homes. The enemy's way of
punishing and evading future insurrection among the civilians is to take
people as hostages and shoot them if necessary, or burn the houses.
This they have already done in several quarters in Liége. A few nights
ago several students fired on some German officers in a café and the
latters' revenge was instantaneous and terrible; they just stood
eighteen men up in front of the University and shot them like dogs--then
burned that section for blocks around.

Austrian artillery was passing today with their great cannon drawn by
automobiles. The wheels of the gun carriages are enormous and the cannon
are the biggest things we have yet seen.

_August 19th, Wednesday._

Such an odd picking little noise, like a mouse, disturbed us at
breakfast this A. M. Madame X. opened the door and was astonished to see
a German soldier unscrewing the telephone from the wall. Her obvious
surprise moved the man to explain, which was unqualifiedly this--"Madame,
permit me, but we need your telephone for field service."

I suppose he may as well have it anyway for nothing so modern and useful
as telephones has existed for us since August 3rd.

A group of very surly officers have "taken over" Madame R.'s château
down in the country. The moment they arrived night before last, the
Colonel ordered her to bring out all her best wine, throwing her his
soiled gloves to wash at the same time.

The patients at the Convent are beginning to show a little life now,
though their poor, black faces are more grotesque than ever as an eye,
here and there, begins to peep out from a crack in the crusted surface.
They have begun to talk after a fashion, though their poor, dried lips
can hardly accomplish the task. Jean, the big fellow who jumped seven
metres into the ditch from Fort Chaudefontaine when it blew up, died
this morning, the result of a fractured skull.

French and German aeroplanes alike have been flying over the city,
dropping the most sensational circulars of the victories of their
particular armies. But the news is "_trop beau_"--one cannot believe it
and probably it is only destined to encourage the soldiers. It appears
that the officers tell their men all kinds of extraordinary tales, to
give them heart for the fight, and the poor things believe (hearing
French spoken here) that they are already in France, for yesterday one
of them in a passing train was heard demanding the Eiffel Tower. An
officer admitted to Monsieur S. that Germany prints three
newspapers--one for the officers, one for the soldiers, and one for
imbeciles. I suppose the latter means us.

_August 22nd, Saturday._

Bread is being rationed out now in the village and we are allowed only
two small pieces at a meal. It seems to me that I never wanted one more
slice so much in my life. The soldiers have cleared out the baker's
supply and he cannot get any more flour.

Monsieur S. has bought a bicycle and goes into town every morning to
find out about things. Sometimes it seems as if we could hardly wait
until he gets back to lunch for the news. And oh! such terrible things
are happening. Some funny incidents too, intersperse themselves from
time to time. During the recounting of some of these awful tales of
violence and revenge which we are hearing from the little villages the
young footman's knees doubled right up and nearly let him down while he
was serving the table and he is getting greener and greener from day to
day. He becomes absolutely petrified when the officers address him and
whispers out an unintelligible something as he vanishes through a door.

The horrible carnage at Namur has begun and we already have heard
sickening accounts of it. The story, as we have had it by word of mouth,
is that one of the seven forts capitulated (the city was evacuated),
allowing the enemy to enter in over a tract of land which was literally
sown with this famous, new _Poudre Turpin_ which exploded under the feet
of whole regiments at once, and the forts completed the slaughter.

Troops, troops, always troops plodding along. Their attitude could not
be called determined for there is not enough mental action in it, though
there does exist an indisputable tenacity which is appalling. How they
lack that infectious _ardeur_, that splendid _élan_ which characterizes
every little _poilu_! But they just plod on like a great machine,
lacking intelligence in its parts, each vital, however, to the
perfectly-fitted whole.

Madame X. and I felt as if we could not sit still another minute this
afternoon and, safe, or no, we decided to take a walk on the
mountainside. We could hear regiments approaching first by a faint
buzzing in the distance which rounded out into song as it drew near; as
an officer told us, the men often sing in four voices which is quite
beautiful. Then, we became aware of a different noise, a sort of loose
rumble, as if cohesion would presently not exist for the thing, whatever
it was, that caused this new note. But it was not a note, it was a
disturbance which grew and grew in proportions. Madame X. and I scurried
up and down the paths trying to find a vista through the trees that
would disclose this monster which was moving so protestingly along the

I imagined it would be snorting flame and its eyes smouldering fires,
but instead its eyes were neat little windows with tidy curtains, for
the monster turned out to be three diminutive houses on wheels drawn by
a huge motor. What their end and purpose might be, is imaginable. If it
is for the comfort of the High Command _en campagne_, the great clumsy
procession rivaling the speed of a snail is a heap of trouble for a
little luxury.

_August 24th, Monday._

Namur is taken by the Germans. Practically nothing remains of the city.
A German major who was brought, wounded, to Liége, said the battle was
too frightful to narrate. He entered the city with one thousand men and
left it with sixty-five. Just outside the forts, where he had been
stationed with two hundred horses, three bombs fell upon them at the
same moment and only seven of the poor beasts remained. His admiration
for the pointing and firing of the Belgian and French cannon was

Just before lunch this morning, two very ragged-looking individuals
(Belgian civilians) came to the château. They were travel-stained
indeed, just having made the journey on foot from Brussels and in a
calmer era would have had some success in the rôle of common ordinary
tramps. As it was, they excited a little curiosity by the suspicious way
they had of looking about, and our first thought was spies until one of
them, edging toward the outside of the group, made Baronne de H.
understand that he had something to communicate to her. Inquiring if it
were safe, he suddenly leaned down and drew out from the sole of his
shoe, a piece of paper on which was written, "A banker of Brussels sends
greetings--all are well." The little woman burst into a flood of tears
for she realized that it was a message from her husband, one of the
_Garde Civique_ of Brussels. During the three, long, anxious weeks of
devotion to others, I had often remarked and wondered at her courage in
never mentioning her own longing and apprehension for her husband and
three little children. Before we had recovered from the first onslaught
of the army, she must have known, after it left here, that it would
pass their château three kilometres the other side of Brussels and what
would it leave in its wake? Can you imagine her anxiety, when every day
we were hearing frightful stories of children having their hands chopped
off and people's heads being paraded on bayonets? But I never remember
her uttering a single "I wonder," or an "I wish." Does this not bear out
what the illustrious Roman said about the "Belgians," which certainly
did not exclude the women? It is the grandest thing that ever could
be--this response of the women to the Nation's call, for it is not just
passive self-sacrifice, but impassioned co-operation.

In the afternoon Madame de H. and I went to Liége to arrange her
passport for Brussels. Two of the officers who are here offered to go
with us in order to facilitate an entrance into the "_Kommandantur_,"
which is the general headquarters and is in that ancient and beautiful
place of the _Princes-Evêques_, onetime feudal lords of the principality
of Liége. I wanted to rebel openly when I saw that wonderful court,
world-famous for its beauty, which has been turned into a dépôt of
supplies and barracks with horses stabled under those delicate, Gothic
arches, models of purity and beauty. But to what good? Will anything
ever expiate the offense? There are also horses in the theatre and
machine guns in all the upper windows.

While Madame de H. was waiting to see Count Moltke in his office, I
walked about the court with one of the soldier attendants who came with
us and had an opportunity of peeking through many doors which would
otherwise have been closed to me. My companion, who is a wholesale grain
merchant in peace times, enjoyed his authority immensely and dragged his
sword, half unbuckled, on the ground, which clanked behind us and made
merry music in his ears, I am sure. The whole place was a perfect
beehive though there was little confusion. The soldiers were diligently
counting supplies, feeding horses and sorting Belgian cannon and shells
which had been captured.

On the road from Angleur to Liége we were obliged to give way to some
troops which were returning from Namur. The auto stopped right in the
middle of a column, which, as we heard, was a conglomeration of the tag
ends of different regiments and I was almost afraid--the men peered in
at us so maliciously. I have never seen such a frightening spectacle of
humanity, for it was the personification of a rogues' gallery with every
kind of cut-throat, brigand and robber mixed up into a grand ensemble,
toiling and perspiring, limping and crawling along in the dust and heat.

Does battle blot out the soul of a man in one savage conflict?
Obviously, it is before a weary march that one finds exalted faces. But
perhaps they were not desperadoes--only tired and dirty and unshaven.

It is said, however, that when war was declared, the enemy opened the
doors of all the prisons and that the front ranks of the attacking
forces (which were sure to be lost) were entirely composed of convicts
and prisoners. And also, the officers in the regular army are so hated
by their men that when they started out to conquer the world every
officer was changed to a different regiment.

This evening we sat on the terrace enjoying the afterglow of the setting
sun and the calmness of the garden, listening to the soldiers singing in
the orchard, next. This singing in the twilight is heartbreaking and
particularly melancholy, as the music is slow and has more consolation
in it than the usual soul-inspiring quality of battle hymns. At
intervals we heard the captain speaking with great force and enthusiasm,
the hurrahs of the men, an occasional "_Vaterland, Vaterland_," and
again and ever, "_Die Wacht am Rhein._"

_August 26th, Wednesday._

Two new officers (not Prussians) of the _Landstürm_ arrived this
morning--men of fifty to fifty-five years of age. One is a hardware
merchant _en civil_ and has a brown beard and the asthma; the other is a
lawyer, with big, blinking eyes--and they both looked as if they hated
war. The "Englishman" is still here--his department is looking after
supplies at the dépôt. He has borrowed all the English books in the
house and sits reading all day up in the signal box at the station, so
the family have named him "_Monsieur Seegnal Box_," which, with a tiny,
French accent, sounds quite attractive.

We are so enthusiastic about our patients at the Convent, for they are
all improving and developing personalities now. Every morning at
eight-thirty we rush over there as quickly as we can to see how the poor
children are getting on and who has another eye open. Nature has begun
her restorative work and oh! what a satisfaction it is to see the new
skin stretching out tiny shreds to bridge over the martyred flesh.

The atmosphere of the ward is gay. 'Most everybody can laugh, at least
with their hearts, for stiffened lips do not all respond yet. The work
has arranged itself in admirable routine, where humanity is not entirely
swallowed up in duty. There are young girls and boys who fetch basins
of water, old women who roll bandages, faithful, sweet-faced matrons who
bind up dreadful wounds, and strong, young men who lift, so tenderly,
pain-racked bodies and who can toss a joke or a word of encouragement
with equal discretion, which never fails to infuse the down-hearted with
their own priceless vitality. Then there is the _Mère Supérieure_, of
thin, æsthetic face, who comes with a gentle word of the "Faith" for
each one; the austere _Soeur Félicité_, who counts the cups and searches
your soul and brings in hot coffee and a steaming ragoût; and the
pretty, young _Soeur Monique_, with her uplifted face, who cannot
conceal a shy admiration for big, blond Henri who rails at everything
and is as lovable as a baby. Then the villagers: in the middle of the
room, Monsieur B. (Secretary and Treasurer, I should say) cuts off gauze
with a calculating eye at one end of a long table and at the other,
rosy-cheeked Monsieur R. (painter of every house and barn in the
village) stands all day long with a spatula in his hand and slaps on the
ointment for dressings. There is a sort of professional twist in the
gesture and his merry, little eyes glance around, not seeking but rather
gathering in approval, and from under his bristling, white moustache
will burst a salute for one, a joke for another, or a reproach for

Here, there and everywhere he is needed, is Monsieur F., whose great,
dark eyes are acquainted with pain; he is a frail, little person and the
substantial man of the village, a living paradox. Just when Monsieur R.
announces--dramatically waving his spatula--that that is the last ounce
of boric ointment and no more peroxide in the cupboard and we are raving
around and denouncing the pharmacist, Monsieur F. steps up and inquires
what the trouble is, knowing full well the difficulty and also "his
moment," wise man that he is. While we are swamping the situation with
words, he quietly dispatches a boy to his house, who quickly reappears
with huge bottles of this and that. Oh, blessed Monsieur F., who long
since had made a corner in peroxide and everything else we shall need
until after the war. But the despair of the moment, the heat and three,
long hours of unremitting "dressings" effect a faintness of soul and a
"queer" feeling we did not realize was there, until that dear, roly-poly
_Soeur Anastasie_ appears with a bottle of red wine, half concealed
under her cape, and with a motherly, "_Ça vous fera du bien_," (that
will do you good) pours us out a generous glassful. That puts the blue
in the sky again and keeps the shafts of golden sunshine from creating
zigzag patterns in our brain. Oh, Shades of my New England Ancestors!
Would you say, "Better to slip down in a swoon?"--and give everybody a
lot of trouble--

_August 27th, Thursday._

Madame de H. and I again went to Liége early this morning about her
passports. The hotels and cafés were just seething humanity, beds
improvised in every corner, and I saw officers paying their hotel bills
with cheques and notes. The poor proprietor blinked and swallowed hard
for a moment and said nothing. The city was literally packed with troops
going in all directions. _Uhlans_, _chasseurs_, artillery and the
infantry, singing and executing that foolish-looking goose-step--it
probably has its advantages, but at eight A. M. in the pouring
rain it did appear ridiculous.

In the afternoon we took a walk into the country, following the
railroad. The soldiers were working everywhere, putting up temporary
buildings for any emergency. We saw one of those open dining halls--only
three walls with a shed roof where a regiment can step out of a train to
eat while another jumps quickly in and no time lost. We passed the
lovely château of the Marquis de T. who is Minister Plenipotentiary
from Costa Rica. Of course, this is neutral property and flies a
neutral flag, but the place is filled with officers and, according to
the _maitre d'hotel_, the wine cellar is undergoing a thorough

_August 28th, Friday._

This morning there was excitement at the Convent; someone was reading a
three weeks' old journal to the soldiers and for a moment everybody
forgot his particular aches and black heads lifted themselves from their
pillows and gaunt forms swayed to and fro on shaky elbows. The lust of
battle lit up wooden countenances, fire sprang from eyes yet heavily
veiled by crusted lids and a fervent "_bien fait_" or "_vivent les
Belges_," trembled from heretofore silent corners.

Madame André, who comes to see her boy every day, remarked my looking at
her dress which was all darned and mended in the most unaccountable
places, "O, Mademoiselle," she said. "I suppose you are wondering about
my waist? But wasn't it lucky I was here with André when the troops
passed through our village? The soldiers fired haphazard in the windows
and the wardrobe in which my clothes were hanging caught seven bullets
and the headboard of my bed, four."

All the afternoon troops were coming back from Namur in evident haste
and apparent rout, for they had such a tired, bedraggled look. About
five o'clock a company with ammunition wagons, Red Cross ambulances and
baggage trucks dashed madly into the orchard among the apple trees,
nearly wrecking themselves and everything else. Immediately after, three
officers came to the house to beg lodging for the night. They were
frightful-looking individuals covered with mud and dirt, with half-grown
beards and one could not tell what uniforms. They asked the most humble
apartment--a corner, the floor--anything, "and, Madame, a little hot
water, _s'il vous plait_." We were sitting on the terrace tonight just
before dinner when down came the three new arrivals, beautiful as the
morning, shaven and shining in their gray-green uniforms, polished boots
and bracelets set with precious stones--officers of the "Emperor's Own,"
though these men did not seem like Germans, but were much more the
lighter build and elegant type of the Austrians.

They were a bit haughty at first, but dinner thawed them out and then
what tales they told us; the most promising imagination could not rival
their flights in the air. They acted like people who walk in their sleep
and had that same vague expression of the eye. But it is not to be
wondered at, coming as they did from a frightful battlefield and
fatigued by a hard march. It must be true that battle intoxicates men
for these latter, being of a sensible age, did say very ridiculous
things. Hitherto the officers who have been here were fairly modest
though always showing an undeniable confidence, while these three openly
bragged. The young lieutenant who sat next to me spoke French fluently
and never stopped talking all the evening. Among countless other things,
he said, "We are being sent back from Namur as Paris is taken"
(ejaculation from me "I cannot believe it") "and they have no more need
of us in that direction," he went on without turning a hair. "So we are
_en route_ for England or Russia, in the morning, to conquer the seven
nations (he included Monaco in the list) who have declared war against
our beloved Vaterland."

"And, Mademoiselle," he continued, "they fired on our ambulances!"

"Ah?" I answered, nonchalantly, "the Germans have already done that

He was a bit taken aback at this rejoinder; then with a prodigiously
sorrowful look he exclaimed in a hushed voice, "_Oui, la guerre est

The victories they exploited on land and sea were fantastic and the
funny part is, they believed thoroughly all they said. It is strange to
hear serious people fabricate such yarns as they did, with as much
dexterity as a spider spins its web.

_August 29th, Saturday._

The ambulance was as busy as a beehive this A. M. Except for
one or two, the patients are all feeling better. André, the third on the
left, whose sonorous "_Merci, chère Soeur_" nearly frightened me to
pieces one day, seems to be the wit and authority on all subjects--a
real leader, I should say, and _drôle_! Augustin, four beds from him, is
our difficult child, the only one of the twenty-nine who is spoiled and
fights his dressings, but we must be patient with him for he has been
very sick and that drawn look about the nose and a certain, startled
expression of the eyes, worry me. But the little _Soeur Victoire_ says
comfortingly that he will soon be well, though he does not wish to eat
and his jaws are a little stiff. O, _chère Soeur_, in your sweet faith,
are stiffened jaws such a trivial circumstance?

Next Augustin is Sylvestre, _le beau_. He was the splendid _pointeur_ of
Fort Chaudefontaine and was the least burned of the men; that is why I
know he is beautiful; also I catch many glimpses of him in the little
mirror in which he is constantly regarding himself, but he is _bon
garçon_, nevertheless--his honest blue eyes attest it.

At the end of the row is the big Flamand, who was always two feet too
long for his bed. He is sitting up now and that great, black head, with
features swollen three times their normal size, is a sight to frighten
the boldest. If he should roar at me I would drop everything and flee.
But he doesn't; nobody roars; for they are all the finest gentlemen in
the world, even in their trying moments.

At ten o'clock this evening, right out of the silence, issued sounds of
heavy, rolling carts, and horses' hoofs. Madame de H. and I stole out
into the court to see what it might be and, almost as if by magic, whole
regiments came pouring along in the greatest haste and disorder. A wing
of the servants' quarters hid the approach of the soldiers from us and
the strange, non-resonant quality of the atmosphere tonight deceived us
as to their nearness. In a moment they were upon us--not three feet
away, for some of the troops had taken, not the usual highroad two
hundred feet distant, but a short cut by the narrow path which directly
passes the court yard. Happily we had hidden ourselves behind the
grille, in the foliage, or we might have been shot without ceremony, as
by order of the military governor of the city "every civilian shall be
indoors and lights out at eight P. M."

We enjoyed the danger a little at first because we did not realize it;
all the same we obliterated ourselves as much as possible, though hardly
daring to move or breathe. Not an arm's length away, their nearness
oppressed us and the waves of heat which reeked from their toiling
bodies sickened us. But there we crouched in our light dresses, easily
seen if one had chanced to look, and separated only by an iron fence
with sparse, fluttering vines from a mass of tired, quarrelsome,
desperate men. Why! any of them might have run us through in a flash as
one would lunge at a white rag for the amusement of his companions.
Indoors the family were frantic, not daring to open a crack of the door
for fear of violent consequences to us.

The night was full of dull noises; even the clanking chains of the gun
carriages seemed muffled and the thud of horses' hoofs in the mud added
to the air of secrecy which pervaded the scene, while the moonlight
threw out shadows and drew crazy perspectives and showed up silhouettes
of men positively falling from their seats with fatigue. Some one was
twirling a French soldier's cap on a bayonet, we heard smothered yawns,
the words "_Russland_," "_Vaterland_," and finally the infantry
whistling in unison as they limped along.

_August 30th, Sunday._

At two o'clock in the morning the whole family was aroused by a
thundering rap from the butt of a gun on the big front entrance. The
poor old butler, who has been in service thirty-five years, was aghast
to open the door and find the Burgomaster, in white kid gloves, standing
between two Prussian soldiers, with fixed bayonets. They demanded
Monsieur J. (for the second time) as hostage. What could have happened
among the people, we could only guess. Had they been rash enough to
protest against strength and did they want to share the fate of the
pitiful Visé?

The forenoon brought us no news; after lunch we walked in the broiling
sun to the little railroad station at Kinklepois, to see Monsieur J.
(he had aged ten years over night) where he was under guard with several
others, including _Monsieur le Vicaire_ of A. and _Monsieur l'Abbé_ of
K. We sat around the table in the Concierge's tiny dining room and
listened to some amusing anecdotes told by the Vicar, while the gentle
old Abbot sent out to the vicarage for a bottle of his good old
Burgundy. To be sure, no one was much in the mood to be amused, but it
lessened the tension of the moment; the least unusual sound from the
street--and it was full of soldiers and horses--brought the tale to a
sudden end and we listened with blanched faces for perhaps--the worst.

_August 31st, Monday._

Monsieur J. was released as hostage at seven o'clock P. M. and
returned to the fold. This evening, as all was still, we played a little
game of Bridge, as in the old days when life was a pleasant dream.
Suddenly a dozen rifle shots, in quick succession, rang out in the air
and the cards fell from our nerveless fingers as a stray ball rattled
against the iron shutters of our windows. Instinctively we crouched into
sheltered corners and waited; another volley and another followed, until
finally Monsieur S. whispered in a hoarse voice, "À la cave." The
household, including the servants, delighted to be any place where we
were not, made a lightning dash, Indian file, for the cellar. Quite
unperturbed and loath to leave her cozy, warm kitchen, the old, fat cook
was the last to waddle down the stairs, repeating her usual "They cannot
hurt me. I am Dutch." She was the calmest of us all, for those
intermittent shots and the possibility of retrieving lost balls had
raised a tremor of excitement as well as our hasty descent into the
realms of Bacchus, in common words--the wine cellar. By the thin rays of
a candle the scene was comic; there we were, fourteen of us huddled
together in a twelve by twenty foot vault, earthen floor and stone
walls. Expecting at any moment an onslaught of we did not know what,
each one was bracing himself for the blow, in different attitudes of
mind and body. Madame X. was pale, her daughter stolid and ready for the
defensive--the true, fighting blood of the Belgians on fire: the old
butler, attentive to the slightest sound, was shaking his gray head with
ominous pessimism and one of the maids was weeping hysterically and
audibly in the arms of her husband, the young footman. At first we just
stood and looked at each other as periodic volleys resounded now and
again. Then we relaxed as well as we could on dusty cases and rounding
barrels or whatever was at hand. An hour passed before the shooting
ceased and then we discovered that we were cramped and uncomfortable and
cold--chilled through with that deathlike dampness which pervades
subterranean chambers. What misery for those who had to live in them for
days! Another hour elapsed before the danger was really over and we
dared to come out from cover; then we crawled upstairs to bed on our
hands and knees to keep below the level of the window ledges.[2]

Madame de H. made an attempt to go to Brussels by a military train
which, however, was derailed ten kilometres from here. Some disagreeable
officers took the second automobile for military service, in spite of
the signed permission which Count Moltke has given the family. Did I
tell you that Madame X.'s children are related by marriage to a high
official of the Imperial Court? I do not know at all if this fact
accounts for the extreme courtesy which they have always received from
the soldiers, but at any rate some of their friends have not been so

Madame T., who had a charming Villa at S., was one of the unfortunate
ones. She was obliged to entertain the officers of some passing troops
at lunch recently, after which they had coffee in the garden. The
Captain glanced around at the flowers and said, "Madame, very pretty,
very pretty, tomorrow, nothing." That night her villa and several other
neighboring ones were burned to the ground.

The Germans are constantly forcing the Belgian old men, women and
children to march in front of their attacking armies. What kind of
soldiers can it be that does these things, but brutes and barbarians?

My revulsion for it all is so great that the words fairly scorch my
fingers as I write them.


[2] We never heard what really started the commotion, whether it was
premeditated or accidental, but this illustrates what a furor a rifle
shot creates instantly. The nervous tension of both the invader and
invaded is tremendous.

_September 2nd, Wednesday._

Very early this morning we were awakened by the most remarkable sound--a
co-operative noise I should call it, or anything you like, being a
combination of steamboat, train of cars and sawmill. Looking out of the
window we saw a magnificent Zeppelin sailing along in all its majestic

Miracles happen overnight in the ambulance now, for Health is hastening
back in seven-league-boots and every one of our brave _blessés_ is
turning out to be handsome. Each day a real face emerges from its black
chrysalis and we find it beautiful. The refinery was of the cruelest
type, but the temper of such men stood the test and their souls shine
out undeniably over the scarred flesh.

Some new companies, with their under officers, have taken up quarters in
the stables and garage. For the last ten days we have had Prussians
there, who were discontented with everything and wanted all the kitchen
utensils and everything within reach, but these new men are Bavarian
_Landstürm_, rather nice old things, who have brought all their own
contrivances, not the least among them being one of the famous rolling
kitchens. This latter is a round boiler, hung on four wheels, and is
about a metre in diameter and a metre in depth. It is divided into three
longitudinal compartments (the fire being underneath), one for soup, one
for meat and one for vegetables. Then, under the driver's seat or
perhaps not right under, is a tiny oven where are baked _kuchen_ or a
steaming pudding. It is a complete affair and when dinner is ready,
they just hitch on a pair of family horses and drive around to the
different companies where rations are dished out, literally. I do not
know if the position of cook is the most enviable one in the army, but
at any rate this chef appears to enjoy it and is content to sit in the
courtyard all day, peeling potatoes and onions and cabbages and cabbages
and onions and potatoes.


[3] A printed document was exposed afterwards in the village
recommending the Château X. to be respected.

_September 3rd, Thursday._

"_Monsieur Seegnal Box_" went this morning and everybody was sorry to
see him go, for he was a congenial spirit, and, like us, found nothing
attractive about war. He seemed a protection, too, from the beast that
is ever snarling at the door.

A young cousin of the family related to us to-day how much at home the
soldiers have felt in his château in the country; so much so, in fact,
that they have already sent off to Germany all his old family portraits
and the best rugs. Here is a bit of psychology for you to unravel. Why
should they want his family portraits?

I suppose you could not imagine such a thing happening in America. Well,
just try for a moment.

Fancy somebody's coming in and explaining to you that you cannot use
your own things and that your choice possessions will have a far better
setting in Germany than where they are. I think it would do the world a
lot of good if everyone tried such a mental drill for three minutes a

A great depression hung over the Convent to-day--the men were quiet,
showing their consideration for the "_camarade_" as they always do.
Constant, who received internal injuries at Fort d'Embourg, is dying and
Augustin is worse. The latter's face has a gray-blue look and his poor
jaws are very stiff. But there is hope! Oh, yes, there is Hope in big
Jean's smile across the ward, as he follows us around with his great,
black eyes. One can find lots of sympathy in a "_Oui, Mademoiselle_," or
a "_Non, Mademoiselle_," (which is all he ever says) even when it has
nothing to do with the question.

Since the commandant has taken the auto we no longer go out. It is much
too complicated anyway, as one has to show a passport at every bridge
and corner. Every acre of land is infested with soldiers. It is
interesting, however, to see what they do and how they turn everything
to some use. Men are sent from Germany to repair railroads, build
bridges, put up telephones, institute food stations and to kill pigs and
wash the meat in porcelain bath tubs as we saw them do yesterday,
outside a free bath establishment near one of the factories. As we were
looking down on the road tonight, from a hill perhaps two hundred yards
away, we saw distinctly a column of soldiers in dark blue uniforms,
marching across country, and just behind them the ground seemed to
writhe and wriggle in a distressing manner. For a moment we could not
imagine what was happening, when soon a company of men in khaki began to
evolve itself from the landscape. Does that not prove the inestimable
value of earth-colored clothes? For as close as they were to us, we
could distinguish nothing.

This gray-green which the Germans wear is by far the best tone of khaki
that I have yet seen.

Soldiers are stripping the factories here of their fine machinery, but
one sort of chuckles in one's boots when he remembers that it was
originally bought in Germany and has not been paid for yet.

All day long, trains without ceasing were bringing back the wounded. We
do not know exactly where the fighting is, but probably near Charleroi.
A Baron de C. and his wife arrived here at ten P. M. from
Posen, one of the German provinces already taken by the Russians. Crazed
with anxiety, they are going in search of their son, who was wounded at
Namur, and have been three days in a military train--an excruciating
journey! At midnight, the soldiers and the _chef de cuisine_, who has
had his kitchen in the court, departed. Before going they sang softly
some of their songs and then the wagons, one by one, filed out of the
moonlight and were swallowed up in the shadows of the trees. I felt as
if the candle had been blown out for them.

_September 4th, Friday._

Monsieur J. came home today with bad news, though every day has its bad
news. His cousin Robert had been killed near Gand. The old butler's eyes
were sweet to see when Madame X. turned at table and said to him,
"François, Monsieur Robert is dead." This man of one syllable, according
to his custom, answered simply, quick tears visible, "_Oui, Madame_"
with that gentle upward intonation which says so much.

The longest sentence he probably ever constructed was uttered
thirty-five years ago when his young master had wished to dismiss him
for some reason and he had answered, "Oh no, Monsieur, we could not
live, either one of us without the other," which settled the question
for all time. And now the master is laid to rest and the servant must
serve the enemy in his house.

We took a little walk in the woods, this afternoon--as the coast was
clear and no strangers in the house for the first time in three weeks.
We had hardly finished a short promenade when we heard a violent
clanging on the gong to call us back, and when we returned in all haste
to the house found seven soldiers in the library going through all the
drawers and closets in search of firearms. Commencing there, they
searched the whole house from top to bottom, even fumbling in the
bureaus among the dainty lingerie of Madame X. Some of them took an
obvious pleasure in performing their duty, while others looked
uncomfortable and bored. It is true that many of the men hate this war,
whereby whole families of brothers and cousins have to leave their homes
to fight what they call the "Aristocrats' War," who in their arrogance
think to be masters of the whole world.

Some newspapers, two weeks old, were brought from Brussels in the
evening and we pounced upon them as a starved dog makes for a bone.

_September 5th, Saturday._ (At the ambulance.)

"_Constant, le pauvre Constant!_ What is in your tortured soul, these
three long days and nights, that chains it to earth and tosses your
poor body from one troubled thought to another?"

I did not think to have my question answered. At eleven o'clock this
morning a child of twelve years, beautiful as an angel with heavenly
blue eyes and a shock of golden hair, dashed breathlessly into the
courtyard of the Convent, almost too exhausted to ask if _Soldat_
Constant Martin, by any chance, were there. The gentle _Soeur Cecile_
led him in to the sick man's cot. The boy gazed a moment, bewildered at
the wasted form upon it; then with an agonizing cry of "_mon père_" fell
on his knees by the bedside. The man's eyelids trembled, half opened an
instant to look upon his son, and closed. In ten minutes he was at

Since the railroad has been reconstructed the soldiers have been passing
in trains instead of on foot. Today we saw hundreds of older men,
Bavarians and sailors--it looks as if something had miscarried when the
marines have to fight on land. In the opposite direction, thousands of
wounded were going back in ambulance cars. These ambulance trains are
admirable and are often made up of forty and fifty carriages of the
light, swinging, old-fashioned type, of uniform size, the roofs painted
white, with a big, red cross on the top and one on each side. The cots
are arranged one above the other, showing clean, white linen, while the
attendants are spotlessly uniformed in white. In the middle of each
train is a car which might be called the "ugly duckling," for it is a
decidedly clumsy looking affair, full of steam boilers with safety
valves and tubes sticking out at the top, and is, I fancy, a sterilizing

_September 6th, Sunday._

Oh, the peace of Sunday in a little village! And Augustin is better,
though he still fights his dressings. It takes the combined effort of
the ward to present duty in such an attractive guise that he will not
realize he is minding, but it is really the sympathetic Roger who can
insinuate comforting comparisons from his own recent acquaintance with
pain and the ever-ready Pierre, who with a "courage, camarade," and one
free hand to help me, actually put the thing through.

On my way home to lunch I glanced at the clock in the church tower and
saw that it was an hour ahead of time, having been made to coincide with
Teuton pendulums. This is the second time that it has happened, for the
villagers dared to climb up the long stairs and put it back, once, but
the soldiers were so ferocious in their threats that--well, one must
accept their insolence. Crossing the field I passed the farmer who must
have felt considerable perturbation of soul this particular day, for he
looked "worrited" and was mowing grass for his poor, thin cows, in a
blue gingham smock and a bowler hat. The war is not more vital to anyone
on earth than to him, for the soldiers have taken away his wagons and
most of his hay for their bedding and they ruined the grass in the
orchard where they were encamped.

Soldiers came to the Convent this morning to search for firearms. It
appears that the German military authorities are terrified of an
uprising among the inhabitants, particularly the factory hands, who will
not work for the Prussians and are getting a little restless. One can
readily imagine such an apprehension when from a population of 40,000
working men in the vicinity, only forty-two firearms were presented upon
requisition. If all the rest are buried in the woods, as many believe,
it will only be the story of another inspired "Cadmus, who sowed
dragons' teeth and there sprang up an army of armed men."

Madame de H. has left for Brussels. The third auto which was hidden away
was brought out and with Count Moltke's _laisser-passer_ and the
family's chauffeur, she will arrive safely, we hope, though we shall not
rest until the man gets back.

In Liége this afternoon, in front of the University, we saw squares and
squares which were burned out by the Germans, and also where those
eighteen civilians were shot, following a slight uprising of the people.
Madame X.'s niece, who lives quite near there, heard the screams of the
women, and such scenes of terror seem even yet to paralyze the
population. In the Place de la Cathédrale we saw soldiers pushing people
along with their saw-toothed bayonets to disperse a crowd which was
gaping, stupefied, at some unusual proceeding.

As we stood there, an automobile, with eight Prussian officers in it,
came banging down the street, loose bolts jingling, and was just
disappearing around a corner when Madame R. exclaimed "Oh, that's our

All the automobiles, as well as everything else, have been confiscated
by the invaders and it is a common occurrence to look up and see one's
own beautiful car bounding along over cobblestones and breaking with its
load of soldiers--the motors are driven so hard that in two weeks' time
they are practically worthless.

At the beginning of the war, many owners cunningly removed a tiny
necessary part of their machines, but in most cases the same owners were
given just two hours at the point of the bayonet to find those missing
parts, which was not always easy. And the farmers, too, who cut down the
big trees across the roads to impede the enemy's advance, had just the
same amount of time given them to clear the path again. So you see that
one is helpless.

Rumors come from France that the fortified town of Mauberge still
resists, but that the Germans are at Compiégne, which is so near to
beautiful Paris. It is impossible to believe. Yet we all experienced a
feeling of absolute faintness when that report came, for Compiégne, or
anywhere within one hundred kilometres of it, is too near. But if--_Bon
Dieu_, keep us from thinking!

_September 8th, Tuesday._

There is a possibility of our going to Brussels. Oh, the joy of it! That
may find me the means, through the American Ambassador, of getting back
to my beloved France.

The youngest gardener, the little one, Charles, who is only eighteen
years old, has left for "the front." Not with his regiment, for he
hasn't one (this year was to have been his class), but as a private
individual who could not stay at home when his country needed him. His
old mother, with a little catch in her throat, sent him off proudly, her
baby, her _petit Charles_, to serve with his four brothers, already

But how can he get away with the eye of the arrogant usurper on every
corner and road?

A Belgian soldier will play his rôle after his own interpretation.
Instead of going off in his best smock and a tiny bundle on a stick, _le
petit Charles_ bade us a smiling _au revoir_ in his old blue apron and
torn hat. He will wander aimlessly over the hills which he knows so well
and, unsuspected, will creep through the friendly hedges into the very
arms of hospitable Holland and then, "All's well."

Trains were passing all day loaded with provisions, as well as soldiers
and sailors who were sticking on like caterpillars all over the roofs,
the sides, the steps and almost the wheels. I saw two of them dancing
the tango on the top of one carriage. Then came car after car of prairie
wagons, we call them, with voluminous, white, canvas hoods, loaded with
provisions; after these, countless, giant cannon decorated with
branches, flowers and flags, mounted on open trucks without sides. All
this procession was a weird phenomenon gliding by in the sky like a
mirage, for the road-bed at the rear of the château is very high and is
hidden by intervening shrubs and bushes so that the wheels of the cars
are quite concealed. It reminded me of those Amazon warriors in "_Die
Walküre_" who slid up to Heaven so smoothly on their wooden horses at
the Opéra in Paris.

Dropping from the poetical plane to common cause and effect, the whole
gave the impression of being well lubricated--like the wheels of Destiny
which turn steadily on with few jerks or hitches.

_September 9th, Wednesday._

The word is said. We are packing our bags to leave for Brussels
tomorrow. When I went to the Convent this morning, I found all the
soldiers in bed and looking so wretched. Merciful Heaven! What blight
could have fallen on our children over night? But it was a farce. They
had heard that the officers of the regiment, here, were coming to
inspect the wounded with the idea of sending those who are well enough
on to Germany as, of course, they are prisoners. So the moment the
Germans entered the courtyard, all the _blessés_--even those who are
quite well--hopped into bed with their clothes on, pulled the covers up
to their chins and with a wet compress on their heads, looked as ill as
possible. It was comical to see; one can be a soldier and comedian at
the same time--and even the dear Sisters enjoyed it. But I was paralyzed
with fear. They had not thought of another side of the question to which
the very impudence of their ruse might subject them.

I was very sad to say good-bye to these brave fellows who have been to
all the world such a lesson in bravery and patience during their
suffering. One big, lanky _garçon_--Jean, in fact--was quite undone at
our departure. He refused to be consoled with the promise of postal
cards in some future era and wept and sobbed, but I managed to
understand between the sobs that he was saying, "_Mais, Mademoiselle, je
vous suis habitué._" (But, Mademoiselle, I am used to you.) I do not
know if this was meant for a compliment, but I took it as such and wept

_September 10th, Thursday._

This morning was spent in finishing packing, which usually is the
biggest part of it, I find.

There appears to be violent fighting at Malines, Louvain and Tirlemont.
Nevertheless we are setting out from the château, at two o'clock, bag
and baggage. Everybody felt sorry to leave the servants (_Liégeois_)
who have been staunch and comforting friends through all the misery of
these terrifying times. Will an eager Fate close them in? Let us hope
they will absorb the effervescent optimism of the fat old cook who
continually reiterates in her awful French, "They cannot hurt me. I am a

2 P. M.--Well, off we started. It was a moment I shall never
forget, for it was as if we had taken up something solid and heavy (an
experience, for example) in our two hands and put it behind us. There
were in the party our two autos and Monsieur H. with Signor K., an
Italian consul, in his. Monsieur H. has a passport from the military
Governor, Field Marshal von der Golz, to go anywhere in Belgium, so we
felt very safe to be with him. No ancient stage-coach with a dozen
passengers on the top could have made as precarious a flight as our
machines, packed and jammed full inside and crowned on the roof with an
overhanging cornice of every sort of bundle. You can imagine that there
was an idea at the back of our minds of never returning, perhaps, or of
keeping what we could in immediate possession.

It was interesting in leaving the city to see the disposition of troops;
we passed through Seraing, where are those tremendous Cockerill
factories, and soon arrived opposite the famous Fort Hollogne which did
such wonderful work in the defense of Liége, August 5th. At present it
flies the German flag and but for one or two sentinels pacing near, one
would never dream that a tremendous fort was there. Like the others, it
is built three stories underground, with just a slight rising of earth
defining the cupolas. Along the road on both sides, for miles and miles,
lay splendid trees which were cut down for cannon range. Just before
arriving at Jauche we met three automobiles with Prussian officers, who
shouted "_Nicht weiter_" and made violent signs which we did not
understand. But why "_nicht weiter_" with the _Herr Feld Marschall's_
permission in our pocket? We soon learned at the railroad crossing. An
hour before there had been an alarm and the station had received orders
to allow no one to pass, as there was fighting not far beyond in the
direction of Tirlemont. Then and there arose a mighty discussion and the
_esprits_ of many nations (Belgian, Italian, Russian, French and German)
entered into the argument while one meek American looked on at the
sparring. Even the little slip of paper ladened with the name of von der
Golz in much ink, had no weight. Then we tried another route, that lay
right through the heart of a dirty, squalid, little village to
Ramillies, the same Ramillies of Louis XIV.'s time, famous in the
"_Batailles des Flandres_." We arrived there by a sudden turn of the
road which brought us up standing, onto a bridge spanning the railroad.
Below, perhaps two hundred feet distant, was the station, out of which,
upon our sudden apparition, swarmed a hundred soldiers in alarm, quite
as if the surprising toe of a boot had inadvertently kicked over an ant
hill. At Ramillies we were not more successful than at Jauche, for as
the officials explained, if we passed the railroad station we were in
danger of being caught between two battlelines. So, sadly indeed, we
retraced our way and returned in the dark and the pouring rain to a
dismantled house and forlorn hopes.

_September 12th, Saturday._

We are in the depths of despair today for we hear that they are fighting
at Meaux--Meaux, which nearly is Paris. If I were a French woman I could
not feel more poignantly about it. But we always think that it is not
true, as we have no real means of knowing--all is hearsay.

A messenger brought news from Monsieur N., "Uncle Maurice," in the
Ardennes. It appears that in August when the German troops went through
Belgium on foot, the regiment of Count Otto von M. passed his villa.
Count Otto is "Uncle M's" nephew--the son of his sister, who married a
"high official of the Imperial Court," of whom I have already spoken. So
it happened that the young officer went to call on his esteemed uncle,
who frankly shut the door in his face. The Count burst into tears and
cried, "Uncle, Uncle, won't you speak to me? It is not my fault. When my
brothers and I received orders to come through Belgium, we begged other
commissions but to no avail."

Certainly not! who better than the Counts von M. who have hunted from
childhood, thro' every lane and secret path, to lead the armies thro'

Trains are passing with every known thing therein--first thousands of
soldiers, then wagons of provisions, cannon, boats for pontoon bridges
mounted on wheels ready for unloading, material for building, trucks of
hay, portable houses and in one car were hundreds of tiny wheels
sticking up which we discovered belonged to wheelbarrows. It is a droll
procession, that never ceases before one's eyes. To offset it, we have
taken to playing Patience morning, noon and night, and if this monotony
keeps up much longer we shall certainly become imbeciles. From time to
time, in the trains going back to Germany one sees French prisoners,
easy to tell by their red _képis_, boxed up in cattle cars, peering out
from a narrow slit at the top. From the terrace can be heard the dull
thud of distant cannon; the fighting is at Warrem, thirty kilometres
from here.

_Monday, September 14th._

Somebody came into possession of a newspaper, the "Figaro" from Paris,
dated September 6th. We were delighted to have it loaned us for an hour,
greasy and dirty as it was, for in these days a newspaper is the most
precious article on earth. It is brought in on a silver tray--then
somebody feverishly reads aloud for the benefit of the others, while the
servants run out to invite the neighbors to come in and listen. Just as
the reader is in the middle of a grand eulogy on glorious victories,
etc., an unknown person raps on the door to reclaim the precious journal
and we all relapse into a general interchange of impressions, ideas,
complaints, inspirations--"They say"; "It appears"; "Why"; "Must";
"Ought"; "Should"; etc. In a German paper we read to-day, they are
preparing their men for "slight defeats" by saying that, "The French
army is no longer the army of 1870, but one worthy to combat with our
own." That was very condescending and was doubtless inspired by the
formidable battleline from the coast to Nancy, before their noses.

_September 16th, Wednesday._

Natural laws are demonstrating themselves very plainly these days, for
when we were sitting on the terrace just before lunch to-day, a curious
thing happened--a sound wave, from a cannon shot literally hit our ear
drums. I felt as if somebody had struck mine with a padded club. There
was no noise, you understand, but we all looked up, aware of the impact
at the same moment, so that it could not have been imagination. It must
be that the terrible experiences of the past weeks have developed us to
a highly sensitized degree, for many things are strikingly clear which
were not so before.

Nearly every afternoon we go up over the hill to a high cliff
overhanging the river which makes a sounding board for those sounds,
which never abate, of a distant battle across the valley.

Heaven above! how are there men enough left after all these weeks of
killing to continue a battle? At times the reports come as thick and
fast as hail, making one long roar of awfulness, and our hearts sink
like lead at the vision it conjures up.

And again, how readily and eagerly hope springs up when the shots become
interrupted and the noise fades away a little.

In this wooded spot where we so often go to find out the real truth of
things with our own ears, one meets nearly all one's friends from the
neighboring villas who have come for the same purpose, morbidly
attracted as we all, no doubt, are by these dreadful signs of a world of

We huddle together like sheep lost in the storm, we confide our personal
misfortunes and we recount the barbarous tales we have recently heard,
the story ever interrupted by fresh evidence of the reviving fury of the
never-ending struggle.

When we arrived home we heard that a company of soldiers had arrested,
as espions, four or five men who, like ourselves, were taking a little
promenade in the wood across the valley. Our liberties are being
curtailed more and more. Thank goodness there is a large garden and a
private wood to wander in. A month ago the order was that every
inhabitant must be in the house and lights out at eight P. M.
Now it is seven o'clock and as the days grow shorter it will soon be six
or five--and perhaps three. The soldiers are in such a blue fear of
being shot that recently in Aerschot all the villagers were put into the
church on bread and water. Some of the men were shot before their wives
and most of the houses burned. And they say, "the heart of the Imperial
Empire bleeds." It is not surprising that it does when one considers
what is happening right here at Liége, where houses are burned and
innocent men shot for murder. Afterward one finds German bullets in
German soldiers, which proves what you will.

What a story we heard to-day--such a pitiful little story of somebody's
blue-eyed boy who ran out with his toy gun and aimed it at the passing

They shot him dead, the little fellow, but he will sleep in a hero's
grave as truly as another, for his loyal wee might.

_September 18th, Friday._

A memorable day! We went in the auto to Spa. As we drove out of the
court yard we were obliged to let some horsemen pass, who were out for
their morning exercise. I think it is somebody's body guard, for we see
them often at a distance. There are about thirty of them and at close
range they are rather beautiful, that is, their uniforms of spotless
white broadcloth with gold trimmings. _En route_ we passed by Fort
d'Embourg, which still has some of its cupolas, and Fort Chaudefontaine,
which our burned soldiers defended and which is demolished. For miles
around the country has been flattened, one may say, from the operation
of the cannon and looks as if a cyclone had hurried across it. Every bit
of shrubbery has been swept off the soil as if by a blast of magic and
the singed earth has a very shorn-lamb aspect.

Our route was a veritable _via dolorosa_--destruction on both sides, in
front and behind. Many houses and trees had eight inch shells half
sticking in them which have not exploded and nobody knows when they may.
The churches were without fail demolished more or less and the most
astonishing thing was to see, again and again, the marble statue of the
Christ standing intact on the crumbling remains of an altar. It fills
one with awe and reverence to see this figure repeatedly spared by a
supernatural power from an otherwise pitiless devastation. We passed
through the now famous Louvigné which was entirely burned by the
Prussians on their way to Liége. It was the same old story of the
"civilians firing on the troops," or rather the excuse of the
delinquents to martyr innocent villagers who instinctively took up a
rifle to defend their homes, as any one of us would. And revenge came

As we neared this spot which scarred the face of Nature, we were seized
with silent horror. If, in the smiling sunshine and in the quiet of the
beautiful country, we shivered at the sight of such destruction and the
thought of that dastardly work which marked the destiny of hundreds of
human beings, what must the awful realization have been to the
inhabitants themselves? Fancy the helplessness of them and their
consternation at the approach of a great army bearing down, of men
maddened with the love of conquest, of the wild beast seeking what it
may devour! Imagine the distant rumbling of wheels, drawing nearer and
nearer, the thud of horses' hoofs, the rhythmic tramp of feet, first
wafted on the wind, and finally the frightful dread confirmed by a
sudden explosion from the forts. Then the arrival--the dark--the
noise--the confusion--the terror of the women--the screams of little
children clinging to their mothers--the despair of the old ones, ill and
bedridden--fire everywhere and men torn from the arms of their loved
ones and stood up in a row and shot. What ghastly scenes, illumined
still more by those rockets of flame from the forts which cut across the
plain to stay the brutal invaders!

I saw a little girl come out from the débris to draw water from a
pump--for what? For whom? There did not seem to be a living creature in
the vicinity, though perhaps some of the poor things who fled out into
the night across the fields for safety, have come back to dig out a
little home under the crumbled stone. One or two houses remained
standing, which seems a miracle, as pétrole-soaked fire-brands were
thrown systematically into every habitation. As we passed, rather
quickly, I counted ninety houses in ruins and about half a mile from the
road, a magnificent château, a victim as well as the meanest hovel. The
façade only was standing, though on approaching directly, the building
seemed intact, except for a curious impression of daylight shining
through the windows.

Coming back in the twilight the effect of all this misery was
accentuated, the sentinels every few hundred yards were more suspicious
than ever and when we came upon a few isolated "_Hussars de la Mort_"
with the death's head leering out from those elegant fur turbans, I
thought all was finished. Happily the men were more peaceable than their

Spa, the lovely, indolent _ville d'eaux_, which we visited, was filled
with the "military" and bristling like a porcupine with saw-edged
bayonets and pointed helmets.

_September 22nd, Tuesday._

The doctor has gone to Neufchateau in the Ardennes to bring back the
French and Belgian wounded. I wish I could have gone with him, for we
seem so useless here now that our soldiers are well, and the days are
long, since the wild excitement of a giant army on the wing has cooled
down. "On the wing" is not an idle expression when we remember those
forced marches and how they lashed the poor artillery horses which
galloped and strained in the traces without making much impression on
the wheels. It was rather like that famous chariot race in the play,
"Ben Hur," when the landscape rolled around too fast for the horses.
Certain Imperial Esprits have doubtless already arrived, but without the
baggage--an item somewhat important.

May the Fates preserve beautiful Paris! There is a dear little French
sister at the Convent (this Sisterhood was transferred from Metz after
the War of 1870) who says that we must pray the Blessed Virgin every day
to "_écraser_ (smash) _les Allemands_," and she says it so fervently
that one does not observe the lack of Christian spirit.

Very little is passing through the city at present except perhaps this
eternal line of trains, and oh, how we are thirsting for news! Can you
imagine, dear people at home, you who have hundreds of newspapers, how
we are straining every nerve to know the real truth of things as they
are, to pierce through this thick wall, with which an arrogant despotism
has cut us off from the whole world? But we cannot. It is wadded on both
sides with deceptions and our only privilege is to surmise. What poor
things we are, in truth, though born and reared in the common
independence of the age. Everywhere (else) the poorest farmer has his
one old horse to take him to and fro, where he will, and he has his acre
of God's country, where he may muse in the sun or dream with the stars,
while we, conquered by numbers, must walk in a straight line without
loitering and we must go into our houses at seven P. M. and
close the door. Do you think that is amusing?

_September 24th, Thursday._

We heard five booms of cannon in an hour this morning and bad and
inhuman as it sounds, we were quite pleased--any little sign from an
outside world that one lives, one breathes, to drag us out of this
inertia, this eternal silence!

_September 28th, Monday._

There was quite a demonstration in Liége yesterday when they brought
back from Neufchateau some Belgian and French wounded. The people all
shouted, "_Vive la France._" Today we have a new military governor, who
has given the order to shoot, without hesitation, any person attempting
such an indiscretion again.

The scene of operations is gradually swinging back into Belgium and the
stories of atrocities are increasing. The sacking and burning of
Louvain, with its art treasures and its world-famous library of rare
books and old manuscripts, is only another blot on a shield already
stained. In fact, it is said that the general who permitted it is most
discontented with himself for having been so stupid and that he has been
relieved from active service on account of ill health.

Monsieur Max, the burgomaster of Brussels, has been taken prisoner and
is in confinement at Namur, because he was not able nor willing to meet
the demands of the Prussians, who want gold. We hear that the women of
Germany have been required to give up all their jewelry, except wedding
rings, for fighting money.

_September 30th, Wednesday._

We went again to Spa in the auto. Passing again through the pitiful
village of Louvigné, we saw, in a meadow, the graves, covered with
wayside flowers, of the farmers who were shot. The soldiers picked out
forty of the villagers, stood them up in a line, then shouted, "Save
yourselves." Thirteen were shot in the back and the rest escaped. What
words to find for this barbarism? But is it barbarism and not rather the
refined cruelty of civilization? Is it not better then to remain a
primitive, with a beautiful faith in the Sun-god?

_October 1st, Thursday._

The siege of Antwerp has begun. Here is a dialogue between the Kaiser
and his _belle armée_.

K. "I need Antwerp."

A. "Your Majesty shall have Antwerp, but we need five hundred thousand

K. "You shall have them."

Does this explain the fantastic array of soldiers, sailors, the old, the
young, grandfathers and infants, the simple rank and file and the
elegant regiments of H. M. that are continually trailing on to the

_September 29th, Tuesday._

The servants are dismantling the house today, putting all the art
treasures in safety--tapestries, silver, portraits, paintings, rugs,
fine china, furniture, dresses, furs, books, linen--in fact everything
of value. All this is to be taken off for safekeeping and sealed
up,--maybe, in the crystal caves of the river nymph, Aréthusa. Madame X.
does not like to imagine the _Haus Fraus_ parading in her sables.

A man in the city saw some circulars ready for distribution that were
printed by the German War Office, saying that in case of retreat of the
army, the inhabitants of Liége would have six hours to evacuate the

All that horror over again? Oh! this is a more terrifying thought, even,
than the advance of an army.

Madame de H. managed to get through to us a letter from Brussels by
messenger. What dreadful things are happening, what curious things!
Three kilometres from her château on the other side of Brussels is an
old feudal castle which has been occupied for the last two years by an
Austrian family. These people were never very neighborly, preferring
their own society evidently and spending all their time and interest in
repairing the dilapidated walls of an unused wing of the château. This
had turned out an endless task, as it appears, continued for weeks and
then suddenly and unaccountably stopped for days, only to be feverishly
recommenced. But of course, people round about, accustomed to the
varying energy of workmen in general were not puzzled at this. At least
this was the explanation given and, in truth, it began to look as if the
old place would live its given quota of days and crumble away still

Twenty-four hours after Germany declared war on France and had already
crossed the frontier into Belgium, the Austrian family disappeared in
the night, taking with them their household goods. The next day Belgian
authorities seized the property and found a complete arsenal under the
walls with a net-work of tunnels burrowing far into the earth in all

_October 3rd, Saturday._

During the last forty-eight hours, hundreds of cattle cars have been
going back to Germany and we were very curious as to their contents.
Unhappily, we have been enlightened.

Some of the villagers at the station, this morning, looked into one car
and saw that it was full of dead human bodies, tied together in threes
and packed tightly side by side in rows. Is that not too horrible for
words? It is better not to be too inquisitive these days, for there is
horror enough on the surface of things.

The Germans have already taken some of the forts of Antwerp, although
the country surrounding the outer belt line of forts has been purposely
inundated, which does not, however, prevent the operation of big field

About fourteen of our wounded at the Convent Ambulance were sent to
Germany today as prisoners. We went to see them off and found the poor
things absolutely overwhelmed. Against the fear of cold and
imprisonment, they put on as many clothes as possible--two suits of
underwear, two pairs of socks, two pairs of trousers, coats, shirts,
sweaters and waistcoats--until they looked like stuffed partridges.
Poor, feathered brood, with pinioned wings! At three P. M. our
(usually) gay boys were led out of the court, two by two, like convicts,
a Prussian at the head of the column and a Prussian at the foot.

Oh, these Belgians are brave and they know how to obey, which may be the
very secret of their greatness. It is glorious to see the respect with
which even grown men accept the advice of their aged parents, for at the
moment of peril to their honor and their country when the old father had
said to his son, "My boy, it is time to lay down the hoe and take up
the sword," he had answered, simply, "_Oui, mon père_," while the women
brought out the sword and buckled it on with a tearless Godspeed.

That is the way the Belgians went to war and that is the way they will
sustain themselves to the glorious end.

_October 5th, Monday._

To-day, two months after that horrible battle of Sartilmont, we found a
Belgian soldier's cap lying in the middle of the path in the woods. It
seemed like a human thing and stirred me to the profoundest depths. I
never thought that clothes could take on life and a personality all
alone, but they do. Has its owner been in hiding all these weeks or is
he lying yet unburied among the friendly trees? In these places where
Death has walked so boldly one feels his accompanying presence at every

_October 8th, Thursday._

Monsieur B., a man of seventy years (Madame X.'s brother-in-law), was
taken as hostage yesterday at Spa. Fortunately for him, he was allowed
to sleep in the hotel, but can you imagine what the anxiety of those
twenty-four hours was? Every voice in the street, every foot-step in the

From the top of the mountain all day a continual booming was heard,
distantly transmitted through the air. It was so incessant and with such
vivacity, one could easily imagine two armies all mixed up into one. The
Red Cross trains bear witness to tremendous battles somewhere--but
where? We hardly know how to contain ourselves in this absolute
ignorance of what is happening in the world. We rush upon and tear to
bits, like beasts of prey, the least little piece of news that comes
straggling within reach and if, by chance, someone comes into the court,
it is enough for all the family, including the servants, to rush to the
windows in excitement.

The soldiers who are in the garage had the delicate idea of killing a
cow therein, which they did, and dismantled the animal then and there.
The next day they dressed themselves in Belgian uniforms, stripped from
the dead, and had themselves photographed before the château. We noticed
their laughing and pointing to the attic windows of the house, and we
finally discovered that they had festooned strings of sausages, of their
own recent make, from the window sills, to ripen.

A Baron de S. spent the night here, and told us of the ravages made by
the passing troops at his château down in the country. They had buried a
Frenchman in one corner of the garden and two Germans in another and
nothing was left but the house. All engravings and paintings were cut
with a sword; silver platters were melted in a lump in the court yard;
meat was cut up on a beautiful salon table; shoe polish was rubbed on
another; pipes in the kitchen and bathroom were cut to flood the rooms;
every glass in the house was broken and all the linen carried off except
the handkerchiefs.

_October 9th, Friday._

Baron T., another friend of the family, came to lunch. He told us of his
cousin, who was one of the unfortunate victims of the sack of Louvain.
This aged man (seventy years) with a thousand others, was obliged to
walk for twenty-four hours with nothing to eat or drink and arms
stretched up straight over their heads. The poor man, fainting with
fatigue, asked permission of the soldiers to put his hands behind his
neck, but this grace was denied, and after some hours more all the
company was pushed into a cattle train and for eight days taken over the
country, as far as Cologne, and at last released in Brussels, almost

When this Monsieur--of whom I speak, found himself free again he made
his way, laboriously enough, to his brother's house in Brussels.

The _maitre d'hotel_ opened the door and, seeing this haggard, bootless
individual, who was weakened with fatigue and dazed from his recent
horrible experience, did not recognize him, naturally enough, and
refused him admission until the old gentleman got his poor scattered
brains together enough to prove his identity. This is the story as we
have it first-hand. Can it then be possible that the others we heard are
true, too?

_October 10th, Saturday._

I have been advertised! like a stray dog, and what a feeling of
importance it gives one. A peculiar looking document with the Embassy
seals of Paris and Brussels on it, arrived from the American Consul in
Liége enquiring if such a person as "Me" still exists.

Well, rather, I should say. Fancy one's coming all the way on foot from
Brussels to find out that!

Masses of soldiers and cannon passing today and news from Brussels is
bad. The worst must have happened! "Antwerp, the untakable." How is it
possible in a few days, with fifty-two forts in triple line? We were so
depressed we could scarcely eat dinner, when about nine P. M.
came the news, from a man of affairs who is just back from Brussels,
that the rumor is false. We shall sleep tonight after this hope and the
end of the world is not today, anyway.

_October 11th, Sunday._

We have heard the raging of a distant battle for days and we tremble for
the result. It seems that Antwerp is really taken, that is, "they say"
so, but it is such a mystery to everybody.

A Dutch army nurse--but in the German Red Cross service--is here for a
few days' furlough, and related to Madame X. some horrible details of
the battlefield in France, whence she has recently come. It is just one
scene of mud and blood--pieces of limbs strewn everywhere and the dead
standing straight against masses of bodies, both living and dead. In
some towns she saw women and children pinioned with a sword through the
breast to the walls of their houses, and in Belgium the women and
children were often obliged to hold the hands of the men whom the
soldiers shot at random, according to their fancy. Here again are tales
that one hears that I cannot assert as facts, though this woman told
them as her own experiences.

Madame X. received a card from Charles, the young gardener, who is now
safe in France training with the Belgian army near Dunkirque. You are
doubtless wondering how a card arrived here, as we have had no mail
since August 2nd. It was sent to a certain bank in Holland which is not
far from the Belgian frontier and a messenger brought it on foot.

And I have sent you back a letter, dear people, scribbled at top speed
(without capitals, t's crossed nor i's dotted, probably) by the same
messenger who takes his life in his hands when he passes the guard at
the Dutch frontier again. If letters are found on this person he will
certainly be shot, so whether you ever receive my communication will be
a matter of history.

_October 13th, Tuesday._

The old concierge of the hunting box at Viel Salm (near Malmédy,
Germany), who has been dying of tuberculosis for twenty years, arrived
here tonight, having walked the whole distance of seventy five
kilometres. This shows the faithfulness of the old servant who thought
he must come to report the sacking of the villa by the German troops
which occurred in the early days of August.

The poor man could not have hobbled another step, for he was at the end
of his strength and his feet were just two great blisters. He told a
shocking tale of the troops, who entirely pillaged the villa. While he
went to complain of them at the _Kommandantur_ of the place, others came
and what they did not break up, they took off. Pictures, engravings and
mirrors were broken, the leather chairs slit up with a sabre--artistically
done in the shape of a cross--and porcelain smashed in the middle of the
courtyard. You can see by this that pillaging and atrocities began when
the troops were hardly over the frontier.

In one of the numerous pillaged châteaux around about, an extraordinary
bit of literature, in fact a masterpiece, has been found by the
châtelaine. A tiny scrap of paper sticking out from a book had these
words scribbled on it in German: "I am only a common soldier but I ask
pardon for these atrocities, committed by my superior officers."

_October 14th, Wednesday._

It is unbelievable the trainloads of soldiers that are passing about
every ten minutes, and the fighting--judging from the wounded--must be
beyond words. The army nurse told of men who have fought five days in
the trenches without relief. They were tumbling over with fatigue, rifle
in hand, and the officers were obliged to go from one to the other,
shaking them into consciousness.


_October 16th, Friday._

We went to Viel Salm in the automobile. The destruction at the villa,
which I saw with my own eyes, has not been exaggerated. There was
practically nothing left but the structure itself and that was far from
intact, for nearly all the great plate glass windows were broken by some
_dévot_ of vandalism who had taken the trouble and an ax to split up the
jambs of the doors so that they never could shut again.

Inside was far worse; every picture, glass and mirror was smashed, each
leather chair had a great cross on it, cut with the sword, the sofas
were ripped up the middle, curtains and portières were wrenched from
their rods, all the dishes were taken except the glass stoppers of the
water-bottles, all the linen, all the blankets, all the clothes except a
few which were carefully cut up into ribbons and the tops of riding
boots which were sawed off for gaiters. In addition to this, eighteen
beds and bedsteads as well were carried off.

We visited the Baronne de L., whose son, after refusing a demand of
forty thousand francs, was taken as a hostage, with the burgomaster and
others of the village.

One morning at two o'clock a great ox cart drove up the avenue of pines
to the château and took him off before his mother's eyes. He is now
confined in a convict's cell at Coblenz.

Baronne de L. has suffered severely at the hands of the invaders. She is
living quite alone in the château with the servants since her son was
taken and the avalanche of troops swept over the frontier at this point.
The house has been full of officers from the "first days" and she thinks
one of them was the "Kronprinz" from his photograph and because his
brother-officers always addressed him as Excellency. After one frightful
day, when the soldiers had literally despoiled the place by tearing
trophies from the wall, appropriating furniture and devastating the
stables, the household quieted down about midnight and everybody was in
bed, when suddenly a thundering of horses' hoofs was heard in the
courtyard and a new detachment of hungry, quarrelsome men piled in,
making a raid on the kitchen and pantries as usual. They were even more
boisterous and brutal than their predecessors and poor Madame de L.
crept fearfully up to the captain's room to solicit his aid and
protection. She knocked and knocked several times before the door
finally burst open and he angrily demanded what she wanted. Just as he
was in the middle of roaring out an oath, he suddenly drew himself up
haughtily, attired as he was in that great voluminous night gown
accredited to the Teutonic people, to salute a superior officer who at
that moment ascended the stair-case.

Baronne de L. said that in spite of the fearfulness of the moment, it
was one of the most laughable scenes that she ever witnessed.

On our way home from Viel Salm we saw the wonderful bridge of trees,
three hundred feet long and fifty feet high, at Trois Ponts, which the
Germans built when the tunnel was blown up by the Belgians at the
commencement of the war. It is a marvellous affair in engineering
construction and commands enthusiastic admiration. Except for iron bolts
and rivets, it is made entirely of trunks of huge trees--with the bark
yet on in places, though, when necessary, a surface was planed square
and true to meet its fellow.

We drove through the village of Francorchamps, which was also burned to
the ground, and a few miles further on met three Prussian officers who
snarled out some frightful invective as we passed. I cannot think of a
reason, except that we were in an automobile while they were obliged to
circulate in a modest, pony phaeton.

_October 17th, Saturday._

Antwerp is taken! There is no doubt about it now, and it is a sad blow
for Belgium. Antwerp! the pride and strength of the whole empire! But
there is not a person (bar the enemy) who does not expect to get it back
and all the rest of the usurped territory.

Madame de H. sent letters by a "foot-messenger" from Brussels. She left
here only to plunge into a wild vortex of experiences there. Two days
ago she saw a battle in the air between two aeroplanes and yesterday the
locomotives on the trains had chains of roses around their necks to
celebrate some good news for the enemy. It sounds wild, doesn't it? And
last week--well, one does not dare to think what might have happened at
her home, Château de H., when four different companies of soldiers
pursued each other in quick succession on the road.

First a regiment of German light infantry passed who stopped just long
enough for some hot coffee and were off again. About half an hour later
a brigade of Belgian bicycle _carabiniers_ appeared and stayed to
"lunch." They were not so _pressés_ and were leisurely laughing and
joking when one of the stable-men rushed panting into the kitchen and
said a company of Uhlans could be seen galloping hard in the distance.

Then ensued a kaleidoscopic performance which took less time than my
writing it, and they all escaped, safely guided by Baron de H. himself,
down a narrow path hidden by trees behind the stables which led them
eventually right out across the heart of that famous beet-root country.
When the last man was safely hidden from view, one breathed a sigh of
relief which only changed to an exclamation of terror as, turning from
this window to look out of another, one saw a hundred fierce horsemen
dash up, hard on the scent of their prey.

When Madame de H. (senior) looked down from her room and saw the Uhlans
ride into the court, she went right off her head, literally, and drawing
a tiny pearl-handled revolver from a secret drawer in her desk, started
to shoot from the window. But thanks to the presence of mind and rapid
action of her daughter-in-law, who pushed her unceremoniously into her
dressing-room and locked the door, she was prevented in time, which
without the least doubt saved all their lives.

It is just such circumstances as these that have given the troops
opportunities and excuses to shoot peace loving citizens and burn down
many a town.

Madame de H. (junior) then went down stairs and placated the men, who
were very insolent, as well as she could with what was left to eat in
the house. As the latter were deep in this occupation of refreshing
themselves, the sentry espied a troop of Belgian lanciers coming on the
gallop and gave the alarm.

To horse! and away they went, bridles clinking, lances clashing. Then
commenced a phantom race as they flew over the ground like the wind, the
Belgians following hot in pursuit, until they both disappeared over the
edge of the world.

_October 19th, Monday._

I went to see the American Consul, to explain that I do exist and to ask
his advice about getting back to France. He did not seem to second my
enthusiasm, which surprised me, and said, "In the first place what would
you go in, and in the second, why should you want to go, with Paris
surrounded by 2,000,000 soldiers?"

Isn't it human nature to want to get out of prison?

He has received no mail from America since August 19th and a letter
which came from his confrère, the American Consul at Aix-la-Chapelle,
Germany, took twenty-five days by the German Military Post.

_October 22nd, Thursday._

I was perfectly enraged this morning when I crossed the bridge and saw
the soldiers changing the street signs into the German language. Now it
is "_nach Brussels_" and "_nach Lüttich_."

I suppose you will say, "But why be so disturbed about things? It is not
your war." But it is my war. I cannot keep out of it--it's everybody's

The new soldiers who have been in the stable at the château received
sudden orders to advance. The rest of the company, scattered about in
the vicinity, assembled here and they marched out of the court, a
hundred strong. Poor, old, nice things, these Bavarians; they did not
look very military nor very keen about moving on to the "front."

In contrast one can tell a Prussian five blocks away by his swing. His
stride is so individually overbearing that it is impossible to mistake.

_November 5th, Thursday._

Monsieur and Madame S. came back from Brussels today and oh, it was good
to get a little, first-hand, outside news! It appears that Brussels
still has a semblance of her normal activity, as the heel of oppression,
in the presence of different foreign representatives, has not cut in so
deeply there. Madame S. said, one evening when they were walking in the
street she noticed a man following them and when they reached a
particularly dark corner he came quickly up and whispered, "Would you
like to see a 'London Times'? Then come into the shadow across the way."
It is well known that a single copy has already sold for 165 francs and
also there has been quite a traffic in renting sheets of it for twenty
francs the half hour.

Coming back from Brussels, they drove through Louvain--martyred Louvain!
It was too dreadful to contemplate. First the material destruction of
those wonderful buildings, like an exquisite pattern in lace, torn by a
ruthless sword and eaten by wanton flame; then the misery and
deprivation of the people who were able to resist those hours of agony
and peril.

Every sort of device was used for shelter and hollow eyes and
terror-stricken faces looked out from the damp cellars under the ruins,
where destitute families of at least half the population had crept to
find a home.

Now we know why the taking of Antwerp has been kept so modestly in the
background and has never been advertised in Liége like all the other
victories, which were always flaunted in large print. It is because
while the Germans were studiously busy taking the city, fort by fort,
the Belgian army was walking out by the side door, along the coast to
France, so that when a big personage was sent from Germany to make a
grand, triumphal entry into Antwerp, he found an empty city and received
the sword of a general, ill and incapacitated for duty.

It is said that the Prussian general who accomplished the siege was
decorated amid a grand flourish of trumpets and then retired, since one
of the great motives was the capture of the Belgian army, which is now
safe in France and taking a week-end off somewhere. Is it not fine that
little Belgium has been able to impede the great German army two and one
half months, which has given the other actors in the play time to
change their costumes? Oh, it is fine to be brave!

Countess de M. came with Monsieur and Madame S. from Brussels and has
her passports all in order to go to France, to her husband who is in the
Belgian army near Calais. She is leaving at once, under the protection
of the Dutch Consul, who is here in Liége for a few days (a circumstance
ordained by the Fates) and who is going to conduct her in his auto over
the frontier to Maestricht, Holland. And the miracle has happened! If I
can get my papers in readiness in two days, she will take me with her. I
am wild with joy, but I feel it is like a dream that one knows cannot
come true.

_November 6th, Friday._

Just the moment I finished breakfast this morning, I dashed into town,
that is, as fast as an old tramcar could take me, to the American
Consul. In my impatience, I fancy I must have rung his bell several
times, though it was really a long while before the servant opened the
door and showed me in to the library. Then Mr. Z. (a German-sounding
name), the Consul, appeared, unshaven and with the evidence of his
morning meal upon his face--it was yellow.

But nothing mattered to me and I plunged into the subject of getting a
passport for to-morrow without preliminaries. Perhaps I took the poor
man's breath away, for certainly he was not nearly as enthusiastic as I
about it. In fact, he embarked upon a dissertation pertaining to the
invaders which made me cry out in astonishment, "Why, you surprise me,
you seem to have pro-enemy tendencies." "Well," he said, "they've done
everything they've said they have, haven't they?"

I asked him if he had seen Louvigné or Visé yet and he said, "No, I
haven't ben up t' Visé yet."

All this, however, was far from the point in question and I finally got
back to it by informing him of the good fortune I was going to have
to-morrow in getting away to Holland in the Dutch Consul's automobile if
I could get my passport from the Germans. It did not occur to me that
there would be any difficulty about it, so I calmly asked him if he
could get it for me by six o'clock to-night?

"Oh, no," he replied, "I could not get it before two or three days."

"But," I protested, aghast, "I am going to-morrow and it is a chance in
a thousand; I may not have another such opportunity during the war.
Could you not make an especial effort to get it for me?"

"Well," he answered, "I'll do what I can but I won't promise anything.
I'm not agoing to ask any favors of those people," i.e., the Germans.

"It is not a favor," I replied, "it is your right. For what other reason
is an American Consul if he is not to protect his people, particularly
in wartime?"

"Oh, my dear young lady," he answered, "you must not think that you are
the only American in Liége."

"How many are there?" indignantly.

"Well, three or four," he replied, reluctantly.

That was really too much! I was in despair. What was to be done? Seeing
my hope of freedom vanishing before my eyes, I clutched at the last
straw and entreated him with what eloquence I could whip into line to
make at least some effort to get me the passport by six o'clock, when I
would come again to his house for it.

"Oh, no," he said quickly, "I don't get back here until eight o'clock,
but if you happen to pass by 'The Golden Lion' (or some such name) you
might find me there."

Choking with rage I said to him, "I see that you cannot help me, Mr. Z.,
but if you will be good enough to give me your card (he had already
suggested it) to the German passport department, I will go to the
_Kommandantur_ myself and see what I can do; in fact, I am sure I can
accomplish far more than you." He ought to have been affronted at this
but, on the contrary, seemed jolly well pleased and handed me out his
card in a hurry, glad to relieve himself of the obligation of asking any
favors of "those people."

I then made my way to the _Palais de Justice_. A man accosted me in the
square and told me if I were going for passports it would be of no use,
as there were hundreds and hundreds of people there before me. But I
kept on. With the glorious end in view, viz., to be a free person and to
see the scenes that, in a morbid way, I had begun to feel would never be
my privilege again, I kept on, threading a path through the throngs
until I stood right in front of the guard of the sacred chamber. He was
an enormously fat sentry, with the usual little round cap and fixed
bayonet. I thought he would eat me, he looked so offended, and roared
out, "_Nein, nein, das Zimmer ist voll._" Then was my moment. I pulled
out the little white card and addressed him--not too timidly either, for
hadn't I the great American people behind me? He caught the words,
"American Consul," which drew him up to salute and in the most
lamb-like voice he murmured, "_Ach, ja, Amerikaner_," and let me pass. I
cast one look at the multitude back of me--poor things, who may have
stood there two days already, and I felt despicably mean, as if I were
not playing fair.

Once inside, I was put through a category of questions, worse than an
"Inkwhich." "Why had I come to Liége?" "How long had I been there?" "Why
did I want to go away?" "Where to?" "How?" etc. Finally my inquisitor
became suspicious, or feigned it, and said, "But what have I to prove
that you are an American?" Then I was furious and I answered, "Monsieur
(I suppose he hated the French appellation), since you have the card of
the American Consul asserting it, in your hand, is not such a question
an indignity to my government?" He answered with a wry smile and said

At 4 P. M. I returned for my passport with half a dozen
photographs to be affixed thereto. I had no difficulty in getting into
the _Bureau des Passeports_ as I still had the Consul's card upon which
Herr Bauer, one of the German secretaries, had scribbled some mysterious
symbols which probably meant "let her pass," or its equivalent. At any
rate, the sentry and I regarded each other superciliously and I skidded
past his saw-toothed bayonet without hurt.

When I entered the crowded room I saw that I was about fiftieth in the
line and I said to myself that if I waited my turn I should still be
there at midnight. Luckily, an idea came to me, and waving that fateful
little white card in the air, I called out over the heads of everybody,
"Oh, Herr Bauer." A Belgian gentleman standing next me was quick enough
to catch the name and shouted out also, "Herr Bauer." But Herr Bauer was
far too clever for him and said with a mocking smile, "Ah, no, Monsieur,
you will have to wait your turn. Mademoiselle, come this way."

I detached myself from the crowd and stepped behind the rail, horribly
conscious of unpleasant scrutiny. My face got hotter and hotter and I
could only see a host of uplifted Belgian eyebrows. Even the clerks
looked up and stared, unaccustomed as they evidently were to Herr
Bauer's benignity. And I had to bear all that humiliation because--well,

Having exposed the facts, I will give you the privilege to form your own
opinion which will be every bit as good as mine, I know.

11 P. M. My passport signed, sealed and written all over by the
Imperial Government, is in my hand. I shall dream of long journeys, of
bitter struggles and at last--freedom! Will the daylight never come?

_November 7th, Saturday._

Saturday dawned cold, gray and shivery. _Madame de M._, _Monsieur le
consul hollandais_, and I left the château at eight A. M. I was
heartbroken to part from the dear people with whom I had experienced so
much and I fancied their eyes looked longingly at the departing
automobile. They, too, would have liked to come out into the sunshine of
Freedom--how much!

From Liége to the frontier sentries stopped us often, but the consul's
much-used passport, framed and glassed in like Napoleon's Abdication or
the Declaration of Independence, was very convincing. Half an hour's
cold drive along the Meuse brought us to Visé. On approaching it, we did
not dream that we were nearing a town and in truth we were not--only the
remains of one, for not a single building was standing. I had thought
that Louvigné with its one lane was desolate and awful, but here were
streets and streets of ashes and crumbled brick--and I seemed to see
again the ruins of ancient Troy in Asia Minor, which are not more
complete. Someone murmured, "Pompeii." But it is not comparable. The
ages have woven about the broken columns of Pompeii a light film of
romance and a bit of tender beauty springs up with the tiny, flowering
weeds which push their way to the sun between many colored tiles. Here,
the tragedy is too new; too crude; too bleeding!

The only living things I saw were a cat scampering down a deserted
alley, and one man--half-dazed, looking at what was probably his own
ruined home; the only wall to be seen which was, even in part, standing.
It must have been an ironmonger's shop, for some black kettles still
hung on nails against the stone, and iron stoves in all their bleakness
stood up in bold relief on piles of ashes.

When the Germans came to Visé the commanding officer called the people
together in the market place and harangued them at length, threatening
them with dreadful punishments if they did not do so and so. He felt he
had to, doubtless, as the town and the surrounding country are well
known centers of the firearms industry; the peasants work in their own
homes to a large extent and are very expert in the making of delicate
weapons and also in their use.

So, when the sturdy Belgians could not digest another single threat,
apparently, somebody fired a shot from the crowd which killed the
officer while he was speaking. Then followed that frightful slaughter
and the firing of the town, the remnants of which we saw to-day. Nobody
on earth will ever know who fired the shot, probably, for the soldiers
hate their officers and already German bullets have been found in German

9 A. M. Over the frontier! Oh, the joy of it--the indescribable
relief--the wet-eyed thankfulness! Shall I ever forget it? I did not
know until then what depths Tyranny had furrowed into my consciousness.
Here were men and women laughing and talking in the streets and people
daring to drive in their own carriages, and everybody reading
newspapers--I felt as if I would spend my last sou for one.

The day was spent in wandering aimlessly over the old town. The wind was
bitterly piercing and a fog hung over the canal but I was not altogether
aware of bodily discomfort. My mind, trying to adjust itself to new
conditions, was in a haze, staggering back and forth from the
consciousness of regained freedom to servitude and from barbarism to
freedom again.

At three P. M. the train left for Flushing, where we were to
take the boat for Folkestone, England. Just before it pulled out of the
station, a friend of Comtesse de M. rushed up to the car window and
said, "Madame, must you go? We have just received a dispatch saying that
a big boat has been sunk today by a mine near Boulogne." But nothing on
earth could have deterred us then.

All through the country of Holland, Dutch soldiers were "preparing"
everywhere. We arrived at Flushing at two A. M. and went aboard
at once, but not before being well looked over by English commissioners,
who examined our foreheads and wrists for German measles. Shall I ever
get away from that word?

_November 8th, Sunday._

A long day on the Channel and I was seasick--miserably, hopelessly,
endlessly seasick, but when somebody shouted I managed to lift my head
in time to see a floating mine--just a tiny, black buoy bobbing about,
but I did not mind. I asked the stewardess if she were not afraid,
making the journey every day, and her answer awed me by its conciseness
and its confidence. "Oh, no," she said. "Our Admiralty has arranged a
path for us between the mines." That was a sublime faith, but I should
choose a more winsome path--bordered with marigolds, perhaps, or phlox.

About four P. M. the gaunt, chalk cliffs of Dover hove into
sight, rising up in their grimness and seeming yet to shadow the awful
tragedy of the previous day, when an auxiliary cruiser had struck a mine
a quarter of a mile from shore and sunk in five minutes.

_November 9th, Monday._

Folkestone! The busiest town on earth, I should say, and soldiers
everywhere. There were ruddy-looking troops, singing also, and
apparently quite content to be "going over," for an Englishman is always
game; and there were pale ones, just out of hospital, in every kind of
uniform, and bands of refugees and exiles who had not a franc among

Comtesse de M. went with me to the English Embassy to see if they would
give me a passport to France with her, for in my haste in leaving Liége,
it had not occurred to me that I would need a passport ever again

It seemed to me that there were millions of people at the door of the
Embassy, but fortunately Madame de M. found an acquaintance who must
have had considerable influence, for he took us around to a secret door
and we were soon in the audience room. Well, of course, there was
nothing to prove that I was an American but our honest word, which was
not enough, so I offered to hand out my German passport, which was
certainly maladroit.

Fancy, an Englishman viséing a German passport!

Then Madame de M. pulled out hers and asked them to sign my name on it
as companion to her. The august head looked troubled at this; however,
he took his pen and was just in the act of putting it to paper when his
assistant or rather accomplice interposed and they argued a bit. He took
his pen for the second time and plunging it into the inkwell was just
about to sign when somebody else expostulated and another discussion

For the third time (he pulled himself together as a man who knows what
he is about) he took his pen and would certainly have achieved his
object if the door had not opened at the inexpressible moment to admit
an authoritative-looking person who vetoed the whole proceeding.

What those moments were to me I shall never be able to describe--that
pen so near the paper! A naked sword three times across my throat would
not have been greater suspense. Marie Antoinette could not have suffered

Well, the game was up anyway, and as there was no American Consul nearer
than London, I decided to try the amiability of the French Consul which
I found impeccable.

At the French Embassy again was that rush and struggle for papers, and
there I witnessed a pathetic scene. A Belgian man, of middle age, and
well dressed, came to the consul literally asking alms. "Monsieur," he
said, "to ask you for help is the hardest thing that I shall ever do in
my life, but I have lost everything and I must go to my wife, who is ill
in France, and I have but five francs. Could your Embassy aid me?"

At five P. M. the boat left Folkestone, containing a
conglomerate parcel of humanity--sailors and soldiers of different
nations and in divers uniforms, singing alternately the "_Marseillaise_"
and "God Save the King"; Red Cross assistants eager to reach the field
of their work; white-haired mothers in search of their wounded sons,
trembling for the message that land would have in store for them and
despairing exiles awaiting at least the welcome sound of their beloved
tongue. Night fell like a soft mantle and we forged on, into the
darkness, chancing what might befall. What impressed me among the people
aboard was the apparent lack of anxiety for personal safety. Past
sufferings and the great future issue were the predominant thoughts.

The dock at Calais was crowded with anxious friends and Belgian
soldiers. Madame de M. found several acquaintances among the
latter--friends of her husband. After the usual Custom House proceedings
we started on a quest for rooms for the night. A subdued excitement
trembled over the city; the whole population was in the streets; throngs
were seething up and down; hundreds of soldiers were hurrying to and fro
and intense groups of men discussed probabilities, while anxious women
pressed in on the crowd to catch a hopeful word. We heard that the
German army was about to plunge through to Dunkirque and would shell
Calais from there. The civil population was therefore expecting every
moment the order to evacuate the city.

As we crossed the railroad near the pier, we saw in the half light a
small company of Belgian soldiers limping along, each with a forlorn
bundle on his back. Their aspect was _complètement démoralizé_, and the
young lieutenant with us, moved by his quick sympathy, shouted, "Oh,
say, _camarades_, have you heard of the new victories on the Yser and
the brilliant defense of the Belgians?" The poor, despondent things,
fired at once by the spirit of his enthusiasm, straightened themselves
up and cried, "Oh! Ah! Is it true? _Merci, mon lieutenant, vivent les

A few yards further on we passed a group of refugees who were stumbling
aimlessly along in the dark--there were men and women, trying to console
each other, and whimpering children, sick with hunger, clinging to their
mothers' skirts. Their plaintive cry was like a knife through the heart.

After picking a toilsome way through the crowds we arrived in the
quarter of the big hotels and found there was not a room to be had. Not
at all daunted, we retraced our steps and sought the small hotels--there
were no rooms. Still, with courage--even amusement (the affair was
taking on a spirit of adventure) we attacked the _pensions de
famille_--not a cot; not a corner. Then we stopped in the _Place_ to
review the situation, which began to look dull gray. There were still
the _cabarets_, or we could sit in the street all night. We chose the
_cabarets_ and with newborn hope started on, systematically taking one
street after another, knocking at most dreadful-looking places, even
along the waterfront. A woman's voice from behind barred shutters
usually responded. Every chair, every table, every square inch of floor
was spoken for. Then the warm, brightly-lighted railroad station,
opposite the pier, leaped into our numbed consciousness--why had we not
thought of it before? The military authorities forbade loitering there.

Out in the dark, once more we looked at each other inquiringly. That was
a curious joke. Fate had never dealt us such a hand of cards before! We
viewed the landscape--half of it was water and the little waves lapping
against the _quai_ were rather mocking.

Suddenly, dark and smug, a swaying object which we had not observed till
then, took monstrous form before our eyes and in it we recognized an old
friend, the Channel boat _Elfrida_, which lay basking in the velvet
shadows like a dozing cat and gently pulling on her cables. Why not? We
did! Nothing prevented our going aboard but a sleepy guard, who was
quickly consoled with a five-franc piece, and we made ourselves
comfortable for the night on the yellow, velvet cushions in the
captain's salon, behind the wheel-house.

Who can assert that it has not all been arranged for us? Otherwise, I
fear, our own poor efforts would land us too often in the mud.

_November 10th, Tuesday._

Left Calais at nine A. M. The sun was pouring its cheerful rays
over the glorious land. It ought to be free--this smiling France!
Wherever the eye rested were soldiers drilling, building, maneuvering
and digging. Every few hundred yards the railroad was intersected by
lines of trenches. These latter appeared to be about seven feet
deep--cut true as a die into the ground and were braced with a lining of
woven reeds, like basket work. The front wall of these trenches was
crenated about every two feet, forming little niches for the soldiers
and protection against flank shots. The poppies and corn flowers blowing
over the edges were holding on for dear life to their tiny inch of soil
and nearly obliterated those brutal gashes in the earth which had
swallowed up their brothers and sisters. An unsuspecting army might well
be lured into such a pleasant bear-trap.

Train progress was very slow for we had to switch off continually to
allow ammunition trains and troops to pass. All the railroad stations
were packed with soldiers and grieving women, though there was nothing
in the way of heroics in these leave-takings, just grim resolve on the
faces of the men and silent sorrow on the lips of the women. It seemed
as if clasped hands could not release each other and eyes held eyes in a
long farewell. Husbands were tearing themselves from their wives;
white-haired mothers were adding one word more of caution to their
departing sons; and there were young boys, of perhaps the last class,
who, touched at the moment to say _au revoir_, were yet eager to plunge
out into the future. I shall never know how many last good-byes I
witnessed this day.

Train after train of cattle cars passed us, with a big cannon in the
middle, three horses stabled in one end and three in the other. Along
the road were several regiments of Indian troops--the _Girkhas_. They
were tall, splendidly handsome men of fine features, light,
chocolate-colored skin and brilliant, black eyes. They wore long, khaki
coats, belted in like a Russian blouse, and khaki turbans and they waved
their hands and smiled continually, showing flashing, white teeth. They
were evidently well pleased with the turn of events which had led them
to this wondrous, new world, where was plenty of opportunity for
killing--this reputed trait, however, was quite belied by their amiable

About four P. M. (three hours yet to Paris) I was dead with
fatigue and seeing so much. Also I had not had a bite to eat since eight
A. M., having counted on a basket lunch on the road, or at
least a solitary sandwich, but all the convenient station buffets have
been closed up since the war and civilians are tacitly understood to
look after themselves and not to bother the Government by racing
needlessly over the country. But I do not think there were many making
aimless journeys.

Since noon the cars had been steadily filling up, until the compartments
destined for ten persons were accommodating twenty, not including
bundles, lapdogs, bandboxes and bird-cages--even then there was always
room for one more. And nobody was indignant, but rather complacent and
obliging, for had they not all sons at the front and the same great
grief at heart? The conversation was general as to people and on one
sole topic, the "War," including the strategic achievements of the
French army, "Eux" (they, i.e., the Germans), and the marvellous
qualities of their beloved Général Joffre, affectionately termed
"Grandpère" by the soldiers.

And so we rolled slowly and more slowly on, packed like sardines, the
removing of one meaning the displacement of all, as when one heedlessly
snatches a potato from the middle of a bushel basket. But very few got
down except the soldiers, the objective point for all being Paris.

The twilight shadows were welcome, for they swallowed up all the
phantasmagoria of the day and we relapsed into silence. It was one of
those moments when Reality, or the fear of it, battles with our courage
and each one grew thoughtful as he neared the great city, dreading to
meet the spectre he feared.

The wheels of the cars sang on in a hollow, monotonous tune, the windows
rattled systematically and outraged brakes screeched at every recurrent
jolt. Finally we saw a dim row of lights and a long, thin whistle from
our engine told us that the journey was done. Again was that noticeable
lack of excitement: everyone calmly took his personal belongings and
prepared to get down when the guard, in an unimportant voice, should
call out "_Paree_," which you would not hear if you were not listening.

After the Customs, I was in a frenzy to get out into the street, to be
welcomed back, as one always is here, and to be cheered and warmed by
the bright lights--the flashing eyes of Paris. But the streets were dim,
the shops and restaurants closed and few people circulating about. How
different it all was! I felt like Rip van Winkle after his twenty-years'
sleep, for at the apartment (I thought I had come to the wrong house)
was a new concierge, young and pretty, replacing the old, white-haired
one. Had we gone back twenty years instead? The rooms were empty--all my
friends had disappeared, the dust was inches thick, the furniture pushed
mostly into the middle of the rooms and some of the beds were gone.
Thickly sprinkled over the floor of my room and on my bed were pieces of
the window glass, broken like all the others in the house, by a German
bomb which fell and exploded in front of the Prince of Monaco's house,
two doors from us--not one hundred and fifty feet away. Half dazed, I
dusted a place large enough for my hat and coat, extracted some clean
linen from the closet and went to bed, sick at heart.

_November 12th, Thursday._

Paris! after a four days' tiring journey which in happier times takes
only five hours. But it doesn't matter--it is home again. Anywhere is
home which is out from under that yoke of infamous tyranny. I rage in
proportion as the minutes separate me from this odious thing that closes
its iron fingers around the necks of my friends.

No! It is not to be borne. Let every man, woman and child on the earth
rise up until we have right. Do I not know? Have I not experienced the
mailed fist? And yet, how little in comparison to others; but it is

The concierge gave me coffee and rolls and I dressed quickly in order
to get out into the street where I knew the dismal impression of the
indoors would be dispelled by the habitual smile of the enchanted city.
But the day was dull--the summit of the Eiffel Tower was hooded in a
cloud of fog and a cold blast swept over the Place de La Concorde which
froze me to the marrow. I kept on, however, somewhat protected by the
arcades of the rue de Rivoli, expecting to see, at least, familiar faces
in the shop-keepers of that gay, little Rialto--but the doors were all
closed and the blinds down. One place was open--the art shop of the
little, old, white-haired man with the twinkling eyes, who has sold me
marvellous Venus de Milos, etc., times without number. I greeted him
with real feeling and enthusiasm, for here was somebody I knew. He did
not recognize me and stared dully, without answering, as one who is
dazed; he was unshaven and dirty, his usually clear eye was lifeless and
his face was thin and drawn. Could it be that he had not enough to eat,
or was it despair? He must have had nephews and perhaps sons and
grandsons at the front. But do the people who stay at home change like
that? I went on--the Hotel Meurice was closed; the Continentale had a
section open for the Red Cross; the Bristol was closed; the Ritz was
made into an Ambulance; not a living soul on the Place Vendôme. All the
famous hat shops were closed--who would have a reason to buy hats? All
the big dressmakers were closed and every jewelry shop but two in all
that dazzling, brilliant rue de la Paix was closed. There were perhaps a
dozen people on the Boulevards, a single taxicab crawled listlessly out
of a side street, but not an omnibus to be seen. They, like all the
world, had left for the "front" and will go down in history as having
transferred the valiant French army in all haste to Victory on the
Battlefield of the Marne.

The only thing unchanged was the Opéra, which stood there, in all its
splendor, looking on at the grievous spectacle of Paris, in anguish.
Will she live? Can she die? Is the burden of her woes too great? O,
Beautiful City of Dreams! Some call you very wicked--you, whose brave
smile has endured through all your sorrows. Is that so little? And the
valor of your Sons--was it ever surpassed? Did one of the hundreds, one
of the thousands, one of the millions, hesitate the fraction of an
instant at your call?

O, Paris! Inimitable Paris! with the death shadow on your lovely

    |             Transcriber's Note:               |
    |                                               |
    | Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the  |
    | original document have been preserved.        |
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    | Typographical errors corrected in the text:   |
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    | Page   9  interment changed to internment     |
    | Page  52  officiers changed to officers       |
    | Page  67  Kommandatur changed to Kommandantur |
    | Page  74  wth changed to with                 |
    | Page  93  pertubation changed to perturbation |
    | Page  94  stupified changed to stupefied      |
    | Page 115  gods changed to goods               |
    | Page 126  Coblentz changed to Coblenz         |

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